Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Good Day

I must admit, I have been in kind of a funk lately. 

Maybe it's the cold. 
Maybe it's that I have a nagging achilles problem.
Maybe it's because it's dead week. 
I don't know. 

Whatever it is, though, I have spent my week counting down the days until Christmas break instead of enjoying the moments and living in the present. 

But today - today was a good day. 

Today I had the last science lab that I will ever have. 
And today I sat through the last Biology lecture I will ever sit through. 
And I took the half hour I had between classes to go treat myself an extra hot latte, just because.

And I did a killer work on the stationary bike and with weights. 

And I got together with new some friends for a worship session
 in a room we rented out on our campus. And it was wonderful.

And I am just pretty blessed. 

So, funk or not, I'm grateful for today. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To Run, or Not to Run?

The problem with having a minor injury as a runner (such as tendonitis) is that you are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils: 

1. Not running, and potentially losing fitness and being slower later...

2. Or running, and potentially screwing yourself up so badly that you won't be able to run later when it counts. 

Achilles tendonitis hit me hard this week. Actually, I felt it after last week's intense hills and lifting... and I felt it a little on the day of the Turkey Day 5k

I REALLY felt it on Saturday's long run. 

And Monday, I was beat. I haven't run for the last three days. I have been biking instead. Biking is better for my fitness right now anyway - because I can barely get my heart rate up during runs due to my achilles, and so it's pretty much a waste of time. 

I learned last year that pushing myself too hard and not listening to my body and having balance can lead to further injury, so I'm doing my best to baby this....

but in the meantime, I feel like a baby. 

I'm sure other runners understand this feeling. I have some teammates that are having issues as well.

And even though I'm secretly glad to not have to go out in the cold, its frustrating. 

Looks like it's going to be the bike for me again today. 
I want to try the elliptical, but I think that would stress the tendon out more...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Dreams

Today I realized something. 

I'm allowed to have whatever dreams I want to for my life. 

My main dream for a long time has been to be a fast collegiate runner... but my dreams are not limited to that in any way. 

I have always known that, but I guess it just really hit me today. 

You know a really cool dream I have? To live in London. I want to study abroad there. I want to fall in love with a British guy and drink tea every day and live happily ever after. 

But I would settle for just living in London, too ;) 

If I really want to, I can probably make that happen. A lot of the colleges I am looking at have study abroad programs at Oxford. How amazing would that be? I know I have gotten to experience living in Paris already, but London? I would die for that experience. 

So why not? Well, for one, it is outside of the "plan". You know, the whole "transfer to a new college where you can run with an athletic scholarship and compete at a higher level while finishing up your degree" plan. 

But I can have a different dream, if I want to. 

If I wanted to drop everything and go to culinary school right now, I could. Not that I would ever want to go to culinary school, but that's beside the point. 

True, it wouldn't necessarily be wise. But what I'm trying to say is that I have the right to dream whatever I want. And right now, I have a new dream. To go back to London - and to live there.

 I'm going to do my best to make this happen in the next two years. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Trotting and Tofurkey

Good morning world!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! I know I did!!! 

At six thirty a.m., I headed downtown with my mom and little sister for a turkey trot 5k fun run. 


We ran into some friends there, too!

While I definitely understand the appeal of sleeping in and lounging around in pajamas all day on Thanksgiving, I love the atmosphere of this race. 

I did it last year, and it is so much fun that it's totally worth it!

It was freezing, and the gun went off bright and early at 8 a.m. 

There were over 3,000 people that participated, including tons of walkers and families and people in crazy costumes. 

I sort of raced it... I am really comfortable at 6:30 per mile pace (or a little faster), so I always kind of sit there. Anything faster is actually kind of difficult for me, but I can (and do all the time) run 6:30 pace for an hour or more. Maybe I just don't have that much speed?

If I really push, I can go way faster. 5:30 pace per mile. But yesterday was about having fun running. So that's what I did. 

