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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Review - Starring You!

Obligatory End of the Year Post -- here it is.

I talk A LOT. I mean I am really quiet around some people, but once I am comfortable - brace yourself, I don't shut up! And I write just the same. A LOT. So I'm going to recap my running year as short and to the point as possible! Ha! Right.

First Run 5K - cold. icy. midnight.
Disney's Beauty & the Beast Royal Family 5K - mother/daughter walk. fun!!
Disney's Princess Half Marathon - hot. fun. memorable!
Shamrock 15K Challenge - rain. uphill. hell.
Corvallis Half Marathon - college campus. fabulous sprint to the finish.
Eugene Half Marathon - set a new PR with the help of Pre!
Hippie Chick Quarter Marathon - IT Band pain. good finish.
Seattle Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon - 8 leg injections. KT tape. Compression.
Lacamas Lake Half Marathon - the worst race ever. Hated it.
Disneyland Star Tours 5K - I missed my dear Rose. :(
Disneyland Half Marathon - EPIC. Team Jam was born!
Warrior Dash - I love mud.
Prefontaine Memorial 10K - puked at mile 4. ran awesome.
Portland Half Marathon - tested run/walk method. new PR.
Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon - boring course. tears. costume.
Las Vegas Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon - awesome course!! pure chaos. collapse.

How's that for short and to the point?

5K = 3
10K = 1
15K = 1
Quarter Marathon = 1
Half Marathon = 9
Mud Run = 1

Next year is a new beginning with 3 races in 3 days. After that the REAL work begins and hopefully I can set myself a few new PRs!

And instead of filling this post with a bunch of photos, I created this little video. Have a looskie poo - you just might find yourself somewhere in there! Thank you all for helping me have such a memorable 2011!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Run #11.4 - Badass Alert!

I'm a bad-ass. Yep, I said it!

As far as taper madness goes - it is here in full swing! Yesterday I was close to being at an all time low on the confidence scale. By the time I went to bed I was feeling pretty darn happy with myself!

My plan was to run, no matter the weather, I was going to make NO excuses and just run. I spent all day tweaking my training for these last few days and decided that since I wasn't mentally prepared to do 10 miles I would at least do a 10K. For me a 10K is still pretty big for a mid-week run .... I'm a slacker and usually keep those around 3 miles, 4 max. After work I hit Macy's with my mom to exchange my size 6-7 Jessica Simpson slippers for a 9-10. Oh Grandpa. How cute that he thought I had such tiny feet! Let me tell you, those slippers are a little slice of Heaven wrapped around my feet! A little more shopping, a small dinner at home and then I ran. Okay - not true. I had my dinner but got sucked into a Las Vegas marathon on the Travel Channel. Vegas always wins. As I sat there watching all these pretty people partying in Vegas I was listening to the wind blow rain into my window. Great.

At 8:40pm I was laced up, bundled and ready for what I thought would be a long, cold, windy run. One mile in I was back at my house ditching my gloves and jacket. It was warm and dry! Still windy, but that was okay. I was almost tempted to ditch my arms sleeves too. A perfect night for running! And my legs were on fire. I wasn't trying to go faster than normal, nor slower. I just ran at whatever pace felt right. 1:05:55 later I had finished my 10K. For me, this is wonderful - especially since I did a 4:1 run/walk ratio! AND .... I ran hills. HillSSSSSSS. I just kept zigging and zagging all over, working my way up a hilly neighborhood. I'd keep feeling tempted to walk when I got to them, but did that lovely little trick of setting small goes my entire way up. Before I knew it the hills were over!

So glad I did this run. I wore my headlight thing again, too. I didn't feel as embarrassed this time because I had on a hat to keep my face dry - and I felt like maybe that distracted me from the light. I should just ignore it and be happy I can see and be seen. Eventually I'll be comfortable with it. Oh, and those Skirt Sports pants that I just bought? Damn - they are toasty!! I had on compression sleeves, and just having those two things on together --- I was ready to shed layers. I probably could have just gone in a skirt. This is a lot of pointless information that even I don't care about. Point it - it was nice and warm outside!

AND, for the time being, I don't feel completely neurotic. Give me a few minutes, that will change.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cue the Taper Madness

Oh my gosh, talk about Taper Madness! I didn't want my taper to start so soon - but a day long stomach bug sort of decided that for me. And the madness instantly kicked in! I'm going crazy over here! I really knew I was in for a bad one when I woke up in a panic after my worse race dream so far.
Here's the short version: I'm at the start area of the relay (which happens to be at my local county fairgrounds?). I see some friends in full race gear getting water, asking if I will be too hot. I packed only long sleeves, and we were having a summer day. I then realize I am in flip-flops and work clothes and have NO running clothes with me at all. I can't find my relay partner or call him - apparently you can't dial and make a call on a plastic cup?? I run all over through fair booths looking for any running clothes and then I realize I am the second leg runner. Nobody is in the corrals yet, so I can buy myself some time and get my clothes and go straight to the relay point. I start yelling toward my mom that I can make it work if she can drive me, as I run toward her. She doesn't understand my excitement and gets mad at me, telling me I am out of control and to calm down and just go home. She kicked me out of the race essentially! Then I woke up. I immediately had to call my partner and have a team meeting!
I'm leaving town a week from tonight - this has potential to be one long freaking week!

Ready to run .... oops. Didn't happen.
Last night I tried to run - but it was cold and raining out (plus I had an "injury"*). My motivation was zapped. Then the stress hit and I ended up using all of my hot water in a long, dark shower filled with singing and mentally telling myself I WILL pull my head out of my ass and do this. At the time, back to back runs seemed to clearly be the best idea. And I don't regret it. I would regret it if I didn't register for that 3rd day and get that Chip 'n' Dale medal. But damn, just waiting to find out what it is going to feel like is making me a little twitchy!

