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Monthly Archives: December 2011

How to run happy in the rain

We knew it wasn’t going to last, we live in Seattle, for goodness sakes. What? Our dry spell. We were on par to have the driest December EVER, but today, everything changed, and looking ahead…it appears we will fill our December rain quota in the next few days. GREAT news for the mountains and us skiers, but bad news for us runners. I am both, so I have mixed feelings about the rain.

Today I started week 5 of training with hills. Interval training. Not my favorite, but I do it because it is an important element of my training. It keeps things spicy. And with today’s rain, it definitely was interesting. I have been spoiled with dry runs over the past month, but living in Seattle, I knew it would eventually end. Running in the rain, dark, wind and cold is pretty standard this time of year. Sometimes I dread it, but I always do it. Rarely do I turn to a treadmill to escape the elements. Running on a treadmill is almost worse. It is sooo boring. At least running in the rain and cold and wind is NOT boring. It’s challenging, and I like it. It makes me feel like a bad-a$$ and a little crazy, too. I like looking at the array of facial features staring at me from passing cars. I can hear them now, “She is f’n crazy.” “Show off.” “What an idiot.” “Is she okay?” “I wish I had balls like her.” “Does she know it’s pouring?” “She’s going to die.” “Should I ask her if she needs a ride?” (AND, last time I ran in the pouring rain, someone actually DID pull over and ask me if I wanted a ride. I was dumbfounded, and didn’t really know what to say. Obviously, they weren’t a runner. I said, “No, thank you,” and continued to run in the torrential downpour).

Growing up in Seattle, I am used to the rain. That’s not to say I like it, per se, but I am used to it and know how to deal with it. I would much prefer to run in the sunshine, but we don’t get a lot of that up here, so I use the rain to my advantage. It makes race day (assuming it’s nice weather) that much better, and it really does help with my training. Also, as long as my face and feet are dry, I really don’t mind running in the rain. As long as there is no wind, I actually kind of like the rain.

Key to (trying to) enjoy a wet run: Keep your face dry. Having water roll down your face is not fun, in my opinion. I have been on the hunt to find the perfect hat to keep my face dry. So, at the expo for the Seattle half marathon, I was ogling all the cool Brooks gear (I am a BIG fan of Brooks), and was haphazardly looking for a hat for race day. There was a 90% chance of rain, which meant a 100% chance of being wet. My eyes caught a hat with a really long bill, ideal for keeping the rain FAR away from my face. It was $20, which seemed a bit steep for a hat, especially since I can get a discount, but I purchased it anyway. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the bonus. It had a battery pack…which controlled the LED light! Amazing. Not only is it a good rain hat, but also a good night running hat. And something else amazing? Online it is $35, so I scored BIG. I give Brooks’ Nightlife Hat, two thumbs UP! (especially for $20)

Another must for enjoying a wet run are dry feet. It’s nearly impossible to avoid the puddles when it rains up here, and wet, soggy feet are NOT fun, especially on long run days. Not only is it squishy, but it makes blisters pop up too easily. The best socks in the world cannot keep your feet dry if it is pouring in Seattle. I discovered something very cool, however. I run on Brooks Ghost 4, which I love. Ghost GTX, however, is the same shoe, only in Gore-Tex! How cool is that?? A waterproof shoe! A must have for a Seattle runner. I haven’t run in the shoe…yet. I will need new shoes in the next couple of weeks, and that shoe will be my next shoe. Stay tuned for my review.

I don’t worry about rain gear when I run. I get wet with sweat even if it’s not raining, so I don’t care if my body is wet. All I care about is keeping my feet and face dry. 🙂

What do you do to stay dry while you run?

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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Outdoor fun, Running

 

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There’s no high like a runner’s high

Hello. I have been fighting a sickness something fierce this week, but, I have managed to get all my training runs in. Sunday…Christmas Day…a 10 mile run, and that will finish week 4. Already. Wow.

Since I have been feeling off this week, I have not wanted to, nor felt like, running fast or pushing myself, so when I saw this today, it made me smile:

I run for myself and because it makes me feel good. When I am in the funkiest of funks, and all I feel like doing is hiding from the world, curling up on the couch, and feeling sorry for myself, I KNOW a run will save me. Before I can talk myself out of it, I remember all the times I have felt horrible, and how much better a run made me feel. It works every time…it’s my antidepressant. Fresh air + running body + a good sweat = runner’s high. And after that run, all I want to do is rest my tired limbs on the couch and relish my runner’s high. Now, if I could just get myself to yoga more…

Happy Holidays and Happy Winter. We are officially on the upswing to summer. The days get longer starting today!

