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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Run 1.11 - In Honor of Pre

Pre's older sister, Frank Shorter and Me!
For me, once it is 70° or higher I feel like I'm running on the sun. That reminds me of my first half marathon, Disney's 2011 Princess Half. I'm not kidding at all when I say that Lesley pretty much carried my carcass for the last 5K. The shade was gone. I had never run more than 11 miles in my life. And it was a bazillion degrees. I really think my eyes were rolling in the back of my head between mile 11 and 12 after you make that sharp turn into the Epcot parking lot over that last little rise. Anyway, it was 82° when I got off work. Too. Hot. At 8:50pm I was finally out the door to start my 5 mile run.

It was still warm, and actually kind of humid - I think it had lowered to about 77° at that point. But that was much more bearable. As I ran the sun disappeared and I was very happy about that! This run wasn't just about surviving the heat. Again this run was one I did in honor of Pre. Not WITH him like I tend to do, but just in his honor and memory. Yesterday was the anniversary of my running idol's death in 1975. It wouldn't be like me to not spend a few miles alone trying to do my very best while thinking of how great he was and how he has inspired so many of us. (Did you know my mom saw Pre run? Yeah, she reminds me every day.)

Me and Linda Prefontaine
My five miles were fantastic! I just made up my path as I went along. I never once walked or even toyed with the notion. And I felt like I could have kept going! I tossed in a few hills for good measure, and I'm so happy to say that those once challenging hills are still work, but getting easier. I might have to start finding some newer, bigger hills now! As I ran I tried to stay steady and not let my legs go too fast. I might have been running in Pre's honor, but let's face it - I'll never have the speed that he did. That's just a plain, simple fact! The whole run just felt calm. I thought about smiling at his mom and her smiling back at me. I thought of accidentally meeting his older sister and how inspirational she was to me when she told me to just go do my best and that he would be running with me every step of my race (which I then PR'd!). I thought about meeting his younger sister and the unexpected flowing of tears, which led to me crying on her shoulder. I will never meet my hero, but I feel like I've gotten just about as close as I can! I visit his rock where he died quite often. Just last month I spent at least a half hour or more just sitting with him at his grave talking about how cool he is and why he inspires me so much. For 5 miles I felt happy, proud, inspired, calm. Steve Prefontaine is THE reason I decided to branch out from just the 2 5Ks I initially signed up for. He is the reason I knew that I could be a runner with a lot of hard work. He is pretty much The Man! Thanks Pre!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Run 1.10 - That Smarts!

Oopsies ... I made a boo-boo. Minor, but still.

I only had 3 miles on the schedule yesterday. No sweat, my pet ... except it was a lot of sweat. Dang it got hot here, of course I say that and it was maybe 72º, which for me is hot! Anyway, back to running. I decided to run a 3 mile route I just created last week, but this time I'd do it backwards. For some reason I decided to go without music. It was kind of nice because I got to hear the crowd cheering at some baseball game happening right in the center of my route. What wasn't nice was the fact that I was so excited to go out and run that I forgot to stretch out my calves. I don't normally stretch - just my calves. Thus, the oops.

1.7 miles in my legs were screaming at me. I tried to just block it out and keep running, but then it traveled to my feet and they felt like at any second they would cramp up on me. So as much as I didn't want to I found a shady spot and a tree and had to stop and stretch it out. Oh my the burning feeling as I tried to move my ankles a bit. I was able to sort of shake it out, stretch and then resume my run.

The last 1.3 were great, and really so were the first 1.3. So not the most fabulous run, but really in the scheme of things it wasn't bad either. In the old days my head would have done a number on me and I'd have felt like a failure for having to stop and stretch so soon. But this time I knew I just forgot to do what I usually do and so I was doing it then and I was still out there running - so totally NOT a failure!

And I had the best reward for my hot, sweaty run .... a continuation of the Dexter marathon I've been having with *yet to be named*. I WAS going to name him Beach Boy because he's the one that took me to the beach, but then that brought up images of floral board shorts and men singing with high voices. Also I didn't want him to have "Boy" in his name and risk being confused with any others (ick!). So then I went back to my original plan ... and since we both like Family Guy so much .... I have given *yet to be named* his blog name ... and this will probably solidify how much of a goof ball I am, and how much I love that little football shaped head of the crazy baby - his new blog name is Stewie! Yes, Stewie! *EDIT: Due to Cilley Girl's suggestion, the name has been altered to what I keep calling him in text world ... Man Friend! So "Stewie" "Man Friend" and I vegged out watching Dexter post-run. We're almost done with Season 1. No matter how many times I watch this show and know what is coming up, I still love it and get all tense and completely absorbed. What about you? Are you a fan of Dexter Morgan??

Monday, May 28, 2012

Run 1.8/1.9 - Eye of the Tiger

Lady - just because!
My 8th run was pretty good. Short, fast, easy, sweet. It was just 3 miles on Saturday, so not a whole lot to talk about. I did notice that it was warmer out and so sweat happened a bit more than before, but since it was only three miles it wasn't anything unbearable. Part of my path is now blocked off for a big construction project which actually then opened the door for me to explore new paths. I ended up sort of making one big circle, ran into my friend twice and ...ran the whole thing, no problem! That hill that used to plague me when I started running is now nothing to me. I freaking love it!!

