Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Run Down

2012 Run Down

Although 2012 had some amazing adventures and unbelievable accomplishments, it also came with sickness, shock, and loss. So, needless to say, I ran a lot. I ran to mask the pain. I ran to have alone time to cry so my kids wouldn't see it. I ran to find inner strength. I ran to help gain awareness and money for cancer research. I ran for those who were too weak to run.  I ran to see DD's eyes light up when I put my finisher medals on him.  I "ran" in a sock monkey costume (in horrible weather) when a friend couldn't make it to complete the "trio."  I ran with new friends and encouraged (maybe pressured) three others to complete their first half-marathon!
I welcomed some new Sole Sisters to our group

I completed eight half-marathons in six different states. I ran four other shorter-distance races, at which one I pushed Fats in the stroller rolling in to earn 2nd place in my age group!

My sister, parents, aunt, uncle, cousins, and friends all traveled the countryside to see me race (or race with me too, right Sissy!).  I'm humbled and blessed to have you all in my life!

Although it was an amazing ride, I'm glad it is over.

For 2013, I'm going to lay low and stay close to home only traveling twice, once out of state. I've decided to take myself out of my comfort zone and registered for a full marathon this May in Spokane. This quote inspires me: "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." -Jessica Russell, another mother runner

Time to cherish all the memories of 2012 and step into 2013 without looking back. On your mark, get set, go!

Friday, August 3, 2012

For The Love of Sleep

Hot Summer 10K

Those of you who know me know I love sleeping and that I have an uncanny ability to sleep anywhere, anytime.  For example, I've fallen asleep on dates, while riding on back of a motorcycle, for a short time during labor....  I function best with eight hours of sleep but with my life/schedule that is unheard of.  So, when my alarm goes off at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning for me to get up and run, I have to question my sanity.

I drag myself out of bed scolding myself for wanting nothing more than to climb back into my little bit of heaven. I go through my normal race morning routine and drive to the race. I still don't want to go and midway I contemplate turning around and driving home; I started this madness and will finish it.

When I arrive at the starting line I'm surrounded by an intimidatingly fit group of people who make me aware that I may just end up being the last one to cross the finish line. My cousin who was standing with me agreed. Is coming in last so bad? I look at my cousin and I'm reminded of how life-changing events can happen to the last finisher of a race. She is living proof of a determination with a "never give up" front-page-of-the -paper and ESPN radio worthy story. My words do her no justice so here is her blog so you can read for yourself:  Let me just warn you that if you read her blog, you may need kleenex while becoming greatly inspired and motivated. 

Knowing that my cousin has a good pace and would not finish last in this race, my strategy became to stick with her as long as I could then not lose sight of her when I dropped back. And...I was successful finishing the 10K in 65 minutes-- just two minutes behind her!

I'm excited I finished the race. I'm elated because I ran a PR despite the Body Glide failure and leg chafing! (I have real mom-thighs, not Victoria Secret extra-photo-shopped, non-touching skinny thighs.)

Whew, all that writing made me tired. I think I'll put my head down and take a nap....

Monday, July 23, 2012

How do you workout?

3.17m  Sometimes I must get creative....

With both of my boys at home with me today, I resigned my chance for a mother-of-the-year nomination and plugged them into the television.  With their minds being sucked in by Transformer Rescue Bots, I armed myself with a water bottle and hopped on the treadmill.  I did not run with music as I needed to hear if my children were going to abort their mission of watching TV and instead try to have their own version of WWE Smackdown.  My plan was to work out as long as their little attention spans and brotherly kindness would allow.

Both of my boys have grown up spending time in the stroller accompanying me on my runs.  They are both great kids, but there are two of them and one of me.  My oldest son is older than stroller age, but doesn’t ride his bike well enough to keep up when I'm pushing his little brother in the stroller.  So, if I’m able to divide and conquer I do.  Ususally, I run at night (often late) when my husband is home from work and my youngest son has gone to bed.  When none of the above options are available or feasible, I’m forced to get creative.

Days like today it would be very easy to just call it a wash and put off my workout until tomorrow.  Being part of the WISER Sister Study does not allow me to make that choice.  I’m currently in week 13 of 20 and required to run/workout a minimum of 300 minutes a week.  I’m made a commitment to them and I won’t break it.  This study, and the hope that someday I will be back in true pre-pregnancy shape, fuel my motivation to run.  Thank God for the study because my snail crawl, mega-slow-motion body changes aren’t very encouraging to keep going.