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Happiness, Running, Uncategorized, Yoga

 

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122 days until Boston

I am already half way through week 3 of Boston training! That means there are 122 days until the race. Four months from tomorrow! Wow!

Training is still pretty easy. It’s actually a bit of a rest from the past month, which is nice. I feel fast, and strong, and with December on course to be the driest December EVER in Seattle, most of my runs have been dry. It’s been cold, but cold I like.

Yes, it’s nice it’s been so dry, but we need some snow in the mountains! I want to ski before training becomes intense! Am I really asking for it to rain in Seattle? Why yes, I am. But snow in the city would be even better. Let’s make it a white Christmas. 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in Running

 

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Adios, Costa Rica

Back to Seattle, I go. I was sad, but not overly sad. What I was most sad about was leaving S behind.

It was barely 5AM when S kissed me goodbye. He, and the majority of the group, were leaving for the next destination, and on the way, they were going white water rafting. Everyone was VERY excited about this. I was mildly sad I wasn’t going. I had only been once many, many, many years ago, and it didn’t go very well. It was cold, and rough, and our raft flipped and we lost our guide. It was all traumatic, and since then I have had no desire to go again. But, I think it’s time to go and get over this fear. Not in Costa Rica, this time, however.

So, I sadly said goodbye to S, and fell back asleep for a couple of hours. I was getting a ride to the airport with a couple in our group who was also heading home. A van drove us the couple of hours to the airport in San Jose. I was tired and desperately wanted to sleep, but I didn’t want to miss my last views of Costa Rica. So, I snoozed a bit, and stared out the window a bit.

I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare and did some souvenir shopping and ate. I already missed S a lot, and wasn’t sure when I would talk to him again.

I slept most of my flight to Houston, and breezed through customs once I got there thanks to GOES. I recommend becoming a global entry trusted traveler to ANYONE who travels internationally. No custom lines at all. I had a short layover, and then watched a great movie from Houston to Seattle: Life in a Day.

I was back in cold Seattle. I was indifferent about being home, really. I had a great time in Costa Rica, visiting a part of the world I had always wanted to see. I met some amazing people, witnessed an incredible wedding, took part in some wild adventures, laughed, cried, got to know myself better, got to know S better, ate some great food, and made some priceless memories. I was more sad about being away from the group and from S than from actually not being in Costa Rica anymore. It was the people I was with who made the trip so memorable, and I look forward to the next time we all get together. A part of me was actually happy to be home. I was excited to see my friends, to run the race Sunday, to see my family, to go to yoga, to see Baby H, to sleep, and to get back to my hectic routine. This trip was a trip of a lifetime, and I am so grateful I was able to be a part of it. 🙂

My favorites from the trip:

Hotel: Margarita’s

Day: Beach Day with S in Mal Pais

Dinner: (this was TOUGH to choose we had so much amazing food) Brisas del Mar

Activity: Canyoning

Town: Mal Pais

Bar: Da Mon Key

Relaxing activity: Hot springs

Run: 8 mile mud run in Mal Pais

Breakfast: The Common Cup in Monteverde

Group Activity: Hot springs

Moment: The wedding ceremony

Funniest: The guys in our group performing Thunder from Down Under in the hot springs. 🙂

Scariest: Monkey grabbing bracelets off my wrist

Lunch: Da Mon Key

Wildest: Both nights at Da Mon Key

Coffee: The Common Cup

Dessert: Brisas del Mar

Drink: Smoothies in Mal Pais

Saddest (?) but also pretty funny: Finance falling in the ditch

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Food/Restaurants, Happiness, Travel

 

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My last full day in Costa Rica

Thanksgiving in Costa Rica. My last day in Costa Rica. My ninth day in Costa Rica. One of the funnest days in Costa Rica. 🙂

We slept in a bit, and I decided to skip my 8 mile run. It really wasn’t a tough decision, and I knew I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. It was my last day and I wanted to fully enjoy it without the stress of figuring out when to run, where to run, and feeling too exhausted to do all the other fun stuff we had planned. So, I said, “I have trained my butt off, I would actually benefit from NOT running today”. I think I needed the rest more than I needed to get that last 8 miler in. I was in shape. I was trained. I was as ready as I was going to be. My body needed this rest. My mind did, too.

