You can’t Fake the Core

“If there’s one thing I believe more than I believe anything else, it’s that you can’t fake the core. The truth that lives there will eventually win out. It’s a god we must obey, a force that brings us all inevitably to our knees.” ~ Cheryl Strayed

All year I’ve been peeling away the layers. I’ve been seeking out breathing room in nearly every aspect of my life. After a period of my life that felt nearly suffocating, I needed to breathe again. I changed jobs. Our house is being decluttered. I simplified our family life. I took a step back in nearly every aspect of my life. This is what I need. I know it deep inside my core.

I’m meant to live a simple life. I’m meant to live a life full of love. It’s impossible to accomplish this when your life is full of clutter – both physical and emotional.

And yet my running has struggled. I’ve struggled with my relationship with running all year. Injury. Emotional baggage. Mental weakness. I just can’t get over the hump. With my fall race season approaching, I started to panic. I need a training plan. I need to get faster. I need support. My running continued to spiral downward. I don’t want to give up on running. I love running. Should I even be racing at all? I can’t function without running. I’m working on redefining my relationship with my running shoes. Isn’t that enough? Spiraling spiraling downward. And then I bounced back up.

What I need is breathing room!

I already know exactly what I need. My body has been telling me for months (years?).

I need to trust myself. I know how to run. I know how train. Creating my own plan, trusting myself to get me to the finish line, is exactly what I need. I need to empower myself. I need to put my faith back in my own ability. I don’t need a time goal. I just want to do my best.  And I need to listen to my body.

While I was so busy trying to control the outcome of every race, I was ignoring the screams that were coming from my body. I’ve run my body into the ground based on it’s current fitness level. My hips have been rebelling. I feel weaker every time I put on my running shoes.  My body was screaming at me that something needed to change. It was reminding me what I always forget: my running legs aren’t like everyone else’s running legs. They were broken at one point. My femur, my tibia, and my foot broke. They are pieced back together by titanium rods and screws. My hip and knees have been dislocated. I have scar tissue. I have to take care of them. I have to support them. I need to get stronger if I’m going to keep running.

So my training plan is blank minus the few races I’m running this fall. I’ve left space each week for two easy runs, one speed work out, and a long run. I’ve left space for strength workouts. I’ve left space for yoga. How I fill in the space each week will be based on my life – family and work. The blank spaces make me feel alive. The blank space feels like a vote of confidence in myself. I’m smart enough to know how to build mileage. I have run enough speed workouts to select ones that challenge me. I am now smart enough to recognize that my focus has to be on strength and yoga. The running will fall into place.

I’m excited about this new plan. I’m excited to find a balance that works for me. I’m excited to listen to my body in a truly authentic way. It feels amazing to let go of trying to control the outcome. Instead I’m focusing on today, right now, and exactly what my body needs. I have a feeling I’m building the foundation for a very happy running relationship.

I hear you body! I am finally listening!

I finally feel like I am breathing!

 

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Running and life: always a reflection of each other

Starting….

I set out to run my easy twenty minute recovery run this afternoon. I picked my favorite two+ mile route at the oceanfront: rudee inlet to the pier taking the alternative route back. I put on my garmin just to keep my running log up to date.

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Slow and easy was my plan. I wanted to tune into my body to see if I felt any imbalances from the race on Sunday. I ran comfortable. I ran happy. My watch beeped just past the pier to let me know mile one was done. I looked down for the first time, and I thought my watch was broken.

7:51

I put on the breaks and slowed down. This was supposed to be an easy run. Every time I slowed down, my legs pulled me forward. I took inventory. Nothing hurt. I wasn’t breathing heavy. My legs felt great. I needed to trust my body.

8:26

I was still feeling great after mile two so I let my legs lead the way for the rest of the run. I finished the run at a 7:48 pace. I finished feeling like I could keep going. I finished, and my legs felt better than when I started.

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I was very hesitant about my running before Sunday’s race. I was nervous about my injury. I was nervous about my lack of miles. I was worried I had lost what little speed I had left.

I’m not nervous anymore. I’m ready. I’m excited. I’m ready to tackle hard runs and longer miles. I’m ready to see what I’m capable of achieving this spring in my next two races, the Cherry Blossom 10-miler and the Flying Pirate half marathon.

