The Journey of Two Thousand and Fifteen

The Journey of Two Thousand and Fifteen

Two thousand fifteen.  Three hundred and sixty five revolutions to orbit around the sun one more time.  I started this post as a reflection of everything that happend this past year.  What I had gone through, how hard it was.  2015 was full of trials, growth, and accomplishments.  That alone deserves a moment of reflection.  It was a year of regrowth for us after 2014 left us lonely, broken and missing some pieces.  After all of that, we knew that we wanted to leave the East Coast, not sure how or where but this wasn’t the place for us.  The year turned out to be a journey full of self-discovery, physically, personally, and professionally.

Throughout the year I had interviews with 5 different places. The first was a phone interview.  I prepared based on what the recruiter had informed me.  After a few out of my control events, I had extremely high anxiety.  The discussion went horribly! I was completely caught off guard by the nature of the call and knew instantaneously that I wouldn’t be on the short list for an onsite interview. The whole time I just wanted the call to end. This was a pretty bad blow to my confidence and took some time to emotionally recover from.

Throughout the year I investigated different opportunities from industry to academia.  Nothing quite as bad as my first experience, but definitely a bumpy road.  The thing is, if you are trying to move across the country, an interview can be a big investment: money up front, time off of work, and red-eye flights to get home for work or to have time with my family. Throughout all of this, I already had a job that I was good at.  Putting yourself through this sort of abuse (anxiety up to the event, being able to professionally handle malevolent interviewers, and learning that rejection isn’t a reflection of personal worth) when you are comfortable- not happy, comfortable- is a very tiring process.  I ended the journey with the best interview experience one could hope for.  I dug out my defense slides and cleaned them up for a diverse crowd.  After a couple of practice rounds, I fell right back into the groove, comfortably discussing my work and energetically presenting.  The rest of the day I saw labs full of interesting work and having good conversations with my future supervisors.  I knew that I wanted to be there and that I would have the support to develop my career.  I am happy to be there now and looking forward to using my skills and background on various projects in the coming months.

IMG_3162
#dressedindreams

Physically I didn’t have any tangible goals.  I wanted to regain strength and feel like myself again.  I fought against shin splints throughout the year, which got the best of me after over extending myself running the Ragnar Relay.  I ended up even going to the doctor, who allowed me to run my goal race (Nike Women’s 1/2) but informed me that the new pain was shin splints and recommended physical therapy.  I ran my goal race after taking a couple weeks off, other than 1 or 2 shake out runs, and missed my goal by a couple minutes (my chip time was 1:48, goal was <1:45).  Despite not having an A race, I had a great weekend with two of my favorite sisters in sport.  After the race we toured San Francsico by food and drink.  It was fantastic!

IMG_3464
#SistersInSport #sisterhood

After the race I started PT, which felt nice but wasn’t the best.  We did discover that my right, medial gastroecnimeus wasn’t firing properly and I have a huge knot so I got bi-weekly lower leg massage and a plan to test my bone strength by running once or twice a week and increasing my mileage each run.  I am up to 4 miles and don’t yet have any bone pain, so I’m hopeful I can make it to 5 miles before the end of the year and be cleared to begin a normal base training regimen.

The biggest, but unexpected event of the year was when we adopted our fur baby, Badger.  He is pretty great. I had no idea what was missing from my life, or that having someone that you care for would be so rewarding.  Within a few months Badger no longer had skin issues or soft stool. Over the months following, he kept gaining weight, he’s my little tank!  Honestly, I was worried about the cost and the time that a dog requires, but it is the best investment anyone can make.  The return in love, motivation, confidence, and happiness is more than I could have imagined.  He is the best thing that we have ever had.  I love my doggy Badger!

IMG_3596
My main squeeze B!

It is good practice to take time to reflect what you have accomplished.  I am proud of my growth and performance in 2015.  It was a hard road, but I have emerged a stronger and wiser than I entered.  I am grateful to the friends and support I have had along the way.  I am proud of my family, my new home, and the direction my career is going.  I stand here, a strong woman, ready to see what the future has in store for me.

