Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

I got the boot!

After weeks of “running through the pain,” it finally happened: stress fracture in my left foot during my lunchtime jog through Downtown, D.C. There was no more avoiding it. I had to limp my way back to my office and call for backup.

Enter: the walking boot.

Obviously, that’s not the end of the world. Getting the MRI results that it was definitely a stress fracture was hard to swallow. Finding out that I had to walk in this darn thing for 6-8 weeks MINIMUM, that was a punch in the gut. What stung the most, if only momentarily, was the teasing and taunting from complete strangers. I give you three scenarios:

The child: I can’t lie, some of the ‘shock and awe’ was actually cute. For example, I was shopping for groceries when I walked toward a toddler who was singing and dancing in the bread aisle. He was really getting into the song until he saw me and stopped dead in his tracks, middle of the aisle, to stare at me with his mouth wide open waiting for flies to go in. He’s a child so I smiled and excused myself to pass. He wasn’t having that. He stood there with arms and legs wide open, as if to halt me from passing. He stared at the boot then he looked up at me – mouth still agape. What got me was that his mother did nothing. She turned around, looked at me, looked at the boot and turned back around at the tough decision ahead of her – white or wheat bread. My smile faded, I looked at the little m’fer and moved my way past his little arms. That mom definitely missed a teaching moment.

The adult: YoThe Bootu would think adults have more sense; this guy didn’t. “Who won?” That was his question. Funny. My response, “not me.” I guess I can’t blame him. He couldn’t know it was my first day commuting to work with the damn boot and I was having a hard time adjusting. My frustration level was through the roof. So he continued, “How’d it happen?” I explained my jogging situation briefly in the elevator and he says, “Jogging? You’re going to have to come up with something better than that.” The rest of my day was filled with other adults trying to be funny and I couldn’t even be mad at it. They were trying to turn a negative situation around. I guess I should thank them?

The teenager: The worst of the bunch because being cruel to other people is the cool thing to do. I was leaving work and as I walked down the National Mall towards an intersection, I saw some teens already waiting at the corner. I suddenly had a bad feeling. I get to the corner just as the light is changing and I can cross the street; so I proceed. That’s when I heard the teens suddenly laughing from behind. I didn’t have to turn around to know that one of them was walking right behind me, mocking my limp. They were all laughing and one of the girls says, “You’re exaggerating. She isn’t walking THAT bad.” Real nice. I’m not the type of person to turn around and make a big scene about something like that, so I kept it moving. I would have been fine except I came upon 2 more people on a bench who felt the need to yell, “NICE BOOT! WHERE CAN I GET ONE?” *le sigh*

I’m into my 4th week lugging this thing around and the only thing that actually bothers me is the fact that my puppy can’t enjoy a fast-paced walk or that I can’t play WITH my kids at the indoor trampoline park. Otherwise, I am blessed because this is just another short chapter in my life. I’ll be back to kicking ass in no time!

Marine Corps 17.75k Recap

CAN’T STOP! WON’T STOP!

It was Friday.  A beautiful Friday, at that.  The sun was shining, the temperature was in the upper 70’s, and there was a perfect breeze going on.  Nothing gets me more excited and motivated than perfect weather outside.  Maybe a little too much;  it was the kind of day that makes me want to do something crazy like, oh, I don’t know, randomly decide to sign up for the Marine Corps 17.75k (that’s about 11 miles for us non-metric system using folks) which is at 7 am on Saturday – yes, the next day.  I say “crazy” because lately I haven’t run more than 6 miles, so to jump at 11 miles seems a little irresponsible, but what’s another 5 miles??  Luckily, I was able to find somebody to sell me their bib.  JOY!!

I’ve done the 17.75k before, but this was going to be a new course that I haven’t done.  I couldn’t imagine it was going to be that much different – hills are hills.  Where there’s an uphill, there’s a downhill and I can live with that.  So, Saturday morning, I get up bright and early to get my rear into gear.  I’m going solo, which I haven’t done….ever.  I usually take someone to races with me or I do them with someone – I like to bring my own cheerleaders, I guess, but I didn’t mind.  There was something liberating about going by myself and being by myself.

THE COURSE:

The beginning of the course was torture!  Not only was it a gravel path with plenty of rocks and uneven ground, especially considering the hundreds of people around you, but the hills weren’t just up and down – oh no!  They were looooong and unending.  That lasted for maybe 3 quad-busting miles!!  After that you were on a paved road, mostly flat, but there were some hills that annoyed the dickens outta me.  The wooded area in Prince William was actually very pretty and made it easy to jog through.  I was looking around and taking it all in – aaaaaah!!!

