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First official long run of training. It was a hot day. I had cramps and "bonked." I wasn't the happiest this day but I cracked a smile. Sometimes you have to fake it til you make it. I'm definitely stronger than when we started almost a month ago.

The race
Napa, March 2nd 2015

Registration paid, flights and hotel booked, so let the training begin. I picked this course for several reasons. 1) It's my birthday weekend and what better place to spend a long birthday celebration than Napa?! 2) It's two days after my 38th birthday which is a great way to start a new year of life by accomplishing something brilliant straight away. 3) Probably the most important reason is that it has a nice, downward elevation during the 26.2 miles I'll be running.

Overall this seems like a nice tone under which to complete my first marathon.

The training schedule

When I look at this schedule I initially feel overwhelmed, intimidated, scared. We are currently in countdown week 18 (Oct 27) and this will be my first time to run five miles during the week, our long run will be eight miles. I guess it just feels real now.

This is a countdown with a definitive stop date. There is no grace period. The wheels are in motion and I am the sole responsible party to my own need to complete this task. That seems so serious when I could be my own biggest disappointment. I have nobody else to blame in this battle.

When I logged this schedule on my personal calendar (AFTER everything was booked) I realized that all holidays are ruined. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years it's all just terrible. This is my first year out of grad school and I had intended this to be the holiday season of ME. There will be no partying for me on Dec 31st while swigging what seems like countless glasses of vodka drinks sprinkled with a champagne toast at midnight. Nope. I have a 17 mile run two days later. I'm sure there are alternatives but I just haven't figured what that looks like yet.

This schedule is my primary driver through March 1st and I can't really allow myself to deviate.

SO friends and family, please let this be my warning to you.... my schedule has been set and I promise to see you as much as I can between running, eating, running, sleeping, and running. I love you all and will emerge a better version of me on the other side.

The bright side of the schedule..

Half marathon booked!
Believe it or not I'm pretty stoked that the Austin 1/2 marathon aligned perfectly with our training schedule. When people train for a marathon they run distances greater than than a 1/2 marathon on multiple runs. I just want a medal to go with one of mine!

You may wonder, if I am holding all this fear and feel like this is such a great sacrifice, then why the hell am I running a marathon?

This is a completely valid question that I have asked myself over and over. Before we began our official training Brent asked me the same question. I have to be sure I'm dedicated and find my inner motivation in order for me to complete this. Running a marathon is a mental game, everyone says this. If it's 90% mental then I cannot be negative about all aspects of this training. I can't. And really.... I'm not.

Running a marathon is something I've wanted to do for many years now. Like any big life event the preparation and planning has begun and brings with it both excitement and complete fear. A good analogy of this dual excitement/fear for non-runners would be a wedding. Weddings are exciting! Once the engagement happens the bride-to-be is filled with dreams and plans. Weddings can be consuming can take months or years to plan, you put off seeing family/friends, your free time is spent online looking at blogs and Pintrest, and the bride becomes selfish (it's okay to admit this). The wedding becomes your priority and all other plans must fall. THEN there's also the fear. I mean your committing to someone after all. Til' death do us part and all that jazz. People are coming to the wedding. Did you pick the right dress, cake, photographer? OH MY GOD... DID YOU PICK THE RIGHT GUY? How will you merge your finances? What if we don't have the same taste in where we live? I mean the questions and doubt are rampant and the excitement is out of control. This. Is. Normal. So, I feel okay with my excitement and fear towards the marathon. I mean, thank goodness my marriage has been solid so I must be a good decision maker. Right?!

The fear of failure has become palpable and the commitment level is extreme BUT I'm really ready. Yes, spending valuable time with friends/family, going to social events, and drinking are all severely limited but I'm okay with this... 20 weeks out of my life dedicated to this achievement is nothing but a speck in my lifetime. My commitment level is tangible. I've even cut my hair shorter to reduce the time it takes to dry my hair since I'm showering so much. I don't feel I have a lot of time to waste. My energy needs to be focused on taking care of myself. In some ways this is the most pampered I may ever be! I get sports massages every two weeks (okay they really hurt but their good for me), buy new running gear on a very regular basis (shopping!), and I am focused on rest and eating well. That's amazing! I've never been so protective of my time and my person in my life. Well maybe I was during grad school, but that's just different. I've never really focused on what I need and that is very powerful. The great thing is that I have this awesome "excuse" of a marathon to explain why. It isn't that I want to say no to plans or I don't have time for people, I just have to conserve and expend energy very carefully.

I see Brent more, feel stronger than I ever have before, and not having a drink every weekend is a good exercise in a healthier attitude towards blowing off steam and relaxing. I'm setting a standard for how I want to live my life.

Overcoming some serious challenges

Though I generally like to focus on the positive, I have to be real with some of the challenges I've faced. This has been a very "me" focused blog: MY run, My schedule, My commitment. The truth is this is a very "we" effort. Brent has been a rock and I haven't made it easy.