I can't stop staring at my packing list, which is continually being added to and altered (Heaven forbid I forget my maracas!). Now I'm adding short sleeve options for every race, just in case. I hear the lows in Florida right now are pretty much my highs in Oregon - which means I definitely have potential to get toasty!

To add to my mental chaos, I'm trying to grasp that I have made two promises to two people. The first is that after Disney I WILL eat better. I will follow food instructions and recipes and make my own meals not always out of a box or drive-up window. Also after Disney I have passed over control to a new coach that gets to boss me around. I've already told him I'm going to hate him in no time at all. I have to have a structured running plan to follow and forced directions. Every time I do I always stick with it and my running improves. Right now I have a big gap between Disney and Eugene, which gives me time to focus on running a better race "with" my dear "boyfriend" Steve Prefontaine in April. 

*You know how during a taper you start to "know" you are getting a cold or your legs are suddenly injured? I might have had the all time strangest phantom pain ever during a taper! It was a pain I haven't had since Princess Half Marathon weekend of 2010 right before I removed a piercing that was bugging me. Even putting on a sports bra hurt last night. Thank goodness that random "injury" has passed and now I can freak out about my knees, calves, ankles, etc....  TMI?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It Was a Griswold Moment

Christmas Eve 2011. Oregon.

We had prepared a nice, quiet dinner for the grandparents. Steak, sauteed mushrooms, potatoes, peas (for me). Presents were exchanged, some songs were sung. The guests went home and my mom had a brilliant idea. "Let's go to the Festival of Lights!" The Rae Girls (my mom, our co-worker and myself) grabbed my dog and piled into my mom's car for a little trip down the road. 

The last car for the night, we were jolly and chatting a lot with the volunteers running the Festival entrance gate. The Christmas music was on, the car lights were off, we rolled our windows down and enjoyed the lights. I was a proud parent, enjoying how my dog had her head out the window looking at the lights. I managed to snap a photo. We ooh'd and aah'd over some lights - my favorites being Humpy Dumpty and the Mad Tea Party. Just as I finished taking another photo it happened. 


I turn and see that my mom has gone left instead of right. What?? And instead of pausing and realizing that we just hit a curb, she guns it and goes right over it. At this point chaos erupts. Sheila is saying "Turn the music down! Turn the music down!" I am yelling "Stop! Stop! What the hell are you doing?" My mom is so confused about why the car is now in the air. Before she stops to listen to us she throws it in reverse. Nothing is happening. The front tires are spinning, the car is NOT moving at all. I immediately - while dying of laughter - try to find my slippers because I am just sure we are going to have to get out of the car, LIFT the front and push it backwards. Well before that can happen, she does it again!

This time she throws it into drive and revs the engine. We start going forward, with the whole bottom of the car scraping on the curb.  For a while we are actually stuck - like a teeter totter! Eventually we are over the curb. Now we are in the grass IN the light displays with the wheels just spinning in place. I thought we were going to have to get a tow-truck or crane to get us out of this whole situation. The way out to get back to the road is left. My mom turns right. "Mom! What are you doing?" "Oh, we can just see them this way!" and she starts driving in the grass in-between all of the huge displays. Even my dog is laughing at this point. Then she starts turning. Thank goodness she wasn't trying to spin donuts (or whatever that phrase is!).  So now the plan is to get back to the road - but the big support wires are sticking out everywhere. We nearly miss them, almost hitting a big rock wall in the process. Eventually we are back on the road where we have to stop and laugh. Thank goodness we are the only car there. We manage to resume our light show, but can hardly see the lights through the tears of laughter. 

As we loop back through we see one of the volunteers parked, facing us, with only parking lights on. Did they witness the whole thing? Were we in trouble? We continue along - almost taking out a couple lights on the way. At the exit lights we notice some are out. You want to know why they aren't lit?? Because my grandpa hit them last year in his truck!

Off roading into light displays on Christmas Eve ... yep, this is pretty much run of the mill in my family!

Run #10.5 - Sucktastic

This run flat out SUCKED!

I put on compression socks, pants, long sleeves, a jacket, gloves and ear warmers. I went outside, stretched a little, went inside. Took off the jacket, gloves and ear warmers. Switched shirts. Resumed my preparation to run. It was glorious weather! I should have just worn short sleeves and a skirt -- on Christmas Eve?!? Yes!

I ran down to the park and was pleasantly surprised to see it full of people. Picnics, kids playing on the play structure, dogs running around. It was busy! I noticed all of this because my legs were dead. I could not run. I tried to hard and it just didn't work. Then my body revolted. 

Did I mention this was supposed to be a 10 mile run?? Yeah, um, it was 2.8. That's it. Not even 3 miles. I just physically could not function.

I spent the rest of the day wondering if I had a stomach flu. It was miserable. Blah - tossing this run out of the memory bank. I'll do better next time!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Run #11.3 - Eh, Nothing Special

Happy Ugly Sweater Day!
Not much to report on this run. Part of me wanted to skip it and get up early in the morning to run. But then that wouldn't count as 2 runs 24 hours apart (to simulate my races being in that time frame). So I procrastinated playing this addictive ball game on my iPhone. I am such a 12 year old boy that I giggled when I almost typed balls. Oh. My. Gosh.

ANYWAY, it was colder, so begrudgingly I was running in a jacket again. I probably could have ditched the arm sleeves, but oh well. My gloves were all wet  - drying from coming out of the washing machine (I didn't wear them) - so my hands were frozen. Damn. My plan to run 5 was shortened to 3. Physically I could have done the 5, but my tummy just didn't feel right, so then I felt lazy. Nobody tried to run up behind me this time, so that's a bonus. And I used the headlamp again and wasn't as embarrassed. Phew!

