Sunday, April 6, 2014

Things are starting to click


It has now been a year in my return to running since having Stevie. We celebrated his first birthday this two weekends ago with our family and friends.  I say this constantly, but I can't believe how fast the time has gone and how big my baby is already!  He is no longer a baby anymore and is a little boy, a toddler, walking, babbling and exploring everything in his sight!
Stevie's Motorcycle Birthday Cake
Homemade Motorcycle Sugar Cookies
It has been a few months since I have last blogged and so far 2014 has been pretty awesome.  Life has been much less stressful and things just seem to be coming together much smoother this year.   Our family has been doing great.  Steve, and I have been having a blast watching Stevie learned to walk, and play.  He has a such a nutty and happy personality that makes him so much fun to be around.  His smile is contagious.
Stevie the Birthday Boy
Running has been going really well too.  I finally got over the cold I had for 6 weeks (yikes!)  and have been able to train consistently since the beginning of January.   I was sick for so long I forgot what it felt like to be able to breath and feel good.   I was lucky because around the same time I got healthy there were a lot of my professional running friends out in Phoenix for winter training.  Molly Huddle, Katie DeCamillo, Julie Culley, Lauren Fleshman, Mel Lawrence, Christine Babcock and Betsy Flood all came out for January and February to get in some warm weather training.  It was great timing for me because it really helped boost my training having more speedy friends to meet for runs/workouts each day.  I finally started feeling stronger and more and more like myself again.
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Julie, Molly and I icing in my pool after a 15mile Run
I decided to race the Mountain to Fountain 15K in Fountain Hills on March 8th.  The race ended up going well and I finished 2nd to Sara Hall in a competitive elite field.   Going into the race I felt I was in shape to run 5:40pace based on my workouts.  I ended up running 5:38 pace (52:50).  I surprised myself with my fitness and felt strong for most of the race.  I went through 5K in 16:53, and 10K in 34:00 and it felt very controlled and easy.  However, I lost a lot of time on the hills in the last 5K.  I know with more training and racing I will gain that strength to finish stronger.  
Sara Hall and I warming up at Mountain to Fountain

A week after the race, I took an incredible trip for four days to Maui for my friend Lesley's wedding.  Steve and I were college teammates with Lesley at CU and we both wanted to be there for her wedding.  However, with Steve's work schedule and Stevie being so young it was going to be a little more difficult for all three of us to travel.  I also found out a group of my girlfriends (Lisa Aguilara, Ann Gafigan, Cate Robbie and Jeanna Composoti) were going to go on their own and share a condo together.  So, I decided to go solo.  It was my first "Girls Trip" I have ever taken and it was so much fun!  I don't know why I hadn't done this sooner.   It was so relaxing, I had a blast with all the girls and Lesley's wedding was beautiful.  All of us decided we need to do an annual "Girls Weekend".  There is just something about   I also got in some good training while I was there and by the end of the trip felt so relaxed and grateful to have such an awesome husband, who wanted me to take this trip and enjoy a relaxing fun weekend with my friends.  I was also wondering why Steve and I didn't have a destination wedding.  Great wedding Josh and Lesley!
My awesome Maui roommates (Lisa Aguilara, Ann Gaffigan and Cate Robbie) minus Jeanna 

When I got back from Hawaii training started to come together even more.  I've been starting to show fitness and look like a runner again.  I decided to enter the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 miler, which is the USATF 10 Mile Championships.   The race went well.  I ended up averaging 5:30 pace for ten miles (55:14) and was the 9th American in a very deep field. Janet Bawcom ended up winning the US Championship in (52:20) a new American record.  I felt strong most of the way and ran with a group of American women through 8 miles and fell off the pack and ran the last two miles solo.  I went through 5K in 16:40, 10K in 33:40 and 15K in 51:14---90 seconds faster than I ran 15K at the Mountain to Fountain a month ago.   I was a little disappointed because I fell off the pack at 8 miles, with only two miles to go.  However, it was the first race I have ever puked after.  Steve has always teased me that I have not run a race hard enough because I haven't puked at the end.  So according to Steve's standards I ran hard.
Top 10 Men and Women at the USATF 10 Mile Championships

