Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ragnar Weekend - Some things

One year ago, I agreed to sign up on a team of 12 to run a 200-ish mile relay race. At the time of sign up, I had known most of these people for maybe 15 hours. Two days ago, 12 former strangers, now friends, stuffed into two Honda Minivans of 6 people each, and ran/drove our hearts out from Blaine to Langley. Never have I ever experienced something quite like a Ragnar Relay.

Van 1: Charlie and his angels 


Van 2: Team Captain and his posse



A few thoughts and things I've learned along the way.

Running is multi-dimensional. It is unifying, gratifying, satisfying, liberating. It is also frustrating, challenging, difficult, and maddening. Running teaches you to reach beyond your current, pre-defined boundaries, and expand your world. Running opens up possibilities to new people, new experiences, and new challenges.

Things I've learned this past weekend - 

Ragnar people are crazy... but they are also serious. Everyone just loves to run. 
There is no such thing as a "typical" Ragnarian - Young, old, big, small, thin, large, fast, slow, moderate.  It doesn't matter. If you run, you are a runner. PERIOD.

Ragnar official t-shirts run REAL small. Size up. Trust us.

People love drawing on cars with paint markers. 

I can only draw sticks and circles. And checks!



People love drawing dirty things on cars. So wrong.

Some talented artists have the ability to create.. flying fish.. out of said wrong objects.


The nicest person on your team will have the most roadkill, and proclaim herself a"murderer" - with a smile, of course



People have no problem sleeping on the ground in strange places. Like very fit homeless people.


Your feet, they will stink. A lot.

Runners stink. A lot.

You will chafe. A lot. 

You will gladly poop in porta-potties. Desperate times. 

You may not wash your hands with actual soap and water for an entire day. You will care/not care.

A hot shower in a random high school gymnasium will never feel better.

If you forget soap, shampoo will double up as body wash in a pinch. 

If your husband forgets his towel, you may need to shower first and then pass along a maybe very damp towel, and neither of you will think it's weird.

You will think your $8 spaghetti dinner is the best things you've ever eaten, even better than that steak at Asado. 

The spaghetti plate will come with the world's most delicious boxed yellow cake with chocolate frosting. You may ask your husband to go snag you an extra piece.

It is not easy but it is very satisfying, to be on the same Van team as your husband.

You will bicker a lot with said husband but then always get his back, especially when he needs a little extra help on his longest leg.

You might even suggest holding hands while running #notreal



Living on very little sleep and an overload of carbohydrates make for a deadly combo. #toot


Ibuprofen and ice packs will be your best friend. So will Tums.

Wait. No, deodorant will be your best friend. 

Lack of sleep, and night gear will make you act weird


Providing water to your fellow runners will be very important




It's ok to be grumpy sometimes. We all understand, especially when we go to the wrong exchange, and make a thirsty runner wait for ten minutes. Whoops.

Hint: This did not happen to the runner on the LEFT.
A picture of happier times, just for reference.



Free pizza and beer will never taste more amazing.




When the festivities are over, everyone will want to get home asap, and everyone will need to play nice.
Don't be a jerk, ok?

Ferry Line Cutters are jerks, and should be called out. And will be called out. Team 160, we're talking to you!

Most fellow Ragnarians are not jerks, and you will find yourself randomly chatting with groups of people about various things, and even sharing your leftover pizza with a very grateful stranger.

Running really does bring people together.

This community is pretty amazing.

You will accomplish more than you've ever thought possible.

Living in a van with 6 people for two days will basically make you a family. 

It only takes 30 hours with 12 people to make a lifetime of memories.



​Ragnar Northwest Passage 2015
#ragnarnwp

Linda's legs:
1 - 5.7 miles.
2 - 4.5 miles.
3 - 3.1 miles.
4 - Extra 3.6-ish miles with J towards the end of his 8 mile 2nd leg.

Total miles: 17-ish miles DONE and DONE.

