US Road Running Dog Lover Day Virtual 5K / 10K / Half Marathon

Remember last month when I decided on a Sunday to run a 10k the following Saturday? And then I actually did it? Well… this time I decided on a Wednesday to run a 10k the next Saturday… so instead of six days notice I am giving myself ten days notice… that’s progress, right?

US Road Running Dog Lover Day Virtual Run

US Road Running is an amazing running site which hosts all types of events – from Virtual Races (Virtual 5K, Virtual 10K, Virtual Half Marathon), Goal Programs, Mileage Programs, and a number of Live Races. Their goal of encouraging people to Get Out and Run ® has inspired thousands of people to get off the couch for some impressive bling. They even have a new Virtual Cycling Series that you can earn bling for too… how cool is that?!

us road running

This week one of my Sweat Sisterz posted that she wanted to do her first 10k and being that she is a Pet Sitter here in Pensacola, what better one to start with than the Dog Lover 10k!? So next weekend we will all be meeting up at the crack of dawn to take to the streets of my neighborhood to cheer each other on! And the cool thing is – you can join us too from wherever you are! All you have to do is register yourself and then run and log a 5, 10k, OR half marathon (13.1 miles) between now and Sunday June 28th!

virtual 5k

I am super excited to not only do another 10k – and get another bit of bling – but to do it with some of the best ladies in the world! Watch us on Periscope next week and come along with us for the run! And if you choose to do it too, let me know! We can cheer you on too!

Overcoming Obstacles – My First 10k

A few Saturdays ago my friend Angie came over for our weekly meal prep date. Yes, we have pretty much replaced “going out” with “working out” these days, and our “girls night in” includes cutting, steaming, and filling about 30 Gladware containers for the week ahead. Anyway, we were talking about our schedule for the week and she mentioned she was doing the Fiesta 10k that next Saturday. I made the mistake of saying “oh man I wonder if registration is still open…” to which she promptly discovered that YES it still was. I tried to back out – thinking I must be losing my absolute MIND – but Angie promised she would stay with me the entire route. She said we would do it “just for fun” and to say we’ve finished and not worry about the time… a few minutes of convincing and the next thing I knew, I was signed up to run a 10k… with six days notice.

fiesta

I went out running the next day in the neighborhood and PR’d for a 5k. I felt relieved – maybe I won’t die Saturday. Then the crazy of the week began and I didn’t have time to run any of the rest of the days of the week. I went to Angie’s ReFit class on Thursday night… and twisted.my.freaking.knee. Something I literally haven’t done since The Teen was a toddler. I went for a lunge and I went one way – and my knee went the other. I felt it the moment it happened, and knew I was hurt. It felt just exactly the way it felt many years ago on that football field when I tore my ACL. It was not as painful as that was, but the popping sensation was the same, and I was crushed. I limped off to the side, gathered my things, and headed home before class was over, trying to hide the tears.

Friday I rested, but there was still pain. I got a stabilizing brace for my knee, and prayed I would be ok for the run Saturday. My family was upset with me for even doing the run still – worried I would do permanent damage to my knee. But I had set my mind to do it, and I just knew in my heart that I could, and that I would be ok. Angie stayed with me Friday night so she wouldn’t have to get up quite as early on Saturday. We got our race packets, got our stuff all set up while I was limping around, and as we called it a night we just gave each other a knowing look – praying my knee would hold out for the entire route.

fiesta 10k

Saturday morning we got up before dawn, picked up another friend, and drove to the race. It was a perfectly beautiful morning and I prayed for strength as I watched the sun rise over the water. To say that I was nervous is the understatement of year. Every step I took I felt that twinge in my knee – even with the brace on. I met up with all of my friends for about a million pictures, and then we took our places in line to begin. I, of course, took my spot in the back – where I expected to stay. (But surprisingly didn’t) 

We took off and just as promised – Angie stayed right by my side every step. In fact, we stayed IN step the entire thing. I am not sure if it was by accident or if maybe it is a subconscious throw back to my color guard days, but in the 20-some-odd pictures that people had of Angie and I running – we were exactly in step in every one of them. I know it was agonizing for her to stay with me – she easily would have completed this run long before I did, but she stayed with me… the whole time. We laughed, we cussed, we ran, we walked, we sang, we complained, we flirted with the water boys… it was an amazing 6.2 miles.