The 9th run was my long run for the week on Sunday, giving me 20 miles for the week. On tap was 6 miles. Going into it I felt pretty excited and confident. At this point I hadn't walked a single step during the week's training. My goals for this run were a) get up early and be out the door running by 9 a.m. b) eat something simple like I would before a race and c) run 5 miles without any walking.

For Rose!
I was up before my alarm went off, put on running clothes, had a Power Crunch bar - seriously these are freaking DELICIOUS! I bought two boxes of them at the last expo and it was my best purchase ever at an expo!!, and was out the door at 9am on the dot! And I was off. Deliberately trying to run slower, I felt pretty good. I haven't run 5 days in a week in .... ever. But my body was handling it just fine. I'm pretty happy with the marathon training plan I settled on!  I kept it "slower" and just trying to steadily plug along. I'd weave around and do whatever I needed to do to avoid having to stop at any traffic signals, thus ruining my goal of no stopping. Sure enough I hit 5 miles and never walked ... and I just kept going!  At 5.44 in I was at my water fountain. I was pretty dehydrated since I was distracted and forgot to keep drinking water this week, so I had to stop. Physically I could have kept going, but really the water was screaming at me. So I did pause for a very short break at the fountain - then continued running. I finished out those 6 miles, never once walking!  And I wanted to note (to myself mainly) that this is a PR for the longest distance I've ever run without any pause or walking. Next weekend I want to beat that 5.44 with maybe 6! Maybe more!

I declare this my best running performance so far! Steady, no walking, not too strenuous, but also not like it was so easy that I wasn't working. What did help was when I was getting my sip of water and a song came on ... THE song. The song that brings images of mile 12 in the Disneyland Half Marathon. I'll set the scene -- Hot. Hours of silliness. Nearing the end of my favorite race experience .... the experience of Team Jam. Rose and I screaming Eye of the Tiger at the top of our lungs all the way through the finish line. Giraffy looking at us like we are idiots. It was awesome! And it was all of these memories flooding my head that helped me finish out a great 6th mile! And then in honor of Rose I was pretty proud of myself when I got home and saw what had happened to my shirt. So proud - I had to take a photo!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Run 1.7 - I'm On a Roll!

Happy to be done with hills!
This is now my second night in a row running 4 miles with zero walking! And this time I tackled an even bigger, longer hill - and kicked it's hilly ass is what I did!

I don't know what else really to say about it. I think the fact that we are having Fall weather right now is working to my advantage. I'm getting in the swing of running 5 days a week and building up confidence all before we might get a week or two of summer?!?

I have a day off from running now and I'm looking forward to it - but at the same time I'm loving that I just did 3 nights in a row and kind of want to keep going - but I'm sticking to the plan!  This weekend I have back to backs, and I'm not at all worried or scared! I'm having a BLAST ... right now ... with marathon training!


In non running news, karma is finally coming around. I'm sitting back and watching with a smile - knowing that I am NOT involved in any way, shape or form with this latest drama involving the people that caused me such hell for a few months. Life is good! Work is going well. Running is awesome. I get to see my family this weekend ... and ... good luck to him... Mr. *yet to be named* will be joining my family for our big BBQ on Sunday. And after this post, he WILL have a name... assuming he passes the cracker test.

So here's my question to you:

You are assigned to bring one of those pre-made meet and cheese trays along with some crackers to accompany it. We [my mommy and I] tell you we will judge you based on your cracker choice .... What crackers do you choose??

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Run 1.6 - Let's Talk Elevation!

Everybody has been talking about the crazy hills at the Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon. We all pretty much thought it would be a gradual uphill for the first half, then basically a nice overall downhill to the finish. As I was preparing to go on my run I decided to look at the elevation chart on the official website and compare it to my Garmin data.  

After I saw the results I was even more pleased with how well I ran that race. I didn't give my full effort, deliberately trying to treat it like a training run. I noticed I ran up a lot of the hills compared to normal. I saw the comparison and now I feel like a bad ass - especially since I ran my second fastest half marathon that day!  That prompted me to create a 4 mile route with a variety of hills. For the first time in I don't know how long I ran four miles straight with zero walk breaks! Yeah, yeah - for a lot of people this is nothing - but for me it's pretty big! Each of these runs is helping build my confidence going into this summer long journey to prepare for 26.2 

So a nice run. I spent the whole thing pondering hills in general and loved that I didn't shy away from any during this run. And now .... how do the two elevation charts compare? See for yourself!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Run 1.4/1.5/Race Photos

I'm cramming a whole lot of not much into this one post! My official 4th run of training for the Portland Marathon was in Portland ... the Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon. Why not start out with a nice, long run? And I deliberately didn't push myself in that race so that it would be more of a "long run" versus a "race". I won't write about it here - you can just click this link to read all about it! I will say, as far as long runs go, I actually felt fabulous at the end and had another mile or two left in me. I checked my Garmin stats and for the last 5K I had steady negative splits with the 13th mile being the fastest of the entire run! That alone gave me a lot of confidence going into the rest of training. It's like I'm finally putting all the things I learned together, I'm experimenting with fueling, and I'm continually improving on hills. Yippee!!