At the 1.57 mark I had paused to look at some Christmas lights and stretch my calves. When I realized I was half way into my run, I just turned around and repeated the route I had done. That meant running UP the hills. Oy! But I did it! And backtracking somehow made to seem the run go by really fast. I liked it! In the end I was still almost at the prior run's pace. I'm sure the difference mostly lies in running up hills this time, versus just down them. But as far as back to backs go, this wasn't bad! I felt just as fresh as the first run - and even finished it out at a very steady 8:30 pace. WHAT?? That's right ... 8:30!

That was so boring. I'm so sorry. Maybe I'll come up with something more interesting to write later on today. I think my mind is just on scattered over-drive now. Am I freaking out about these raceSSSSS .... yes! It's like taper madness has hit, but there is no sign of taper in my future right now!

Speaking of races, this whole runDisney announcement has thrown me for a loop. I've had it planned now since before this year's Wine & Dine half marathon that next September I'd go to Orlando and do that race. Now they've moved it to November and brought back the Tower of Terror race for the September weekend. So now I have to pick between Wine & Dine or the race that originally got me wanting to do Disney runs. Plus that one is during Orlando's Halloween season. Such tough decisions! I'm hoping the WDW expo in TWO WEEKS(!!!!) will help me make my decision. If only I could get there for both!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Run #10.4 - A Close Call

Last night I went out for 3 FAST miles! They felt great. It was 43º outside, which is my favorite running temperature. I was able to run without a jacket and feel comfortable. Woohoo! What wasn't comfortable was the close encounter I had with some annoying kids. I came around the corner and there were about 6 teenagers just standing on my sidewalk conversing. It was dark out, but early (7:30pm). No cars were around so I just went in the road around them. I nodded my head at them when I thought one said Hi, and continued on my way. Always being very aware of my surroundings I saw a shadow come up on me. One of the boys was mocking me and running up behind me. Nice try, buddy!

Today's purple patriotic look!
Being awesome (I mean it is my blog, so why would I say I'm anything but awesome?!?) I turned, ran backwards and proceeded to chew him out. I'll leave out what I said - not for the faint of heart. ;) Then I quickly turned, ran the normal way and continued off down the street and around the next corner. I ran for quite a while at sub-9!! Once at my grandpa's driveway I paused to survey the area and make sure none of them continued to follow me. They didn't. For the rest of the run I was on edge. Every car I saw that slowed down by me (seriously, EVERY car did and it freaks me out! Why can't they just go at a normal speed? Do you need to stop for people on sidewalks? No!) made me nervous. I've never spent an entire run in MY lifelong neighborhood so on edge before. This is why I already have my plan laid out for when I get kidnapped. I will rip off my Road ID and leave it where I was, as well as my Garmin -- so someone could plug it in, see my route and possibly get a clue as to where I had been and where I was captured. Morbid? Yes. Does it keep me alert and untrusting? Yes. Do I feel safer this way? Yes!

Also different on this run was my headlamp. We got them in our goody bags at the Vegas Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon. I like to be unseen when I'm running. I stop and wait if cars are doing anything since I don't trust them. Now with this light on, people were seeing me and it was strange. I still stopped, and sometimes I did turn the light off. I admit I felt so silly having it on. Like maybe I should be mining with the Seven Dwarfs instead of running?

In the end I survived, maintaining an average 10 minute mile pace --- and that is including the 1 minute walk breaks here and there! I was on fire!

*In other news, after Walt Disney World Marathon weekend tries to kill me, things are changing. I got myself a free coach yesterday. He has plans to whip me into shape. If he thinks I'll keep up with his Boston Marathon training, he's delusional. But I'm going to do my best to listen to him and be a better runner! Until then, I'll enjoy my tiny late night 3 milers!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Run #10.3/Run #11.2 - That Was Hard!

Run #10.3
Due to my family Christmas being held this Sunday, I did my longest run on Saturday. It was a pretty chilly one, so again I was out in gloves and a jacket. I did 8 miles and they were pretty nice! There were many people out on the paths during my 2 large loops, and tons of dogs - some of which were in cute holiday attire! It kind of freaks me out that the thought of 8 didn't terrify me. I considered 10 but didn't want to be too over eager considering I still had a run on Sunday. Plus I was suppose to meet my mom for our Christmas dinner shopping trip.  Right after the run I went straight to the store to see her. Oh my gosh. Big mistake. She says she didn't notice, so she wasn't complaining - but I couldn't even handle being in the car with myself. I smelled terrible! I convinced myself that it was just an awesome run and I worked hard enough to be stinky through all of my layers (it never got above 39º during that run).  You'd think I would have showered right away after that, right? Wrong. I had some food, finished putting stamps on Christmas cards and went to the post office. THEN I spent forever messaging with someone on facebook, THEN I showered. I was so gross!!

OH! I created my own new warm up routine. . . blasting Michael Jackson (seriously, this is pretty much a life long obsession and now it is getting out of control) and dancing. Limbers you right up and gets your heart pumping before going outside!

Run #11.2
I dressed up as Christmas (runner style!)
I meant to have dinner last night. I was distracted watching the Wizard of Oz so it didn't happen. (Um, have any of you noticed how attractive the Tin Man is?? I think I have a new celebrity crush, and he died in 1979!) I meant to go to bed early. I was distracted continuing my unexpected, yet entertaining facebook conversation. So that didn't happen. My alarm went off at 7am. I was going to have breakfast but was distracted with Jimmy Buffet and my warm bed (that is not as dirty as it sounds, bummer), so it didn't happen. My family Christmas was around 11am, so I pretty much had to hurry, get dressed and head out the door.

