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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Not much to say

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for a weekly checkin.  I’m not sure there is much to report since I’ve got my lovely cast on my ankle.  But I thought it would be a good idea to keep consistent with these posts, so I have something to write about over here and this poor blog doesn’t get neglected.

I say not much has been going on in the exercise world, but hobbling around on crutches is definitely exercise of some parts of your body.  I’m glad I was trained up for Tough Mudder otherwise my arms really would have been in trouble.  Not to mention I hobbled around Chicago last Thursday…even hobbled close to 2 miles from Lincoln Park Zoo back to my hotel.  What Google maps said would take about 35 minutes, it took me 2 hours.  Heh.  Speedy I am not.  But that included many a break on the benches through the park and well, I did it.  I kept thinking I wanted to take a cab, but never got to a place where I saw one that could pick me up.  So I made it back to the hotel and promptly crashed into bed for a few hours.

I also made it through 3 airports on the crutches.  Leaving Chicago the security line was moving like molasses (and flying with a cast means extra security precautions, just so you know) and I thought I’d just get to my gate in time to board.  But I was hauling ass on those crutches with my bag and purse slung around my shoulders.  I was dripping sweat by the time I got to my gate…only to find out it was running about 30 minutes behind.  *deep breath*  But at least I had time to pee.

I did actually do “real” exercise yesterday.  I plunked down with my phone and Nike Training Club and worked out my abs.  It felt so good to stretch out my lower back.  I also have been trying to stay on top of my pullups.  The bar is just sitting there hanging.  I don’t want it to get lonely.  But honestly I’ve only done it twice in the last week.

I’ve been pretty exhausted lately.  I’m not sure if it’s my body coming down after all the training I was doing for Tough Mudder and my long runs for the half I did on September 11th.  Or if it’s the amount of current stress in my life right now.  Or, more likely, a combination of the two.  But I’ve been napping most days and still going to bed at my normal time.  I’m ready for some zen in life.  Though I don’t see it coming any time soon.  My silver lining is that I’m only supposed to be casted for a month (one week down, 3 to go) and then move on to a walking boot for 2-4 weeks.  So that puts me at getting back to running in December.  I can’t wait.  Running is such a stress reliever, ego booster for me.  I knew I was going to miss it…but it’s not surgery.  It’s not being told “your stupid determination ruined your chances for getting back to running.”  It’s knowing what I knew in the midst of the pain coming down that mountain.  I am young and healthy.  I will heal.  I will be out of the loop for a bit, but then I will come back strong.

Because I can.  And I will.

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Posted by on September 28, 2011 in fitness, running

 

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Tough Mudder NorCal – Epic Recap

Epic.  This will not be your run of the mill race recap from me. And I’m going to start at the beginning.  Well when did the beginning really happen?  It happened back in May.  T sent me an email and said, “Hey, XX and Mrs. XX are signed up and going to participate in Tough Mudder.  Here’s the link.”

And I might have said something along the lines of “holy shit!” and “seriously?” as I looked at the website. But the more I read, the more I thought what an awesome event!  And they even take a dig at running marathons!  And that made me laugh.  Out loud.  Seriously.  Since I was only a few months out from running Disney.

But the idea grew on me.  And I was excited as Tough Mudder gave me the opportunity to blog about my experiences in exchange for an entry into the NorCal event.  I’ve done quite a few updates along the way with my training.  I have to say that doing the “prescribed” Tough Mudder workout they have on their website kicked my butt.  In an awesome, I’ve-never-been-in-this-good-of-shape-ever-in-my-life kind of way.

Last minute change of plans allowed us to stay at my parents’ place at the lake last night.  So instead of having to get up extra extra early, we only had to get up early – 5:30.  I checked the temperature and wasn’t thrilled to see this.

Oh, did I forget to mention that 8 of the 23 obstacles at NorCal Tough Mudder were water.  And not warm water.  Effin’ cold if not icy water.  And I’m looking at that temperature?  Luckily by 8:30 when our wave started the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  Not that the icy water wasn’t still shocking.  It most definitely was but at least the sun was out to warm you up a bit and help you dry.

Anyway.  Back to the order of events.  We waited in line for a bit until registration opened and got our bibs and face markings done.