My fifth run was last night. How fun it is to start with a beginner's program and get to run 3 easy miles?!? I ran them without any music, mostly because I didn't feel like wearing any belt to carry my iPod and because I was hurrying out of the house so I could get home in time for Glee. Um, I missed the memo that it wasn't on until 9pm - and did it make anyone else cry??? Anyway, no music so I was just on my own. We Are Young ran through my head the entire three miles. I was supposed to go slower. Ugh, I suck at that. It's like I get on auto pilot and have one pace. I did that run in 30 minutes, 3 minutes faster than planned. Oopsies. I'll work on slowing down tonight! Overall it was a great run. My legs felt totally fine, like they didn't even know they were in a race 2 days before - which tells me I must have done a good job on holding back at the race. And happily my IT Band didn't yell at me either!

I did miss swim class again. I need to start getting some good rhythm going so I can run, stay up for tear jerker episodes of Glee, watch Cops and then still be up to swim at 6am. I'll figure it out eventually!

And then there are the race photos - which I've scattered throughout this post (and I actually left out a lot!). I actually like them! I'd say most of them are from my final sprint to the finish line when I was feeling my very best and staring down the finish line. I'm debating which I'll buy, if any. I just kinda like them this time and would like to not have the watermark everywhere. So I'll sit and think on it for a bit!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon

“I might have to rib (course designer) Alan Culpepper the next time I see him. Portland is a hilly town, so I didn’t expect the course to be pancake flat, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so hilly,” added Goucher. “Sometimes it’s about effort and it was a good hard effort and sometimes the clock doesn’t really matter. It’s just about getting out there and challenging yourself and today was certainly a challenge.
I could just use that quote by Kara Goucher and spare the recap, but I won't (FYI, she beat me). Initially this was my race report: Turn a corner, up a hill. Turn a corner, up a hill. Turn a corner, up a hill. And that still summarizes the Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon - but I guess I'll write a REAL one, too!

When I stay with Cilley Girl I am never nervous before races, which we realize is because I trust her - she knows where she's going, we have a plan of how to get to where we are parking, I sleep great, we get there on time. It feels so great to go into a race feeling calm! Up early, I was busy getting my hair braided and my 80's turquoise eye shadow applied. Toes lubed, shoes tied, we were out the door! Parking was a breeze and once we got to the race area we had zero line for a potty. Score! I ditched my bag (bye bye warm sweatshirt) and quickly met up with Running Potato. Sure, I may have immediately chastised him for having us meet in the single most populated area of the entire race... but then that was just his warm up for the first 2 miles with me.

Into corral 12 we went and soon enough we hit the starting mats. Running without music, willingly, was strange for me - especially since he had music playing in his ears. Oh well. I found enough entertainment in singing along with a lot of the on course bands - maybe THIS is why he had his playing, to avoid my fabulous vocals?!? I guess we could say the ol' Potato is quite a trooper because we were only a mile and a half in when I told him to stop annoying me or I would seriously just punch him in the face. There are reasons I run alone! ;) So after the bitch got out of me we were good!

I did notice, however, that we lost any potential PR by the first mile. 11 minutes for mile 1 does NOT a happy R0nda make. Before I could whine too much about it another beautiful thing happened --- a little bit o' vertigo to heal the soul. Lovely. It was nice having a partner with me so when I was dizzy I knew I could grab on to someone. And just knowing someone is actually with me makes me feel less nervous when Meniere's Disease tries to make an appearance. We had to walk through that vertigo for a while - sending us to a really slow 5K time. During all of that I remembered something ... this is actually just my 4th training run to prepare for the Portland Marathon. No need to stress. Just focus on the distance and running. Bye bye goal time - I think we're on pace for my all time slowest race, aside from my Disney races obviously.

Around mile 5 I took my gel and finally my legs loosened. We split so RP could potty and I continued on. I found my stride and happy place at 9:30 pace. And that lasted until the hills. Hill. Hill. Hill. I have been working hard at them, and I noticed that I actually ran up them a lot further than I would have a few months ago. Improvement!!! RP caught up with me in time for some sweet obnoxious arm dancing to the Rocky Theme song and the Flashdance song (I know the names, but it was more fun to write it that way, okay? ok). And yeah, I sang along, too. I mean this is a Rock'n'Roll race after all - no time to be serious or a stick in the mud! 

Seriously. The hills. ENOUGH. I was over them and actually getting annoyed with the course at this point. Every corner you turned you'd just see more hills. And did I mention it was raining the entire time? Glad I bathed in sunblock and had my sunglasses on ... However, with all of the hills, my IT Band that was in a lot of pain and the here and there bouts of Meniere's Disease hitting me I was actually getting stronger as the miles went on. Instead of my usual final 5K crash, I realized my pace was increasing - as well as my mental strength - perhaps my pre-race fuel experimentation was helpful! We parted again at the final potty stop and I continued moving forward, he caught up. For the last two miles I decided to just pretend I was Kara Goucher. Sure she finished hours before me, but no reason to not try to use her as inspiration. 

