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Posts tagged ‘life’

Running and Pregnancy

Running while pregnant is certainly not the same as running while not pregnant. In fact, for first time moms like myself, there may even be a very steep learning curve. And can we just take a minute to bow down to all those women who continue walking/running/wogging/working out while pregnant? It’s not easy, that’s for sure.

First off, pace. I’ve learned very quickly that you must check your ego at the door and realize your body is not the same as it was before. A woman’s heart is working 40-50% harder during pregnancy and then if you add running on top of that, things are bound to slow down. Add to that extra weight, achy joints, and overall tiredness and you’re really going to add some minutes to those miles. Perhaps that is why so many women are so much faster after they have children. Their hearts are stronger, their bodies are stronger, and their determination is stronger than ever. But before those post pregnancy runs arrive, you must be okay with being slower. There’s isn’t really any way around it.

Second, clothing. As your body changes, so too does your ability to fit into those tiny running shorts or tight little running capris from lululemon. And sports bras? Yeah, those too are going to get a little snugger. But word to the wise… Target sports bras are NOT even close to the same as Nike, lulu, or Athleta. Last week I decided if I needed a bigger bra, it was better to get on from Target than to spend $60+ on a good one that I might not be wearing a year from now. One workout later and I can promise you it would have been worth the extra money. Maybe my skin is super sensitive, but that sports bra was harsh! Lesson learned.

Along with sports bras, pants may be another struggle. I absolutely loathe tight clothing. I always have and probably always will. The thought of a pair of pants digging into my belly makes me cringe. The solution? Pull them way up over my belly. I have one word for this new fashion statement: awkward. To solve this problem I purchased a pair of maternity running capris. They are the ones with the material that will practically cover your entire belly and chest completely. One run in those pants and I can tell you that if your belly isn’t big enough, the extra material and everything else is going to slide right down to your butt. (I cut that run short, by the way.) Luckily shirts have been the one thing that haven’t caused me any uncomfortable wardrobe moments. A plus!

Third, the bathroom. People tell you when you get pregnant, that you’ll have to go to the bathroom all the time. But I don’t think I fully understood the extent of this situation until the 16 week point. How is it possible to go to the bathroom, leave the bathroom, start running and two minutes later feel like you have to go again? I’m not sure, but it happens. And the only way I know how to fix the problem is to embrace the treadmill or plan my routes very strategically. Unfortunately, I think my days of running out at the Tobacco Trail have come to an end, especially since the leaves have fallen and it’s impossible to hide behind a tree without someone seeing you. Oh, I do love you Baby T-Rod. 🙂

Finally, the need to have control. Some days are going to be great runs and some days your body isn’t going to want to run 1/2 mile. That’s okay, and it’s what your body needs at that moment. I’m not training for anything right now and I’ve come to realize it’s all about perspective. From the end of April 2014 to the end of April 2015, I will not run one single track workout, complete one run over 13 miles, or even think about signing up for a race (unless it’s for fun). But I’ve come to accept that because I know that it is only for one year in my very long running career. I plan to have at least 30 more years ahead of me. I can give my body a break for 365 days and just enjoy running, for the sake of running. I call this my reboot year.

I’m only at the 18 week point and hope to continue running into the third trimester. Of course, I realize by that point I’m really going to slow down and I’ll probably be walking more than running. However, at this point, being pregnant and 7 months post titanium rod, I’m more than grateful to simply be running.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

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Letting Go (And a Poem)

Have I ever mentioned that a couple of elite runners live in my building? I may or may not have stalked them out. Just kidding. They are actully friends of ours and I feel like I know a few local running celebrities. Anyway, as I was heading out for my run yesterday morning, I saw the elite runner husband finishing up his run and we stopped and chatted for a bit. He asked how my running was going and I replied with the this is not my year for running, I’m so slow, I’m just trying to get back into it lament. We then briefly talked about the benefits of having those easy days and non-timed runs. It gave me something to think about as I headed out for my first 6 miles in over a month.

