Saturday, December 31, 2011

Occupy Las Vegas- The Vegas Half-Marathon Recap

I realize it's been almost a month since I ran (sort of) the Las Vegas Half-Marathon and I haven't finished my recap. The thing is- I WANT to have liked that race- I really do. I want to have like it so much that I would go back and do it again next year. BUT...I just don't think I did- like it, that is. I have come away from that race with a feeling of "Well, that's done," instead of, "WOW! That was a blast!" or even, "Ok, that was a relatively good time," or "That was better than a kick in the ass."

So, overall, the race that I was looking forward to THE MOST this year, was just...blah. Not that it wasn't eventful- it was definitely eventful. It just wasn't the thrill ride that I thought running on the strip at night would be.

When I left off, we were lined up in our corral, getting ready for the race to start. The corrals in front of us were released and we were finally OFF! Well, not really...there were SO MANY people walking in front of us, it was hard to even get started. This is kind of typical in every race so, I thought it would eventually subside. Umm..yeah, no.

Hubby and I couldn't get into a rhythm even after a mile or so- the strip was so packed with people. And while it was very cool to run down the strip at night and see all of the lights, it wasn't so cool when people abruptly stopped in front of us to take pictures of said lights. To make matters worse, they didn't pull over to the side to snap photos- they just stopped- in the middle of the street, creating a domino effect when unaware runners smashed into them.

Our Only Wedding Photo
Three miles into the race, hubby and I arrived at the Mirage Hotel and Casino where we were participating in the run through wedding ceremony. We entered a roped off area on the sidewalk and made our way near the front of the group. A few minutes later, a Nevada pastor officiated a three minute ceremony and just like that, our wedding vows were renewed! At the end of the ceremony, the volcano in front of the Mirage went off and we reentered the race as the crowd cheered.

Once we were back on the course, it was more of the same. There were lots of walkers and people stopping every few feet to take pictures. We had to do a lot of weaving in and out, slowing down, and speeding up. At one point, a woman completely cut off hubby and I, causing both of us to trip and almost hit the decks. Oh man.

We tried to make a pit stop at a port-a-potty at one point, only to find that there was ONE available at the designated area. You mean to tell me that you organize a race for over 40,000 people and you have ONE toilet available?? Yikes. We ended up going into a McDonald's with what seemed like half of the race participants. I had to laugh when I heard a man say to his running partner, "You talked me into running these 13 miles with you, the least you could do is let me get a cheeseburger quick!" His race partner just raised her eyebrows.

After the bathroom stop, hubby and I made it back out on the course. This is when I noticed the orange cones lined up. Apparently the race organizers cordoned off a section of the course for the full marathon participants. Not only did they use tiny orange cones to divide the course, race staff members on bicycles were riding that line, yelling, "Half marathoners to the right, full marathoners to the left." So, let me put this into perspective for you. If I wasn't slamming into walkers or photographers in front of me, I was tripping over tiny orange cones or trying to avoid getting hit by a staff member riding a bicycle. Oh, and forget going to the bathroom.

Also, forget drinking any water, unless you brought your own (which we did, thank God!). As we got further and further into the race, the water stations seemed to have fewer and fewer volunteers staffing them until, finally they were simply closed down. I remember running through what HAD BEEN a water stop around mile 9 and it was folding tables, collapsed down on the ground and hundreds of paper cups littering the street. No water, no Cytomax, no volunteers...nothing. Nice.

After getting past the bathroom debacle, hubby and I had a few Gu Chomps and walked a few steps, around mile 6. At this point, I was super annoyed at the race organization (or lack thereof) and, just to add insult to injury, my iPod died. UGH! Luckily, I had my trusty back-up iPod shuffle so it wasn't completely a lost cause.

Throughout the race, I tried to stay with hubby as I really wanted to finish with him. The trouble with that was, hubby's knee was really bothering him so he'd slow down to try and shake it out and I wouldn't know since I had on my headphones. At one point, I stopped on the side of the road to see if he was behind me. He wasn't. I waited for a bit and then ran on. I kept doing this- stopping, waiting, and then running, thinking that I would find him sooner or later, right?

