To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Friday, September 30, 2011

Am I the Next Nancy Grace?

#577. Every time I heard #577 my heart jumped a little bit, my pulse raced, I started to sweat. Why? I spent all of yesterday in the Justice Building "doing my civic duty" as juror number 577. The very last day that jurors were called this month, and my time finally came. **I'd be telling you about my 5 mile run, but I went out for drinks and therefore the run never happen. Instead I'll share the events of my day!**

I checked in at work to ditch my phone and grab my jacket. I work right across a parking lot from the Justice Building. At 8:20 I walked over and waited in the security line. I was the fastest one through - which I attribute to being a frequent flier. Heck, I almost took off my shoes and jacket while going through the metal detector! I immediately checked in with the jury coordinator, whom I have already met in the past at my Jimmy Buffett parties, and then saw a friend waving at me. Yay! Friends! She was #615 - and for the rest of the day I only called us by our numbers. Our mom's actually work together upstairs (I work with my mom), so we laughed how the mother/daughter combos were together for the day. And it was her mom that I was also drinking with last night (oy, I can still feel it). Anyway, a quick welcome and we started watching a video about jury duty and how lucky we are to be part of the process. Mm hmm. Next up they took attendance, then shuffled the cards and split all of us up in half. The first half went to one trial, and the half I was in to another. Walking down the hall I saw one of my close friends (prepping for his first marathon next Sunday!) and hoped he was going to be the DA and maybe he'd dismiss me. No such luck. We sat in the audience section and then 18 of us were called to sit in the jury box. My friend was spared, I wasn't so lucky.

This is what I was ready to fight for. Poor thing.
One in my seat for the next few hours, I started shaking and was in a cold sweat. One by one the judge asked us to tell them all a little bit about ourselves. I was one of only 2 that mentioned any school at all - and the only one to say I went to a university. Interesting. More questions and we had to raise our hands if it applied to us. I probably had my first strike against me when I said I worked for the District Attorney for 3 years at the Felony desk. The other "simple" answer I got to give was that I adopted my dog from the local animal shelter. Sadly this case was about neglect/abuse - 2 women, and seriously they looked guilty as hell. The animal love that I am, I wanted to be on the jury just so I could stick up for the poor horse that is no longer living. All that was rather mild -- but I DID channel my inner Nancy Grace.

I felt like the defense attorneys were talking down to us. Telling us how to think. Making assumption. Treating us like we are morons. Maybe some of those people are? I don't know. But juror #577 is NOT an idiot and had to speak up. During question/answer time with the second defense attorney, who requested us to be more informal and just "converse" I pretty much assured I wouldn't be a juror. I did not do any of it on purpose. I was just saying what I thought, answering questions and sticking up for the 18 of us as a whole. (They only needed 6 jurors for what may be a 3 day trial.) Here are some of my highlights:
I have something to say... I'm just not sure what exactly, so I'll talk it out. I understand that the State bears the Burden of Proof in this case. The way you are talking, theoretically, you (motioning toward the 4 people at the defense table) don't really have to do a single thing at all. To me that just doesn't feel right. I mean if you don't say anything to help prove their innocence, it is kind of a cop out and doesn't sit well with me.

I understand that the defendants are legally innocent until proven guilty. But at the same time, something has happened and that is why we are all here. There had to be an event of some sort with some bit of evidence or the case wouldn't have gone to Grand Jury and had an indictment. [At this point the rookie defense lawyer girl tries to be sassy and correct me - apparently this whole freaking 3 day trial is over a misdemeanor?? And then really? You can abuse animals and it is still just a misdemeanor??] Ok, fine [and I had to bite my tongue here because I had major attitude ready to come back at here - I'm sure it came out a bit], obviously there is some evidence if the Prosecution is going to spend time building a case and moving forward, bringing all of us here today to this trial. We wouldn't all be here in this room if something bad hadn't happened.
Basically they were almost trying to act like they are innocent, don't have any responsibility to prove the innocence of their clients and that as far as we know they have nothing to do with the crime. As I see it, I want them to prove me they didn't help this innocent animal end up in the terrible state it was in. And hello? We know there are going to be photos, they didn't just randomly arrest people - so don't tell me they have zero involvement. Obviously they do. 

Yeah, so that would be strikes 2 and 3 against me! We had a lunch break, so my friend and I went out and didn't discuss anything really - except talk about other jurors and the process and how nervous I was. After lunch it was more questions/answers (this time with the Prosecution - and she was so pretty and polished - much better than the disasters at the other table. Seriously the one woman had Aileen Wuornos eyes and the other looked like a transient. The attorneys seemed very new and inexperienced with shaky voices.)

Once it was done it was time to pick the 6. Very slowly they would write one little slips of paper and give them to the judge. He'd then tell jurors they were dismissed. I realized he was only dismissing from the front row of 6. As one would leave one of us would fill in the hole. Once I had to fill in a hole I sat there petrified. Then I was immediately dismissed! I tried to hide my smirk until I was out of view of the attorneys. I was so happy to be free. I didn't want to be in the jury room and be the one juror that feels different from the other 5. And I wanted to go get my own work done. And 3 days of monster eyes looking at me?