Since we all know a “run” just didn’t happen unless it was tracked by Nike+, I had it going so I could have an idea of how much further I had to go; you know, just in case the mile markers weren’t enough of a clue.  So around mile 8 or 9 i’m thinking that the rest is gonna be such a breeze!  But noooooo, no breeze!  That’s when you’re back on the original gravel trail to get back to the finish and it’s all gravel and hills again.  Man, I totally thought I was going to improve my pace and jog all the way to the finish; I thought I would catch my 2nd or 3rd wind.

THE FINISH:

Alas, I crossed the finish line to my own satisfaction and received my finishers coin along with the coveted “access granted ticket”, or “golden ticket” as it used to be called, which guarantees my entry into the Marine Corps Marathon.  I still don’t know if I want to run THAT much at one time.  I survived the 11 miles and maintained a nice 10:30/mile pace.  That isn’t fast to most but, for me, it surprised me that I could maintain that pace, all things considered.

AFTERTHOUGHT:

I booked it home as soon as humanly possible, and within the speed limit, only to get out of the car as if I were the tin man in desperate need of some WD-40, starting with my knees!  UGH!  The mileage wasn’t the tough part, but I probably wouldn’t sign up for another race like that with just one day’s notice if I don’t have everything I need to care for my body once I’m home.  Lesson kinda learned….i’m sure this won’t be the last time I do something like this.  😉

mcm

YOGA – for copycats?

Correct me if I’m wrong but, most people I know who go to the gym to take a class do it because they need some structure, guidance and a damn good workout.  I’m generally a cardio/weight lifting gal but I could use some yoga in my life, so I attended my first Body Flow Yoga class at my local gym.  I’ve done a “regular” yoga class a couple of times, which I liked a lot, and I’ve done a “hot” yoga class, which I LOVED, so I wanted to try this “body flow” yoga and see what the big wup was about.

I head over to the right side of the room where I’m next to the mirror, but with a pretty good sight to where the instructor would be so I can see how to do these poses.  The class is pretty full and I’m pretty confident that a good bunch of them were newbies or very close to it, because everybody was simply watching everybody else to see what to do – before the class even started – myself included!!  Some people picked up those blocks and I have YET to figure out what the heck they are for!

Anyway, in walks a guy to the front of the room to plug in his iPhone to get the music started and he never says a word.  No ‘hi ladies!’  No ‘how’s everybody doing tonight?’ – NOTHING!  Seriously, we didn’t even get a smile.  But, I’m not there to see his smile so whatever.  Now the music has begun and he walks over in my direction!!!!  PLEASE DON’T TELL ME THAT THIS IS THE FRONT OF THE CLASS!!!  UUUUGH!  IT IS!!  I so wanted to move but, oh well, I figured this would be an even better spot for me to see how to do these poses but, get this, he didn’t bring a mat over.  Oh contraire mon frere!!  There was no need for a mat because he wasn’t going to be doing any of the poses with us!!!  Not even as an example!!!  This dude busts out with, “let’s start by quieting the mind”.  Yyyyeeaaaaaah, that’s actually not going to work for me because all I’m thinking is, “Quick Maritza! Check out the chick next to you to see how to do it but be slick about it, don’t stare!”  Seriously, I looked at the girl next to me and she looked at me and shrugged her shoulders.  What the frack?!  Now I gotta be obvious and turn around to see what everybody else is doing.  Mind you, the instructor is walking around the room watching everybody.  People are lifting their arms and breathing in and out and doing a prayer pose or something and I wasn’t sure what that was about but I copied them and it sucked.

The class goes on and he wants us in the downward dog position and, “oh, by the way, if at any time you need a break, feel free to get into child’s pose”……i’d love to right now, but unfortunately, I didn’t remember what that meant from the other 3 classes I’ve been to in the last 4 years!  So, for any of you who haven’t been to a yoga class before, a child’s pose is NOT the same as the fetal position, so save yourself the embarrassment.  (That little nugget of information is yours, FREE – you’re welcome.)  So, I continue with this charade for the remainder of the class, believe it or not.  I don’t even want to attempt to tell you all the names of the poses that he wanted us to do because, let’s face it, I don’t remember.  What I do remember is that when he called out the name of a pose, he found one person who was doing it right or close to it and he would say, “everybody do it like her”.

I shit you not, he said, “Do. It. Like. Her”……..DO IT LIKE HER?!!!!………GET THE HECK OUTTA HERE!  Hey buster, how about this; how about YOU show us how to do it since YOU’RE the instructor?!  I know it’s a wild concept and all, but let’s give it a try.  Hmm?  ………No, how about we don’t give it a try.  He literally did that for the duration of the class.  Ugh!!