Eventually, I sent him a text message and he replied. Turns out, he thought he saw me run into a Burger King (you know, because the port-a-potties were so abundant) so, he followed "me" in there. It wasn't me so, after going to the bathroom, hubby started sprinting up the strip and was at least a mile AHEAD of me. I texted him, asking him to wait for me and the I started sprinting.

I caught up with him, finally and we ran on together. I miscalculated where we were in the race and I told him we only had a mile left (my Garmin GPS was WAY off due to the weaving and trips to McDonald's). So, WE started sprinting...and sprinting....and sprinting. I kept yelling to hubby, "FIGHT! FIGHT FOR THIS!" and we just kept sprinting. We were at least two and a half miles from the end. Oops.

We finally saw the finish line and we crossed it without much fanfare. Our time was terrible, but we'd finished. We got our medals and then walked through the finishers area. Oh man, this is where all hell broke loose.

Generally, races feed you a few types of snacks at the end of a race. This race provided Go-Gurt and granola, bananas. BRIGHT GREEN. Yuck. Then, we walked towards the area to get our foil blankets (oh yeah, at this point, it started to RAIN!) and the volunteers were so overwhelmed. They were tearing the blankets off the rolls so fast, they were ripping them in half. Hubby was giving a tiny sheet of blanket that barely covered his shoulders. We couldn't protest though, because we were being shoved forward by the hoards of people trying to just get out of the finish area.

We made it to the inside of the Mandalay Bay hotel and, I'm not kidding, it looked like a Red Cross disaster area might look. Runners were laying on the floor of the casino, people were moaning and clutching their stomachs and some people were even throwing up. I have no idea what folks caught but according to some reports, thousands of racers were violently sick during and after the race. We tip toed around the mess and made it to the hotel shuttle. This area was even worse! Apparently, the runners were packed into the waiting area so tightly, that people were passing out and, due to the crowds, medics couldn't get to them.

Hubby and I decided to walk- painfully- back to our hotel. As we walked, we heard snip-its of stories about others' race experiences. People talked about runners being so violently ill that they had to be hospitalized. Some folks tripped over those cones and got hurt. Others finished the race and didn't even get a medal since they ran out! Oh boy.

Hubby and I finally got back to the MGM and we just wanted to eat. We got cleaned up and went to the Rainforest Cafe. Hubby got a burger and I got a huge Cobb Salad. Afterwards, we went to bed. As much as we wanted to celebrate our race and party all night, it just wasn't going to happen.

The next morning, we had breakfast with my parents and recapped the race for them. As we spoke, I began to realize what a calamity that race had been. Furthermore, we'd heard that they wanted to increase the race participation to 60,000 in 2012. Yikes- I hope they get everything straightened out before that happens!

So- that was that. I really, really, really wanted to love the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half-Marathon. Truly, I wanted this race to become my favorite. But, alas it was not to be. Oh well, #10 is in the books.
Our one and only post-race picture

On to the next one!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What Happened in Vegas...

Anyone that knows me, knows that I absolutely ADORE visiting Las Vegas. I'm not even a huge gambler- I just really enjoy the food, the party atmosphere, and the "anything goes" vibe of the strip.  So, this summer when I saw that the Competitor Group was going to hold the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon at night on the strip, I jumped at the chance to register hubby and I. I figured this race would be a great final race of 2011 and would take a big chunk out of my remaining miles on my quest to 1000.

The race was scheduled for Sunday night so my parents and hubby flew to Vegas on Saturday morning. Hubby and I had also signed up to participate in the race's "Run Through Wedding Ceremony" and we had a mandatory meeting for that on Saturday afternoon. After landing and getting the the MGM Grand, our hotel, we booked it to the expo to pick up our packets so we could make our meeting on time.

Hubby with his race number
The expo should have tipped me off to how the rest of this race was going to go. With 44,000 runner's participating in the race and countless family members and friends in attendance, I figured the expo would be enormous. Nope- not so. The rows were quite narrow and people were should to should trying to get through. I generally try to stay calm in situations like this but I was getting so frustrated that after we grabbed our packets and shirts, we only stopped at 3 booths and then we left. What a headache.