My mom loved the experience so much, she cried. 
She said we needed to make it a new tradition every year :) 

And my little sister likes running now too. It makes me excited!

I got a free jacket from my favorite running store that had a booth there :) 
And they were handing out free coffee and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!

We were home before ten a.m.!!! When we got home, my brother and his wife were there. 
And it was a nonstop party from then on. 

The rest of the day consisted of lots of coffee (Starbucks AND Dutch Bros)

 lots of football, board games..... and of course.....

Lots of eating. 

Meet our Thanksgiving dinner. To-furkey. 

My brother and sister in law are vegetarians, so we had a to-furkey along with our turkey breast this year. I must admit, it wasn't half bad. 

At the end of the night, we decided to brave the madness for some Black Friday shopping!

It was my first time ever participating in this craziness, and it was definitely a little overwhelming. 
But totally worth the memories.

I slept in this morning, and I woke up feeling totally blessed. How could you not after such a good day?

And now I'm getting ready to start my day. I have to run at some point... my training schedule says fifty minutes, but I'm so not feeling it... but we have some family things planned tonight and I get to catch up with some friends, so I'm excited!!

Enjoy your long weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Best Way to Fuel for a 5k

The best night-before fuel for a 5k race you ask? 

Probably peppermint ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and sugary Starbuck's coffee. 

Yep. I might be feeling all this is the morning... 

Luckily, it's just a fun run. So no sweat! I'm fully planning on winning, though :) 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Coffee Shop Tangents

Currently I am sitting in our campus coffee shop studying Biology. 

At least I was up until now. 

I met a girl here earlier to go over notes before our Biology test today, but she went to class. 
And I got distracted. 

It's a big and important test, but I just can't study anymore. I'm so excited to be done with this class!

I spent a good amount of time studying on Sunday night, anyway. 
My little sister and I went to Starbucks. She did a Bible study, I studied Biology. 
We drank Christmas drinks and chatted and got free oatmeal cookies from the barista. 

There is something about Starbucks that I just love. No other coffee shop can match its atmosphere. Even when I lived in Paris, the coffee capital of the world, I found myself in Starbucks quite often. 

Last night, I started missing Europe again. This emotion sweeps over me occasionally, and it surprises me every time. Not like Europe was terrible or anything, but I spent so much of my year there missing home that it is almost laughable to experience the opposite!!! 

Mostly, I missed London. I love it there. I want to live there one day. 

And marry a British guy that calls me "lovely" all the time. 

I know I have talked about this a lot on this blog, but that is just because I'm serious about it. 

Did you know that different Starbucks around the world offer different menu items? Peppermint mocha's don't exist in London or Paris, because they don't really do peppermint. Their holiday beverages include toffee nut lattes and praline mochas. Those were the best holiday drinks I have ever tasted, and it just recently occurred to me that I could request them at an American Starbucks as well. Not the same, though. 

This is my sister and I in a Paris Starbucks two years ago!

In London, you can have your toffee nut latte while nibbling on a Starbucks' mince pie. Or, you could go to McDonald's and order a mince pie instead of an apple pie. 

I'm so fascinated by even those little differences in culture. 

Anyway, I'm sitting here, "studying", and I'm incredibly sore. 

Yesterday we had our first practice after our week-long running break. It was just an easy fifty minute run - but then I lifted. And I'm a little too enthusiastic about lifting... and I may have overdone it :)

So practice today might be a little rough. But no matter. Because I get to go home tonight. 
And then its Thanksgiving :) 

I better get back to Biology. One more test stands between me and my long weekend!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

(Almost) - Home for the Holidays

It's been a pretty fantastic weekend. 

First, let me say that I am thrilled about Thanksgiving break coming up. 
I have to go to school/practice tomorrow and Tuesday, but after that I'll have a lovely five days off. Then dead week, then finals, then Christmas!!! 