It was 34º when I started. I layered up with a short sleeved RnR Vegas shirt, arm sleeves, a thick long-sleeve shirt and a jacket on top. Thick socks, CEP compression sleeves, Zensah capris and Nike pants on the bottom. Then my head/ear warmer and gloves. It was so cold out there and so foggy that my gloves had a constant frost on them. By the end of my run it was 34º, foggy AND raining. Just lovely. I ran 5 miles. They were 5 difficult miles. I attribute this to the lack of prep (i.e. not enough sleep, dehydrated, no food in my body) and not being used to running back to back days. Mentally it was a roller coaster. As soon as I'd convince myself that tired legs didn't mean I suck, I'd immediately get frustrated. 

I think my biggest annoyance was my head and getting mad at the hand nature dealt me with Meniere's Disease. I really feel like I should be a better runner by now. I should be able to do back to backs and not struggle, except that a lot of this year was spent with me physically unable to safely run and keep trying to improve. It just frustrates me. But I won't let Meniere's win and keep me down. I pushed forward (mind you I have been symptom free since the day after the Vegas half pretty much) and finished my five miles. It was hard, but I did it and I am really proud of myself for not giving up! 

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Found It!! My Patriotic Look!

Remember how I said I've been wearing my capris with knee socks because I thought the first time I did it I looked patriotic? (Okay, so maybe just my legs, not the rest of me.)

WELL.... while cleaning out work e-mails I found this photo taken on Halloween in 2008. I originally wore this outfit (minus the capris) in 2006, with scarier make up and bloody wrists. You see Malice was a little suicidal that year. AND her bunny was late, so she killed him -- if you look at his tummy you can see the little boo boo he has. 

So this is the look I've been sporting for the last two weeks, just mixing it up a bit with different socks each day. Seriously I love it. Ooh!! I know what I should get in WDW to finish it off!!

As Per Usual ... Thirsty Thursday Edition

As per usual I went to the Blackbird for Thirsty Thursday.
As per usual I pretended I was in college again by using the phrase "Thirsty Thursday."
As per usual I bellied up to the bar and gazed happily at my BFF bartender, Joe.
NOT as per usual I had a vodka and cranberry, as suggested by Kim ... vanilla vodka!
As per usual I had my normal rum & Coke.
As per usual I had my typical Fruit Fly with her gays conversations.
As per usual I conversed and flirted with another "regular".
As per usual he is still VERY unavailable - but straight!! - shocking!
As per usual I wanted tots.
As per usual they still don't have tots.
NOT as per usual I did have an appetizer -- yummy sourdough bread and butter. So good!!
As per usual my mom was ready to leave before I was.
NOT as per usual, our third Rae girl wasn't with us tonight.
As per usual I talked about running too much (as I wore running capris to work today).
As per usual I came home and wanted food.
As per usual I had a funky dinner of part of a quesadilla from lunch and Lucky Charms. Dammit.
As per usual I wanted a dance party on Thirsty Thursday.
As per usual I was still obsessed with Michael Jackson on the way home.
NOT as per usual I turned on my Wii and had my own private MJ dance party in my little cottage.
As per usual my pets looked at me like I was insane.
As per usual my dog got hyper and wanted to dance with me.
As per usual I kicked ass, and even set a new high score for Thriller!
NOT as per usual I am working on Christmas cards. I hope they make sense. It IS Thirsty Thursday.
As per usual I want to go to bed early, and probably will.
As per usual I have swim class at 6am in the morning.
NOT as per usual my left upper arm is killing me from my tetanus shot. It hurts.
As per usual I will end this with a random photo that isn't too random this time. I just really love him.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Run #10.2 - Baby, It's Cold Outside!

This was supposed to be a report about back to back runs. All day I planned to run 5 miles at night. Then I realized I should stay in. I WANTED to run so bad. But my throat is getting scratchier and scratchier. My head started throbbing. And then there is my sore arm from the tetanus shot. (Did you know as adults we are supposed to get them every 10 years? I have no idea when I ever had one in my life at all! I'm sure I did when I was a child?) Anyway, I made the grown up decision to stay in, have a healthy dinner and get some sleep. With Disney coming up so soon I just can't risk getting sick. My back to backs for this weekend are still on schedule though, and who knows, perhaps I'll get in another run before then. Ugh, I feel so guilty. But I'd rather sacrifice this one run than miss a ton from being sick.

So instead I'll quickly recap my 3 miler from Tuesday night. It was probably the coldest run of my entire life. I went out in long sleeves AND a jacket - which is just unheard of from me. Even in 43º weather (my peak performance temperature!) I just use a shirt. My new running skirt/pants combo from Skirt Sports arrived, so I tested that. Oh my gosh -- so comfy!! I even slept in them because they just felt so darn good. I thought they were too long, but once I put on my shoes they were just right. They still have the same side pockets for me to easily carry my house key and iPod. I actually liked the feel better than the Lotta Breeze Capris. Anyway, the run.... All bundled up, I ran a whole tenth of a mile to my grandpa's house to fork over my rent money. Nice and toasty in there! Back to the street I went. It was a very dry, cold night. My knees did kind of stiffen up from the cold, causing me to pause two times during the run to stretch a little and get things functioning again. Overall it was really nice. Nothing out of the ordinary to report. It was nice to see I could run in a jacket and not get too hot and not get annoyed by it.

I think this wasn't much of a run recap as it was a skirt review!