Towards the end of class, I thought I was getting the hang of things – or at least the hang of copying what everybody else was doing – and it seems like he had some time to kill, so he says, “does anybody know how to do the crane?”  Well, well, well, as luck would have it, someone DID but she says, “that’s an advanced pose”.  He responds, “I know, but let’s try.”  I’m all for trying crap that’s challenging so I decide I’m going to give it a go.  I sit there and I try to nail this crane while I think, “where do they get these names from?”  A good 5 minutes have passed of this ridiculous mess, people are falling on their heads and getting ready to break their necks, but he’s too busy to notice because he’s mingling with other women in the class.  He finally stops the madness and goes through the cool down, which was nice because that’s when I finally “quieted my mind,” go figure.

*le sigh*

No, that wasn’t the best yoga class I’ve ever been to and I won’t be going back.  I’m just going to go to that other lady’s class and do it early in the morning because at least she shows us how to do the poses.  I don’t think I’m asking for much.  I don’t need these people to do the entire class with me, just show me how to do it AND THEN walk around to see how everybody is doing to make sure they’re doing it right, you know?

Oh well, I decided I would try out a different class – INSANITY!!!  Now, THAT’S a class that’s more along the lines of something I would attempt to do to mix up my weight lifting routine.  People seem to love it so I want to check it out.  My happy ass gets in there, to the front of the room, the actual front of the room, and in walks a dude with a PERSONAL TRAINER shirt on.  He looks familiar, but I can’t place him until he begins the class.  WAIT, IT’S THE YOGA “INSTRUCTOR”!!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

TO BE CONTINUED……

The Peer Pressure to Eat Right

Some days I just enjoy my life more than others.  I like that I have accidentally put myself in a position to unintentionally peer pressure someone into doing something they should be doing, like living a healthy life.  I don’t even have to say anything to get the ball rolling – it just happens and i’m pretty sure this is why:

INSPIRE OTHERS!

I’m a self proclaimed healthy eater who tries to follow the ole 80/20 Rule; although, there have been times where it was more like 70/30, or worse if i’m on vacation.   Eeeek!  More specifically, during the work week I eat healthy and on the weekends my eating habits can go a little awry.

In addition to that, around the office people generally assume that i’m training for something like a run, bike or triathlon, because I always get questions like, “when’s your next race?” or “what are you training for now?”.  Not that I blame them – I usually am.

Finally, to top it all off and probably the main reason, the Man of the house is a fitness expert and he works in the same building as I do.  So, if you know anything about “insider trading”, I feel like my association with him kind of works in the same way.  Since HE’S a fitness expert, naturally, I must be, too.

Because of all this, I can understand why people feel the need to explain themselves when they are getting food or chatting with me about the last time they were in the gym.  I have some people who see me and instantly give me unsolicited excuses, like:

“I know this looks bad, but it’s been a bad day/week.”  (Coincidentally, that’s an even worse reason to eat “bad” food.)
“I haven’t had [insert “bad” food here] in a very long time.”
“I’m not eating all of this right now.”
“I’m going to workout today.”
And the list goes on…

It almost makes me want to say, “I didn’t ask. I’m not judging you. Eat what you want to eat.”  Or, like the Man says,

“If you’re having a true cheat day, own it. Be proud of it. That means that you’re doing what you supposed to be doing at least 80% of the time. If not, you’re fooling no one but yourself.”
http://www.risetopurpose.com

But let’s face it, I see these people almost daily and I do care, so sometimes I let it go but, more often than not, I actually respond with some words of encouragement to get them back on track.  I might tell you 20 times that I want to see your booty in the gym with me and if I see you at least once, it’s worth it because that one time that I see you in there, i’m going to be your biggest cheerleader ever.  Don’t get me started on the benefits of leading a healthier life.  😉

If you don’t have a plan yet, get started today!  If you’ve hit a road block, tell me about it and i’ll help you over the hump!   I’m [subconsciously] peer pressuring you – AND I LIKE IT!!

The triathlon that touched my heart

Sunday I completed a sprint triathlon – the inaugural Quantico Triathlon, with one of my awesome Seesters, Maribel, which I will most definitely do again next year.  I won’t bore you with my finish time, you can look it up if you want, but I will tell you that I was very pleased with myself because this was my first race post-arthroscopic knee surgery to smooth out my meniscus that I jacked up last year while I was trying to train for the Marine Corps Marathon.

quantico

I started my “race career” by doing 5k’s, specifically the Susan G. Komen Race for The Cure, years and years ago with my mom and the folks at her job.  I use the term “race” loosely seeing as i’m not trying to break any records or even come in the top 10, but I always gave it 100% and I loved it.  Now, all the in between is a tad fuzzy because I started having kids and all, but at some point I decided to take my racing and fundraising a step further and decided to jump into a triathlon – an Olympic distance, at that.  So for a few years I joined other causes like LLS, The American Heart Association, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, the American Diabetes Association, etc. and raised money while preparing to run races, complete triathlons and cycling fun rides, too.  I don’t take credit for getting the family involved, but between my Seesters and I, and even cousins, we’ve all done some kind of endurance event together and it’s a great experience to go through with family.  Talk about bringing everyone together, not only for a good cause, but for our own health and fitness, as well.

