Get Your Gear On

gotogear

This is my- can’t live without, what did I ever do before you, go to running gear. As soon as you start running you are searching for those little things to make your runs easier. Shorts that look good on you. A place to carry your ipod, keys and nutrition. The perfect hat. A way to track your distance. And once you find those “keepers” you wonder what you ever did without them. What are yours?

1.) Lululemon Speed Shorts (www.lululemon.com)

They are simply perfection. Built in undies, thin fabric, multiple pockets and they are cut so that they don’t ride up your ass. What more could you want in a running short? Trust me you don’t want to be picking a wedgie on race day. Not a cute look.

2.) Garmin Forerunner 100 GPS watch with HR monitor (www.garmin.com)

I actually purchased this watch based on the fact it was pink, not really for the features. Turns out this is one of the lower end Garmin watches and there are ones that way surpass this one. But, it tells me HR, pace, distance and time. It has a light for running at the crack of dawn and it has never failed me. Plus, I saved the extra money and put it toward wine. Much happier girl for that.

3. Spibelt (www.spibelt.com)

This was a lifesaver. I tried other belts that would creep up as I ran and I was constantly readjusting. Look, running is hard enough- why make it harder? I think what sold me on the Spibelt is that belt itself is stretchy so it hugs your hips like a whiny toddler. It is not going anywhere! The pouch expands and can fit a variety of things easily. I put my iPod, keys, lip balm and chews in the pouch. Easy access and light weight.

4.) Headsweats Visor- (www.headsweatsvisor.com)

I went through many hats before I found this gem. I over heat quickly and my performance suffers. It doesn’t help that I have long, thick hair that likes to trap heat. In a vent session to my brother I told him how quickly I over heat, he suggested switching to a headsweats visor so that I wasn’t trapping heat on my head. GAME CHANGER! I love this visor and where it whether I am on a 3 mile run on the treadmill or logging long runs outside. It is just perfection. It also doesn’t leave a “I just wore a hat for 2 hours” mark.

5) Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews (www.honeystinger.com)

I quickly learned that were things to eat and things to NOT eat while running. Honey Stinger is one of the only brands of sport nutrition that I can stomach. I live off their waffles when I cycle. I could really care less about the organic part but it’s an added bonus. The chews are made from 100% organic tapioca syrup and honey so it makes it easier to digest. Plus they are little pieces of deliciousness that you get to look forward to. Some runs I will wait till mile 3 to have one. I always get so excited thinking, “I get a honey stinger chew soon!” Yeah, that good.

6) iPod with Rock my Run app (www.apple.com) (www.rockmyrun.com)

Hopefully, I do not need to explain what an iPod is or why it is needed. MUSIC, folks. When you are logging miles your music can get old and FAST. I am constantly buying music and changing playlists. Sometimes it feels like a job and I end up listening to the first 30 seconds of a song, skipping it and hating everything all together. “Nope, this song sucks.”  “Not today.” “Can’t believe I even own this song.” Luckily my sister in law is a avid runner and felt my pain. She told me to download this app and I love, love, love. It saved my runs! You can pick genres, BPM, length, etc. I went ahead and got the premium membership which is $5 a month but you get more mixes and downloads. The mixes I have listened to so far are awesome.

7) RoadID (www.roadid.com)

It’s just plain smart. I didn’t need to be sold on this. As soon as I heard about them, I snatched one up. They are inexpensive, comfortable to wear (I actually never take mine off) and could save your life. RoadID allows you to put 4-5 lines of information on your band. Name, Emergency Contact #, Medical Alerts and if you have room- a fun quote to inspire you on the days you are not feeling so inspired. I even bought one for my son since he rides his bike to and from school a lot. I love running, but it can be a risky sport so remember safety first!!

Happy Running.

Just Freaking Do It.

Last spring I was training for a half marathon and was struggling to even hit my 8 mile mark. So, I reached out to my big brother who I have always believed knows everything. His response was simple, “Run 4 miles away from your house, turn around and run home.” Asshole. He made it sound SO simple. But the next morning, I woke up and took his advice. I ran 4 miles from home, turned around and ran back. So today when I was running my 5 miles I looked down and saw that I was keeping at an 8:43 pace. I started wondering how long I could hold onto that pace. I started doubting myself that I could really keep it up for 5 miles. Since this pace would be a totally achievable pace for my over achiever brother I started wondering how he kept up this speed. What advice would he would give to me about maintaining this speed for 5 miles? Then I heard his voice. Simple advice as always. “Just don’t slow down. “ Asshole, I thought. But I didn’t- I held that pace through the entire run. Like lickety split. People always say running is mental game and it is so true. Doubt and fear are the biggest obstacles to conquer when running. The same is true in life. One of my favorite quotes of all time is: “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.” There are times in all of our lives that we are our own worst enemy. We create boundaries, fears and doubt in ourselves. So my new mantra is going to be simple, live a life without limits. Who is coming with me??!?!