I ran out of my capri leggings and wanted to rock my "patriotic" look again. My mom laughed when we started walking into work and she realized that I am in some Nike running capris. Hey - it is cold out there! I pretty much only own short skirts ..... so I have to create whatever warmth I can!
Today's Random Photo:  At the Hippie Chick Quarter/Half Marathon - shoving tissue in my top for when I inevitably throw up at the finish line. Surprising to all, I didn't need it! Good thing, too .... I sweat too much and it was rendered useless.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm Starting with the Girl in the Mirror

Yesterday I quoted so many people .... Simon & Garfunkel, Ferris Bueller, Michael Jackson and my Grandpa. Today I will requote Michael Jackson, and it isn't totally because I am completely obsessed with him right now. (Now? Ha, okay I have been since forever.)

I'm gonna make a change for once in my life... and hopefully because of this change I'll be able to look at the woman in the mirror and not hate what I see!

My mom will tell you that since I was 2 years old I have believed I was too fat. She is right. For too many years in the beginning of my life that is what I was told and came to believe. Mommy is STILL very mad about this sort of brainwashing I was subjected to. So now here I am, 33 years old, still hating how I look and having major food issues. I don't like it. I can hardly eat it in front of people. Have you been to a blogger dinner with me? Did you see how much food I took with me because I didn't eat it there? It shocks me that I ate at the Excalibur buffet not once, not twice but THREE times! I hate buffets. I hate potlucks. I do not wait in a line of people to get food. I won't eat what other people make if I don't know who made it, under what conditions and with what ingredients. It is really pretty annoying and stressful. I hate it! (OMG, hello whiner!)

My favorite meal. Seriously.  :(
I went to the doctor today. The very petite nurse weighed me and took my height. I was immediately ashamed. Then my new petite doctor came in. I was just embarrassed to be me. It is going to be hard, but there is a determined girl by the name of giraffy that is ready for it.... we're going to fix me! I'm gonna make a change and learn how to eat like a HEALTHY adult. I'm pretty much terrified of this new plan. I go to to the doctor in a month to follow up on blood work (to see what I am needing being a vegetarian and not getting all of my nutrients). In that month I want to really focus on making a positive step with what I'm eating. I WILL shed the pounds! She wasn't even concerned about my weight or BMI, but I am. I just want to be tiny. I want to be like Fiona Apple. I want to not get rejected at the door of a Vegas club because I don't fit the ideal type. I want to run faster. I want to be healthier. So here I go ... 

Already this week I have tried tofu (in a vegan pot pie) and had salad. I say salad, you would say I had plain Romaine lettuce. I had fruit with my dinner last night. I've been diligently running again now that my Meniere's symptoms have calmed down. AND ... exciting news!!!! After last night's run (which will be recapped after tonight's run as part of my new back-to-back training) I have officially run OVER 200 MILES more than I ran last year! I didn't hit the random goal I sort of made for myself, but then I also didn't expect to spend over a month of my life this year with vertigo or expect to hurt my IT band. 

Good changes are coming. I'm really going to miss those French fries. Seriously. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Slow Down, Feel Groovy!

Slow down, you move too fast
You gotta make the morning last
Just kickin' down the cobblestones
Lookin' for fun and
Feelin' groovy

Why are we always in such a hurry? Driving around I notice nobody actually stops at red lights or stop signs if they don't have to and drivers just look mad. Yesterday I was following my mom back to work and saw a car not even hesitate at a red light - nearly creating a 4 car accident (with my mom and I being 2 of those cars). This wasn't an isolated incident. How many times do you notice people creating dangerous situations just to save a couple of seconds? Is it really worth it though? I mean had an accident occurred in that major intersection quite a few people would have been inconvenienced and delayed, not to mention the financial aspect of a 4 car accident. All the time though, hurry hurry hurry is all we seem to do these days.

We only live once (let's set aside reincarnation for now). I don't want to spend my life always in a hurry feeling rushed, trying to get one car length ahead on the freeway, trying to be in the Super Wal-Mart before anyone else to get a $1.99 movie on Black Friday that I'll never watch. I just want to take my time and enjoy life as it happens. Maybe I'd want the sucky stuff to hurry -- I mean do we REALLY want to just chill and enjoy a pap smear?? But in general I think we, as a collective whole, should just chill the heck out!

When I was 19 years old my grandparents and I went to Las Vegas together. I was already in love with the city and my grandma really wanted to visit at least once more while she could. I think she and I kind of ganged up on Grandpa, and come on, I'm the favorite and named after him, he can't say no! ;) So there we were, having a really yummy lunch at the Rainforest Cafe (before it got new owners and a terrible menu change - back then you'd get a huge pineapple wedge with your food. So yummy!!) and in my sights was the entrance to Studio 54. Longingly I stared at it and said how I couldn't wait to go in there someday and dance. I will never forget what my grandpa said to me.... "Ronnie Rae, don't you wish your life away." He's right! Studio 54 is STILL there (although during race weekend it was Saloon 54 due to all that rodeo nonsense). I HAVE been inside and I didn't die waiting for it to happen.

Because of that one little conversation I always try to just stop and smell the roses, as they say. Sure, I get excited and plan for upcoming trips and races and look forward to days when I get to see friends that live far away ... but along the way I take time every single day to enjoy the little things and my current life. I enjoy the planning. Just this Sunday Abby and I texted forever about our 5K outfits and figuring out what colors to wear and how to accessorize. Those tiny steps are so much fun for me and help build anticipation! Even when Lady goes outside to go potty I watch her, I smile and think of how lucky I am to have my furry companions and I always take inventory of my trees. I have two trees in the front yard that really change dramatically with the seasons. They stayed so green and leafy for an extra amount of time this year, and I always love to stop and admire it. Small, but one simple beauty in life. Does anyone pay attention to things like that when they are busy driving too fast with their faces buried in their iPhones? I don't think so.