IMG_3165

 

Advertisements
5 Life Lessons from Badger Moran

5 Life Lessons from Badger Moran

Adopting Badger has been one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made.  In addition to his low maintenance and endless love, I have learned quite a bit about life from this young man.  Below is a short list of my observations.

1. Take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.  Badger typically demonstrates this when we are on a run this hot summer and come across a puddle.  No matter how often we stop for drinks out of my camel back, if he finds a puddle, he’s going swimming!  Applied to human life, this behavior may be as simple as using the restroom I walk past before going into a meeting, but may also be as big as speaking up when a life-changing opportunity arises, such as at a networking event.  If you want to cool down, go for a swim.  People will mostly be supportive, if not merely entertained by your unconventional behavior.

IMG_3081
Thank goodness for this Athens puddle in the middle of a hot summer run!

2. It’s okay to say, “No.”  I don’t have a good image for this one, but Badger constantly reminds me that its okay to say, “no,” or, “no, thank you.” Here are some examples.

  • We are on a run, and come to a stop light.  He sits like a good boy, so I try to give him a treat.  He sniffs, but is not interested, so moves his head.  Its okay, you don’t have to eat treats, especially in the middle of a workout.
  • I’m cooking dinner, and he is patiently laying down next to the kitchen.  I think it is awesome that he will eat (raw) veggies, so I often experiment to see what he will eat.  He won’t eat raw spinach.  He’ll sniff, lick, and drop it on the floor. Which I take to mean, “No thank you, Mommy.”
  • Another running example.  I’ll ask, “Are you thirsty?” He responds by turning his head and getting ready for, “Okay. Let’s Go!” meaning, “No thank you. I just drank out of that puddle that presented itself to me. Now I can’t drink anymore until I do my business.”

This is a major lesson that I (and many others) need to learn.  Badger exhibits confidence in knowing himself and knowing what he wants or needs.  To that end, he is confident enough to refuse my offerings.  This is an extremely important lesson. One should knowing yourself, your ability, and your bandwidth to successfully complete something before accepting more work, setting training goals, or more extracurricular responsibility.  Not knowing how to say no will throw life off balance.  At work, we call it, “exercising your ‘no’ muscle.”  Just like your body needs physical exercise, your mind needs mental and behavior exercises to operate the way you want it to.  Remember to say, “no” when you don’t want to do something.  If you really don’t like something, speak up!  Its even okay to vehemently say no.

3. Be patient, but persistent. Patience and persistence will pay off.  If things aren’t going your way don’t try to force them.  Make your presence and desires known, but don’t be pushy about it.  Stay calm.  Eventually things will turn your way.  I know, I cave every day and eventually give Badger a piece of food from the kitchen or my plate.  He will wait an hour (eternity to doggies) patiently watching and waiting.  As long as he listens and responds appropriately, he will get what he wants.

Badger's in the background, patiently hoping for some bacon wrapped, guacamole filled BBQ'd chicken
Badger’s in the background, patiently hoping for some bacon wrapped, guacamole filled BBQ’d chicken

4. Be grateful, everyday. Like most Americans, I tend to spend my mornings worrying about all the tasks I have to complete that day.  What needs to be done at work? How am I going to fit my training into this week’s schedule?  You know the drill.  Badger, on the other hand, wakes up every morning, get this, happy. He is so excited to see me & Ian, that he has a soft bed, that he has the chance to go outside to run, that he has a tasty meal waiting for him when he returns.  He loves us and shows us his gratitude with excitement and affection, every day! This might be the most important lesson Badger has taught me.  To love life, because I have everything I need.  I love my family and the life we have together.  This is all you need to be grateful.  Everyday is an opportunity to love life again.

All 60#s of pibble love, snuggling on top of mama!
All 60#s of pibble love, snuggling on top of mama!