After that we found Starbucks for warm coffee and the bathrooms.  Which are important to find in the beginning of any race/event.  While I was waiting for T, I glanced down and saw this.

I found a heads-up penny! I smiled to myself and picked it up saying “find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck.”  Ha! I’m not sure I’m ever going to pick up a penny again.

Next time (yes, next time. I will totally do another TM event in the future), I want to get some kind of waterproof camera because I really enjoyed the views and then I could have taken pictures of each obstacle so I could remember accurately what I did.  My memory is horrible!

But off we headed towards the start line.  Camelbaks filled with Nuun, Hammer gels stuck in the pockets of the Camelbaks, prepared for a tough hike but figuring we’d get it done in about 3 to 3-1/2 hours.  Done by noon.  The first real obstacle was the “Kiss of Mud”.  Essentially low crawling under barbed wire in cold muddy water.  This was slow moving at first and my shoes filled up with water and sand and small rocks.  I kept rolling my feet around trying to get the little tiny pebbles into places where they didn’t rub or poke.  I couldn’t see taking my wet soggy shoes off and trying to get them put back on in the first mile when I knew so much more mud and water was on its way.

Most of the next couple of miles was hiking.  There was one obstacle that had you going under water in a tank-like contraption below 1×12″ boards and then hoisting yourself out.  I had problems at first with this because I was a bit out of breath from the hiking and the water was cold and I didn’t realize the boards were so deep.  It took me two tries to get under, but I did it.  And off we went.  We were passing quite a few people on the trails.  I owe that to living at elevation and really pushing myself on our hike a few weeks ago.  I knew how hard I could push and was happy and confident.

Then came what they called “reactor #2”.  Essentially it was an ice bath.  As in we watched a tractor dump a shovel load of ice into one of the tanks and then got in it and across it.  *shiver*.  Though still not hard in my mind.

Then came Everest.  Everest was at about mile 3.5.  Essential it was a 12-foot high 1/4-pipe with a smooth slippery surface.  You had to run really fast and reach up hoping somone already at the top was going to grab your hand and pull you up.  There were a ton of people.  It was also about 50-meters long.  So there was a lot of space for a lot of people.  I made my way up to the front and made eye contact with one of the guys at the top and took of sprinting.  I just barely missed his hand and slid back down on my hip and gloved hand.  Didn’t hurt at all.  I got back into the line and waited a minute or two.  I make eye contact with a different guy who looks at me and I hear him say “I’ve got the hotass!”.  So I take off running and I swear I swiped his fingertips with mine but slid back down.  I landed the same way, right hip, right palm.  On my way down, I heard a *pop* and thought “uh oh”.  When I stood up my left ankle was hurting pretty bad.  I made my way through the people and sat down on the ground.  My first thought was “shit, I’m done.”  But as I sat there wondering how I was going to find T to tell him, it stopped hurting quite so much.  So I stood up and tested out my leg.  My ankle was sore, but I could walk on it.  I figured it was just sprained and if I wrapped it, I’d be okay.  So I found T, told him and said let’s go.  We ran into a first aid lady and asked her for a wrap.  She asked if I wanted to wrap it or if I wanted her to do it.  I wanted to do it, so leaned over and wrapped just my ankle as I didn’t want to take off my shoe.  I figured the compression would help and all would be fine.  And off we went.

Next up was a rope climb thing.  There were ropes with knots in them and you had to climb up them to get to a platform.  T held the bottom of the rope so it didn’t swing too much.  With a little help at the top, I made it on the platform.  After T got to the top, we were off.

Hiking.  Hiking.  Hiking.  We hit the mystery obstacle.  Snow.  Under a cargo net-like thing.  It was crawling on hands and knees or for me, I was on my hip and pulling myself through.  Snow is effin cold especially when you’re already wet.  But we made it through a little more numb than when we started.  There were some steep places going back down that T gave me some support because my ankle was hurting a bit and I didn’t want to slip on the steep parts.

The next obstacle was climbing over log walls and crawling under.  Pretty easy.  They took a little maneuvering, but they weren’t hard.

