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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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Three amazing months. :)

 

Today is a very special day.

1. It’s Halloween…my FAVORITE holiday

But, more importantly

2. Today is mine and S’s three-month anniversary. 🙂

Three months ago, today, we had our first date, and since then life has been incredible. It has only been three months, yet I feel I have known him forever. He is the coolest person I have ever met.  I am so lucky to have him in my life, and I am so excited for the next 3 months…and on! 🙂

We went out Saturday night for Halloween. S dressed up as Slash from Guns and Roses, and I, as Lady Gaga. We had SO much fun!! I love dressing up and cannot wait to do it again.

We also went to the Hawks game Sunday. The horrible, boring, sad game. 😦 BUT, the company was perfect, and the weather even cooperated for us. 🙂

I ran a total of 15 miles this weekend. I flip-flopped my runs, and ran 10 miles Saturday, and 5 Sunday. I am going to try really hard to not do that again. It was painful to run 5 miles after running 10 the previous day. My legs are really, really sore. 😦

4 weeks to go until the half marathon! And, 2 1/2 weeks until vacation time in Costa Rica…

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Happiness, Outdoor fun, Running, Sports, Travel

 

1/4 done with training already

I went to yoga twice last week. It’s been a while since I have made it twice in a week. It felt amazing. My hips are soooooooo tight, and I haven’t even gotten into the heart of my training yet! I see chiropractor appts and massage appts on the horizon. And…maybe a podiatrist, too, unfortunately. 😦 I tweaked something in my foot just walking Friday. It hurts. It hasn’t kept me from running…yet, but I do feel it the first mile or so of my run, and I am cautious…I don’t want to step on it wrong. Damn feet.

This past weekend I had an easy 3 mile run Saturday and a fabulous 6 mile run down at the beach Sunday morning. It was beautiful, and perfect weather. It felt great to get up early and go for a run before partaking in the Seahawks festivities. The game was great, and the weather cooperated for the most part. 🙂

I start week 4 of training tomorrow. Already 1/4 done…wow. Yoga tonight.

Have a great week, everyone!

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Happiness, Outdoor fun, Running, Sports, Yoga

 

Boston bound!

I am in! I am officially entered in the 2012 Boston Marathon. Wow. I never really had a doubt I would get in, but I didn’t want to get excited or count on it before I got the official email confirmation, which I received this morning. Ahhh…Now comes the planning! When to go, who is going, where to stay…

I finished week 2 of training yesterday with a 7 mile run. It felt AWESOME! I was eager to get outside and run/sweat. A long weekend of football/my birthday celebration/good friends/lots of fun necessitated a good sweat, and I got it. It was one of the best runs I’ve had in a while. I ran a 7:58 mile (it was quite windy), and my fastest pace was 6:33 (Thanks, Garmin, for this useful information).

Life is so peaceful right now; it’s wonderful. I have the most amazing friends, family, and boyfriend, and I am enjoying my world so much. I am feeling balanced, which is an incredible feeling, and I am excited for the future. 🙂 

 

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Happiness, Just for fun, Running, Sports, Travel

 

Coolest Birthday weekend…ever

And…I am officially another year older. And, it was probably the coolest birthday ever.

S and I went to Boise for my birthday weekend, which also was Labor Day weekend, which also was the start of college football. S went to Boise state, played football for Boise State, and still had a lot of friends in Boise, so we decided to spend the weekend there. It was amazing in every way. It’s crazy to think S and I have only been dating for 5 weeks! It feels like we’ve known each other forever!

We left Seattle EARLY Friday morning, and landed to cloudless skies in Boise before 10AM (1 hour later there). Cab to our hotel in DT Boise where we freshened up. We then walked a few blocks to meet one of his best guy friends for lunch. That started our pre-birthday pub crawl. We walked to another place to meet a couple more of his friends, and then we went to campus and S showed me the infamous blue field. We walked on it, took some pictures, and then he showed me around campus. We wandered around a bit more, went to a couple more bars/restaurants, met some more of his friends, and then went back to the hotel to get ready for the surprise evening. I was told, “Wear your bikini.” I asked, “What else do I need?” “Your headlamp.” “Anything else?” “Nope.” (He packed everything else). We drove for about 45 minutes, and then got “there.” It was dark. We hiked up a bit, and then…Hot Springs!! I had NEVER been to hot springs, and S knew this. It was so awesome. The temperature of the pool was perfect, and we played in there for a while, stared up at the star-filled sky…it was absolutely beautiful! My head almost got smacked by a couple of bats, too. 🙂