5. Enjoy the journey, the destination is not so important. Every morning Badger & I go out for an adventure.  Sometimes we just go around in our neighborhood, sometimes we hop in the car and go a little farther.  No matter what, he is stoked to go.  It doesn’t matter if we repeat a normal loop, go to the park to sniff around, go off into the trails. Every day is an adventure, we always eventually end up at home; he’s excited for the experience and the time we spend together.  Love what you do, live your life. You won’t end up anywhere unless you take a journey, so make the best of the excursion you’re on.

Courageously go onward!  Enjoy the journey, whether you know where you're going or not!
Courageously go onward! Enjoy the journey, whether you know where you’re going or not!
Training Check In – Week 9

Training Check In – Week 9

Its been 1 month since my first training check in!  This training month has been interesting.  I’ve been traveling 3 out of the last 4 weeks, which makes scheduling my runs and workouts seem like a jigsaw puzzle to say the least.  As a result, I’ve been pretty lenient on my strength and cross training.

Badger and I got to run in the hot, hot heat & humidity of Georgia on vacation:

k_b_tybee1

Did I mention it was really, really HOT!  I just had to let Badger jump in the fountain to cool off.  By “had to” I mean, I couldn’t really stop him from jumping in!  My sneaky little boy.

k_b_tybee2

Our last days in Georgia were spent with friends in Athens.  Badger was a big hit there, not just for his general awesomeness, but for his resemblance of the university mascot.

badger_athens

More importantly, I was able to spend time with this beauty, she lives on the other side of the globe and I miss her soooo much!

kariJess_athesn

After a week of vacation, it was time to go back to work. My first week back, we were out at Stanford University, so I had a few great runs in the beautiful CA sun, with some HILLS!  Yes!
kari_PaloAlto

Last week, I went to San Diego.  It was a VERY short trip and I had a lot of work to do.  I managed to get a short morning run in before hurrying off to meetings.  I didn’t get to snap a photo on my run, but I had some time before my flight home, so I went to the bluffs to watch the sunset.  Even now, looking at the sunset pics almost brings me to tears.  I miss the ocean (the one that the sun sets into).

Kari_SD

Each week, I’ve surpassed my goal mileage anywhere from 2 – 10 miles.  Some of my cross training days were converted to easy run days for convenience.  I’m cutting back on extra runs and putting cycling back in this week.  My shins have been sore again this week, so I’m letting them take a little extra time.  Although my mileage is up, I haven’t been happy with my speed.  I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon this year under 1:45:00.  I don’t think Nike Women’s is going to be that race. I haven’t had many hills to train on.  The only thing going for me is that I will probably be faster in the ideal running conditions (50s-60s deg F, as opposed to 90sF and high humidity) and high adrenaline.  So, I’ve decided just to push myself to my limit and be happy with my performance.  I will try to find another race in November or December to go for my goal time.  …Perhaps I should really make time for my strength and cross training!

Checking in – 5 weeks into training

Checking in – 5 weeks into training

Check in time!  I’ve been training for the Nike Women’s 1/2 marathon for 5 weeks now!  I can’t believe how time flies!

I’ve been building my mileage, finding parks that double as 1/4 or 1/2 mile markers, all with my buddy Badger.  Overall, he’s a good running partner, although sometimes he loses motivation.  I thought that we were hitting his maximum mileage, but today he was still pulling the leash when I tried to start walking after 9 miles (on our 8 mile endurance run)!

IMG_3014

Lesson learned: trails keeps Badger motivated!

I’ve been keeping up with my scheduled runs, but have been a little relaxed on my strength training workouts.  I typically put them off until the weekend (+surrounding days).  I need to find some balance (errrr, motivation) to get them in.  I’ve substituted my ‘recovery run’ days as prescribed by the NWM app, with riding my bike to work.  Initially, I thought this would be good to get in cardio without stressing my shins.  Well, the extra cross training has been great because my shins don’t even hurt anymore!

