Saturday, January 17, 2015

... sometimes things do happen for a reason ...

During trying times those who love us are quick to give us pearls of wisdom, often in times in the shape of a well-known cliché.  It easy to secretly say a choice word or two in your head because you know they mean well.  It is hard to hear really any type of advice or thoughts as you are going through life's challenges.

As I sit here thinking of the year ahead and what my life has been since during this past year ... I realize that yes, things do happen for a reason.

Divorce - 21 years of a life together, there were many beautiful years and we had a beautiful family for many of those 21 years, thankfully. But, things changed ... and here I am divorced.  Though it saddens me that my marriage didn't last forever ... as I had dreamt and expected since I was a little girl .. I am serene and happy, in my new life. 

I need only take care of my needs and this is not half bad - my time! My number one worry, concern, and thoughts, of course are always my girls, but as they embark into a true life of their own, I find myself grateful to have this new life.

Work - Where to begin ... I love to work ... I always have ... however it was hard to deal with some changes in my role that happened last year. I guess any change is difficult.

One significant change has been my travelling.  Now instead of travelling what seemed every other week, I find myself not travelling at all. 

I have always travelled in all my jobs and now that I don't have to.  I am actually so surprised that I love not having travel.  I have my time back!  There are no trips to recoup from, no miles to skip, no organizing Dante at the dog sitter! Another added benefit is that I can fit any race when I want to, because all my time is my own.  I think I have 14 races on the schedule.

And how does this tie in with the cliché? Well, because back then as all these changes were occurring, I just could not see that things were happening for a reason.

I've had a full week at work, full of problems, tons to do. This week I should be in Italy for a show, as I used to be every year.  This year I am not there, and though I miss my co-workers, my international co-workers, seeing the novelties first-hand and seeing all our vendors and customers in the same place, I am relieved that I was able to deal with all these things/problems at work here at my desk and not oversees with texts and emails over a horrible internet connection.

As I reflect on the new year and all that happened last year ... I see now that things do happen for a reason. I see it, I understand it ... I didn't understand it then ... I was probably not ready to internalize this wonderful - overused - completely accurate cliché .. things happen for a reason ...


I ran today ... it was tough ... a 4 miler race that my running club organized.  I am happy because my right Achilles felt good and my left felt better.  My breathing was horrible, as I am still recuperating from my cold.

I should stop ... I don't want it to seem I am excusing my performance.  I won 3rd in the Masters category.  :) Yes, I said, Masters.

Turchese turned 21! So ask me if I feel old and the answer will be ... yes, yes I feel old. :)

New monthly race recap and running stats to come next week!

Stay tuned, a dopo ... J

Sunday, January 11, 2015

... running in twenty-fifteen ...

Almost two weeks of the New Year have already come and gone ... and here I am already reflecting on my running this year.

As I look back on my running year I realize that I had a great running year.  Not that it is always smooth sailing ... because as many rewards as my running gave me ... much pain was felt and is still being felt by my body.

It seems that 2014 was my first true running year.  2010 was the year that I began ... a first half-marathon and then IT band injury.  6 months - NO RUNNING! 2011, well, it should be forgotten in terms of miles.  It is very hard to get back from injury and though I had good months in 2012 and 2013 ... work, life, travel seemed to get in the way of true training.

It was only until a pretty harsh Thunder Road Half 2013 that I decided I would give running a try.  Yes, I had been running on and off for three years, but it was time to decide if it would be my thing.

... and my thing it turned out to be ... 34 races completed really consolidated my training during the year, however so did my aches and pains. 

I thought I had Plantar Fasciitis ... thankfully I didn't ... even though the arch pain was pretty severe.  My calves are tight, leading to true pain and now my Achilles. 

There are times that I get discouraged because I feel my mind could run forever ... there is no more fighting with the pavement ... BUT and this is a big BUT ... my body is just not running at the same pace as my thoughts and my will.

Achilles and calf pains are pains that are very hard to run through and even dangerous to push through due to the consequences it may bring.