It’s time to be brave. I’m ready to push out of my comfort zone. It just took a solid half marathon and a surprise speedy run to help me change gears!

Hello spring training!

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Staying Afloat

In less than two weeks, I’ll be lining up to run the Shamrock Half-Marathon. I wasn’t sure if this race was even a reality a few weeks ago. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a quality long run. In fact, my last double-digit run was at the Surfin Santa 10-miler the first weekend in December. The weeks after that race lead me to drop down to the half marathon from the full marathon. They also lead me to an ankle injury.

*******

I’m really good at sinking the ship. My husband has told me this more times than I can count. In arguments, when our ship is starting to take on water, I don’t bail water. I add water to the boat. The ship is going down, and I speed up the process. This bad habit has followed me my whole life.

*******

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When I ran the Richmond marathon in November, my ship started to take on water at mile 10. I threw up. For the first time (maybe ever), I didn’t sink the ship. I collected myself, I started running again, and I moved on to Plan B. And then plan C, D and E. After I got sick each time, I just kept moving forward. I bailed water!

The same thing happened at the Surfin Santa 10-miler. The miles on the boardwalk in the wind left me flat. When I got off the boardwalk with two more miles to run, I collected myself and kept going. I bailed water again.

When I reflected on both of these races, this lesson missed me. I never saw either race from this perception until I had a conversation with Jerry from J&A Racing. He casually pointed out that I stayed mentally engaged when I could have given up.

I came home that night happy to tell my husband that I was learning to bail water.

*******

In January I started running with Coach Ryan Carroll. When my ankle injury happened, he constantly reminded me to keep moving. Injuries, while annoying and a blow to my cardiovascular endurance, can be a great opportunity to find strength in other aspects of life. Ryan got me back on my bike, something that hasn’t happened in three years. In every conversation we’ve had, he’s reminded me to keep moving. He’s reminded me to bail water.

After easing back into training, this Saturday was my first long run where I planned on testing my legs. The outcome was far better than I expected: 10 miles at a 9:23 pace. All that’s left now is to show up on race day and run what my coach tells me to run. This race isn’t a goal race. It’s a starting point for 2014. While I have some time goals in mind, my mission on race day is to keep my ship afloat.

*******

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I would never wish for an injury, but this injury delivered so many gifts. I took away all my excuses to not bike. It has given me permission to run shamrock free of self-imposed expectations. It’s showed me that maybe, just maybe, bailing water is now my approach to life.

This ship isn’t sinking! Hand me a bucket. I finally know how to bail water!

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Shamrock Spotlight: Sue Tate

 

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We are so excited to be bringing you the “Shamrock Spotlight Series” on our blogs! The Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, 8k Races bring thousands of runners, of all ages, abilities and locations, to the Virginia Beach oceanfront every year! As J&A Racing Live Love Run Ambassadors, we decided we wanted to celebrate these races, J&A Racing, and our community by doing a series that highlights participants, both local and out of town, on their journey to this years’ races.

We were incredibly fortunate to get the response we did when asking for volunteers to be spotlighted, and are grateful for the opportunity to share their stories with you!

Kristy and Lesleyanne

SHAMROCK SPOTLIGHT SERIES: SUE TATE

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Name  Sue Tate
Age. 38
Current City. Alexandria, VA

Blog: This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

I am a 37 year old mama to two beautiful boys, a Pediatric ICU nurse and Air Force veteran.  My passion is running and trying to be a good role model to teach my boys the importance of healthy living!

Why you are running a Shamrock race in 2014? I’ll be honest,I’m running because it was my backup race for not getting in the NYC 1/2 lottery. I had to choose between Rock N Roll USA and Shamrock. I live close to DC and have run so many races there I wanted a change of scenery and I have never been to Virginia Beach!! This sounded like a great excuse to go down there!

When did you start running? I started running in college as a way to stay in shape and avoid gaining the Freshman 15!

How many races have you done and what’s your favorite?  I have done about 20 races but probably more. Before I became passionate about running I didn’t really keep track and know I ran a bunch of 5K’s.  My favorite by far was the Marine Corp Marathon!

Where do you prefer to run? I prefer to run outside on a trail!

What’s the longest distance you’ve run? 26.2 miles!