After the expo, hubby and I attended our informational meeting about the Run Through Wedding Ceremony. There were 106 couples who were either getting married for the first time, or renewing their vows. We got all of our info for the ceremony and then made our way back up the strip. We grabbed a cupcake at the Cupcakery in the Monte Carlo- Hubby had strawberry shortcake and I had lemon. Hubby definitely made the better choice.

Watching the Broncos and Vikings
After an amazing dinner with my parents at Diego in the MGM Grand, Hubby and I gambled a bit and then went to bed. We had a big day ahead of us!

On Sunday, we decided to watch the NFL games in the Sports Book at the MGM. We grabbed some food at the buffet (OMG- bread pudding- so amazing!) and then tried to find a seat in the sports book. It was SO CROWDED that we ended up sitting on the floor after a security guard told us we could. About an hour later, a different security guard made us move so we went back out to the casino to finish watching the game. Luckily the Bronco game was on every tv in the casino and I went crazy when they pulled out another win! I even "Tebowed" in the casino.

So many people!
After the game, we headed back to our room to get ready. We got dressed in our gear and said goodbye to my parents. We had to head to the Mandalay Bay to meet up with the rest of the Run Through Wedding couples. We tried to ride the monorail from the Excalibur to the Mandalay Bay but the lines were terribly long. In the end, we decided just to walk.

Hubby's ready!
We finally found our group at the Mandalay Bay and took a couple group pictures (I didn't get one though :( ). A lot of the couples were dressed in wedding-esque running gear. There was lots and lots of tuile skirts and veils. I thought it was so adorable that some of these couples were getting legally married while running a race!

Our group got to start in one of the earliest corrals- Corral 14 and we were escorted there by one of the race officials. We had to stand in the corral for over an hour and while we were there, the sun went down and it got really, really cold. Luckily, we met some amazing people (two CSU grads and one woman who also works in Student Affairs!) that we chatted with to pass the time. We also got to watch some performances by the Jabawokeez and an 80's cover band on a big stage that was set up next to the starting line.

Finally, it was time to start the sure to come back to see how it all turned out in the end!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thousand Thanks

I haven't blogged since my last race because, frankly, there hasn't been much to talk about. I've been extremely busy at work- October and November are two of our craziest months. I have been trudging along, trying to finish my 1000 miles for the year, and I have been studying as I am taking a Chemistry course at the University where I work. So, nothing completely "blog worthy."

Today, however, is Thanksgiving. In the past (and still today!), I have looked forward to this day for the 1)food, 2)opportunity to see my family as we all live in various states, and 3) the Macy's parade. Typical, I guess.

This year, though, my attitude has shifted to one of pure thankfulness and gratitude. I am so humbled by the gifts I have been given and by the amazing people that have surrounded me, that I need to give thanks. And since this blog is my platform, I will do it here.

1) I am thankful for God and His son, Jesus Christ. I often don't publicly spout out about my faith (which, trust me, disappoints me) but I can feel a change occurring. I asked Jesus to come into my life on Easter Sunday, 2000. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Since then, there have been some pretty amazing times and some pretty dark times. It was easy to praise God on the good days and it was easy to turn my back on Him when things got rough. The great thing is that He can take it- He still loves me even if I haven't been very nice to Him. Jesus died on the cross for my sins (and for yours) and I can't think of a better reason to tell him, "thank you"- today and every day.

2) I am thankful for my husband. Jason is a gift from God (see point number 1). He, too, loves me even if I am not being very nice to him. His heart has so much love in it that I'm surprised it can hold it all. He's a miracle husband and I still can't believe he's mine!

3) I am thankful for my family. The Haptonstall clan is a tough, funny, loving, and loyal group. I have heard it said that you don't want to mess with one of us because if you do, you're going to face the wrath of all of us.

I am thankful for my dad who doesn't say much (yeah, I didn't inherit THAT), but when he does, you either marvel at his wisdom or are rolling in the floor, clutching your sides because you can't stop laughing. He missed his calling and either should have been a professor or a stand up comedian.

I am thankful for my mom, who is gorgeous inside and out. She's the hardest working person I have ever known. She also always challenges me to be better, even though she loves me exactly how I am. I know everyone says this, but my mom really is the best one out there.

