Archives for April 2013

Finding Success in the Failures

success-consists-of-going-from-failure-to1There is something interesting about that word “failure”. Actually, there is a lot interesting about that word. Rest assured I am not in the mood to get into all of them right now. It can be kind of a downer for a Monday morning and seriously, who needs that?

The interesting thing that I am thinking is as often as I still use the word, I rarely ever mean it as a soul crushing defeat description anymore. I am, thank God, getting to the point where I don’t really have those very often anymore.

What the word is becoming to mean the majority of the time is

I had a goal of “A” but I only got to “B”. What do I need to do about that differently?

Now don’t get all excited. I am not jumping on the “everybody gets a trophy” bandwagon. What I am saying is that if striving to be an Ultra runner has taught me anything, it is this

If you continue to define yourself by one moment, one meal, one training session, one run, one goal – good or bad – you will miss all the wonderful things that ultra running, that life, offers. The joy is in the fondness of memories, the seizing of the day, and the respectful preparation of the future.

Last week I did something I never do – I set written, short term, measurable goals for myself and published them here. I thought it only proper to report of how the week looked compared to how I actually did.

Track all food and drink

This went beautifully! I learned that I am not taking in enough calories to compensate for my activity. The problem is I drink a lot of water and I eat a lot of food. However the food is big bulk low calorie coupled with the water – I feel full most of the time.

I am also at my target weight/body fat. Therefore I have nothing to pull from when I am empty. Couple that with a poorly planned fueling strategy this weekend (which I will talk about in a sec), I am the poster child for a great article written about the importance of taking in enough calories by Madeline. (I can’t find the article – Madeline, will you link it in the comments?)

**Note – The Lose It app takes into consideration exercise into the daily calorie counts. The calorie count you see is a net of what I ate minus what I spent. The budget is based of calorie allowance for weight maintenance. 

15 minutes of stretching every day

What can I say? I find stretching painfully boring. Yes, I realize it is super important. Yes, I know i should do it any way. I did manage to do the stretching routines 3 times this week. And that is 3 more than last week. AND I have scheduled myself a fantastic Yoga class on Friday at Awaking Yoga studio  in Richmond Hill with the fabulous Jillian Stafford! Progress, baby!

N TC3 Nike Training Club Workouts

This one I did too, although not without some serious discomfort. If you have never used the Nike Training Club app, you really should consider it. I was thrilled when it finally became available for the Android after being exclusively iPhone for so long. It is free, it is easy to use, and it is hard on the body.

After the first workout, my suspicions were confirmed. My lack of cross training was seriously affecting my overall ability to stay fit. My runs were suffering. The morning after the Drill Sargent workout my whole body hurt. I expected my upper body to be sore, but my lower half? I am a distance runner for goodness sake! Couple squats and I’m walking funny? Yep, gotta use those muscles in all kinds of different ways.

Log my first +40 run week

I didn’t quite get here. But I am am a better runner for the short fall. I picked up three key points that I did not really have cemented in my mind. They, for me, are big ones.

  1. Speed work is important. I am never going to get faster and stronger if I don’t work faster and strong. 
  2. Planning routes does have its place. While there is a lot of freedom is going out and just running, some days there is comfort in knowing just where you are going to achieve your desired goals.
  3. Preparation is key. I can’t make up for water I didn’t drink, food I didn’t eat, training I didn’t do yesterday today. It doesn’t work that way. I also have to remember that my life now requires that spur of the moment trip packing requires more than just a toothbrush. I no longer live out of a drive through window or on chips and salsa. Before I zip up the duffel bag, I need to remember what it take so give my body the best chance to do what I need it to do.

The biggest success this week? Goal setting works. And I don’t mean it works in the global sense. I mean I am making it work in the personal sense. There were quite a few times this week when I thought about cutting corners. But I knew that I was tracking the progress. More importantly, I knew that you would know. Accountability is an amazing thing.

I appreciate you all being here for it.

Week of April 29, 2013

  1. Log my first +40 run week to include 2 speed work sessions
  2. 3 Nike Training Club Workouts
  3. 15 minutes of stretching every day to include one Yoga class
  4. Plan and track all food, drink, and supplementation


**Quote Photo from

“I’m Bored…let’s find something hard to do!”

My dear husband swears this is the mantra of my life…

I’m bored…let’s find something hard to do!

The first time he said it, I wasn’t sure if it was a compliment or him making a bit of sport at my expense. The third time, I realized it was a loving little bit of both.

I thought about it for while as this perception is not necessarily one I wanted to communicate. However, I first had to figure out if it was true.

And, at its root, it is.

He didn’t say relaxed, comfortable, having a bit of downtime. He said bored.

And if I am bored, then there is no challenge. If there is no challenge, I get lazy. I get lazy, I become a lesser version of myself.