I think the next thing were the Berlin Walls – pairs of 12-foot high walls made out of 2×12″ boards.  These were tough for me as I was scared to push off with my left foot or land on it hard.  But I was able to, one I had a hand pull me high enough so I could reach the top, pull myself up so I was straddling the wall.  Knowing my ankle was tender, I didn’t want to drop and land on my sore ankle, so I called out to a group of guys that was watching everyone coming over.  And I got help to drop down safely.

Then there was more hiking a lot of uphill which didn’t seem to bother my ankle as much as downhill.  I was able to easily carry my log (pick up a log and carry for probably 1/4-mile around part of one of the peaks of the mountain.  I didn’t pick a huge log so this didn’t seem hard to me either.  Though, again, I didn’t want something too big because I didn’t want to throw off my balance.

Then we had to climb down that part of the mountain which was covered in lots of loose rocks on sand that was fairly slippery.  It was hard in some spots with my ankle, so T went first and helped me with physical support so I didn’t have to put so much weight on my ankle.

I had numerous people tell me along the way that they would have given up if they got hurt, but yet here I was still going, albeit more slowly than I wanted.  There was a lot more hiking at this point.  A ton of downhill. Here’s where my memory gets fuzzy. I think this is where “Walk the Plank” was.  Walk the Plank is essentially that.  You climb up to a 15-foot platform and jump off into the lake below and then swim over to three sets of floating plastic barrels and swim under them.  Since I knew the cold water was going to affect my breathing, I made sure I was calm and breathing normally before I jumped.  Holy schnike! That water was COLD! So cold that when I turned over to float on my back, that made it so I could barely breath! I knew as I swam along that there was no way I was going to be able to hold my breath to get under the barrels, so I swam around them and got out.  The swim was hard because of the cold.  A little scary as swimming isn’t my strong suit.

And more hiking hiking hiking.  Now came the obstacle that I said was actually scared about.  The Boa Constrictor.  Essentially plastic pipes placed at an angle that takes you down into nearly submerged water and then you get a break of about 3 feet and then you crawl into another one and out of the water.  They weren’t as long as I was thinking they were, and having my body floating while my hands were on the ground felt so good.  It was a bit hard to crawl out all the way as you were on dirt and rocks without much room to maneuver, but it was relatively easy from what I was expecting.

The next two obstacles I skipped.  Another set of Berlin Walls and hay bales stacked high.  I knew in looking at them that they were pretty loose and I was scared the unstable nature of hay would mess with my ankle.

I was really hurting at this point.  I was hiking about as fast as the 5yo.  Where I’m basically dragging her along.  That was me.  And I kept stepping aside and the people who were trying to run down hill get by me.  There were portions of the last few miles downhill that I had my hands on T’s shoulders and using him for support.  But that angle was hard to bear on my back and sometimes my feet.  By the end my other ankle was sore from my altered gait.  Numerous people either told me great job for toughing it out or are you sure you’re okay?  One even commented on the ugly bloody heel of my other foot from sand and dirt rubbing.  Which made me laugh because I barely felt that at all, even though the back of my sock was red from blood.  The pain in my other ankle was so overwhelming that I didn’t notice.  On top of that I had to PEE! And there were no port-a-potties or real places that I felt I could easily get to to balance, pull down my pants and go.  At mile 10 I heard someone say that it was 2:15, and I wanted to cry.  We had been on the course since 8:30.  We were expecting to be done by 12.  And here it was 2+ hours later than that and we still had 2 miles of downhill to go.  But I kept going.  I had a couple of first aid folks ask me if I was okay.  I *knew* that if they looked at my ankle they would make me stop.  Dammit! I wanted my orange headband! I was going to make it.

Those last 2 miles were so painful.  At the very end there were the last three obstacles.  The Turd’s Nest, Twinkle Toes, and ElectroShock Therapy.  The Turd’s Nest was cargo-net like ropes over water.  I knew there was no way my ankle would put up with that, so I skipped it.  Met T on the other side.  Twinkle Toes was essentially wiggly balance beams about 30-feet long over water.  I knew neither one of my ankles had any balance left in them.  I also couldn’t see a way to bypass it.  I *also* knew I didn’t want to get wet again.  So I decided that I was going to sit on the boards and scoot across.  That wasn’t easy, but it got the job done.  The very last…ElectroShock Therapy.  I did not want to get shocked, but the finish line was 15 feet past the end of this.  Luckily, for me, there were lots of big spaces between wires and I was able to hobble through and make it across the finish line and claim my orange Tough Mudder headband, my shirt, and my free Dos Equis.

