Sunday, September 9, 2018

Training for a Half-Marathon

So a long time ago, I wrote about training for a 5k and then a 10k. I did run those races and finished them and then roller derby and a full-time job took my focus away from running.  Then I was going to start training again and I had a baby.  So I took another long break but now I'm back!

For the last few months, I have been working with runlife365.com to train for my first half marathon in November (the Nac Half).  Then to run the Houston Marathon in January.  The work out Sharon Mayes of RunLife365 created for me is a full body 16 week plan.  Today's 8 mile run was the completion of week 9. 

Back in the day, high school days, I use to run cross country and for that training we focused on running the whole race.  After some research and talks with Sharon, I decided to start using the Galloway method of training, a run/walk combination.  It really has made a huge difference in raising my confidence and allowing me to get past my 10k mental barrier. 

Sharon's plan includes my roller derby workout with a HIIT workout included and something that I absolutely hate - strength training.  She also has something that I had never done before - Fartleks.  For the non-runner readers, Fartlek is Swedish or Finnish for speed run.  Currently I rotate between a couple different Fartleks on the NikeRunClub app.  My favorite has been the one with Kevin Hart.  I actually laughted out loud in the middle of a run; Kevin is so funny.

Now I think when you say you are a runner people want to know that your time, pace, and weight are doing.  So here is what I've done and learned so far.
1 - Indoor runs are easy compared to running outside.  If you plan to run an outdoor race, you need to train outdoors.
2 - My pace fluctuates between 11 min miles and 15 min miles.  It completes depends on temperature, run surface, and if I actually remember to eat before hand.  As to my ultimate pace goal - keep it under 15 min per mile.  Any run I'm under that is gravy!
 3 - my weight and inches do not seem to care that I'm running and training all of the time.  Honestly, I haven't changed my eating habits so I eat anything and everything (gf of course) and manage to keep my curvy shape.  I could change my eating but one thing at a time.  Right now the focus is getting the miles not changing my shape.

So there you go.  I'm a runner again.  I'm a plus-size runner.  I'm a brown runner.  I'm a fairly slow runner.  I'm a runner!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Job searching from the heart

So about a month ago I came to the painful decision to leave my job as a school principal.  When people asked me why I left I had a canned answer ready, my dad's health requires me to be at home, but the real answer is I had done a lot of soulsearching and the Holy Spirit lead me to leave.  I was listening to the Spirit when I took the job and listening for when it was time to go.  Once I listened and turned in my resignation, the school spirit picked up, more students enrolled, and in general, things are looking up.  There are a couple of ways to look at that: 1 - people were hoping I was leaving and waiting until then to show up or 2 (my personal view) - my work for the last 3 years was bearing fruit and if you listen and do what the Holy Spirit asks then good things will come.

I listened and now I'm broke and jobless.  There are lots of jobs open in my field, library and higher education.  The problem for me is two-fold, timing and experience.  Since I hold a doctorate I am mostly "over-qualified" for a lot of entry positions in higher ed, like Academic Affairs or Student Affairs, but since I've never worked professionally in higher education I'm not really qualified for anything other than entry-level.  In the library field, I've worked in both school and public libraries but it is the beginning of the school year so school jobs are filled and with the economy, many cities are placing holds on open positions until after the new budget year.  I would love to move to into an Academic library but again without professional experience, I'm left a bit in nowhere's land, too educated to start but not experienced enough to fill a non-entry-level position.

I am also running up against something new with this job search: "We are waiting for a bigger candidate pool to start reviewing applications."  While I don't know if this is a real line or just something people are telling me to get me to stop calling I don't know but it is a line I'm getting quite a bit.  People with ALA-accredited Masters degrees in Library are few and far between.  It is a graying field with high demand.  If you aren't limited to where in the country you want to live ALA Joblist has over 4,000 openings!  If you are looking to go back to school I highly recommend looking into library studies but make sure the program is ALA-accredited!

So once I get a job I'll make sure and post about it.  I'm trying to keep my head up and understand that job searching takes time.  With children and bills, I am beyond stressed but I also believe, feel, and know God's timing is always right so I'll breathe deep and have faith. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

1st Roller Derby Bout

If you have stuck around my blog for the last 9 years then you know about 4 years ago I began attending practice with a local roller derby league.  It quickly went from I'm going to just see about this to Mission Pass Minimum Skills (MSTs) and actually roll in a bout (game) with the team.  Just as I was rolling into my 1st derby-versary and passing MSTs, I injured my left ankle.  It was one of those everything but break it things. A high ankle sprain that took months to heal and years to get over mentally.  Then the team I was practicing with imploded and part of the fall out was my ousting from the team.

