Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Mishmash

The official race pictures were posted yesterday.  I have to confess, whenever I get the notification email I always cringe as I open the pictures, because sometimes (oftentimes, really), my race pictures are bad...like, either a totally derp face, or I don't even look like I'm running.  That was the case with several of mine from the half marathon, but there were a few that I'm OK with, and I'll probably order one of them (I used to work for a photographer, and like to support them with an order whenever possible):
In the finisher's chute - this is the one I'll probably order.  Yep, I was pretty happy here!
Crossing the finish line, making sure I don't trip over the mat.
During the race - I was at a walking interval here.
During the race - so odd to not see a friend next to me in the pictures.

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A hotel is being built nearby, and I wondered why, after they installed the windows, they boarded two of them up.  The other day I got my answer - that was how they delivered all of the mattresses to the second and third floors:
Pretty clever!  

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I'm still knitting away on some projects - so much so that my right thumb joint is sore.  I just finished a heavy project last night, and now I can move onto some lighter weight things that won't hurt so much.  Look for a lot of knitting pictures in January, when everyone has received their gifts!

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We have to keep up our training for the next five weeks because we are doing the Houston half marathon in mid-January, so we will be running 5 miles tomorrow.  Which, to be honest, sounds like nothing to me!  Funny how running 13 miles will put a mere 5 into perspective.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday Workout Update

Thank you for all of the kind words on my half marathon recap post.  I am still feeling pretty dang proud of myself for making it through that race on my own.  As a social runner, this was a very big deal, to run so far without a friend alongside me.  I'm still slightly shocked to have completed the race without doing my usual "screw this, I'm walking" attitude.  Without realizing it, I became mentally strong over the course of this training season, as well as physically fit.

So the day after the race, I was feeling sore in areas where I don't normally hurt, like my quads and my hips.  It's getting better, and honestly, I think feeling sore is to be expected...after all, I pushed myself for over 13 miles!  Yesterday we did an easy recovery run and while it was slow going to start, I began to feel fairly normal as we ran.  I'm sure I'll be good to go by the time Saturday's 5 miler comes along.

On Monday night, we had our end-of-season dinner.  Everyone was still on their runner's high from the race, and it was a lot of fun.  We had burgers and fries, and a cookie cake that we pretty much destroyed:
Is it a cookie, or is it a cookie cake?  The box said cookie cake, but there was disagreement.  All I know is that it was delicious!

We posed for a group picture:
I'm very impressed with those who knelt for the picture just one day after the race!

We started with 50 members this training season, and about 11 dropped out within the first few weeks.  We lost a few more to injuries and other commitments, but ended up with 26 running the race, which is not too shabby.  I'm pleased with how our season turned out, and also pleased to be handing over the organizer reins to Amy.  Now I can just show up and run on Saturdays - ahh, what a relief!

Monday, December 15, 2014

BCS Half Marathon 2014 Recap!


Yesterday, I ran my seventh half marathon, but it was the first time for me to run one solo.  Circumstances happened over the training season, and the three women who I thought I'd be running with all ended up with injuries, so it was just me.  And let me tell you, for someone who loves to run with a buddy, running 13+ miles all by yourself was a bit of a mental challenge.  The good news is, I did it!  I pulled myself through that race and didn't cop out, even when it got tough.  I'm proud of myself for that...oh, and for also running a half marathon!

The day before the race, we went to the expo for packet pickup.  The expo has gotten bigger and better each year; this time, it looked like a big-time race expo:
We ran into lots of friends at the expo - it felt very much like a reunion of sorts!

Here's my pre-race swag:
The long-sleeved shirt and custom race Swiftwick socks came with the entry fee; the 13.1 sticker and hat were free (I suspect they are changing up their colors for next year, so they were handing out the older stuff ); I bought more Sweaty Bands (buy 3 get one free) - love them, wear them every time I run!

We dutifully carbed up on Saturday, with French toast for breakfast and pasta for dinner.  Then, it was time to (not) sleep...and then?  RACE DAY!  We met up with our USAFit BCS peeps and hung out for a little while.  I was chatting with someone when I realized that Jeff and Sam (our oldest, who'd arrived from North Carolina a couple of days earlier) were gone.  Got a text from Sam that they had to run back to the house.  Now, we live just five minutes from the race start, but with the traffic coming into the parking lot, this wasn't going to be a quick trip.  I was a little worried because my water and fuel were still in the car.  Turns out Jeff forgot his belt with his race bib.  Luckily they got back in enough time, but still...what a way to start the day!
Almost ready to head to the starting corrals - water and fuel on hand; race bib on Jeff.