Now if you know anything about me, you know I don’t like beer.  Can’t stand the stuff really.  But I drank at least half of that plastic cup full of beer.  I wanted to sit down and cry, but I knew I needed to get my bag.  I knew I needed to let people know that I had finished…even though it was HOURS after I had intended on finishing.  I was in a lot of pain.  Here.  Wanna see my face?

I was in serious pain at this point.  I wanted, no needed, food.  I had eaten a smoothie at 6 a.m., drank half of a grande mocha from starbucks, a banana, a bag of energy chews, a Hammer gel, and lots of Nuun…oh, and about 6 ounces of beer, but it was already 3:30.  I knew I needed two things.  1) to get off my foot and get it elevated and 2) food.  I wasn’t feeling starving but I knew my body needed it.

We met up with some friends at one of the restaurants in the Village at the resort.  And I took my shoe off and unwrapped it.  It was not pretty at all.  I didn’t get a great picture as it was sunny and so the lighting was bad.  After we ate and I drank my very strong margarita, we talked to my parents and told them we were going to stop at the ER on the way back into town and we’d give them an update as soon as we knew something.

It was a beautiful day at the lake though.

And off to the ER we went.  Here’s the ankle after being palpated by the doctor.

And one of the xrays. I fractured the hell out of my fibula. There is the main break, a white spiral break going up from the edge of the main break, and it’s a little hard to see it, but there is a dark Y-shape above the main break that is also spiral-ish in nature.

This is my first broken bone.  When I do something, I really *do* something.

I did tell T on the way down that I’m my father’s daughter.  My dad always encouraged me to go back and try despite a little pain.  He is currently recovering from shoulder surgery because of doing something he loved and having an accident.

Like father like daughter.  My brother also called to tell me congrats on finishing and WTFing go on breaking it so well!  He was proud of me! Heh. I love my family.

So here are all my memorabilia from today.

In this picture you see my splinted leg/foot, my Tough Mudder headband,

my hospital ID band, my bib number wrist bracelet and my Dos Equis wrist band.

All of them used.  🙂

So who wants to do a Tough Mudder with me next year?  Do I have any takers?

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in fitness, running

 

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Checking in 2 days out

Holy crap! I’d say I’m scared about Tough Mudder NorCal, which just so happens to occur in 2-1/2 days at the time I’m writing this, but I’m not really scared.  Will it be hard? Hellz yeah.  Of course it will be.  It will be a marathon of a different sort.  It will be long and hard.  I will be there with thousands of my closest “friends”.  Sorta like my marathon at Disney.  I will know people who are out there doing it too, but not necessarily be with them during the time on the course.  If you want to check out the course, here’s the link.

The only thing I’m *scared* of is the boa constrictor.  It *says* on the website that you crawl through pipes.  The pictures they posted on facebook today? Showed they are cut pipes.  So the bottom of them is open to the rocks and dirt and then they add water.  Confined spaces.  Water that will almost cover my head? Scares the heck out of me.  Will I get through it?  Of course.  But I think I may be taking a gel with caffeine at the top of the mountain.  Sorta my own version of liquid courage.

As I said, the rest of it is going to be hard.  I’m expecting to be totally beat up by the end.  And unless something *bad* happens (which my 10yo has told me is not acceptable), then there is no reason I won’t finish.  I know I will.

Today I did my final official Tough Mudder workout.  The intervals have gotten easier.  I still am tired by the end of them, but they don’t feel overwhelming anymore.  The strength aspect I’ve had a bit of trouble with lately.  My left shoulder has been weird so I’ve been taking it easy.  I can still get 5-6 pullups and chinups done each time.  Today I made it a point to sit down and make friends with my foam roller again.  My left knee has been a little weird lately and no real surprise, my IT band is mad.  I’ve now rolled it twice today.  I will continue to do it 2-3 times a day for the next two days.  I can’t have my knee freaking out on this 11-mile hike (last time I checked the website they said it was about 10 miles – must have had some alterations to the course once they got on the mountain) with all that the rest of me has to do.

