That’s What She Said

No, I’m not going to tell you a dirty joke.  I want to share with you an incredible video series I found.

This video is about body image – which I have always struggled with.  I know I am not alone in this area.  I think at times it almost became worse the more athletic I became and started participating in sports requiring full spandex {yikes!}.  But I love the discussion in this video, including the power of media and a harsh tongue. Reminds me that ‘Comparison is the thief of Joy’ – I wrote an entire post about this not too long ago.

Listen to the words of Natalie starting at 5:30 – she just amazes me.  I love how she dissects the phrase ‘I have a beautiful body.’  Her words get me when she talks about ownership of our bodies… that we are given something we never paid for or earned and don’t know the value of it… and it is a single irreplaceable appealing thing.  Gosh!  We have been given the gift of a life and bodies that enable us to do incredible things!

She ends with a bang  ‘Until ownership becomes a privilege, until this skin becomes a perfect home weathered and worn over time, a perfect home whose walls I know well, whose staircase and old floors creak my favorite song, I am my own favorite song…’

Race Recap: Cowtown MARATHON

Well, Cowtown has come and gone.  I have so many mixed emotions.  This race was tough on me for so many reasons.  But, let me back it up a bit.  And let me warn you of this long post!

I posted not too long ago that I was already struggling with Cowtown on the calendar.  I had trained hard with my running group for the Dallas Marathon in December and was set on running that race.  I was determined to see if I could run a full marathon by myself.  After the icestorm, I settled on Cowtown and really struggled to find my motivation.  I came back from the holidays at work full force with late nights and long hours that just wore me out.  To top it off, that nagging foot pain turned out to be some pretty rough tendonitis {but thankfully no fracture} meaning I had to stay off it nearly 3 weeks.  My first run coming off my foot issue was about 3 miles and then 20 miles that weekend.  I was taking medication for my foot and the pain seemed manageable.  You can tell where I am going with this post can’t you… Ha!

Race weekend arrived and Mr. Stringer decided he was going to run with me.  He had helped me on my longer runs leading up to the race, but has been ridiculously busy with work…like 80 hours chargeable and coming home at 2am mulitple nights in a row.  So, I was not expecting him to run with me and was almost mad at him for signing up because I knew how tired he was already.

Let me just take a minute to say how blessed I am by this guy.  He amazes me not only by his physical fitness {I mean, who decides 15 hours before a marathon that they are going to run it for fun?!}, but also for his genuine love for me.  He told me he had been missing me and wanted to spend time with me.  I can think of a lot of other ways to spend time with someone than running in the sun for 6 hours!  But that is what I love about our relationship… we both crave quality time together.  And sometimes that comes in the form of running a marathon together on a whim.  He could have been completely selfish and said he was tired and would spectate or see me at the finish line.  And I would have totally understood.  But I think he knew how much we would both benefit from the time together.  I would be challenged having him by my side because he would not let me quit when the going gets tough.  He would keep me entertained when my spirits got low or I focused too much on all the things that were going wrong.  He would encourage me and tell me how proud he was of me.  And he would stay by me the whole time.  We don’t run together a lot because let’s face it my 5K and marathon pace are about the same – and he is way faster than me!  He has some pretty aggressive time goals for running and I fully support him.  Again, he could have chosen to be completely selfish and run a race for himself since he also missed out on the Dallas Marathon.  He trained his tail off and was ready to dominate Dallas and was completely crushed by that blasted ice storm.  He may not have been able to keep the training up to the same level with busy season at work, but he still could have run much faster than I could.  Yet, he supported me and ran by my side…every freaking step.  I seriously lucked out by having this guy in my life.

Okay back to the marathon details.  We lined up in the corrals and took off around 7:20ish.  During the first mile I spotted 3 friends – Amy was rocking her hot dog costume and cheering while Marci and Mama C were just a few strides ahead of me.  So fun seeing friends!

Ready to Run!

The first few miles were alright – I was feeling okay and general excitement.  I could tell when we hit the Stockyards though that it was going to be a long day.  It was a warm morning starting at 57 degrees and 90% humidity.  The temperature climbed to 70 by the time we finished and humidity leveled out to about 50%… but after training in cold weather, running in those conditions was just draining at that distance.  The hills also really got to me.  I knew from friends that the course was hilly, but you never know just how hilly something is until you experience it.  I got frustrated because the moment I thought we conquered a hill we would make a turn and there was another hill.  I made my plan with Mr. Stringer to walk the hills.  I didn’t want to burn out too early in the day.

Best part of the race - running through the Stockyards!

Best part of the race – running through the Stockyards!

A little after mile 10 coming out of downtown, we split from the half marathoners.  I got a little jealous thinking of them and how they only had 3 miles left and I had 16.  That’s when you know it’s a long run.  The course leaves downtown and goes through some interesting neighborhoods until you reach TCU.  I did enjoy the stretch along TCU and through the fancy neighborhoods.  My foot pain started to flare up coming out of downtown and I had to stop at the first aid around mile 13 for some advil.  We trudged along and I slowly fell apart.