I am looking forward to more racing this season.  I am a runner that needs to race more often.  I usually get better with each race and relearn how to push myself.  The races also help boost my training to another level and I get more confident and feel much stronger and faster each race I run.    I am excited for this season to be competitive again and back in the racing scene!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thankful

Thankful

2013 has flown bye.  I can't believe we are already 21 days into 2014.  I am starting to agree with what my parents used to say, as you get older time seems to go bye much faster.  Obviously, the measurement of time has not changed, but as we get older our lives become more occupied with family, work, friends, hobbies and events and time really to does fly bye.   In the last 12 months, I have taken on more than I have had to in all my years combined. It has felt much like a roller-coaster ride of events with exciting highs and some real painful lows but I am grateful it has gotten me to wear I am today.   Here is my 2013 in a nutshell:

January:
-  Founded South Mountain Striders Running Group
(Yeah!  I love these girls and I am proud to be a member and founder of the group!)

March: 
-   Gave birth to my son Steve Slattery 3.0 (Stevie) on March 19th
(Woo hoo, I did it!  Definitely the most rewarding thing I have done in my life.  He brings me so much happiness I can't explain it)


May:
-  Returned to running after a 6 month break from running during my pregnancy
( So excited to be back running and it has been a lot more fun than I thought it would be.   After nine months away, I was so excited to get back in shape and start competing again!)

-  Started sponsorship with 2XU compression wear and Baby Jogger
(Really excited to be working with two great companies with awesome products!)

June: 
- Lost my Father Terry Gorton to ALS
(One of the most difficult things I have gone through.  My Dad and I were very close and he was always my biggest cheerleader and motivator.  It is still hard to believe he is gone.)

July: 
-  Accepted a position with Modcraft Studio as an Account Manager
(Really excited to be working with my college Teammate Shanna Burnett and her talented husband Kevin Burnett in their innovative PR company!)

-  Ran my first race post pregnancy at Hood to Coast Relays with Nuun
(Had a blast with a great team of women on the Nuun team.  I was proud of myself, I averaged 5:45 pace for 18 miles 4 months after having Stevie. )

August: 
-  Took over management/ownership of my parents company Mountain States Specialties
(A large role to take on.  It is a sign company with 10 employees that has been in business for over 25 years.  My Mom was struggling with health issues and mourning and was no longer able to manage the company.  I have a economics/business degree and have had an understanding from a distance of how the company was run.  However, I had to learn the details very quickly and step into a leadership position.  A bit overwhelming at first.)

September:
- In a Car Accident with Stevie and totaled my Dodge Dakota
(A really scary experience that made me realize how quickly your life can change.  Luckily, Stevie was healthy and ok after the accident the only thing I received from the accident was whiplash. )

October:  
- Became the Eliptigo World Champion
(Pretty awesome race up a gnarly mountain starting at sea level and climbing to 5000ft.)

-Went to Boulder, Colorado with Stevie to do training for Modcraft and watch the PAC 12 XC Championships.
(First trip with Stevie solo.  He did great.  Had a lot of fun learning my new role with Modcraft and spending time with Shanna and Kevin.  Awesome weekend watching the Buffs kick butt at PAC 12's with other fellow Buff Alumni!)

November:
-  Mom undergoes brain surgery for hydrosephalitis
(Another scary low. The doctors scoped a blockage in her ventricle that was causing fluid to build in her brain. Not sure how much more emotionally I can take right now.  Praying that this will help my Mom and she will fully recover.)

-  Attend CU Teammate, Liz's Wedding in Denver, Colorado
(A fun weekend away from the stress at home.  Really fun to have a date night with Steve catching up with friends and letting loose on the dance floor!  I love Weddings!)

December:  
- Attend TRE(The Running Event) Conference with Modcraft
(Exciting to meet all of our clients; Nuun, Oiselle, Soleus and all the editors to
showcase the new products for 2014.)