I'm happy to say I never once stopped forward motion. I walked more than I wanted to - mostly due to the fact that my IT Band is still not 100% happy after the Eugene Half Marathon. I cared more about saving my body for marathon training than a silly finish time. At mile 12 we let loose and just went for it. RP pointed out the man we WOULD beat. From there we steadily increased our pace and passed him. So for the entire last mile I just kept picking people off one at a time. It was pretty awesome in our last tenth when we both just flipped on full sprint mode all the way through the finish line. Fabulous kick -- getting me my 2nd fastest half marathon to date -- and marathon #14 was in the books!

The rain helped the salt on my face move to my eyes. Feel the burn! OUCH!! Got my official finisher photo taken, water, Gatorade, a little box of food and my space blanket. I was a happy girl - even though I was blind and hoping I didn't have turquoise eye shadow rolling down my cheeks. The gear check was soooo far away - they were in UPS trucks, why couldn't they drive the trucks to the finish area?? I was happy to be reunited with my bag - used my towel to drive off, put on my new sweatshirt, touched up my lipstick. I "had" to buy a new shirt at the merchandise tent so I could actually be dry, then I went to meet up with Cilley Girl and Jules. On our way out I enjoyed listening to the concert AFTER the headliner. No clue who the headliner was anyway, he never caught my interest when he was on stage. I got to do the Moonwalk and rock my new hot pink sweat band and sing, so I was a happy runner!

All in all I would say this race was a success. I only complained about the hills - but I'd do that in any race. Wait - the announcer counting us down at the start - someone should have taken his mic away - annoying! RnR people - take note. He sucked. Coming off of the Vegas disaster, however, this was a big improvement!  

Next up - more training before the Seattle Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon in just one month!

Gin In A Coffee Cup aka Race Weekend

My weekend started off with some last minute packing before driving up to Portland for another incredibly fun weekend at Chateau Cilley Girl! The drive was very nice, no traffic to get in my way, and it was smooth sailing ... until I got off I-5 too early. Back on the freeway, then I missed my exit. But don't worry - I found the strip club and was soon safe where I belong. Don't ask.

I barely walked in the door and I was already taking over "my room", ditching shoes all over the house and dishing the latest dirt of my life. And what better way to have girl talk than over coffee cups of gin? It is confirmed - I'm a rum girl!

Saturday morning I had us up early so we could hit the expo. That poor expo - I think that it wasn't prepared for the likes of the Cilley Girl and the Fruit Fly - you should see our stash of free stuff we brought home. But not even that - we were some pretty serious shoppers. I ended up with 2 boxes of Power Crunch bars (they don't sell things like that where I live), a hooded sweatshirt, a tech shirt, sunblock, a pin, some cooling towel thing, tye dye inspired arm warmers, two loaves of bread (in a free tote!), and a runner girl necklace that will now grace my neck with my Love to Run Prefontaine necklace that never comes off.

Expo wise I was impressed! I had concerns that it wouldn't live up to the last two Rock'n'Roll expos I went to, but it did - and actually felt even roomier than the others. Packet pick-up was a breeze, and I liked that finally they had shirts for men and women instead of that dreaded gender neutral one (i.e. MAN shirts). I practiced restraint with the official merchandise, for the most part. I just really needed that sweatshirt!! And the sunblock? I consider that an investment for my health!

In the end we went home with tons of swag ... sunglasses, leis, different types of juice, gels, chewy things, whistles with lasers, chapstick and even almond milk. And TONS more. But by far .... my most favorite thing in the history of expo swag .... the hot pink sweat band!! I'm taking that with me to my grave!

During our second trip to the expo we were with Jules and ran into my race partner, Running Potato. *Note: hitting the expo early lets you get the free stuff that runs out. Hitting the expo again late lets you get the stuff they are trying to unload so they don't have to pack it back up. Thank you Clif people!!!!*

Cilley Girl and I also had a yummy lunch at Red Robin before taking the Max to Powell Books to find me some ... books!... on training for marathons. It was fun to be out and about in Portland with somebody really fun! We even ended up tagging along with a cowboy bachelor party .... sort of.

After the expo it was time for dinner. We chose Romano's Macaroni Grill - and it was freaking delicious!! Appetizers, the yummy bread, main course, dessert .... LOVE!! Food baby alert!

It's a big picture because it was that delicious!

Most would have gone to bed now. Not us. Cilley Girl and I ended up surrounding ourselves with our new loot and having a mini-80's inspired dance party -- to keep with this year's RnR theme. So much fun! Once I did go to bed I was out. I sleep so well up there!

So next time we meet .... The Race!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Run 1.3 - Gentle and Easy

This was the best I've felt while running in I don't know how long!

I reorganized my running corner - gels are now in the
Sugar Daddy lunch pail. Yay!
I kind of ran into *yet to be named* at the store after work, um, completely intentionally, because that seemed more fun than rushing home to then turn around and go outside and run 5 or 6 miles in the heat. Blah. Plus I needed to fill my car with gas for tomorrow's drive to Portland and I wanted toothpaste. I hate buying necessities. At the store I convinced *yet to be named* to buy some new Adidas -- bright orange stripes, so pretty! So that trip felt like a success.

