2011 has been an Epic Year in Running

The 2011 Running Year will go down as the one where I finally got my marathon dream, ran the relay of a lifetime and found some speed. But other things happened, too…

JANUARY

Jan. 14: We got a treadmill. It’s changed my running life. For realz.

Jan. 28: I started a running group. It’s grown to almost 40 members with women from Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. I thought we’d meet regularly, but that’s nearly impossible with so many moms in the group. Instead, a Facebook group keeps us connected and we post upcoming runs there. It works great since we are so spread out.

FEBRUARY

Feb. 9: I made a Mom vs. Marathon Facebook page. It’s been so fun to interact with people in “real” time!

MARCH

March 3: I tried pool running.

March 18: I started to realize I could get faster. Seriously. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to get out of the 10-minute mile range. Not that there’s anything wrong with that pace; I just had my high school cross-country self in my brain reminding me what I used to run.

March 21: Marathon training got serious. Zoë (Run, Zoë, Run) and I began our long runs in earnest with a 16-miler. For some reason, 16 miles seems like the turning point to me.

March 28: I got out my bike. And I got a trailer for T Junior. Sure, I’m not particularly proud of how I behaved on this particular ride, but I was proud of myself for getting out there and doing something I’m really uncomfortable doing.

APRIL

April 8: I realized the pool hates me. I did go back, though.

April 10: I ran 18.2 “stoopid” miles with Zoë. And I made her kiss a slug.

MAY

May 7: I missed my 20-miler.

May 13: I missed my 20-miler again.

May 16: I became someone who goes to physical therapy. My left shin was sore…a lot. So I freaked and went to PT.

May 29: I ran 20 miles…alone. And out-of-town, too.

JUNE (Marathon Month!)

June 9: I fell and almost lost the dog. About two weeks till the marathon. I still have visions of this when I run with Bennie.

June 14: I found out Nuun was sending a team of bloggers to Hood to Coast. I wasn’t going to apply. It sounded scary, but my friend Mel (Tall Mom on the Run) sounded so excited about it. So I applied.

June 20: I went on a running tour. Chelsea (Will Run for Food) showed me her ‘hood. Then she drove me around the marathon course.

June 22: I made the Nuun Hood to Coast team. But I couldn’t think about it yet.

June 24: I carbo-loaded and tried not to pee my pants. I was so, so nervous in the days leading up to the full. I could barely hold a conversation.

June 25: EPIC RUNNING DAY #1 – I completed my first marathon with Zoë right next to me.

JULY

July 11: I began training for a September sub-2 half marathon. I had serious doubts.

July 17: I ran with Chelsea during her first half marathon. I was alone during my first half in 2009. I felt lonely when I finished it. No way, was Chelsea going to be lonely.

July 18: This day marked my second year of being a dedicated runner.

AUGUST

Aug. 26-28: EPIC RUNNING DAYS #2-4 – I survived the Hood to Coast Relay. And I want to go again!

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 18: EPIC RUNNING DAY #5 – Sub-2 Half PR! And I beat it by more than I thought I could.

OCTOBER

Oct. 2: EPIC RUNNING DAY #6 – 10K PR! Barely.

Oct. 25: I began blogging at 2Toms. So appreciative of the awesome people there!

Oct. 26: Lucy has six puppies.

NOVEMBER

Nov. 30: This post pretty much describes November.

DECEMBER

Dec. 2: I found a way to blog and workout at the same time.

Dec. 17: A 5K PR! And in style with my buddies!

I doubt 2012 will be able to top 2011, but I’m excited for some new adventures next year. I think/hope we will be getting an RV. For me, the RV equals freedom. Mr. T even said we’ll be able to use it for vacations, dog shows and “your running stuff.” So, hey, maybe there’ll be some destination races next year!

What are your 2012 plans? What was your favorite running moment of 2011?

Where I've Been and What is This…Thing?

Look at me taking a break from blogging and not even stressing about it! I’m so proud of myself. But now I’m not sure where I left off. Did everyone have a good Christmas? Can you believe it’s almost 2012? Workouts have been tough to squeeze in during the holidays, but I’m hanging in there!

