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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Costa Rica Adventure, Day 2

5AM wake up call begins the longest day EVER. S was already up snapping pictures of the beautiful grounds. Margarita was already up and offered us coffee. She also packed us each a breakfast. She is awesome. I highly recommend her place.

We all piled in the van to make the short drive to the small airport, SantaAir, to catch our flight to Tambor. Our small, single prop plane seated 9 (I think?), and was a little freaky at first (the plane bumped around a bit), but then I relaxed and took in the amazing scenery. It was BEAUTIFUL! The flight was about 30 minutes, and when we started our descent, we noticed the runway in front of us. It started right at the beach, so it felt like we were landing on the beach! It was awesome. 🙂 We were greeted by hot, humid air when we departed, and then we piled in our van for our next adventure. We thought we were making the drive to our hotel in Mal Pais. We had no idea of the small hiccup we would encounter….

For the past few days, it had been raining extremely hard in Costa Rica. Torrential downpour rain. The most rain Costa Rica has seen in 20…100 years (we heard both accounts). Well, luckily it was dry for us (now), but we were reaping the aftermath. The rain had washed out a lot of the roads, including the road that took us to our hotel. Less than a mile from our hotel, we were stuck and couldn’t go any further. We came up with all sorts of ideas, each one getting shot down. Hours later (but it still was before noon), when none of us wanted to sit at the gas station any longer, a couple of the boys went to check out the damage. When they came back, they came up with a plan: we walk. I was so down for this adventure! I had purchased water shoes for this purpose! And, we had packs, so trudging through mud/water would be much easier. We donned our water shoes and packs and set out, S and I leading the pack. It was fun!

We came to the scene of the crime (er, damage), and it was a mess. We waited for quite a while two bulldozers cleared the road, one working from each side. They finally cleared a path for us to walk through, and there, just on the other side was our hotel! We checked in, and then came the next adventure…where to run!

I had an 8 mile run, and the roads were underneath mud/water! What was I going to do?? I was exhausted from traveling, and just wanted to run. Someone suggested running on the beach. Not ideal, but I would take what I could, so down to the beach I trekked. What I found was not what I was expecting. The once beautiful beach was covered in debris washed up from the storm. The, what I am sure is usually beautiful blue/green, water was brown from the mud washed off the roads. It was sad. But, I looked past it and started running, imagining I would run 4 miles down the beach, turn around and run back. I was met, however, with obstacle after obstacle. The water coming off the roads had washed out the beach and there were giant rivers going along the beach. Barefoot, I could have run through these without too much difficulty, but I had my brand new running shoes on. After tiptoeing over river after river, I came to a river I just couldn’t pass. It was far too deep and moving pretty fast. I had barely run 1/2 mile. I was becoming discouraged. Yet, I turned around, and ran the other way, until, I met another river I couldn’t pass. I was sad and frustrated, but I didn’t give up. I don’t know how to do that. I quickly problem solved. I would find the longest stretch of beach I could run, and just run it back and forth and back and forth. The stretch was barely 1/4 mile, and it wasn’t fun, but as I did it I kept repeating, “This is making you stronger. This is making you stronger.” 3 miles into it, and having felt like I had already run 10 miles, I decided I didn’t need to do this for 8 miles. 5 would be enough. So, I ran that 1/4 mile stretch back and forth for 5 miles, hopping and skipping over all the debris. I jumped over (and sometimes into) the smaller rivers, which were growing rapidly. I had given up on trying to keep my shoes dry. They’ll dry eventually. This training run was one of the hardest things, both physically and mentally, I have ever done.

I dragged my cranky, but exercised, self back to the hotel where everyone was eating/drinking. I couldn’t get in the pool fast enough. My crankiness quickly dissipated. I was so ready to relax. Day 1 of running in Costa Rica DONE! It can only get better/easier, right??

I had my first real Costa Rican meal, and I was exposed to “Tipico.” Typical (tipico) Costa Rican food is rice and beans with any meat you’d like. I chose fish. It tasted delicious and hit the spot! I washed it down with tons of water, and an Imperial.

We all hung out at the hotel/pool bar for a while and talked about our evening/dinner plans. The rain had started again, and apparently everything was closed because of the storm/closed roads. We talked about just having dinner at the hotel, but then discovered a restaurant in town that was open: “Las Piedras. It’s the $hit.” Yup, this place was called, “It’s the $hit.”