Once home I had a small dinner, listened to some music and then decided to stop procrastinating and run. I know me . . . My legs perform the best at a race after a big rest. I decided to not push it and just run an easy 3 miles with no pressure.

The only pressure I felt was from those little bugs that insist on hanging out in a solid cloud mass. I hate them! Fortunately I made it all 3 miles without a single bug entering my nose or mouth - and this might be a first for that! It's been a long time since I ran through my own neighborhood, so it was kind of nice to be back. The miles flew by. I mean I couldn't believe it when I was over. My mind was busy thinking back to 2009 when I first started running and it took all I had to run 3 minutes non-stop. And here I was running 30 and not feeling the least bit of discomfort or anxiety. (Best 3 miles since my Boston PR!)

This made me think of Jessica. She is where I was two and a half years ago, and last night she even told me I am "a great running coach"! I guess sometimes it is good to not be so hard on myself and just stop and see how far I've come and see that I really CAN inspire and help other people even though I might not be on the 2012 Olympic Team.

I guess I just have some good vibes happening right now, and I hope it lasts. I plan on riding this wave for quite a while. AND let's talk Disney - they revealed the marathon course. While some bitch about it and dislike the race track and baseball ... I LOVE it!! More time seeing things other than highways?? Yes, please! Goofy is pretty much going to be the most awesome race experience EVER!!

And now I leave you with this because I am completely obsessed with it. And I just love that the finish line he crosses? Yeah, I crossed that same one just last month!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Did I Seriously Just Compare Myself to a Manson Girl?

Relaxed ... and Happy!
Yeah, I totally did. A lot has changed. It's been an odd period of time. I guess life is always a roller coaster and there are constantly ups, downs and sometimes corkscrews and barrel rolls. I just went through all of that and am now on a slow climb up!

I just read this interesting article in the newspaper about relationships affecting your health. I totally get it! For so long I felt worthless one minute, then suddenly sweet talked and back on top of the world. Up and down over and over. Eventually, as blog readers were witness to, it took its toll and I was just a broken mess at the bottom. When talking about this with my mom yesterday I may have referenced marionettes that we used to use in kindergarten. And a puppet-master controlling people. As perceptive as I am I missed the fact that I was one of the puppets and getting played around with. It was then that I believed I referenced ol' Charlie Manson and said, "Phew, at least I didn't give in and carve that swastika on my head." **Side note here: My mom and I are kind of "into" serial killers. Not in a sick, perverted way like the women that love them and want to marry them. My dream job has been to be Clarice Starling and actually work for the FBI and help catch them. We watch any documentary we can... and lean toward shows on Ted Bundy because of his OSU/PacNW connection and the whole Manson thing since my mom was down there during the infamous Helter Skelter killings. Wow - what a ramble I just took.

The point is, I finally feel like myself and in control again. Physically/mentally/emotionally I just feel better! I broke free from the chains that kept me down and at a distance when necessary. I was systematically put down over and over and then built up just enough so that I'd overlook all the negative. Since I cut myself loose everything coming my way has been really positive! It's so refreshing. And I learned some lessons. I mean why go through emotional hell and not take anything away from it? I definitely feel stronger and more confident - just like the good ol' days! From here on out things will be different! No more time at the Spawn Ranch for me.*

*Yes, I had to slip in one more Manson reference just because!*

So thanks everybody for putting up with me! Sorry when I've been a downer - I just had to keep writing to somehow release it all. Onward and upward!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Run 1.2 - GLEEful Motivation

I set an alarm for 5:30am. I then chose to ignore that alarm knowing full well that was a BAD idea. Will I ever learn? I really hope so! The temperature rose and I found myself still needing to get in my run. I also found myself in an epic battle of girl versus tots. Um... the tots won. Dammit! But they were so good. Not Raccoon Lodge good, but still good!

I got home and immediately tried to use my asshole lawnmower. Still won't start - so I've confirmed the decision to get a new one. I ran around the corner to my grandpa's house and borrowed his. I considered this a mini-workout as I actually ran home pushing the lawn mower. My arms felt it for sure! Quickly I tackled the jungle that is my lawn and made it much more presentable. I think it made Lady happy, too. Half way through the back yard I ran out of gas and called it good for the night.

Another quick transition into running shoes (I mowed in running clothes to save time!). Time slipped away and I realized I didn't have time to get in 5 miles, not with that heat. Somehow I managed to find shade for most of the route and squeezed in four miles getting home just in time. Why was time an issue?? Because Glee was on and I had to see it!! And it was so good, right?!? Run-wise it was pretty okay. Nothing spectacular to write home about. I did find myself easily running up the final two hills to get home. It used to be that those were a challenge and I'd end up walking the last bit. So I can see that my persistence and working at them for so long is finally paying off. It was pretty cool to just glide right up without a walk break!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Say Cheese!

Did you see that?? THAT is a smile. And it's just kind of hanging out! Sweet!!

What is there to smile about? I'll tell you, by golly!

