Pre Race Jitters..

I feel real squirrelly.

I have never been this prepared for a race.  I have never been this anxious about a race.

Six or seven years ago, before I met my boyfriend, before I started running, I went to the doctor convinced I had somehow managed to break my jaw.  Or dislocate it.  Or that I had developed some horrible jaw cancer, and I was most assuredly dying.  “See!  I can’t even open my mouth all the way!” I told the nurse practitioner, the only one at the office who could see me that day.  “Do you think it’s broken?  Could I have dislocated it?… Is jaw cancer a thing?”

“You have strep.”

“No. No.  I’ve had strep a bunch of times.  My tonsils always look like that (gross.)  My throat doesn’t even hurt.  My jaw hurts.”

“You have strep.  I’ll run a culture, but your tonsils are nearly touching.  I’m surprised you can breathe.”

“I don’t have strep.”

“Here are the test results.  You have strep.  Take these massive horse pill antibiotics, and some steroids to reduce the swelling… because if you swell any more- you will die.”

So… maybe those aren’t direct quotes… but pretty close.  Those steroids?  They messed me up.  I was on prednisolone for maybe a week.  It made the swelling go down- and my jaw stopped hurting.  It also made me eat everything that wasn’t nailed down.  It also made me crazy.

I remember very clearly  the sense of NEEDING to be doing something.  Specifically cleaning.  I started by vacuuming.  And that led to scrubbing the ceiling.  Then more vacuuming.  And then I got a lady razor and shaved my couch.  The whole thing.  In fast little manic movements that terrified my roommate when she got home.  The house had never been cleaner.  I had never felt more restless.

That’s how I felt this morning.  So I got to work tidying up and getting some laundry put away.  It didn’t help.  I showered and got ready.  Still felt crazy.  I headed to St. Charles to pick up my packet, and I felt a little calmer.  My boyfriend, Josh, took me out for brunch, and I relaxed a little bit.   We went to Costco, and I lost my damn mind again.  I got all jumpy and panicky.  So now I’m home. We’ve got beautiful prime ribeye cap steaks ready for a fancy pre race dinner.  I have pickle juice in the freezer to make little pickle juice packets for my mid-race electrolyte needs.  I know what I’m wearing.  I know what I need to do to get ready tonight, and tomorrow morning, and I still feel so uneasy.

Snap chatting helps.

I fought it all morning, but I finally gave in and took a Xanax after telling Josh I felt like I was having a slow motion panic attack.   I did a little easy beginner’s yoga.  And now I’m just trying to relax.  I think I’m going to paint my nails.  It always makes me feel like I have my shit together when my nails are done, and they’re currently chipped.

Gross.  My palms are sweaty.  That’s new.


22 minutes 7 seconds

Final taper run before the half marathon this Sunday.  I expected it to feel easy and short since it was only two miles… but it turned out to be a bit of a challenge.   It’s weird and misty outside.  I’m really hoping for a lot less humidity on Sunday (right now it’s 94%!) 

Foxy got extremely frizzy, and I got extremely sweaty. 

For now, foam rolling and hydrating so I’m super fresh on Sunday.   The next two rest days are going to be… weird.  

Does it count as foam rolling when I just lay on it?


There’s a point in here somewhere..

I’ve been noticing something lately that I was having a hard time articulating. My running has turned a corner.   I think a huge part of that has been mental for me.  Yes, it’s significantly easier to run 40 pounds lighter… but I was always able to run.  Now I enjoy it. It’s still hard, and some days each step is a challenge.  I still have aches and pains.. but I find myself able to better push through things that would have stopped me in my tracks even a year ago.  

I’ve always liked the idea of a mantra.   I tried to find one on my own- to come up with some original thing that resonated with me. Turns out I’m not as creative or well  spoken as I had thought.  I read Scott Jurek’s book “Eat and Run” and tried adopting his “sometimes you just do things.”  But sometimes I just didn’t.   I have an old workout DVD called “yoga booty ballet” that I occasionally like to do for “fun” and they make you say “I love, honor, and cherish my body.”  But I didn’t.  I wasn’t there.  I’ve been at war with my body my entire adult life.  I’ve had terrible issues with body image, and just self confidence in general.  When a run felt hard, I mentally berated myself.  I beat myself up for wanting to walk/stop/go slower. Loving and honoring my body was something so foreign to me that it was almost laughable. I needed something I couldn’t find.  