With 3.17 miles run and a 30-minute cross-training workout complete, I’d say today’s workout was a success.  The house still stands and there were no casualties, only a bruised arm from a bite when the boys had wrestled over a toy.  Whew, mission accomplished.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

ROCKSTAR Tour Stop in Seattle

13.1m  See Jane Run Half Marathon

After I rocked my run in Missoula, I made a tour stop in Seattle one week later and ran the See Jane Run Half Marathon. Running two races on back-to-back weekends was a new experience for me and I wasn't sure if I could pull off an encore performance because when it comes to running, I have no self-confidence.

I'm slow, envy all the fast, fit runners who pass me, and err on the easy side as to not push myself into an asthma attack. I've learned that running is as much of a mental battle as it is a physical one for me. I hear runners talk about "pushing through my legs" or "runner's high when I can run forever," but my lungs have never allowed me to experience this. Yet, I run anyway and love it!

Racing is a social event for me and a great excuse for a mini-vacation. Yes, I just called running 13.1 miles a vacation! Every race I run I dedicate to someone and every medal I earn I give to my oldest son, DD, who proudly displays it with all the others on a hook above his bed.

See Jane Run was inspiring because it was all women (except about six brave, or dumb, men depending on your view) who were all sizes, ages, and physical abilities. Everyone was friendly and smiling. My goals for this race were the same as all my races: start, finish, enjoy the journey, and do my best. But, I had a little voice inside me wondering if I could pull of another sub 2:30 performance....

The starting gun went off and I was still standing in the potty line with about 50 other women. Lovely. We all looked at each other and just shrugged our shoulders. No one moved out of line.  You can't exactly argue when Mother Nature calls.

One benefit of starting after the gun start: no crowds. Off I went knowing there were others behind me who were yet to start the race.

I ran, didn't let myself look at my watch for pace only distance, cranked up the recently downloaded tunes on my iPod, and smiled as I worked my way around Lake Union.

I'm lucky. I have asthma yet I'm a runner. I have generous family and friends who watch my kids so I can run. Every finish line I cross is a gift regardless of my time. So what was my finish time? 2:33:46. I'm ecstatic. For me that is another ROCKSTAR performance. Could I have done things differently and made up those three minutes to have a 2:30 finish? Probably, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

Speaking of the world, it was pretty well protected while I was gone.

It was a slow 3/4 mile walk uphill to my truck-- makes for a good calf stretch. When I'd parked there was a layer of fog/mist, but before I left it had burned off and this was my view:

A great ending to a great race.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


13.1m  Missoula Half Marathon

On Sunday, July 8th, I walked out of my hotel room at o'dark thirty having no idea when I returned a few hours later I'd be a rockstar.  Well, at least I'd feel like one.

Ready to run at 4 a.m.

It was my first time running the highly recommended Missoula half marathon.  My game plan was to run the whole thing and enjoy all the sights. My finish time was irrelevant; it was the medal I would give to my son for his collection that was my prize. The look of excitement when I hand him the medal makes me feel like I came in first place.

Despite wearing two watches that tracked every step of every mile down to my pace, heart rate, and exertion zone, I told myself I would not look at any of the data until after the race. And I didn't look until mile 10....

The starting gun went off and I trotted off with the rest of the herd of runners.  The sunrise was beautiful over a lake and through the distant trees.  A woman stopped to take a picture so I asked if she wanted to be in the picture. A few photos later, I was back on my way. I ran at a pace that felt challenging yet maintainable.
Mile 8

The mile markers came and went and I ran through every sprinkler I could. At mile 8 I saw Turtle Girl who snapped a quick picture of me then jumped in and paced me. She is an excellent coach and cheerleader extraordinaire. She told me I was doing amazing and had a fantastic pace. We chatted (visualize her talking and me grunting responses between my labored breath) and I told her my racing goal had always been to finish in 2:30, but my closest PR was 2:43. She told me if I kept up my pace I'd make it. So at mile 10, I looked at my Garmin and confirmed she was right.  What was holding me back? Nothing so I went for it.

