Who do you show up for?

The most humbling experience, until the next one happens. This is how I’ve approached the marathon training and pretty much life. Ready for the cliché moments? Training for a marathon has helped me more than the physical aspects; I’ve seen the growth more in my professional and personal lives than anywhere else.

You see, when you are out for a long run at 12-20 miles and you know that you need to get it done, no matter how fast or slow (speed is relative), you need to get the mileage down because that’s what will help you prepare for the race that you have coming up. You have to get everything ready and guess what? Caca happens, straight up s*h*i*t just like l-i-f-e. It just does. Just like when your five year old doesn’t want to put shoes on for the 3rd time you’ve begged yelled, you’re going to find that frustration in your runs. It’s inevitable. Sorry, sunshine.

This all came about because I had a crappy half marathon on Saturday. I was warned how difficult it was, I knew that it was going to hurt. I knew that I could do it. I set a goal of 2:30, which was going to be a great time for me. And then the race started and the first hill came and I thought, “Well… NOPE.” When I came up to 2:30 and I saw that I still had two more miles to grind through. So I finished it, at 2:56 I completed by 10th half marathon. And guess what, I did this for me. That’s who I’m ultimately running for in this journey. I’m running for all of the doubts. I’m running for all of the times I fought running. I’m running for all of the times that I loved this sport. And that’s how I want to wake up every morning. I am doing this for me.

When you show up for yourself, you are giving the world such a wonderful gift of uniquely you. That’s why it doesn’t matter what the next person is doing, you run your race of life, get those blinders on, and show up for yourself. When I run/walk/crawl across the finish line on December 3rd, I’m not going to end up with a contract with a professional organization. I’m not going to have sponsors from athletic wear (although I’m here to be your muse/model at 5’1” and 154 lbs.!). I will finish it dammit, I will finish it for all of the times I said I couldn’t do something.

– Melanie (and I didn’t get any tacos after the half, I had to rush to my daughter’s soccer game)

Training for the next week:

16 miles today

Friday – Joyride  – come ride with me some time.

Saturday – 4 miles

Sunday – 7 miles

Tuesday – 5 miles

Thursday – 5 miles

Saturday… 120 min warm up  – 3 x 5 min at 11:09 pace with 5 min recovery between, 30 min cool down

The Best Run is a Taco Run

 

So I’ve been quiet but today is National Taco Day so here I am! Training has been, well…not done outside because I’m a bit terrified. My runs have been sequestered to a *gasp* treadmill.

(I took out a segment on some health issues and will update y’all on Friday with some results)

A few weeks ago I hit a roadblock about 1/3 of the way into a 10 mile race. I overheated, I wanted to tap out. I was done, more than done. It wasn’t the prettiest ten miles and I truly hope that I don’t have another race like that again. I had thoughts of giving up go through my head. I just didn’t think I could go a step further when I felt something come inside of me around mile 8, I. just kept at it. I cried, physical tears coming out of my body as I pushed through. It was a slow 10 miles but I finished. After I saw my family at the finish line, hugged it out with them and continued on to my car and we celebrated with pizza, I texted my coach and friends of my running community along the way. There were words of doubt, words of despair against myself but through it I had friends tell me that I will do this thing that I put my mind towards.

Five years ago, you would never have caught me running a marathon, maybe a 5K but not a marathon. I’ve had a couple of health issues come up recently that I will update you all on in a few days and being a badass in the tech world along with launching a new company is taking its obvious toll on my schedule but I’m here, posting the miles/time. Yoga is now becoming a fixture in my life and I miss the heck out of weight lifting but December 3rd will be here faster than we know.