Here’s what’s happened in the last week:

DEC. 24:
-Ran 6 miles to pre-burn calories in preparation for breakfast casserole. Saw this little gem below during the run. On my second lap, a man pulled up to it. I presume he took it away since it was gone when I drove by later.

WHAT IS THIS THING?
Anyone want to guess what this is?

-The fifth puppy was picked up, leaving us with just little Ray. His owners will return from Florida and pick him up on Jan. 12. Till then, we are still in puppy-land.

-Every Christmas Eve we drive around and look at lights with cookies and hot cocoa. Best T Junior quote from the night: “Every time I see Christmas lights, I’ll drink.”

DEC. 25:
-I love stockings and Santa found these awesome stick-on mustaches for T Junior’s.

T Junior looks dignified. I look like one of those ’60s cartoon
characters that swishes their ‘stache all the time.

-RunningSkirt, Lulu gift card, Nathan night vest, glow-in-the-dark leash for Bennie, Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown video, a new pair of Saucony Hurricanes. I’m so runner-spoiled!

DEC. 26:
-Took 80-pound ADD boxer Bennie for a 2-mile night run with our new glowing gear. He did great! Only one incident: When we got chased by a miniature Yorkie in a Christmas sweater named Cricket.

DEC. 27:
-Yoga Meltdown! I love it. I was very careful to do all the movements slowly, especially since I have that herniated disc to deal with. It didn’t bother me at all.

DEC. 28:
-I noticed my back wasn’t aching for the first time in weeks. It’s been really bugging me lately. I’m pretty sure Yoga Meltdown helped me stretch it out.

-Told myself, I’d run after work, but was feeling down and tired. Promised myself I’d do more the next day instead.

DEC. 29:
-I realized my pants were getting supertight. Decided to “forget” to weigh myself.

-Wanted to run a little longer, so I took Bennie on a 2-mile “warm-up.” Once again, he did really well. We even sprinted on the last little stretch toward home, getting our pace down to a 6-minute mile! Then I went back out for a 5k by myself.

DEC. 30 (today):
-Got up to take the puppy out, then did an hour-long yoga video while said puppy howled and Lucy, one of our boxers, circled me on the floor. T Junior came downstairs during the last 15 minutes. I don’t think that’s how the video was meant to be done, but I still liked it.

-Later, after a Costco slice of pizza, I felt guilty and did a walk/run on the treadmill while watching Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Walked during the show; ran during the commercials.

Well, I think that’s about it. Did you get any new running gear? What are your New Year’s plans?

What's the Worst Thing You Eat During the Holidays?

We have been making Breakfast Casserole on Christmas morning in my family for as long as I can remember. It’s cheesey, bacony, bready, eggy goodness. It is my ultimate comfort food. It is also so, so bad for you, as you can imagine.

The ingredients are 1 pound of bacon, a pound of cheddar, a loaf of sliced French bread, milk, and a dozen eggs (oh, and butter for greasing the casserole dish ). Basically, you diced the bread and bacon (about 1×1), and you shred the cheese. Beat the eggs. Dump the bread into the greased 8×10 casserole dish. Pour the eggs over the bread. Cover the bread with the bacon, then spread the cheese on top. Pour milk into the casserole dish until it comes up to be level with the top of the bread (a clear casserole dish helps). Bake covered with foil at 350 for about 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake till bubbly — about 15 minutes.

It is so good. I can’t wait. Better go running Christmas morning.

What’s the worst thing you eat during the holidays?

I Don't Know What to Say

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like you want to say something, but you have no idea what it is? And if only you could find the words because you are pretty sure it’s really important for others hear it?

That’s me today, so I’m going to do a little warm-up exercise and see what happens. Just gonna pick a subject and go with it for three minutes — it’s all about how much I can write and not really about what I’m writing. This should be…terrible.