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I’m the worst at easy days and forget leaving the Garmin at home. But you see, I’m at a different stage in my life right now. I have two major things I’m trying to work through…. a recovering hip and pregnancy. I’m not the same as I was in March and I need to stop trying to run like I’m the same. As I turned around at the 3 mile mark, I decided to not look at my watch for the last 3 miles. (It would have been much easier just to turn the darn thing off.) How did that work out, you ask? Horribly. I didn’t make it ½ mile before I was checking my time. What the heck is wrong with me?!?! It’s like I’m an addict and by putting pressure on myself, I’m starting to take the joy away from the sport I love so dearly. Nobody said I had to work my ass off every single day. I think it’s actually okay to take time and enjoy myself and what I’m doing. And what if I don’t want to wake up at 5:20 am every morning just to be at the gym when they open at 6:00? I think that’s okay too.

All of this got me thinking about a poem I wrote a few weeks ago. Of course, it’s a poem about running and the baby, too! I think I need to continue to remind myself that for long I’ve been so selfish with my running. It’s time to let go and just give myself a breather. Here is what I wrote…

 

Only six short months ago,

I lay broken and weary in a hospital bed.

Running as I knew it,

had become a sad and distant memory.

And the identity that I worked so many years to create,

would never again, be just the same.

But you see, life is funny and the Universe unyielding.

For only six short months ago,

I knew not what lay ahead.

 

Just two short months ago,

I had a plan.

Boston 2015, it would be my day.

I told the world my dreams.

Blogged about it. Talked about it. And even journaled about it.

And as I write this silly little poem,

right at this very moment,

I have realized my one profund error.

I was being selfish.

And have been selfish for many, many years.

 

The Universe, oh I do love the Universe.

You tell her your plan,

and she’ll show you her’s.

Running has ruled my life,

for far too many years.

Who I believe I am as a person,

somehow centered around miles, paces, and races.

And at first, I thought a nearly broken hip

might change my view of who exactly I am.

But with my first 6 mile run,

I was back to where I started.

Assessing my worth,

with every mile that I ran.

 

So with my announcement to run Boston,

and a dangerous cycle starting again,

the Universe said, “No, not yet.

You have not learned your lesson.”

And with my decree,

after I told the world my plans,

I learned the difference between selfishness and selflessness.

For my life is no longer about me and my running,

Instead, it’s now something bigger and something better.

My life is about growing and nurturing,

a tiny little life,

our tiny little baby..

 

A year is so long,

but yet so very short.

In only 365 short, long days,

My life will go

from a nearly broken hip,

to my new role as a mom.

And to add to my story,

I will yet again be in the same hospital,

presumably one year to the day,

where I had the surgery,

that changed the one sport and the one identity,

that I thought was actually me.

 

2014, you have taught me so much

2015, I am open to the new adventures.

(and the pic is baby at 12, 13, and 14 weeks.)

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Six Months Post Surgery and a Big Announcement

It’s been months since I’ve written, and I have a good reason. I promise. You see, in my last post I declared to myself and to the world that I would once again be at the starting line of the Boston Marathon. I would train smart, take care of my hip, and have my day of redemption come April 2015. After I hit publish, I was stoked. It was going to be my ultimate comeback story.

But, as life would have it, I learned the very next day that my day in Boston would have to wait. In fact, it’s probably going to have to wait a few years. And I’m totally okay with that because there is something bigger and better in my future than that finish line on Boylston Street. Instead of running the 26.2 miles through Boston in April, Mario and I will anxiously be awaiting to meet the newest member of our family, Baby Rodriguez (or as we like to call it, Baby T-Rod).

The day after I announced to the world I would be running Boston once again, was the day I found out I was pregnant. We always said we wanted kids after Boston 2014. Somehow I always let running take over my life and I thought crossing that finish line this past April would be the perfect time to take a break. One nearly broken hip later, and I wanted one more shot at that race. Well, the Universe has her ways, and I’m glad she does. On May 2, 2015, almost one year to the day since my hip surgery, I will take on a new role. My role as a mom. (I would also like to add that May 2nd is my birthday and if the little one is actually born on that day, it’ll make two years in a row that I’ve been in the same hospital on my birthday.)