I have been listening to Christmas music nonstop, overdosing on all things pumpkin, and loving the seasonal peppermint ice cream I discovered in our fridge at my parent's house (it's my favorite kind!).

 I have also been busy planning what presents I'm going to get everyone. I'm thinking that about 90% of them will come from World Market. I mean, have you been there? So cool. 

I came home this weekend - even though I'm going to be home all next week- because I had a couple appointments I had to go to. And plus, let's be honest, I love it here. 

Right now, I have coconut flour pumpkin cookies in the oven. 
I'm sipping coffee. 
My mom's watching tv and grading papers, and my dad is busy doing something in his office. 
I think my little sister is taking a nap. 
It's just- so peaceful here!

This weekend was full of fun.

This weekend I got to go to GCD (my college youth group), meet up with a friend I haven't seen in years, skype a dear friend who lives quite far from me, and have a girl's night with another dear friend. I went out Friday night with my mom, and I caught up with my little sister.

It also had a little drama. 

I accidentally (and BARELY) hit a car on Saturday. There was the tiniest little scratch, and I was devastated. I made it clear to the owner how sorry I was, and obviously I was going to provide my insurance info (even though insurance would never cover something that little)- but he wouldn't have any of it. He and his wife yelled at me and made me cry in front of their little daughter, and they would not hear my apology. -That got me thinking about how everyone is not really sunshine and roses like I always think they are. It's shocking to me, every time. 

This weekend DID NOT include:

Any running. Or homework. Or stressing. 

But it had plenty of: 

 Bonding time and discussions about God. This lovely lady treated me to dinner, and we spent the whole time talking about how amazing God is and our futures and the wonderful things about life. We finished off the evening watching movies with another friend. 

Two days until I'm truly home for the holidays. Can't wait!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Decision Time

I find myself to be the absolute most indecisive person in the world. 
Maybe someone out there has this problem as well? 

But soon I am supposed to make a pretty major decision... what college I am going to transfer to after this year. 

I can't even decide what I want for breakfast in the morning- let alone what I want to do with the rest of my life!!! 

This decision has a lot of different factors that play in to it. 

For example, I have to decide for sure if I want to continue running. I think I do, but it will be a new commitment to a new team and a new program. 

I have to look at the majors offered at each university (which means I have to narrow down what I'm going to major in).

I have to decide what city/state I want to live in... weather, distance from home, etc.

I have to consider finances. 

Is anyone else stressed out about this???

Well, actually, I'm choosing not to stress. Because I'm going to give it to God. I have had to make a lot of big decisions this far in my life, and I have always felt peace about my choices after a lot of prayer. 

It still is difficult, though. I have about ten different schools on my choice list at the moment. 

Wish me luck! ;) 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Season That Wasn't...

This season wasn’t what I expected it to be.
It wasn’t full of success and glory.
It wasn’t a step up from last year.
It wasn’t a reflection of all of my hard work

But it was a whole bunch of other things.
It was a learning experience.
It was an opportunity to grow.
It was a chance to develop new relationships and encourage and inspire my teammates.

Cross country has come and gone. The hundreds upon hundreds of miles I have run, the ice baths and healthy eating and lifting weights all led up to Saturday’s race.

It was nothing like I expected it to be. First of all, it was freezing. The day before our race, we ran the course in a blizzard/snow storm!  It was sunny on Saturday, but there was still snow on the ground, and I couldn’t feel my body for the majority of the race. It was so cold, in fact, that I wore arm sleeves.
Yes, arm sleeves. I promised myself I would never wear them.
 Being warm was way more important than feeling cool, though.

I went in to the race with the potential to win, and somehow I found myself decently far behind the first pack at the end of mile one. I was so discouraged, and I started having so many negative thoughts. Like “do I really want to do this again after I transfer?” and “I’m just not fast anymore” and “I just want to be done”. Honestly, it was miserable. My body language shifted from “attack” to “just finish”.
But then, with about four hundred meters to go, I heard my coach yelling at me that the girl in front of me was the tenth runner. That meant that I was one place away from being All American, and I had a chance to redeem myself.