10k

I am both elated and proud to say that I completed my very first 10k – complete with twisted knee and zero training. It proved that even with setbacks, if you keep your eye on the goal, you can complete absolutely anything you set your mind to. It also proved that something can happen that you do not expect – I literally haven’t had knee pain in years – but it does not have to derail you from your goals. You CHOOSE what you let derail you and what you push through. It also proved that having someone by your side can sometimes make all the difference.

my first 10k

As they say, I have been “bitten by the running bug” and I am already planning for my next run. Who knows – maybe I will do a half marathon next year. Even though my time wasn’t pretty – talk about setting the bar really low for a time to beat lol – it felt great to just FINISH. There was something about that little medal – that I of course wore the whole rest of the day – that made me feel more accomplished than I had in months. THAT alone was worth the pain. :)

Running… The Right Way

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My entire life I have been a runner. I was that kid whose Mom said she never learned to walk – she went straight to running. I remember field day at Pensacola Beach Elementary – running through the sand dunes from obstacle to obstacle with my best friend Nicole.  In middle school I remember running around the soccer fields – picking blackberries from along the back fence and eating them until our mouths and hands turned purple. Then in high school I joined the Colorguard and spent countless hours running the football field – even running the bleachers “for fun.”

running quote

When I got older I took on a different kind of running. As soon as I turned 18 – I ran away with a blue eyed boy in a white uniform. I ran half way across the country, thinking he would love me forever. Needless to say – that didn’t happen. So I ran. Home. I began running away from my life. My responsibilities. I didn’t like having to deal with the hard stuff – money, jobs, relationships – so I just ran. I made terrible choices that were easier to run from than to face. My pattern became running away from anything that didn’t make me happy at that exact moment, instead of realizing the problem was me and I needed to change to make it better. It was just easier to run.

its-run-not-rum

At nearly 30 I realized I could not run any longer. Figuratively and literally. I decided to cut ties with everything negative in my life that was causing me to run. I was overweight, lazy, and miserable. I was tired. I was sick of running from my life. I began facing my insecurities, apologizing to those I had hurt, taking responsibility for my part in the disaster that was my life. By this time I had gotten so good at running that most people had no idea the internal struggle I was facing. On the outside I was a positive, successful business owner that people looked up to. That was all just part of the run. I began putting the parts of my life that I had run from back together – one step at a time.

running

One day on a whim I set a goal to run twelve 5ks in twelve months – even though it had been years since I had actually run anywhere. I had these great intentions of training for them… but I let life get in the way. I enjoyed some of the runs more than others, but the actual RUN part… I absolutely hated. I was fat. I was slow. I was miserable. I had horrible shin splints during every single one of them because I did zero training in between. I always had a crowd with me, and every single run I was the last of my group to cross the finish line. I pushed through all 12 – making each one a punishment for the years of running away from my life. After my 12 was over… I quit. I was sure I would never run again.

running-cheaper-than-therapy

Then I decided to do a triathlon. A triathlon! (What the hell was I thinking?! There is running in a triathlon!!) But I signed up anyway. And I was determined to train… the right way. I had everything else in my life straightened out… it was time to get back to running- the right way. I hit the pavement – walking the first mile, and then doing the Galloway Method for the second mile. My time was ridiculous. But I did it. By the end of that day my legs hurt, my ankles ached, and I wanted to eat everything in sight. But that was nothing compared to how I felt the next morning. And I ran the next day anyway… and the day after that. And the day after that.