Team Beast Runners: 200-ish Miles!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Harry, we're (almost) there! And I'm clumsy

7/6: 4 miles, TM. 37 min. PM
7/7: Bootcamp. 25 min. 
7/8: Strength/Weights. 20 min
7/9: Rest
7/10: Rest
7/11: Rest
7/12: Rest

Totals:

Miles: 4
Strength: 2
Run days: 1 
Rest: 4

Well. This week looks different, right? 

 Started the week off strong at least. I wanted to squeeze in a couple more miles but dinner (and the family) were all waiting for me so I stopped at 4 sweaty miles. 

After a vacation related hiatus by D,  we met at 5 for Bootcamp. I think we were both very tired still because our workout felt both very difficult but at a sub par effort level. 

Now here's where it gets stupid interesting. After finishing my workout, I was running up the stairs to jump in the shower when I somehow missed a step and my ankle twisted at a very odd, cringeworthy angle. I spent the next few minutes writhing in pain and cursing .. Everything? Nothing? I was able to hobble up the rest of the stairs on my knees and reluctantly got ready for work.

TBC...

It's now Tuesday before Ragnar, and my ankle is definitely sore. I have been mindful to not bear too much weight on my left (injured) side, and I've not run since last Minday. I'm getting more nervous that I won't be able ton finish all 3 of my legs. I am clearly not planning on breaking any speed PRs this weekend but I was certainly hoping to maintain an even pace for the team. 

But, I can only do so much given the current circumstances. I'm pissed at myself for being so clumsy, but I guess that's why they call these things accidents. I'll spend the next couple of days nursing my ankle, and I can just hope for the best. 

Wishes for a speedy recovery!

Also, Ragnar in 3 days!
Holy sh..

Monday, July 6, 2015

Another week. Nothing to see here, really

Week 6/29

6/29: 5 miles, TM. 46 min. PM workout 
6/30: MC Fit workout, 2 rounds 
7/1: 5 miles, TM. 46 min. AM
7/2: Bootcamp w/ D. AM
7/3: Rest
7/4: 8 miles, TM. 1:15. Strength 10 min.
7/5: 15 min XT circuit

Totals: 
Miles: 18
Run days: 3
Rest days: 1
Strength/xt: 3

Ragnar is two weeks away! I haven't had much chance to run outdoors in the heat because it's just way. too. hot outside when I get home feel work. Maybe other people are badass enough to run in 90+ degree evening heat, but I am not one of those people. My 5 miles on the treadmill on Monday felt like a sauna run (sweater than hot yoga!) and my morning treadmill run on Wednesday didn't feel that much cooler. I figure while I'm not training much on actual roads and hills and terrain, I'm kind of heat training since I'm stuck in an airless garage without a fan. 

So much sweat, guys. Like the guy in the movie Airplane

I had hoped to break the 20 miles mark this week but I wasn't able to squeeze in two measly miles on Sunday. The most i had time for before church was a quick body weight circuit. 

Confession: I was still in pj's and was able to finish the workout without even putting on a bra. Sure, I guess I did have the time to run a quick 2 treadmill miles but would have required some support, I know this is foreign to anyone not a -A cup but sometimes I take the way easier route ok? 

I went out to dinner last night with a group of girlfriends, and a friend of mine was lamenting how right now she was the biggest she's ever been. She clarified that she knows she is not really "big" but big for her. Her clothes don't fit the same, and she is smaller chested so her shirts cling to the first thing that sticks out - her stomach! When she admitted this to me, I felt like I had found my kindred spirit of body struggles. I know I'm close to 40. I know they say your body changes incredibly around this time in your life. I'm ready to embrace 40 (I have a little time, don't you worry) but I'm not 100% with this new body of mine. Yes, I'm definitely more fit than I used to be, and i have some muscles hiding underneath here somewhere but I think I just have to come to accept that I, too, am just "the biggest I've ever been". 

I am sure some people reading this willwant to punch me through the computer screen, but this is MY struggle. I do expect anyone to really understand or empathize because I know I'm not actually big, or unhealthy. I am normal and healthy.

Who wouldnt wish for these things right?