So I kicked. And hard, And I passed her.
And I’m proud of myself for that… because I have a hard time with speed and kicking. And normally when I have a bad race, I don’t go hard across the finish line.

But I shook myself out of it, and I came back.
My dad told me afterword (in the nicest way possible) that I could have kicked two minutes earlier and taken fifth or something. He was right….

So 10th  place. My two teammates took 8th and 9th, right in front of me. I was so happy for them, but they never beat me….  And the whole thing was a pretty humbling experience.

I went from 4th place last year to 10th this year. I ran almost a minute slower that I did last year at NWAACCS (I have been about a minute off all season).
I don’t know why this season turned out the way it did.

I think mentally I am just wrecked this year. Maybe physically I am not as strong…

 But I still hold the same attitude that I did before the race – I am so thankful I made it through this season. And I can bring God glory in both victory and defeat. And not every season is the same. And how I placed at one race does not define me.

Our girl’s team walked away with third, which is decent.

The best part of the whole day was that my parents drove all the way from Boise to watch me, and my amazing grandma and my friend Cheyenne that live near Spokane came as well!!! 
I am so grateful to have such amazing support.

So now, I have the week off. And I don’t want to think about running... just for a little while. 
I need a mental break (running is really all I think about during the season).

But after this week, I’m ready to come back. I’m going to keep getting stronger and put in more mileage and get myself together mentally. My coach still has not given up on me, and he was so sweet to me yesterday. I feel like I disappointed him, but he did not act like it at all.

I’m still sort of upset, and I am having a hard time working through everything… but I have learned so much this season. God has taught me so much.

This season wasn’t everything I hoped it would be.

But it was a learning experience. And that’s what life is about. 

*Edited to add pictures

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It All Comes Down to This..

Running for me... it's been quite a journey.

I want to share it with you guys, 
but I'm just warning you that I have a lot to say, 
and this post might be a little long! 

I began running cross country my freshman year of high school, and being the girl that always challenged boys to races in grade school pretty much guaranteed my love for the sport. 

 My memories of cross country and track during high school are wonderful. I had an incredible coach who I am still close with and the best teammates. 

But I always struggled with self confidence in running. I ran for an incredibly competitive district and had very talented teammates. I was a decent runner, but I never saw any incredible success, despite all of my hard work.

I spent a lot of time feeling bad about myself if I had a less than ideal race.... my identity was caught up way too much in my success or failure. 

My senior year, I began to think about where I would go to college. Many of the girls on my team were going off to universities to run at the collegiate level, and I had the same desire to do so. 

I never had any plans to do anything but go off to college after graduating, but I ended up being given an amazing opportunity to spend a year in Paris, France. Though it was the chance of a lifetime, I found myself struggling to choose between running and what I felt God was leading me to do. I was jealous of my friends who had "made it" in the athletic world, but ultimately, I followed God's leading to Paris. 

My first month or so in Paris, I didn't run at all. I got out of shape, but who can blame me- I was in a completely new country and exposed to a realm of brand new experiences. 

I still had dreams of being a collegiate runner one day, however, and I eventually began to train very intensely. I developed a new love for running- on days that I was stressed out because I couldn't speak French or I missed my family, running became an outlet for me. I ran all around the French countryside, and I did plenty of workouts and strength training. I wanted to run in college, and I began contacting coaches to make it  happen.

Enter Treasure Valley Community College, and my first collegiate race above. God worked everything out for me to run in college, somehow. I was given a spot and a scholarship despite the year I had taken off.  I was so nervous to see how my solo training would pay off, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my 5k time decreased by nearly two minutes!

 I think I was mentally reset in France, and I came back in great shape and ready to compete.

I had a great freshman cross country season, and NWAACCS was everything I could have hoped for.