We all put on our rain gear and walked the short distance to the restaurant, over a bridge that was almost completely washed out. So…we’re walking along and I look up and someone in our group (we’ll call him FinANCE), was standing in a ditch. He had fallen in a ditch! There was a ditch right in front of the restaurant and apparently he didn’t see it and fell right into it! He was lucky the ditch was filled with water, but not so lucky because he lost his flip-flop. After I saw he was okay, I found it hilarious he didn’t see the ditch and fell in it! We would all give him $hit for the rest of the trip. 🙂

We all sat at a giant table at the back and had fun and got loud and obnoxious. Apparently you can bring your own liquor into restaurants, so at one point a couple of people made a run to the store and came back with liquor, beer and champagne, which just made us more obnoxious. We were having fun. It was our first night together in Costa Rica!

It was FINALLY time to head home to bed, and thus ends the LONGEST DAY EVER!

 

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Pura Vida!

Today started week one of my marathon training…20 week countdown until BOSTON!!!! BUT, I am feeling the aftermath of my balls to the wall running Sunday, so I am going to jump in at week 2, and rest this week. This works out just fine since week 2 of training is not even close to the mileage I have been running, so it actually will still be like a rest. This week my focus is on yoga.

I did something tonight I haven’t done in a LONG time: I went to yoga two nights in a row! Yup. I went last night, and I went again tonight. It felt amazing. My body is really, really, really sore. I am far more sore than I was after running 26.2 miles in June. It’s crazy. My quads. My hip flexors. My lower back (this REALLY hurts). And, I have a blister on the very tip of my second toe on my right foot. And, my right ankle/achilles area is a scratched up mess from the timing bracelet I wore. Geez, I am a mess! I guess that’s what happens when you run your heart out for 13.1 miles. This week I am repairing. Tomorrow I am going to attempt an EASY 3 mile run just to loosen up these damn quads. Probably another easy run Thursday, and then yoga Friday and Saturday. 🙂

Okay…so now, what you’ve all been waiting for……………I will start my documentation of my amazing trip to Costa Rica. I will do a separate entry for each day, so here goes:

DAY 1 (Travel Day)Wednesday, November 16

S and I woke up at 5AM so we could get a run in before catching our 8:30AM flight. It was DAMN cold, but it felt really, really good! I donned a hat and gloves and set out for a 5 mile run in the dark, cold morning. A quick shower, dressed and we were off! Vacation has begun! I guess we lost track of time because we got to the airport with literally seconds to spare! But, we made it. We had a nearly 4 hour flight to Houston, which I slept a portion of. We had over a four hour layover in Houston. We found a restaurant, and ate slowly until it was time to go to our gate to board our flight to Costa Rica! On our way to the gate, we found a currency exchange and exchanged some money into Colones. Hundreds of thousands of colones. 🙂

Our flight to Costa Rica went smoothly until…we tried to land. We thought we were about to land, and then the plane suddenly accelerated and started to climb back up. WTF??? I was getting a little anxious. We continued to climb, and no one knew what was going on! Finally, the captain came on to tell us he was having a difficult time landing due to the clouds/fog. He was going to have to circle around for a while in hopes of it clearing. Grrrrr….We stayed in the sky for quite a while longer.

Second attempt: SUCCESS!!! YES! We are in Costa Rica! We got in a little before 10PM. It was warm, and humid. We got in a cab and went to our hotel: Margarita’s Bed and Breakfast: http://www.margarita.cr/ (AWESOME hotel…I give it two thumbs up!) We were greeted by Margarita, and a few people who were there for the wedding, including the groom himself (everyone else was already asleep). We all sat around and drank Imperial (Costa Rican beer…tastes like Bud Light, only better because it’s Costa Rican), champagne, talked, and played with the many dogs, who were all wet and stinky from the earlier rain. At 1AM, we decided to finally turn in, as our 5AM wake up call to catch a puddle jumper to our next spot was right around the corner. We made our way to our AMAZING room and slept HARD for 4 solid hours in our giant king sized bed. Day 1 DONE! Pura Vida! 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Happiness, Running, Travel

 

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Another goal met. :)

I have a lot of writing to do about Costa Rica, but first, while it’s still fresh in my mind (I hand wrote a lot of what happened in Costa Rica, so I just have to transfer it here), I will tell you about yesterday…

5:50 AM wake up call on Sunday is only easy when I have something exciting to do such as run a race in which I have a huge goal to accomplish! I was tracking the weather, and it didn’t look good…warm(er) temps, but 90% chance of rain at start time changing to 100% for the remainder of the race. Oh, and 16mph winds. Not ideal, but I guess it could be worse?