Coming off the heels of a really fun day at the coast which included at least a half hour sitting next to Steve Prefontaine, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Why miss out on opportunities just hoping somebody might decide to do something or might not? I shouldn't - and I won't. I'm now the proud owner of tickets to the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on June 2nd. I am so excited to see the best of the best running at speeds I can hardly fathom. I've never made it up for the Classic before, so I'm pretty *insert synonym for excited here*! And I think our seats are relatively near the finish line, which could make for some cool moments!!

Also running related, because that is my life now.... a couple people are coming to ME for help and advice!! I go to Giraffy for advice while creating my marathon training plan and figuring out my smaller goals while going for the big one, but then at the same time I find myself helping out my friend Jessica with her training for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler. I went for a while there where I just kept getting dumped on and felt like I was the worst runner that knew nothing. The bad influences are gone and I'm back to feeling like my confident self again! And I'm having so much fun talking to people that are like me and just want to learn and improve. Jessica did her first assigned run/walk last night and it sounds like it went great. This makes me soooo happy for her! She doesn't have a blog, so I can't link you to her, but trust me, she's cool! You may remember her as my friend that joined me and did the Vegas Rock'n'Roll Half - and she and I have done a couple Disney vacays together. It just makes me feel all warm inside that she trusts me enough to give her guidance and is enjoying it so far. I think the thing with her and I that works is that neither of us are training for Boston or to be Age Group winners. We both have started with zero base. Obviously I've built mine up, and so now she is doing the same. I guess I just understand her and know that over-pushing and demanding too much isn't helpful. I just want to be as supportive as I can and make sure she has a really fun time at her first Disney race - 2nd race ever, and crazy enough this is her 2nd night race! What makes this even more fun for me is that she and I are essentially training together. We are both going to be exploring new territory and having difficulties and success at the same time. My first marathon is 1 week after we do this race! It's like I have my own little training buddy!!

I meant to get up this morning to run. Yeah, clearly that didn't happen. So tonight I'll do an easy 5. I'm not trying for any distance records right now. I just want to keep my legs moving this week as I prepare for Portland RnR. And I am already craving the tots that Cilley Girl and I HAVE to track down before race morning! I think my stomach just growled at the thought of them. Tots seem to be the key to my best races, and who am I to mess with that?? Stick with what works!

I thought I had more, but my mind went blank. So happy Tuesday everybody - I'll be back tomorrow morning with a report of surviving 5 miles in 82º - eek. I hope it cools off before I actually run! Alright then, yes, ta ta for now!

Monday, May 14, 2012

An Unexpected Weekend!

It was the best reward after a few emotionally draining weeks... I actually had a fun weekend where I did something more than run!!

Saturday I found myself at the Oregon coast with the "charming fellow" from an earlier post. And it was so warm you could have almost said we went to the beach! Before seeing the ocean I HAD to stop and visit my boyfriend ... Steve Prefontaine. Turns out that the shoe that was at his grave in September is STILL there!

I gave Pre some little flowers and sat there for quite a long time. We talked a lot about running and how Pre is my ultimate inspiration. I guess it just felt appropriate to have some really enjoyable running conversations in the presence of The Man! 

After a yummy lunch we were off to Sunset Bay. Tons of people were there swimming, exploring tide pools and having picnics. I loved it! I haven't walked around there in a few years, and haven't had a day so beautiful at the coast since 2001 right before I moved to Florida! I was in heaven!  We investigated the tide pools - determined to not fall in, determined not get trapped since the tide was coming in, and determined to find a starfish. And find one I did! It was big and maroon - but wedged in between some rocks where I couldn't get a decent photo of it. But I saw it! Missions accomplished!

I was lucky and never had any unplanned encounters with the water, but the times it did touch me (um, yeah, I willingly walked in it. I couldn't resist) it felt wonderful! I haven't been in an ocean since the Atlantic in 2010. Oh my gosh - so warm. I wanted to move into the ocean and live there. Oregon - NOT like Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Once the tide was deemed a hindrance to my tide pool investigating we made our way over to the other side of the bay to hike up the trail to get the awesome views from the cliff. I just love it up there. So peaceful and quiet, with only the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks and the sea lions barking down below. They are too cute!

Eventually it was time to head down the trail and make our way back home. The drive was lovely and I had an absolutely fabulous day! Such a wonderful surprise to find myself in one of my favorite places. Unexpected and lovely!

Then came my first run of marathon training. After that I had a date!! A "Rae Date" -- aka mother/daughter date. We don't celebrate Mother's Day since this "holiday" actually has a lot of sad memories with it. So instead of doing flowers or anything that maybe normal people do?? I took my mommy to see Dark Shadows. For YEARS we've been watching every single episode of the original TV series. I refuse to calculate how much money we've spent buying all of the DVDs ... but it is worth it. We love watching together, laughing at the mistakes and predicting the lines they'll say next. So a few years ago when we heard Johnny Depp would be Barnabas Collins we were more than excited. I bought my mommy her ticket and got us some popcorn and drinks - for us this was the perfect way to spend Mother's Day! And we LOVED it!! They twisted the story a lot - but I think that is good. I mean there are so many stories and characters all twisted around in the original series, so the way they worked in the basics was good. Johnny was beautiful, as per usual. And the scene stealer for me?? Helen Bonham Carter. LOVED her!! I just moved her to my 2nd favorite actress (nobody passes Kate Winslet!!). If you are a fan of the original Dark Shadows - keep your eyes open for the Jonathan Frid cameo - and my favorite, Kathryn Leigh Scott! GO SEE IT!