 

Up for the rest of the week:

Thursday – 45 minute run & yoga at night

Friday – yoga

Saturday – 30 min warm up (13 min/mi); 2 x 30 min at 11:56 pace with 5:00 min recovery between followed by 45 min cool down; yoga at night

Sunday – easy 4 mi; yoga

 

Enjoy your National Taco Day because I know I am!IMG_0581

Redefine Strength

strength quoteIf there is anything training for a marathon has taught me there’s this mantra that I was slapped sideways with: redefine strength. What does that even mean? Strength is obscenely subjective. I remember growing up definitely not being a typical size and having to get clothes from the Misses section. I couldn’t shop from the trendy stores like 5-7-9 (no longer in existence, kids) like my friends and I definitely couldn’t purchase clothing from a certain alphabet store that boasted washboard abs on their bags. Nope, that wasn’t me. I allowed it to eat away at my psyche that fifteen years later I’m now writing about it praying that I can give my children the emotional intelligence to know that a size does not define them, nor does a number on a scale.

If you Google search ‘redefine strength’ you will find yourself pouring through over 3 million hits of the search. You’ll find workouts, emotional blog posts, personal trainers telling you they want to change your physique. And honestly, they’re all kind of bs. Only you can define what strength is. Is strength being able to throw 500 lbs. over your head in a clean and press? Is strength being able to run 0.25 mile in under 10 minutes? Is strength being able to get out of bed in the morning and put on a smile for the world when your whole body and soul hurt? We need to stop giving numbers out as a goal.

My ideal strength is different from yours and this is ok. We need to celebrate strength wherever we can and really congratulate one another on the little victories that we achieve.

malala cover

So guess what? You’re strong. I’m strong. We are all friggin’ strong. Get on out there, scare the s*** out of the world with your strength because your strength will ignite others. So I leave you with Malala Yousafzai because she’s the strongest of strong and you know it. If you haven’t guessed – my mantra for the marathon will be redefine strength because my body can do things that I never thought possible. I want to hug that little girl who used to cry in the dressing room and say, “Girl, do you. God will fix things just right.”

Hurricane Harvey Update and How You Can Help

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We’re here in the throws of a hurricane and we’ve been very fortunate in NW San Antonio to not see much of Mother Nature. We sit here peeled to various screens where we can’t take our eyes away from devastation occurring to our neighbors to the south and east of us – places many of us go to for vacation throughout the year and make memories with our loved ones. This morning I was in constant contact with my family and friends in Houston, I just couldn’t believe the scenes flashing by the screen.

 

Going to Mass today reminded me of one thing – no matter what small moves we make, we can move mountains and make waves together (no pun intended). When Jesus gave Saint Peter (Simon at the time of anointment) the keys to His Church and said on this rock he will build his church, he meant it and what a church St. Peter built. No matter if you are a believer, you are still a human and a brother & sister to me. There is no ID check in safety, we are just met with love and at the end of everything we will only have love to survive on.

Riding Out The Storm

Literally while I was writing this post

We, as humans, are now given an opportunity – do we continue to watch reruns of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or do we roll up our sleeves with the keys He has given each of us and help our fellow neighbors. I choose the sleeves. I choose showing my children, the next generation of humans/Catholics/Texans that this is what we do – we help. We build a kingdom together.

 

These are a few of the organizations organizing donations for relief services:

 

Junior League of San Antonio

San Antonio Food Bank

American Red Cross serving Greater San Antonio

“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.”

#SinMiedo

This post has been about four months in the making but what the hey, that’s actually what this is all about. If you had to head over to Google Translate to know what I just typed, no worries, nothing crazy. But what is it like to be #WithoutFear (#SinMiedo)? Lent 2017 was a beautiful moment for me. I set out to do things I was terrified of doing. First things first, I gave up all dairy and eggs which you may have read about in my Lenten post. It was a scary journey to partake in mostly because I was terrified of what others would say about me. Would people talk to me differently? Would I now be uninvited, or worse not invited at all, to social gatherings because of my newfound lack of interest in dairy, meat, eggs, honey? I didn’t care. I just took it day after day, meal by meal, and relished in the thought this was only for 40 days (hah, that was a funny joke God had on me).