So how has life been since we found out our family of two is growing to three, while at the same time trying to get back into running? Hard, let’s just say that. Both mentally and physically.

First and foremost, you know that whole 1st trimester, feel like crap, only want to sleep thing? Well that is very real. Forget having any green smoothies or superfoods. Carbs, french fries, and potato chips were my go to food of choice. Granted, I did always start the morning out with a healthy breakfast to negate what I would be consuming later. I just don’t think it ever balanced out like that I had planned. My nutrition was headed back to my high school days, but thankfully, 14 weeks in and I once again love my green smoothies.

Second, a lot of people know me as some crazy workout person. I’m not really sure where that comes from, but I think running to the point of having a nearly broken hip had something to do with it. Anyhow, I was determined to not let pregnancy slow me down. Wake up, workout, run, and do my thing. But I had two forces pulling me in completely opposite directions. One said to give my body a break, slow down, stop trying so hard. The other said, heck, you’re just now getting back to running. Try harder! (Maybe I am that crazy person after all?) Well let me just say that was not, nor has not, been easy mentally. I will never forget the day I went for my first 6.5 mile run. I’m fairly certain I slept for the next 4 hours on the couch and then went to bed at 8:00 pm. My body is not the same body it was at the beginning of this year, and it won’t be for many months to come.

13 Weeks

13 Weeks

Yesterday actually marked 6 months since my hip surgery. I remember right before going into surgery, my doc said it would be 6 months to a year before I could run again. At the time, that seemed so far away but yet, here I am. Running for two. 2014 has been a crazy year, full of learning experiences. I left my job, worked to start my own business and figure out this thing we call life, had an injury that took away the one thing that makes me feel the most “me”, and now we’re having a baby. Talk about change! I’m not sure I would have ever envisioned all of this 10 months ago, but it has helped me to realize that nothing stays the same. And six months from today, things will be even more different. I’m curious to see what 2015 has in store.

On a side note, however, I have picked out my two next long distance races. (You can’t take crazy out of the runner.) The City of Oaks Half Marathon in November 2015 and the Tobacco Road Marathon in 2016. If all goes well, that’ll put Boston on the calendar for 2017. And then, I’ll have the best little cheerleader around. 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

My Return to Running

Running has been a part of who I am for so long that I’ve forgotten how hard it was when I first started out, 13+ years ago. As I have made my way back outdoors, almost 5 months post surgery, I have just assumed that the miles would come back easily. My hip no longer bothers me and for some reason, I just thought my speed and distance would still be there. I am very, very wrong.

My first run outside was the first week in September. We were in Miami and since there was no treadmill, I knew it was time to take my running to the road. It was hard. Like really hard. My pace was around 10:00 min/mile and I couldn’t get my legs to turnover any faster. Not to mention the Miami humidity wasn’t helping. I made it 4 miles and I couldn’t believe how “far” that felt. My legs felt rusty and it was almost like I was having to learn how to run all over again. To say I was feeling frustrated would be an understatement.

When we finally made it back to Raleigh, I started trying out some of my old running routes. I went out to the greenway, ran along Hillsborough Street, but no matter how fast I felt like I was running, my pace was always around 8:45 – 9:15 min/mile. That’s about one minute slower than my previous average easy pace, and yet it was still an effort to run that. I thought I had done a decent job of keeping up my cardiovascular fitness, but I underestimated what four months off from running can do to the body.

This morning I decided to head out to the Tobacco Trail. The Tobacco Trail is where I always did my Saturday long runs, and I’ve really missed being out there. It really is one of my favorite places to run. I told myself I would run anywhere from 6-7 miles, depending on how I felt. When I think about my old running self, that seems so short and like an “easy” run. Well I have quickly learned that it does no good to think in terms of my old running self. That is not who I am or where I am right now. I managed to make it 6.5 miles and then walked .5 miles, mainly because my stomach wasn’t feeling so great. My average pace was 9:09 and my legs and arms are actually quite sore from the run. Oh how things change.

