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Preggo: Here We Go!

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Growing up in a big Catholic family, I was told I had two options: to become a mother or a nun. Right then and there I knew I wanted to be a mom; convent life was NOT for me – haha. Plus, I love kids! For starters, I can relate to them. (Haha, what can I say? I like to play)! Also, while there are many ways for women and men to contribute to leaving a legacy and “making the world a better place,” I’ve always liked the old adage, “Have a kid, plant a tree, write a book.” (I’m pretty sure I planted a tree in 3rd grade, and I’m writing a blog that at least one person, you, is reading – thank you, so having a kid is next up.) For anyone curious about my pregnancy journey, especially as it pertains to fitness, here ya go…  #nofilter I’ll be 35 by the time this baby pops out, and Tim, my partner/hubby, will be 50. Though we’ve been married for over four years and have always intended to have children, things kept coming up: athletic opportunities for me and a bout of cancer for him. (He’s a year cancer-free now, so phew, but it took him awhile to recover. […]

AIM HIGH, NEVER CRASH

  Finding satisfaction despite a disappointing race: thoughts on balancing a competitive spirit with a personal sense of accomplishment With nearly 20 years of racing under my belt, in a variety of race disciplines, I’ve had my fair share of both successes and disappointments. I feel as though I’ve seen it all and I’ve made every mistake possible. I’m not sure if this qualifies me as a wise expert with valuable advice, but just in case it does, here’s what I’ve got… As thousands of pro and semi-pro athletes got their Olympic Dreams ripped away from them recently, and as the Spartan Race championship season heats up, I see good friends of mine stressing out about how their track season went or how their Spartan Race season is going. And it got me thinking: at the top level, have we conditioned ourselves to be pissed with anything less than first place? And in doing so, are we completely missing out on a level of enjoyment we could have, even after a disappointing place? How can we develop resilience to deal with the personal and outside pressures to be the best, without losing our fire to strive for the top spot? A former Georgetown teammate of mine qualified for the Olympic […]

Domestic Violence and the Need to Empower Girls

What I just saw saddened and maddened me. Running in a small-town park while road tripping from CA to CO, I heard yelling up ahead near a beat-up car. As I ran toward the sound, I saw a sickening sight: a human being beating up another human being. I made out a scrawny man with his shirt off,  kicking a voluptuous woman while she lay huddled on the grass, moaning. I ran up behind a tree about 40 feet from the two, my heart pounding, not knowing what to do. I flagged some bicyclists down to call the police, and used one of their phones to try (unsuccessfully) to get a picture of the license plate while the vehicle sped away, perpetrator and victim inside. I ran behind them for a block, and ducked behind another tree as the man jumped out at a stoplight to throw a button-up collar shirt on to cover up his tracks. Desperately trying to see and memorize the license plate, I squinted and simply couldn’t (damn astygmatism in my left eye). As the car sped off, my heart sank. I described to the police the vehicle and people involved as well as I could, but without a license plate number, the chances aren’t high […]

My First Love: Speedy Track Races

It’s an Olympic year, with running in the spotlight! I’m feelin’ the need for speed, so I’m racing an 800 meter track race today, for old times’ sake – can’t wait! In 2012, I ran a 2:07.88 in the 800 meters, just one second shy of the 2012 Olympic Trials qualifying standard of 2:06.9. Knowing I had more speed in me, I planned to train harder and shoot for the Trials this Olympic year. Below is my favorite 800 meter race, from USATF Club Nationals in 2013, (where time doesn’t matter, only place/points). After a strategically conservative start of 69 seconds for the first lap, I kicked in hard in 63 seconds to win in 2:12 what would be my 7th of nine USATF Club National Championship titles. (I snagged one in the 5k and distance medley relay the next day.) What a rush, digging deep into third gear, blazing past the leaders with every ounce I had! Oh, the joy I found on the track for nearly two decades, sometimes racing five times a weekend! Little did I know that just one month after the race below, while racing my first obstacle course race, a whole new feeling of passion and challenge would be unleashed, stealing me from the […]

2015 Spartan World Championship

Congrats to everyone who competed like crazy at the Spartan Race World Championship in Lake Tahoe, which just aired on NBC! I’m grateful to snag Top 5 in the world and second American in such an intensely talented field. Knowing how great the competition was and how much longer (3 hours) and more mountainous this race was going to be (when compared to my decade a and a half of training for 2-5 minute races on a track – haha), I knew I would have to train harder than ever to prepare my naturally speed-oriented body to be a challenger to my endurance-oriented competitors. This anemia-prone sea-level dweller had altitude as a looming adverse factor as well, so Tim and I sold our house and many of our possessions to move for a few weeks to Colorado so that I wouldn’t pass out at 9,000 feet. Training for a race so far outside of my natural wheelhouse was no small task for my coach, Yancy Culp, especially since I also wanted to maintain decent speed and strength for American Ninja Warrior. He wrote me creative workouts, however, challenging me in new ways, and taking me to the next level in the endurance world, and for him, I am grateful. (I […]