In the end #577 and $615 were thanked and free to go! It was a really interesting process to be a part of. I have at least a 2 year break before I am able to be called in again as a juror. I'm antsy to see newspaper reports and learn what the verdict is, whenever one is decided. I have swim class with a judge and so I told her about my day. She laughed and pointed out all the times I essentially was guaranteed I wouldn't be a juror. She told me the defense wants stupid people on the jury that will just do as they tell them. They don't want someone intelligent that will speak up and have a voice and influence other people. So basically, I am too smart to be a juror. BAM!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Run #7.3 - All About The Music

**I have jury duty, so this is going to be set to automatically post in the morning while I'm off doing my duty!**

I went for my third run to prepare for the Portland Half, my second run using Galloway's method. This time I was going for 3 miles to make up for Tuesday's non-run. Tomorrow (today) I'll be doing 5 miles, then a break before Sunday's final (and only) long run to prepare for Portland. I am just so thrilled with how much I like this! I was able to run at a 10:30 face for this run, just as I did on Sunday's 5 miler. So I'm pretty consistent right now. Yay!

During this run I was really just focusing on my music. I always run better when I have good songs. I didn't pick them out - I just hit shuffle on my "Fresh Run" list and my mix was awesome! I shall now share it with you, with my short thoughts on the songs. This motivates me to work on a new list for Portland!

Cover Girl - New Kids on the Block .... yeah, baby!!
Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane ... #TEAM JAM!!
Lovefool - The Cardigans ... so sweet
St Elmo's Fire - John Parr?? .... doesn't it just make you want to 80's dance?
Firework - Katy Perry .... yes, I AM a firework!
Don't Stop Believing - Glee soundtrack ... my "power song"
Creola - Nadira Shakoor .... I swear I smelled gumbo! Then a prostitute's crotch. Then the sewer.
Numb/Encore - Linkin Park/Jay Z ... really decided to power through.Watched my form. Thought "Run tall".
Club Can't Handle Me Now - Flo Rida ... worked on my finishing kick ... UP a hill!! I rocked it!

So that was my night. Funky smells. Great music. Legs that deceptively felt sluggish, but ended up being faster than normal! I am just so freaking refreshed and excited about the future of my running!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Intervals/Racing Question + 2012 W&D

1st - I'm already set to run the Walt Disney World 2012 Wine & Dine Half Marathon. I know I'm not the only one. And it is possible I'm already stalking the Halloween store for next year's 5K outfit! I might put myself on a race break after that one. I'm behind on my turkey baster plan. I don't even remember how long ago it was I put my life plan in an outline form and racing was supposed to be paused after the 2011 Vegas RnR Half Marathon. Well as it is now I am committed to races through June 2012 - so why not add W&D? After that I better get to work on creating my offspring.

2010 Princess weekend,
a week before the piercings went away!
2nd - Intervals. This is all new to me. Tonight will be my second run (last night my tummy was churning and the thought of running was just not there. Plus my homesickness for Florida friends made me melancholy and more in the mood to work on my running Smash book versus actually running). Anyhoozy .... when it comes to racing, what do you interval runners do? I'm totally going into next week's Portland Half Marathon with the plan to Galloway it the entire 13.1 miles. The first run was such a success that I am willing to interval the whole thing to see how it goes! Here's where my question lies -- aid stations. How do you handle those? If you hit one during your running interval do you just grab and keep running? (I pretty much can't drink and run unless it is from my bottle. That whole bend the cup stuff doesn't work for me - it only helps send the water up my nose and on my shirt.) So do any of you that do intervals have advice on tackling that during a race? 

OMG, the guy that pierced, um, "the girls" a couple summers ago is standing at the counter paying his water bill. I'm very sure he doesn't remember me. But still kind of strange to look up and see someone that has seen you topless before. **No, they are not still pierced. Running started becoming more frequent and they had to go bye bye after the 2010 Princess weekend!** TMI??

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm Just Really "Home" Sick

It is Fall. It is Halloween Season. It is perhaps my favorite time of year. But this year I am just sad.  For the first time in a decade I am not in Florida with my "family" doing all the fun things I like. Food and Wine Festival. My birthday. Halloween Horror Nights. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. The Fall festival in Celebration, Florida. Margaritaville. Mocking tourists. Playing with horrible fanny packs and hats after getting off of Jurassic Park. Souvenir cups that light up, filled with a drink that always has a great name .... my favorite is still the "Embalming Fluid" from the 2002 Halloween Horror Nights. I miss watching the "locals" in line for haunted houses with my friends. I miss grabbing onto people and screaming and running around. I miss the feeling of taking a first step into a haunted maze and just hoping that someone will truly terrify me this time around. I miss the humidity. (what???) I miss that terribly long walk to my car through that ginormous parking structure. I miss my friends.

I always go to Florida during September/October. We always hit Food & Wine at Epcot (repeatedly). We always do Halloween Horrors Nights. It is always a fabulous time. I always have my traditional lunch with my BFF (Brian) at ESPN Club and then get our photo strip pictures in the booth on the Boardwalk. I am a creature of habit, yet this year I took a break. Instead I am running in some half marathons and going to Las Vegas. Sure I'll be in Florida in January, but it isn't the same. I won't get my usual thrills with blood covered people running after me.  I'll get to have my Epcot drinks, but it just isn't the same vibe. 