Even though I’m slower than I once was and can’t run quite as far as I once did, being outside at the Tobacco Trail this morning made me really happy. It was so nice to be outdoors with the all of the other runners, and I got to see some running friends out there who I haven’t seen in quite a while. And even though I feel like I ran 15 miles instead of 6.5, I realize how much I’ve missed that feeling. I’ve missed the Saturday morning running routine, the post run turkey burger at out favorite restaurant, and the nap that always followed.

My doctor told me it would be six months to a year before I could run again. Today marks 4 months and 19 days. Sure, I’m only up to running 6.5 miles at a pace that I’m not quite accustomed to. But that’s okay. I’m not the runner I was earlier this year but that doesn’t mean that runner (or a better one) isn’t in my future. Today I think I finally internalized what a long process all of this is going to be. It makes me appreciate running much more than I ever have before.

I look forward to what the future has in store.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

Thank You to my Awesome Support Team

Today has been somewhat of a whirlwind of emotions kind of day. It started off pretty crappy and has ended completely the opposite. I have a newfound appreciation of signs from the Universe and my soul feels happy.

I tripped last Thursday and my hip/leg were not very pleased with me. It hurt to walk, I was limping pretty bad, and even swimming hurt. I almost left the gym in tears this morning. It was depressing and I didn’t know what to do. In my world, I had just taken one giant leap backwards. Like 1 1/2 months of recovery thrown out the window. Visions of a second surgery kept entering into my mind and I was so sad. I came home and wrote about how I was crazy, how I couldn’t let my body heal properly because I was too obsessed with exercise, how I was letting this self-created identity of a runner take over my life, and how I was too hard on myself. When I went to hit publish, I was informed that my domain had expired. That post was never published and I actually don’t think it ever will be. Thank you Universe.

As I drove to physical therapy this afternoon I couldn’t resist the urge to listen to my favorite Eminem songs. Partly because I’m going to see him in concert this weekend and partly because his music makes me feel pretty bad ass. I only need to hear “Lose Yourself” one time and I think I can take on the world. Follow that with “I’m Not Afraid” and I’m pretty sure I’m the one in control of my destiny. That was exactly what I needed in that moment.

Before I continue to the next part of my afternoon, allow me to set the stage…. I had physical therapy at 1:30 followed by a doctor’s appointment at 3:30. After my unfortunate incident on Thursday, I wanted to see my doctor so I could be reassured I didn’t rebreak my bone. Now, I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to take a picture with my doc, for blogging purposes of course, but he’s kind of like McDreamy and I was too embarrassed. Fast forward two weeks later and here I am again, Opportunity #2 awaited me…

Physical therapy was a new experience for me today. Shawn decided to try dry needling and I was willing to do whatever to help my pain. Did I mention needles are the one thing I can’t stand? After four very uncomfortable needles stuck into my muscles, I allowed myself to breathe again and then to stand up. Sore, yes. Still in pain, somewhat. But oddly enough, it didn’t feel nearly as bad as it did when I walked into that office. Perhaps that is why I tripped last Thursday. So I could discover the wonders of dry needling. Why have we not been doing this more?

Before I left for my doctor’s appointment, I wanted to get a picture with Shawn. He’s been so helpful during these past few months and in addition, it gave me practice for asking my doc at my upcoming appointment. (How old am I, seriously?)

IMG_6409

At my doctor’s appointment, everything came out fine. My x-rays looked great, I still had great range of motion, and there was no damage to my hip. Dr. Solic, told me I was fine and in the back of my head, all I can think is I have to ask for this picture. What’s the worst that can happen? He says no? And if so, so what? Well he was more than happy to take the picture and my ego remained in tact. And now I get to share it with you…

IMG_6415

And all of this has made me realize that perhaps that is the point of not publishing my previous post. Perhaps it was so I could say thank you to the two people who have helped me through these past three months. To say thank you to the doctor who put me back together and thank you to the PT who has shown me my body is so out of whack and so out of balance. If you had told me a year ago I would be where I am today, with a fractured hip and a titanium rod, I would have never believed you. But a lot has happened since my surgery on April 30th and I’m grateful for the two people who have helped me along the way.