We were lined up, and they made a couple of announcements, then someone started singing the Star Spangled Banner.  Normally, you place your hand over your heart and face the flag when this happens...only, we couldn't see a flag up front.  Then we realized the flag was flying behind us, at a USDA building, and the crowd of over 4,500 seemed to turn in unison - it was pretty funny and a nice little nerve icebreaker right before the race began.

A note about the weather - it was 61 degrees with 100% humidity when we started the race.  Not optimal running weather, that's for sure!  I tried to pace myself and not go out too fast - it was so weird to be all by myself, though.  I started sweating like crazy almost immediately, and decided that even though I was carrying a water/Gatorade combo, I'd go ahead and stop at each hydration station along the route, just to be sure I drank enough.  I ended up with a headache for the rest of the day, so I guess I still didn't get enough fluids, but hey, I tried!

It was really warm for the first six miles, and then the wind kicked up, which was nice because it helped to cool down my sweaty body.  But around mile seven, we turned and were running directly into the wind - ugh!  So that was a challenge.  I did really well with sticking to my intervals, and even running some of the walk intervals, but there was one point, around mile 10, where I was running uphill, into the wind, and it felt like I wasn't moving - that's when I allowed myself to walk.  I had hoped to finish in under three hours, but when I crossed the halfway mat and doubled my time, I knew it wouldn't happen.  Still, I PR'd this race by 8 minutes from two years ago, and by 15 minutes from last year!

Fun things along the route:  A little kid playing a drum set (he was awesome and I should take lessons from him), and a middle-school orchestra playing Christmas music, plus lots of homeowners who came out to cheer us on as we ran by their houses.  I saw Kim, from our running club, around mile two, and then I saw Stephanie (our hydrator/Elf party person) just before mile eight.  It was so nice to finally see a familiar face!  She gave me a much-needed big hug.  I saw Santa twice along the route, and both times he told me I was on the nice list, woohoo!  I was a little sad going into the race because my friend Joni had moved to Dallas a few months ago, and she's been on the route cheering me (OK, and others) on the last two times I've run this race.  Well, I'd just made a turn after mile 11 when I heard someone yelling my name from a car - it was Joni!  So that was sweet to make it 3-for-3 with her cheering for me.

Mile 12 was tough.  I had to force myself to run my intervals - I really wanted to walk at that point.  I made the final turn toward the downhill finish, and was just so happy!  I saw Loretta (who I should have been running with, darn her hip stress fracture) and CC, and then I saw Jeff, Julia, Sam and Kevin on one side, with Cary, Andi and Cristy on the other side - now that was a fun finish!  Jeff said I had a huge smile on my face, but we'll have to wait for the official finisher pictures to see that, because I look pretty wrecked in the shots that Kevin took...I wasn't going to post this one, but then I figured why not - this is what the end of running 13+ miles looks like:
Shirt askew, slight grimace, number bunched up...but finishing a half marathon!

Afterward, I got my medal and a sweaty hug from running store Dan (as is custom), and then I went to the post-race food party.  It wasn't as plentiful as last year - they were just about out of chocolate milk, and there were no pepperoni rolls, which were the greatest thing EVER after the race last year.  I ended up with half of a small cheeseburger and a strawberry tart sample.  Then I met up with Jeff, Julia and the boys in the reunion center:
Another half marathon is in the books!
Jeff and I with our Monday morning running buddy, Julia.

My finish time was 3:08, with an average pace of 14:06 - this is with doing 1:30/1 intervals.  A half marathon is 13.1 miles, but I ended up running a quarter-mile more, for a total of 13:36.  My splits were:
13:45
13:57
13:14
14:16
13:55
13:56
14:44 (extra time at the water stations)
14:25
14:10
14:42 (walked some hills here)
14:19
14:08
14:01
  4:49

We stayed at the finish line for a couple of hours, waiting for our marathoners to come in.  I got this cute shot of the girls waiting for Brian (who finished his first marathon in 4:24!):
Cristy, Cary and Andi - half marathon finishers!

