Monthly Archives: August 2015

Week 8 done… 27 days and only 3 long runs remaining…

The Motivator has gone live now with his own blog, 50 in 50 Marathon Quest!  If you’re into fast and long (running), stop by and say hello to James!!  Niki, be sure to give him lots of grief about the Blue and White Army, he’d love it!  🙂

wpid-20150829_102946.jpgThis weekend pretty much sucked for just about anything and everything.  However, I had some fabulous runs midweek.  But I knew come Thursday night… after I had 3 great runs in a row and James ran into audio technical difficulties on Thursday evening… I just knew this weekend’s long run was going to be a bomb.  And it was.

The great Pacific Northwest had a massive storm moving in on Friday night.  After a long hot summer, James and I were both looking forward to running in the rain on Saturday morning!  He had 18 miles to conquer, I had 10.  But after his technical difficulties on Thursday night, James decided to get a new phone on Friday.  He didn’t prepare it for running until Saturday morning, right before he was to head out.  (Doesn’t that just scream “bad idea” all over the place?)  The headphones wouldn’t sync, the watch wouldn’t sync, the phone wouldn’t fit in the running belt… everything that could’ve gone wrong with a new phone did.  But after faffing around with it for an hour or more, James was finally out the door. I wasn’t far behind.

When I finally got out, I wasn’t feeling it.  The morning had been full of turmoil, and I am usually “centered” and in total “zen” when I head out the door.  Not today.  I got about a mile up the trail, the wind started picking up, the sky looked scary, and I said, “Oh bugger this!” and turned around, headed home, with plans to make up my run tomorrow.  Hey, I still did 2 miles.

James didn’t have a choice.  He absolutely had to run that 18 miles on Saturday as he was leaving for a business trip on Sunday.  He only has 41 days until Chicago, and he was hell bent on getting the mileage in.  By the time he turned around on the trail, he was at mile 13, still had 5 miles to run, and ran into 60 mph head winds.  He got super tough and didn’t let the wind “win,” and just continued on.  He made it.  Safe and sound.  18 miles, with 5 of them running into the wind.  Wow.

Needless to say, the entire area lost power from these winds.  Trees came crashing down, power lines snapped, crews were working around the clock.  Our particular town was without power for about 18 hours (at the time of my writing, there are still people without power in Snohomish and King County, 60 hours into it).  Grocery stores lost all their frozen and refrigerator goods… but even with the power out, they were still selling wine.  So how does one entertain one’s self in a power outage?  You pretend you’re camping!!  And drink!!  We made it through just fine.  Below is a picture of James cooking us dinner on a camping burner we had obtained during the last huge power outage here in 2006.  He’s on our front porch because it was absolutely pissing down of rain and our front porch provided cover.  The light was courtesy of a huge flashlight and candles.

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Cooking by candlelight! Outside! On a Bunsen burner!

Then came Sunday morning, the night after a bottle of wine, after waking at 5:30 a.m. to say goodbye to James, after a day of complete and utter discombobulation.  I was kinda-sorta ready to try for the 10 miles again.  I hit the trail and, all of a sudden, there was a sh*t-load of bicycles coming at me.  Group by group by group.  And downed trees with branches and leaves everywhere.  I had to hurdle the branches in order to miss the cyclists!  I could only manage 6 miles with having to dodge all the bikes and the debris and because, quite frankly, I had had enough of this weekend.  After my 6 miles, I went home and went back to bed and cut my losses.  I was done.

So, now I have 3 long runs left before my race… I will run 10, 11, 12, then the big 13.1.  Am I nervous about it?  Absolutely yes.  Will that stop me?  Oh hell no.  Because even though I’m working hard to bring my pace down, at the end of the day, I know I will eventually… but in the meantime, I’m bringing my bling home even if I have to crawl across that finish line.

BTW… the cycling event that was happening today was The Ride to Conquer Cancer, riding from Vancouver, BC, to Bellevue, WA.  They raised over 8 million dollars.  I was honored to have to hurdle fallen trees in order to make way for that wonderful group of cyclists.

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I didn’t hurdle this one… I walked around it. 🙂

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Debris everywhere. I don’t know how those cyclists managed it.

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These leaves were green yesterday, I swear!