It reminds me of a quote I read this morning… “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” I’ll get there eventually. I know I will.

Now I wonder if insurance will cover for them to come cheer me on at my next marathon…. 😉

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

 

PS: That dry needling worked wonders and I feel 100% better. For any runner suffering from sort sort of muscle issue, it’s totally worth looking into.

Update: Three Months Post Surgery (and lessons learned)

There is no greater teacher than life itself. For years, I thought I knew a thing or two about mindfulness, determination, willpower, the drive to push harder, etc. In fact, I knew so much about determination, that I walked 7 miles on a fractured hip. There is a thin line between how much is just enough and how much is too much. For some things in life, I believe I err on the side of too much. I’m not sure I ever really understood that about myself until this injury.

Throughout this entire recovery process, I always thought I could push harder and cross train more. I thought my successes were good, but not great, and whenever anyone questioned my ability to return to running, I’d use those words to fuel my fire. I never took the time to celebrate the small victories along the way, but more than anything, I wasn’t really kind to myself. My body is so weak. My yoga poses suck. I’ve gained 5 pounds. I should be doing more.

I’m hard on myself and I’m hard on my body. Even as I write this now I’m thinking that I should go for a short run, regardless of the fact that I already had an interval session this morning, which was followed by burpees, man makers (my new favorite exercise), and leg weights with my PT. Not to mention I’m juicing for the day, which has led to a pretty constant state of hunger. I try too hard. Last Friday, as I stood by the Whole Foods breakfast bar, staring at my spinach and eggs, I decided enough was enough. I picked up the biggest piece of creme brûlée french toast I could find and ate every single bite of it. Sometimes the battle isn’t worth it and you have to give in, embrace life, and stop fighting yourself so much.

Wednesday marks three months since my surgery. Today I had another follow up appointment, and besides being told I should never have that screw taken out (which I really want to happen), it was a very successful visit. My X-rays looked good, my bone is healed, and my range of motion has greatly improved. (Side note: I was going to ask my doc for a pic to go along with this blog post, but I couldn’t do it. He’s kind of like the cutest doctor around, in a McDreamy sort of way, and I didn’t want him to think I was a stalker. Maybe I’ll get over my embarrassment by the time of my next visit. If I don’t, click here.) In the three months that have passed, life has given me the opportunity to demonstrate lessons learned. And because I like lists, I’d like to share my takeaways from these last few months:

1) Celebrate small accomplishments. I’ve been focusing too much on the end goal: running again. It has distracted me from celebrating my small victories along the way. My first 20 minute run, my almost normal range of motion, my warrior 3 pose that didn’t involve me falling flat on my face, the ability to tie my shoes again, my swimming, even if I’m not that great at it. These are all stepping stones along the path and even if they don’t seem like much, they are. It’s important to celebrate the small things.

The first pic in 2 weeks post surgery and the second was taken last week. I never thought my knee would get that close to the ground ever again.

The first pic is 2 weeks post surgery and the second was taken last week. I never thought my knee would get that close to the ground ever again.

2) I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations except my own. Having that runner part of my identity taken away has really caused me to struggle. I feel like everyone looks at me and thinks she use to be able to run this far and this fast. Now she’ll never do that again. This is a perception I have created in my own head and it is none of my business what other people think about me or my ability as a runner. Nobody else has to travel my path and therefore, whatever anyone else thinks has no impact on me. Only my expectations matter.

3) Negative self talk is toxic. I haven’t always said the nicest things to myself with regards to this injury. I’ve been hard on myself and I’ve sent my body a lot of wrong messages. These three months have taught me to practice a little self-love and to forgive myself when things don’t go as I expected. I should be my biggest fan. Period.

