Nervous Jitters

Tomorrow at 7a I am running the Rock ‘n Roll Virginia Beach. And I’m nervous. This isn’t my first distance race. I’ve done several half marathons but for some reason I’m still nervous. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that this is a training run for me. I’m running the RnR Savannah Marathon in November and signed up for this race as a way to gauge how my training was going two months out. Tomorrow’s will let me know if I’m right on track with my training or if I need to get my butt in gear.

But I think the nervous jitters are a good thing. One of the reasons I’m nervous is because I want to PR. My best time for a half marathon is 1:58. I’m hoping to at least get under 2 hrs tomorrow and hopefully beat this time. I think a lot of my anxiety and nervousness is because I am putting so much pressure on my self to meet a certain time. It’s great to have goals but I run because I love it and because it’s great to get to meet new people and travel to different places for races. And collecting medals is pretty fun too :).

So for now, I’m going to get the whole making a PR idea out of my mind and instead focus on relaxing, running a good race, and just having fun.

~T

Fitness Buddies=Accountability

When I first began grad school, one of the main tips that I heard was to make sure I took care of myself. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Many even specifically stressed taking care of yourself physically and avoiding unhealthy habits and weight gain that many grad students encounter. Well taking care of myself physically proved to be an easy task. For one I was already physically active. And two, the relationship I was in ended a week before classes started. Needless to say, I began to run even more to cope with my feelings and clear my head and decided to register for my first marathon. One year later and I’m currently training for a couple halfs, another marathon, and have started cycling and swimming. Although I always wonder if I even look like a runner or an athlete, my cohort has dubbed me the Athletics Director. 🙂

A couple of weeks ago I received a text from a classmate asking if I could provide her with any tips to share because she wanted to get back into shape and lose a few pounds. She said she had read numerous articles online as well. My first thought was one of flattery. My next thought was nervousness. Was I even qualified to give someone else tips on fitness? Was I where I wanted/needed to be physically? After asking her questions about what type of activities she wanted to do. She told me that she didn’t like working out, but liked the results and then told me some activities she’d consider. I appreciated her honesty because there are many times when I don’t want to go to the gym but I always feel better afterwards. She then also stated that her hardest part is sticking with a workout because she doesn’t see immediate results. I think that statement rings true for most people. They don’t see the physical changes fast enough and so they assume  their workouts aren’t working. I told her to stay away from the scale and to instead using pictures or take body measurements to measure changes. I also told her that I’d put together a schedule with all of the classes located at our gym.

So here I am now compiling a list to send out. I’m very happy because before I would just run and workout by myself. Sure I was disciplined for the most part, but having a buddy to workout with means an extra layer of accountability. Hopefully we’ll be able to push each other when we each have our days where we are lacking motivation.

Choosing My Attitude

Every runner has good days, bad days, and days that they would rather forget about. Today I had one of those runs that I would rather forget about. Today was my long run day, and golly it was a tough one.

I haven’t really run at all this week do to craziness at work with retreats and trainings. I ran 10 miles last Saturday and was able to get in a 4 miler yesterday. So today I figured that with all of the rest my legs had gotten, 16 miles today would be no problem. Wrong. Wrong. WRONG. As soon as I started on my run I knew it was going to be a long run. My legs felt very tight. I stopped and stretched a little briefly and then continued on in hopes that they would loosen up. My legs did eventually loosen up but they felt heavy. I was literally pounding the pavement. By the time I got to mile 5 I was already giving myself the mind over matter speech. Mile 6 and 7 were a blur. When I got to mile 8 I was ready to just be done with the run, but since I run an out and back route, I had no other options then to finish.

Miles 8-16 were hell. Absolute hell. At this point the sun was out in full force, it was hot and I didn’t see any other runners around. I saw quite a few cyclists out, which made me bitter because the wind was hitting their face while they rode, providing some relief from the rising temperatures. The rest of my run consisted of my shuffling and walking. And I walked 2 of the last 3 miles. When I got home I fell to the floor and began to mope about how awful my run was. I began to think about all of the things that I wasn’t doing that could have contributed to such a pathetic performance. Not drinking enough water. Not taking my vitamins. Not eating enough fruit or raw veggies, not doing enough cross training, etc, etc, etc. I posted my run onto Daily Mile and in my head promised myself to get it together before the end of the month.

Then I received such an encourage post from Geri that said:

Wow! You ran 16 miles girl! That is pretty amazing and not many people can do what you do! You rock.

And that was all that I needed. I realized that I was being too hard on myself. Instead of moping about this run I should be using it as motivation. All of my runs aren’t going to be runs where I feel great at the ends. Every once in a while I’ll have a run like this, where I barely make it through. But the main point is that I made it. And even though it was crappy, I was out there while a lot of other people were sleeping in. I got up. I ran. I was slightly conquered, but that was just one run of many more to come.

~T

She’s Here!!!