-  Ran USATF Club XC Nationals.
(Hindsight, honestly not the most intelligent idea during this time.  Going into the race I was both physically and emotionally tired with everything outside of running. However, my team South Mountain Striders, had been planning on doing this race all year and I didn't want to let them down.  It was one of the hardest races I have run and the worst finishes I have had.  I didn't realize how tired I was from juggling everything(Stevie, work, traveling, health of my parents and running) and how much it would effect my race.  It was one of the hardest courses I have ever run as well and I had no energy to really push myself.  It was the first time I have ever felt this way in a race.)

-Christmas in NJ for 10 days
( Stevie met all of his family in NJ.  All of Steve's family live there and Stevie had only met his Grandpa and Grandma.  It was  fun to have a white Christmas.  It was nice to see family and relax a bit too!)

 2013 was one of the most stressful but fulfilling years of my life. There have been extreme highs and lows throughout the year. What I thought would be the most stressful thing for me this year, having Stevie, has actually been much easier and he has helped me to stay sane through this whole process.  He has brought me so much joy and happiness during both the difficult and fun times and I am so grateful to be his Mom.   However, by the end of the year I was exhausted both physically and mentally.  I realized I was very strong for getting  through this period but I also realized could not sustain another year like this again.

Now that we are already 21 days into 2014, I am really looking forward to a year of "normalcy".  This year I learned that I am stronger and able to handle more than I ever thought I could.  I was able juggle and accomplish quite a bit in one year.  However,  I am ready to focus on doing things at a high level and not spreading myself so thin.  I have already put things in place to help me accomplish and stick to a less hectic and stressful year.    I have had to learn to delegate things more and to prioritize the important things in my life. I am going to race as an Elite again and run my first marathon this spring and  I am going to be a great Mom, Wife and focused employee.  2013 taught me a lot and I am excited for the things to come in 2014!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Eliptigo World Champion

Eliptigo World Champion!  What does that mean?  Some of you may be asking what the heck is an Eliptigo?  The Eliptigo is an Elliptical bike used for cross training.  It is an awesome cross training tool that I started using a year and a half ago.  It is by far the most fun cross training tool I have used.  Over the last 15 years of my running career I have had several injuries and done quite a bit of cross training.  The most miserable part of cross training for me is being confined indoors on a machine.  The Eliptigo allows  you to enjoy the outdoors and not be forced to stare at a screen or a wall.  Not only is it fun it is a really great workout.  I can get my heart rate close to 170 on hard rides, which is really high for cross training, without any pounding on my body.

During my pregnancy, I rode the Eliptigo frequently because it felt much better on my body.  I also rode it a lot in my return to running from pregnancy as I built back my mileage.  It was a great way to build back my fitness along with running.  About a month ago, I was asked to ride in the Eliptigo World Championships in San Diego on October 12th.  The race is a 11.65 mile hill climb up Palomar Mountain.  You start at sea level and climb to 5000ft of elevation.  I agreed to do the race and was excited and a little nervous for a new challenge.  I really hadn't rider with many people on the Eliptigo and was curious on how I would stack up in a race and especially on a crazy hill climb like this.  I had cross trained hard when I was injured but how good was I really compared to others?

Climbing Palomar Mountain at the Eliptigo World Champs

The race turned out to be awesome.  It was one of the most beautiful roads I have ever been on and the ride was really tough but fun.  From the start of the race until 92minutes later when I finished my legs burned climbing the hill.  It was a feeling I have never had in a running race.  My breathing felt pretty easy I just had to get used to keeping my turnover going while my legs burned.  One thing that did help is Steve and Stevie drove up the mountain and were able to cheer me on at several points during the race.  Seeing them made me want to get to the finish faster.  I ended up winning the women's race finishing in 92 minutes and breaking the previous record by 7 minutes.  Overall, it was an awesome experience and I am so glad I participated in it.  I had a great weekend meeting the Eliptigo family and other enthusiasts.  And I found out I am a decent cross trainer after all.