Little did I know, however, that I had already begun overtraining at this point. The rest of the year with running went okay, but I was slowly losing weight and pushing myself way too hard with extra practice, long weight sessions, and not nearly enough nourishment or rest.

I suppose I had a somewhat perfectionist mindset. I was the most dedicated of the dedicated. I wanted it more than anyone. I was going to push harder, drink more water, eat healthier, and lift more than anyone else. But I didn't have enough balance.

I ended track season successfully (with another All American title), but almost ready to break. I was two steps away from an injury and SO tired. But after a few weeks off, I jumped right back in to training for cross country. 

And then, this summer.... Well, this summer was a rough one for me. I haven't really shared much about it with anyone, but basically- I almost didn't run cross country. 

I went in for a physical, and my doctor was furious with me for how much weight I had lost. And I was surprised... I had no idea that I had lost that much either. I had paid little attention to my weight (except people had been telling me how skinny I looked). I just thought I was in shape, and I couldn't see how it is possible to have "too much of a good thing". It all happened in the midst of me pushing myself so hard every day. I was shocked at what the scale said.

But I was furious, too. I didn't want anyone to take running away from me. I had worked so hard.  had put in two hour runs and ran during vacation and had big dreams.

And I was scared. I was stubborn at first, but I finally recognized that I needed to take a step back and re-examine things.

So I gave it to God. I was so thankful he had helped me get that far without getting injured (I really had not been taking care of myself very well), and I was thankful that he had given me talent and allowed me to blossom in college. 

I really felt like I was supposed to run for TVCC this year still, but I had to give up my "striving" mindset and fully lay running down at his feet.

And He gave it right back to me.

Looking back, I cannot believe how much He blessed me. I got in contact with the best sport's nutritionist who has since helped me get way stronger and healthier. My coach fully understood and tailored my workouts to help me gain strength. My family came beside me and helped me and supported me.

I have run every race this season without an issue. I am healthy and don't look like I'm going to get a stress fracture anymore. And though I'm not nearly as fast as I was last year, I'm so thankful for how evident God's hand has been in my life- and my running journey.

SO here is what I have decided. I'm going to run this Saturday with an attitude of gratefulness. I'm going to run because God has blessed me so much. His grace has been so sufficient for me. And I truly believe that He has planted the desire to run and be successful at it in my heart. 

Maybe I'm just here to be a friend to the people on my team. Maybe I won't win Saturday. But I know that when God watches me run, He delights in it. Because I am doing what I was created to do 
- for His glory.

I'm not going to lie. This week has been hard, and I have felt heavy. When you allow your identity to be wrapped up in success or failure, you live in constant fear. I'm fearful of failing on Saturday. 

But I'm giving it to God. I want to run with joy. I want to run as if it were impossible to fail. Because this is just the beginning of my running journey. Because if I go out there and give everything I have... utilize the gifts He has given me and run for His glory with gratefulness... I cannot fail. I will be happy! That's true victory.

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
Romans 8:37

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Positivity Challenge

This is going to be a quick post, but there is something I want to share with you all. 

This morning in church, I really felt inspired to have a whole week where everything that I say is positive. And not only that- I want to really try to speak positive things into the atmosphere. Meaning that instead of being silent when I have negative thoughts, I want to speak out something positive. Instead of saying "I'm sorry" to a friend who is struggling, I want to speak encouragement. 

 So this begins today. If I have a bad practice, you won't be hearing about it. If I feel sick, you won't be hearing about it. But I'll be sure you fill you all in with plenty of positive things :) 

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Just Some Thoughts

I really do love to run. 

Today - skipping through the multi-colored fall leaves, breathing in the crisp air, and listening to worship music on my ipod - I remembered just how much. 

Sometimes I feel like running is a friend. It makes me happy. It brings me clarity. It keeps me in shape and helps me feel connected with other runners and sometimes even leads to medals. 

Other days, I feel like running stabs me in the back. Like I give everything to it and trust it and all it has for me in return is aching knees or disappointment. 