So long Summer- you will not be missed…kiss kiss.

I feel like so much has happened since I started this blog- and then abandoned it for the summer.

Oooooo…..summer…..

Summer is always a difficult time of year for me. I thrive on routine and summer always brings a sense of chaos. The kids are out of school, my son spends a lot of time gone, work is busy, the desert is HOT and the days are long. This summer was no different.

I started off the summer with a foot injury following a half in San Diego- which I PRd!! If you could have told me even a year ago I would care so much about not being able to run I would have laughed. But at this point in my life when I felt as though I was making great leaps in my running- I was devastated. Not only was I not able to run but I was supposed to begin training for a half Ironman to take place in the fall. I tried to look at the positives- I could still cycle and swim- both of which I had not spent a lot of time doing.  Actually I had never swam for distance or time in my life. I began my summer excited for the training ahead for my half Ironman, excited at the idea of taking on such a big challenge with my brother and how great the accomplishment would feel. Well, that is how the summer began but not how it would end…..

When you use running for your therapy and then you lose it- well all hell is about to break loose.

FOCUS! Ok, what is this swimming all about? Can’t be that hard, right? I mean I can “swim”. I’ve spent a lot of my days floating in a pool, speed boating, laying on some of the most beautiful beaches and snorkeling in oceans afar…..I can swim. Or so I thought. Let’s be clear- swimming for distance and time is NOT a day at the beach. It takes skill, patience and a little bit of luck- none of which I had. But I bought all the gear, a membership at a lap pool and even hired a swim coach. Off I went……gargle, gargle….

Cycling on the other hand was like second nature to me. I have to annoyingly talk about my glory days as a BMX racer: Jussie The Jet- and that I was. I LOVED racing bikes as a kid. My dad practically raised us at the race track. I think we lived with our RV parked outside a race track as much as our own home some years. I am not complaining- I’ve always been a tomboy. When I bought my first road bike, I felt right at home. It wasn’t but a few months until I had become so addicted to riding that I outgrew my starter bike. I needed something faster, sleeker and more powerful. So I walked into my LBS, plunked down a large wad of bills and rode off in a Trek Madone 5.2 which I affectionately call my Carbon Rocket.

The summer had some bumps in the start. However, my swimming was coming along. I was spending most lunch hours at the pool swimming laps until I couldn’t swim another meter.  I had convinced a close friend to get a bike so we started packing up and heading up north where the weather was cooler so that we could get in long rides. One of my nearest and dearests girlfriend had taken up triathlon sports as well and we were able to meet up and train together. Things weren’t so bad- despite my foot.

And then…..

Ever meet those types of people that you can’t read right off the bat? Like their aura just isn’t mix with yours?  They seem a bit “off” to you but you have no real good reason to feel this way- other than a feeling. Well a few of those types had somehow integrated into my circle and were really messing with my own journey. And once their true colors started to show- toxic would be an understatement. Suddenly this “fun” journey of doing triathlons with my brother had turned into something else entirely. It was competitive, mean spirited and challenging for me to even be a part of. I have never been a huge fan of people in general. I keep a small, close circle of friends who are dear to my heart. I don’t have a need to be in some large social circle. I don’t need to feel as though I am part of a “click”. I am a loaner if you will- and for me that has always worked. I’ve learned that people will use you, chew you up and spit you out- if you let them. So the moment I question someone’s motives or what energy they are bringing into my life- POOF BE GONE! And so that was that. I decided to remove myself from a group that no longer was a positive thing in my life. Life is too short to be around people you don’t truly enjoy. And these people sucked!

However, I wasn’t going to let a few nut jobs ruin what I had started out to do. So I shut the door on that chapter and walked right into a new one. Like Gone With The Wind Fabulous, honey. <twirl, twirl>

Lucky for me I still had an amazing group of friends who still wanted to participate in every aspect of my training. I had ones to ride with, swim with and run with. So the journey continued.