After breakfast at the hotel, we got ready to go canyoning! I was SO excited for this! Canyoning is…rappelling down through waterfalls. Some of them 150 feet!!! I climb (and have rappelled) and I love the water! So, I was very excited. It was cold (lower 70’s) and cloudy and the water was cold, but I didn’t care! The whole experience was AMAZING! This was my favorite adventure activity we did, and I highly recommend the adventure company we went with. Desafio Adventure Company.

The tour guides were knowledgeable, and funny! It was such a fun day. I had a smile on my face the entire time. Even after I had to jump, and fully submerge myself, into the not-warm-at-all water. They fed us lunch after, and they drove us directly to…THE SPRINGS! We went BACK to The Springs to soak in the hot springs. We got to see the beautiful resort in day light, and…it was gorgeous. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and we were only able to see the base of the Arenal volcano, which on a clear day is right in front of the hotel!

We all donned glow sticks and had an awesome time in the springs. We even dressed in togas (towels) and got a tour of the wildlife preserve, where we saw (wild) cats and monkeys. Some of the monkeys were not very nice and others were so sweet and shook our hands. I wanted a monkey hand shake, too! So, I stuck my hand out and the monkey went straight for my (glow stick) bracelets! He grabbed them, and it became a tug of war between us. S was telling me to give up (he didn’t want the monkey to bite me), but I didn’t want the little guy to get to the glow in the stick! I didn’t want him to get sick. I won the fight without a handshake from the little guy. 😦 It was very exciting!

We went back to the springs and played and sang and threw our glow sticks in the sky and had so much fun! None of us wanted to leave, but we all needed to eat. So, we went back to the hotel and changed for Thanksgiving dinner at Don Rufino.

We celebrated: Thanksgiving, a birthday, our last night in La Fortuna, my last night in Costa Rica, and an AMAZING day.

Back to the hotel and to bed. Everyone was getting up early in the morning to go our separate ways.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Food/Restaurants, Outdoor fun, Travel

 

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Jingle Bells

I love to dress up, and I love to run. Yesterday, I got to do both…at the same time! S and I (and his nephew and another couple) ran the Jingle Bell Run, a 5K. S dressed up as Santa and I as Mrs. Claus. I was really excited about this race…I wanted to win it. Lofty goal, I know. I did some research, however, and based on the winning time last year, winning it was attainable. I would have to sprint the entire way and run a 6:50/mile. Very difficult, but not impossible. I ran the St. Patty’s dash (nearly 4 miles) with a 7:04/mile, and I was sick. I really had no other goal other than getting 1st (in my division…not the entire race).

I had a nightmare a few days before the race: I was at the Jingle Bell Run. There weren’t many runners. I was in first, and clearly going to win, but I crossed the finish line going the wrong direction (weird, I know). They didn’t have my time! I told them I won, and they said, “I am sorry, but we don’t know what your time is, so you didn’t win.” It was just horrible. Well, this nightmare almost came true. Less than an hour before start time, and I looked down at my number. It read: Untimed runner. What???? I had most definitely signed up for timed runner! NO! This cannot be happening. This was not just a “fun run” for me. I was a fierce competitor and I wanted to win! (ha…) I tried to remain as calm as possible and figured out what I could do to fix this. I still had time. I race walked to the start area and upstairs where last minute registration was going on. Time was ticking…

Within 10 minutes, I had it figured out. Apparently they ran out of Timed runner numbers, and had to use the Untimed ones. There was a timing chip on the other side of the number, so I was good to go. PHEW!

Waiting at the start, I was glad I had a full Mrs. Claus outfit on…it was cold! I got as close to the start as possible and waited for the gun. I was getting nervous! I had never run this course, and yes, my intent was to sprint, but I had no idea where the inclines were and how to pace myself at a sprint pace. I am NOT a sprinter. These legs are made for distance. I decided I was just going to run as hard as I could, I might throw up, but it was only 3 miles!

And…we’re off! Off I go, running as hard as I can. The start is all uphill! Grrrrr…I was running around a 6:30 mile. Fast. I probably was starting too fast. I continued to run as fast as I could, but for the majority of the race, we were in a tunnel, and I had no GPS signal. I had no idea how fast i was running, but I really couldn’t run any faster. I was getting very, very, hot, and quickly took off my gloves and carried them. It was too difficult to strip any other layers, so I was pretty uncomfortable. Oh, and I had to pee very badly.