I sound like such a baby. I mean a lot of people have never been to Florida and here I am whining that I am missing a Fall visit for the first time in a decade. All the festival/Halloween stuff aside, I am just really homesick for my "family". 

I might start running more to make the time go by. This makes me feel like 2012 will be the year I finally do the Wine & Dine Half Marathon so I have a reason to go back home.

Maybe I'll go to the Halloween store today. Although I suspect the store's arrival (it is seriously a 2 minute walk from my desk at work) is what brought on my sadness. I just love it so much. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Run #7.2 - I Think I Love J.G.

Holy cow - it is like a ray of light is shining down on me from above. Angels are singing. I am renewed and remembering those feelings of awesomeness when hitting new milestones with my running! 

After a summer of struggling with IT band troubles, Meniere's Disease and heat I was in need of something new. Something fresh to help me get that spark back. Something to help me feel like I really AM a runner. Something to help me start preparing for 3 races in 3 days (5K, half marathon, marathon relay) in Walt Disney World. I often find myself staring at the RunDisney website and finally decided that if Jeff Galloway keeps telling me to try his method, and I keep staring at him at expos and races, well, why the heck would I not give his method a try? **I was mostly hesitant in the past because I've been behind a Galloway runner before at the Princess and she really annoyed me. But then I thought about it and what was annoying to me was her husband running by her with a stopwatch telling her what to do.

My plan was to go 8 miles. Unfortunately I couldn't figure out how to program more than 20 lines of a workout into my Garmin, so I was only able to get in 50 minutes, which gave me 5 miles. *Lucy hooked me up with Chunky Girl's blog post about setting up intervals for a longer period of time, so I'm going to do that tonight!* I read over things from the RunDisney website and watched some of his videos before deciding to try a 4/1 ratio....  running 4 minutes, walking 1. 

This is here just because.
It was around 8:15pm when I set out with my programmed Garmin and began running (in shorts!! WHAT?? I was testing out part of my Halloween race costume). The time flew by! The miles really flew by! I had no idea what to expect and if I would even like it. I mean would I really be faster if I am forcing myself to walk after just 4 minutes of running? Well .... to cut to the chase, YES!  I was able to go 5 miles in 52 minutes. I never stopped moving. I never wanted to stop moving. My legs felt the best they having during a run in I don't know how long! I really did have the remaining 3 miles in me, but it was pretty late anyway, and I didn't want to guess and mess up the ratio. I'm pretty anal and if I have a plan I need to stick to it. I didn't beat myself up over the 5 though. For my experimental run I was thrilled with how it went! Basically I've never run 5 miles that fast. If my times ever looked that fast it wasn't taking into account moments where I might have hit pause and stopped to breathe, stretch or drink. This was just 5 pure miles! I didn't even bring water along this time, and all I fueled with was a sinfully delicious (mini) peanut butter cookie from Minnie's Bakery (you can find these in Disney parks!).

I feel this huge sense of relief going into the Portland Half Marathon in 2 weeks. After such a fun time in Disneyland I was worried about running 13 miles alone without characters to get pictures with. But now that I will have my Garmin beeping at me (just turn up your iPod and ignore me, okay?) I think I feel a successful race in  my future! I predict a much better performance than the last 3 half marathons, and if not, I'm finally accepting that I am slow and unsteady and I'm okay with it! Fun is the name of the game from now on, and my goal that I've written on my fridge is just one word .... CALM. I just want to keep my head calm during the race.

In conclusion, I think I love Jeff Galloway .... but not in the way I love Steve Prefontaine. I mean come on now, you know nobody would ever get between me and Pre!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Run #7.1 - I'm Back! + I'm Made of Muscle

Happy to be done with Pre's hills!
Last night I returned to the life of running in something other than a race. It's been a while since I just went out to run without a start and finish line involved.  Originally I was going to run earlier in the week but my leg had other plans. One night after work I got into my car, something near my tooshie kind of popped and my entire leg started tingling. Since that is the leg that had the IT Band issue earlier I thought, "You know, taking the night off is okay if it means preventing more injury!" So that's what I did. The plan last night was to go 5 miles. Once I started running I adjusted it down to 2 so I could have a gradual return. My knee was feeling kind of funky (which actually it has since Warrior Dash - I suppose running the Prefontaine Hills so hard didn't help it). I tried to slow it down a bit, yet still finished in under 20 minutes. That doesn't count the few times I did pause to stretch out my leg a bit. I was just really relaxed about it. No pressure on myself, just enjoying running on flat surfaces again.

One thing that pose a challenge was this house on a corner. As I was going by it I got an overpowering smell of chemicals - perhaps fertilizer or weed killer? Either way it sent me into a coughing fit. I had to stop and just try to breathe and cough it out. Not pleasant, and I might avoid that part of the neighborhood for a little while. Overall it was a really nice run. I've only got 2 weeks until the next half marathon, so I have to actually get serious this weekend on my long run.