4) It’s okay to let go sometimes. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to eat that french toast from Whole Foods last Friday morning. It sounds odd but every time I go there, I always get a salad and eggs for breakfast. So many times I stare at the waffles or french toast and think how badly I want some. Friday I did, and it was the best feeling to savor every bite of that sugary deliciousness. And then, when I slept in until 7:00 am Saturday morning, I wondered what in the world had I been missing out on! I never knew it was so great to sleep in until after the sun came up.

5) Everything has a purpose. People always say everything has a purpose and I know this. But I’ve never really experienced something bad like this and had to search for the good in it. Every day I search for the answer and every day I come closer to seeing the good. Perhaps the most important and obvious thing this has taught me is that my body is completely out of whack and very imbalanced. My physical therapy sessions are a blessing. But I’m also finding a new level of mental toughness I didn’t even know I had. The first time I ever ran a marathon, I was certain I would cry when I crossed the finish line. I didn’t then and I never have. I believe that the next marathon I run is going to require a mental and physical effort like I have never known before. And perhaps that is the purpose of all this. To find out what I’m really capable of and how deep I can really dig.

Three months have gone by slowly, and quickly at the same time. I’m excited to see what the next three months will bring.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

I Am Lazy

One hundred seconds is a very short amount of time. In fact, there are few things that you can start and finish in just 100 seconds. It takes longer than that just to brush your teeth. And based on the fact that at age 31, I had my very first cavity filled this morning, it seems I should be brushing a little longer. But I digress…

One minute and 40 seconds was all it took for me this morning to come to the sound conclusion that I, although I thought I was and some people may disagree, am not owning my healing process. I want results but not to endure change. That makes me lazy and you are probably wondering what the heck I am talking about. I shall explain.

First and foremost, you must watch this profound message from one of my all time favorite people, Jonathan Fields. If you don’t watch it, you’ll be confused. Go ahead, watch it. It’s only one minute and 40 seconds and it’ll leave you pondering your actions as a human being and as a member of society. I’ll be right here when you get back.

Go. Watch. It.

Intense, right? And although I don’t agree with the term “nobody”, he brings to light a very true fact. People want things to change. Change is hard. Subsequently, people (generally speaking), don’t do the work to make change happen. People don’t like hard.

In the almost three months since my surgery, I’d venture to say that I’ve lost very little of my cardio fitness. Why? Because I am a lean, mean, elliptical going machine. I have simulated speed workouts, tempo runs, and long training runs on the elliptical. Tabata intervals are my favorite and I pride myself on my sweatiness factor when I leave the gym. Yes, I am that person you do NOT want to be beside at the gym. But see the problem isn’t my cardiovascular fitness. I’m pretty certain that has a solid foundation and even if I stopped exercising for a month, it would still be solid.. The problem is my strength and I really don’t like doing strength training exercises. That’s why I’m cardio queen, as they call me at the gym. Not iron queen. But here is what that short video made me realize this morning: by avoiding what I obviously need to do, I’m refusing to own the process and I’m refusing to endure change. I’m being just like everyone else in the world who wants things to change but who doesn’t want to do the work. In other words, I’m being a lazy ass.

Cardio is easy for me. I’d do it all day, every day if I could. That’s why I like marathon training so much. But I don’t need more cardio in my life. I need strength. And based on my movement patterns, I’d say I need a little muscle memory retraining as well. As Mr. Fields so eloquently puts it, people want to own the results but nobody wants to own the process. I want the result of a stronger body and a stable hip. I have yet to own up to the process to get there.

To successfully endure change is to be one step above the rest. Today I will leave my dear friend the elliptical and introduce myself to the weight room. However, no worries. I’ll be back tomorrow. I could never leave my favorite machine completely. My intention is to not to leave cardio all together. That would be a really sad day. My intention is to gradually shift my focus from all out sprints to deep squats and weighted lunges. It might not be so bad after all. Even if I don’t like, I still have to do it. The result I’m after is to run another marathon. I have to face the fact that in order to get there, I need to get stronger.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

PS: I recently discovered the bad ass Neghar Fonooni. She’s pretty freakin’ strong but her workouts are metabolic workouts. In other words, she incorporates strength training and endurance training. That is a workout I can appreciate.