I am an angry runner. I have been so angry that at the end of the run I was shaking and doubled over as if someone punched me in the gut. I was crying uncontrollably and asked Brent to stay back because I couldn't stand ANYONE. I was so furious because he ran in front of me the whole time. What a freaking asshole! I get so angry sometimes that I want to yell at the runners beside me. Scream at what I felt was the stupidest squirrel in existence for flicking it's tail as I ran by. I've wanted to push Brent to the ground. I get so mad that I can't think and I don't like it. It's so weird to me because I think of myself as a joyful and happy person. Brent and I don't fight or yell at each other. We don't call each other names. When we face hard decisions and difficult times we are a great team and we are both good communicators and planners. SO why does such guttural rage emerge in me when I run? Why do I want to rip him to shreds and call him names?

When we first began our pre-training I was in an angry moment. We sat on the trail and had a very serious talk. Brent was like, "Laura, I'm not sure this is for us. I'm not sure this is worth how angry you get and maybe we can find another activity to do. Maybe a marathon isn't the best thing." I heard his words but I know this is something I need to do. I want to be a joyful runner. I need to figure out what this anger is about and deal with it. If I can control this crazy anger I think it will flow into other areas of my life: self control, self talk, and just make me better.

So why am I so angry? I don't like doing things I'm not good at. When we first started running.... I wasn't good enough for my standards. I'm competitive, I want to be my best and I was wheezing and could barely run two miles. I felt fat. Every time a foot hit the ground my body reverberated. My mind said, "Stop running you fat, lazy bitch. Stop embarrassing yourself you slow fucking idiot. You're not athletic and you never will be. Why do you always try to do things you can't do? Listen to your gasping for air like a fish on the ground, how pathetic." I mean the self-talk in my head was so destructive. It hurt mentally. It hurt physically. Every time I tied on my running shoes it was like an automatic stream of hateful slurs began. These are things I would never say to anyone else. Why am I so encouraging to others but hate myself so much when I run? The crazy part is that I KNEW if I was running that I wasn't lazy. I KNEW that by being on the running trail nobody was looking at me and wondering why I was there....It wasn't embarrassing. So I needed to work through all of this.

I began by first listening to music. Listening to music drowned out my breath. When I did this I was able to say positive things in my mind. If I got distracted and started yelling at myself again then I could focus on the beat, the words in a song, until I got back on track and could be nice to myself again. After only a week or so the breath got better. My legs felt stronger and the talk became easier. I'm not saying it was perfect, but it was better. But I still had this lingering issue with Brent. It was making me so mad when he was in the lead. Thoughts looked like, "Why does he always have to be in front of me, I know he thinks he's better than me." "Why is this so easy for him? He isn't sweating or breathing hard. His legs aren't ever tired." "If I got hurt he wouldn't even know, his stupid peppy ass would just keep going and I would be left here to die." "Why is he making this all about him? It's MY race. I don't want to run at his pace but he's making me." So the bad part to all of this is I asked him to train me. He's run several marathons. He's trained people. He is a legit person to lead me in this. I ASKED him to lead me in this. Yet, I always feel like it's a race and he's winning. I feel angry. I can't say I've totally worked through this but we're getting there. I'm not sure if this is really dealing with the issue but he runs behind me. Just behind me off my right shoulder and I lead the pace. If I need him to set the pace I'll "invite" him to lead, though this rarely turns out well. There have even been a few times when he's led the run and I still felt love for him, so I know I'm improving. But for now, at best, he runs beside me and I'll keep working on this.

I've been so surprised how this has challenged our communication. In a strange way I feel lucky that all the "real" trials we've faced we've worked through so much more easily. The good news is that we could have walked away from this training if it wasn't getting better, but it is. We generally make a plan before each run and our communication has grown stronger. I can tell you.. I did NOT expect this to be my challenge. But what I do know is this, many other things during this 5 months will surprise me. As I work through them, I will only continue to become a better person.

I've been told many times that I always pick the hard way, the difficult path. I can acknowledge that in myself. But I will also say that I choose these things in part because I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. We are at our worst when times are hard, so if I can practice or control what that looks like then when times get really hard, I'll be solid.

Stronger. Faster. Harder to Kill. Brent has said this so many times. I get it now.
Picture after our most recent long run (6 miles). Finished at Alta's cafe and had a smoothie. Yes, I was genuinely happy. Love to this guy for his patience and support. Love to myself for patience and support.
It's been a while.....a very long while since I've written a blog. As I began writing about my marathon training, I felt a need to catch up first.

My last post was December 2012 and even at that time my posts started getting very spotty. This is partially because we moved to Dallas in 2010 and when we first moved, I really struggled in adjusting to my new life there. Work, friends, culture, everything was different. It took quite some time to feel settled. Initially there was no love to share, no "Laura's Latest Love" that I could find. But it was by no means all bad! I just needed some time to adjust to my new surroundings.

So I'll sum up the love: I was so glad we lived closer to family for a few years. I have some truly great memories hanging out with my father-in-law, brunches with my mom and sister, and reconnecting with one of my best friends in the world, the future Mrs. Grubbs. We also made a life time friend who even became a great traveling companion venturing with us to both Tahoe (twice) and Thailand.