* * * * * * * * * 

At swim class today I was awesome! I was so happy that I do all this work in the water. I hate doing abdominal work on the floor, but I really feel it in the water - and have seen my stomach get flatter as a result of going to this class 3 times a week! Our teacher asked us what moves we all enjoy the best. I mentioned that I liked "cross country" because it is the hardest and I really feel it all over .... I bet the grandmas just love me basically asking for more hard work, right?  Also I echoed one of the women when she said she liked the ab work. I went on to explain that I like doing ab work when we are on the noodles because it keeps my butt from trying to sink to the bottom of the pool.

Fast forward to later in the class. The teacher sees me having some issues with sinking or not staying steady. She mentions I might want to try heavier weights next time. Okay, will do. Well then we get to ab work, start going and I am doing okay, but still sinking. Then she says it, "Yep, you need to get the higher resistance weights. It's all of your muscle that's making you sink!"  Nice!  I mean when in my life did I ever expect to hear anything remotely close to that??

So "Come Monday" (one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs, by the way) I'll be grabbing the blue weights instead of the yellow ones! Little does she know my arms are wimpy - this could be an epic challenge, and I am ready to accept!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm A Solo Runner, Dammit!

I've been running for two years now. If I wanted to I'd be able to tell you exactly how many times I've run with someone ... because it just never happens. You see, like Pee Wee, I'm a loner, Dottie ... A Rebel. I've always been independent. I live alone. I've gone to full-service restaurants alone. I don't mind going to see a movie on my own. Therefore I really enjoying running... On My Own. 

Running alone lets my imagination run wild. I daydream about crossing various finish lines. I visualize Steve Prefontaine on my shoulder telling me to suck it up and go faster. I pretend every single man I see is a serial killer and therefore I go faster to narrowly escape being the girl at the bottom of the well in his house. And when I'm not daydreaming I'm really into my music, occasionally singing along or whipping out some jazz hands at an opportune moment. I find so much freedom when I'm out there without someone next to me being held back by my less than speedy pace. The pressure isn't as strong when I am with myself (although sometimes the pressure is even more present because I am by myself and demanding the best performance possible).

For over a year I ran races nearly every month. Near the end of that first year I started meeting up with people at races, but still was 100% on my own when the gun went off. I was really in a zone and seeing my 5K times improve, culminating with my only first Age Group win.

And then February 2011 happened. To say I wasn't nervous about this new change would be a complete lie. For the first time EVER I was running with a partner .... and a grand partner she was! Lesley and I did the Princess Half Marathon together. It was so much fun! I never felt like I was holding her back, but come on - we know she could run circles around me. But I never FELT like I was an inconvenience, so that was awesome! Had she not been with me that day I'm not sure how that race would have gone!

Coming off the high of that race I quickly found myself teamed up to run the 5K and Half marathon in Disneyland with Rose! She promised me that she would stay by my side the whole time and we'd have no pressure of time goals. Just running for fun! Well things got even MORE fun when we were blessed with the company of one miss Giraffy! And thus, Team Jam was born! Epic fun is what was had. Fun that was too dirty to talk about, so I can't. Not a day has gone by since then that I haven't talked to or about Team Jam!

In true Fruit Fly I fashion quickly found myself attached to another duo for the WDW Half Marathon in January. I'll be with Abby for the 5K and the Half, as well as her fabulous friend Fred. Then on day 3 of running Fred will ditch us as he goes for his Goofy medal and the ladies get their marathon relay medals. For the first time ever I'll be part of a relay, with my BFF Brian, and have to actually TRY to do well. He submitted 89 minutes as his prior finishing time for his corral placement, and I don't want to let him down too much. 

When did I become such a freaking team player?? Heck Biker Boy and I did Warrior Dash and stayed together the entire time, too! And we didn't kill each other. Yay!

If you've missed the memo, press release, blog posts and Twitter conversations, there's going to be a HUGE blogger party happening in Seattle next year for the RnR Marathon (where I will be a weenie and run 13.1 miles instead of 26.2). Team Jam WILL reunite! Lesley and I WILL reunite! Will Abby and Fred make it?? It is where we all met after all, so I think they should go, too. Plus Becka will be there. Anyone else?? Go ahead, toss your name in the pile. You know you want to do it, Kim.

In the mean time I'm going to keep running solo, with Biker Boy by my side on Sunday's long runs. He and I are going to change up how we do things so that I don't mentally feel like a failure when he outruns me every time. Poor boy is pretty much going to be trying out the whole Galloway method whether he wants to or not. But if it helps me stay sane then he might prefer that anyway! Trust me, BB could share one too many stories of neurotic R*nda on running days!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's A Bullet Point Bonanza!