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What is the one thing you DON’T like about running? Honestly, there is NOTHING I don’t like about running, unless maybe the foam rolling afterwards :)

Favorite post-run indulgence? I love a great omelet immediately after a run, but a real indulgence would be a cupcake or ice-cream. I have a bit of a sweet tooth.

Favorite running shoe? Right now it’s my Saucony Cortana 3′s

Favorite song to run to?  Pretender by the Foo Fighters

Favorite website to waste time on? Facebook

Favorite running moment? Crossing the finish line of my very first marathon.  I was in so much pain but I couldn’t feel it because of the emotions of finally accomplishing my goal!

If you could pick one celebrity to run with, who would it be? Ryan Reynolds

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Want to continue to follow Sue on her road to Shamrock 2014? You can follow her on Facebook
www.facebook.com/thismamarunsforcupcakes, Twitter www.twitter.com/suzy399, Pinterest www.pinterest.com/suzy399 and Bloglovin
www.bloglovin.com/suzy399

GOOD LUCK SUE!

If you are participating in one of the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, 8k Races this year and are interested in being spotlighted, please email breathofsunshineblog@gmail.com

Shamrock Spotlight: Holly Kline

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We are so excited to be bringing you the “Shamrock Spotlight Series” on our blogs! The Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, 8k Races bring thousands of runners, of all ages, abilities and locations, to the Virginia Beach oceanfront every year!   As J&A Racing Live Love Run Ambassadors, we decided we wanted to celebrate these races, J&A Racing, and our community by doing a series that highlights participants, both local and out of town, on their journey to this years’ races.

We were incredibly fortunate to get the response we did when asking for volunteers to be spotlighted, and are grateful for the opportunity to share their stories with you!  

Kristy and Lesleyanne

SHAMROCK SPOTLIGHT: Holly Kline

Holly with her Mom

Holly with her Mom

Blog: Road Runner

Age on Race Day: 29 years old

Current City: Fort Myers, Florida

Training for the Shamrock Marathon

“I first started running in 2011. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in August of 2011 and the next day I signed up for Race for the Cure. I ran it in October of 2011 without any training and having never been a runner before. Since then, my mom has been there to cheer me on every time I have done a new distance. She is now cancer free and is my inspiration for everything and since she lives in Virginia I decided to do my first marathon where she can cheer me on!”

Why you are running a Shamrock race in 2014?  Shamrock was my first ever 8K in 2012. I had only been running for 5 months and decided to go for it after only doing two 5Ks. It was my first half marathon in 2013 and it will be my first full marathon this year!

When did you start running? October of 2011, Race for the Cure Tidewater, VA

How many races have you done and what’s your favorite? Sixteen 5Ks, two 8Ks, four 10Ks, one 10 miler and three half marathons. My favorite is the Wicked 10K. I love to look at all the costumes people run in!

Where do you prefer to run? I prefer to run in Virginia. It’s too humid here in Florida!!!

What’s the longest distance you’ve run? 15 mile training run last weekend for Shamrock!

What is the one thing you DON’T like about running? You take off a couple days and it feels like you have never run before!

Favorite post-run indulgence? my protein shake, Tropical Punch ULTRAGEN by First Endurance….honestly! Its sooooo good

Favorite running shoe? Asics Gel Noosa Tri series (I have the 6, 7, and 8…)

Favorite song to run to? Anything by Rise Against…perfect beat for running!

Favorite website to waste time on? Pinterest! I’m a pinaholic…Is there a twelve step program for that yet??

Favorite running moment? Finishing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon in 2013. My dad died two months before the race and he never saw me run. When I finished my mom told me that he finally got to see me cross the finish line.

If you could pick one celebrity to run with, who would it be? Will Ferrell…he would keep me laughing so hard I would probably miss the finish line!

Want to continue to follow Holly on her road to Shamrock 2014? You can follow her on Facebook facebook.com/hekline, Twitter twitter.com/waterbugva, Instagram http://instagram.com/crazyflrunner, and on her blog http://vatoflrunner.blogspot.com/

At Shamrock

At Shamrock

GOOD LUCK HOLLY!

If you are participating in one of the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, 8k Races  this year and are interested in being spotlighted, please email breathofsunshineblog@gmail.com