For the first time in forever, I ran a half without getting any blisters or chafing!  I credit a liberal application of 2Toms SportShield for that.  And except for a headache/bit of a fever afterward, I felt pretty good, all things considered.
Me, my medal, my finisher's shirt, and my dog.  Doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Mishmash

Naturally, the biggest thing on my mind for the past week has been the race.  I haven't mentioned it, but I do have a finish-time goal in mind.  It's probably unattainable given that I trained safe instead of fast this season.  I just wanted to get to the starting line uninjured, and I did, HURRAY!!!  But I'd like to finish this race in under three hours.  I know that isn't fast for a lot of runners, but the last time I finished a half marathon in under three hours was November of 2010 (2:47).  I came close in March of 2013 (3:04).  I'm going to run my 1:30/1 intervals, but my plan is to skip some of the walking intervals when I'm feeling good - that might be enough to squeak in under three hours. 

No matter what, I just want to have a good run.  I'll probably be by myself for most of the race, which isn't my preference, but hey - you work with what you have, and at the moment, my pace running buddies are injured.  The weather forecast doesn't look spectacular - fairly warm with lots of humidity because thunderstorms are supposed to start in the afternoon.  Oh well...you get what you get when it comes to race day weather, and it's not like we haven't trained in this.  I'm really excited to be at the finish line when our marathoners come in - I figure I won't see most of our half people finish, but it will be really fun to see our marathoners reach their goal.

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I think it's pretty normal with taper week to feel a little discombobulated.  I have had a hard time focusing on anything; god forbid I leave whatever task I'm doing and walk into another room, because then I'll see something else that needs doing and forget all about the first thing.  After several days of having tons of half-completed projects, I finally pulled it together and got some stuff done.  I'm even having a hard time getting this post written!  Life will be back to normal soon...

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I've been plugging away at my knitting projects - here's a small one that I finished:
Earwarmer for me, made from leftover hat yarn.  This colorway is Betty Draper's Blues (Madelinetosh DK) and I love how it looks like a worn pair of blue jeans.  

I also finished my Gap-tastic cowl but haven't gotten a picture yet. 

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A weird thing happened with our cats this week.  Our bedroom is Henry's territory.  Kip never goes into it.  But I guess it got cold enough that Kip went looking for something cozy; I'd turned on the heated mattress pad to get the bed warm, and walked into the room to see this:
Notice that Henry is on the heated bed, but Kip is on a down comforter...and they are near each other!  Very odd for these two; we adopted them at the same time, from the same cage, as kittens, from our animal shelter (they were having a Kittenpalooza 2-for-1 deal), but they've never gotten along.  Maybe now in their advanced years (they're about 9 1/2) they've relaxed a little?

And of course I can't leave Paco out.  He found something in the bushes the other day when we went out to check the mail.  It was pretty funny watching him nose around and then jump back when whatever was in there moved (I'm hoping it was something like a frog...as opposed to a snake, eek):
 "What IS dis??"
 "It MOVED!  Scare me."
"Pretend to not look at it...den it will come out and I will pounce!"
 "Nebber mind.  I see kids playing."

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Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WWU - Race Week

It's finally here - race week!  I've been training for this half marathon for the past 23 weeks and I can honestly say that I'm ready for the race.  This was the first year I followed our schedule completely.  Previously, I would run on the weekdays, but I'd go for miles, not the prescribed minutes that USAFit does.  This go-round, if the schedule said run for 45 minutes, well, I'd run for 45 minutes.  What a concept, eh?  I also felt good enough that I was able to run three days during the week plus our long run on Saturdays.  Previously, I'd be hurting so much with one thing or another that I would cut back on the weekly runs, just to try and make it to the end of the season.  Amazing what a difference being injury-free can make.

We are in full-on taper mode right now.  We ran Monday for an easy 35 minutes, and that will happen tomorrow as well.  Eating right is the name of the game this week; I have a Christmas party tonight at a BBQ place, and I'll have to be pretty careful with what I choose to eat in order to not wreck my stomach.  Mostly I'm laying off the high fiber and the greasy stuff.

I'm not too nervous right now.  I think part of that is because my last couple of long runs have gone really well - it might be different if the race was right after a terrible long run.  Of course, talk to me in another couple of days and I could be in full-on race panic, eek!