Lets see what I have learned and what I am doing -
  • Learned - My true pain stems from my weak gluteus muscles
  • Learned - The fact that I am not cross-training and strength-training is hindering my running
  • Acknowledged - Lost all flexibility - Yoga needs to come back into the picture
  • Learned - Cross and strength training are not that bad ... even though I am still not putting the right effort into these trainings
  • Doing - Massage therapy, though expensive is totally worth it and necessary for athletes ... (did I just call myself and athlete???)
  • Doing - Sometimes you can't do it by yourself ... so enter Chiropractor ...
  • Doing - Cross-training - spinning - yoga - planks - pushups - squats ...
As I strive to meet my revised 1000 mile goal set for this year, the true thing I am striving for is to learn how to run more intelligently ... maybe by racing a little less so that I have time to do all the other things/workouts that are need to get rid of my pain.

Happy running to all ... a dopo ... J 

Friday, January 2, 2015

... Holiday Eats! ...

Snapshot of our holiday dinners. We did not exchange presents this year and I to say it was one of the best holidays we have had despite been far from our family.

2014 was a year of change so we decided to make this a volunteer filled, delicious dinner holiday ... It's been glorious.

Below the recap.

Dinner with friends/co-workers.

Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day.

New Year's Eve.

New Year's Day.

A few more ...



Hope your holidays were plenty! A dopo ... J

Thursday, January 1, 2015

... reflections ...

It is incredible that a year has gone by ... This has been some year.

In summary ...

- My blog ... well, let's just say I have not been paying close attention to it.  Mostly because its identity has changed, and I guess I am having a hard time getting into the habit of writing under this new identity.  I hope to change this next year ... never one to post three times a day ... I do want to find a healthy and consistent posting pattern.  There have been times that I have thought of stopping altogether, I don't know what to do about this yet.  My plan is write consistently during the first few months of 2015 and then decide if I should continue or not.

- My running ... I am so pleased with what I have done this year.  My mileage, the races ... I believe 35 for the year ... my goal ... 12!  Unfortunately I have been dealing with pain ... In July it was my arches, thought it was Plantar Fasciitis ... it wasn't ... thankfully ... then it was my calves ... tight, very tight.  Then and currently I am dealing with pain in my Achilles ... sometimes I just want to scream.  My mind could run forever, however my body is not cooperating.  Usually it is the mind that poses the opposition.  I feel a great deal of frustration, and I hate that feeling.  I wake up walking funny until my legs catch up.  I hate feeling the pain.  I need to rest, but so much of my life revolves around my running.

- Speaking of running and how it is intertwined in my life ... I have been so fortunate to be able to be a part of one of the greatest associations out there today in my city. It is called RunningWorks, founded by an amazing woman and friend of mine, Meredith.

Well, here too, I run.  This fantastic program teaches the homeless population that through dedication and consistency, goals are met and this translates to every part of the person's life.  Showing up, despite perhaps sleeping in the street, or having to take more than one bus to arrive, demonstrates that you are committed and vested in your life and your future.  I have personally seen the transformation and dedication of those who participate in this program.  Now the program is extending to a treatment center program and a child and young adult program.

My cooking ... Well, I have never considered myself a true food blogger, perhaps more a foodie ... I still love cooking ... but, I guess my blog is just not about that anymore.

Life - Divorce has not defined me and I know in my heart it was the best decision even after 21 years of marriage.  I am happy and I am serene.  With the girls in college ... I am very happy to call my time ... my own!

Work - It has been difficult - surprisingly there are many decisions that have been taken that I have not felt have been fair and that have hurt me personally.  I hope I could state that they have not hurt me, but they have ... surprised by actions and unkindness in many ...

The ironic part is that what has happened has allowed me to put work where it belongs ... as work ... so grateful, so happy to have a job, a 100% employee - always, yet I have learned to give the rightful weight and place to work ... and have now reclaimed my time!

Looking ahead ... We will see what happens during this first quarter of this year and we will see.  I do see the blog being mostly my journey or as I call it ... my quest for pain-free running!

All my best for a wonderful New Year!  Stick around! ... a dopo ... J

Saturday, November 1, 2014

... playing catch up again ... AGAIN! Sorry! ...

As the year draws to an end, I am excited to look back at this year and what I have done in terms of my running ... 12 races ... one a month ... a goal that I have exceeded ... I believe I am at race #27 ... 500 miles ... again here I have exceeded this goal ... I am close to 750 ... I believe ... I won't be able to reach 1000 ... but I am happy nonetheless.

