New Beginnings

The past few months have been quite a whirlwind.  From early April to mid-July, my life changed in nearly every possible way.

In April, I defended my Ph.D. and graduated from school.  I also accepted a new job in a field which is quite a leap from what I ever thought I would do.

Yay! Graduated!

In June, I got married to the most wonderful, fantastic partner I could ever possibly ask for.  We also decided to shorten the commute to my new job by moving, and happened upon the absolute perfect house in the most perfect location, but had to frantically prep to move the day after we got back from our backpacking honeymoon.  Oh, and the wedding was a completely DIY affair, which we self-hosted/designed/made/planned/catered at our house, for 50 people.  Not exactly relaxing.

Image credit: The totally amazing Lucy Schultz Photography

Backpacking in the Maroon Bells with my favorite person

In July, we moved, and I started my new job.  So… things have been a little crazy!  Fortunately, I’m liking the job so far, so that’s good.  It was a leap to leave academia and planetary science and go into industry and computer science/geospatial data analysis, but I’m enjoying the challenge, and find myself looking forward to tackling the next day’s work, so that’s good.

The biggest issue with all this chaos is that I was never able to establish any kind of routine or do any major running like I had initially thought I would with my May and June “vacation.”  So now that things have calmed down and we’ve gotten back to our new normal, I’m struggling to get my feet back under me and get momentum in rebuilding my physical and mental health.  I had to let go of the Ute 100 for this year (Maybe 2019?  Too many variables for now…) and focus my sights on something that was a bit further down the road and slightly shorter, so I could actually get some training in.  So I signed up for the Bear Chase 50 miler at the end of September.  If that goes well and I’m feeling it, I’ll sign up for the Javelina 100 miler that happens Halloween weekend in Phoenix.  I expect that I’ll probably decide to hold off on the 100 for this year, but you never know.  I’m trying to be smart about my race choices lately since I’ve had so many DNFs and DNSs in the past few years.  I keep trying to bite off more than I can chew with all the things going on in life, and I need to be smarter and more realistic about my time and ability to get the long runs in.  I like having at least one day on my weekends to do stuff with my family and take care of other things that need to be done, and while it IS possible, 100 miler training doesn’t really allow for that to happen easily.

So now that life is more settled again, my short term goals are:

  1. Write regularly again.  I really enjoy this blog as my creative outlet and way to sort through my thoughts about training and racing, even if nobody reads it but my mom. 🙂
  2. Work on establishing a morning workout routine.  This means ACTUALLY GETTING UP WHEN MY ALARM GOES OFF IN THE MORNING AND NOT SLEEPING FOR AN EXTRA TWO HOURS.  Do you hear me, 5 a.m. Sarah???
  3. Get back into the habit of cooking dinners for my family.  I love cooking and we eat so much better when I do it several nights out of the week.  It also helps now that we’re settled in our new home and our commutes are shorter – no more driving a half hour+ to get home!  (I’m really digging the 15 minute commute.)
  4. Bike to work at least once a week.  Normally this would be NBD, but it’s 11 miles one way and there are some REALLY BIG HILLS.  It’s a commitment.

I think that’s a pretty good list for now.

Return to normal

The last several months have been an incredibly stressful time, but I’m happy to say that this Friday, I passed my comprehensive exam and advanced to Ph.D. candidacy!  I was incredibly nervous about this hurdle, since I changed my research focus to something that was completely new and unfamiliar to me a little over a year ago.  Because of this, I have been frantically playing catch-up since then.  But I succeeded!  And now that hurdle is behind me.  Hooray!

I’m really looking forward to getting back into my normal routine and enjoying things again.  I’ve been itching to get out on trails for the last several weeks, and have been longingly looking out the window at the mountains while my nose was buried in papers at my desk.

I have many big plans for this winter and spring.  I hope to at least accomplish some of them.  I feel like I do this every year, and never make any of them happen, so we’ll see how it goes.  The good thing is that now I have a great group of runner girlfriends who I can turn to for support and encouragement.  I love those girls.

For now, I am enjoying my first post-comps weekend by de-stressing and doing absolutely nothing.  It’s wonderful.  Beginning tomorrow (Monday), I will be back in full on hardcore training and healthy eating mode.  Hours and hours of sitting at my desk combined with stress hormones have come together to make me feel really uncomfortable, and I need to get back to my normal.  I still look perfectly fine on the surface, but I don’t feel it right now.  I can’t wait to feel like myself again.

Is it May yet?

Just a quick post to say I’m still here!  The end of the school year is always a bit insane, but I’ve been squeezing in some good (and fun) runs, and have plenty of exciting/crazy things coming up in the next couple months.

I’ll likely be pretty quiet until the semester is over (early May), but then I’ll have plenty of things to write about!  For now, I’ll leave you with some pretty pictures from from recent runs around Boulder…

Walker 1Walker Ranch

Walker 2Another great long run at Walker Ranch with some of my favorite running buddies

IMG_2097Heil Ranch hill workout

IMG_2022Being a goober (as usual) at Flatirons Vista – really happy to be back in CO after being away

IMG_1048Back before the snow melted – Bear Peak

IMG_1314More Bear Peak – it was a pretty day

IMG_1456And one more – Bear Peak

Getting Divorced: The Best Thing I Ever Did

I always feel like I have to explain to people that getting divorced was a good thing.  Over the last couple years, I have found that the conversation would often go like this:

  • Me: I got divorced two and a half years ago.
  • Them: <insert pity face here> Oh, I’m so sorry.
  • Me:  Don’t be!  It was the best thing I ever did!