Speaking of long runs, we had 5 miles on tap last Saturday.  We were all laughing because it felt like nothing, compared to last August, when we hit that number for the first time and it was a VERY. BIG. DEAL.  Julia and I ran together.  We were having a great time, just chatting away, when suddenly I swallowed a bug.  Well, I didn't swallow it - actually, it was stuck on the back of my tongue.  Much gagging and retching ensued as I tried to dislodge it, and then Julia started gagging and retching as well, because that's what a good running buddy does - she suffers right along with you!  I finally took out my water bottle, squirted some water in my mouth and was able to spit out the bug.  Then we continued running as if nothing had happened.  Gotta love it!

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Blog About Me!

We had a massive clean-out of the garage over the weekend; we'd saved so much stuff and it was getting beyond ridiculous.  Things that I couldn't bear to part with when we moved here in 2000, and have been stored in boxes ever since?  Yep...I could let go now.  Even Jeff got rid of some stuff, and he is worse than me when it comes to hanging onto things.  The garage looks much roomier and we both feel lighter for having let go of so many things.

Books have always been hard for me to part ways with, but not anymore!  I sent just about everything to Goodwill.  I kept just a few of my most sentimental ones, and they are now stored in the house, in my bookcase in the living room (which I also cleared out; I figured if I was bringing some in, then others had to go).  The book boxes were the most fun to go through and take one last look at - here's some of my favorite finds:

I didn't save this book, but I had to take a picture before it went bye bye:
Sure, you knew The Partridge Family was a TV show, but did you know they also were immortalized in books?  See ya, Keith Partridge!
Finally found my original Nurse Nancy book!  I loved this one when I was a child; saved it.
I always thought I looked like the girl on this book - as you can see, in case anyone questioned me, I wrote my name by her face just so they'd KNOW it was me.

The book that made me laugh was My Book About Me:
It was a book that you filled in; I was eight-years-old when I got it.
As you can see, I never liked math...this holds true even today.
Again, a still-to-this-day truism.  But wait - let's take a closer look...
"I haved one.  Now I wish I did."  
Have you ever seen anything sadder???  This was after our dog Fluffy went to live on "a farm" because she was chewing up the fence. 
Yeah, I was pretty fixated on getting a puppy.  Did that happen?  Nope.  We didn't get another dog until I was in Junior High, I think.  I had the worst childhood EVER!!! ;)
Apparently tuna was not fish when I was eight.  Also, spelling wasn't my strong suit back then.

So later on, my favorite uncle happened to read the book - and I discovered that he made some additions:
Seeing my uncle's additions made me laugh all over again - he was so quick with the humor. 
 LOL - it's funny because it's true...
Look - I even got his autograph!  He's famous, dontcha know?!

 Have a great Monday!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Mishmash

I don't really pay much attention to my blog stats (and woe be it to any potential advertisers who ask me what they are), but over the weekend when I logged on to write my post, I noticed that I was nearing a milestone in pageviews:
999,999 page views - only took six and a half years!

And then, boom:
1,000,000 pageviews!  

Anyway, I was impressed for a hot minute.

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I have some - well, we used to just call them old, but now they are vintage - Christmas ornaments, and I wanted to display them prominently this year.  Cue a little browsing on Pinterest for inspiration, a round up of both glass and crystal vases and bowls, and I had a pretty new display for my mantle that didn't cost me a thing:
Welllll, it didn't cost me a thing until I decided it needed some tiny lights.  But other than that, I already had everything...I just never put it together like this.  The vintage ornaments are in the large glass urn in the center, except for my old Snoopy ornament, which is displayed by itself.  

The Santas that normally adorn the mantle are in my entry:
I'm glad I changed things up, as it feels like I'm seeing everything with a new appreciation.  BTW, my mom made most of the Santas in this picture.

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The official Turkey Trot race pictures came in a couple of days ago:
Starting off - don't we look happy and optimistic?
A hill right at the beginning...at least this means we'll have a downhill finish!
 Finished - love the synchronized Garmin shut-off.
Exhilarated and exhausted - I pushed it toward the end!

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I've been a bit discombobulated this week - trying to get a lot of things done, but not really finishing any one thing...I keep flitting from one thing to another.  It's like my brain won't settle down and let me concentrate on something for very long before...SQUIRREL!!  I know that's a joke about dogs, but it's also a family joke about my attention span.  As an example, I give you my current knitting projects:
Making good progress on four of 'em...finishing none. 

With that, I'll wish you a happy weekend.  I have stuff to do!