In a nutshell, every week has 2 cycling days, 2 quality run (i.e. hills-if I can find them-, interval, tempo, or fartlek), and one long run day.  I should also add 2-3 strength days as double days.  This allows me to get in my rest days (2/week 🙂 and prepare my body for multiple workouts in a day, which it will need to do for Ragnar.

I am slower than my goal time, which sucks.  I am think that I should be faster and should be stronger.  I know this is not the case.  The reality is I would like to be faster, but there I took some serious time off.  I will be faster when I get there.  Its hot. Its humid. I’m worried about my dog. I often try new routes, which often ends with me being lost.  Except for the absence of hills here in DC, I think my race will be much better- a planned/obvious route, and cooler weather.  I am most grateful because my body feels strong.

Viva la run!

Viva la run!

GOTRDC

In my post about community, I revealed that I will be running the Ragnar Relay DC to support Girls on the Run DC.  Well, its official now!  I’m running with 11 new friends to support this amazing non-profit.  I first heard of GOTR through the DC Rollergirls.  I volunteered with DCRG to cheer and monitor a 5k run by the organization.  I’ve been looking for a way to be involved but unfortunately my work and travel schedule do not allow me to participate at the times and consistency that they need.  I saw on their website that there is an adult running team, SoleMates, who support of GOTR through charity runs, and happen to be looking for Ragnar participants. I have wanted to do a relay like this for years!  I want to run Hood to Coast, I tried to join a Ragnar trail team, all of these have not worked out for me.  I have no idea what to expect, so I did not want to captain, but most of my friends are in the same boat.  So, I signed up for SoleMates.

GOTR DC serves all eight wards in the district, which is very important!  Approximately 1800 girls participate, from elementary school running clubs to middle school track clubs.  In addition to learning about running, being active, and enjoying a healthy lifestyle, GOTR teaches about leadership, approaching life and decision making with intention, to stand up for oneself and others, to nurture physical, emotional and spiritual health, and more.  It is a system level approach to life that builds confidence in the girls.

Contributions made in support of SoleMates are incredibly important to the organization.  All of the donations that I help raise, will go directly to the girls. 70% of the participants require some sort of financial assistance.  Wards 7 & 8 have approximately 40-50% children living in poverty- ref here.  Donations made through my page will allow girls that live in poverty to learn confidence and how to effectively use their voice to advocate for themselves and their peers.  Please consider donating through my page: Viva la run!

I will be documenting my training, progress, team events and the likes with tag #vivalarun

In case you missed it- Donate Herehttps://www.raceplanner.com/donate/Viva-la-Run 

Philosophy

Philosophy

I have a few philosophies that I apply across my life.  I’ve listed them below, with a brief explanation as to how they apply to running.