Details are hazy even now as to what was really going on verses what was being said.  In the end the team kicked me to the curb and then imploded and while still around I am not really welcomed to rejoin.  So that was St. Patrick's Day and one month later I found out I was pregnant!  I worked hard to finish my dissertation before the baby, Baby Lala, was born.  Then just took time in general to heal.  In that time my love for derby and my want to play did not go away.  It got stronger.  I couldn't let it go.

I turned to my derby wife, who had so suffered in the team implosion, and as luck would have it she hadn't been able to let derby go either.  We did reach out to try to rejoin our former team.  We were turned away.  What are a couple of strong leaders like us supposed to do?  Start our own league!  Thus was born the Lufkin Derby Dames!  While we work to build a team, we are fortunate enough to have kept old derby connections and were invited to bout with the Gulf Coast Roller Girls from Lake Charles, LA!  We missed the first bout of the season due my dad's cancer but yesterday we rolled out.

I played in my very first bout!  While my derby wife and I weren't out their together for my first jam, she was on the bench cheering me on.  DH was in the stands cheering and filming.  Baby Lala fell asleep pretty early on and GymGirl decided she wanted time with her cousin and stayed home.

It was fun.  It was hard.  I have skills to work on.  The team won a real nail biter against the Mobile Derby Darlings.  It was so much fun.  Teams were pretty evenly matched and all of the other players were so supportive.  We hit each other.  We threw some shady hits but everyone left smiling and ready to set up another game for next season.

Before we started warming up I was pretty sure it was a mistake to have me out there but as we warmed up and I didn't completely suck at it I relaxed.  There were other ladies playing that were really new too so I had equals to compare myself too rather than just vets to be in awe of.

If you are thinking of join a roller derby league for a practice I say do it.  Strap on some skates and try it.  I can't promise you will love it but I can promise you will have an experience to build on, a story to share. Do something that scares you.  Do something that helps you grow.  Do something that changes your life.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Cancer surgery #1

About 3 weeks ago, my dad went in for a surgical consult and to meet with the rest of his cancer team.  The simple consult turned into emergency surgery.  There was a second mass that had suddenly become life threating between the weeks of transferring care from one hospital to the next. 

We had decided to spend the 2 nights between appointments in Temple to avoid having to drive the 6-hour round trip between home and the hospital 3 days back to back.  As a result, my mom was at the hotel with my girls, while DH and I took dad to meet the surgeon.

It was a very scary time for me.  We walked in expecting to just talk and it turned into being admitted into the hospital and signing consents for surgery the next day.  We asked lots of questions and then we waited for the room to be available for my dad.  We were in the doctor's office about 3 hours.  After the consent was signed, DH left to go inform my mom what was happening.  As he was leaving he asked me to walk with him.  It was the first time I was able to show just how scared I was.  I don't remember if I cried or not at that point.  He hugged me tightly.  He was in charge of explaining everything to my mom and then calling my brothers.  I was left with my dad trying to stay calm and asking questions.

The entire staff at the hospital was friendly, professional, and most importantly helpful.  No question too stupid to ask.  Nothing too small to be unimportant.  Once they got my dad in his room, they began the process of inserting an IV.  This was the only time I got pissed at the nurses.  I know we were at a teaching hospital but the nurse trainee made my daddy bleed all over his pillow as she inserted the IV.  I had to step out as they did a full body scan of my dad.  This was when I lost my shit.  I just started crying not uncontrollably.  I cried enough to calm myself and get my face straight.  They had made my daddy bleed.  He was in so much pain from the tumor.  We had to talk about the possibility that he didn't survive and what he wanted to happen.  It was not easy.

Because both of my brothers live about 4 hrs away from us, I am in charge of all of the care.  Each time the surgeon called to give us an update, I was the one who had to talk the call and then translate the information for my mom and grandmother, aunts, and uncles who all showed up to be there with my dad. 

I was on the phone with the surgeon hearing all about there being a 2nd cancerous mass.  How this was a very rare presentation.  How this might change the approach to treatment if this cancer mass is different from the other cancer mass.  I was scared.  I knew I had all eyes on me.  My family watching my face for clues until I got over to them with information.  I cried while on the phone.  I know being rare in the medical world isn't good.  I was praying for a fat lump but no it was cancer.

Things we know 3 weeks later:  Dad would not have survived much longer with that mass in place.  He pain was a sign it was getting ready to perforate his intestines.  Once that happens, we would have had hours.  The cancers are the same type of cancer but are two separate occasions of cancer.

I can see now just how close to losing my dad we were before the surgery.  The surgeon moving quickly saved his life.  It is still not easy.  Next week, we should have the start dates for treatment.