I am thankful for my sisters and brother. While there is an age gap between the three of them and me, I have appreciated that. I have experienced being a kid while they were adults and have had three more protective grown-ups to guide me. Now, though, I appreciate being an adult WITH them. I love laughing with them and reflecting on stories from our past. It's funny to talk about something that I experienced as a kid and hear their perspective on it as adults. I appreciate having been able to watch them grow in their marriages- I have had the best teachers for how to have a successful, loving marriage. I also appreciate that they've given me space to grow into who I am. We live far apart and I am not the best at picking up the phone (I am SO awkward! Trust me, I am much cooler in writing). Honestly, I have needed my space to find out who I am. And guess what- I have found out that while I am uniquely me, I sure do have a lot of the three of them in me!

I am thankful for my in-laws who allowed me to take their son to the other side of the country. I am thankful that they let us grow into the couple that we are, all on our own. I am thankful that they embraced me as their daughter and pour out an endless supply of love to me- even though we are still far away from them.

I am thankful for my nieces and nephew. I have FIVE nieces and one nephew. I haven't seen the littlest girls, my gorgeous Nuss twins, since they turned one. I will see them this Christmas and can hardly wait to see the amazing people I am sure they are becoming.

I am thankful for my two younger nieces on the Haptonstall side. Although one of them isn't with us anymore, I am thankful that she reignited my love affair with God and reminded me to love those around me with everything I've got. I am thankful for my other youngest niece because she is fighting battles everyday, just because of who she is. She reminds me to stand up for the right thing and to always be 100% authentic.

I am thankful for my nephew because FINALLY, my dad will get the engineer that I wasn't cut out to be (just kidding- kind of). In all seriousness, I am thankful that he's embraced his intelligence and reminds me that being smart is cool.

I am thankful for my oldest niece- my first friend and sister. As kids, she taught me to be a little more patient. As adults she's teaching me to be refined by the fires in our lives. She has been to hell and back and has emerged as a woman who has grace, beauty, poise, strength, and a relentless will to survive. She's amazing- point blank.

4)I am thankful for my friends, both old and new. I am thankful for Facebook (yeah, I know- sorry) for allowing me to stay in contact with folks (remember my phone phobia??). I am thankful for the women of Delta Phi Delta, for Kelly and Mary, for 2nd floor Olin, for the cheerleaders, for Wes and my admissions folks, for my SDP family, for my USF peeps (VW, DG, DLM, Midhun, Liam, David, Shelby, Gus, Joel, Grace, Steph, BP, et al), for Brianne and Ben, for Jen, for Shalini, for Justin and Julie,Matt and Beth, Jackie and Ryan, and Jenny and Mike. I am thankful for the new crew of Denver friends that Kelly has introduced me to. As someone who struggled to make friends as a kid, I am blessed to have a long list of people that I have the honor of calling my friends.

5) Finally, I am thankful for my body. I haven't treated it very well in my 33 years and, yet, it's still going strong. I have been 12-120 pounds overweight on any given day. I've abused it with food and alcohol. I have had excruciating injuries to my feet. I have been beaten in the street by a robber and I have been hit by a vehicle. After all of that abuse, my body is strong, powerful, and essentially says to me, "what next? Let's do this." I thank God for my temporary abilities and this body because it is the only one I get and it's a pretty darn tough one.

Honestly, this is just a small dose of all of the things I am thankful for (because to be complete, the list would have to include the Denver Broncos, Sour Patch Kids, Diet Coke, and anything sparkly) but, to me, these are my most important blessings.

I wish all of you a day full of love, laughter, family, friends, and food. God Bless.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Battle Royale

After work today, I wanted nothing more than to sit on the couch and watch my DVRed episodes of Private Practice. I got home, took off my shoes, and the battle began. I tried to figure out how to spread the miles I had planned to run today (4-4.5) over the next three days. I got our my calculator and my training plan. Seriously, running was sounding about as appealing as getting a root canal without Novacaine. I was tired. I was really, really tired.

Then, I thought about how angry and disappointed with myself that I would be if I didn't run tonight. I thought about how irritated I would be tomorrow when I had to add 2 miles to my run and run 6 miles instead of 4. So, with that, I took a step and put on my running clothes. Then, I thought about how heartbroken I would be if I fell short of my 1,000 mile goal by 4 miles. And then, I put on my running shoes.