  1. Work smarter, not harder. There’s no use expending more energy than you need to to accomplish a task; when running, faster is better right? I’m a busy woman and I don’t want to spend more time necessary. This doesn’t mean slack off or half ass. I have allotted time to run, I’m going to make the most of it. For my running, I want to find the most efficient way to move. I’ve explored different ideas here: long, heel-stoking strides, pose, chi, yeah. I’ve come to the conclusion that a mid/forefoot strike, with my feet beneath me works best for me. My form is a mix between Budd Coates’ description from Running on Air, and The Science of Running by Steve Magness.   I use the queues to ‘put my foot down now,’ to keep from overstriding.  I use my GPS watch for recording my runs, but don’t have the heart rate monitor so I can tune into how I feel and associate that with a pace.  Running by breath helps me prevent/overcome side stitches and know how hard I should be pushing in my workouts. Conclusion: work hard when its time to work, tune into your body, move efficiently to get there faster.
  2. Remember to breath. When I forget about breathing, I typically forget about form.  Recipe for disaster.  Your breath is the key to how fast and hard you should be going for your workout.  Although I have decided the training plans aren’t for me, I highly recommend Running on Air.  Running in odd breaths will help asymmetry from forming or injury.  For most of my runs, I run 5 strides per breath- 3 strides for inhale, 2 for exhale.  Fast intervals, I break it down to a two stride inhale, 1 stride exhale.  In addition to helping prevent injury, this links your breath to your movement.  If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you know that there is a benefit to this.  It turns your run into a moving meditation.  Studies have shown that brining mindfulness to exercise result in more positive hormones, and better satisfaction performing exercise.  Remember to breath. You can’t run without your breath, and you might actually like running a little bit more.
  3. See things from a different perspective. I used to hate out and back runs. I would do anything to create a loop so that I wouldn’t have to see the same scenery.  When I travel for work, I often run. It is the only time that I have to myself, and the only time that I can explore whatever city I am staying in.  My hatred of out and back runs changed on my recent trip to Alaska.  I ran out and back on a coastal pedestrian trail.  IT WAS GORGEOUS! Looking at the city backlit instead of front, city vs trees.  Since then, I have appreciated the differences between the out and the back.  A great way to remember that every path has its own perspective.  What you see, is not what someone else may see.  Either way, enjoy the view.
    2015-06-23 07.01.21 2015-06-23 07.02.35
  4. Find your balance. Literally.  Engage your core, be able to balance on your forefoot, be able to balance on one foot.  The strength and stability from your lower leg muscles will save you from injury!  Your balance is not possible without engaging your core.  WORK YOUR CORE!  You’ll feel and look stronger and better.
Community

Community

This year, my training has been completely solo.  I worked out at the gym by myself, I run by myself, now I work out at home by myself.  It is very convenient.  I can do things on my schedule, move them around as I please, mix and match to fit my travel schedule.  The freedom is nice, I have had a lot of time to spend with my family and the results have been paying off.  But something is missing.  As I read my notes to my wonderful trainer at Alaris Fitness, I realize that all year I have been plagued with lack of motivation.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type of person to actually not do my workouts, I have only missed about 5 workouts in about 30 weeks, some of which were exchanged for other activity.  I had fallen into a rut of enjoying the process too much, without something to look forward to, including the positive influence of relationships.  Since NW1/2M training started a few weeks ago, I have more motivation, but my team is still nearly 3000 miles away.

Having community and being a part of a team have been important parts of my life, and those relationships get you through the toughest times.  I personally also have added motivation when you are putting your energy into something that is greater than yourself.  On a recent phone interview, I realized that this is something missing from my life RIGHT NOW!  My training has been for me, and I that is about to change!

After I realized that I wanted to rebuild my community, I decided I wanted something to push me and something to give back to my local community, I joined two teams to fulfill this.

OiselleTeam

To push myself I joined the team Oiselle Volée. Oiselle is a small company that designs and creates women’s running apparel.  They focus on making a quality product for women’s body.  Which sound like something that all apparel companies should do, but it is surprisingly difficult to find piece of clothing, athletic or business, that I don’t have a complaint about the fit or function.  The team manifesto starts with Build a Sisterhood, and goes on to list ways in which you push yourself to be the best you you can be.  Push myself, check. Added bonus: the team manifesto expresses my feelings towards women’s issues such as eating to fuel performance, expressing yourself, and being fierce in what you do.  I’m sure I will have more to say when I receive my manifesto and start assimilating into the team.

GOTRDC

To give back to my local community, I’ve joined the SoleMates, the adult charity running group to support Girls on the Run DC (GOTR).  GOTRDC is a nonprofit whose vision is, “… a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.” BOOM.  So I joined a team of with 11 other local women to fundraise and run the Ragnar Relay DC.  My minimum contribution will cover a tuition scholarship and shoes (and a little more) for a girl in DC to participate in the after school program, which ends with a 5k.

I’m really excited about my new community, and looking forward to meeting and getting to know my new teammates!  Follow for updates on both!