Steve, Stevie and I post race at La Jolla Cove

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hood to Coast First Post Baby Race.....What a Blast!

It has almost been two weeks since I ran Hood to Coast Relays and this blog has been in the works since I was on the plane home. It has been a crazy couple of weeks since I have been back at home.   I have taken on a bigger role at my parents company with the passing of my father, Steve started his new job and last Thursday I got into a  car accident(thankfully Stevie and I are both ok).  I could write several blogs about last week, but I am just happy it is over with and hope that my life can return to some form of normal soon.  Thank god I have running, it has been the best form of therapy for me lately! 

Anyway, back to Hood To Coast.   In April, about a month after I had Stevie, I was invited by the NUUN hydration team to be a member of one of the three teams of women they were sponsoring for the Hood to Coast Relays .  I was excited for the opportunity, because it has always been a bucket list race that I have wanted to run and I thought it would be a great first race back after having Stevie.  I was a bit nervous for the race.  It wasn't because it was my first race in a year and a half.  It was the thought of leaving my 5 month old son for 4 nights.  It sounded crazy to me because I haven't spent more than 6 hours away from him!  However, I knew it would be a great chance for him and Dad to bond and for me to have a weekend to myself.  So, breast pump in hand, yes I  pumped in the van between runs, I set out for my first HTC adventure!

NUUN had three teams of women running HTC, made up of Women's Running bloggers. I didn't know any of the women  coming in other than Julia Webb, whom I invited to run on the team with me.  I was a little nervous to meet the other women, and tell them I had a blog especially since I don't even have my own domain name.  Hopefully, they could help me improve my social media skills.   The team I was placed on was a competitive team that was shooting to win the Women's Division of Hood to Coast. I was chosen to run leg 6 of the relay and was in van 1.  My other van 1 teammates   ,"were Dorothy Beal, Robin Hefner, Katie Edwards, Jenny Poore, and Julia Webb.  The women in my van were awesome and I felt so lucky to be a part of such a fun team especially since we would be sharing close quarters for close to 24 hours straight.   Mason Reay the CEO of Nuun was our van driver.  How cool is that? Not many CEOs would drive a bunch of crazy runner girls around for 24 hours straight.   That is what makes the company so awesome.  They not only have amazing products but they are very connected with and care about their customers.  I was very excited to run on their team for Hood to Coast.  

Overall, the relay went well.  With just over three months of running, I averaged 5:35 pace for my first 6.75 mile leg and 5:49 pace for the last two five mile legs.  I was really happy with my runs.  I had only done a month of workouts going into the race and had only run two weeks at 60 miles per week.   I have a lot of work to do to get to my goals this year but I know my fitness is not that far off and I have a lot of room for improvement based on the small amount of training I have done so far.  I wasn't sure how I would feel after running three legs in a 24 hour period faster than any of my workouts this year.  However, I never really felt too tired or sleepy, I think Little Stevie prepared me well for that part of the race!  The hardest part was fitting in pumping in between my legs.  It was a bit strange pumping in the back of the van, and made me sad every time I had to throw out all that valuable milk.  Our team didn't quite reach our goal of winning the  Women's division, due to a mishap with an exchange we lost close to 80min.    But, the navigation and driving is a key part to the race and I am sure there are hundreds of similar stories of missed exchanges, van problems and navigation issues from other HTC teams.   The highlight of the relay was after I finished the final leg for our van, we stopped at a small bar advertising  amazing  bloody mary's.   After a year and a half without alcohol and over 17miles of running, the spicy bloody mary was amazing and so was the plate of bacon  Robyn ordered.