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This one’s just cool… more leaves turning colors though.

 

Liebster Award

wpid-liebster-award.jpgI am honored and thankful to have been nominated for the Liebster Award by two wonderful bloggers.  First was Lydia of aidyl93, a brilliant story teller happily living her life, and the other was Niki of 11months26miles, a fellow runner from the UK who is training for the Edinburgh Marathon 2016, more than 13 years after completing her last marathon.  I really enjoy following these ladies and reading what they have to say!  Please go check out their blogs!!

First, I’ll post the rules, then answer the questions given to me (I combined the questions), then post the bloggers I’m nominating, and then my questions I’d like for them to answer!  I think this is a super way to get to know other bloggers!

Rules for the Liebster Award:

Once you are nominated,

  • Make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
  • Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  • Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  • Ensure all of these bloggers have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer the eleven questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make eleven questions of your own for your nominees or you may use the same questions.
  • Lastly, COPY these rules in the post.
  1.  How, why, and when did you start blogging?  When running, I tend to have all kinds of things go through my mind.  Blogging is basically a way of releasing those things and moving on.  As well, I wanted other slow/beginning runners to know that they weren’t alone, that there are others out there just like them, and vice-versa, although I have yet to find someone who runs as slow as I.
  2.  Have you ever had a truly life-changing experience?  No, not in a shocking sense.  But I do feel that every life experience I’ve had has helped shaped me into who I am today.
  3.  Why do you run?  It’s all about the bling… and maybe it has a little bit to do with the sense of accomplishment too (there is no greater feeling).
  4. What is one thing on your bucket list you absolutely have to do?  Run a Disney marathon.  For the Bling.  And the course.  I’ll bet they’re the best courses ever.
  5.  Describe a beautiful place that you’ve been.  I actually live in the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.  There are trees, mountains, trails, lakes, beaches, green everywhere, and 4 seasons.  The bees are small and there are no poisonous snakes.  I was born and raised in Arizona, and the Pacific Northwest is polar opposite from what I knew for the first 40 years of my life.
  6.  What makes you happy?  Being with my family.  And naps after a long run.  And nachos.  Definitely nachos.  🙂
  7.  What irritates you?  That Common Core rubbish they teach in school these days.  My blood pressure rises every time I think about it.  And every time my child brings home homework. And every time that stupid assessment is taken at the end of the year so that the stupid school can have a stupid state rating, because after all, they teach to the test, NOT the kids.  OMG. This might have to be a future blog post.
  8.  Which song will always cheer you up?  Anything sung by Michael Buble.
  9.  Can you play any musical instruments?  Violin and Piano (in the past).
  10.  Did you enjoy science at school?  Why/why not?  Ummm, I could take it or leave it.  I can’t really remember anything that stands out in my memory about science other than dissecting a worm and a frog and learning about dinosaurs.  I did enjoy the dinosaurs.
  11.  How many languages do you speak?  One; uno; un; einer; odin; en; et… 1.

As for the nominees… I hope you all have a chance to answer the questions.  I really enjoy getting to know you!

Operation Fat Removal

Artistic Sharon Runs

The Revenge Wogger

Chasing Down Healthy

Wenaissance

honestme363

A Little Healthy

Travel, Running and a LIttle Bit of Style

liveloverunlikeaprincess

Here are the questions for the bloggers I nominated:

  1.  How, why, and when did you start blogging?  
  2.  Have you ever had a truly life-changing experience?  
  3.  If you could meet one famous person alive today, who would it be?  
  4. What is one thing on your bucket list you absolutely have to do?  
  5.  Describe a beautiful place that you’ve been.  
  6.  What makes you happy?  
  7.  What irritates you?  
  8.  Which song will always cheer you up?  
  9.  Can you play any musical instruments?  
  10.  What does your ideal day consist of?
  11.  What is one thing you really like about yourself?

Looking forward to reading your responses!

 

Tuney Tuesday — Till I Collapse

Not long ago, I used to play a game on Facebook with some of my high school friends for which we created a little group, Tuesday Tunes.  We would pick a theme each Tuesday and post a song related to the theme throughout the week.  I’m no longer on Facebook, but I do miss playing that game.