PPS: I ran my first full mile on Monday. It took 13 minutes but I made it. And I hurt afterwards. I don’t think my bone has quite taken to the screws in my hip just yet. Lovely.

A Paint By Numbers Life

The art of telling a good story is a true gift. To relive a personal experience in front of a group of people while being vulnerable isn’t for everyone.  Add to that a story with fluidity, emotions, and a life lesson and you’ve got yourself a special person. Perhaps that is why I like The Moth podcast so much.

I first listened to The Moth a few years ago but for some reason or another, I did not subscribe to it. Last week I revisited the podcast and have since gained a new appreciation for story telling. As I rode with Mario to The Parlour in Durham yesterday (amazing ice cream by the way!), we heard stories of a young girl fleeing Afghanistan to come to America, a 16 year old teenager taking her brother to the 1983 All Star baseball game with practically no money, and a crazy journalist tagging along with a group of herpetologists in search of a 22 foot python. We laughed, I cried (good stories do that to me), and we were left with a few life lessons to think about. What it means to live in the moment, to be adventurous, and to live a paint by numbers life. I love good stories.

Last night as we finished our second episode of House of Cards, the lifestyle of Frank Underwood brought us to the discussion of what it means to lead a paint by numbers life. I haven’t seen a paint by numbers kit since I was about 10 years old and Mario has never seen one. Apparently they don’t exist in Cuba. In trying to explain this ready made picture with predetermined colors, the image of what Tom Bodette was trying to explain in his story became very clear.  A cookie cutter type lifestyle lacking novelty, straying from adventure, and more of the same, day after day, week after week. That is something I never want.

Today I started with my own little dose of “adventure” and although it was nothing grand, it was a big step for me. As I mentioned last week, I recently switched gym memberships so I could start swimming. (I see an Ironman in my future, even though it’s a very distant, distant future.) Unfortunately parking isn’t the easiest to come by at a college campus gym and it usually results in a parking ticket or a $4 charge for the parking deck. Solution? Bike there! Now I still don’t own a bike so I rented one for a week. I needed to know if I was okay with biking alongside cars. Saturday morning, bright and early, I tried my route before there was any traffic. Last night I packed a backpack with my swimming gear and told myself no matter what, I was biking to that darn gym. Sure, it’s not far and biking isn’t a big deal. But I’m slightly terrified of getting hit by a car, my hip is still a little tricky when I stop and go, and the rental bike is only a single speed. It makes for an excellent quad burn on any type of incline.

I actually had dreams about biking to the gym. That’s how nervous I was. But I told myself biking, swimming, triathlons – these are all things I’ve wanted for a long time and the only way to start is by biking the 1.5 miles to the gym, swimming, and then biking home. When I finally made it back home and Mario met me at the door, I greeted him by saying “I didn’t die!”. And I didn’t. I didn’t get hit by a car, nobody laughed at my stellar swimming technique, and I even passed the guy in the lane next to me. It was such a small feat and a simple workout, but it left me feeling all sorts of excitement. I ventured away from my hour of intervals on the elliptical, my pre-determined paint by numbers workout, and tried something a little outside of my comfort zone. It made my Monday morning amazing.

I’ve never thought of myself as living a paint by numbers lifestyle but I see how it happens. Today was another step in the direction of making sure that I always try to add a little adventure along my path.

Maybe I should get a bike like this!!

Maybe I should get a bike like this!!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

Injury Update: According to my doc, I can start working back into a running routine this week!!! I’m nervous and my hip still feels a little weak so I will see how it goes with my PT on Wednesday. Perhaps I will wait another week or two. It’s crazy to think about where I was two months ago and where I am today. Life just keeps on going. 🙂

 

I’m Not 20 Years Old Anymore

It hit me last week like a ton of bricks falling right on top of my head. It was a fact that, by some way or another, I had avoided for the past several years, and when the truth was staring me right in the face, I struggled to accept it.