A few weeks later my foot was finally holding up with longer runs and mileage. I had to control my urge to just going out and running until I passed out. THE HIGH WAS BACK! I couldn’t believe how much I had missed running. It was something that swimming or riding had never replaced for those 8 weeks I took off. I was so happy to be back running the back roads and trails. The amount of peace and calm it brings to my mind is irreplaceable. It truly is my sport, my peace and my life. In all the craziness that had gone on throughout the summer with training for the triathlons- it was so priceless to get this source of peace back. My mind was quiet.  And it that silence I was able to finally sort through the chaos that had surrounded me……..

What am I tri-ing for? It wasn’t fun anymore. I remember when I first met my tri coach he told me about other athletes of his and the things they had to overcome to be successful- one being nerves. He said they would show up at events almost sick from nerves and unable to calm their mind to compete. I told him that every running event I show up to I am calm. I am excited. Maybe a lil’ hyper. But overall, HAPPY. I know I did the work – now it is time to just enjoy the run. I don’t care about the time or the people around me- I am competing only with myself. Nothing matters to me except finishing. I told him that these were my hobbies- and they should be fun. I’m 32, a mom and a business woman- I am not going PRO anytime soon. This is supposed to be FUN and the moment it became about something else I wouldn’t be interested. Suddenly I realized that this wasn’t fun anymore. Maybe the drama with the other competitors I had met had jaded this journey. Maybe the fact I was back to running and that high comparatively was much larger than that of which “tri-ing” was.

Now what? I had committed and even paid for SOMA (the half ironman set to take place this fall). I am not one to back down from a challenge but here I was feeling emotionally drained from the whole experience. Somewhere in all the chaos I lost my desire to be a part of it. So like any smart girl will do- I called on the opinions of a few of my closest friends who had seen the ups and downs I had been through all summer. One of my oldest and dearest friends said to me and I quote, “ You know you work your butt off.  You train for this- but the bottom line- this still has to be something you enjoy doing. So you don’t do this one thing because the fun aspect has been sucked out of it by stupid drama. Big deal. There is always another one. You love doing this because it is good for your mind as well as your body. If one of those is missing- it isn’t worth it. Move on. ……”

And with that it was done. She was absolutely right. Do what makes YOU happy. I had lost that somewhere along the way. I know what makes me happy- running. I am a runner. I wasn’t willing to share that time with anyone or anything else. I don’t want to be part of a large group trying to conquer triathlons. I don’t want to spend my lunch hours swimming in a cold pool. I don’t want the miles spent riding my bike to be merely data. I don’t want my runs to be judged on account of time. I just want to enjoy the ride. I want to get up and run the trails that have the best sunrise and not worry if it matches my training schedule for the week. I want to meet my friends on the weekend to ride our bikes just to see where it takes us and not a matter of how fast.  I only care to swim fast enough to get away from a shark if I fall off my paddle board while vacationing in Bali.

At the end of the day you have to do what makes you happy. Don’t try to follow others on a path if it isn’t yours. Life won’t wait for you. Never waste time on what others are thinking or saying about you. Just focus on what you need to do in life to make your soul shine….. ❤

“Do what the f—- makes you happy because in the end- who is there? YOU!”

Ok- off to swim……..

I didn’t say I was quitting- I did say I had to out swim sharks didn’t I??? Gargle…..gargle……

Xo

-J

For My Dad

Growing up I hated my dad. I know that is a strong word- but I did. I thought he was too hard on me. I didn’t think loved me enough. I hated how he saw everything so black and white. I despised his constant unemotional stance on things. I thought his view of the world was wrong. I was annoyed by his witty sayings and analogies. As soon as I could leave home- I did. There were even a few years where I don’t think I spoke to him but maybe once or twice. And at the time I could of cared less. As time passed- life started handing out lessons- and I couldn’t deny the fact that my dad had been right about a lot of things. Surprisingly the things I hated about him the most became the very reasons why I love him today. They are what made me the person I am. They made me strong, independent and able to take care of myself. The lessons he tried to teach me about the world proved true. Some days I hear his witty sayings and I smile thinking about how right he was. Now that I’m a parent myself I know how hard it is to guide your child into the right path- especially when they hate you in the moment. And when there are days I feel like Caden hates me- I don’t falter and remind myself to be strong like my dad was. I admire my dad for staying true to himself and for raising us kids on his own. I know it wasn’t easy and looking back now as an adult- I get it!! So- Happy Fathers Day to my dad. You will probably never give yourself the credit you deserve. But I hope that you can look at your children (well most of us) and see that you did a great job!! I truly appreciate all the sacrifices you made for us. I can only hope I instill the same values that you did in me in my son. I love you. ❤ Jus

