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Badass Runner Profile: Carmen CM- Xman

11146528_460302814125311_3672020799220244987_nName:  CM Xman (Carmen)

Home State: Long Beach, NY

BAR: When (and why)did you start running?

CM: I used to run with my dad when I was about 5 years old, then I stopped. I joined the Marine Corps when I was 17 years old and I started once again.

BAR: Why do you run now? What motivates you? :

CM: I run now because it makes me feel good. I think the kick I needed to kick it back into high gear was the birth of my daughter. I had gotten sick after her birth and had to go to the hospital. I also knew that I had physical standards to maintain for my job. So I signed up for virtual races and set goals for myself to beat monthly. Also, my friends keep me accountable.  For instance, I now have a new friend; his name is Maverick.

Longest race : Diva’s ½ Marathon, Myrtle Beach SC

Hardest course:  I haven’t encountered one yet. I run in mostly flat ground with the occasional small hill. Eventually I want to do a Ragnar.

Hardest race for you: The ½ marathon.  The farthest I had run before that was 7 miles and that was only a couple of times. By mile 10 I had started to get stiches and serious doubts about whether I was going to cross the finish line.

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Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it) : So far? The Warrior Dash in Huntersville, NC (June 6th, 2015). It was so much fun, I went with 3 friends and we were team “Fit & Feisty”. We helped one another out and finished together. I also liked the Diva’s ½. I saw a lot of pretty houses I liked along the route, plus my husband was taking pictures at every mile so it was cool.

BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why

CM: My favorites are 5K’s, they are quick and easy. Not much of a mental block for me. I am still trying to work up the courage to attempt to do a marathon, we shall see.

BAR: You run more in the morning than any other time.  Was it hard to establish that routine? What advice do you have for others who’d like to get an earlier, faster start?

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CM:  Other than leaving my nice warm bed and my cat Dora (she is my little spoon) it is not hard for me to get up early in the morning. I wake up at 4 and start my runs at 04:50-ish. I know that if I don’t get it done in the mornings it won’t happen that day. I go to work, come home, do homework, kids etc… so it’s hard. The mornings are my “me” time.

PRS:  5k: 24:20 / 10K : 55:15 / 1/2 : 2:05:19

BAR: I see you in pictures with other runners / walkers often.  Can you tell us a little bit about them?  What other runners, professionals, friends, etc. inspire you and why?  Do you like races, or do you prefer just running on your own?

CM: When I first started running again, I kept seeing pictures of Mari Merchant and Sherri Morgan, then Jamila Williams started popping up those ladies along with Lisa Davis were becoming my “She-ra’s” and kept me moving. Katrina Gay kept me motivated through her monthly challenges. I like to do “running” races by myself; I try to beat my times constantly and this allows me to stay competitive with myself. Obstacle and mud races I enjoy doing with friends because we help each other out and is just for fun, not timed.

BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?

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CM: I promised myself to hit 1000 miles this year. A marathon and a Ragnar are in my distant future. I want to run more races, I am addicted to bling!!  Oh and to have abs hahaha.

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes?

CM: Why?  Yes! I was fitted for Saucony pro grid guide 3. I am now up to the guides # 8. I tried to get refitted and see if I could possibly try other brands but I got scared. I don’t want to jinx myself.

BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?  Do you recommend one over another?  Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

CM: I have recently acquired a flipbelt to put my keys and phone. Also, since I run when it is dark I wear a glow belt with a knife and carry mace in my hands. (Hey, you never know)

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BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use?  Are there others you’d like to try?

CM: Mari Merchant recommended the Garmin Forerunner 220 and I don’t ever run without it.

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

CM: Don’t quit, everyone always has their bad days. Don’t expect overnight results. If you are trying to lose weight, don’t forget how long it took to put the pounds ON; more than likely it will take about to same to take OFF. Find other runner friends to lean on, and let them lean on you in turn. I belong to different running groups and they support me as much as I support them, I am friends with some of them even though we’ve never met in person.

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Running Scared

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Yesterday was my last medium to long run of my training for the US Air Force Marathon.  Let me tell you, I went out on a note higher than Mariah Carey can produce.

I wasn’t sure I was going to get the full 13 in I had planned just because it was dark, there were no street lights, and, I admit, when it comes to those two things, with the quietness of the night, I’m a bit of a pussy.  What happened to me this evening on my run is pretty much why.

A little build up so you can kind of get a sense as to why I decided to go against my judgement and run underneath the starless sky.

At mile 9 it was starting to get dark, it was around 7:50pm.  I figured, I’ve only got 4 miles left so I’ll run around this lake twice, it was only 1.6 miles each lap (ch-ch-ch-ha-ha-ha) and head up the road, right next to the woods, back to my house.  Did I mention there were no street lights….or any lights?