Pressure is a Privilege

These past couple months, as I’ve been focused on the OCR championship season, (in which races suddenly get 3-4 times as long and mountainous as they are all year), I’ve caught myself watching videos of my fellow ninja warriors training on rings and bars, flying weightlessly through the air, swiftly from rope to ring, wondering how I can fit more ninja warrior training in. This month, I have the 4-hour, arduous Spartan World Championship, where I’ll be trekking up a mountain with heavy sandbags and buckets legs burning, and then, three weeks later, I get to be a part of a new American Ninja Warrior team competition, an intense 2-6 minutes of all-out back-to-back upper body obstacles that will fry my arms and grip. The length and types of obstacles in these two competitions could hardly be any different, which makes training very challenging. Anytime I find myself stressing out while mountain climbing (for OCR), thinking I should be rockclimbing (for Ninja Warrior), or vice versa, wanting to be the best at each opportunity, or at least MY best, I realize that this is a wonderful problem to have. Training for such different disciplines has made me a more well-rounded athlete, a characteristic I value. Pressure, they say, is a […]

“Be Kind…”

World Suicide Prevention Day “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato Suicide, unfortunately, is a topic that is painfully close to my family. The night of my prom, an immediate family member of mine attempted to commit suicide by swallowing an entire bottle of ibuprofen. While I was dancing the night away with my high school crush, my loved one was in the hospital getting their stomach pumped of poison so they could have a second chance at life. Nobody in my family saw it coming. Now I realize the importance of knowing the warning signs: One of the reasons I like to smile at strangers, crack jokes often, and wear silly costumes is because I believe these actions are powerful enough to truly change someone’s life, much like this fellow human’s thoughts: I get a second chance with my loved one. You may not be so lucky. Be proactive. Reach out. Ask how someone is doing. Smile. Hug. Listen. Save a life.

Taking The Fear Out Of A Disappointing Performance

(I’m not here to preach, simply to share, mainly because… I’ve been there). Over the years, I’ve developed a very healthy relationship with racing – one with just the right ratio of pre-race nervousness to excitement, and enough perspective to enjoy my day after a race, no matter what the outcome, “win, lose, or draw.” Like any competitive athlete who commits a large amount of time each week to training, I care about my performance. I get satisfaction from competing hard and doing my best. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I, (like all of my competitors, I’m sure) enjoy it even more when MY BEST ends up being THE BEST, rewarding me with a chance to stand atop the podium. On a day I race well and win, I have an extra bounce in my step, soaking up the kind messages I’m sent, and feeling proud that my hard work paid off. I do not, however, like to give any sub-par performance of mine the power to ruin my day (and the day of those around me) through pouting and oozing with negative energy. Why not? Because each day is truly a gift, and on my deathbed, I don’t want to regret the time I could’ve […]

Dedication

Dedication comes in many forms. For some, dedication is waking up at 4am to get their workout in before work, while for others, it means finding energy to exercise after chasing kids around all day. Last weekend, dedication to me meant going to the gym at 8pm for two hours on a Friday night, after a day of working (with in-person and online coaching clients), waiting at the hospital during my husband’s colonoscopy and driving him home, and then packing up our house to move across town. The hardest part, however, was not finding time or energy to get a long, hard workout in, but finding the energy to compose myself when, halfway through my workout, while on the rower, my wedding song came on, and I burst out crying in the middle of the gym. My husband’s procedure that morning had found a “likely malignant tumor,” and even though I had been mentally processing it all day, it hit me hard emotionally right in the middle of my workout. Exercise is amazingly therapeutic, though, so I carried on, with tears streaming down my face, and felt better. My husband is my biggest fan, and I will continue to train in earnest while he and I fight his tumor together. […]

Stand Up For Yourself

As a child, I was fairly insecure, with my buck teeth, frizzy hair, and hand-me-down shoes. Fortunate enough to naturally excel in school and sports, however, I managed to survive grade school and high school without getting too terribly made fun of or pressured into any real trouble-making, falling somewhere below the “cool kids” yet above the kids who got bullied. In my own family, I learned many great lessons such as how to share (when you’re the eighth of nine kids, you don’t really have a choice), how to be grateful for what you have, and how to entertain yourself (when bored during my family’s DAILY church service trip to attend Mass before school). I never really picked up the ability to stand up for myself, however, and I vividly remember the day I was a teenager, driving a bit faster than I should’ve been on a side street when I got yelled at by a cyclist who happened to be on that same, random, narrow road. “You’re going too fast!” He yelled at me, angrily. “I’m s-sorry,” I stuttered through my rolled-down window, feeling embarrassed, knowing I was out of line for letting my thrill for speed take over. And then the guy sneered, “I bet your daddy […]