Today I ran across Kelly’s blog, honestme363, and she’s created a recurring weekly post known as Tuney Tuesday!  I was absolutely thrilled to discover this!  I love music, and music motivates me during my runs.  Some people prefer the quiet when they run, but I don’t want to run if I can’t have my music.  Some of the songs that come up I can actually pace to, while others I can just simply drift away.

I told Kelly I wanted to be a part of Tuney Tuesday, and she asked me about songs that motivate me.  The first and foremost song that comes to mind is “Till I Collapse” by Eminem.  But it’s not just the song… it’s this particular video behind the song that keeps me going, posted below. The first time I ever heard the song, I watched this Ironman video.  These super-athletes keep going no matter what, no matter how they feel.  They let nothing stop them to reach the finish line. It’s inspiring.

I make sure to put this song in the middle of any of my running playlists, right about when I know I’m going to start feeling sorry for myself, thinking how bad I hurt or how tired I am.  My pain is nothing compared to what these athletes go through.  This song comes on, and I find the strength to suck it up and carry on.

And FYI… this is the song that was playing when I ran across the bridge that terrified me in the Bridge of the Gods Run…  I hope you find as much inspiration in it as I do.

(Warning:  Explicit lyrics, so not for sensitive ears)

 

Week 7 done… 5 weeks to go! Lovely Jubbly!

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Got milk? My standard post-run recovery drink!

It’s not been too bad of a week for running, just coming off a race and all.  I only ran twice mid-week because, let’s face it, the hills from last Sunday… well, we’ll just say I needed a bit of recovery in there (ouchie!).  And then my most favorite of runs today, the dreaded LSR… today… 9 miles… today… ugh.

Actually, the run didn’t start off so bad.  I’ve gotten some great inspiration from other bloggers, so I was pumped and ready to tackle it head on.  I even chose the dreaded hill route for my first 5 miles because, dang it, I want to get strong for my upcoming half. I’m happy to say I nailed that beast!  I also switched my run/walk interval times as a way to improve my overall time (run more, walk less), and I nailed that as well!  And I also took the “mind over matter” approach… I completely ignored any type of typical running pain I felt and just ran through it.  Even that worked for me!

But then I hit mile 7.  It was as if my body said, “Oh screw you… if you’re not going to pay attention to how I feel, I’m going to stop cooperating.”  At which point I promptly felt every ache down to the core of my bones.  All of a sudden, I felt how bad my feet hurt, how bad every bone in my body hurt, the pain my joints, the fatigue in my legs.  My toenails even hurt!  My ponytail was all of a sudden too tight!  And I couldn’t freaking catch my breath.

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This is not a sunrise or sunset picture. The orange haze is from the fires that are burning up our state. Makes air quality very poor.

Now, to give you a little insight, Washington state is in the midst of a whole bunch of wildfire crises.  About 165 miles NE of where I live, the little town of Twisp has all but burnt to the ground.  Three firefighters lost their lives fighting this fire last Wednesday.  And the air quality is horrendous, all the way down to Seattle.  The air kept getting thicker and thicker the longer I ran.  As I wasn’t mentally prepared for this, my subconscious fought me really hard and actually broke me.  I couldn’t breathe properly, and once I “felt” I couldn’t breathe properly, the rest of me shut down.  I fought it for a long time, about a mile and a half, but it won in the end.  I ended up only doing 8.5 miles and was terribly sore afterwards.

I didn’t realize how much of a mental struggle that actually was until The Motivator and I analyzed it, because I was so strong in my run for so long.  But my mind found one little thing to focus on, my breathing, and took that opportunity to shut me down.  It’s kind of amazing how that works, isn’t it.  The mind is a powerful thing, don’t underestimate it.  When they say “running long distances is a mental game,” it truly is.  I gave in this time, but I won’t be fooled again.

Another clue as to how this was all mental on my part… James ran 17 miles today no problem, breathing in the thick smoky air way more than me, and he lived to tell about it.  He’s got the mental thing down pat… I still have a bit to learn.  I’ll get there.

I leave you with one last thought… when running long distances, please don’t forget the Body Glide or Vaseline!  But if you do, make sure no one is in the house to hear you scream when you take your shower!

Have a great week!  Next up… 10 miles!!  (Will she live to talk about it?!)