And, no, I do not care to be a lesser version of myself. 

So while it may look like I just enjoy the hard, the more true thing is that I would rather discover all the God given potential I have been blessed with. I would rather see exactly what I am a capable of – then try to do more.

I didn’t realize I had gotten bored. But I did. Just a little.

I blamed it on the weather…when it is cold, I have a hard time getting out of bed and outside for my early morning runs.

I blamed my schedule. I am still adjusting to working a 9-5. The gym time that I used to switch up my routine and add in some cross training has become nonexistent.

I blamed my sudden change in diet. While it wasn’t really that big of a change or that sudden, it was pretty profound and for reasons I had never had to deal with before.

I blamed it on a lot of stuff…and with blame nearly always comes complacency. Complacency cannot run 50 miles in Beaufort in July. Complacency cannot care for her family. Complacency is not healthy.

And I have come to far to go back to being unhealthy.

Combating complacency will be different for everybody. It just depends on what areas of your life have been affected the most. Mine are schedule and diet.

Because my time is under some pretty hard constraints, I find myself wasting a lot of it. My brain says, “there is no time to do anything productive, so let’s not do anything at all.” Yeah that works.

Because my eating habits can be seen as faddish, extreme, difficult, unhealthy, unnatural, and temporary, I have forgotten that my food is my business – not a result of an online poll. True, I share (and I will more in the immediate future) and I ask the masses. But not for permission or validation, rather a constant evaluation of being my best self. I have allowed myself to make exceptions without structure. This leads to irresponsibility, guilt, and a useless 5 pounds.

So, I’m bored…let’s find something hard to do. 

Life ChallengesBlock schedules kill me. Tracking drives me nuts. It just triggers a part of my brain that rebels against the structure.

Goal writing scares the shit outta me. Especially the little, timed ones. The big, long distance ones are less scary. There is room for error, procrastination, catch up. But the other, especially the weekly…those require pretty intense focus and allows for very little sway.

So, without further fear or hesitation, my first set of weekly goals made a bit more serious by the sheer act of publicly publishing them…

Week of April 22, 2013

  1. Log my first +40 run week
  2. 3 Nike Training Club Workouts
  3. 15 minutes of stretching every day
  4. Track all food and drink

Now, let’s see what happens 🙂


**Photo credits
Believe to Achieve
…and Spiritually Speaking

Why I Run…

For whatever reason, this question has come up a few times in the last couple of weeks from a couple of different angles.

Masumi, a runner who blows my brain on a regular basis, seems to be his usual contemplative self.

Why do you run?….was curious….three reasons why you run please in no specific order….I’ll comment on mine later….no doubt we all have some of the same reasons….and also some contrast….carpe diem

Then there is Carey, owner and Ultimate Badass Warrior of Daughtry ATA Martial Arts.

I have a lot of FB friends who run. I don’t see what is so great about running… it seems boring and tedious to me… (then again, I like to punch and kick stuff) but there has to be more to it for so many of you to do it. So, I’d love to know why you enjoy it, why you do it…? I’ll tag as many as I can recall, but I know there are more of you… I’d love to take a look into your world… because you have me curious. Would you please share? 😀

Did you notice that little smiley thing at the end? She put that there because she just knows she talked smack about my sport. Which I love. And then tagged me in the post. But I will overlook it because she really doesn’t mean it. And I love her. And she can kick my ass.

The answer is kinda hard and it took me a while to chew through it. Truth is, I still don’t think I have the answer yet. More specifically, I don’t think I will ever have the answer. It, unlike the finish line, is a constantly moving, sentient being with its own existence. Sounds a little woowoo, I know. Distance running is a little woowoo.

I started running because it was the simplest thing I could do. Upright? Check! Ready? Check! Go? Check! That’s all it takes. If anyone tells you any different, they are selling something. Or trying to squash something. Or trying to pretend to be something.

I have, at the moment of this writing, narrowed it down to three things as requested by Masumi. And no, they are not three things I mentioned in response to his original facebook post

  1. Shoes
  2. Beer
  3. Zombies

Not necessarily in that order…while important…however, of course I jest.

I run for…Runner’s Ass

Seriously. This is a condition that directly counteracts another condition known as “I was born a long time ago and I have a ton kids” Ass. I was working on the latter. I prefer the former.

In all seriousness (even though I said “seriously” just now when I was being less than serious), running reminds me that my body wants to be strong. Whether it is or not is a choice I make. Daily. My body wants to be healthy, capable, prepared, ready. My body wants to channel Gus from that Kevin Costner baseball movie. Not Bull Durham – the other one.

The boys are all here for you. We’ll back you up, we’ll be there, because, Billy, we don’t stink right now. We’re the best team in baseball, right now, right this minute, because of you. You’re the reason. We’re not gonna screw that up. We’re gonna be awesome for you right now. Just throw.

