Now I’m Here

Focus in life has taken a slight shift as of late.  Here… let me break it on down for you.

Just a refresher… in early September, it was discovered that James had a herniated disk.  Because of this, most of our long-distance travel plans and races were cancelled, as well as some local.  In the meantime, the most important thing going on right now is James healing.

Have you ever lived with a runner/active person who is completely incapacitated?  Not only is there the physical pain to deal with, there’s the depression associated with not being able to be active.  He can’t bend, twist, push, pull, lift anything more than 5 pounds, stand for long periods, or even walk without pain.  And he is not a happy camper.

It’s not been an easy road, especially for James.  His new “normal” is horrible pain if he’s not in a neutral spine position.  He underwent an MRI so that he could get an epidural injection for pain relief and had the injection about 10 days ago.  The injection was supposed to help him start more aggressive physical therapy so that he could begin his healing journey.  The verdict is still out on whether or not it has helped.  We don’t know if James is going to need surgery or not, but we do know if the pain doesn’t ease up soon, the option of a diskectomy at the new year will be discussed.

Hence, I’ve joined a gym to get me the hell out of the house (#kiddingnotkidding).

Actually, as Fall has arrived, and with it rain and 35-degree (F) temps in the morning, I’m enjoying having a change of scenery with the gym and a change-up in routine.  And they have the nicest treadmills on which to run.  As an experiment, I got on the elliptical and realized just how out of shape my non-running muscles truly are, so I believe I got back into the gym just in the nick of time.

Which brings me to why I haven’t been as active on WordPress or social media as I am normally.  I’m in the process of finding the proper balance of a new routine, so forgive me if I’ve been lame and neglectful.

But wait!  There’s more!

I’m also in the process of testing some Oofos recovery sandals and it just so happens I have a brand new pair to give away.  Are you female and wear a size 9? Do you like flip flops? Do you like the color black? Do you like walking on clouds? Contact me at neveradullbling@gmail.com.  You don’t need to be a runner to enjoy these!

By the way, Marine Corps Marathon is this weekend… heavy sigh from both of us.  But definitely something to look forward to next year…

Happy training, my friends!

NOTE:  As of 8 a.m. Pacific, the Oofos have been snatched up.  Yayyyy Donna!  Thank you for contacting me and being such a great supporter and friend!

North County Wine Run Half Marathon Race Recap

As you may remember, I ran the North County Wine Run Half Marathon last weekend in Battle Ground, WA.  Battle Ground is a sweet little town in the midst of Clark County situated near the Washington-Oregon border.  It boasts 3 wineries and, yes, I ran through every single one of them.  We’re big geography geeks, so for those of you who are also GG, here’s a visual:

While this was my first official “BibRave Pro” race, I did pay for my entry.

I was extremely nervous about this race for some reason.  Maybe because it was an “open course” (meaning running in the midst of traffic), maybe it was because there were less than 200 people signed up.  Because of the nerves, I was unable to eat anything before the race.  I couldn’t even force down a couple of Belvita biscuits which is my normal pre-race breakfast.  Bad, huge, terrible mistake.

The horn blew and we were off, starting with a nice uphill climb.  No worries.  I got this.  What goes up, must come down.  I was still going along nicely amongst the farm land when we hit the first aid station at about 2.5 or 3 miles.  I took a shot of Gatorade as I hadn’t eaten anything and thought it would help me.  Mistake #2.  I’ve discovered I can’t eat or drink anything with sugar in it while I’m running unless it’s a quick-dissolve glucose tablet, which I actually had with me.  I did eventually end up with a tummyache.  *facepalm

Still going along nicely until about mile 7.  Miles 5 to 7 were all uphill, and by the time I reached the top of the hill, I was out of gas.  Normal story for me… no hill training which, on top of no fuel, equals the biggest breakdown I’ve ever had with tears and a near full-blown asthma attack.  I recovered my breath after about a mile.  Thankfully a fellow Half Fanatic was behind me who eventually caught up to me at mile 11 and she pulled me across the finish line.  Yay!  I finished!  I was so very grateful to see James there and thankful for all the wonderful support he provided me.  I know it was hard for him to have to sit this one out.