I had an amazing time running Hood to Coast and really enjoyed getting to know all the women on the NUUN teams as well as the all the NUUN employees that helped organize and put our teams together.  It was a great first race back after having Stevie and makes me excited for the year of training and racing I have coming up.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Inspiration


It has been over a month since I last blogged, and it has been a very tough one for me and my family.  On June 18th, my father, Terry Gorton, passed away after battling the terrible disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  It was only a year ago that my father was first diagnosed with the disease. If you don't know what ALS is it is often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," and is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, people in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.  It is a terrible disease that makes leaves you feeling helpless with the diagnosis. Doctors have yet to know what causes it and there is no cure for the disease.   As soon as my father was diagnosed, Steve  and I knew we needed to be there for my Dad and for my family in Phoenix. I am so glad we did this and so grateful to be able to spend the last year with my Dad.  Especially, having him there for the birth of Stevie!

My father was a loving husband, caring friend, and compassionate leader at work.  There are not many things he was not good at, but my Dad was best at being Dad.  Living in the house with my Mom, my sister Lindsey and it wasn't always easy, and my Dad’s ideas often got outvoted by the three of us.   However, whatever girly thing we wanted to do, my Dad was always there with a big smile of his face, laughing with us.  When my mom was working at the radio station early in the morning when we were little girls, my Dad was always there for us braiding out hair and getting us ready for the day.
 
My Dad was a genuine All- American man.   He grew up in Michigan where he was an Eagle Scout, and wrestler.  On my parents honey moon, he and my mom packed up their VW bug with $700 in their pockets and moved to Arizona to complete his  degree.  My dad was a business major at ASU, and a lifelong Sundevil.   He had an entrepreneurial spirit and twenty four years ago, he started Mountain States Specialties, a sign company.  My Dad loved being a small business owner.  He loved going to the office and was proud of every project he did.  It’s hard to drive around Phoenix and not be reminded of my Dad because his signs are everywhere, and every time he would see one he would get a huge smile on his face and tell me all about the project. 

Despite having this terrible disease, my Dad rarely complained and always kept a positive attitude.  It is no coincidence that Dad was always my biggest supporter and motivator.  Between swimming and running I spent most of my life training for something and my Dad was always there watching, timing and cheering me on.   And on the days I didn’t want to get out of bed because it was cold and snowy in Colorado, I just needed to think about my Dad and he would get me out the door from a thousand miles away.  My Dad had the work ethic of a Midwest farmer getting up sometimes at 2:30 AM so that he could get a head start on the day.  His optimism and encouragement made it impossible to fail.  He supported me in everything I did, and you always left a conversation with him confident you would succeed, weather it was sports, school work, or your personal life.

I hope to carry the hardworking, loving, strong and positive attitude he carried everyday.  I hope to raise Stevie in the fun, loving and encouraging way my father raised my sister and I.  As, I get back into shape and return to running  and racing I know that he is with me every step of the way and pushing me to be better. 






Saturday, June 15, 2013

Baby Steps



It is amazing to me how much infants develop in the first few years.  The first few weeks of their lives consist of eating, pooping, and sleeping.  In twelve weeks, it is pretty amazing the gains Stevie has made in his development.   He is now able to push himself up, roll over and army crawl.  Steve jokes that Stevie will be a lot more interesting when he can run, play and have a conversation with him.  However, in order to get there he has a lot of  baby steps along the way.  In order to run he has to learn to walk, in order to walk, he has to be  able to stand up, to stand up he has to be able to sit up, if he is going to sit up  he has to master pushing his body up to crawl and so on.  These smaller tasks like pushing up seem easy after you are walking but you have to master those foundational exercises to get there.

Returning to running again, I am on the baby step plan of building my foundation.  For the last four years, I have been working with Dr. John Ball at Maximum Mobility Chiropractic.  John and I decided if I was going to have a successful return to running and competition I had to start by building my core foundation and re-teaching and strengthening my body to hold good posture and form.  One of the key issues in my form is my right hip drops during my gate cycle when I am running.  I have done countless hamstring, hip and glute strengthening exercises the past 6 years, as well as massage, ART and chiropractic work to change my form.  However, I was totally missing the boat on the issue.  I wasn’t ready for these advanced exercises until I was able to master the most basic core foundation exercises .  So, John started me with modified bird dogs, modified side planks, superman’s and hip drops.    The first day, I could barely do one modified bird dog without dropping my hip.  Each day I continued building the amount of repetitions and increased the difficulty of the exercises.  After 6 weeks I am now doing body weight squats, lunges, real bird dogs and able to do my weight room exercises with proper form and posture.  More importantly, my right hip is not dropping when I run! Like Stevie I am becoming more efficient and strong each day.  I hope by building this strong foundation I will be able to prevent future injuries and become a much more efficient and much faster version of myself! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Back Running