Saturday morning…my birthday, we woke up very early to go climbing!! I wasn’t a fan of waking up early, but when climbing is involved, I am 100% down. We drove a short distance to Black Cliffs and did a couple of climbs before it got too hot. We went with S’s friend who leads, and at one point, he said, “Want to do your first lead for your birthday?” At first I said no, but when he said, “It’s your birthday,” I agreed, and I am so glad I did. I did a 5.7, and it was really, really fun! There was one spot where I was a little freaked out, but I did it, and I finished, and I survived!! SO excited to do it again!

After climbing for a couple of hours, we went to lunch, and then off to the next fun activity: frisbee (disc) golf. It was so much fun!! It’s played on a mini golf course with a frisbee. The “hole” is a metal bucket. Par is 3 on all the holes. At first, I was horrible. I seriously do not know how to throw a frisbee. But, by the end, I was beating the guys. 🙂 After frisbee golf, we were dropped off at another friend’s house where we would stay the night. There was a block party going on for the Boise State game, and I met a ton more of S’s friends. It was hard to keep everyone’s names straight!! Boise won, and everyone was happy. Toward the end of the game, S came walking out with a cupcake and a lit candle in it and everyone sang Happy Birthday. It was so great. 🙂

Sunday…we slept in!! Our original plan was to get up early, drive into the mountains, hike and camp, but we were exhausted, so we decided against that plan. Instead, we slept in, went out for brunch, and then floated the Boise River. So much fun. There are actual mini-waterfalls to go over, so it’s much different from floating in Washington. After we floated the river, we showered, went out for dinner, went and played pool, and made it a semi-early night…we were pretty tired.

Monday…slept in again. 🙂 Went into DT Boise for brunch, and then went mountain biking. Ooh, boy, that was hard. It was about 90 degrees out and I had NEVER been. When we got to a steep incline, which seemed to go on forever, the boys were coaching me on what to do, and right before we went, S said, “And, I know how competitive you are, so I am just going to tell you…NO ONE has EVER made it all the way up without stopping their first time.” And that was all I needed to do everything I could to make it up without stopping. And…I did. I only shifted gears once, and I didn’t stop at all. I felt like I was going to die, but there was no way in hell I was going to stop. Probably one of the hardest things I had ever done. And, going down hill was not much easier. I was completely out of control and thought for sure, more than once, I was going to fly over my handle bars. I rode in ruts, over drop offs, on sand, but not ONCE did I fall!!! I made it the entire way!! YAY!

After mountain biking we went out for celebratory beers and some lunch in this super cool open air bar: Parilla. We went there on Friday, too. I think all the bars in the South Bay should follow suit, and even Seattle should have some.

Then, we went back to shower quickly before going to the airport. 😦 It was truly an amazing weekend. It was a perfect blend of awesome fun activities, exercise, football, outside time, good food, drinks, cool people, and a little bit of downtime. S was amazing in every way, and he made this weekend super special. I am all smiles thinking about it…and him. 🙂

Now, back to reality, and back to training!! Today I start my 12 week training program for the Seattle Half marathon Thanksgiving weekend. I am excited to get back on a schedule and be more disciplined. This past weekend, and summer have been incredible, and I did everything I wanted to do, now it’s time to get my focus back and achieve some more goals! Top 10 in my age group for the Seattle half…BRING IT!!

 

1:39.00

Happy, good things have been happening since I last wrote. 🙂

After my back to back 5 mile runs, I ran 8 miles, and it went great! Yes, it was hard, and yes, I felt out of shape (altitude, heat, hills), but MY FEET DIDN’T HURT!!! I was so, so, so happy to not have sore feet after that run. And, my feet really haven’t hurt since! It seems as if Idaho cured my feet. YAAAAAY!

Thursday, I took a day off from running, and went for a nice, easy 2 hour trail ride on Hot Rod. He was a great horse! My feet didn’t hurt on the ride either!