So as I continue on with my one life, 14 years after that conversation with my wise grandpa, I am proud to say that I DO choose to spend time relaxed and feeling groovy. As Ferris Bueller says, Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

As we head into a new year with fresh beginnings, slow down! Enjoy your life and all of its bumps. They make us who we are. And do something for yourself! Be like Michael Jackson, start with the Man in the Mirror and make a change. Bad relationship? End it! Hate your job? Quit! Too many bills? Stop spending! Felling chubby (heck yes!)? Eat better and start moving! Kids driving you nuts? Kick 'em out - get a dog instead. Okay - fine, maybe some of that was extreme, but you get the idea. Periodically I go through and filter out the bad and things that bug me. After I do, it feels GREAT!! Do something positive for yourself -- it is, after all, YOUR life!

Thank you, and now I need to hurry and get busy with what I was doing. Ha, no, not really. Kidding!
BUT .... for the runners out there, you can stop and smell the roses AFTER you cross the finish line. Really - at the Portland Marathon you get a rose at the finish line. I still have mine!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Abs. Air. My New Style. Naked Eyes.

I feel GREAT this morning!! After my back to back runs this weekend, I can certainly feel it in my legs, but it is a good feeling. One where I know I worked hard, but not so hard that I hurt myself. And swim class this morning was a doozy! We have a couple of new girls that are still trying to figure things out. Let's just say they aren't exactly naturals when it comes to water aerobics. But they do keep trying and they'll improve. I think we are all kind of awkward at that our first few times. Because of their confusion and inability to get into some of the positions we were in, the rest of us ended up holding some for a loooooonnnnnng time. Hello ab work! I loved it!! Getting ready for work I could totally feel that I had just had a great arm and ab work out. So cool!

I forgot to grab my eye shadow when I hurried out the door this morning. I feel naked.
Malice in Horrorland ... 2006

I learned how to put air in my tires this morning! Yeah - never had to do that before... in my entire life! All 4 tires got low while my car was sitting in the Eugene Airport and I was off playing in Las Vegas. I feel like such a grown up now!

My drink cup at work this week is my new one from Fat Tuesday at Mandalay Bay. I'm already mentally planning my return visit to Vegas - this time with no running. Just drinking and dancing!

The Robot at work is wearing a shirt that I have dubbed the "tablecloth". She used to wear it on Wednesday's. It's only Monday!

I've been checking Florida weather and it is so warm there compared to here! I'm hoping it stays nice like that - but dry - when I'm there. I cannot believe it is just around the corner. So excited!

I'm into a new "look". I first discovered this look on myself on Halloween a few years ago. I was Malice in Horrorland at work, but it was so cold that I added black capri leggings under it. I still wore my white tights. I ended up looking patriotic.... like I should be wearing a coat with tails and playing my piccolo while marching through Liberty Square or the America pavilion in Epcot. Lately I can't stop wearing this new fashion that I've decided is my new "thing". Except I'm wearing all sorts of knee socks, not just white. Maybe tomorrow I'll bring my flute to work and just carry it as my accessory.My drink cup at work this week is my new one from Fat Tuesday at Mandalay Bay. I'm already mentally planning my return visit to Vegas - this time with no running. Just drinking and dancing!

And lastly, you guys are all so cool! I'm always so excited whenever my quiet little blog posts get a comment or two. And meeting new bloggers is always fun. Hello! Welcome! Thanks! :-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Run #10.1/11.1 - Back to Backs

Vegas is done, I'm waiting for my Rock'n'Roll encore medal in the mail and my official WDW packing list is starting to come together. With that, it means it is time to focus on Disney and back to back races during my training runs. I'm kind of working on my own training plan as I go along. That translates to "no plan", FYI. Tentatively I'll be trying back runs to prepare for 3 races in 3 days.

Run #10.1
Saturday: my first run preparing for the WDW Half Marathon. My plan was 5 miles. I was so excited to pull out my cold weather clothes and head out for a nice run through my neighborhood.  That's not what happened. It started off fine, but then maybe my body had sympathy pains for the Vegas runners that had it even worse than I did. I had to keep stopping. First it was a side stitch, which I quickly got ride of, then it was my tummy. Oh my gosh, it was churning. I was barely able to eek out 3 miles and then make it home for a nice hot shower and rush to my first family Christmas gathering.

The nice part of that run was the end when I saw a woman outside of her home. She gave me kudos for being out running when it was so cold. I told her I was almost done, and she expressed even more kudos at me finishing my run while going quickly up a hill. That's right! I willingly ran up a hill - a couple, actually!

Run #11.1
Today I felt so much better and had a great run! My head told me this was the first "long" run preparing for the WDW Marathon Relay - which will be my third race and second half marathon of WDW weekend. After shopping at the Country Club (got a nice new Puma shirt that will join my running collection!) and a filling lunch I prepared to run. I really did look like an Oregonian today ... Nike shoes, Nike capris, Nike gloves, Nike shirt, Nike head/ear warmer!

Going into the run I didn't know how far I would go. I haven't run out here in a while and wasn't feeling too confident about spending the majority of my run hugging the shoulder and staying out of the ditch. Since my dizziness still comes and goes, I changed routes. I created a 2 mile loop mainly on a side street, beginning and ending at my mom's house, where I left my water bottle in the driveway. After the first two loops I knew I wanted to do one more and run a 10K. It felt great! I seriously need to register for a 10K because I have a PR just sitting in this body and I keep setting it over and over during my training runs!