Like I tell myself, and those around me, gotta love everything God gives us. I am thankful for this body, and I make it a priority to work out and sweat it out, because I can!

The mind and the body, always a work in progress.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Like A Smoothie

6/22: JM yoga meltdown, level 1.
6/23: 4 miles, TM. AM workout. 37 min
6/24: 6 miles, TM. AM workout. 56+ min.
6/25: Rest - Came home and napped for almost 2 hrs this day!
6/26: Rest
6/27: 6 miles treadmill, 55+ min. 10 min strength
6/28: 20 minutes, strength circuit. MC Fit*

Totals:
Run days: 3
Rest days: 2
Strength days: 2.5
Updated:
Miles run: 14 16! Math fail! #notatrueasian

I've had to take a boot camp break this week because D hurt her foot over the weekend. I definitely had to muster some motivation to work out on Monday after work. It's amazing how much more enjoyable it is with a friend! Hoping her foot heals quickly, mostly because I am selfish and need a workout buddy! Plus it's the best time to catch up on life!

It is getting easier to wake up to run during summer mornings. I'm still running on the treadmill even though it's light out by 5am, mostly for safety reasons. I live in a fairly populated suburbs but I still don't feel comfortable going solo that early. Most normal people aren't out on a 5am fun on a random weekday, know what I'm sayin?

Basically the only people out are insane: The runners, and the other crazies.

I think this is the first week in a while that I've run two mornings in a row. I think. Or maybe I have but they haven't been as many miles because my legs are feeling it right now. Monday's yoga was also a killer workout for my legs so it is probably a combination. 

I'm feeling pretty good these days with my combo of exercise and diet. I realize for the amount of exercise I try to incorporate into my life, I don't really look like I exercise you know? 

#marsupialmompouch

Honestly the only way to control that for me is by diet, and probably some consistent weight training. But yes, mostly it's my diet. I'm trying to eat way less sugar than normal but that means much less cake and froyo. 

I said less, not none. I can't resist a little sugar. No sugar, that's no way to live. 

I had grand plans to work out in the evenings on Thursday but I've been crazy fatigued this week and ended up making the mistake of lying down on the bed and promptly passing out for almost 2 hrs. I woke up at 7pm,  and the kids were zoned out in front of the tv and J was finishing up some editing on the computer. We ended up eating dinner out pretty late, and finished up the night with some McDonald's ice cream cones. #thesugarproblemisreal

Friday was my rest day and we had the Ragnar team meeting at our house. Our meeting was productive, we all went over our respective legs and chatted strategy over race day logistics. I think we're all getting pretty excited. I can't believe I'm running a relay! Again! What is wrong with me... Hoping the weather is not scorching like it has been of late. Please please please.

Please?

Yesterday we attended a wedding in a non air conditioned barn. It was quaint and very sweet, but also a raging inferno. I think my thighs were fused together with my sweat. #nothighgaphere
It was nice to have an excuse to dress up, socialize with friends we haven't seen in a while and of course, eat wedding food and wedding cake. Never say no to wedding cake.

We woke up late for church but I had about 20 minutes to squeeze in a quick workout so I tried a workout from a gal I follow on instagram* - instagram.com/munchercruncher.

She has great tips on workouts using weights, body weights, with lots of plyo. I struggled through two rounds of this workout and felt pretty spent at the end. I was dripping with sweat like I had run 3 miles in the blazing sun. My goal is to get to the recommended 4 rounds. Maybe I'll attempt it this week!

It's supposed to be another blazing hot week this week. Praying you have some a/c, or some very nice friends who do. Have a great week!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Good Week

6/15: Boot camp w D. 5am
6/16: 4 miles, TM, AM workout. 37 min
6/17: Boot camp day 2. 5am
6/18: 6 miles, TM. Evening. 54+ min
6/19: Rest
6/20: 8 miles, TM. 1:13
6/21: Active rest. Walking all day at the *U.S. Open!