I also had the opportunity to go back to school and obtain my Master's in Public Health, which was a dream come true. During my two years in grad school I made another great friend in Kaley. As I spent two seriously grueling years in school I found a camaraderie with someone who experienced my pain. I was thankful that she a) was going through the same experience as me and b) was also the total Type A, driven, married female with whom I could relate to both personally and professionally. She definitely made the experience more tolerable and I'm so glad to have gained a great friend to boot.

Towards the end of school I lived with one of my nephews for a semester, which was valuable time with him for which I will always be thankful.

Though I wish I could have spent more time with every one of these people I'm glad we had the time we did while living closer. As I scoured through my photos of the last few years here are a few gems. I'm sad there's so many pictures I DIDN't take but there's another lesson learned I suppose.

Snapshot of good times in DFW!

Brent says there should be a completely separate blog on how my hair styles have changed over the years, Ha! Also, I at some point I need to dedicate a entire blog to Thailand and graduate school... but not today.
Overall, I learned to appreciate a new environment (Dallas) for what it had to offer and stop looking for Austin in every corner. That was a very important lesson for me to learn. Dallas has great food, fantastic museums, and this overall experience served as a reminder to not take special moments for granted. We lived closer to family, made new friends, and I got to live a dream. Not bad Dallas, not bad at all.

This was a long lesson though, I would say it took about two years before I really found my happiness again and then it was off to grad school which was a new form of blissful self-torture with no time for my husband much less writing this blog.

Now, back in Austin...

I'm happily reporting from my "home" in Austin and living my dream career as an, I still can't believe that's what I do... this job was always a fantasy for me and here I am! I've been back in Austin for a year in December and I just love life.

Now that we're all caught up, time to get to the meat of my marathon training! Update coming soon.
Things to do when travelling in a new place:
Do use yelp to find local eateries and coffee shops; don't be afraid to strike up conversations with strangers. Sometimes you meet the greatest people that way.

Do walk outside, find a tall identifiable landmark and roam aimlessly when possible; don't forget your camera, you'll always regret when you don't have it.

Do watch the weather, it's crappy to head back early when you need another layer.

Do eat the local food; you might never get a chance to try reindeer sausage again!
We figured out that "do not eat" means the health inspector came in one day and basically said this is unsanitary.
After a few drinks a somewhat local whaler-looking-tech-dude convinced me that he really liked the cheese and that I should try it. He DID eat some first.
Do buy some sort of momento and/or take lots of pictures. I like to buy an ornament everywhere we go. I write the year on the bottom or somewhere and then every year when we put up the tree we reminisce of all the great places we've been able to go and memories made.
The cheese was actually tasty. I like to think I was also strenghtening my immune system.

Phone Test


Testing a post from my phone. Thank you weebly! This might have me back in business.
You're way out of the loop if you haven't seen or heard that there is now a Taco Deli on North Lamar. Even more wrong than not knowing there's a new-ish location, is not having eaten there.... so you if you haven't yet, then you just need to make it a priority. Since it isn't brand new the lines aren't quite as terrible as they were at first. I've also been generous enough to chow down at this location on at least six times by now and can verify that they definitely have their sh*t together. So go, enjoy and let their Dona sauce Blow. Your. Mind.
The set up was beautiful!
Long time no write! So, it's been a while and things have been beyond hectic and I'm so glad that it's settling out a bit and I'm really ready to get back to writing. Brent's 40th surprise party and trip were a total success and I'll get the post up about Belize soon but for now I'm ready to tell you about a great experience I had a while back at Beet's Cafe! I took a cooking class there that I had auctioned on while at the Umlauf Garden party which I posted about here (an awesome event by the way).  I can't remember the exact name of the class but it was basically an intro class into raw cooking.  I don't eat an exclusively raw diet but I do enjoy the food and how it makes me feel, so wanted to learn a few techniques.
I just wanted to give a quick update... oh how I miss logging in and updating this site!
First of all, I'm not done blogging. I've simply been beyond overwhelmed. First it was work, then Young Executives, then planning Brent's surprise 40th bday party, throw in a trip to NYC and now a trip out of the country this weekend and I've just been swamped. I see the light at the end of the tunnel though and I have some great stories to add when I get back! New Hair do's, chef celebrity meetings, a raw cooking class. Whew, can't wait.

I miss you my dear blog. My creative outlet and personal/public online diary. See you all soon-

Cory, Colleen, Unknown, Autumn, Phillip, Kappie
First of all let me say that all the shops on the GlamShop tour were fabulous. We first went to Beyond Tradition and met the Co-owner Phillip. He was quite a character.  Cory, pictured above,  designs Tikkr watches.  Kappie was a doll and told us how she fashioned her "Fashonista" beverage with cranberry juice, vodka, and champagne... nice! They have some really cool/chic items from jewelry to bags for chicas and wallets to watches for men. 
This is one of the coolest feathered hair pieces I've seen. Beautiful colors!
While Brent's in NYC I enjoyed a nice dinner at Whole Foods pasta bar. My favorite dish: 1/2 order of the pasta of the day, extra spicy, and a side salad with a bargained price glass of Italian Chianti for $4.50. For reading: some Tribeza, Austin Monthly, and a few other local magazines. The perfect wind down from an errand filled evening.