I woke up, and went about my typical pre-race agenda: get dressed, make breakfast (oatmeal with banana), but this time I donned a tu-tu. A purple one. I want to keep it fun. 🙂

As I drove to the start to meet my dad, the sky hadn’t opened up yet, but was spitting out a few sprinkles here and there. I searched for a street spot so I didn’t have to pay the $10 to park in the garage, and I found one pretty quickly, only a short walk to the start. As I was walking (with less than 30 minutes until start time), I passed a hotel and opted to try something different: use their bathroom instead of waiting in the horrendous porta potty lines. I walked in the hotel and walked straight to the bathroom. Someone was right in front of me, and thankfully she was! The door was locked, and could only be opened with a room key, which she had, so I quietly walked in after her. She was also racing, and complimented me on my tutu. 🙂

I walked to the start where Dad and I had planned on meeting, and I saw him almost immediately!! It still was barely raining, and we hung out until the start. Unfortunately, my GPS watch was not locating the satellites fast enough, and as the gun went off, and my feet started running, I couldn’t start my watch. 😦 It was more than a minute later that I was able to start the time, and that is when I took off, not really knowing what I was doing. I knew I had to maintain a 7:30 pace to beat my goal, but I wasn’t sure if I should start close to 8 minute miles to save myself for the end? In hopes of having a couple sub 7 minute miles at the end? Or just maintain a consistent 7:30 mile? I started around 7:30, and quickly maintained around 7:15. I felt good. But then I ran through the tunnel, and lost satellite signal so I had no idea how fast I was running. That was a little disconcerting. It was nearly a full mile I ran without knowing my pace. Also, I had no idea what my splits were. 😦 Mental note: next time wear two watches, one non GPS.

I finally got signal back, and got right back to maintaining around a 7:20 mile. I passed the halfway mark at around 49 minutes…three minutes faster than last year. And then I came to Galer…and then Madison. Oy. I tried to keep my pace as close to 8 minutes as I could, but it crept close to 8:30 at one point. Luckily, I have gotten pretty good at using downhills to my advantage, and once I started the decline, I booked…I got close to 6 minutes, and when I got to the flat, I maintained sub 7 for a while…until I came to the next never ending hill. I was over an 8 minute mile for nearly a mile, and it seemed like forever! All I could think of was getting to the next decline so I could make up some time. But man, my legs were starting to burn. I was running REALLY hard. I was pushing myself more than I have ever pushed myself. I didn’t have much left in me, and when I came to the decline, it was a struggle getting close to 7 minutes. With three miles left, I was getting pretty tired, and there were far too many subtle inclines. I was doing the math in my head, and I really couldn’t afford to go any slower if I wanted to beat my goal. Come ON, Julie…do this. I was giving it EVERYTHING I had. It was POURING, and it was windy, and there were huge puddles everywhere. I was thinking about my amazing boyfriend who has been so supportive. I was thinking about my uber-difficult runs in Costa Rica, which helped prepare me for the difficult conditions I was running in. I was thinking about how far I have come as a runner just in the past two years. I was thinking about how dedicated I have been to my training and about how much I enjoy it, even though it is time consuming, exhausting, hurts, people don’t understand how or why I do it, about how this…running, is MY thing, and I am damn good at it!!

As I turned the corner onto Mercer, I encountered a GIANT puddle, which I just couldn’t avoid. I had to run through it, so as I splashed through it with both feet, and made the upward battle up Mercer, I started to lose steam. People were passing me and I felt like someone was sucking all of my energy out of me by my feet. I was hurting, but I trudged along, even though I felt like I was running backwards. As I turned the corner into Memorial stadium and saw the clock: 1:39:35, I thought, “No way is it going to take me 25 seconds to run that far!” I gave it every last bit of strength I had and crossed the finish at: 1:40.00. I just barely missed it. I wanted to break 1:40.00. I was disappointed. If only I hadn’t grabbed water at that one station. If only I hadn’t run through that puddle. If only I hadn’t tried to avoid that person. If only…

My sis and her boyfriend were at the finish. We waited for my dad, who finished shortly after me, and then I got the results. I finished in 1:40.01, and I placed 11th in my division. My goals were: break 1:40.00 and place in the top 10. I BARELY missed both of them. I was pretty upset. But, I got over it quickly as I started to process it all and look at the big picture.

1. I was tired. I was exhausted, actually. I had just gotten back from Costa Rica less than 36 hours prior, where I had an amazing adventure, yes, but it was busy!!

2. The conditions were bad. It was pouring. It was windy. It sucked.

3. I beat my time from last year by over 2 minutes! THAT should have been my goal: beat my last year’s time. I did. I crushed it.