About half way through the first lap it was dark, almost completely dark thanks to the cloud cover.  I continued on despite not being able to see my feet hit the ground.

On my next time around I hit the bridge that crossed over the lake.

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I could see a light at the end of the bridge.  It was a small red illuminated dot about five feet off the ground, glowing a bit in the night.  I realized as I got closer I could make out a gentleman just standing there leaning against the railing smoking a cigarette.

Staring at me.

As I got closer I noticed another man that I hadn’t seen until I got right up close.  An older man, ghost white with a sunken, old face and what looked like tired eyes.  He was dressed all in black with a small-ish type top-hat and trench coat.  Just staring as well, following my gaze as I passed.

Needless to say I picked up the pace a bit.  I looked behind me and thought I saw them out of the corner of my eye, like a coat-rack you mistake for some sort being waiting for you to turn away in the corner.  About another 10 seconds went by and I looked back again expecting them to have cut the distance in half methodically stalking me.

I didn’t see them, but it didn’t stop me from looking back three more times before I finally felt comfortable enough to try and forget them.

The fact that I heard a whooshing noise rush up behind me about 3 minutes later didn’t help me in forgetting.  The guy on roller blades speeding past me must have thought it funny when I got enough hang time to prove white men could jump.

All of this is of course absurd, but in the blackness of the night, when the only sounds are your own breathing and the crickets, sometimes you can’t help but hear footsteps coming up behind you.  Persistently. Never stopping.  I wonder if anyone would have been able to hear me scream?

Happy Running.

 

Fear

It all started with a stitch on my side, I had never experienced pain like that before. Sure, I had stiches before while running and I would usually get rid of them using the “remedies” I had learned; breathe out on the opposite foot, raise your arm high in the sky on the side it hurts, dig in with your hand on the stitch while you blow out hard….No, this time it didn’t work.

It didn’t help that I was still  sore the next day and that I had a timed run for score the day after that. I was stressed, anxious and fearful, I couldn’t fail. Ice helped and I was able to pass that run in the time limit.  Then it happened again, on a Sunday, I was baffled since I hadn’t done anything physical that weekend, and to make matters worse I had another test on two days later.

All day that Monday I was iced, soaked in baths, hooked up with my TENS unit, rubbed with icy hot. That Tuesday came and I put icy hot all over my abdomen and added aleve and a sticky bengay  heating pad. I was scared that I would make it worse during the crunches, I was scared that it would come back full force during my 3 mile run and that I wouldn’t finish.

But I did. I pushed through, I kept telling myself: “slow and steady wins  the race“, “success is the only f* option , failure is not” and when pain came at 2.80ish miles “pain ain’t shit”.   My skin was on fire afterwards (I suspect from all the icy hot I applied) but something else happened, I got into my head and my already fragile confidence crumbled. I stopped running for 5 days, I was missing “IT”, the sweat, the I-gave-that-run-all-I had feeling, the feeling of accomplishment, but mostly that time where it is just me and my thoughts.

Today, is the beginning of a new month. Today I take it back, I start to understand that the obstacles in my road to success are not permanent, I can go around them, through them, the only thing I CANNOT do is stop.  My family is understanding, but in reality my running friends are the best support system this girl can ask for.

A New Beginning

A-New-Beginning

In June of 2011, I moved to southern Arizona. I arrived weighing in at 315 lbs, a 2 pack a day smoker and an every weekend drinker (drunk). However, within 1 month of arriving, I quit drinking and smoking and between April 1st 2012 and Oct 1st 2013 I lost 100 lbs.

Having turned my life around I have come to realize one important thing: anything is possible if you are willing to work hard and believe in yourself. With this in mind, I have set my sights on the goal of running a marathon. I was NOT a runner when I was younger. In fact the farthest I have ever ran in my life were some 5k “fun runs” while I was in the Navy. For the most part, I only ran 1.5 miles twice a year during my Navy physical readiness tests.

When people ask me why I want to run a marathon, the only response I have is, “Because I can.” For me it is all about the challenge, being able to accomplish something less than 1% of the American population has done. And of course it goes without saying that the health benefits of running are also of major importance to me as well.

I am currently at the beginning of week 3 of a 30 week marathon training plan and I will be posting about my progress, tips, tricks, general health, nutrition, observations, products and other things that I come across during my journey. So stay tuned and follow my journey all the way to the Phoenix Marathon on Feb 28th 2015…and beyond!

Smitticus Rex

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam
“I’ll either find a way or make one”