My good friend Kaitlin is a large part of why I run.  She saw me running, and started running.  I found out she was running, so I kept running.  She signed up for the Naperville half marathon (a distance I LAUGHED at the thought of ever in a million years running) and I signed up. Somewhere during that first year and training for that first half is when we got to be good friends.  She was so patient when we’d run 10 miles at a 13:45 pace with me complaining every single step of the way.  She could have run faster on her own, but she stayed with me, and kept me going.  She introduced me to Oiselle. 

Oiselle is an athletic clothing line made for and by women.  With Kaitlin’s expert gift giving advice, I received a few Oiselle items from Santa that year- and I ADORED them.  The logo for Oiselle is a bird, and since my boyfriend calls me Katiebird or sometimes just Bird, I was so on board for any graphic detail with a bird on it.  The problem was my size.  The items I got technically fit- but in a very painted on- not to be seen in public kind of way.  So I packed them away in the back of the closet for “some day.”  

Fast forward to this spring.   My collection has grown a small amount (both presents received and purchased for myself.) And suddenly- things that were sausage casing tight- fit appropriately.  I became obsessed with shopping online and stalking the website for sales. I’m sure their tag line was always “Head Up, Wings Out” but it didn’t find its place in my brain until this year.  It started out kind of silly- reminding myself not to hunch forward when running. I began to realize that every time I said it- I stood taller, prouder, more confident.  I tested it.  I ran easy, I ran hard, I ran short, I ran long(er).  No matter what, “Head Up,Wings Out” helped.   

My times began to improve pretty rapidly.  I went from running a 12+ minute mile to a 10+ minute mile on short distances in the span of 6 months.  Since my very first 5k (which I think took me 40 minutes) I’ve had it in my head that “real runners” run that distance in 30 minutes or less.  I can proudly say that I have now done that twice.  

First time EVER!!!
When the opportunity to join the Oiselle Volee team opened up- I jumped at the chance.  A year ago, I would have said “someday when I’m a real runner I might join.”  So much self doubt was holding me back.  
A very exciting mail day!
I realized recently that I was a real runner a long time ago.  Before finding my mantra.  Before hitting that time goal.   Before running my first half marathon.  I finally listened to the world when they say “if you run, you’re a real runner.”   I’ve been running for five years, and each step I’ve been a real runner, even if I only realized it now.   I know in my heart that finding my mantra is how I got here.  It’s how I stopped the negative talk and replaced it with positivity. 

This morning was a 4 mile easy run with my fur baby.  He’s napping. 

I’m writing this from the bath tub (don’t judge me.). Pro tip?  Those black charcoal peel off face masks?  They don’t work if you’re sweating in a hot bath.  

Lush: So White bath bomb

Tomorrow is three miles, Thursday is two.  Then TWO rest days before the Foxy Valley half marathon.   I’m stupid excited.  More than I’ve ever been, I think.   I’ve never felt this ready, and while I don’t know if I’ll PR (it’s pretty damn hilly) I’m hopeful I might.  

So yeah. Mantras. Helped me get over a lot of mental garbage that was holding me back. Do you have one? What works for you? Do you stick to the same one- or change it out?  

I’m starting to prune.  Time to go adult.  

110 minutes 2 seconds

Sundays are for long runs.

Ten miles! 10.06 to be exact, but 10 miles! Today was my last long run before the Fox Valley Half Marathon next Sunday.   Second Sunday in a row Kaitlin and I ran a beautiful shady path, second Sunday in a row we had an amazing run.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any pictures this week- but it was just as picturesque and lovely as last week.  

Last week. Please excuse my ham.