I also found a goat! I've run out here so much and never saw the pet goat. Sadly it is in a backyard so I can't go pet it. Dammit. I disturbed the fattest wiener dog ever every time I ran by. He kind of helped me haul ass on that final loop just because I didn't want to disturb his mom who appeared to be rather elderly.  It was a lovely run. Nice, quiet, rural. Chilly weather, but 43 degrees is my comfort zone, so I was happy!

I cannot believe WDW is coming up so fast! Abby and I made progress on our outfits, so that's a big relief.  Check in time ... who else is going to be in Florida for WDW Marathon weekend??

Friday, December 9, 2011

It Wasn't Sushi, but....

... it was still lunch... with Sushi Guy!
I opted for spinach and artichoke dip this time. That goes down much easier than cold rice and seaweed!

Vegas threw up all over my blog. OMG Love it! I want to go back!!
If you've been otherwise engaged in the Las Vegas hospital dying from tainted water and are just itching to get caught up on my long weekend...

Bullet point recap of Las Vegas

Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil and drag queens are found here

This one is about the expo and the TWO pre-race concerts!

The OFFICIAL Las Vegas Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon race report

The cheater version .... Vegas RnR. 13.1 miles of photos

Celebrating with a Wildberry Colada. Try it!!

Let's Run The Strip! - LV RnR Photos

Screw the wordy details, let's just run this half marathon together, okay? Great! Wait, double knot your shoes first. I'll wait.      Garmin is on and you found your satellites? Perfect. Okay Runners Ready??? 10.. 9.. 8.. 7.. 6.. 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.... GO!!!

Ready to leave Excalibur and get my race on!
Pre race concert
Cheap Trick
Warming up in the sardine packed corrals
Start line! Let's Do This!!
What a view! Best race setting EVER!!
The face of a very happy runner finally racing at her peak time of day!
The spectators watching from above Las Vegas Boulevard
I got to see the water show TWICE during the race!

Okay, that's great that you are all Elvis-ish, but a stroller during RnR? NO!!
Fins up, Parrotheads!!
PLEASE tell me that is padding. I couldn't stop staring at it. It looked so real in person.
Run-through wedding happening at the Mirage
Winter in Venice. It was so pretty!!
How are we doing? Enjoying the sights? Enjoy it, because our time together on the Strip is coming to and end and it's about to get real .... real dirty, real old and really fun!! (Fun if you're like me and you like to see the not-so-pretty parts!)

Finally at Circus Circus - the inspiration for my race outfit!
The Stratosphere really isn't that far away after all!
Did you drink the funky water? Did your food disagree with you? Well ... this is the perfect spot .....
Because we just passed Gass! ;)
Graceland Wedding Chapel
Shout out to the Hangover!! 
Half way done, let's turn around and go back now, okay?
This stuff pleases me.... burnt lights, Bingo, the stuff we never get to see!
The Little White Chapel!
I love a corny hotel!
The clean up crew coming down Las Vegas Blvd
Please don't sweep up the aid stations yet!!
LOVED these signs!
In the middle of the huge intersection of MGM/NYNY/Tropicana/Excalibur. Shout out, Tupac.R.I.P. - VERY dizzy and disoriented at this point, if you can't tell this isn't my best look and I'm getting increasingly pale! Gotta be happy I captured my RnR LV demise on camera, right?

And if you have made it this far without vomiting or finding a potty, you're doing great! Let's push forward a bit more, the finish is just up ahead!
My "home" - ready to see that bed again!
And now we have a gap. Picture a sea of darkness and cranky, tired, cold runners and no order to the chaos. And then picture me dropping to the ground and people rushing to help. Clearly there are no photos of that!
Mine. Mine. Mine.
I can officially call myself an RnR LV race SURVIVOR!!
**If you missed the report, here's the short version .... super crowded. Any photos without people are because I took them with the opposite direction behind me, i.e. that part was still empty. And I ran AWESOME!! I felt so good until the very end when I, like nearly everyone else started to realize I was getting the RnR LV sickness. We shouldn't have fueled with water, maybe rum IS the way to go!?!**

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Las Vegas R'n'R Half Marathon - The Story

Google the Vegas RnR races and you'll see tons of scathing reports. What you read in them .... all true. I'm going to focus on the stuff I loved and just put a disclaimer here. It was one gigantic cluster fuck! Unorganized. It did feel like it was a lot of newbie runners, so perhaps they didn't understand certain race protocol on the course, but still. My friend started in corral 39, her assigned corral. The gap between the clock time and her chip time? 37 minutes. So corral 39 started 37 minutes after the gun went off. Is that proper spacing between corrals? Hell no! I blame this for the major congestion on the course. Only two times was I able to actually stretch my legs out and run MY pace... and we know I'm not even fast. It was a sea of people, elbows flying, tempers flaring, confusion, near accidents. Hats, jackets, gloves tossed right in the middle of a crowded street instead of off to the side. Twice I almost went down because of that. Okay - so that's my rant on my theory of congestion - well, the terrible start plus 44,000 people. Let's just move on to the fun stuff, k? I mean it IS Vegas after all, and I freaking LOVE Sin City!!