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Hmmm, according to Garmin Connect, I actually did do 9.4 miles. I’ll take it!

Bridge of the Gods Run Video

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At the beginning of the race, there was a little drone high up in the sky to which we all waved.  Following is the video that the drone made.  If you want to see the beginning of the race and what it was like to cross that bridge, have a look.  The video is about 4 minutes long.  If Bridge of the Gods is something you will want to do in the future, or if you need a little inspiration to get pumped for your next race, this will help.  There’s something about watching a crowd of people leave the start line that gets my blood moving.  The drone narrows in on some people walking across the bridge… I can guarantee you I was not one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Treasure Chest of Life

creativity carnival

Artwork by Shafali at shafali.wordpress.com

For some reason, I woke up this morning with this question on my mind… “What is the meaning of life?”  That kind of thinking must have derived from the allergy medicine I had to take last night because, believe me, I don’t consider myself a deep, philosophical person.  Besides, I discovered the answer to this question a few years ago.

However, when I was in my 20s, that question was constantly nagging me.  “Why are we all here?”  “What is the point of the daily grind of getting up and working most of the time, only to die in the end?”  Pretty grim, right?  Yep, those were my 20s, pretty grim.

Still, in my early 30s, I struggled with “No, really, what is the point of it all?”  Then I met a wonderful man I fell in love with, someone I could actually picture myself growing old with and  having a child with.  I consider my husband to be one of the greatest treasures I have.

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Four-and-a-half years later came the next of my greatest treasures… my son.  That’s when I understood…. “Ohhhh, I get it!  The happiness, the love, the being needed and wanted… this is what it’s all about!  I actually feel like a complete person!”  Life itself is a treasure.  And every experience I share in life with my husband, with my son, us as a family, gets stored away as a little treasure in my treasure chest of life.

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While this may not be the meaning of life for some people, it is to me. My family, my husband, my son, the love we share, the good times; these are all treasures that make my life complete.  One day, when I’m old and gray and sitting in a nursing home, rocking in my chair, wondering where my X-Box controller is, I will sift through the contents of my overflowing treasure chest that contains so many beautiful memories in which I’ll be able to say, “Yeah, I get it, and it was great.”

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(In response to Shafali’s Caricatures, Portraits, and Cartoons Creativity Carnival.)

Bridge of the Gods Run… done and dusted! Race Summary…

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Right before kickoff! James is nicely calm and collected. I am in sheer panic mode. See that huge bridge behind us?

I’m doing something a little different this time… Jamesy is taking care of the race summary part for the half-marathon from his perspective.  My summary for the 10K follows after his… after all, he did cross the finish line before me.  🙂  Please give him lots of love… he’ll soon be starting his own blog about the 50-in-50 we are about to undertake.  By the way, the “PK” he’s referring to is me, my nickname.

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A thousand of our closest friends! The line to the portables was this long too!

JAMES, ON THE HALF-MARATHON:  Halfway through the Chicago training plan and time for the tune up half-marathon in Cascade Locks, OR…a hilly race that starts on the Washington bank of the Columbia River at the Bridge of the Gods.  It fit the calendar and gave us a chance to get away for a quick weekend break.  At the last minute, despite being terrified at even the thought of crossing a bridge, PK signed up for the 10K which was awesome!

Packet pickup on arrival the day before the race was conveniently located next to the fabulous Thunder Island Brewery at the park where the finish was line was being setup, a leisurely 10 minute stroll from our hotel.  The “expo” consisted of a tent where we were issued our bag, a bib, and a ticket to get on the shuttle in the morning!  No worries though…it was what we expected and the IPA at the brewery was awesome.

After an easy relaxing night at the hotel , race day morning arrived and it was time to go through the normal ritual of the pre-race shower (yeah weird but it’s what I do and it works for me), coffee and Gatorade while heading out in search of the magical race ring of easily digestible fuel, aka bagels.

A nice stretch followed with a walk to the shuttle to be bussed over the Bridge to the Washington side for the start.  Felt so bad for PK as she was clearly stressing on just the bus ride so did my best convince her that it would all be fine…just don’t look down, head up, and keep running…preferably fast (and turns out she did).