Totals:   

Run day: 3
Miles: 18*
Stength: 2
Rest: 2

After all of this time, I'm still trying to figure out what formula of cardio/strength/rest is working for me. Getting closer, I think. While all of my runs this week were on the treadmill, they felt really good. My two strength days were boot camp days w D, which of course were fun, fast, and effective. 

Sometimes I forget just how important it is to exercise our mental strength because I fought with myself to get those 8 miles in on the treadmill.

Like I have confessed before, constant movement on the treadmill is a problem of me. Water breaks are an excuse for me to step on the sides, and let me tell you, I drink a lot of water, if you know what I mean. Last week I decided enough was enough, and that I wasnt going to get any mentally or physically stronger by giving in whenever I felt tired, so last week's 6 miles was the first run in a while that I ran straight throughout  it sounds like a small feat that people do all the time right? Easier said than done, as with most things having to do with running. 

This past Saturday's run was especially challenging because it's the longest I've run on the treadmill since last November.

Yes, it's June. 

My run involved a lot of self talk and TV. Also peppered in towards the end of the run were demands for food from the kids, All of whom I had fed stacks of pancakes. Bottomless savages, those ones. 

I got through the 8 miles in about 1 hour 13 minutes, which is about a 9:13 avg pace.. I think? 


This is totally an estimate since my IFit is not currently connected. I I was sweating like a fat man at a weight watchers weigh in after this run! It was not the fasted run I've clocked on the treadmill but I felt so damn good to get through those 8 miles. Throughout the last half of the run, I really had to talk myself into staying on and getting to 8. I almost stopped at 4,5.6... and at 7....but knew deep down that I would obsess all day over not getting to 8, and disappointed in myself for not pushing through. I ended up watching the newest episodes of Extreme Makeover Weight Loss, which strangely always makes the time go by faster. I guess there is something to be said for suffering together. 

Oh, did I mention I talked my friend D info leading a boot camp for us, 2-3 mornings a week. Last week was our first two sessions, and it was so much fun. It's pretty early, especially for her, but 5am is really the very latest I can meet on workdays, so I'm extra thankful that she is willing to roll herself out of bed. She's lead some group exercise classes in the past so I knew she'd know what she was doing. She makes us do high reps of about 4-5 exercises, with 5 burpees with push-ups in between sets, and we usually have time for about two sets before I have to run home and jump in the shower. It's a short but intense season; and I'm love/hating the burpees. Burnnnn so goooood.

*J's Samsung watch clocked us at over 20,000 steps on Sunday, roughly 9.3 miles of walking!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ok now

I spent some time thinking before posting last night what I wrote. I wanted to be sensitive but real, because those are my thoughts on the matter.

Ironically, this morning as I was getting ready for work and perusing blogs and news as usual, I actually did come across a few helpful blog posts and articles about life and training written by working parents. So, I'm not alone! It's out there, maybe I just need to look a little more introspectively. 

I mean, of course I'm not alone. I need to stop hosting pity parties for 1 and get over myself over, LB. 

I know a lot of my frustration is self inflicted and some sort of projection over the limits of my situation, but honestly, it's not as dire as I sometimes make it to be. Life is actually pretty good. I just need some continuing education in Perspective 101.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Off (but really, on) Topic

Warning. I have to rant/complain a tiny, tiiiiny bit ok? 
I really hope I don't offend anyone. Not my intention. Everyone's struggles are very personal, and we all do what we can. 

Lately I've been seeing lots of articles and blogs on how to balance training with life, which is always something I think most of us are trying to figure out. I know I am! I have 3 kids, a busy husband, work full time with a long commute and have a big house that is sadly not self cleaning. And holy laundry, batman! And before you ask, yes my husband and I are equal in household duties so it's not like he leaves everyone for me to do. He does most of the housework, and I still feel overwhelmed. So much dust and dirty clothes ugh. So yes, I appreciate any advice or even simply empathizing of the situation. It's tough, but it's life and we just have to do the best we can given what we've got, you know? I want to see how other real life people handle/juggle their lives - family, work, training - all of it.