Let me break down the details of the event for you…

PACKET PICKUP:  Short and sweet and organized.  It took all of 5 minutes.

PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION:  We parked at a school and shuttle buses took us to the race start line which was at a winery.  There was no parking at the winery, but the buses were on point.

THE COURSE:  It was open and you ran facing traffic on busy rural roads.  This was the one downfall with the race.  Drivers could care less about your safety as they showed time and time again.  Cones had been knocked down that were marking the course, and there were zero policemen around to keep things in line.  Extremely unnerving.  Following is another visual.  The course was the white line to the cone.  For 13.1 miles.  The side of the road was a ditch.

And it was extremely hilly.  You’d think I would have learned from the Olympic Discovery Half to integrate some hills into my plan, but no.  It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  Here’s the elevation profile for NCWR.

PEOPLE:  Super friendly and helpful.  Everyone was extremely nice at this race, great aura.

AID STATIONS:  There were 3, two of which were running through different wineries where they offered water, Gatorade, and shots of wine for those who wished to partake.  I chose not to and stuck with water.

POST-RACE PARTY:  Great pasta and bread to be coupled with some wine tasting.  When I was through with the race, I was so sick and nauseous I couldn’t even think about eating.  After about 30 minutes, I forced myself to have about 5 bites of the pasta, the first food I’d had all day.

THE BLING:  Lovely.  A fully-weighted bottle stop.  I could actually cut the ribbon off and use this.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:  Other than the course being amongst tons of crazy traffic, this race was well run, well organized, and well directed.  If they ever closed the course, I would consider going back to run this race again for the challenge alone, to redeem myself and to have a better race.

By the way… after my shower and nap, I was feeling my normal self again, well enough for mine and James’s traditional post-race celebration.  For the first time ever, I had fried Brussels sprouts topped with bacon… I highly suggest you try them.  They were da bomb!

Cheers!

 

5K Crate Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a box from 5K Crate to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I’ve always loved the idea of subscription boxes.  No matter what your interest may be (quilting, make-up, clothes, gaming, running), subscription boxes are a fun way to go to guarantee trying something new, or discovering a product you may have not known about otherwise.

5K Crate is a quarterly subscription box that “curates premium apparel and accessories for runners of all types and fitness levels. Each box is carefully hand curated to include 5-6 items that you will use over and over again. We do not want to be just another box full of snacks and gels!”  (Love the personalized note that was inserted in my box!)

The box I received contained:

  • 1 Mission Vaporactive Running Shirt ($25)
  • 1 Mission Hydroactive Cooling Towel ($19.99)
  • 1 pair of Spigen Wireless Bluetooth Headphones ($49.99)
  • 1 pair of Zensah Compression Socks ($14.99)
  • 2 Epic Full-Size Body Wipes ($3 each)
  • 3 La Fresh Travel Sunscreen Samples

Who doesn’t love getting such a menagerie of goodies?!  I know I do!  Every single one of these items is of high quality and absolutely something I can use.  I took the body wipes and sunscreen on my trip this past weekend when I ran my half marathon, and the cooling towel helped me out on some very warmish runs I had.

I can’t praise this company enough.  I feel the products that you get are well worth the subscription price, not to mention… again… everything is usable!!  Their next box is set to be sent out October 16th, and rumor has it that there is Momentum Jewelry in it, saying “Be Awesome Today.”  See?  Totally worth it!

I did not receive any financial compensation for this review and all opinions rendered are my own. If you would like to see some other reviews on 5K Crate, please check out what some of my BRP friends have to say:

Tedrick; Jenna; Mai; Ang; Vanessa; Heather.

Have you ever tried a subscription box before?  Go ahead, don’t be shy… tell me your experience!

North County Wine Run

Tonight I’m in Battle Ground, Washington, preparing to run, I believe, my 13th half-marathon Saturday morning.  Battle Ground is about 200 miles south of where we live and about 20 miles north of Portland, Oregon.

One of the reasons James and I race is to explore new areas.  We’d never heard of nor been near Battle Ground before, and as this event is in our home state, we needed to check this race and area out.

Unfortunately, on September 2nd and about 40 miles south from here, some careless teenagers were lighting off fireworks during a burn ban, which ultimately started the now infamous Eagle Creek Fire, a fire that has burned so massively we have got smoke and ash all the way up where I live.