I worked a 12 hour day yesterday, and didn’t have to work today- so we decided not to go at zero dark thirty- so less terrifying at the beginning… unless you count me telling Kaitlin hometown murder stories while a stranger ran behind us, or my description of an imaginary man made of squirrels rushing out of the woods to kill us.  I’m the worst.  I can’t believe she talks to me, let alone runs for nearly two hours with me.  

I felt AHHH-mazing.  From start to finish, I felt like a real runner which is something I’ve struggled with.  It’s been five years!  And I haven’t quit!  I’ve quit every type of exercise I’ve ever tried, except running.  I feel like I’m getting strong and making progress.  And I’m kind of in love with it!

We did see a coyote on our way back.  With less than two miles left- I refused to stop/walk/slow down.  I may have been running right toward a coyote- but I figured if it wanted to eat me- I wasn’t going to be able to run fast/far enough to get away- so I took my chances.  I believe he was headed home to his coyote family after a long night of coyote work- and NOT on a direct path for the dog park.  Right?  Right.  

One of my favorite things about long running and not having to work. Bath time!

Lush: Melting Marshmallow Moment bath melt and Bunny Moon jelly face mask

I love baths.  I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend that knows how much I love baths- and remodeled the bathroom right around the time I moved in- and let me pick out a nice deep tub.  I’m a big fan of Lush bath bombs and luxury bath oils.  My newest obsession are the Lush jelly face masks!  So relaxing!  And my face feels like a dream.  

Lush: Birth of Venus jelly face mask

I’ve got big plans for an amazing Bloody Mary while we watch the Bears season opener today…. and possibly a nap.  

 I’ve got until November first to decide on my next training plan.   Will it be cross fit? Swimming? Boot camp?  We’ll talk about that later.   For now- I’m just going to enjoy a lazy Sunday recovery.  

53 minutes, 37 seconds

Wrote this before bed but evidently fell asleep before pressing publish!

I have been up since 3:45 am.  I’m really looking forward to some bedtime snuggles with my two favorite boys.

I had to work early today- which means I should have worked 5am-3pm.   Today, I got to work at 4:30 (it’s crazy how easy it is to get somewhere when NO ONE ELSE IS AWAKE.) Truth be told, I usually skip my hour lunch and go home at 2 on the days I work this shift- but I knew that would not be an option today.  Instead, I took my lunch and had a meat heads hamburger.  It was fine.  Not amazing.  But better than any salad I was going to put together at the salad bar.  I ended up being at work until 4:15.  Because we’re currently suffering from the trouble I mentioned over the weekend.  It will be fine, but the next few days/weeks are going to be pretty rough.

I got home with a bunch of excuses.  I had five miles on the schedule, and just the thought of putting my shoes on exhausted me.  I was tired both physically and mentally and the old me would have napped instead of running.  But I’ve got a training plan to follow.   So I put on my moleskin, my shoes, and my ear buds- and I ran 5 miles!   My time was a bit slower- but I’m still really proud of my pace.  

Negative splits, baby!

I got my volee welcome letter today!!! I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.

Still sweaty from my five miles

I’ve got some serious sleeping to do.   I made it to 9pm… And I only conplained a little.  

Michael J Foxy. 

When I first started running five years ago, Foxy was with me every sweaty step of the way.  As my mileage increased, I hesitated to bring him since he couldn’t exactly carry water.  The longest run I ever took him on was eight miles, I think.   I stopped and let him drink out of my water bottle a few times along the way and he seemed happy to keep up.  

He was just a puppy! With his honorary half marathon medal!

Five years later, he’s no longer a two year old pup.  The vet actually called him a “senior dog” a few months ago when I brought him in for some tummy issues.   It’s been so warm, and he’s been reluctant to crawl out of bed with me at 5 am- so I haven’t brought him with me since early June.  

Today- at 8:30 with 3 easy miles planned on a crisp September morning- he was more than happy to join me!  

He was mostly well behaved.  He did some serious barking/shrieking at another dog at around mile 2- but other than that he just trotted along beside me, looking furry and adorable. 

He’s pretty much been sleeping ever since.  

But I keep waking him up for kisses.  He has my whole heart.  I love him so.