So, there I was, in running clothes and running shoes, still tired, still not loving the idea of going out in the wind to run. But, I made a deal with myself- I would run one mile and if I wasn't feeling it, I'd turn around and come home.

And you know what happened? I ran 4.3 miles. It wasn't pretty, it was difficult, and I couldn't wait for it to be over. But, I did it. So, the winner of this battle was me- I won.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Denver Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon Race Report

If you read my previous post, you know that I was in bad shape going into the Denver Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon last Sunday. I was nervous, banged up, and unsure that I would even be able to race. Never a quitter, I sucked it up, took some Advil, and got ready to run.

This race had a really reasonable start time of 6:55 AM! I was so happy to not have to get up at 4:00 AM, which is what generally has to happen on race days <<sigh>>. My alarm went off at 5:00 AM and I got dressed.
I ate a quick breakfast of toast and Diet Coke (DON'T JUDGE- I always drink it before I race- some people do coffee, I do DC). I grabbed my gear bag and my sweet hubby drove me to the drop off area down in Denver.

This race started at Civic Center Park in downtown. It was so dark, and so cold, but the buildings were all lit up and there were tons of people milling around. I found the gear check area and, as usual, got in line for the port-a-potties.

Before I knew it, it was time to line up in my corral. I had to run to get there before the race started. Luckily, I was in group eleven, so I had to wait about fifteen minutes after the gun went off to even get up to the starting line. I stood in my corral, listening to my iPod, and prayed for the best. I figured I would either completely blow this race and finish with my worst time ever, or I would meet my goal. I was just going to go with it and see what happened.

So, off I went. I started the race and, as usual, the first mile or so was a mess. People were weaving in and out, trying to get past walkers and people running four or five across. I didn't feel the best as I completed the first two miles and even came to terms with possibly getting a DNF (Did Not Finish).

As I finished mile four, both of my lower legs cramped up very severely. Every step felt like a stabbing pain in my calves, Achilles, ankles and shins. I was in really bad shape.  I kept trudging along and then, in front of me, I saw a woman with "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" on the back of her t-shirt. I decided to say a little prayer and, no kidding, I started to feel better. My cramps started to go away and I felt like my old self again! Through the rest of the race, I repeated this in my head when things got tough and, as you'll see, I not only survived, but I thrived!

I continued running along and realized that, although I hadn't had the best start, I was on pace to meet my goal. Then, out of no where, I saw a pace group (an organized group with a pacer) who were trying to meet the same time goal that I had. Interestingly enough, they had started the race before I had SO, if I stuck with them, I'd be sure to meet, and maybe even break, my goal time.

I ran along with this group for a bit and, wouldn't you know it, my foot hit a hole, or a crack, or something in the pavement and I was launched forward. I was sure I was going to wipe out. Out of nowhere, another runner crossed in front of me at the perfect moment and, instead of falling on the ground, I bumped into him. He didn't fall, and neither did I! Honestly, the angels were looking out for me during this race.

After a few more miles, I got ahead of the pace group. I was feeling so strong and really fast. I followed my fuel and hydration plan to the "T". While this was quite a hilly course, I only walked through the water stops. As I approached mile 11, I decided to pull over and have a few Gu Chomps and stretch my legs. While I was stretching, I hit yet another roadblock. My iPod battery died! Thank God I'd planned ahead and I had my 1,000 year old iPod shuffle in my waist pack. I traded out my iPods and off I went.

During my last 1/2 marathon, I'd missed the sign for the 13 mile marker and was disappointed because I didn't get my usual kick at the end of the race. I just turned a corner and, bam!, there was the finish. For this race, hubby promised me that he'd be at the 13 mile marker so I was sure to see it. I turned a corner and sure enough, there he was. He yelled "you have a quarter of a mile left, you can do it!"I looked down at my watch and noticed that I was 7 minutes ahead of my goal time. I yelled back 'I'm killing it!".