Oh geez, I can’t even pick a subject. I keep looking at things on my desk — pens, a couple of quarters, a box of jumpo paper clips, a cough drop, some foaming hand sanitizer, a little boxer dog statue, a bottle of Newman’s Own Light Italian. Okay, let’s pick…

Post-Its

Do you use Post-its? I don’t have real Post-Its but some knock-off ones on my desk. I like them because they have a pink border and a little picture of a cupcake in the bottom right-hand corner. I don’t like them because they don’t have Post-it-quality sticky stuff on them. They never stick to anything. They just sort of curl up after you peel the top one off the stack. This always makes me consider going in search of real Post-its, but I never do. Instead, I just “stick” the cupcake post-it to whatever and hope for the best. Whenever I say, “hope for the best,” it reminds me of my friend Kallie. She always says that about her kids stuffed animals. “I just throw them in the washer and hope for the best.” Makes me giggle whenever I hear her saying that in my head. I was just really getting going on this exercise — I’m about a minute into it now — and a computer restart button just popped up. Are you kidding me? Seriously. I’m in the middle of something here. So rude how your computer can just sort of interrupt you whenever it feels like. Sort of like a 3-year-old. Or my 3-year-old anyway. How many times do I have to say, “Wait your turn, please, I am talking to Daddy”? By the way, that’s a trick question. Because it doesn’t matter that I say it, he just keeps talking. Anyway, back to Post-its. I also have a stack of them that don’t have sticky stuff on them. I guess those maybe aren’t actually Post-its, right? Not even knock-off Post-its. What would you call those? When they are stacked up there’s a picture of the New York skyline on them. My friend and former co-worker got it for me when she went to New York back when we worked in the newsroom. I just realized I never noticed if the Twin Towers were on there…

Times up.That was fun. I actually feel better.You should try this. Pick a topic and just start free writing for three minutes — see where your brain takes you. The rules: No thinking about your topic before you start writing. If you do, pick a new topic.

The idea is to not let your brain think too much.Well, that’s certainly easy for me today.

I'm Not the Brightest Bulb on the Strand

Zoë, Goob, T Junior and me in my living room. Zoë said sparkly skirts are
reflective, therefore we wore them for safety purposes. Mr. T made fun of us.

It was a “Christmas lightbulb moment,” except one section burnt out.

Do you ever have one of those ideas that seems really good and then after you execute, you think, “Well, that was dumb”? I have them all of the time. It’s like a sickness.

I knew I couldn’t go to Wednesday’s Tour De Lights in Bonney Lake, so I decided to do my own Tour De Lights of My ‘Hood Tuesday night. Since Zoë doesn’t live that far away, I asked her if she wanted to come along. She did!

I haven’t run with the jogging stroller in a long time, and it showed. It didn’t help that I filled the tires up a little too much with my husband’s air compressor, which I very much enjoy using. I was all over the place. And T Junior was asking me a million questions — none of which I could understand. I also didn’t think about sidewalk width and whether or not it could contain two side-by-side jogging strollers. Street-running in my neighborhood is usually fine, but there were a ton of cars last night. It was not an easy 2.2 miles by any means even though I did it in the same time I ran 3.1 miles on Saturday.

But it was nice to see my friend and all of the lights, and I loved the leg lamp window cling, too!

Must find one for my house.

Afterward, T Junior wanted to run. We said goodbye to our friends, put the jogger away and went for another short run. You think running with a 3-year-old in the daytime is nerve-wracking, try a night run with one. Holy crap.

I told him he to make sure he looked at the ground, so he looked down…and never looked up until I realized what he was doing as he’s veering off the sidewalk. Then I told him that you have to look down and up. So then he’s running and nodding.

Seriously, kid. Sometimes you are so smart, but sometimes you are so dumb.

Then again, I am the one who agreed to go night-running with a 3-year-old.