As my kids got older, I always wanted them to come see what Mommy did, to see me do what I loved to do.  I wanted them to not only cheer for me (because nothing beats seeing children cheering for their parents), but I wanted them to want to get involved, too – kids are so impressionable like that.  I wanted to make sure that I taught my children to do for others and if the only way to help is to fund raise (since we’re not all scientists finding cures), then pick something you can stand for and do it.

Anyway, I didn’t always have the luxury of having my kids waiting for me at the finish line, but that doesn’t stop me from keeping them informed of what I’m doing and letting them train with me to prepare for the races.  So in recent years, I have been blessed with the chance of having them waiting for me and it’s the best; Sunday was no exception.  I made plans with the Man of the house to bring the kids down to watch but, 4:30 am Sunday morning, the alarm goes off, I go out to rack my bike and it’s raining.  I was reluctant to press forward because the rain and slick ground made me nervous about my knee, which I haven’t fully recovered from, but I couldn’t leave my Seester high and dry, so off I went to pick her up.   We arrived at Quantico Marine Corps Base and, before getting out of the car, I sent a text to the Man to let him know that they didn’t have to come because of the rain – I was going to feel really bad for them to stand out there in that mess.  Though I was sure he received the message, I didn’t wait for a response.  We racked our bikes in transition, got our body markings, and strapped on our timing chips.  I checked the cell one last time before heading to the pool and I see his response about having a raincoat. He’s still coming! I love this man!  🙂

As I anxiously waited for 7:47 to come, my official race start time, I keep looking around the pool at the spectators that made their way in to cheer and watch and I don’t see my brood.  I was hoping I could spot them for that extra bit of encouragement since my Seester had already started 20 minutes before I did.  Oh well, off I went.  14 minutes later, I got out of the pool and my girls were there cheering, “go mommy!” as I entered my first transition – THANK YOU LORD THEY ARE HERE!  As I exited the transition area on my bike, I could see out of the corner of my eye a blue figure running through the grass and for a second I thought, he’s running through the rain taking pics of me! (I later found out that it really was him.)

9 miles later and i’m entering my second transition to prepare for the run and there they are, cheering – my heart swells with happiness!  As I fumble along to take my bike shoes off and put my run shoes on (yes, I put on new, dry socks even though it was soaking wet out there and I was about to put on soaking wet shoes) I hear a couple to my left.  The 50-something year old woman was in transition, soaked like me, curly hair all a frizz, and fumbling around, too, while her husband was on the spectator side of the fence.   They spoke Spanish so, lucky for me, I understand it 99.9% of the time.  She seems slightly frantic so her husband, in such a loving tone, tells her, “Mi amorsita, no te preocupes….no tiene que apresurarse.” which means, “my love, don’t worry…you don’t need to rush.”  Meanwhile, he’s trying to take pictures of her and she’s telling him how ugly the weather is and to please not take pictures of her looking like she does.  It was like she was embarrassed for him to see her not looking her best, it was so cute.  So he says, “Mi corazon, mi reina, te veas tan bella siempre.  Estoy tan orgulloso de ti.” which means, “my heart, my queen, you always look so beautiful.  I am so proud of you.”  I paused and it made me smile because it was so loving.  It wasn’t just the nice words, you could hear it in his voice that he truly supported her.  It made me think about my Man, he supports me in all that I do.  He brought my kids down because he knows it means a lot to me.  He ran through the rain to take pictures of me because he knows i’d want that.  He made sure they were at the finish line because he knows they are who I want to see after an accomplishment like that.  (Sure, it was a sprint triathlon, but I felt like I’ve come a long way and it HAS been a long, depressing year of recovering in the gym.)

I entered this triathlon for no one but myself, to see if I could do it.  After crossing the finish line I realized that it was about more than just completing it, it was about having the support of family there to see that i’m not through yet so that I could believe it, too.  Yep, I still got it in me.  I’m not registering for any more races just yet, but this has certainly encouraged me to keep on keepin on!

Tri

PS: Pardon any grammatical errors in my writing or translating of the Spanish language.  😉