I am a runner who runs in black ... so my friend Kendra always insists on adding some color when we run together. Therefore once again I was given the lime green compression socks!
The below is from the Brixx 10K and 5K ... probably the worse race of my life ... not the time was extremely terrible ... it just wasn't my day. We arrived early and my friend as always wanted to visit the port-a-potty ... I am very anal on my race day schedule. I start close to the start line and I am always early. My friend's trip to the potty threw everything off ... I had her keys and her water ... I waited ... and waited and the runners were off.

We started in a somewhat disorganized race after basically in the end of the race and had to weave through the crowds. It was very hard and I felt anxious and frustrated. My friend went up to the sidewalk and was able to pull ahead ... as it is something that I normally don't do ... I just became increasingly unhappy ... the water stations were not on point and with the humidity at 98% this should have been first priority. I felt it was not my day from the get go ... After crossing the line, I turned to my friends and said I was just not going to run the 5K. Somehow I rested and drank much needed fluids and felt ready to tackle the 5K, which we did ... BUT ... the start time was 15 minutes before we thought .... as we sped to the start we saw that they were picking up the pad .... My friend simply did not feel it was worth the run .... I decided to run it even though I knew I was only going to get a time elapsed and not a chip time. I am still bothered about that!

The above pic was at the end of both races ... it was a hot, hot, humid day ... and even though it was a hard race and my performance was less than stellar ... there is nothing like running ... and I am grateful everyday that I can run ...

I have had a pretty consistent year ... I have run more and more and am so happy to be able to share time with my running friends ... Meeting after the running my miles in the Sunday Long Run is becoming part of my weekend ritual!

I was afraid of how I would run after the horrible 10K and 5K I had ... I had already signed up for the Lungstrong 15K. What a race! Such a beautiful course ... difficult, but beautiful. I didn't get a PR, but I run strong which is what I needed to get my confidence back after the Brixx.

Feeling happy ... and ready to tackle the park with my Dante!

I started running the Komen 5K in honour of my friend Julie ... unfortunately this year it is in her memory ... It was a very emotional start ... very ... it took me by surprise ... It was a beautiful day and I achieved a 5K PR .... I swear it was Julie who was helping me out ...

I am starting to really love Charlotte ... truly ... I am starting to feel truly happy ...

After the Komen I went to my club's Relay Event ... total for the day 26.2 miles! Yes ... they were no consecutive miles, but I did it! I actually really enjoyed the relay and except for the last 3 mile loop, my times were not bad!

The day after the relay I volunteered at the first Run and Ride at Carowinds Amusement Park. It was a small race ... and all the runners seemed to enjoy it. I love volunteering, however I actually really wanted to be running it! With a first race that small ... I could have placed!! :)

Very pretty medals were given out and warm bagels and cream cheese at the finish line!

My girls came to visit ... which actually means there is a lot of eating involved.

... and tea in the terrace ...

... there is still time to be made for running ...

Though I always try to be healthy, my friends know what to do to pick me up!

... busy week with dinners at work ... nice perk!

Time for another race with Kendra ... We raced the hilly Ath Half ... I actually felt nervous as we drove the course the day before ... I had no strategy ... Again ... I need to train on hills!!! It was a beautiful course and got a PR! I am liking this PR thing!

Signed up last minute for the Runway 5K ... another PR! Can I keep it going? It is so easy to get caught up in the PR web, however it is so great to see your training yield results!

... and yes that is me ... only one in summer clothing!
After the race I joined the group I am mentoring ... we ran 7miles and it felt great!

... and then a few days after while running with Dante ... this happened ... ouch ... need to start running with my flashlight again!

I got this beautiful surprise on my birthday ... Hand painted canvases from my daughter ... touched my heart ... I received beautiful words from both my daughters ... I feel honoured to receive them!

Then went out to a dinner celebration ...

We delayed the Long Run with the Group until tomorrow as it is rainy and so windy ... so I took Dante for a long walk instead! I was bundled up and felt great!

... now it is time to rest ... on a chilly Saturday ... a dopo ... J