Santa Runs Tacoma 5k Recap

Team Will Run for Ice Cream
L-R: Kadie’s daughter, Kadie, Tiffany, Karla, Kim, Mel, Zoe, me and Alma!
 (Not pictured: Jamie and Sybil)
Do you know how hard it was for me not to hit the bottle of Evan Williams eggnog the night before my race? 
So hard. We’ve got so much going on with puppies and a cranky kiddo and work and more work and shopping, etc. I just want to sit down with an adult beverage of the holiday season, okay? I can’t believe how much I’ve fallen behind even though I got started totally early this year. 
Needless to say, the Santa Runs Tacoma 5k has not been on the top of my priority list. Still, I wanted to do well, so I resisted the ‘nog and drank water instead. 
The morning of the race, I went downstairs to clean up puppy poop. This is the new morning routine around here. Then, I came back upstairs to get dressed. On the way up, I saw out the window that my car was frozen over. Sweet. I factored in 10 minutes of car-heating and ice-scraping. 
As I got dressed, I shivered, thinking about outside. But once in my car, it was not too bad (I also had a jacket on). I drove to Zoe’s to pick her and Karla up, and we were on our way. It was clear with sunbreaks as we drove the 30 minutes to Tacoma, but once we got there, we couldn’t see a thing because the city was hidden in a thick, misty fog. 
We got a little lost (yes, I’ve been to this start line four times now and still got lost), but found the parking area ahead of schedule and managed to find a very good parking spot. I like this race because it is big enough, but small enough. Know what I mean? 
We picked up packets, froze, got ready (Zoe put bells on her shoes), found our friends, froze, took pictures and even sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for a video On the Run Events put together for the troops in Afghanistan. Troops there will run a “satellite” Santa Runs 5k on Christmas. (More about the video at the end of this post.) 
Tiffany’s husband took many of our photos before and during the race. (Thank you!) Mostly, with us, we always just stand around being silly. It’s a great release. As we were doing just that, a woman came up to our group and asked, “Are you guys some kind of running club or are you just supercute?”
“We’re just supercute,” I told her. She laughed and said she thought Kim was our coach because we all had white shirts on and Kim was in black. Kim has been anti-white shirt since You Go Girl when it rained. Oops.
I think we looked great in our candy cane theme. We entered the costume contest, but our competition was pretty steep. One thing being in the contest did for us: it got us close to the start line. No maneuvering for us. There were about 1,700 runners in the 5 and 10k combined.
Photo taken by the lovely Karla.

As we waited for the race start, I ran in place. I was so cold, as you can see below where I photobombed Zoe by wiping my nose at just the right time. Socks-turned-arm-warmers-turned-Kleenex.

Mel tried to warm Zoe up in her XXL throw-away.

I ran in place to try to warm up.

Sidebar:

I don’t usually get running my fastest till about Mile 3. It really takes me that long to hit my stride, so if I really want to do well, I feel like I need to run a couple slow miles before my race. Is this nuts?

End sidebar.

Warming up by running in place helped a little, but not much. Finally, we were counting down and then we were off. My strategy that I came up with a couple days prior to the race was to try to hang with Mel and Kim. They were going for a sub-23. I knew I probably could not get a sub-23, but I thought if I was having a really good day, maybe a sub-24. But, realistically, I knew a sub-25 was more like it. And, really, I just wanted to beat my 5k PR, which I got at this race in 2010: 27:27.

I could not hang with Kim and Mel. I was trying, but by about a half mile in, I knew I could not. I slowed a little, but still pushed myself. I knew Zoe was behind me and I wanted to keep it that way.

Sidebar:

We all have a little friendly competition going on. We push ourselves and we push each other, and we cheer for each other, too. We want our buddies to do well, but we also want to beat them. Or, maybe this is just me.

End sidebar.

Anyway, I was dying. And my feet were blocks of ice. It was a weird feeling when they hit the ground — I could feel them, but couldn’t. And my pinky toes tingled on each step. The most difficult thing was catching my breath. I felt winded immediately and it didn’t go away.

Mile 1: 7:38. It actually felt like it went by pretty quick. At 1.5, I was like I’m basically half done. Thank goodness.


Mile 2: 7:51. Just after I hit Mile 2, I came up on a youngish girl — a
freshman in high school maybe. She said, “Will you run with me? I haven’t run in a while and I just don’t want to walk.” I pulled my music out of my ear and nodded. (I was sort of dying still, so I couldn’t really talk.) Inside, I was conflicted. I was trying for a PR, but I also wanted to help her out. We ran for a minute and then I heard it (probably since I had my music out).

Bells.

I knew she was closing in. That darn Zoe. Next thing I knew, she was next to me being encouraging. I told the young girl that I was trying to keep up with her (Zoe) as Zoe zoomed ahead. Darn it! I looked at my watch — about an 8-minute pace. I stayed with the young girl. “Just under a mile left,” I said through huffs and puffs.