People who have not gone through a divorce don’t seem to understand that it’s not always a bad thing.  Sure, the actual process of going through it is a giant pain in the ass, it can be obscenely expensive, and it’s completely emotionally exhausting, but it’s also freeing, and helps you learn things about yourself that you never would have otherwise.

First, some background.  I had never been happy in my marriage.  I knew even before the wedding that it wasn’t the right relationship for me.  But I was young (26) and dumb, and too embarrassed to call it off.  So on with the show we went.

Fast forward to nearly three years later, and I was at the end of my rope.  There were many factors that fed into my deciding to begin the divorce process.  Over the course of the summer 2012, I left several times, only to come back – fooled by promises of change that never really meant anything.  Eventually, there was that one event that was the final straw.  Everyone who has gone through this process has that “ah ha” moment – mine was the night before our third wedding anniversary.  In that moment, I finally found the courage and strength to stand up for myself and say “I want a divorce.”  and mean it with all my heart.

In that moment, I felt instantly better.  Yes, now the world was upside down and there were a million unknowns to worry about, but I felt so relieved to finally be taking steps in that direction.  The next several months were frustrating, and our divorce was one of the more amicable ones.  I can’t even imagine if it hadn’t been.  But even through all that frustration, I knew it was the right thing to do.  Neither of us was happy, so why continue like that?

Does getting divorced suck?  Absolutely.  Even in the most amicable of situations.  There’s something terrifying and sad about losing the life you thought you were going to have.  But in that loss, whole other worlds of possibilities appear.  It’s in this transition that I learned who I am, what I want for myself, what I want to give to others, and what I expect others to give to me.  I also learned what I want and need in a healthy relationship, what I am willing to compromise on, and what I am absolutely not willing to compromise on.  I learned how to actually date and get to know people.  I learned how to take care of my physical and emotional health.  I became a strong, and confident woman.  I learned how to deal with toxic, angry people, and not let their anger and hatred infect my life.  I developed excellent communication skills, and the ability to talk rationally and calmly through difficult situations.  All of these were things that I never would have been able to do if it hadn’t been for my divorce.

I am sure that I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone through all that.  So even though it was emotionally and financially difficult, I can confidently say that it was one of the best things I ever did.  Without forcing myself to jump off that cliff, I never would have learned any of these things.  Instead, I would probably still be in that unhappy, frustrated, and resentful life – wishing for something different, but too afraid to make a change.  Instead, I’m a happy, healthy, vibrant, confident woman living in a place I love, doing something I find exciting, surrounded by wonderful friends.  I am so thankful for this life every single day, and I know I never would have ended up here if it hadn’t been for that fateful night when I finally said “I want a divorce.” and meant it.

What’s in store for 2015

2015 is set to be pretty exciting – and exhausting.

I’ve never been one to try to get faster.  Pushing myself for speed has just never appealed to me.  There’s nothing wrong with it, and I have tons of respect for people who do it.  I’ve just always been drawn to go farther, or longer.  It seems to be one or the other for most of us runners.

Over the last several years, I’ve found myself always trying to reach for that next big distance, continuing to test my limits.  First it was a marathon.  Then after a few years of those, I realized they didn’t scare me anymore.  So I signed up for an Ironman.  After three of those, the terror has worn off, and I was looking for another thing to be afraid of.

Enter: Ultra running.

Considering I live in Colorado, I guess it’s one of those “when in Rome…” situations.  I find myself surrounded by friends who are all crazy endurance athletes (myself included), and we’re really great at enabling each other.  This is the one place where a typical conversation goes like this:

  • Me:  Soooo… I did something crazy last night.
  • Friend:  What?
  • Me: I signed up for the Run Rabbit 100.
  • Friend: Awesome!  I’m doing <insert other insane race here>!

Or this:

  • Me: Hey!  Come do this run with us!
  • Friend: Where?
  • Me: We’re running 31 miles – from Ned to Boulder.  All dirt roads and trails.
  • Friend: Fantastic!  I’m in!

Back in upstate NY, the conversations are usually more like this:

  • Me: So I signed up for another Ironman.
  • Friend: Are you drunk?

Ahhhh… Colorado.  I love you.

I’m excited to test my limits, and get out on lots of trails.  Now that I’ve been “running” those (I use the term “running” loosely here.  It’s really more like power hiking up the mountain and then running down.), the thought of getting back on the roads isn’t very appealing.  There are so many spectacular places to explore here.  I want to get to them all!

So 2015 looks like this so far:

I’m really excited to tackle these events.  Sure, I may crash and burn here and there.  Others may be spectacular successes.  There’s only one way to find out!

Welcome to Veggie Runner Girl!

Well, hello there!

I’ve been writing for several years (see my Dec 2009 – Jan 2015 blog here), but wanted to start fresh, since things have changed quite a lot in the last 5+ years.  It’s been a bumpy road, but it’s gotten me to where I am today, and I couldn’t be happier about that.  Compared to where I was in 2009, I’m much happier, stronger, more confident, insightful, and inspired than I ever was back then.  Sometimes major change, while scary, can be an incredibly liberating thing.

Now, I live in spectacular Boulder, Colorado.  By day, I’m a Ph.D. student, but in my free time (because I get loads of that as a Ph.D. student – ha!), I’m an explorer.  2015 is a big year for me.  Not too long ago, I had a moment of insanity, and signed up for my first 50 mile and 100 mile races.  I’ve been doing Ironman triathlons for three years now (2015 will be my 4th), but this is a whole other beast.  I’m super excited, and also terrified, to take this journey.  It will certainly be one to remember!  Fortunately, I have a lot of wonderful friends, and a fabulous support network, so at least I won’t be alone!