I turned one more corner and there was the finish! Not only was it close, but the last stretch of the race was downhill. I kicked it into high gear and crossed the finish line six minutes ahead of my goal. Instantly, I started to cry, thanking God and my lucky stars for not only getting me through, but letting me triumph. I saw my parents standing on the sidelines and I ran over to them, crying. They thought I was hurt, until I was able to sputter that I'd finished six minutes ahead.

I made it through the chute, getting my medal, some water, some popcorn, and my foil blanket. I stumbled off of the course into a stretching area and couldn't stop talking. I babbled on to my family about getting hit by a car three days ago and smashing my goal. I was so excited and proud of myself.

After collecting my bag from the gear check, hubby helped me back to the car and we headed back to my parents' house. Once there, I celebrated with champagne and a delicious breakfast casserole that my mom made. For the rest of the day, we watched NFL (poor Broncos!) and relaxed on the couch.

Beyond the fact that I got a PR and smashed my goal time, this race may be my favorite race that I've run yet. The course takes you trough downtown Denver, past the Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Pepsi Center, and Coors Field. You also get to run through City Park and Civic Center Park. I absolutely plan to run this race again next year and I absolutely DO NOT plan to get hit by a car beforehand.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hit and Run

If you follow me on twitter (@Princesks) or are my Facebook friend, you already know that last Sunday, I ran the Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon in Denver. This race has been my "pie in the sky race"- I have had a goal time in mind for this race since May and I've been training my butt off to get it.

To be completely honest, when I train for a half-marathon (or even when I trained for me two marathons), I'm not the best at getting my weekly runs in. If my training plan says to run 4 times in one week, I might have run 3 times, or sometimes only 1 or 2. I'd always run my weekend long runs, but the weekday runs had ZERO appeal for me. When I started amping up my running for this Rock 'n Roll race, however, I vowed to run my weeklies- even if they weren't my favorites. So, in turn, I ran my weekly runs.

I felt really good going into race week. I'd planned a nice, easy taper and then three rest days. On Wednesday night of that week, I went out for my last regular run before the race. I got about a third of a mile from my house, running north on a fairly busy street in my neighborhood. I noticed some cars stopped on a side street waiting to turn right onto the street I was running on. I stopped before making my way across the road and then when it was clear that these cars were not yet turning, I started making my way across. At that point, the driver of the lead car was looking to his left and I was approaching from the right. He must have seen an opening in the traffic on the busy street and he zoomed out, turning onto the busy street and, in turn, HIT ME WITH HIS CAR!

Yes, that's correct, three days before what was to be the race of my life, I was hit by a gold crossover-type vehicle. I don't remember any of it except being on the ground, in the street. My headphones were detached from my iPod and I was screaming, "I thought you saw me!" The man stopped his car, got out, and ran over to me. Some other people helped me up off of the street (I don't know where they came from but they said they saw what happened).

The driver was so freaked out- I definitely remember that. He kept asking me if I wanted him to call an ambulance. I told him I didn't- I remember thinking that that would take too long- take too long for what, I'm not sure! I was in total shock. I did twist my ankle and my knee was skinned pretty badly. I could tell that I would have some bruises but, overall I felt ok. I got the driver's contact info and told everyone that I was just fine. As such, after they all drove away I continued my run and finished FIVE MILES (I admit, again, I was in shock- this was adrenaline that got me through it.)

I got home and called my husband- he was more worried than I was, at that point. I told him I was ok and then I watched some tv. No big deal. The next morning, however, everything hit me. My body was sore and stiff, I had huge bruises on my legs and knees. My ankle was swollen and stiff as well. Emotionally, I was a mess as well. I realized that things could have been much worse and I was kind of a head case. I stayed home from work that day, icing my ankle and doing homework (I'm taking a chemistry class, of all things).

The next two days were stressful, as I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to run the race at all. My legs were still so stiff and sore, I couldn't imagine running 13.1 miles in that condition. I powered through it, though and tried to think positive thoughts.

On Saturday, the weather in Denver was a disaster. It was actually snowing! if you recall from the last 2 half-marathons this year, I tend to always end up racing on freezing cold days. Since my parents aren't huge on going out when it's snowing, I drove myself to the race expo. I got my bib, t-shirt, and race bag and wandered around for a bit. It was a typical race expo with vendors and freebies. I bought a few really cute headbands because when I run on the treadmill, my hair curls up and goes crazy! i figured these couldn't hurt.