But there was a bigger fear I was looking at uncovering, I have never run with a running buddy. Ever. Never ever EVER I my 30+ years of being mobile, I have never had someone by my side to talk to. Growing up overweight or obese you don’t really seek out social opportunities to sweat. I was ashamed at my pace. I was ashamed that I would need to stop after slugging it up a hill. All of this pent up emotion from when I was a child and hearing my mom plead with me to hurry up a hill. Then the first week of Lent I was hit with an emotional 2×4 by my closest friend, Peter. Peter is the guy from high school that is all around good looking and had the chubby best friend in high school (me); charismatic, loving, funny – this was Peter. I was his little sidekick. Peter and I have been very lucky to have had a friendship span over two decades and I knew that he wasn’t giving up on me now. We were friends for life and after his deployments and my running around being a campaign worker, we’ve still always managed to make time for our weekly text check ins and he would ask, “Hey, let’s go for a run!” I would come up with some excuse and say, “Oh, I have to pick up the kids…” and that would be the end of his cajoling. Lent 2017 this language and self-doubt stopped. I was hell bent on giving up fear.

So I did it. I said yes. It was a Monday afternoon, my amazing mother in law picked up the kids from school that day. And guess what, I didn’t die. We ended up running five miles in some pretty amazing spots in San Antonio. Throughout the run with Peter I began to think of all of the other things I had been so scared to even think of accomplishing. Naturally, you sign up for a marathon because why not?

I hope you join me along for the ride (run). I’m toying around with the idea of making a Facebook page (Will Run For Tacos, anyone?) and pushing this fabulous blog on it. Lemme know, k? Until then, I’ll be living sin miedo like God intended.

Baby baby baby, ohhhh (Baby Registry Loves)

This is for the mamas (and the papas… and anyone raising little humans). I am oddly around newborns or friends that are preparing for baby showers as they see their bodies growing. Before you start with that fun barcode scanning gun and having a field day with your registry at a fine retailer – hold on! There are things that you just will not need (I see you wipe warmer) and some that you may cringe at but trust me, you will be so grateful for. After having two kids, I’m obviously an expert, right? Yes. Because I had a lot of c-r-a-p and I truly could not get rid of some stuff because it was given by family members or I thought I needed it and registered for it. I’m an “expert” because I’ve gone through two newborns within 24-months of one another and things that I could reuse and save you headaches.

Top 5 Baby Things That I Loved

  1. Just a Fitted Sheet – Seriously, simple fitted cotton sheet. Do not, I repeat, do not drive yourself crazy with sheets and bedding. You will have other things to deal with. Remember, bumpers are not ok (SIDS is a real f’in thing). You will be changing sheets out often, kids spit up, leak out of their diapers, bodily functions you never thought possible out of your precious cherub. We liked this one from Burt’s Bees (the lipchap people).
  2. A simple backpack aka your lifesaver aka your new purse/diaper bag. I’m not going to put a link here because you know what a backpack is. I will post which one I used because of the compartments. But I can recall receiving a beautiful diaper bag from a wonderful family member. It was great, designer brand, pockets (moms love pockets) but it was heavy. My shoulder was already dying from holding a child but the diaper bag was insane. A simple JanSport will do and it’s so simple to just throw everything you need in one bag.
  3. Baby Kangaroo Maker – This is the only expensive item that I will post. Find a good baby carrier you LOVE. We had the stroller but after baby #2 came along and my daughter was 2, she was occupying said stroller. We loved loved loved our Ergobaby. Living in Texas, the Moby just wouldn’t work where it’s like a sauna every step you make. If you’re a nursing mom, you will love your baby carrier because your babes is literally at your chest and has no where else to go to eat, fast food.
  4. Bottles – Surprise… we didn’t nurse. Maybe for a week we did but neither kid wanted anything to do with my boobs. Sad, yes. Guilt trip, some. But guess what? This is real life and your kid needs to eat. So if you choose not to nurse or if it doesn’t work for you, that’s where the beauty of technology and science come in with bottles. Invest in some good ones. You may hear a lot about glass bottles for babies, do what you want. We loved Tommee Tippee Get a few sized nipples, maybe just 3 each but be prepared for the hand washing.
  5. Snot Sucker (featured image) – My favorite one to talk about and why I left it last. The NoseFriday from Fridababy. Straight up the grossest thing (opinion) but it is beyond the best thing on the market and you cannot live life without the NoseFrida. Yes, there are the aspirators with the bulb, but I’m that mom who enjoys seeing just how much comes out of my prodigies. I enjoy being able to suck out giant globs of things and get a sense of satisfaction when my kids can breathe again. You will too, because a breathing baby is a happy baby – a happy baby is a relieved mommy.