I left Sandpoint on a late train Thursday night. The train was, thankfully, right on time. I didn’t get the best sleep, but I did get a little bit. I probably got 3-4 hours of interrupted sleep. We arrived in Seattle at 10AM, and I took all of my stuff (bag, backpack, foam roller, pillow) to the Expo to pick up my race packet. I was in and out of there in 10 minutes: I was tired, I had a lot of crap, and I had just been to an expo three weeks prior. After the expo, I had a busy day running errands, doing laundry, etc. before I met my friend at the Spaghetti Factory for our carbo load dinner! I was SO tired by this point. We feasted, and then I went home to crash (for 7 hours) before my alarm went off at 4:15…ouch.

I had my standard pre-race meal: oatmeal with banana, coffee and water, and then met my friend and we headed to the start. It was a zoo, just like last year, but we had plenty of time to pee, drop off our clothes, and get to our respective corrals. I was in corral 2 this year. I learned to put a faster time to get me closer to the front. I put down 1:35.00, which is really, really fast, and I don’t think I am quite there, yet, especially since I just ran 26.2 miles less than 3 weeks ago! I found the 1:35.00 pace runner, and asked him his pace: 7:15…uh, I don’t think so. So, I decided to be my own pace runner. I really had no idea how I was going to do: I had recently had a HUGE race, I had been having serious foot problems, I hadn’t run much since the marathon, and I hadn’t run more than 8 miles in the past 3 weeks. Oh, and I was really, really tired, and my right hip flexor was sore. Ya, I was not in tip-top shape.

So, off we went. I started off WAY too fast, and a few miles in I realized I couldn’t slow down. Well, I could, but being the uber-competitive person I am, I REALLY wanted to beat my last year’s time (1:39.49), which was going to be tough. I was REALLY fast last year. So, if I wanted to beat last year’s time, I needed to keep up my 7.30 pace. Ouch.

And ouch was right. I hurt the entire race. I never really felt good and strong. My IT band started mildly hurting about 4 miles in, and I just felt sluggish. I kept talking to my body…my IT band…my legs, “Half way there…5 more miles…3 more miles…and then I will rest you, I PROMISE! Just don’t give up now!” At mile 12, I turned my head to the left to blow my nose (by covering one nostril with a finger and blowing), and blew it right on a guy’s leg who was passing me. OOps! I apologized, and he smiled and waved. That was the highlight of my race! Last year, I passed everyone toward the finish, this year, I was being passed, BUT…I did it! I beat my last year’s time! My fastest half marathon time: 1:39.00. How I did it? I really have no idea. Here are my stats:

Mile 1: 7.29.33

Mile 2: 7.35.51

Mile 3: 7:42.92

Mile 4: 7:41.56

Mile 5: 7.55.92

Mile 6: 7.11.21

Mile 7: 7.25.91

Mile 8: 7.39.29

Mile 9: 7.45.42

Mile 10: 7.39.99

Mile 11: 7.30.94

Mile 12: 6.52.37

Mile 13: 7.45.45

Mile .2:  46.49

7:34 minute/mile pace

Pretty consistent for not having a pace runner. 🙂

Overall: 595 out of 17083 · Division: 20 out of 1953 · Gender: 119 out of 11458

So, two huge goals met the last two races: Qualified for Boston in my first marathon, and I got a PR in the half marathon less than three weeks later. I am amazed. It feels awesome! Now, it’s time to rest, relax, and enjoy my summer! My body is pretty happy about this. 🙂

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Happiness, Running, Sports, Travel

 

Foam Roller!

I am in love. I have discovered the most amazing thing: Foam Roller. I have been an athlete my entire life, practically, and NO ONE has told me about a foam roller! It is the best thing for your body, if you can’t get a massage. After I was introduced to it last weekend, I can’t stop rolling! I discover a new exercise daily, and it is amazing. I am literally rolling around all…day…long. I am my new massage therapist. 🙂 It hurts, but it’s a “hurts so good” hurt. My body is basically one giant muscle knot. All the yoga, and stretching I have been doing have been doing absolutely nothing for the knots. But my foam roller is fixing me. Wow. Incredible. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Happiness, Running, Sports, Yoga