. . . and think back to where you were a year ago?
This time last year I was just over 2 months post complete hysterectomy. I got a quick release to run because I had exercised and stayed in good physical shape prior to surgery, and I was hitting the pavement consistently every week to train for the Tallahassee Half Marathon. I felt considerably better than I had prior to my surgery but working on getting my hormones right was the one thing that I really had to focus on and get nailed down. It was a tough battle, especially when you really don’t want to slip into what the pharmaceutical industry defines as “must takes” for post-menopausal women, especially women in their early 40s. My Rheumatoid Arthritis flare ups where here and there, the fatigue SUCKED and I battled the increased joint damage that is slowly taking over my right hand.
12 months ago, my weekly workouts consisted of inconsistent attendance at classes here and there, teaching classes like cycle and stability training, along with strength and my personal strength training at home and with my friends, the Smiths, at their home gym. I was introduced to the Kettlebell and the many great benefits it offers with consistent training and I felt strong, but just did not feel like I was reaching my full potential. I kept working. My running game was weighing on me as I struggled through what I consider to be a very tough upcoming race course in the Tallahassee Half Marathon 2017. Basically, consistently falling apart on the backside of the course and being unable to overcome those shortcomings. I found myself dreading race day and vowing that I’d never do it again. I had already made a come-back from a love/hate relationship with running after I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2015, along with a hamstring injury that took a good while to rehab. I didn’t want to go back to that dark place. I kept pushing forward to figure it all out.
My nutrition, though much better than many years earlier, was still not where it should have been, but it was functional. I cut out drinking during the week. I cut back on processed foods. I went back to our mostly vegetarian eating plan. But consistently, found myself in a struggle, but I was eking by.
My running pace, well, that was always fluctuating. I had gained significant improvement in my pace and endurance prior to my surgery, but post-surgery, it took a big hit. You know, use it or lose it mentality, well that SHIT IS REAL! Sitting on the couch recovering from major surgery for 6 weeks, I watched my hard work slip away. Just 2 days prior to my surgery I had conquered one of the toughest routes that I run with zero walk breaks and I was flying high on that euphoria, but short-lived. Little did I know it would take me almost a full 12 months to get back there. But I’d get there one run workout at a time with a great tribe of ladies there to kick my ass along when I needed them to.
So fast forward to present day . . . WHATCHA GOT NOW!?
Consistent with my hormone therapy and my weekly training, I’ve kept away most of the Rheumatoid Arthritis chronic fatigue symptoms and, knock on wood, I haven’t caught the awful sicknesses going around this year.
Well, that was a significant change! In June 2017, I walked into CrossFit Black Box for a “come try us out” session with the owner and NEVER-LOOKED-BACK! Yes, I drank that CrossFit Kool-Aid like nobody’s business! After putting in my four weeks of technique training I was let loose into the Coached CrossFit hours and HOLY CRAP, I found what I needed, exactly when I needed it! Weekly classes that incorporate not only strength, but endurance rounds. Solid coaching that ensures clients are doing proper movement and technique and not just in the first four weeks in the gym, they were the place and I wanted to be there as much as my body could handle. Olympic lifting, wallballs, kettlebells, dumbbells and the dreaded gymnastics, F-NG BURPEES, I was hooked, HOOKED I tell ya! As a person who suffers from a joint disease, if you ever told me that I would be jerking 95 pounds over my head 3 days ago, I’d tell you that you were full of it! But, on the Clean and Jerk Strength day I found myself doing just that. I attempted 105, but I couldn’t get it cleaned up and it just wasn’t in the cards that day. Maybe it was my tired body from FRAN and the thrusters the day before or maybe I’m just not there yet, but you know what, THAT’S OK! Because each week I will keep showing up and putting my work in. No more just saying I’ll do it. I’m excited that this year I’ll be able to incorporate more time in open gym to work on different strength and technique obstacles I need work on.
Well, the great thing about my gym, it comes with a certified nutrition coach. Well, it costs extra, but you know what I mean. Someone there to hold me accountable each week and to help me get the right mix of what I need to attain my goals. I’ve been working with my coach for a good 5 months and the changes that I have made with her help are now showing in my performance and I AM STOKED!
My running pace has significantly improved from 12 months ago. I mean like HUGE! Short distance endurance is much better and long-distance endurance is also showing improvement. I have been able to shave almost 90 full seconds off my 3-mile average pace and a good 60ish seconds off my 5+ mile average pace times. Though I have trained for the dreaded Tallahassee Half Marathon again this year and it has gotten in my head the last couple of weeks, my focus remains strong and I keep showing up. Today I drug myself out of bed for my 3 miles that I was unable to get in on Tuesday due to rain and ironically, the route I chose today allowed for a good 3 run comparison on pace differences. FINALLY, something to show me where I started and where I am headed.
February will bring the two long distance races for me in 2018, but it will also pave the way for the Spring race season that I find myself extremely excited about this year. I’ve made my list of best prior times with realistic PR goals and I’m not going to let anything hold me back. Once race season is over, I’m hitting the gym, HARD!
So I’ll leave you with this . . . If you find yourself questioning where you are, if you’re just not happy with even just one thing and if you do one thing this year, make sure you do something that drives your passion. No matter how big or small it is, make sure it’s something that allows you to GET.BETTER.EVERY.DAY!