I kept going because I knew I had friends further down the course that would be cheering for me.  The besties had texted to say they would be on the course around mile 20.  I knew if I could make it to 20 my spirits would be lifted.  At mile 18, I started to cramp in my left butt cheek {I don’t know the muscle name}, so we slowed the pace a bit again and mixed in some walking.  We reached mile 20 and I didn’t see the girls.  BUT, I did get a huge surprise and saw Team Lueb!  These two were cheering with signs, taking pictures, and being awesome like always.  AND, I was lucky enough to see them again at mile 23!  I am so grateful for them.  I trained with Luke’s Locker for the Dallas Marathon and really got to know Team Lueb through post-run coffee sessions every weekend.  These two were always so encouraging to me while training and it just meant so much to see them on the race course.

Those last 3 miles did me in.  I was hurting pretty bad between my foot and hip and was just ready to be finished.  We made it around the turn and headed up the last hill at mile 26 and I saw my besties.  Gosh, I am so grateful for friends who come out and cheer!

Check out that Cat Poster!

Check out that Cat Poster!

We crossed the finish line and I was so happy to be finished.  It was a long, hot day.  I was tired and ready to retire from marathoning – ha!  I finished so much slower than Niagara Falls and wanted to beat myself up over it.  But as I reflected, I learned that I have to treat every race independently.   I finished my second marathon and that in and of itself was a big accomplishment.  I can’t compare this race to Niagara because I raced Niagara at the prime of my training, ran without injury, the weather was perfect, and the course was relatively flat.  Cowtown was pretty much the opposite.  But the result was the same – a completed marathon!



I don’t have a lot on my radar post-marathon.  This year, I plan to race / train as I want.  The calendar is not full of races {yet}.  We are signed up for the MS-150 bike ride and I picked up a half marathon along the way…enough to keep me somewhat motivated and hopefully remind me why I love pushing myself.

Check ou my paper medal!  Should receive the real deal later this month...

Check ou my paper medal! Should receive the real deal later this month…

marathon thoughts

When I set my goals for 2013, on paper I focused on speed, strength, and sport. But, somewhere along the way I changed plans and added a marathon to the mix. I toyed with the idea starting in May and bit the bullet by signing up for the Dallas Marathon. Mr. Stringer and I no longer run together because he is much faster than me and I didn’t know a lot of people (if anyone) that ran in my pace range. I know a lot of runners but would all leave me in the dust. So, I talked to some friends and joined the Luke’s Locker fit program.

We started training in late June for our December race. Based on time trial I was lumped into the red group – pretty much everyone that runs slower than 10 mins/mile. On the shorter runs we all seemed to fairly keep pace or finish closely together. As our runs got longer, I often found myself at the back of the pack. There were runs that were incredibly lonely. I’m grateful for friends who coached at Luke’s and would offer a cheer to the end or run alongside me after I fell (whoops!).

Being back of the pack means I run the same distance but take longer – more time to think and reflect. There were days (especially the hot ones) where I wanted to quit or I would let bad thoughts get in my head. I would lose sight of the group and fear would settle in. But then there were gorgeous days where I didn’t mind being back because I just enjoyed the run and got to spend more time outside. A lot goes through a runner’s mind…constantly thinking about pace and how the current run is shaping up compared to other runs or dreaming about future runs.

Fast forward to early December. I felt as ready as I was going to be for the race. My training wasn’t perfect. I missed a lot of weekday runs due to work. But, I knew I was ready to take on 26.2. I was excited because a lot of friends were going to be cheering. Well, icemageddon had other plans for us. The storm came and iced us in, and I burst into tears when the race was called. All that training! All those miserable runs fighting the demons! No final achievement to celebrate all the hard work! All the excitement was taken in an instant.

After being sad pants for a day, we talked about what next. Mr. Stringer decided to take a break from marathon-ing because of the looming busy season to start in January. I settled on Cowtown on February 23rd and drew out my training plan. It’s not ideal and it’s not part of my original plan obviously but it’s where I’m headed.

Here we are 6 weeks from race day and I feel completely different already. I’m not excited. I don’t really even want to run it. Training has even really hard on me. I’ve had to do long runs by myself and let me tell you – anything over 10 miles on my own is really hard on me. I’ve been making up my own routes and just trying to get the miles in. Pace had been all over the place and now I’ve been fighting a pretty bad foot pain. I’m trying to fight through to February 23rd but there are some runs where I am not sure I will make it.

I feel like icemageddon took more than the race from me. It took my fight. And I don’t like that. I am trying to get my fight back – and quick! I’m not a quitter, so I will be taking this race head on. It probably won’t be pretty, it definitely won’t be fast, and I’ll probably have some war wounds from this nearly 8 month training cycle, but I sure as heck plan to cross that finish line and hopefully with a smile!

2014 one word resolution

Last year I set out numerous resolutions and fitness goals. In fact, so many that of course I didn’t accomplish them all. When I look back, I think I made that list knowing that if I accomplished any of those items it would be a good year. What’s that saying? ‘Shoot for the moon because if you miss you will at least land among the stars.’ I’m pretty sure that was my approach for 2013. In 2013, I wanted to try new things and find myself in several worlds. Over the year, I found I am who I am. My goals and dreams don’t have to be the same as my peers. 2013 was busy (and good busy), but I wanted to approach 2014 differently.