I made our matchy matchy headbands!
Before I even hit the start line I was all smiles. That smile lasted most of the race! I loved seeing the Strip from a slightly different angle. We had spectators lining the sidewalks and walkways that go over Las Vegas Boulevard. My legs felt GREAT!! Seriously, I should just go on a running hiatus before races more often. And I need more night races! I was on fire! My plan was to stick to the 4:1 run/walk ratio. I just loved the running so much that I couldn't stop! Occasionally I dipped off to the side into a planter or turn lane to take a photo, but other than that I was on the go. My run/walk pattern began when I kept encountering walkers in mass groups that I couldn't get around. I figured, "Okay, I will use my walk minute right now, and figure out how to get around this so I can run again." That was my plan for the entire race. Could I have gotten a PR on this course? Most definitely! My body felt PR ready and the course was perfect for it. The crowds were a different story. In the end I was over a minute per mile slower than my pace and I easily could have cut 15 minutes off of my finish time. Oh well, I am not complaining at all about it. I still just feel really proud of myself. My mental stamina was spot on. I had no pain in any part of my body until the final 5K, which is also when the vertigo kicked in - but that's also when I was back on the Strip and all the flashing lights and police lights just kind of did me in. I ended up walking more than I wanted to here just because I really couldn't see!

Fueling was interesting. I skipped the last two water stops because of what I saw and tasted. The water was foul. I mean horrid. And the final table I hit (mind you they were running out all over the place. I never even saw electrolytes after the first stop. (Poor marathoners/back of the pack walkers. I was sooo concerned about Jessica when I saw the mess that was happening around me.)) Okay, yes, my final water stop. I get to the table and have to wait. I see a volunteer take a cup stick her bare hand and cup into a pitcher of water. She handed it to a runner who quickly drank it, set the cup down and ran off. The volunteer then picked up that same exact cup, dipped it back in with her bare hands submerged and gave it to another runner. I was lucky and got a fresh cup, but the water was so hard to swallow from the taste. You know how I always throw up? Well you might not know I always almost puke when I take my Clif shot. This time I took the whole thing, while running!!, and kept it all down!! I'm getting better at this whole thing!! *Never threw up during this race at all!!*

So my run was awesome. I have never felt so proud of myself as I did after this race, even though my time isn't able to reflect what I actually did out there.

Circus Circus inspired my outfit!
Then came the finish line. I couldn't do my final sprint, which is fine because I truly couldn't see. I did manage to throw my arms up and cheer for myself at the end. I was just so excited that I was at the end and that I felt like a success. I crossed the finish line and was quickly given my medal. I slipped that sucker on and grabbed the fence so I wouldn't fall. A volunteer told me to keep going and as I stared at the med tent deciding to go in or not and told him I couldn't see he didn't care. Thanks. I kind of shuffled with the crowd, but we could barely move. Space Blankets were just on a big roll on the ground and we were trying to take them off ourselves. If there were volunteers, I didn't see them. I had such a hard time, couldn't see, could barely stay up, and luckily a fellow runner came and helped me. It was a sea of people, so he probably helped just so he could get one next. I was able to grab water and found the ONLY yellow banana in the pile of green ones. Grabbed pretzels and a Gogurt and then began the frozen walk into Mandalay Bay. I was feeling strange, but thought I just needed warmth and to get some food in me. Walking into the building it was a mess of runners everywhere on the ground, you could hardly find a path to Gear Check. I finally got there and was happy my line was short. The kid writes my number down and goes to find my bag. He brings 3 back and not mine. I asked where it was, he says, "I didn't see it." Okay, so that's it?!?! I said, "He took it from me. I'll be back, I'm going to be sick." All this happened with a bite of bagel in my mouth that I couldn't chew.  *I did get my bag later.

From here it gets REALLY scary for me. I could see the bathroom. It felt so far away with all the people I'd have to get around. I started "walking" and noticed people were nice and moved. And then I just stopped. I didn't know what to do. Everything was swirling around me. Noise was distorted and muffled. Vision was not good. Was I going to throw up? Did I have to sit? I was almost crying and just lost any sense of what was happening. A girl in line for her bag came over to help me and offered to walk me to the bathroom. I told her I couldn't make it that far and I didn't know what to do. I have no idea how long it went on, but as I was about to just collapse to the floor she helped me not get hurt. Almost immediately a med volunteer was at my side. My whole body was shaking, then I lost feeling in my arms aside from a bit of a tingle. I could hardly talk, they had to open my water bottle for me. I've never felt so helpless and I didn't even know what was going on around me. The volunteer, Teresa, opened a salt packet and helped me take it. She was a life-safer. Teresa never left my side, constantly checking and helping me get my banana open as well. Another girl went down right behind me, so Teresa was able to help her too. I don't know how long I sat there, but after she said I got my color back and I was able to see and speak she helped me stand up - and gave me salt for Jessica just in case! Words can't fully describe how I felt and what I saw. It was like a war zone. She said people were collapsing just like me left and right. I saw EMTs everywhere, and still not enough to help everyone that needed it.
My chins and I were talking
as I finished.... lovely.

I was able to get outside to the finish line and cheer Jessica on to her finish. She ran it in and I felt like a proud mom! The poor thing, she was over 6 minutes faster than her goal, yet still didn't get a medal at the finish. The bagels that were left were all soggy from the rain and the bananas were all too green to eat. We made our way back inside and as the crowd thinned we saw the disaster zone that was Mandalay Bay. Debris everywhere. Sick people still on the ground getting help. We slowly walked through the casino to the Luxor to Excalibur. Even at Excalibur we saw someone calling for an EMT to help a runner. And the food line was insane. We grabbed some Kettle Chips, drinks, muffins and called it a night ... falling asleep watching the Hangover in our hotel room.

I am so glad I did this race! As scary as my ending was, I feel like I can take what I learned and use it. I learned the importance of electrolytes and how important it is for them to not run out of those drinks on the course! **I WAS going to run with Gatorade on my belt, but the bottle kept leaking on me, so I ditched it at the last minute. I sincerely hope they make improvements for next year because this was an epic disaster when it comes to runner safety. I am VERY happy that Jessica didn't leave with a bad taste in her mouth. She is already even saying "next time...." when we talk about racing! I consider that a success!!