Thursday, November 20, 2014

Weekend Adventures

Last weekend was awesome-

First, I was such a lucky duck and pulled a volunteer spot out of the lottery for The Elephant Sanctuary.  This is the sanctuary that featured Bella the dog and Tarra the elephant as BFF.  If you haven't seen the video, it is a MUST watch.  Check it out here.  So, this is a true sanctuary and is NEVER open to the public.  However, there is a lottery for a few volunteer days a year, and I got a spot out of 100s of applicants!  I was privileged enough to spend the day working on the Sanctuary with people from Portland, Detroit, North Carolina, etc.  It was one of the coolest days of my life. 
This is me after bagging a million leaves.  No, I didn't do all of those by myself, but I swear it felt like it.  I literally raked leaves and bagged them for 5 hours.  I mean, I really, really worked as a volunteer.  And when I caught a glimpse of the elephants, man it was all worth it!  The elephants live out on the sanctuary and are never asked or expected to see humans, so they can't guarantee you will see one.  But I saw a bunch!!!   They were amazing...so much different than seeing one in a zoo with chains, or keepers using bull hooks on them, or confined to a small space where they can't really move.  :( 
 Picture of Flora above courtesy of the Elephant Sanctuary website

I would post some pictures, but sanctuary rules dictate that pictures have to stay off of social media. So, I have some wonderful pictures of my own with Flora, the beautiful elephant above, and I got to see her beauty up close.  It was a tremendous experience to see an elephant, up close, with no human controlling its decisions.  I can't really put it into words how different it was to see an elephant in a more natural habitat with no human intervention vs a zoo.    

I was exhausted after a day of work- raking leaves all day is no joke- and seriously doubting my decision to run a half marathon the next morning.  But, my little body jumped right up the next day to race.  Because, who doesn't want to run a half marathon in the 30s with cold rain soaking your clothes and shutting down your muscles? 

Oh man.  So, my decision to forgo racing the 1st half marathon and saving it for the 2nd half marathon came to bite me in the butt.  The weather was less than ideal, but I just got out there and gave it what I had for the day.  No quitting. 
I started off on pace and held a pretty steady pace and effort through almost the entire race.  Midway through, I started running with another girl in my age group.  And perhaps I could have done something differently here....but I didn't.  Instead of just saying "hi" and continuing to push, I ended up running with her as we started to chat.  We talked for a while, we waved to her kids, we did all of the things you just don't do when you race.  But, it was nice to meet a new friend and forge through the cold rain together. 

And I was on track to beat my time from the last half, and then I hit the last mile and literally just couldn't feel my legs anymore.  It was like moving blocks of ice.  I watched my pace slow a ton...willed my legs to get moving...talked out loud to myself and encouraged my new friend as she encouraged me....but they just.wouldn't.move.  I crossed the line only 1 second faster than the last half marathon. 
And, that was a lot of work for 1 second.  But, crazy weather makes for great adventures.  They can't all be perfect days :) 

I know that I am a better runner than what I showed in the series...but I know that I didn't put the work in either.  I absolutely should have raced the 2nd 10 miler and the 1st half marathon as well instead of making them training days.  But, I think, too, that I just was not ready to go all in this year, and that is okay.  I have finished the series fitter than when I started PLUS injury free.  The great news is that I am really motivated to train, now, and letting my body gain strength at a steady pace was probably a good plan.  So, I feel like this is a good base and great platform for me to start setting some goals and planning some 2015 races. 

Next up?  Nothing yet... time to revisit the bike. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wattie Ink 2015- Time To Rock!

I am thrilled to say that I will be on Team Wattie Ink, once again, for 2015.  My Wattie Ink teammates are amazing athletes, and many of them have become good friends.  We have wonderful sponsors that reach out to us and support us.  But mostly, we have the leadership of Wattie and HJ, two extremely kind, generous, and fun people.  I am thankful, thankful, thankful for another opportunity to work with, support, and race for this team!  I am also super excited to serve as a regional captain this year! 

Of course one of the highlights of being on Team Wattie Ink is being able to wear kits with the very best design.  Now, Wattie Ink is its own apparel line- made in the USA and available to everyone.   Check them out at www.wattieink.com.  They are crazy beautiful! 






Sunday, November 9, 2014

Links of the Week

It is past my bedtime, but I am not sure I where I want to sleep tonight.  Isla came home with a fever on Friday from school and hasn't eaten all weekend, although she has been in good spirits and doesn't seem sick.  Dave now has some sort of stomach bug, and I am scared to go into our bedroom.  So....sleeping with the dogs?  I figured this was as good as time as any to blog.  

Links of the week!
  • Jen and Liz newest podcast.  These two are always a favorite of mine, and again they do not disappoint!  Smart ladies- awesome coaches.  Check them out.  
  • The thing I love most about Angela is her willingness to just put it all out there-pure guts-no excuses.  Check out her amazing  2:46 marathon report here. 
  • Splish.com is having a 20% off sale with code CATS.  This is a great time to get some grab bag suits! 
  •  I am passionate about animals, no doubt.  I bet you didn't know that I was the Environmental Club President in highschool as well as a PETA member.  I haven't had a hamburger since I was 14 years old.  Part of my journey as an adult has been to continue to improve my own life by reducing the cruelty that penetrates it (food, clothing, etc), teach my daughter to love animals and the earth, and find a way to make a big contribution to changing the way we treat animals.  It is a work in progress, and I am no where close to where I want to be.  I am not perfect, and I battle daily to make decisions that are ethical and sustainable for me.  I encourage you to listen to this podcast with    Rich Roll with Lisa Lange of PETA.  I realize that not everyone feels the way I do about animals, and many of you are content to eat meat and don't want to know about the enormous amount of pain and suffering that humans inflict on animals to deliver put that steak on the plate.  But, I encourage you to listen to this podcast just to increase your education and open your mind a tiny bit.  I think willingness to learn is a good thing, and this podcast is a good place to start, even if you don't feel inclined to changing anything in your life.   
  • And in line with my views on being compassionate, I am not going to link any Endurance Planet or Bob Babbitt interviews for a bit.  After listening to them gush about how a bacon sponsorship is the coolest thing on earth, I wonder if they would be willing to go to said sponsor's farms and watch the torture those animals endure for the "cool" factor of bacon.  Seriously. 

Have a great week everyone!!!  Wish me some luck that the virus passes me by!