And her name is Zoë. This is my first “big girl bike” and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I ended up going with the Specialized Allez. It’s a 2012 and had to be ordered. It was delivered to the store on Tuesday night, but since they were about to close I couldn’t go and test ride it and pick it up. And of course on Wednesday, in true Florida fashion it started pouring as soon as I got off work and stopped 15 minutes before they closed. So today was the first day I was able to go and see her.

It was love at first sight. I know that it shouldn’t matter a whole heck of a lot how a bike looks as long as it’s a good fit and quality ride, but Zoë is so darn sleek. The young lady who helped me out the previous time was there to make an adjustment to my seat. Then it was time for me to hop on. It feels like the bike was made just for me. I rode it around for a few laps in the parking lot with a huge grin pasted on my face! After paying a rather hefty sum I loaded her up and headed home. I also realized that I’m going to have to find some way to store her. I have a mini SUV but it was a little awkward getting her into the car. And I have a tire on the back of my car with a cover and no bike rakes on my hood so I’m going to have to figure out some other alternative other than laying my seats down and squeezing her in.

I also realize that I probably shouldn’t leave her in the car when not in use, but thankfully she’s pretty light so getting her up 3 flights of stairs was a breeze. I’m really excited because this was the next step in my goal towards completing a triathlon. I’m hoping to do a duathlon next year and a Sprint Triathlon next summer. Between my marathon training, continued swim lessons, and now cycling I’m well on my way! 🙂

~T

Zoë!!

Back to being a Newbie

I have decided to drift into the world of cycling. I have contemplating “getting serious” about cycling for the past year or so largely because I lived in Austin for 4 years where everyone cycles and because I wanted an alternative workout when I wasn’t pounding the pavement. So after a lot of thought I finally decided to bite the bullet and actually go to a bike store. Yesterday I went to a bicycle shop in Orlando and decided to start my search process. The only thing I knew going in was that I wanted a road bike. Initially I thought I needed a Hybrid bike, but when I told a classmate about my intentions he told me that I would be better off with a road bike. The lady at the bike store, also agreed. One thing I realized about this process is that now I know what newbies to running feel like.

When I first walked into the store and started looking at bikes my mouth almost hit the floor. $2,400?!?! $1,700?!?! Hmm let me see if I can leave before someone notices that I even walked in. I knew bikes were expensive, and I was prepared to make a rather heft investment, but nothing over $1,000. As I continued looking the prices slowly began to drop. At about this time a young lady who worked in the store, Linny, greeted me and probably sensed my stickers shock and confusion. I told her what I was looking for she sized me up and told me I was a 51 or 52 (I assume this was my hip height, I’m not really sure. I probably should have asked but she looked like she knew what she was doing). She then pulled out a Jamis Ventura Compact for me to try out.

Option #1: Jamis Ventura Compact

I’m not a fan of the color but it was a comfortable height. So I got to test ride it for a lap in the parking lot. It rode nice and the drop handlebar wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm came rolling through so my trial was cut short. While inside she then gave me some catalogs of other bikes that would probably also suit me well. One of them was a Langster and the other was a Specialized Allez Compact. I really liked how the Allez looked and wanted to try it out, but since they did not have it in stock yet, they were able to order one for me, and I wouldn’t have to put anything down since they could just sell it if I didn’t like it.

Specialized Allez Compact

Doesn’t it look so fast and chic? I know looks aren’t that important, but they are. While Linny was showing me all of the different bikes, she went into full on cyclist mode. It was like she was talking a different language. As much as I wanted, desperately to understand what she was talking about I instead just had the deer in the headlights look. What I did understand what that it was a good bike for those just beginning the sport. Great. That’s all I needed to know.

After I left I was telling my parents about how expensive bikes are. They asked me why I didn’t just get a mountain bike or if I could have it covered on my insurance plan haha. Yes I could start with just a mountain bike, but ideally I would rather start off with a road bike. Here’s why. If I were to start off with a mountain bike and then decided to get more serious about cycling, most likely I would have to get a bike upgrade. Also, I’ve been eye-sypying some triathlon and duathlon events. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on here but I’ve been taking swim lessons (swim review since I already know how to swim but it’s been a while) to step up my swimming game and get an impact free workout for those days when I don’t want to run or it’s just to hot to run. Not only that, but now I have another mode of transportation to work and other places :). Nothing better than saving a little gas, the environment, and your waistline.

So now I wait for my second bike option to arrive so that I can make a decision. I’m really excited I even put some bike shorts and gloves in my Amazon shopping cart for when I’m ready to order them. I may not start out riding like a pro, but I may as well try and look like one.

~T

The Balancing Act

So sorry that I’ve been MIA from my blog. Finally finished with my summer classes along with my hardest class in my Master’s program that involved a 46-page paper on retention efforts in higher education. O_O

Anywho, I’ve stepped up my workout game over the past few weeks. I officially began training for Rock ‘n Roll Savannah, I’ve been swimming, lifting weights in the gym and I’m going to get a bike to add another dimension to my workouts. I’ve finally started to get into a routine and now I’m starting to feel the pangs of workout obsession. 😦

Now for some this would be a good thing. Yay that I’m so physically active and caring about my health. However for me all it does is remind me of high school when I had less than healthy eating and exercise habits.