I can’t believe I am now a Mom of a seven week old son.  The time has flown by and I honestly can’t imagine my life without Little Stevie. Steve and I were at dinner a few weeks ago with my close friend Sara Hall .  She asked,  “What is most surprising thing about being a parent?”  It is a great question. For me it is the unconditional love you have for this person you have just met.  I didn’t think I would always be this way.  I was never a real "baby person".  Don’t get me wrong there are some adorable babies, but I was not the person that had to hold  or rock a new baby.   Now, I have had trouble getting anything done since Stevie was born.   It isn’t because I don’t have time to do anything.  It is just when I am not feeding  or playing with him, I just want to hold and cuddle with him.  As I write this blog he is curled up across my lap.  He makes me so happy!   I mean how can you not be happy looking at this guy! 

His birth was a little scary, and made me very thankful for modern medicine.    My doctor decided to induce me at 39 weeks.  I labored for 16 hours with strong pertocin induced contractions before the doctors decided I needed to have an emergency c-section .  Stevie’s heart rate was dropping too low and the labor process was too much for him to handle.   The delivery went amazingly fast, from the time my doctor ordered the c section to the time Stevie was born was 6 minutes.  Steve didn’t even have enough time to scrub up and get into the delivery room before Stevie was born. I am a pretty squeamish person and told the doctors I did not want to see anything during the c section so the doctors had a sheet up in front of my head so I could not see anything.  I was awake during the surgery but had been given an epidural and a high dose of drugs.  I could not feel any pain but I could feel the pressure when the  incision was made, which was so strange.  I told Steve that it felt like my organs were being moved around.  Steve said that was because they were.  They had to move my organs around to get Stevie out.  In fact,  they had to take an x-ray after the surgery to make sure everything was back in place and there wasn’t any instruments left inside(scary to think).  I was so grateful to have a talented team of doctors to make sure Stevie and I were healthy and make the process so smooth.  Stevie was born 6lbs 10oz, and 20 inches.  He was in the 10th percentile for weight and 50th percentile for height.  Although he was a skinny baby at birth he has quickly caught up.  At his 1 month appointment he weighed in at 9lbs 12oz and 23inches, and is now the 50th percentile for height and 50th percentile for weight.  He’s Even Steven.  

It has now been 7 weeks since the delivery and I am starting to get back into training again.  Initially, I was very nervous about having a c section because of the recovery.  However, I was back doing normal activities within a few days and felt pretty normal within a week.  Although I felt recovered  early on, I wanted to wait the full 6 weeks before I began running again.  I know that your joints post pregnancy are very elastic and can make you more vulnerable for injury.   Last week, I got the ok from the doctors to start training.  Coming back, I am focusing on building my foundation.   I am building back my running slowly and working on a strong base.   This has been the longest amount of time I have ever been away from running.  My first run back was not as ugly as I thought it would be.  I have actually been running at a decent pace., I just feel like I have a weight vest strapped to my chest, which I technically do since I am 20lbs heavier than my racing weight.  I gained 40lbs during my pregnancy and have lost 20lbs so far and I have 20lbs to go.  In addition to running, I also met with my therapist John Ball of Maximum Mobility to access my strength and bio mechanics on my return to running.  We are starting my program by mastering the most basic core exercises and building a strength program once I  master the basic exercises.  I feel like I have hit the reset button and I am starting from square one in the training process.  I have a ways to go with my fitness but it will be fun to see the improvement each week.