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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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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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Ho, Ho, Ho

Christmas is right around the corner. This weekend, we put up lights, and got a tree. I had a very blonde moment while parking in the garage with the tree on the roof of my car. I forgot it was there, and didn’t pay attention to the lowered ceiling directly over me. We almost lost it, but we didn’t, thankfully. PHEW! Decorating the tree with S, while listening to Christmas music was comforting and relaxing. I didn’t get in the spirit last year, and it feels good to be a part of it this year. 🙂

Skiing! We went skiing Saturday! I jumped on the chance to go before I get in the heart of training. My legs can only take so much! It felt so great to be up on a mountain. 🙂

I finished Week one of training with an amazing 6 mile run on Sunday…really the only day I stuck to my schedule. My body needed a break, and I went to yoga THREE times last week! It felt awesome (and I went again last night…one day, hopefully, I will have enough time so I can go more often. It makes me feel sooooooooooooo good.)

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Happiness, Just for fun, Running, Skiing, Yoga

 

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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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