As of September 20th, the fire has consumed over 48,000 acres and still is only about 50% contained.

The proceeds from the North County Wine Run will go to the Eagle Creek Fire Relief.

Thankfully, the air cleared enough this past week to where we could still run.

This is the first race I’ll be running representing BibRave as a BibRave Pro, but I did pay for my entry.  I will be running through a winery, with wine offered at the aid stations and a wine truck coming up along the course… you know… just in case.

Really looking forward to it!  Cheers!

 

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

Clever title, eh?  It’s taken from Song of the Witches/Macbeth, written (of course) by William Shakespeare… you know… trivia.

This is a post I’ve put off writing for about a week now as I have slowly come to grips with the reality of the situation.  However, if you follow both me and my husband James at 50 in 50 Marathon Quest, then you know what I’m about to say.

We won’t be going to DC next month to run Marine Corps Marathon, which was to be my very first marathon.  We had to defer our entries to next year.

The reason being…

Last week it was discovered that James may have blown a disk.  Today was his appointment with the spine physiatrist who confirmed that James does indeed have a herniated disk with a trapped nerve.  James will be getting conservative treatment with physical therapy to see if that helps before he goes all out with injections into the back.

This is not a running injury, so please don’t even go there.

This puts an end to James’s race season before it even begins.  It throws me a little off track as well, and we are very saddened by these recent developments.  However… my family does not wallow in self pity.  We adapt and improvise and get the hell over it.

So!  New plan people!!  I will continue on with my training and racing as scheduled, all except for MCM.  I have now chosen to run Rock N Roll San Antonio as a full marathon in December.  We are hoping that James will be well enough by then that he can at least participate in some way, but if not, he and AJ will be there to cheer me across the finish line!

And fear not!  It’s not all been doom and gloom here in the hot and dry Pacific Northwest!  AJ and I attended the PAX Conference in Seattle on Labor Day.  For those who don’t know, it’s a huge game convention.  As AJ has known since he was 8 that he wants to be a game designer when he grows up, we encourage all development in that aspect, so we were off to the convention.  What a great day it was.

We got to watch the Mario Super Smash Brothers Tournament while it was being streamed live on Twitch.  These kids were playing for a $10,000 purse:

And we even ran into Jack Septic Eye, a famous gaming YouTuber, of whom I once wrote about here:

And I completely understand that I may be speaking Greek to everyone over 20 in regards to gaming, but when it’s your child’s passion, you try to keep up.  KnowwhatImeanVern?  Okay, yes, confession time… if you didn’t already know it, James and I are gamers too.  I’m in the middle of re-playing the Kingdom Hearts series before the new one is released in December and James just started a new Final Fantasy.

Anyway, my friends, onward I go with my running, with high hopes for a speedy recovery for Jamesy!  I will race the Sounders 5K this Saturday, the North County Wine Run Half-Marathon the following week, then it’s on to San Antonio in December!  Woo hoo!

 

Be Brilliant, Be Safe

Disclaimer: I received some Brilliant Reflective Strips to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!  All opinions are my own.

I was actually excited to receive some of these strips to test out.  I had seen others using them and I wanted to know for myself if they actually were as bright as they looked.  I’ve never been comfortable with running in the dark, mostly because it’s hard to be seen no matter what you do.  That makes training outside very difficult in the winter when the daylight hours here in the Seattle area max out to about 9 hours.  We also get quite a few rainy and dark days, so sometimes it’s even hard to be seen at 3 p.m.

Enter Brilliant Reflective strips…

What are they?  Brilliant Reflective Strips are strips of reflective and colorized material that you can add to various surfaces (clothing, bikes, helmets, backpacks, shoes, etc.) for maximum visibility.  They are made from retroreflective material, which means when light shines on them, the light will reflect off the strip and go back directly to the source.  Way cool.

To test them out, I ironed some onto a running shirt …

… stuck some on my child’s backpack, shoes, and hat …

The only light we used was the flash from my camera; otherwise it was pitch black outside.

… and just for fun, I stuck one on my remote control so I could find it in the dark.