And that was my weekend. How was yours??

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Run 1.1 - Full Marathon Training Begins!

My official "I'm about to start marathon training" photo.
I haven't yet left for this run - but I'm going to predict it is a good one! I've shoved out the negative influences and have some pretty good running mojo going on. And so with that - I'm outta here ....

Hm... Well ...

It was freaking HOT!! I didn't realize I let time slip away from me. By the time I got out of the house around 11:30 or so it was blazing hot - at least for me. I was melting. My legs felt good - so I was very happy about that. And I was pushing through the uncomfortable and heat as best as I could. Then I did something I never thought I would ....

I pretty much shoved my shirt completely up into my bra. I'd have taken it off but then I'd have to carry it. Okay - clearly my stomach NEVER sees the light of day. Isn't that the whitest thing ever? I think my skin is whiter than my skirt! And then my face --- bright red. I was just miserable.

From now on I will set alarms before my long runs so I can get up and get it in before the heat has a chance to ruin it. 

So my 10 miles turned into 6. I'm fine with that. I'm racing next Sunday so I don't need to really over-do it at this point. Even though I had to cut out 4 miles, I still felt like I did a good job finding mental strength - aside from that time where I collapsed in the grass. But I had this lovely view while I was passed out...

Friday, May 11, 2012

FULL of Updates!

She's my little lifesaver!
Okay, let's just be blunt ... things have been NOT stellar lately. There's been some heartbreak, lying, betrayal and just recently a new found sense of relief. Clearly I did a big vanishing act and was silent. I've probably cried almost every day for the last few weeks. And now I am DONE! I see things clearly now and am not going to be made to look like a fool anymore. A GINORMOUS thanks to a very dear friend for her tough love yesterday! And funny enough, once this weight was lifted people started coming out of the woodwork saying how they, too, are relieved. Team R0nda has my back! It feels so good. It's like today was one big, constant hug from people that truly care and worried about me.

* * * *

You know how sometimes you are sitting there and you get an e-mail telling you to Hurry! A big race is about to sell out and of course you should do it? I know I am not the only one. This has roped me into quite a few races. The last e-mail I got was for the Portland Marathon. I did the half last year so I didn't really feel like I needed to repeat. Plus, I had thought Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon would be around that time, so I didn't think twice. But now they are telling me the full WILL sell out and I need to do it. Hm. Let's just say that it was implied that I wouldn't be able to do it. Game. On. So to cut to the chase ... today I registered. October 7th, 2012 you can find me in Portland, Oregon running my first marathon. And if you missed it earlier when I slipped it in, my second full marathon will be in Florida when I kick some ass in Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge!  Don't you dare tell me I can't do something!  Once the Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon is over next weekend I'm pretty much throwing myself in serious training mode! So I'll probably be back writing more about my runs so I can help remember, track my progress and make note of my success (and mistakes). I'll be no doubt asking for advice all the time!

Why so serious?
And so yeah, Portland RnR is next weekend. It looks like for my first time ever I'll be racing with someone. Yes, I ran with Lesley, Abby and Team Jam - but we goofed off and had a freaking awesome time! But this time I want to RUN! I'm having so much improvement with every run. Last night I finished a 7 mile run at 10pm... best 7 mile run I've ever done! I only walked 4 times I think, and for a short amount of time, and ran most of the really long hill I picked out. I did have to find refuge at the YMCA though. For the first time in my 2.5 years of running I was seeking out a safe haven. Most houses looked dark and I pretty much hauled ass to the Y. It's not the best feeling to be the lone girl running when there are unsavory characters coming up behind you screaming foul language!

* * * * *

He makes my fruit fly heart flutter!
Last night I got to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of meeting the man of my dreams ... then meeting his beautiful husband (that's my shout out to Alanis who has a new album coming out!). Sadly my darling bartender had the night off, so I had to drink my water alone in his honor. Oh the gossip - the gossip was dished, and crazy enough that is what helped me get this big weight off my shoulders! (Dirty little secret no more!) And best of all - I wasn't even there to participate in it. I was down the bar talking to a charming fellow instead. Yep. So things are turning around! I shed not a single tear today. I smiled all day instead! Halle-freaking-lujah!!

Oh - and I've lost 15 pounds now since February. Yep.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Just A Little Running Update

I've been hibernating. When real life stresses me I disappear from blog life - so there ya go! I'm feeling a bit more like myself today though, so I thought I'd pop in for a post and talk about .... running! Really other than a race report here and there I haven't discussed it much. 

This is the hat I wanted to wear
when I ran in Boston!
I  just found it a little too late.
I'm back in the swing of regular running now, but sadly had two terrible runs over the weekend. I mean I capped out at 9 miles over the two runs - and both were just awful. Run 1 had me buckling over in pain from I don't even know what - something internal, but what?? Run 2 had me hurting just going a tenth of a mile. I found a lot of calm in stopping to talk with a gigantic squirrel at my turn around point, and I plopped in the grass at my old high school on the way out and the way back. I just didn't have it in me. I think I figured it out .... I went to Boston (yeah, I know, I talk about it way too much, but I just LOVED it) and that was exciting! I had a PR, I watched THE Marathon and I fell in love (with the city). Then I come home and have to go through my usual post-vacation sadness. So then I run Eugene and get a huge PR for myself surpassing any time goal I had ever set for myself. And so then I found myself running... through the park... by the train ... by the ducks... and it just wasn't exciting or special. 