Last week I made the decision to do an alumni membership at NC State’s Carmichael gym. It’s cheaper than my current gym and it has more equipment, pools, classes, and amenities than any gym lover could ever hope for.

Thursday morning I met an old friend there at 6:00 am and as we were stretching and chatting in the new cardio room, I had the profound realization that I am not 20 years old anymore. As I looked around at all of the young, tan, fit college kids, it dawned on me that I don’t look like that anymore. Somehow I had deluded myself into thinking I hadn’t aged a bit since I was in college. I’m 31 now and I now know that to be a false reality. Perhaps it was because at my previous gym, the average age range was 35-50. In comparison, I was the young, tan, fit one. Well maybe not tan, but at least young and fit.

So young, my 20th birthday

So young, my 20th birthday

Then yesterday I decided to go for a swim during the afternoon. I figured it would be the least crowded time at the gym and I could swim in peace. (By the way, I hate swimming. It is exponentially harder than running and I suck at it.) As luck would leave it, a high school team was practicing in one pool and the NC State diving team was practicing in the deep end of the other pool. Seriously, have you seen a college swim team practicing? Abs, legs, shoulders, and arms of steel. Note to self: must try harder.

I admit it… I struggled to accept this fact. When people say they are no spring chicken anymore or that their body is falling apart because they are getting old, I think to myself, not me! I’ll forever be known as cardio queen at my gym and my body will continue to get better and better every single day. Who am I kidding? I have two screws and a rod in my hip! I think that automatically puts me in the “my body is falling apart” category.

I get it. Age happens and there isn’t really much you can do about it. (I do admit that when I got home last Thursday I started researching age defying veggie juices.) We can’t all have six pack abs forever, although I never really had any in the first place. I’ve accepted that fact and I’m now okay with it now. But I’m not going to let it deter me from still pursuing my athletic dreams. Sure, I may not have the stamina and abs of those 20 something year olds, but you better believe I’m going to try my hardest to swim, bike, and run as best I can. And if I start drinking Swiss Chard Kale Juice, it’s only to help me swim faster. Promise. 😉

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

(In the other picture, I’m 19 years old holding my sister’s dear cat Oscar.)

Be Nice to Strangers

I can’t write about running right now. It’s unfortunate but it gives me an opportunity to write about other things. Today’s post – a life post.

Age 21, year 2004
It was my favorite post long run ritual. Run XX miles, nap, go get a really large coffee drink, and then go to work. I could tell you everyone’s story at Gloria Jean’s Coffee. I asked. I knew their names, their weekend plans, and a thing or two about their family. I always smiled at them and 9 out of 10 times, I never paid for anything. Although it was never my objective to get free drinks, it just happened. Strangers who made a connection at the mall and my dear friend and coworker was always amazed. How do you do it? she would ask.

Simple, I responded. Care. 

Age 31, year 2014

Today I ventured into Starbucks to do a little work. One of my favorite songs was playing and the barista was jamming along. Singing, dancing, and having more fun than most people would while making drinks. I may or may not have done my own little dance too while waiting for my drink. I told the barista how much I enjoyed his dancing. His response? Oh, have you tried the new fizzio? I’ll make you one. And he did. It was delicious.

I love people. All sorts of people. It fascinates me to think that there are over 7 billion unique stories in the world and every time I meet a stranger is another opportunity to be a part of one of those stories. Over the years, I have found the incredible importance of a genuine smile and a kind word. When you take notice of someone else, step outside of your own world, and make the effort to connect, you break down the invisible wall that exists between you and your fellow human being. And in return, a whole new world opens up. One of loving compassion that shows you how awesome human beings really are. Just as you are trying to find your way in this world, so too is every one else. We are not the strangers we think we are.

Make a new friend today. Be a part of someone else’s story.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Injury Update: According to my doc, I can start working back into a running routine next week. I have to be honest, I’m slightly terrified. I try jogging around the house and the result? Serious aching in my bones caused by that damn screw in my hip. My recovery has gone fairly well. However, I believe when I attempt to start running again, it’s going to be way harder than I ever thought. Oh well. One step at a time, right?