Cost:  $14.95 per pack in the color of your choice (black, red, purple, blue), either iron-on or stickies, free shipping.  You can get a multi-pack which includes one of each color for $49.95, free shipping. If you choose to buy their multi-packs, you can use the code “BRPmulti” to get 20% off.

The Cons:  I suck at ironing, so it took me forever to figure out how to get the iron-ons to stick (and at a higher-than-recommended setting). However, that’s my own personal disability and ineptness… you may not have the same problem.

Bottom line:  In my opinion, I think they’re fabulous if you want to be seen.  They’re not just for runners as these will stick on anything.  Get creative!  Put them on the cat’s collar!  But most importantly, I don’t have to worry about my child not being seen in the dark because he now lights up like a Christmas tree.

Visit Mai’s blog at If I Just Breathe to see her review of the Brilliant Reflective Strips.

Join us on Twitter (#BibChat, @BibRave) on September 12 at 6 p.m. Pacific for a chance to win a pack of these handy-dandy safety strips!  I know come Halloween night, AJ won’t be stepping out the door without being decorated in them from head to toe.

Fun At Work… and Other Stuff

Sometimes my boss and I have to find creative ways to entertain ourselves at work in order to survive the madness of dealing with the general public.  She’s only 2 months older than I, so we completely understand each other and think along the same lines.

On Instagram, a fake male profile followed me and then promptly sent me a private message.  I knew it was a fake… I’m not gullible nor an idiot… so I told my boss that I wanted to mess with him.  My boss wanted in on the fun… so she told me what to write back.  The following conversation ensued:

 

Nigeria.  Wow.  I cannot believe people still use that scam.  Even my child was smarter than that. Of course, my side of the conversation is the one in blue.  Continuing on…

If you are American and not 12 years old, you would understand the reference of ruby slippers. And so endeth our conversation.  He didn’t like my response that Glenda could help him. Maybe the scammers have a “no-contact list” and I’ve made it.  But if it happens again, we’re going for gold.  I will help the scammer… at least they will think I’m helping from the replies I send.

Oh… BTW… if you get a follow from “whitlockchristopher95” on IG, it’s a total scam.  Hopefully he won’t be around for too much longer… I’ve reported him.

Moving on…

I’ve given up on my training “weekly recaps,” sorry.  Those posts don’t work for me, way too much negative. You’ll just have to wait and see if I finish the marathon on October 22nd… your guess is as good as mine.  If I don’t finish, it certainly won’t be from lack of training.  It’ll be because my spirit animal is the “turtle.” #truth  (but I did run 12 miles today, even though the heat sucked the life out of me)

However, on that note, next weekend I have a half-marathon race… the Seattle Craft Classic. The following weekend, we’ve signed up for the Sounders Rave Green Run (purely for the bling as this past year our soccer team won the MLS championship and we’ll get the championship medal), and the weekend after that, I have the North County Wine Run Half-Marathon. September is an extremely busy month, but the race experience will do me good in getting rid of the nerves I’ll experience on the day of the marathon.  I hope.

As well…

My 12-year-old son is now taller than me.  He has it in writing from the doctor and everything. He’s officially 5 feet 8 inches.  At 12.  99th percentile.  I’m thrilled that he’s so tall, and he loves rubbing it in.  He will bypass his father by this time next year.  He also starts 7th grade on Wednesday.

And finally…

Last Friday we lost a very special blogger friend.  Terry from Spearfruit passed on.  Terry had bladder cancer, for which there is no cure.  I started following him back in 2015 after my brother passed away from cancer, hoping for answers.  Funny enough, I did get my answers about a month ago. Terry was always upbeat, positive, accepted his diagnosis, knew he was dying, but never failed to tell his friends “have a happy day.”

Back when Terry was healthier, he would do a “boogie” type of video to the best 70’s music.  It was just silly fun.  He enjoyed doing it.  He enjoyed making his friends smile.  And we all enjoyed it in return.  To Terry, I hope you’re boogieing all night long now.

The following is one of his last happy boogies.  Even his husband Gary danced in it.  They took a cruise at the end of last year and had a bang-up time as they knew full well it would be Terry’s last.

Enjoy this with the fun spirit intended… and never forget to tell your loved ones how you feel today… as tomorrow may be too late.