The most exciting part of the expo was meeting Dan from season five of the Biggest Loser. He and his mom, Jackie, are working for a foundation to encourage kids to be active. They've run every Rock 'n Roll race this year! We talked about losing weight and keeping it off and then we took a picture! When I was running the race, I actually ended up passing him (but that's a story for later- when I recap the run!). 
I headed back to my parents' house after the expo and just relaxed for the rest of the day. I got a pedicure and then laid around. I got all of my race gear together and went to bed, hoping that I'd be able to fall asleep- I was so nervous! Turns out, I fell right to sleep and, even though I don't remember having any dreams, the next day was absolutely a dream come true! Stay tuned for my race recap...

Monday, July 25, 2011

License to...SLOW DOWN!

I started noticing something a few weeks ago that really got me worried. Back pain. Not a "oh no, I can't even stand up or get out of bed" kind of pain- but a twinge. I initially thought it was my mattress- so hubby and I flipped it. Then I thought it was my feather bed on TOP of the mattress- so we flipped that too. Then I thought it was my chair at work...on and on I went.

Well, I think I finally figured it out- the back pain, as well as the pain I had experienced in my behind, and pain I had in my lower leg.

Let's see if you can figure it out- here's an excerpt from my running log:

June 27
Distance: 3.07 Duration: 29:21 Pace: 9:37

July 3
Distance: 3.51 Duration: 34:01 Pace: 9:41

July 6
Distance: 6.25 Duration: 1:01:44 Pace: 9:55

July 20
Distance: 5.86 Duration: 57:03 Pace: 9:44

Do you see it? Ok, ok, I'll tell you- I'm treating far too many runs like a race! My goal pace for my next half marathon is 10 minutes, 40 seconds per mile. And, while I've only listed 4 sub-10 min mile runs up there, believe me, there are a lot more. So, does that mean that suddenly I'm a 9:55 per mile runner? NO! It means I'm going way too fast, way too often!

I've found that on the mornings that I run 10:20-10:40, I have the most energy, AND- no back, butt, or leg pain! Interesting, right?

So, I've got to just keep reminding myself that, especially in this case- this is a marathon and not a sprint- literally!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


A few weeks ago, July 1 made an appearance (this blog entry is FAR overdue- I've been busy!). That day marked the half way point of my one year race to a thousand miles, so to speak. If you've been tracking me (see the widget over there on the right- that's up to date), you'll know that although half of my TIME is up, I'm still about 40 miles away from completing half of my mileage.

So, here's the thing- I'm a control freak so, it would make sense that I would lose it over the mileage gap that I have to make up for. Interestingly enough, I'm not worried about it at all. Weird. It's not that I don't want to meet my goal of running a thousand miles this year. I just seem to have more confidence in myself, and in the fact that I'm absolutely going to get there.

Honestly, this is new for me. Sure, I KNEW I'd graduate college and I KNEW I'd complete my Master's Degree- but this goal is different. Those goals played on the strength of my intellect and ability to understand concepts. This goal has to do with physical and mental strength and stamina. And this goal has to do with the wherewithal to get my butt out the door, and onto the roads, no matter how fatigued, sore, or "over it" I might be. In other words- school was fairly easy. Running, still not so much.

So why am I not freaking out?? I just think I'm turning a corner. I trust that my body is fit and capable. More important, I actually LIKE what I'm doing. I look forward to my 5:15 AM runs and use it as a time to clear my head, and have some alone time. I also look forward to my short runs with my hubby, who is coming back to running after an injury. Not only do I get to spend time with him, but I get to spend time with him doing something I like...or maybe LOVE?

As of today, I have 537.89 miles to run to reach 1000 mile by New Year's Eve. I'm trusting myself that I'm going to get there. Further, I have a very detailed training plan laid out for the next five months. What, you thought I'd just go by the seat of my pants? Yeah- I trust myself- but, come on, I am still the most controlling of control freaks!

Until the next!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


A few weeks ago, I started having trouble with my iPod. This made me extremely sad as I've put it through the paces, using it for at least 3 or 4 years. I figured out that the problem was either with the battery or the software so I took it to the Apple Store closest to my home. The Apple Genius suggested I reinstall the software before plunking down 70.00 to swap it out for a new one under Apple's battery program. So, I did that.