Nothing is as surreal as running down the finisher chute with the crowd cheering you on like you are a rockstar.  I sprinted and crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:27:14 beating my former PR by 16 minutes! I'm still smiling as I write this!  I can't believe it! I gain something from every race. This one I got a new PR, but more than that I have great memories and some new friends who I met along the way.   I look forward to more races with them and others who I'll meet. Who wants to come with me to San Antonio or Vegas?
New friends and she's also a blogger!  Follow her at:
My best finisher photo ever and it was FREE!


Friday, July 6, 2012

My Time To Run

I think of myself as pretty easy going, but on nights like tonight I have to second guess myself. Nights before races (or as I'm packing to travel to a race) I find myself obsessing over every detail to ensure everything is perfect down to the last emergency kit detail. (If you haven't had the pleasure of digging into my treasure bag o'kit I'll leave the surprises inside for a time that you do.) Now back to my obsessing....  As a participant in the WISER Sister study, I've been progressively running more minutes each week and have reached my 300 minutes per week mark which I must maintain for the duration of the study. Knowing that I have a big run Sunday, I opted to do cross training in order to "rest" my legs for the race. Well, I'm regretting that decision as I find myself using my arms to help me to and from a sitting position or navigating the stairs.  My cross training included lunges and they got the best of me. Waking is even tricky so this race may become comical. We all need to be able to laugh at ourselves, right? Tomorrow my cousin (we'll  call her Turtle Girl) and I will take a fun road trip to Montana where I swear everything is so inexpensive it felt like they paid me to visit last time!  It will be nice to run the race this time instead of playing cheerleader on the sidelines trying to calculate pace and distance in order to make it to he next cheer spot in time to see my friends run by. I remember it was a hot July day and I was pregnant...not a good combo. But, that is all behind me and this Sunday it will be my turn to run. And, I'll have Turtle Girl, one of the world's best cheerleaders, with me! More on Turtle Girl and an official update on the WISER Sister study soon....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'm a WISER Sister!

Since my race in January, I've gone on a hiatus from running in order to be able to participate in an exercise study with the University of Pennsylvania. Yes, that may sound backwards, but I had to have a period of inactivity in order to qualify. This weekend was my clinical visit and now the games can begin. I'm one of only 185 participants nationwide and I'm excited to think I may be making a difference!
If you've ever traveled with me you know that I always have a good time and take notes to be able to laugh again later.  Here are a few of the highlights and thoughts from my trip to Philadelphia:
  • Wearing "bling jeans" will make TSA agents grab my ass. I may just start wearing them for every flight....
  • I've discovered that ALL rental cars I get don't come with automatic headlights.  On this trip I was lucky enough to discover this BEFORE I had to have a State Trooper tell me.
  •  I don't like driving in cities that I'm unfamiliar with especially if I'm alone. I'd be happy to have someone drive this Miss Daisy anywhere I go.
  • It cost more for me to park my rental car than it did for me to rent it.  Next time I'll skip renting a car and just take a cab.
  • Cab and bus drivers believe they are exempt from rules...never mind red lights, speed limits, one ways, no parking/passing zones....
  • I'm now officially a WISER Sister and think Pavlov would be proud of my performance on my treadmill test. I made it 9:45 and up to an incline of 17!
  • Starbucks cups are good for holding more than just coffee....
  • I CAN put on my big girl panties and go sight seeing on my own. Although, I wasn't brave enough to go belly up next to a stranger at a bar and celebrate St. Patrick's Day (or maybe I was actually smart enough not to put myself in that situation).
  • University of Pennsylvania was gorgeous, but the way it was completely surrounded by city life reminded of why UW wasn't a good college fit for me for that same reason. I'm a country girl at heart and I need to be able to see the stars at night and shut out the real world-even if just for a little while.

  • While walking through U Penn I saw a sign that made me laugh out loud and I had to take a picture:

    Then, I saw another one:

    This began my scavenger hunt to tour campus and find as many signs as I could. I thought it was appropriate that this one had fallen down and was dirty...hmm:

    So true:

    Whew, I'm off the hook: 

     The last sign I saw as I was leaving campus was this:

    Flying home in First Class confirmed that I appreciate and enjoy living a privileged life. I also had luxury accommodations at the Sheraton which I also thoroughly enjoyed. 
    I love my alone time, but I get lonely after a day and find my heart aching to love on my kids--If you are reading this, you should come with me when I go back to Philly in Sept!