running pain

This week I had my first run that I was truly proud of. A run that, had I been doing an actual 5k, would have put me closer to the front than my usual spot near the back. I did not run the entire thing – my lungs are still not up to the endurance of that yet – but it was a time I was super proud of. I was so sore the next day I did not want to move. But I had a smile on my face that absolutely could not be removed. With every step I took in soreness the next day, I remembered that time – every step, every song, every mental pep talk along the way. I was proud of myself… something I had not felt in a very long time.

running_whether_you_win_lose_or_collapse

This Saturday I will be running a 10k. It is my first time to ever run a long run, and will be the longest I have ever gone at one time, ever. It will be my first long run, my first medal, my first event as an actual runner. This week I had to make a horrible decision to leave a project behind that I had been pouring my heart in to for months. I have known for a long time that it was time to let it go, but I was trying not to “run away” from something again. But the relief I felt the moment I let it go made me realize I wasn’t running away anymore… now I am running towards something. Happiness.

just run

I Am An “Exerciser”… And I Am Perfectly Ok With That

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I have mentioned before that I am a part of a women’s group here in Pensacola called SBL. It is by far the most loving and supportive group of women I have ever encountered, and over the year and a half that I have been a member, I have made some of the best friends a girl could ever ask for. While the group was originally started to be solely a weight loss support group, it has evolved in to a true sisterhood that supports each other the way all women should.

SBL

This week a topic came up for discussion that has been on my mind ever since. One of our members asked “When is it ok to start calling yourself an athlete?”

Thing is, many of us have begun training for upcoming triathlons, iron mans, marathons, and more. Our days are filled with swimming, biking, running, crossfit, zumba, ReFit, POUNDFit… you name it, the SBL girls create a LOT of sweat on a daily basis. And the question generated a pretty amazing conversation about what being an athlete “means” and where we all fall. Then someone commented with this post about “Are You An Athlete or an Exerciser?” It hit a nerve with a lot of people when they realized that … they might in fact not be an athlete and more of an exerciser. I commented on the thread that “I am an Exerciser… and I am PERFECTLY ok with that.”

Thing is – I am not going all of this to try to come in first or to eventually do an Iron Man or some extreme fitness challenge. I am doing it for fun. And because I enjoy it. And because I enjoy these ladies. And because ultimately I love the way I feel, and am even starting to love the way I look.

SBL collage

I care nothing about PR’ing – in fact even back when I did my 12 5ks in 12 months I wasn’t concerned with time. My best time that year was my run in September. Not the one in October… or November… or the two I did in December. Yep, my time got increasingly worse instead of better… and I could not have cared less. My goal was never to get sub-30 or to even beat my best time. I just enjoyed being there, getting the Tshirts (literally), and marking off the goal for the year. That’s it. I had a blast at every single one of those runs – laughed until my sides hurt every time (when you are laughing, shin splints are much more bearable) and enjoyed a well deserved cocktail at every finish line. *ahem*

12 5ks in 12 months

But what really stands out to make me an “exerciser” more than an “athlete” as the above writer points out so well is the schedule and priorities. See, when given the chance to work or work out… I choose work. Every time. When given the chance of hitting snooze or getting up to run… I hit snooze. And while I may get up and head to the beach on a Saturday morning to take the bike for a spin, I know that the reason I drive all the way out to the beach is not because it is a better ride – but because as soon as I am finished you will find me laying in my beach chair soaking up the sunshine right afterwards.

Do I exercise a lot? Yes. Do I do more than most people? Maybe if you compare me to the general population and not solely to the SBL girls (because let’s face it – they all absolutely rock!) Does that make me an athlete? No.

I do not know if I will ever be an “athlete” because at this time in my life, I do not care to be. It is not because I do not think I am capable – I am simply uninterested in putting training over my family, or my work, or my social life. Simple as that. I have no dream of completing an Iron Man or a marathon – although I DO plan to do a half marathon next year… but again just for fun. Well… and for a medal.