  • I am feeling more and more pleased with how I did in Saturday's Prefontaine Memorial 10K. This year was warmer (bad for me), dryer (which for me isn't always better), for a while I was at 7:30 minute mile pace (I love downhills!) and I did cross the finish at 6:09 pace, I threw up with less than 2 miles to go .... and I still finished within seconds of last year's time. To me this is success! Conditions were more favorable for me in 2010, yet I overcame it and really pushed hard this year!
  • Pushing hard has made my left leg feel not perfect. Hmm.... I'll be watching this very carefully!
  • Training will gently begin tonight for half marathon number 7, the Portland Half Marathon on October 9th.
  • Because my calendar was starting to look bare, I am now doing the Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon on October 29th (which will put me at 11 in 11months). AND I added the WDW 5K to my Walt Disney World Marathon weekend calendar!
  • Today I start working on my costume for the Halloween half marathon.
  • I'm really sad that for the first time in a decade I will not be in Orlando at all during the Halloween season. 
  • I just learned how to do screen shots on my new phone!
  • Team Jam was having so much fun in Disneyland, it took them 29:24 to run mile 3. Run. Ha! (That is just mile 3. Not 3 miles, but only mile three!)
  • Team Jam really DID run in a circle for a "do over" photo op at the Castle .... and here's the Garmin proof!  
  • A new girl was in swim class yesterday. I think she is younger than me. It made me feel REALLY old.
  • I didn't brush my hair Sunday and it was awesome!
  • I am NOT thrilled with this lame news about a new Avatar land in MY Disney's Animal Kingdom. I feel like it is going to ruin the pure, quiet beauty of the natural world. They obviously didn't consult me on this one. 
  • Swim class is paying off. I've been noticing that my body shape is changing. My tummy feels flatter. My upper thighs/butt region are smaller. It's pretty damn cool!
  • I'm still too scared to go use the weight machines. I've been seeing hard bodied women with unfriendly faces lately in the mornings. I like my jolly grandma swim class where we are all accepting and friendly. But I want to do the weights. Maybe I could wear sunglasses and just ignore them.
  • That's all for now.
  • Oh, and I still can't stop watching Real Housewives of NJ or Jersey Shore.  I once dated a Vinny from New Jersey. That's all.

  • Monday, September 19, 2011

    Prefontaine Memorial 10K - OK, I Cried.

    Isn't this pre-race dinner delicious??
    Seriously, what is it about Steve Prefontaine that he always makes me cry?? I started out at the Eugene Half Marathon feeling overwhelmed with emotion and ended up crying - but I guess good tears? And the same thing happened again this weekend! This was my 25th race, and my first repeat. I ran it last year in pouring rain and completely unaware of what was ahead of me, course wise. I felt like a pro this year - not running wise, but at least I knew what to expect .... ample water stops, no chip timing, no bathroom stops and a VERY tough course!    Let me back up to the start of this.

    I arrived in Coos Bay, Oregon on Friday night. Checked into my hotel, had a VERY yummy dinner at the Kozy Kitchen and then settled in for an early night and movie. I had listened to Prefontaine during my drive, then watched Fire on the Track in my room. If that doesn't inspire you to get out and run Pre's old training course then I don't know what will! Naturally I woke up every single hour checking the time - can you believe there was NO clock in my room at all? Crazy! Soon enough it really WAS time and I was excitedly up, listening to music and getting ready for a fabulous, challenging day.

    Check-in was very smooth. I was in and out with my bib, shirt and the one Pre book I didn't yet own. I liked the swag!

    I drove up to Marshfield High School and parked at the finish area, then walked down to town to the start. I probably should have actually started eating my breakfast way before this point. (It DID come back to haunt me.) The start area was bustling - a BIG change from last year, but the weather was also dry and much warmer. Raina found me while I was wandering around looking at festival booths. We parted ways and planned to meet at the finish. When I officially put myself in the start line it happened again. I was just overwhelmed. I was looking up at the start banner, just talking to Pre and visualizing a great run.

    It must be seeing his face before I run that gets me. They started playing the Final Countdown and you could just feel a buzz of energy amongst the runners. The announcer started talking, giving thanks to people and welcomed Pre's mom to the start area. WHAT? Yes. So I was already misty-eyed just due to the importance of this race to me, but now his mom was there too. The gun goes off, we start running, I look to my right and there she is! Naturally I smiled, kept running and the tears came. DRAMA QUEEN ALERT!

    The run itself was just as hard as last year. This was my fourth race in 17 days and I was really feeling it. But I pushed it hard. On mile two, the downhill, I really went for it and was in the low 8 minute mile range. Sadly it was about 3/4 of the way into mile two that I realized I was going to be sick. I kept fighting it and was happy and shocked at how fast the 5K turn around point came. I kept finding new goal points to get to ... i.e. big bushes, big rocks, conspicuous places to be sick. Finally during Agony Hill at mile 4.3 I HAD to pull over. For the first time I threw up mid-race! I felt so much better after, used the inside of my shirt to clean up and immediately resumed running. After Agony Hill I tried hard to kick it into high gear and did pretty well all things (and heat) considered. When I made it to the final hill up to the track I was done. I was so embarrassed to be walking on the track but I knew I was going to throw up again. I told myself this was stupid and made myself run. At the last corner I knew what I had to do ..... I crossed the finish line at 6:08 minute mile pace! BAM!  

    I fully admit that I was not happy when I crossed. I wasn't going for a PR on this race, but when I saw my time I knew that had I not been sick I would have had it. I'm going to make a chart now! **I actually had negative splits!!**

                                  2010         2011
    gun time            1:13:50     1:13:59
    Garmin time      1:13:20     1:13:50

    Basically, I am REALLY consistent on this course! I know had this not been so freaking hilly, I would have had a solid PR. I'm actually VERY happy with my performance! Knowing I was so steady with last year's time, but last year I never got sick on the side of the road, well, I know I improved. It was a GREAT race day! The only thing I could have done differently was have my breakfast earlier - but nerves got the better of me and I couldn't really eat.