So, I actually was pretty pleased with the results. I had set a realistic goal that I came OH SO CLOSE to reaching. Next year. I will do it next year. AND, my dad placed FIRST in his division, which is just amazing. I am so proud of him. 🙂

The day got better. We all went to Peso’s for breakfast, and then to the Seahawks game! The game was FUN! Even though we lost. 😦 After the game I was so ready to go home and soak in a hot bath. I was cold and wet pretty much all day, and could not wait to warm up my bones. 🙂

After my bath, I decided to check the results again, and I couldn’t believe my eyes…I actually got 10th. Yup! I placed 10th in my division! I do not know how or why or what happened, but I will take it! I met my goal!!! My primary goal was to place in the top 10, and I did it. Based on last year’s results, I thought I needed to break 1:40.00 to place in the top 10, so that’s where I came up with my time goal. All I really wanted was to beat my time from last year and to place in the top 10…which I successfully did. Breaking 1:40.00 would have been a bonus, and I came close enough…an eyelash length? I am so pleased. 🙂

So, these are my stats:

Time: 1:40.01

10/587 in my division

63/3579 women

388/6354 overall

7:38 minute mile

My splits were all messed up on my watch, but I was fast! I ran sub 6 minutes several times!!

Yup…I am happy. This week, I am doing a lot of yoga, and will start with week 2 of Boston training next week!!!

Looking ahead: Jingle bell fun run in a couple of weeks and possibly a half marathon sometime in January or February?

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Happiness, Running, Sports, Travel

 

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Life changing

I am back from the most incredible experience of my life! Wow. What an adventure. I have a LOT of writing to do, and will be doing it in bits and pieces, so please stand by.

Now, I run a half marathon…

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2011 in Happiness, Running, Travel

 

Less than 48 hours!

The countdown is SERIOUSLY on! Early Wednesday morning our vacation begins. It is coming at a perfect time. Ahhh…relaxation time is coming very, very soon.

This past weekend was a BIG running weekend: 6 miles Saturday and 12.56 Sunday. Sunday was supposed to only be 12, but I ended up running out too far and, well…the total was 12. 56 miles. Rain was predicted for the entire weekend, and both days I lucked out…dry. 🙂

Seahawks pulled out a miraculous win Sunday, which made me happy all over.

Now, I start tapering. I have some 5 and 8 milers while I am in Costa Rica, but no substantial runs. Oh my gosh, Wednesday, GET HERE NOW!!!!

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Running, Travel

 

Baby H, my training partner.

Baby H has not been napping, which makes for a VERY long day for me. So, I have been taking advantage of his not sleeping by using him as my training partner. 🙂 I have used him in the past for my shorter runs (3 and 4 milers), but last week he ran 7 miles with me, and yesterday he ran 4 X 1 mile sprints! I ran around 7:20 miles…while pushing a jogger. I felt good. And, he seems to really like just relaxing in the jogger while getting some fresh air.

So, when I place in the top 10 in my division and break 1:40.00 in the Seattle half marathon in 2 1/2 weeks (my goal…crossing fingers), I will have baby H to thank. 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Instrospective

Still waiting for my eye to heal, BUT I had good news Friday: it is NOT skin cancer. It was a benign thickening of the skin.

Last week was a very introspective week for me. I was constantly thinking about where I am in my life, about my friendships/relationships, and about how I can be a better person. I have spent the past nearly two years focusing on bettering myself, taking care of myself, and learning how to be a better person. I have had a great support system, and have relied heavily on my friends and family. I have been selfish, which has been a good thing since I have spent the majority of my life putting others’ needs in front of mine, thus neglecting my OWN needs. Now that I am in a MUCH better place and have gotten through an extremely difficult time in my life, I am in transition once again. I am deep in reflection and trying to figure out how to be the best person at this point in my life. I became used to focusing inward when I had only myself to take care of, but I am now in an amazing relationship and want to make sure I am not still focusing too much on just taking care of myself. Yes, I still want to maintain my independence and self-sufficiency, but I need to refocus my energy on my relationships and make sure I am not neglecting the people who are important to me. I just want to be a good friend/lover/sister/daughter/employee! I am so lucky to have such amazing people in my life, and I want to be able to reciprocate their genorisity, love, compassion, and support. I realize I am not perfect, and I will make mistakes. I want to become a better person by learning from these mistakes. I am a work in progress, and I will continue to have rough patches. Please be patient with me, as I continue to better myself. 🙂

I had a great weekend, which went by too fast, of course.

Less than three weeks until the half marathon, and I had an awesome 8 mile run yesterday. The weather was absolutely beautiful this weekend, and an 8 mile run outside yesterday felt amazing!

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Happiness, Running