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Happy 2012

Happy 2012, everyone! This year has begun perfectly, and I am excited to see what unfolds this year.

I finished off the year with an amazing 11 mile run down at the beach. It was perfect running weather (in my opinion): mid 40’s and partly cloudy with no wind. I was supposed to run 10 miles on Sunday, but since that was New Year’s day, and I knew I would be celebrating the night before, I ran my long run on Saturday. The decision to run 11 miles was a last minute thought. 2011 was good to me. Very, very good to me. I thought running 11 miles would be a good tribute to a memorable 2011. It was an amazing run to finish off an even more amazing year. It was goal crushing, strength building, and growth stimulating.

Just a recap of the amazingness that was 2011.

Traveled to Mexico for the first time.

Kicked a couple of nasty habits

Learned how to take care of, and truly love, myself

Found my happy place. 🙂

My running “career” REALLY took off:

  • Placed 2nd in the St. Patty’s Day dash
  • PR’d 1/2 marathon
  • Ran my first marathon
  • Qualified for Boston in that first marathon
  • PR’d 5K

Met, and fell in love with, my “ethnic” boyfriend, S. 🙂

Lead my first climb

Continued to progress in yoga

Traveled to Costa Rica for the first time

Wrote…a LOT

Started a lot of projects (2012 is my year to finish them)

2012 is starting off busy! But busy good. I am going to apologize, in advance, to my friends and family. The next few months are going to be crazy busy: (more than) full time job, Boston training, and an exciting project I am working on. I (hopefully) will come up for air after Boston. 🙂

Exciting things are on the horizon. Stay tuned for more!

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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in Happiness, Running, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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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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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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Day seven in Costa Rica

Woke up from the best night of sleep I’ve had in a LONG time. We fell asleep early (crashed) and slept in. When we woke up, everyone was already leaving for breakfast. We decided to have an US day and not rush. It was nice.

We got dressed and went for a run. I had 5 miles. We were at 1400 meters, and it was VERY hilly. I didn’t make 5 miles. After running UP, then DOWN, then UP, UP, UP, then DOWN…I decided to turn around when the DOWN continued DOWN, DOWN, DOWN…that would be UP, UP, UP on the way back, and I was already struggling. So, I decided 4 or 4.5 miles at elevation and extreme hills would be more than a normal 5 mile run. Not only was it hilly, but the roads weren’t paved. I was not only training for a half marathon, but for the next Warrior Dash! The scenery was beautiful, and the cooler, less humid air was a relief.

We got back from our run, showered, then headed into town to find some food. The rest of the group had gone on an Extremo Canopy Tour (zip lines, superman zip lines, and Tarzan swing), which all sounded very fun, but we opted for a day to ourselves. By the time we got out the door, I was STARVING, and open to eating just about anywhere. After snapping some scenic shots on the way,

, we found our food spot:

, The Common Cup, which, of course, had AMAZING coffee (we’re in Costa Rica!), and delicious food, too. As we were ordering we spotted a monkey in the tree outside. One of the ladies who worked there peeled a banana, and the little guy came scurrying:

As we were leaving, I noticed a flyer on the wall: 90 minute massage, $50. I was DYING for a massage. Everything on my body hurt. I was in my last week of training, and I had been using my body in other ways the entire time we were in Costa Rica, too. I desperately needed a massage.

We walked further in town, and passed the place that had the $50 massage. We stopped in, made an appointment for later, and went and booked a fun day ziplining. We opted to do the sky tram/zip line tour. http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/canopy/tour.htm

It was a lot of fun! After the sky tram up, up, up and into the cloud forest, we ziplined down nine ziplines (some of them we did tandem and went REALLY, REALLY fast!) It was so cool being up that high above the jungle. It was pretty windy and cool, but we still had a great time.

After we were done, we got back into town and ate at a Peruvian restaurant, then I went for my massage. Ahhhhhh…it was amazing! The masssage therapist, Karen Gordon (amara.bodywork@gmail.com), was AMAZING! She was exactly what I needed. She is a distance runner, does yoga, and also does Reiki. She is very passionate about what she does, and has a great story of meeting her husband (who is Costa Rican) and moving to Costa Rica, quitting her stressful job, becoming a massage therapist, buying a farm, and having a baby. I was/am in awe. 🙂

After my massage, it was dark, and I was a little apprehensive about getting back to the hotel. Karen offered to take me back since it was on her way, which was awesome! She dropped me off, S was waiting for me, and we went off the meet the group for dinner: The rest of the group had an amazing time on their Extremo Canopy Tour. Everyone was exhausted. Back to the cabin for another early bedtime before we got up early to go to our next (and my last) destination: La Fortuna.

 
 

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