I am excited about Tough Mudder.  It’s going to be a blast.  I promise a recap by the end of Sunday.  I want to get it done Saturday when everything is fresh in my mind..but I can’t promise I won’t be soaking and popping ibuprofen and trying not to move while drinking booze.

So an actual non-Tough Mudder update?  I’ve been eating well and trying to hydrate.  Tonight I’m drinking margaritas.  The next two nights I will be booze free.  The bootcamp style of the Tough Mudder workout followed directly after The Sisterhood’s Bootcamp.  I didn’t take any measurements because, well, I don’t worry about that.  I’d really like to know my body fat composition because I know it’s dropped significantly in the last few months.  (Granted I haven’t had it done in 16 years, but back then I weighed about the same and *looked* thin and healthy but had a BF% of, I think, 26% – much higher than I looked).  Today when I got out of the shower I stepped on the scale.  I’ve lost about 5 pounds this summer.  I also lost circumference on my waist as I had to go up a notch on my belt.

Now, don’t get disgruntled at me because I’m already thin.  I’m not gloating.  I’m telling you the hard cardio followed by weights has changed my body.  I am currently healthier than I have ever been in my life.  And I’m loving it.  I love knowing that this body has birthed three kids.  I love knowing that I’ve found my groove.  I know running will always be my go-to exercise.  But being able to do pullups for the first time in my life is pretty damn awesome.  I’m proud of the hard work I’ve done to get here.  Being healthy takes work.  Mental and physical.  You must just do it.  Seriously.  Life is crazy and busy and there aren’t enough hours.  Trust me, I know.  If you start small and say 2 days a week, then you create a routine.  You can adjust the days as the craziness of life gets in the way.  Then when you are comfortable doing 2 days, add a third.  I was worth it.  You are worth it.

So I’m going to send you to The Sisterhood.  They are starting Shrinkvivor again this fall.  It was a huge success for those who participated last year.  Go join up.

Remember what you put into your health is what you’ll get out of it.  No go get to it!

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2011 in fitness, running

 

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Fight For Air Half Marathon

I signed up for this race in Reno a month or so ago? It was relatively cheap.  It was local.  I needed to run at least one more half marathon this calendar year.  So this was it.  The website said it was a relatively flat course that ran along the eastern foothills in Reno. I like flat.  Flat helps with speed.

But as I’ve said before I didn’t really train for this.  I have focused on training on Tough Mudder.  But for the last couple of months I have made a point to do a long run on the weekend to at least get the time on my feet necessary for a half marathon.

So Sunday morning I awake at about 6.  The race was set to start until 8:15, so it wasn’t a really early morning, but I still had to drive into Reno I’ve never been before.  Add into that my need to be early, and I was there right as everyone was getting set up.  So I had an hour to kill.  Which I’m thankful.  I got to hit the bathroom twice.  (Thank goodness because there were *zero* pitstops along the course.  This was a very small race.  There were maybe 60 people total running the half marathon.  Luckily one of the local running groups based out of Reno had people who were pacers, so I knew there would be people behind me and in front of me.  I like being in the middle of the pack.  There was no real official timing either.  Air horn was go with one guy with a stop watch in his hand.  Which is fine.  I knew it was going to be a small event.

(pre-race)

Last Friday Brooke asked me what my goal was for this race.  I said 2:10 or under.  I figured that was doable.

At the horn, I thought maybe I’d be able to stick with the 2:00 pacer and I did for the first couple of miles and then realized I needed to slow down or I was going to lose momentum fast.  I was running a decent pace and had him at least in my sights until about mile 4 or so.  I was running about the same pace as about 4 other women.  We all sorta stuck together for the mid miles.

A little background.  I needed this race.  I needed this run.  I needed to simultaneously get into my head and get out of it.  At mile 3 I sorta lost it.  Now I know a handful of my girls over at the Sisterhood know this feeling.  They know how hard it is to have a total emotional breakdown while running…especially when surrounded by strangers.  Fun times.  Let me tell you.  But I needed that moment.  And as I continued running my brain shut off.  I listened to the music in my ears and just ran along.  I also wore this necklace which is a little reminder to myself.