It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.

road

I’ve been asked a few times by my non-runner friends what the hell I think about when I run. I suppose the idea of nothing but the road and your head for an hour and sometimes 2 hours can seem like maybe a bit too much for some. But for me- I crave it. My brother sent me this quote the other day saying that it reminded him of me- “It’s a treat being a runner, out in the world by yourself with not a soul to make you bad-tempered or tell you what to do.” I am sure there is a joke or two in there but for me it is really true. It’s MY time. My time to think, to dream and to just experience nothing for a bit. I don’t think my mind has ever been more clear or focused over this last 6 months. So just what the hell do I think about!??!  Sometimes I get caught up in thinking about the past. I think about all the things that have brought me to this moment. The good, the bad- and sometimes I even feel like for the first time I am letting it all go. I am able to come to terms with some things I wish had worked out differently. There are some moments where I just exhale and thank God for all the blessings in my life. The things he has brought me through and the life he brought me to. Sometimes I will envision the things I want in my future, the people I want around me, the things I want to accomplish and how incredible it will feel. And I smile knowing that I can make it all happen.  I think of the people in my life- past and present that I wish could feel this incredible gift.  The ones that I wish loved themselves as much as I love them. I say a prayer that they will someday find their passion, their happy and finally be at peace.  I think about the places I want to travel, the people I hope I meet along the way- the experiences that await me. I think of all the good things I hope come into Caden’s life as he gets older. I say a prayer that he can find his way a little easier than I did. I envision all the incredible things he will accomplish. I think about the people in my life that have passed away and sometimes I even feel them with me.  And I’ll admit it sometimes I start thinking- what the hell am I doing? Oh yeah- right foot, left foot- F*** my hip hurts. Am I limping? What the hell is with my stride today? Shit, I forgot to go to the store. What am I cooking for dinner?!? But I try to snap myself back out of it and remember that these moments are MY moments. Everything else can wait, it will be there when I get back- that I am sure of. Until then- just smile, dream- and breathe. Right foot, left foot……..

It’s All About The Shoes

As any girl knows the best outfits are all about the shoes! And when it comes to running- this is true as well.

For starters, I’m an over pronator- probably caused by my morton toe which is a whole different subject……

When it comes to running shoes and inserts- I’ve tried my fair share. I’ve even tried shoes with a roll bar that really looked like more of a moon shoe. I finally thought I had struck gold when Nike came out with the Lunarglide which was for over pronators. Finally a shoe with some style options!! I added the superfeet insoles and I was on my way to running- a mile or two. To be honest I wasn’t interested in running much further. Running wasn’t my sport. I would always finish a few miles cussing to myself and limping all the way home and then rolling my arches out on some roller ball.

Upon returning from Thailand I had decided to start doing things that scared me. Things that pushed me out of my comfort zone. I needed to be challenged. So at the suggestion of my lovely friend Lora, we signed up for the Rock N Roll half marathon. Neat. I remember our first run together I think I was lagging behind her at an 11 minute mile and I only made it to 2 miles before I was done. Just as I remembered- running was NOT my sport. But this was what it was supposed to be- hard. I convinced myself if nothing else I would gain those killer runner legs and THIS was my motivation. Purely superficial.

Toward the end of training for RnR AZ a girlfriend suggested that I read “Born to Run”. This book would change the way I saw running forever, she claimed. And Tina Rusher- you were right! If you ever read one book on running- this is it! This book made me want to be a runner!! I actually started running just for the fun of it (and maybe still the idea of runner’s legs). After I finished the book I decided to put the “barefoot running” theory to test that was talked about a lot throughout the book. I started researching and reading reviews and settled on trying the Merrell Bare Access Arc 2. They had a vibram sole which was perfect since I love trail running when the desert heat will allow it. I couldn’t believe how light they were. It hardly felt like I was wearing a shoe. My first 4 mile trail run I took 12 minutes off my time. Yes, you read that right. I couldn’t believe I went from wearing moon shoes with inserts to barely anything!

I’ve been running in Merrells since January and have yet to have a single foot or leg pain. I ran another half  6weeks after RnR and took 8 minutes off my time. And I have to say, it’s all about the shoes. merrells

I’m not saying what works for me works for everyone. But, if you’re a serious runner it is a theory worth trying out. If nothing less read the book, it is truly inspiring!!