    Post-race, Raina and I watched the awards together. I cheered for her as she got 1st in her age group (3rd female overall! - I saw her running - she was AWESOME!)  Then --- and this won't shock you --- a very cool opportunity came along and I could not pass it up. They are making a new documentary about Pre. AND they needed extras. Guess who stayed around and better be in it??? Yeah, that would be ME!! Naturally I'll keep you all posted on how that goes! He's just too cool.

    Then we met up with her friend Danny for pizza, a parade, French fries, great conversation and air hockey. I may have also given her children tokens to play video games ... you know, because I am a great influence on children like that.
     I totally stole these photos from Raina's blog. I told her I would! ;)

    And after that I went to Sunset Memorial Park to sit with my idol and inspiration. We talked a bit. And just sat before I drove home listening to Without Limits. It was a wonderful, perfect day for me and Pre!

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Hello Nerves!

    Nerves..... haven't welcomed them to my tummy in quite a while. I'd say really they've been gone since I finished the Eugene Half Marathon.  Since then I've been injured with IT Band troubles, or just out of it with Meniere's issues. But now I am healthy, feeling great, completely unprepared and ready to race!

    Tomorrow is race day ..... the Prefontaine Memorial 10K. Remember I have a little obsession with him? Tonight I leave as soon as I can after work to head to Pre's home town. My plan is to check into my cheap room at Motel 6, grab some dinner, then get in bed to watch Without Limits and some Hood to Coast, until I fall asleep.

    The race isn't until 10am, which is soooo late compared to the last few! I mean for Disney we were supposed to be there by 4:30am. Heck, I'll still be happily sleeping when that time gets here! I'm not too worried about eating before this race, since it is later - perhaps I can convince my mind that I CAN eat food in the morning?

    I get to meet up with Small Town Runner. She's going to kill it tomorrow, I just know it! My plan is to start closer to the front since it isn't chip timed (my Garmin and the official clock were off by 30 seconds last year because of this). And my other goal is to not stop moving. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.... as Dory would say in Finding Nemo.  If I could pull off an 11 minute mile average then I could PR. I'm not terribly worried because I am not racing this to PR. I'm just racing this for Pre and for the challenge of  surviving the craziest course ever. Here's a shot of the elevation chart from last year:

    If you know of my aversion to UPhills, then you would understand why I choose do this all in Pre's memory and not for time! .... I do love me some downhills though. Oh yes I do! Pre's sister sent me off to this race with some good advice, so hopefully I will listen to and actually DO what she said and come out a success!

    So anyway, my tummy is filled with so many butterflies, I just might take off like a helium balloon. I guess nerves are good. I usually race well when extra nervous. Still not sure why I am so nervous. That's it for me for today. (That might be a lie. The more nervous or excited I get, the more I seem to talk, so I could have 12 more posts before this night is over!)

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Warrior Dash - Mudtastic!!

    WARRIOR!!!! --- That is what my co-worker said with full enthusiasm when he walked up to my desk yesterday. We did Warrior Dash on Saturday, but the vibe still carries strong. What a bad ass day!!

    Biker Boy and I registered for this ages ago - this was supposed to be our first race together (ha, are we surprised I sucked him into two before this?). Having an afternoon start time was nice, letting me sleep in and actually have a normal breakfast. The biggest concern wasn't over fuel or physical prowess, it was the heat. With highs in the upper 90's (and my ability to suck in the heat) we were only worried about passing out. Fortunately the course was very shady, and the first obstacle had us jumping in a river which immediately rinsed off a lot of sweat. So let's back up to the beginning!

    We drove out to the middle of nowhere in Northwest Oregon. I think getting there was half the battle actually! Parking was insane, chaotic, unorganized... but we ended up with an awesome spot! Quickly got our bibs, COTTON t-shirts (lame), hats and timing chips then rushed back to the car to get ready. Of course we forgot sunblock, but it ended up not mattering. Phew! With 2 waterproof disposable cameras in hand we hurried up to the start. It was pretty informal and you could tell everyone was ready for a party! I can't remember the exact order of the obstacles, but does that even matter? Do you care? No. 

    The race started with about a mile of a trail run on a narrow, dusty path. I was spitting dirt for so long. It wasn't downhill for too long before we were almost climbing up a freaking mountain. I laughed at people actually pretending to run because it was just not happening. Too congested, they were mostly just bouncing up and down wasting energy. Mid-run we got to splash in a creek - felt great! After the last climb we head back down and all hollered as we jumped into the river for our first obstacle..... climbing over logs. I loved it! I rocked it out pretty much, and even got kicked in the kidney. Go me!

    Running through tires was a piece of a cake, as was crawling over the cars. I loved standing on the top of one - never done that before!

    One obstacle that looked worse than it is was pretty much just and up and over ladder thing. Looks cool, but not hard and not scary.