But today is the start of a fresh week! I returned to swim class after taking off last week to recover. I was exhausted all-around after Eugene and just needed to sleep. And to eat. But then something happened. I was starving and then I wasn't. I didn't really eat much of significance for a while last week. I think that, and dehydration, all added together, resulting in some bad runs. Oh well. I always learn from my mistakes. 

Coming up is the Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon. I don't know how I feel about it yet. I'm deciding if I want to push and try my best or run it in my typical laid back fashion. I'm cutting back on races this year (I think) so I don't want to waste my training to then not always give it my all. More important, I have NO clue what to wear yet! I'm suuuuper excited about more girl time and slumber-party fun with Cilley Girl! And the expo - I love big expos and finally I get one again. Okay - so really I just had big in Boston, but the Eugene was so tiny that it made me ready for a Rock'n'Roll expo!

Meanwhile, between PacNW Rock'n'Roll races I'm eyeballing some smaller ones in Eugene. I've never done an 8K before, so I'm thinking I'll register for the Prost8K, then rush home to finish out a very fun weekend on the golf course. Did I mention free pizza and margaritas all weekend on the course?? Um, yes .... perfect reward for an automatic PR? Um, yes!!

So that's all for today I think. I see sunshine out there, but I will resist running today to let my legs recover from their funk. Instead I think tonight I might get my Zumba on in the comfort of my living room!

Friday, May 4, 2012

12 is My Magic Number

A couple of months ago I was at the doctor. Naturally they weighed me. Naturally I refused to look. I just never want to know because even though it is just a number it could make or break my day. I think I mentioned around that time that I was given the task of lowering my cholesterol through diet and exercise to avoid putting me on medication. Given the fact that I take medication every day for Meniere's Disease, I just didn't want more. So I embarked on new things.

Random picture just because.  (Boston)
I maintained running, obviously, somehow finding new mental toughness after completing the second of the back to back half marathons in January, resulting in setting some faster times and overall improvement with my endurance. (Can we say FIVE PRs in a row??) I also ventured into the scary, deep, dark world of .... vegetables. Did you know they aren't all gross? Once I finally decided to not be scared and just try them they weren't horrible. And so I tried them again. And again. And now I always have some in my house. I don't eat them as often as I should, but I'm continually getting better at it. Overall I've just made better choices.... but I still have my McDonald's grilled cheese once in a while. Terrible, I know.

The point is, I've been making conscious decisions all with one goal .... lower my cholesterol. And I did! It is still higher than it should be, but my doctor sees the improvement and is giving me a year to keep at it and reassess. And while I was meeting with her I learned I was down NINE pounds! But you know what tops that?? After my shower and getting dressed today I had to grab a belt or my skirt was NOT staying up. I guess the fact that I bought a bunch of new clothes this weekend all a size smaller than before should have been a clue. .... I decided to weigh myself - which I never do dressed or with wet hair, but I did. TWELVE. My magic number. I've lost 12 pounds!! It wasn't even a goal to lose weight, and it happened. 12 minutes/12 pounds... interesting!

I'm not necessarily going for 12 more, but if I could, I'd be ecstatic! I'd be happy with 6. I didn't have this as anything I deliberately was doing - but now that I've "accidentally" lost 12 pounds, I might try and keep moving forward and see what happens!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Now THAT'S A Happy Runner!!

First off ... thank you all so very much for your comments yesterday, they really do mean a lot and helped cheer me up! I probably shouldn't whine. I probably shouldn't vent. I probably shouldn't be so hard on myself. And I definitely need to ignore the mean minority! I'll work on it, I promise!! I've gotta get some tough skin - I've heard this more than once.

I'm hoping more photos will come through eventually because I swear there was a dead on shot at the finish area. I'm hoping anyway. But of the few I did get I have a hysterical shot of me around the10 mile mark when I was rapidly crashing, no longer sweating and starting to get chills. If you ever needed visual proof of my late-in-the-race crashes ... here it is.... I mean it is so bad I probably shouldn't share it. I look like I'm giving some death glare at some poor soul .... AND for the record - I'm going to buy my photos for this race but like I said before, I'm just hoping a couple more are added from the finish line first. So once I am confident they are done uploading, I will buy and no longer have that logo across the front. Anyway - enough procrastination ... here is a shot of yours truly not even having enough oomph to fake a smile!

However - let's fast forward 3 miles .... when I just got my final wind thanks to a very supportive spectator that witnessed a sight probably much worse than the one above ... he got me going again and once I came through the gates to Hayward Field and saw Pre's track and the finish line, well ....

That's right! I was freaking ecstatic!!  That PR and sub-2:30 was mine with 5 minutes to spare on the BIG "A" goal! I shall keep this photo handy next time I start to get down on myself!