We started up a slight hill that turns into a big hill that crests at about a quarter-mile from the finish line. As soon as we started up that little incline, I felt myself slipping back and the young girl surged on ahead.

DARN IT! 


Mile 3: 8:24 (proof I started too fast)

I just focused on the downhill finish. As I trudged up the hill, my breathing STILL erratic, Jamie passed me. Jamie had been my pacer, sort of, during my 1:52 half on this course in September (You Go Girl). I’d kept her in my view the entire race. I wasn’t close to her, but close enough to see her at that race.

Me and Jamie after the race.

Finally, on Saturday, I was at the top and heading down toward the finish line. I didn’t have much of a kick. I just tried to keep going, tried to keep my turn-over as fast as I could. I ran through the chute smiling because I thought there may be a photographer and I was sooo happy to be done.

I was right! Tiffany’s husband strikes again. Thanks for the photo!

I got close to the finish and saw Zoe waiting by the tag removal people. She hugged me or high-fived me when I got there — I don’t remember because I was pretty woozy. I never did “catch” my breath. I did forget to stop my watch for about 25 seconds, which is annoying, but it also means that I pushed myself really hard. But I didn’t know how I’d done.

After we got our Santa Runs mugs (so excited — I love the mug from last year, too!), we went to cheer for other runners. It was really exciting to see Karla finish her first 5k. She’s run marathons, but never a 5k!

Afterward, we went to check our times.

I got a 24:42, which is a 7:58 pace. Not bad, I thought. A PR! And I got 6th in my age group (30-34).
AG: 6/103
Gender: 31/689
Overall: 119/1,041

Actually, Team Will Run for Ice Cream represented well in the 30-34 top 10 placings: Mel was 3rd, Jamie was 5th,  I was 6th and Tiffany was 8th. We represented in the other age groups, too. Zoe got 6th in her AG, Carla (not on our team, but a running buddy), got 6th in her AG. Kim got 1st in her AG, and Alma and her aunt both got 3rd in their age groups!

I can’t wait to run this race again in 2012! We already have our costumes planned.

I’m not sure what we’re doing here: Kim, me, Mel and Karla.

Highlights of this year’s race:
-Seeing all the costumes.
-Being goofy with my friends.
-Meeting new Women Runner of King County member Sybil (who ran her first 10k!)
-Placing 6th in my AG — that’s the highest I’ve ever placed as an adult!
-Singing for the troops — I got teary-eyed afterward!

Speaking of, On the Run Events made a video of the race with greetings to the troops. You can see it HERE or below.

It’s sort of long, so here are the times you can see people you might know:
-At the beginning: Team Will Run for Ice Cream hanging out and taking photos behind the “Rockette Reindeer” (I just made up that name)
-0:57 and about 2:43 – you can see a few red sparkly skirts starting the race
-4:25 Mel at the turn-around
-5:41 Karla finishing her first 5k!
-9:56ish Us singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and thanking the troops (watch with the volume off — just kidding!)

Alma, Kadie and Al, Tiffany, me, Karla, Zoe, Mel and Kim singing.

Bloggers mentioned in this post and their blogs:

Zoe – Run, Zoe, Run
Karla – Running on Eagles Wings
Mel – Tall Mom on the Run
Alma – The Average Woman’s Running Blog
Kim – (Just) Trying is for Little Girls
Tiffany – Musings of a Runner Girl
Kadie – There She Runs
Carla – Foil-Wrapped Runner
Sybil – Musings of a Milk Maker
Jamie – Nurse Runner

We thought we saw Santa!

My Santa Runs 5k Outfit

Who likes candy canes? Who likes dressing up as candy canes?

Team Will Run for Ice Cream does apparently since we will all be wearing a candy cane theme outfit to Santa Runs Tacoma on Saturday. We won’t be matching exactly, we’re not that coordinated. I like that, though. Allows us to put our own personal spin on our outfits.

Here’s mine:

Nike shirt and skirt
Team Sparkle skirt
Homemade “arm warmers” from Target
Socks from somewhere online last year
Headband from Old Navy

My favorite part is the headband. It makes me feel like Cindy Lou Who. I may wear a red fleece scarf, too, since it’ll be in the low ’30s. Are you racing this weekend? Dressing up?

Posted in 5ks