    The 12 foot wall made me nervous when I saw it on the website. Going up was fun and hard on the arms (because my arms suck) but not scary. Once at the top that all changed. I clinged for a while trying to tell myself to put one leg over the top. And of course while straddling the wall I started getting dizzy. Some nice girls that had yet to start told me I was doing awesome, which helped me get my other leg over. However, while moving the 2nd leg I said, and I quote, "I'd rather be at the gynecologist!" Okay, not true, but at the time, maybe. It was just damn awkward!

    Another wall challenge was up.... this time it was harder to climb, and then we had to slide down the other side. Holy canoli! I had no idea how far down that drop was until I developed the film and saw this photo!

    We ran through tires hanging down - like swings on a farm in Nebraska. (Okay, I saw one like that driving cross-country, that's how that state was chosen.) Lamest obstacle. No challenge at all. My buddy did get hit hard in the face by a tire though, but he always went through really fast and was competing. I was there for fun and knew I wouldn't win anything.

    There was a huge flat cargo net obstacle and I enjoyed. I compared it to things I've seen on Survivor. That one was fun, but we did have some jackasses that came running over it all and almost took some of us out. They were a pain in my ass on more than one occasion.

    I rappelled down a hill!

    I liked the over/under. I was pretty awesome at this one!

    Cue the Super Mario music! These table top things were RAD!!! They were not steady at all. You climb up on the first then jump from step to step, all of different heights and distances apart. The guy working this location sang the Mario theme song the whole time. I loved it! I wanted this to go longer.

    Another big set of steps to go up, with a fireman pole to slide down. OUCH!! Instant redness and I still have the bruise to show for it!

    Sadly it was all coming toward an end. We went up and over a cargo net thing. The rowdy team got in trouble here, that made me happy. I really liked this obstacle, too!

    More running up more hills. Seriously, how can this course - that is a circle - be uphill the entire time?

    And then it finally came. The part I was waiting for .... the fire pits!! Sadly the official photos missed my first jump. I was rocking the hell out of it and I know it looked awesome. I wanted more fire. Two jumps was just not enough for me!

    Posing for pictures - back left.
    Up and over a small crest and we were there ... the big finale .... the MUD!! We slid on into the pit and just went for it. I believe, as I was rolling around getting thoroughly muddy, I said, "Rose would be so proud!" I loved the mud. Oh my gosh way too fun!! The girl in front of us was doing the backstroke through it. I kid you not! Out of the pit and over a slippery mound, which then let me go sliding face first down the hill toward the finish. This is when I lost my bib, crashed into people and got mud in my eye. I'm still bummed about the bib. I grabbed what I thought was mine. It wasn't. I'm keeping it. Posed for friends near the finish, then brought it on home!

    See me on the right?

    Eventually we found the cleaning station. Yeah ..... clean? In that? Oh well, we tried. I stayed dirty for hours after, even at the pub we stopped at on the way home!

    Cheered on friends/co-workers, shopped, watched BB have beer, enjoyed the area .... then went home. A very fun day!! Can't wait to do it again!

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Anniversary Run + A Fresh Start

    So here I am, a runner for two solid years now with a lot of ups and not too many downs. Fortunately I can only recall 2 "major" injuries --- hip bursitis in May 2010 and IT Band in May 2011 (May.... not my best month). I can recall a lot of fabulous moments of joy, shock, relief and success!  Last night during my two mile run (I know, so short, but I was okay with that) - 1 mile for each year - I was thinking about my past races. I thought of seeing my mom around mile 2.5 in my first race and how she was trying not to cry. I thought of my first 10K when I was about to cry and just wanted my mommy to come get me. I thought of seeing my mom in the stands when I crossed the 5K in Disney World for the first time. Gee whiz, I am such a mommy's girl! I also thought about the fun I've had with fellow runners/bloggers. It has been an awesome two years!

    Run wise I did okay, aside from stiff knees from the Warrior Dash! I paused a few times just to stretch a bit and just reflect. I know, I am so corny - but I think I was just blown away by all that I did. I mean I am the first to say I am a total slacker. How this slacker has managed to have 23 races so far and always take away something positive is just astonishing to me. I mean seriously, race #24 is on Saturday!

    Normally I'd be hard on myself if I felt like I was stopping too much. Or I'd be disappointed if I was going to slow. For this run I was just so happy I was doing it. Two years ago that night I was running only 60 seconds at a time, then walking for 90 seconds. I've come a long way and never realized it until last night. 

    So now I want a fresh start. I have the Prefontaine Memorial 10K on Saturday. Originally I wanted to PR it, but I also thought I would have been training more. I didn't plan to lose 2 solid weeks to Meniere's disease right at the peak time for preparing for the Disneyland Half and Pre. So the new plan is to go, do my best, not get all emotional and cry just because I'm on Pre's turf and really enjoy myself! 

    After this, I start fresh. I'm not like those of you that can run for 13 miles with only walking through water stops. Maybe some day. Hopefully some day. But right now I am not there. Heck I have never run a 10K without walking at least a few times. I'm cleaning the slate. After the Pre I will be dedicated to running and cross-training (which, by the way I have not missed a single day of swim class!). I printed the Jeff Galloway training plan for the Walt Disney World Marathon Relay. I don't know that I'll follow it, but I'll maybe use it as a friendly suggestion of what to do. And I have to start grasping that I am running two half marathons two days in a row. It will certainly be a challenge, which is why I want to rededicate myself and see just what I can do! And I can't ignore the fact that I have a half marathon in October and one in December .... so there isn't really any more time for slacking!

