Monday, July 22, 2013

The Renegade of (Running) Funk

Sometimes, in life, you get into funks. 

 Not this kind of funk though - this is the good kind.

Funks can reach all levels of life and can sometimes be interpreted as burn-out. Whether it's a dead-end job or a writer's block or a weight loss plateau, we've all gotten into ruts of some form. Things aren't what they used to be, you no longer see progress, and fun activities no longer seem fun. 

It also can take it's toll on running.

I had been battling the running funk for a few weeks. Maybe it was the summer heat, or maybe it was borderline burnout. I tried new playlists. I tried running with no music at all. I tried running with friends. I tried bartering with myself (if you can run this entire route at goal pace, we can have Yogurtology later!) but nothing seemed to be working. 

And let's be honest, I had that frozen yogurt anyway. To drown my sorrows, of course.


So, I did the unthinkable: I took a week off.


Yes. It's true.

Every run I was embarking on just wasn't fun anymore. I was stopping every few miles, pausing my Garmin, trying to re-energize myself. I was taking unnecessarily long water breaks. I was late going out the door and having to cut runs short. I started making excuses.

 I needed to do some serious re-focusing. 

I've been on a routine training schedule since March, and that doesn't include the multitude of half marathons that came before that. I also delved into another round of marathon training immediately after the Newport Marathon.

I haven't had a "break" in what seems like an eternity.

So, for 7 days, I did nothing. Not one trip to the gym, not one lacing-up of the Brooks. 


I wasn't sure what to expect. I was definitely antsy, but nothing like the taper tantrums of marathons past. I wasn't as hungry and ate meals much more similar to my peers instead of Michael Phelps. I didn't have nearly as much stinky laundry piling up. I didn't have to set my alarm for 4:45 AM.

By the end of my time off, I missed running. Missing something means you want it, so it was the exact feeling I wanted to achieve.  

And guess what? My first run back, I hit negative splits and felt great doing it.
And didn't even have to bribe myself with frozen yogurt.

Moral of this post -- don't be afraid to give yourself a break. Sometimes, not only do you deserve it, but you also need it.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Princess For A Day

Abigail Grace Accessories is based out of Belgium and creates gorgeous headpieces, belts, garters, and gifts. The designer is launching a new website, and they hired my very talented friend/professional photographer Esther Louise to do the shoot.  

Shortly thereafter, I received the news of a lifetime: I was chosen to be the model! 

It would entail hair, makeup, beautiful outfits with tulle and lace, and elegant accessories. There's not much more that little girls (and, in my case, big girls!) dream of.

I am bursting at the seams with how spectacular the photos turned out. They capture the delicacy of each piece --everything I wore was amazing quality and made me feel like a million dollars. The attention to detail that is put into their work is truly phenomenal.

It was a day that dreams are made of and I am incredibly honored to be a part of something so special! 

Here are a few of my favorites: 





Scroll through the rest of the entire album here.

Read Esther's blog post here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Come Hell or High Water

In it's 101st year, the Calgary Stampede calls itself "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth". Stampede is a 10 day city-wide festival that promotes Calgary's western heritage and values...meaning that basically the entire city turns into a country-western homestead complete with rodeos, chuckwagon races, and a midway that rivals any State Fair I've ever seen. 

I'd be willing to bet there are more people simultaneously wearing cowboy boots and cowboy hats during opening day of Stampede than there are in the entire state of Texas. It's quite overwhelming. 

As you may know, Calgary experienced some massive flooding 2 weeks before Stampede was due to begin. The first thoughts in everyone's minds were obviously loved ones and their homes, but an immediate second thought was: What about Stampede? 

Stampede is Alberta's most meaningful event in terms of economics, tourism, and community pride. 

And the Stampede grounds were completely under water.

Calgary's beloved and popular Mayor Naheed Nenshi promised that the show would go on. 

And y'all, did it ever.

Stampede officials launched the Hell or High Water campaign to raise funds for the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Floods Fund.

As of July 9th, T-shirt sales with the campaign have raised more than $1 million. 

You go, Calgary. You go.

 My sister and brother-in-law were gracious hosts as we made our rounds throughout Calgary. 

Calgary Airport welcoming committee - getting branded, lasso'd, and serenaded

With my sister at the parade

Sampling the local brews at Wild Rose Brewery 

Banff - Canadian Rockies  

 Lake Louise - Canadian Rockies

With it's high temps averaging in the 70's during the summer, Tim Horton's coffee, beautiful mountains a little over an hour away, and it's embracement of country music and cowboy hats, what's not to love about this city? 

Hope to see you again soon, Calgary.