My legs felt pretty good.  I felt my feet on occasion but I’m blaming that on the fact that I’ve been wearing my same running shoes since February.  This last run solidified that fact.

When I hit mile 9 I still felt pretty good.  I remember thinking hey, maybe I’ll really do awesome on this race and blow it out of the water.  And then the sun came out.  It had been cloudy all morning with a slight breeze.  The sun brought out the humidity which took me out of my zen-like state.  I started feeling like I couldn’t get a deep breath.  It reminded me of Rock N Roll San Diego.  And I slowed down.  And I walked.  And my shoulders tightened up.  And then my neck.  It was fun.  No really.

In the last 3 miles I’m pretty sure I walked half of that distance.  I was still within reach of my goal time of 2:10 or less.  I tried to convince myself that I could run that last 1.1 miles.  But I couldn’t.  I ran the last 0.4 or so.  And I made myself sprint to the finish line.

I collected my chocolate milk, gatorade, and banana and noticed that there was a chiropractor set up at a booth.  I walked over and asked if they were doing adjustments.  They asked if I have ever had care before, and I said yes.  So I filled out their treatment release and got the best neck and upper thoracic spine pops ever.  It freed up my ability to take a deep breath.  And then I sat down and cried again.

Running has always been a release for me.  This race was mine.  It was for me.  They all are, really, but I wasn’t running with friends.  I wasn’t there with anyone.  It was just me.  And I needed it.

(post race)

My latest bling

linking up to Elaine!

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in fitness, running

 

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Tough Mudder is when?

Nine days.  In nine days I will be hiking up the side of a mountain climbing, crawling, jogging, being dragged over 12-foot walls, jumping off a platform into water, diving under barrels, and some mystery obstacle we won’t know about until the day of.  I remember when T first brought this to my attention and I thought he was insane.  And now? Now I feel as ready as ever.  I’m not scared or worried.  I’m mildly nervous about the boa constrictor obstacle – confined space and water.  Not my ideal situation, but I know I’ll tough mudder through it all.  And end up with my fabulous orange headband and wear it proudly on Tough Mudder Monday.

The only part that sorta bothers me the fact of how many people are participating.  We got our “get ready” email yesterday.  There are so many people now that they have pushed up the start time from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m.  There will be waves of 600 people every 20  minutes.  That blows my mind.  I totally understand how they recommend being able to run 5-6 miles before the event even though the courses are between 10-12 miles each.  You are not continuously moving through the course.  There will be lots of stopping and waiting to get through the obstacles.  I probably glossed over this fact in the beginning my research.  But I do know that TM petitioned Squaw Valley to add 15,000 extra people to this 2-day event.

But I’m ready.  I’m ready to have my ass kicked and have very sore muscles the next day.  I’m debating seeing if my parents will watch the kids the next morning so we can go up and watch my brother and his group run it on Sunday.  I’d love to see it from the spectators perspective too.

And you want to hear the even crazier part? The Tough Mudder tattoo? They’ve changed their process.  Now? If you donate $70 to the Wounded Warrior Project you can get a the Tough Mudder tattoo AND a free entry into one of the upcoming TM events.  (I sorta want to be even more bad ass and two!)  But I didn’t say that.  Really.

I also have this little half marathon on Sunday.  You know the one I’ve barely trained for.  The one I signed up for because I couldn’t fathom only having completed one half marathon this year.  It’s in Reno.  The girls will spend the night with my parents on Saturday so I can get up and figure out where I’m going on my own.  I have no real expectations for this race.  I’d like to not have my worst time.  I can’t fathom that I will.  It will be cool and relatively flat.  I doubt I’ll PR it but 2:10 or under would be fabulous in my mind.  I’ll let you know next week.

My eating hasn’t been fantastic.  Stress will do that to you.  But I haven’t been eating crap.  Just not enough overall.  But I promise it’s not horrible.  I just know I’m not fueling as well as I should be.

But in 4 days I will be running 13.1 again.  And in just over 9 days I will become a Tough Mudder!!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 7, 2011 in fitness, running

 

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