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Happy 2 Year Runniversary to ME!

    Two years ago it was a mere whim. I tend to get whims and follow them often, but the fact that two years later I am still into it and have no plans of ending this whim is pretty astonishing to me! If you haven't seen any recap type post before, basically I couldn't run around the block without stopping. So on September 13, 2009 I put on my blue Nike Air shoes (which are now soaked in Warrior Dash mud!), a cotton t-shirt and some shorts, grabbed my iPod and went out the door on my first Couch to 5K run. The rest, they say, is history!

    So how about a little link/photo fest look back at my races over the last two years - since I pretty much started racing right away! (I wonder if I can even remember these without cheating??)

    First up in December 2009, the Beaver 5K fun run in Corvallis, Oregon. My first ever race, and it was just a week after getting over the Swine Flu. My mom cried when she saw me running. That finish line was more amazing than any other. I did it!!

    Next I took myself to Florida for the 2010 Royal Family Princess and the Frog 5K. My first time EVER running 3.1 miles without stopping or walking!

    My first trail race was next, in Eugene, Oregon. The race bug REALLY hit me here, at the Lucky Clover 5K.

    Eugene Marathon weekend was soon to follow, but I just did the 5K ~ and set a PR for myself that would hold for months!

    The Ridgeline Ramble 10K trail race seriously kicked my ass! I had hip bursitis and had never run 6.2 miles before, but I did it and beat 2 other people. Go me!

    The Great Urban Race was my first time to just goof off - yet still work as hard as I could. If you haven't done a Great Urban Race yet, find one and DO IT!

    In July 2010 I set my 10K PR at the Butte to Butte, also in Eugene, Oregon. It was so hot. I felt like a salty French fry by the end, but I loved it!

    There was sucking in epic proportions at the Skirt Chaser 5K. I was on track for a PR and then it all went crashing downhill FAST! My first time throwing up at the finish line! I did end up on stage with the founder of Skirt Sports, so that was pretty freaking awesome!

    It was just a year ago that I was at my first Prefontaine Memorial 10K. My first time running a totally hilly course, my first time running in Coos Bay, my first time running on a track. It was a wonderful experience!

    Ever run in costume? Well I finally did last October at the Monster Mash 5K. I was "Malice in Horrorland" and so happy when I crossed the finish line and set a new PR for myself. PLUS it was the best finish line photo I've ever had!

    Due to blogger peer pressure, in November 2010 I ran the EWEB Run to Stay Warm 5K -- and THAT race holds my current PR. Apparently while sick I can still pull off amazing feats! And the bonus on that was having my first bloggy meet up!

    December was the month that gave me a bit of confidence in myself. It was at the Jingle Bells Run (5K) that I shocked myself. I STILL can't believe it. I, little ol' RR, little FruitFly, the girl that would rather dance and lay on benches during a race versus run the whole thing .... I got FIRST PLACE in my age group!! Holy cow!

    New Year's Eve was the last time I actually "raced" a 5K. It was the First Run at midnight! I did really well, but slippery conditions and crowded pathways kind of held me back.

    February of this year was quite a month! First up was the Beauty and the Beast Royal Family 5K. I walked this one with my mom and friend. It was a total blast, and also another chance to meet some awesome blogger friends!

    (How long IS this going to be?)  It all changed for me that early February morning at 2am when my alarm went off. I was up and ready for my first ever half marathon - Disney's Princess Half. OMG, what a fabulous race day with the most awesome, supportive race partner EVER!

    I didn't pause long at all. In March I was in my first 15K in Portland, Oregon.... the Shamrock 15K Challenge. Challenge is right! Did you see that elevation chart in that post??

    The inaugural Corvallis Half Marathon was this last April. My iPod had NO music on it. I ran alone. I got sick mid-run. And then I totally puked my guts out at the finish. I'd totally do it again!

    If you were ever going to read a race report of mine, the Eugene Half Marathon might be the one to read. It isn't totally full of silly pictures. This is my PR race. I put everything I had into it. It was just 13.1 miles of me and Pre!

    A week after that I did the Hippie Chick Quarter marathon, and realized I had terrible IT band pain that would last for a month and a half.

    Injured or not, nothing was stopping me from doing the Seattle Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon. So much fun!!

    The fun ended at the Lacamas Lake Half Marathon. Pure hell. I won't do this one ever again. They promised scenic. They lied.

    (We're almost done!) .... the Star Tours 5K was next. Silliness, Disneyland, singing, jazz hands. My kind of race to just walk and enjoy!

    The most epic of rad times .... my 6th round of 13.1 miles .... the Disneyland Half Marathon!

    Last on the list -- Warrior Dash. That recap is soon to come!

    That gets us to:
    6 Half Marathons
    1 15K
    3 10Ks
    1 Warrior Dash
    1 Great Urban Race, and
    11 5K races.

    I'm not slowing down, either!

    This was way long. SORRY!!