So, there you have it. My Top 5, take it for what it’s worth. If you are that mom that wants to coordinate your daily outfits with your child, you may think I’m crazy. But when you’re on 2 hours of sleep and need to take kid to mommy and me, last thing you’ll want to do is lug a baby diaper around with your coordinating look.

What I learned by going vegan for Lent…

He meets me right where I’m at. Simple as that. I went in kicking and screaming. Isn’t that how many of us go in to our Lenten fasting. We go in with bright eyes and dreams, for some of us we begin thinking of the Lenten penance & fasting as soon as the Advent Season is over. We bask in the glory that is rules and regulations of the Catholic Church. No gray areas, this is it. Yet, it’s not. He meets us right where we’re at. That’s the continuing theme of my Lenten journey.

I knew in my heart this is what I needed to cleanse my soul and bring me closer to our Catholic community that is currently persecuted around the world but in my heart – my love that is Syria and her people. So I was determined. I wanted to quit before the ashes were placed. I knew that I was going to give up. I even told myself, “I’m going to take it a day at a time.” Something whispered (Oh, hey Holy Spirit!), “You are my child. I gave you the tools. Build what you can and I’ll take care of the rest.” My vocation of being a parent was ever more evident, to show my children never quit what you claim you will accomplish if you have the means or ask for help.

Kiddo toes & picnics with my Bunnies

So I asked for help. I solicited the help of a friend I met through Instagram and Beachbody, Darlene Taylor (nee Adamusik), a health and fitness vegan coach. If I was going vegan and training for 2 half marathons I was going to do this right and not just eat tacos de aguacate and calabacita all day long. I also went into this being a bit obnoxious in my thought process, “I’m a pescatarian, what’s giving up fish/dairy/eggs?”

  1. The suffering is so short lived

No really, it’s not that bad. It’s amazing what the addiction of food will bring to your life in a not so great way. Did this bring me closer to Christ? Maybe. His suffering was obviously way more significant that my giving up cheese quesadillas; But it made me more thoughtful in my choices to fuel the body God gave me here on earth.

  1. People will look at you like you have an arm growing out of your forehead.

Plain and simple. You tell them you went vegan for Lent and they’ll suddenly treat you like you’re a crazy person. I didn’t like explaining why at first. I was embarrassed but I soon got over the ego. They’ll also freak out if you go to dinner with them or are at an office lunch. Don’t worry, I pack my own salad and bring my own carrots. Thanks for the offer though!

  1. Getting over the ego is the hardest part of the deal

And this is probably where I learned the most. I don’t like to be different. In fact, I like to blend in to the wall and not draw attention to myself. I prefer to raise others up and give them the attention. This is probably more with my coping mechanism of growing up obese and in the barrios of San Antonio. I just wanted to get by, nothing more. But that’s not what He wants for us brothers and sisters. He wants all of us, He wants us to be flamboyant and proud but also welcoming to all faiths. He wants us to be like Ned Flanders in a world of gray.

My husband asked me on our way to Good Friday Mass if I plan on continuing post Holy Saturday at sundown. I will go where He leads me and for now it’s vegan (for the most part). I’m not going to stress out and don’t want you to either if there’s hidden cream or eggs in an item but I will continue for as long as He leads me. Always listen to the Holy Spirit, it’s with you at all times you just have to invite Him into your place.