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    13.1m Princess Parking

    Wow, what an AMAZING weekend! I don't even know where to start. If I had to sum it up with two words I'd have to say "Princess Parking."  Or the phrase of the weekend was "of course it is." Those of you who know me know that I have great luck and an uncanny ability to create good things through positive thinking. Let me give you an example:

    I always have to set my race gear out the night before to ensure I have everything I need.
    Anywhere I go I am able to find a prime parking space (Princess Parking), whether it be at the crowded mall, a busy restaurant, or at a race with 40,000+ participants who are also trying to park close to the finish line so we don't have to waddle too far to get back to our cars after the race. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when we accidentally discovered a virtually empty parking garage with free parking. Now, fast forward to the end of the race. We are tired, just finished a half-marathon and have no idea where we are in an unfamiliar city. We ask someone which direction we should start walking to find a parking garage located on the corner of Rural and 5th, to which the reply was, "turn around, that is it right behind you." And what did we have to say in response? "Of course it is."

    Pre-race photo with the sign my son made for me.

    Race day weather for the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half-Marathon was perfect in the 50's and slightly overcast. My race goal was to run the whole 13.1 miles instead of the run/walk combination that I have always done. Mission accomplished! I can now officially say that I have "run" a half-marathon! The funny part was that my time was exactly the same as if I'd done my walk/run combo.

    My finisher medal.
    I could not have accomplished the run without the support of my cousin who paced me and acted as my cheerleader, coach, friend, and number one fan. My aunt and uncle flew in from Portland and brought second cousins I'd never met who helped cheer me on from the sideline at about mile 7.5 and then again at the finish. There were DetermiNation cheerleaders at a number of places throughout the race who would cheer and ring cow bells when they saw me coming. It was the best (and most) race support I've ever had. My race belt was covered with ribbons dedicated either "In Memory of" or "In Honor of" people who have been affected by cancer. I had no excuses not to run the whole distance.

    My race belt to honor my friends and family.
    A few short highlights:
    • Be GOOD
    • "Stop the bus, I have to get off!"  I advise you not to leave your purse in the rental car you just returned.
    • The Arizona State Trooper who looked at me and first words were "I already know what the problem is."  Who makes cars that don't come with automatic headlights?  Apparently Ford Fusion...(I didn't get a ticket).
    • "Oh, I'm going to win that one!" (And I did win the raffle!)
    • "Thank God the flight is delayed."  Because if it hadn't, we would have missed our flight.
    • Puppy parade announcing our arrival...and departure...and any body movement...breathing....
    • Shall we all share some antioxidants?  We did enjoy my raffle prize of wine and chocolate.
    • "Before I got on him."  Don't ask.  You don't want to know.
    • MIM-  I highly recommend going to this museum if you are ever in the Phoenix area.
    • "These are the best potatoes I've ever had in my whole life and I've had a lot of life."
    • "Nobody gets a shirt that says I just ran 11.8 miles."  A quote from one of my coaches who was running beside me, giving me a rundown of the elevation for the final distance while ringing a cow bell the whole time.
    • "It's all down hill from here."  We discovered that must have been in reference to the miles we had left to run instead of the elevation of the terrain.
    While in Arizona, I was able to see an old high school friend and meet his wife and kids. His wife will be one who I will get to join us on one of these crazy trips. You know who you are and you know you are always welcome to be a Sole Sister with us. Don't be afraid. You will LOVE it!

    My cousin and I stayed in a friend's beautiful guest house. We really did have royal treatment and it was so wonderful to see them again. I forgot just how much I missed having them around. I connected with another friend who took us to an incredible museum of musical instruments and to eat at phenomenal places.

    When I arrived home I was welcomed by my family and a brand new, beautiful wood floors in the kitchen and dining room. I am spoiled and know it. It's nice to be treated like a Princess.

    This was only possible thanks to so many people who supported me along this journey.  I truly cannot thank you all enough. 

    I hope to have more of you join me in future journeys.  I did just sign up for the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll half-marathon in November.  Who's coming with me?