I am an exerciser… and I want to thank Greg for his post, and showing that being an exerciser is perfectly ok.

BOLD Goals #11 & #12… Completing My BOLD Goal

Today on Facebook I made mention of my “12 5ks in 12 months” goal in 2013… and realized I never blogged about the last two runs.  I DID complete both to make my goal of all 12 runs… in fact I did the last two in the same day.

I don’t recommend anyone do that… ever.

The last two runs were the Blizzard on the Beach 5k and the USO Runway 5k.  Cayce did both of them with me – her boyfriend joining in as well. Even Mike joined in for the second one so we could all celebrate the completion of all 12 together.

blizzard 5kThe Blizzard on the Beach – which was actually done downtown and no where near a “beach” – was… well… a disappointment.  Not only was it brutal cold, but the wind was blowing at what felt like 100 miles an hour. Also the “blizzard” turned out to be small bubble foam blowers randomly stationed throughout the course. This however turned out to be a very good thing – I am not sure anyone would have appreciated being wet in that weather. As it was, we cursed most of the way – half freezing to death.

After the run however they had trucked in hundreds of pounds of ice to make “snow” for the kids to play in.  We stood and watched the total chaos of giggles and airborne snowballs flying through the air for a few minutes before heading off to breakfast… and to thaw out.

After eating and warming up we had just a few hours until it was time to head back out for the USO Runway 5k.  I took Cayce and Arturo home and went home to wait for Mike… wondering why in the world I chose to do two 5ks in one day. Not only were my shin splints screaming, but the forecast was calling not only for the temps to drop more… but rain to come in as well.

Awesome. 

But I was only 3.1 miles away from my goal. 3.1 miles from 100% completing my goal. A goal I have worked on all year long. A goal that everyone told me I was crazy to attempt.  A goal that on numerous occasions I had tried to come up with valid excuses to let myself off the hook for.

3.1 miles.

So at 3pm we left for the airport. The temps had dropped, and it was drizzling rain. The wind had also picked up. We knew this was going to be brutal.

runway 5k 2We got to the airport and parked in the Economy Lot which they had reserved for all of the runners.  This was great (and free) except that it was literally like a half of a mile from where the race would take place.  So just getting there and back was a hike. Ugh. I did mention we had already done one 5k that morning right? And it was cold. And raining. And getting dark.

3.1 miles, Lynsey. Only 3.1 miles.

I lined up at the very back of the race. The last one. I didn’t care.  Today was about completion – not glory. When the shot went off to start the race … I walked. And walked.  And walked.  In fact, not one time did I break in to even a jog.

I began last, but I did not finish last.  There were actually quite a few people that I had passed along the way.  The runway was actually a really cool place to run/walk – every few minutes the roar of another huge plane taking off at the adjacent runway was pretty amazing. Mike stayed with me the entire time – sometimes talking – sometimes walking in silence as I reflected back on the 11 other runs I had completed that year. The good, the bad, and the muddy. Through 12 5ks I had battled shin splints, near heat stroke, a stomach virus, rashes, chafing, blisters… but that was all about to come to an end. Just 3.1 miles around a runway.

One of the things I love about all of these runs is how no matter how long it has taken you – there is always such a wonderful cheering squad waiting for you at the finish line. When I crossed over that finish line everyone just saw someone who had finished WALKING 3.1 miles… but for me it was so much more than that.

For me it was the completion of 37.2 miles. Twelve 5ks. A BOLD Goal I had set and achieved. Were they all pretty? No, not by a long shot.  Did I even get any faster between Run #1 and Run #12? Nope. I think slower in fact. Did I care? Not.One.Bit.

I had finished. I had set a lofty, crazy goal – and achieved it. For someone who is a great starter, and not a great finisher, I had finished. I was done. And THAT was amazing.

12 5ks in 12 months

lynseysig