There were just over 800 runners in the half race and, with everyone doing the normal jostling for position, we were sent off to the melodic tunes of AC/DC, For Those About To Rock…perfect.  I was ready to go and ready to rock.  The Bridge required some patience because everyone was jammed in but moved up a few places before the hitting the trail in stride.

This course is advertised as hilly and very shady…and it didn’t disappoint, with “hilly” being an understatement.  We had checked the elevation profile prior to the run but it did not really reflect the difficulty level of this race.  Without a doubt, by far the hilliest course I have ever run…the climbs and descents were endless…climb, plateau for maybe a tenth, quarter mile at most, then down and climb, rinse and repeat, as the hills got progressively more difficult.

I’m not a good hill runner on the best of days, but today I just felt strong.  For the first time in as long as I can remember, I ran every single hill, never backed off and attacked each climb.  I won’t deny it hurt and the fatigue in my legs mounted with each undulation, but mentally, I felt great and wasn’t going to be beat.  I was aiming for 1:52…I needed 1:52:01 to qualify for a Wave 1 corral at Chicago, and at the half split, I was tracking perfectly right at 56 minutes, but more importantly was not feeling tired.  The hill up to the turnaround was insane for a half…in some sections, according my Strava elevation profile; we were running on 30-40% grades!  Not good for a weak hill runner.

The scenery was absolutely incredible…running on the trails way above the Columbia Gorge was awesome and the shade of the forest canopy provided a constant cooling effect.  I had no issues with heat or dehydration…in fact, by the final aid station around mile 12, I was pretty full, bordering on too much water, so dumped most of the cup on my head before attacking the final section through the town to the finish.

With hydration in check, I took a gel around mile 8 or 9 which seemed to kick-in on cue.  I knew I needed around 8:30-8:32 splits to hit my finish time, but with the hills, they were all over the place, although consistently under 9:00 and generally ranging from 8:15 to 8:50.  Managed to catch PK on one particularly brutal hill towards the finish…that thing was almost a 1 mile climb…we exchanged pleasantries as best as 2 breathless people can and I pushed on.  One more climb after that finally had me uttering some unmentionable phrases, and then it was around the final aid station and into town.

The final mile and a half through the small town was awesome.  I knew I was close but I had no late run fatigue at all as I emptied the tank.  Felt bad as I almost pushed past a couple of the 10k finishers on a narrow bridge walk-across the river in the park…well not really pushed past as much I encouraged them to keep moving quickly and faster if possible because I knew I was close – real close…around the turn, took 2 more people on the final stretch and ran the grassy track to the finish…for a final time of 1:52:22 and an average pace of 8:34!!!  22 seconds over my target…but overall, I’m not disappointed at all.  It was a great race…a super tough challenge that I handled really well…Chicago will have nowhere near this kind of elevation gain…it’s just twice as long ☺

Post-race was great cheering PK home and then grabbing some awesome post-run recovery food that the event had put on for the runners.

This was a great way to finish the first half of the training plan and while I didn’t achieve my Wave 1 corral, overall I don’t think it will make much difference in Chicago…I’m assigned the first corral in Wave 2 and it will be a completely different experience.

Final thoughts…I’m excited – this was a tough course and I never once cracked or wavered from my plan.  I almost pulled it off but it was probably just one hill too many.  Still, a 1:52:22 was good enough to place 78 out of 831 overall and 15 out of 76 in the Male 40-49 category.  We also had a super fun weekend and great time away together, doing what we love to do…Cheers!

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Our view pre-race. I could just die.

PAULA, ON THE 10K:  The bridge sucked… but gave me my fastest split of the whole race.  I wanted to take a picture through the metal grates down to the water, but I could not look down whatsoever.  The hills… I had no idea how painful all the freaking hills were going to be.  An elevation gain of 1824 and elevation loss of 1850.  Who the hell talked me into signing up for this race?!

Overall, it was a fabulous getaway and it was a super hard and fun race with lots of challenges to overcome.  It was put together well.  The important thing is that I did it.  Below are my results. And I didn’t finish DFL… I’m moving up in the world… at the very least, closer to the middle.  ‘Nuff said.  🙂

race results

 

Stay tuned… I have more to say about this fun weekend… 

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It is all about the bling!