I’m making things simpler this year (for now). I’m going with the one-word approach for a resolution and I think the perfect word for me is PRESENT. I want to be more present in my daily life. I am such a planner and would fill our calendar up for the month by the 2nd of each month, not leaving a lot of flexibility. I want to commit to less and enjoy the current moments. Life is short and our days are numbered. I want to cherish the times I have with the people around me. So what does PRESENT look like? For now, I see less cell phone checking, more conversations, less multitasking and email emergencies, more listening to my team and engaging, less self-focused and more others-focused. I want to minimize distractions so I can clearly focus on things before me.

Keep me in check the next time you see me! I’m hoping one resolution so tied to being focused and PRESENT will challenge me. Here’s to 2014! I’d love to hear your resolutions!



2013 in one word: BUSY

And the 2013 ‘Worst Blogger Award’ goes to… me!  I feel like I put my head down in 2013 and never came up for breath.  This year was just nuts with something on the calendar every weekend.  Here’s the month-by-month highlights, although my memory is a little fuzzy a year later on what went on early in the year.  I’ll try not to overwhelm you, but it was a jam-packed year for Team Stringer!

January: Joined a sprint triathlon training program with TriShop, went to Nashville for work, visited my college roomie Andrea and Jeff’s college buddy Matt, and ran the Hypnotic Donut Dash 5K with friends


February: Celebrated my 28th birthday the best way I know how – in New Orleans at Mardi Gras, saw my Dad ride in the Bacchus parade, had birthday brunch with my closest and bestest, Mr. Stringer took me out for a fancy birthday date, went to Nashville/Jackson MS/Lubbock/NOLA for work, went on my first long bike ride and saw a donkey, and saw Tristan Prettyman in concert

mardi gras


March: Completed my first sprint triathlon (holy cow it was cold that day but I had the best dang cheerleaders that day!), signed up and started training for the MS-150 bike ride, and saw Ben Rector in concert (LOVE him!)

march - st pats tri

April: Went to the Perot Museum, started our BFF blog with brainstorming, worked in Brooklyn for the entire month (and then some), caught up with old high-school friends while in New York, volunteered at the OKC Marathon and cheered my heart out for Mr. Stringer as he ran his 3rd marathon, met up with two dear college friends while in OKC, and cheered for my best friend at her ‘ultra’ marathon (they took the lead runner out on the course wrong and ran an extra mile!)

april - okc marathon

april - acu gals

May: Wrapped up my work in Brooklyn, biked 150 miles in 2 days to fundraise for the MS Society, went to Chicago for training, joined an Olympic-distance triathlon training program with TriShop, spectated at IronMan Texas and got inspired by those pushing themselves 140.6 miles, and celebrated 5 years of marriage with a long weekend in San Antonio/Austin and went kayaking

may - ms150may - kayaking

June: Biked a local rally with a friend (and got my first tire-changing lesson), cheered for some friends running their first half marathon, had a photo shoot with the besties for our blog, biked a bunch with my tri team, and attended Jeff’s high-school reunion

june - trishop ridesjune - j reunionjune - blog pics

July: Celebrated the 4th of July with friends and runners and a 10K (Mr. Stringer placed 3rd in AG for the 5K!), completed my Olympic triathlon (thank goodness it rained the entire time!),  bought Jeff a road bike, started training for the Dallas Marathon with Luke’s Locker, and joined a new church and became official members of The Branch

july - 4th

july - disco

August: Worked 3 weeks in Florida, and Mr. Stringer came to visit me in Florida and spent a weekend in Seaside/Destin (rained the entire time)

august - seaside

September: Completed my second sprint triathlon on Labor Day with my family cheering like crazy, worked a few weeks in New Jersey, hosted a ‘Favorite Things’ party, celebrated Jeff’s birthday (now in his last year of his 20’s!), and joined a small group at church

sept - blackland

October: Spent a weekend in San Antonio and had a blast at our friend’s wedding, went to the Matt Nathanson concert, attended Jeff’s family reunion, ran my 7th half marathon, and attended my 10-year high-school reunion

oct - lp weddingoct - half

November: Saw Ben Rector in concert again (amazing!), had a girls weekend staycation in Dallas, started a book club at work, went to Atlanta for training and stayed the weekend for a trip with Mr. Stringer (we ventured to Charleston, Hilton Head, and Savannah), and celebrated Thanksgiving with my family

nov - girls weekendnov - savannah

December: Dallas Marathon was cancelled due to icemageddon (stayed inside for 4 days straight!) so we drowned our sorrows in a bottle of wine and I signed up for Cowtown in February, cleaned out our house top to bottom, celebrated the season with family and friends, and closed the year out with my besties!

dec - landry christmas

dec - girls xmas

All in all, we had a great year!  I swam/biked/ran my heart out, grew my friendships, found a church home, travelled the country, earned a promotion at work, snuggled my cat a lot, and was blessed by another year with Mr. Stringer by my side.  Cheers to you and yours – happy 2014!

dec - nye