Some days, I don't feel like hanging out with running very much. 

Other days, running is really nice and helps me process all of the thoughts in my head. 

Some days running takes me on adventures through the countryside.

Other days, running likes to whip me into shape. 

But no matter what, running will always be there. Whether I'm a collegiate athlete or a forty year old stay-at-home mom, I will like to run. And I have been through a lot with it. 

The point is this. I have a big race a week from today. And I have to run for more than just wanting to win. Because even though I want to win (believe me, I DO) I don't know if that will carry me through all the pain. I have to run because I love it. Because I have given everything to it. Love to run, love to race, and love to win. 

And I have to remember that no matter what, no one can take away that love from me!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Starbucks Christmas Cups!

I couldn't have possibly made it through biology homework today without a Starbuck's Christmas cup!! I only allowed myself to get a drip coffee because Starbucks is so dang expensive. 
But I was dying for a salted carmel mocha, believe me!!!

So glad that the rest of the country now finds it socially acceptable to be obsessed with Christmas finally. I have been listening to Christmas music for months. 

Feeling a little "blah" this evening... perhaps it's the two papers I wrote today or all of the overwhelming thoughts about next week.

Regardless, it's so nice to have the weekend off. I don't even care that I'm a little bored. 
I'll take it over being stressed any day!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's November.... and Nine Other Thoughts!

1.     Advising day for winter term is next Tuesday. 
And I only have to take 14 more credits this 
WHOLE year to graduate with an AA in the spring. 
That’s only 7 credits a term… But because I need 12 to be full time, 
an athlete, and student body president, I’ll be taking more, obviously.
 But you know what’s fun??? I get to take whatever I want! 
I talked to an advisor and I have taken all the Associate of Arts requirements already! 
You know what that means? Electives baby :)
 I cannot wait until this term is over so I can be done with Biology forever! 
My advisor basically told me to have fun the rest of the year. Sweet.

2.     Tuesday is also Election Day, if you were not aware... 
And it’s my first time voting ever!!! 
So I’m excited, in case you couldn’t tell by the millions of exclamation points. 
But, since I forgot my family moved this summer 
and I forgot to re-register with a new address, 
I will have to drive an hour to go home and register on the spot before I vote. 
So worth it though.

3.   You know what I did last night for Halloween? 
 After an intense practice followed
by an even more intense team meeting followed by 
an equally intense student body government meeting, 
I was exhausted. Plus, Halloween is kind of the worst. The only thing it
has going for it really is candy corn. But candy corn is pretty great :)

    4. This week's workouts: 
Monday - 60 minutes steady (about 9.5 miles)
Tuesday - 60 minutes again (about 8.5 miles)
Wednesday- 10 min warm up, 5 min race pace four times, then 3 min, 2 min, 1 min 
(all with one minute jogging recovery in between) and 10 min cool down
Thursday: 60 minutes recovery
Tapering...?? Not exactly

5.     Yesterday (Wednesday) morning was my lovely friend Aleisha’s birthday!!! 
To celebrate, we took her out to breakfast at 
my favorite little coffee shop in town. 
I had never had a morning glory muffin before, and I have to say that I was impressed!
Enter grossest picture ever. But oh well!

6.     I’m going home this weekend! 
And I’m thrilled! Since we run on our own this Friday,
 I get to go to my youth group Thursday night!
And I get to see my parents. And my mom will cook for me :)
Canned tuna and peanut butter get old sometimes!

7.     Here’s a picture of us with our first place trophy at Regional’s. 

No big deal or anything!

8. Sometimes I think I’m a good cook because 
I started doing things like roasting broccoli in the oven
 instead of cooking it in the microwave. 
And for me that’s a big deal considering I mostly just cook cereal.

9. It's November!!! Which means it's finally socially acceptable
to listen to Christmas music all the time, right? I have been doing it all month... :)

Happy November everyone!!!