The technical term is exercise bulimia. Basically I ate as little as possible and exercised as much as possible. Playing three different sports year round this wasn’t hard to do. Every day for lunch I ate the same thing. A ham sandwich with only 1 slice of ham and nothing else, a bag of chips, and a slim fast shake. I didn’t eat breakfast and I ate two granola bars. One as a snack before lunch and one as a snack afterwards. I can remember thinking that I just wanted to be thin. It was frustrating because I still felt bigger then my “skinny” peers largely in part of the fact that I had muscle mass. And I was a size 6. Which is almost a 10. Which as far as I was concerned is huge. All I wanted was the body of the women in magazines. Muscular but still very thin.

Fast forward to today. I went to the gym for my swim lessons where we swam a few laps and then left for a meeting. Throughout the entire meeting I began feeling guilty because I did’t do any weight training like I should have. Then I started getting anxious because I won’t be able to run tomorrow morning due to a work event. I’ve even found myself counting calories more often. So here I am once again trying to find a balance between being healthy and physically fit and not becoming obsessive with it. :/

My Sistas, My Sistas

So I run regularly on a running trail in FL. After a while you start to see the regular runners or cyclers out there. Whenever I run I make sure to acknowledge people when we pass each other. I think it’s one of those unwritten runner’s rules. So every morning when I run I nod my head, smile or say good morning depending on how much energy I have. However, there is something someone….saddening that I’ve noticed. I gets no love from fellow black FEMALE runners or cyclists.

Not a fleeting glance, no half smile, nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. And it happened 4 different times on my run this morning!! What the heck! Now I’ve blogged about this previously about when I got to running expos and see other black female runners or black runners in general we acknowledge each other. And I don’t mean an all out ‘Hey gurl!!!!!’ greeting. But a warm smile or a ‘hello, how are you.’ It’s just the polite thing to do. These ladies I saw today, did not get the memo. And I must say that I was quite angry when they all blew me off.

So basically I end this rant to say that I will continue to acknowledge my fellow runners. I hope you do the same.

Low Maintenance Natural

I am a low maintenance natural. And I’m okay with that.

So I’ve been natural for about 1.5 months!! So excited. And I’m realizing that I am a low maintenance natural. During my transition process I was on Youtube and CurlyNikki every day. Alllll day. I now have about 6 different shampoos, 10 different shampoos and countless other moisturizers, oils and creams. I’m a for sure PJ (product junkie). I wash my hair once a week or every week and a half depending on my workout routine and cowash several times a week and rinse pretty much every day. Since I have a TWA I  mostly do wash and go’s which I LOVE!!  Love! Love Love!! So easy. Anyways, today I was on the CN forums and there was a thread about finger coils. After reading about them and seeing how easy they are to do I figured I’d try them. I did 3 and gave up. They’re not hard, but I’m not really in the mood to spend the next few hours twirling my hair. No thank you. Not only that but I was looking at the results of a coil out and they were very similar to how my 2nd day hair looks. When my hair gets longer I look forward to doing large chunky twists, or even just two strand twists every now and then. But for the time being, I’m going to enjoy having short hair and not having to do much with it other than keep it moisturized. Being natural doesn’t have to mean doing the most with your hair. It’s really about doing what’s best for it.

 

~T

Getting Picked up While Running

I’m sure that many people have run across this, but it still fascinates me. It is shocking to me the number of men that try to holler at me while I’m out running. Does it not look like I’m busy?? Not only that but I am not looking my best when I run. I’m not one of those cutesie runners. Who has perfect hair pulled back into a cute ponytail or bun, with mascara and lip gloss on, a tank top, and cute running shorts. No. I’m usually in leggings or pants, some sort of t-shirt with sleeves that I can wipe my sweat of with, a sweatband and my hair in my tiny little afro, while listening to my iPod. Oh and depending on whether or not you catch me at the beginning or end of a run I might be heaving.

Nothing about how I look when I run looks attractive or says, “Hey! I’m a single gal interested in my health and being physically fit looking for a guy who does the same. Interested applicants please interrupt my run.” Negative. When I’m running I mean business. Get my miles in, clear my head, listen to good music, then go home and go about my day. Matter of fact, if you interrupt me while I’m running for no other reason then to chat with me. You may get a death glare or a few choice words. And if you just have to know more about me. Write a post on Craiglists missed Connections. I’ll probably never see it , but hey, at least you tried.

Team Natural

I am officially on Team Natural!!! Yesterday I did my BC (Big Chop) and cut off all of my relaxed ends. Now I have a teenie weenie afro! I’m really excited about it. I can’t believe I actually did it, and I’m really excited to watch it grow out over the next few months and years. Yay!!