There were several women in front of me who looked like they were my age:30-39. A large age bracket, and a difficult one, too. I just couldnt’ catch them. A few others passed me, and I decided, “Okay, I am probably NOT going to win this, so what will my goal be?” About a half mile from the finish, a woman who looked to be my age, passed me and maintained right in front of me. AS I saw the finish line, I thought,”I really wish I could pass her.” I was running fast, and I really didnt’ think I had anything left in me. But RIGHT before the finish I thought, “come on. You can do this!” So, I cranked it up, and sprinted past her right before I crossed the finish line! Wow. I do not know how I did that, but it felt pretty amazing. Everyone else in our group did great, too.

Although I didn’t WIN my division..and I don’t even know if I ever can (the woman who won ran a 6:10 mile. WOW), I felt good about my run. I ran hard, and it was the fastest I had ever run for that distance. I thought I had broken a 7 minute mile, but my pace was 7:01. Next year, I DO break 7 minutes. 🙂

My stats:

Time: 21.46   7.01 pace

6/609 women 30-39

24/2463 all women

158/4147 overall

I am pleased. I am going to try to do more of these shorter races. It’s really good for my training!

 

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Dress up, Happiness, Just for fun, Running

 

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Day 8 in Rich Coast

Up early to wet weather. S was going to ride a horse to La Fortuna (sounds pretty cool, right?), but opted out of it because of the weather. (a couple in our group went and said it was amazing…sorry, S). So, we jeep-boat-jeep. It was actually a van, but the ride wasn’t as long as the previous car-sick van, and it was light out, and it was a larger vehicle, so luckily no one got sick this time. When we got to the boat portion, it was POURING! We all wondered what kind of boat we would be going on?

The body of water we were crossing was Lake Arenal. Unfortunately, it was gray and wet so we couldn’t see much, definitely not the volcano. 😦

We got on the boat when it arrived, which, thankfully was not a row boat (I guessed it was), and made the trek across the lake. When we were in the middle of the lake, the driver stopped to fill the gas tank…from a gas can…and siphoned, with his mouth, a tube that was in the can. Wow.

We got across the lake and to another jeep (van) that would take us the rest of the way to La Fortuna. It was still raining pretty hard. It looked like my run that day would be very, very wet. At least it was warm!

We checked into Hotel San Bosco in the afternoon, and then ventured out to get some food. We hadn’t eaten much yet, been traveling most of the day, and I still needed to run 5 miles.

At lunch, S and I had a conversation that would open my eyes wide, and made me very introspective again. I am in a point of my life where I just want to continue to make the right choices and to be a better person. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in myself and doing good for ME that I lose sight of everything else that is going on around me or how I react to things. I am learning more about myself everyday, and it is because of the amazing people in my life that this is happening.

So, on day 8 in Costa Rica, I absorbed all the insight S shed on me, and then went for a run, and I thought, and I thought, and I thought. I thought about the previous 7 days in Costa Rica. I thought about the race in four days. I thought about how tired I was. I thought about how sore I was. I thought about how lucky I was to have the opportunity to see this amazing part of the world. I thought about how SO FAR from perfect I am. I thought about how much the past shapes who we are, but how we can make a NEW present and a NEW future that is a better version of our PAST. So this thinking, although a little painful at times would make the last few days in Costa Rica some of the best days of my LIFE! My thinking changed, my attitude changed, and my energy changed. I had ONE more full day left in this beautiful land, and I decided I was going to make it the best time I had ever had.

After my run, I showered and shared some downtime with S. We then got ready to head to what I had been looking forward to the entire trip…HOT SPRINGS!!!! Ooh, boy, so exciting. There were hot springs at pretty much every resort. They charged a fee if you weren’t staying there, but we heard they were totally worth it. Some of them were ritzier and costlier than others. With a little bit of research, we decided to go to The Springs. $40 got us a two day pass to the hot springs. We made it there in time for dinner (worst service EVER), and were blown away by how beautiful the resort was. WOW! It has one of the best views in the world (of resorts) and we hoped to check it out when we went the next day in the daylight.

There are 18 different pools ranging in temperatures from 83′ to 103′, some with waterfalls. It was so incredible. We opted to go in one of the hottest ones first and then we found…the SLIDE! We acted like kids as we played and slid down the slide over, and over, and over. Until it was time to go. 😦 We were all exhausted and crashed when we got back to our hotel.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Happiness, Just for fun, Running

 

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