But the thing about it is, the articles and blog posts I end up reading are unrelatable to me. A good handful of the blog posts about balancing life and training are written by SAHMs or bloggers, neither of whom (I assume, so call me out of I'm wrong) have a 6am train to catch or an hour long commute. I've seen the hashtag #5amworkoutclub, and I laugh. 5am is my work wake up call, so if I want to fit in a good treadmill run (too dark to run outside) I am more part of the #4amwakeupcall, which frankly is ungodly. 

Look, I'm not saying blogging is not a real job. All jobs are real. 

Except being a circus clown. That shouldn't be real because it's creepy! 

So....

Well. there is really no easy transition here so, anyways!

I've been a SAHM to 3 kids ages 4 and under! That shit is straight hard. Being a stay at home parent is Real, yo. I've worked part time. I've worked full time. I feel like I've done it all, except own my own business, which will not be happening anytime soon).  I mean, blogging sounds like hard work, keeping up with the demands of the ever evolving faces of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, I am forgetting like ten more...?!) but when bloggers who work from home and travel mostly on the dime of sponsors, try and tell me how best to balance my life, I just.. can't. I stop reading. Because that advice is great for that particular situation. But what about those of us with actual bosses who want to see is working diligently in front of our computers, for the large corporation who is paying my health insurance. Those who can't jump on a treadmill or push play when the kids are taking a nap or at school. But when I see people making excuses of being too tired or worn out from the kids to fit in a workout or make a meal, my eyeballs hurt from the eye rolling. Because at least they have the choice. Ok, to be fair, there are days when your kids run you ragged and you really do not have the energy to do one more thing. I have been there as well. But now looking back at those days, I wish I would have just kicked my own ass out of that funk and just gotten it done already, a short run or workout, anything to get going! I could have done that back then, but I didn't. I should have, but I didn't know what I know now. Now that my day consists of work and commuting,  I have little time from when I get home to when it's bedtime. The minute I step in the door, I feel like that clock is ticking. So much to be done! Aaaand go!

My current life circumstances don't give me the flexibility to make my own schedule, so it's either waking up before the birds have stopped dreaming to get my sweat on, or come home in a mad rush and ignore everyone for at least 30 minutes to sweat, which in itself is stressful. Family dinner is important for us, so I do feel guilt (self inflicted) when everyone is waiting for me. And in case you're wondering, yes! Part of me is jealous that people can work out and run errands , be there for their kids and do things during the day other than be a corporate robot! I want to do that too! I want to run ten miles on a Tuesday and then write a sponsored post by a clothing company who has sent me products to review!  I have to buy all of my running shoes! No one sends me free shoes! Btw, I am not against free shit. I'm Asian. I love free!

Yes, I know you have demanding children who want lunch NOW, who need our attention, errands to run, appointments to makes, schedules to manage. Like I said, I get it. That was me! But it is different when you're home vs in an office building at the mercy of a hopefully understanding, but not always empathetic, manager. 
Yes, I get it. Being home with little ones is hard work. Like I said, I've done it! It was so damn hard and I swear it aged me exponentially. I'm not saying it's not, or it's not a legitimate job or that people who do it shouldn't offer advice. As parents, we should all work together to lift each other up, right? Especially us women! Let's all be supportive of one another's efforts, even if it's different than our own. I don't want anyone to think I am bashing bloggers or Stay at home parents. I'm not, I swear! I have been there, and my husband is kind of there, as he works from home but is 100% in charge of the kids when they're home.

I guess what I'm saying is, I really wish someone would give me some useful advice about my particular type of situation. I know people who do train hard, work full time outside of the house and blog, but no one really talks about how they balance all of it. Those people, what do their days look like? I want to know!

At this point in the game, I really don't expect to have it all figured out but I'm wading my way through and finding what works best for my family. Sometimes it would nice to have some company though, you know?

I'm not ripping the Stay at Home parent or blogger. Let's get that straight. I am just wishing some of these articles/posts were written by people in my similar situation.

Even a loner, antisocial person like me needs a fren every once in a while.