So I just run.

I run for…Runner’s Spirit

This is not to be confused with its sister condition, Runner’s Brain. I wanted to clarify this distinction as many folks outside of the running community – especially outside of the ultra running community – regularly doubt the idea that we have one. Throw in the fact that you are training for a 50 miler, in Beaufort, in July – all doubt ceases.

There is something about running distance. Something about working your body that hard for that long. Something about being alone with yourself in that state for extended, regular periods of time.

It is damn near impossible not to eventually have the “Am I a good person?” question come up in your head. Any runner who says different…well, I think that’s just not likely.

This question is usually accompanied by…am I good enough… am I strong enough…have I earned it…was I wrong…did I do it right…can I do it again…interestingly enough, the subject of these questions are hardly ever about running.

If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.
~Chris McDougall, Born to Run

I run for…Runner’s Family

This trait is multifaceted.

First, there is the DNA family. Few things are cooler than watching your husband beam with pride when he tells your last race story. Or your 6 year old finishing her first 5k and the 15 year old her first mud run. Or your rockstar sister calling asking for running advice. Or your Pops considering it for himself. Or your sister in law showing more heart and determination than she thought she was ever capable of. Seeing these things and knowing you had a small hand is rewarding to say the least.

Then there are the support folks. The poster board makers, the crowd cheerers, the road liners. There are the aid station folks. God bless the aid station folks. Being able to see unselfish behavior that strives to do nothing more than raise up and support the ability of another. Yeah, that’s living.

Then there is my mileage family. Those folks that will get up at dark to go with, bring the Fizz when you forgot, cry with you when you are injured, console you when you are down, kick your ass when it is time to get back up, drive for hours just to race with you, wait at the finish line to cheer you on when they themselves are so tired they just want a bath. I believe being around greatness is a key to being a better person…these folks make me a better person.

So, for today…I am going to go for a run…and that’s kinda why.

Post Script ~ before the baseball gods descend on my calves during my run, yes, I know that the movie is called For the Love of the Game. It is, in fact, one of my all time favorite movies. But that didn’t feel nearly as funny…

My Fairy GodPops

I’ve been thinking for a while about moving the old posts from My Beautiful Chaos over here to kind of consolidate my writing. Not because the two purposes are the same – they aren’t. But I am so disorganized in this regard that there is no one real place I keep everything I have written (stupid, I know).

But if you are friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen that my Pop’s 60th birthday was yesterday. That’s kind of a cool day. Then, in a completely unrelated circumstance, San Diego Keller Williams Realtor Jeff Kayle posted this ~

Real men know how to sew.

And, well, the signs don’t get any clearer than that…from April 2007, here is what I had to say.


I absolutely love getting dressed up and going out. However, as you can imagine, with four kids, it happens very rarely (read “never”). There is that time when the stars are aligned and the moon is producing the right gravitational pull, this opportunity presents itself.

It was to be an awards banquet on the beach. I wasn’t getting any awards, but who cares! I was getting an incredible dress (no more maternity clothes!), great shoes, and an appointment at the nail salon.

Get ready. Well, almost ready. Mark’s dressed, my hair and makeup are done. As an experienced Mommy, I know to wait and get dressed at Mom’s house. She’s watching the kids and I am sure I will get some kind of kid goo on me in the process of getting over there.

Ok, honey. Zip me up. Damn! Is that the zipper in your hand? Yep. What do you do about that? You don’t go. My heart breaks. My wonderful husband works on that zipper for 20 minutes. We were already running late and I am incredibly disappointed. He is really sorry. It’s not his fault. These things happen. Doesn’t change it. I go in the pool room with Mom and Dad to fix a drink and sulk.

I hear my Dad say, “If she wants to go, then she’s going.” He gets up and leaves the room. Mom and I look at each other. “He’s going to fix that dress. I hope you’re ready,” she says.

Dad can fix anything, but I am not getting excited. We are already late and my heart has already been broken once.

Half hour later, Dad comes out with the dress. He pulled stitches, reran the zipper, and stitched it back up! My dress was fixed. “Go get ready,” he tells me. Mom zips me up this time as Mark doesn’t want to tempt fate.

There I am, ready to go. Amazing! I walk out of the room and there is my Dad, beaming. Mark and I gather our stuff and walk out the front door.

Ready to hear about the great time I had? On the front porch, I stop my beloved and tell him I don’t want to go. He is obviously confused. I explain that my men had rallied around me and my crushed expectations; Mark, with his warmth and compassion, and my Dad, with his determination and a sewing kit. There was nothing more I wanted to do than stay here, in this house, and be with them.

Those who know, know that I put my husband first in all things, but I am still a Daddy’s girl. What an awesome Daddy he is. I wonder if he knows how special he makes me feel. He should – I must have told him a thousand times that night, and that was only half the times I thought it.