It's now working great- except for the fact that before my long Saturday run two weeks ago, I just forgot to charge it. I took off and got about 2 miles from home and, it died. Sigh. Now, as a pacer for the SF Marathon Training Program, I wasn't allowed to wear an iPod so I'm used to running up to 22 miles, music-free. But today just needed music- I wasn't going to make it otherwise. So, I circled back around to my house and pick up my iPhone that is loaded with lots of music.

I don't have a specific running mix on my iPhone so I hit "shuffle" and off I went. Oh boy- I was in for a treat. The following is the play list that resulted from my dead iPod/iPhone shuffle experiment:

1. Hot-n-Fun, N*E*R*D
2. Wait a Minute, PCD
3. Just A Lil Bit, 50 Cent
4. Lover Lay Down, Dave Matthews Band
5. Love Lockdown, Kanye West
6.Funhouse, Pink
7. Check It out, Will I Am & Nicki Minaj
8. Wanna Move, P. Diddy
9. I'm A Slave For You, Britney Spears
10. How's It Going To Be, Third Eye Blind
11. Louisiana Bayou, Dave Matthews Band
12. P.Y.T., Michael Jackson
13. Living Dead Girl, Rob Zombie
14. Army of Me, Bjork

After Rob Zombie and Bjork, I decided I'd had enough of shuffle mode and I headed home. Overall, it was a fun experiment but I was so glad to get my trusty iPod back into fighting shape!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Me and My Shadow

When I was training with my friend J for the Colorado 1/2 Marathon, I figured out that I have a a fairly strange source of inspiration when I'm out running. It's not some moving song on my iPod or a motivational billboard along my route. No- it's nothing like that. It' shadow. Seriously! My shadow is really inspiring!

I'm sure other people who have lost significant amounts of weight can attest to this, as well. IT IS HARD TO SEE MYSELF AS A SKINNY PERSON. There, I said it. Even two years after hitting my goal weight, it is hard. The mirror is a tricky, tricky thing.

But, when I'm out running and I look down and see my shadow, I realise everything that I've become. My shadow is...well, she's fit! And she's working hard! She's running at a faster pace than she's ever run before and, it's easy for her!

So, on days when I'm not so motivated- I'm so lucky when the sun shines in the right direction and she comes out to cheer me on!
My Shadow- She's Tall!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Why Does This Matter So Much? (AKA- The Post Where I Remind You Where I Came From)

I was so excited yesterday when I figured out (well, really read on line how to) merge all of my various Google related products into one account. Finally, I could delete my obscure google account that was tied to a hotmail address and have everything under one nice, neat, GMail sign-in.

I wasn't so excited when, this morning, I took a look at my blog posts from days gone by and saw that all of my pictures have now been deleted- pictures that, I'm certain, I no longer have possession of. Google merge FAIL. I wanted to direct readers to a post I wrote back in the day to remind you why I think it's such a big deal that I'm even trying to run 1000 miles. The fact is, that a few years ago, I was so overweight that painting my toenails was a work out.

I wrote a this post back when I reached my goal weight on Weight Watchers that recounted my weight loss journey. I'm realising now that that was almost 2 years ago and I've kept all of the weight off! Honestly, I'm very impressed with myself- and this would be why.

I was overweight my ENTIRE life. I remember my mom being so worried about my because I'd eat entire blocks of cheese or four dinner rolls with butter, as a snack! I went to high school and, in my senior year, I tried out for cheerleading. All of the activity helped me lose some weight and I was really very healthy. Then, I entered college. When I graduated from college, I weighed an astonishing 265 pounds. When I got on the scale and saw that number for the first time, I couldn't believe it! There was no way that I'd gained 80-100 pounds in college! Looking back at my photos from my four years, however, it's obvious that I got heavier each year.

My First Year of Marriage
I lost a really significant amount of weight on the Atkins Diet and ultimately looked like this ---->. I went on to graduate school and I met my husband! After graduation, we quickly packed up and moved to California, where I started my first post-Master's degree job. That first year was so stressful- trying to learn how to be married, and then learn my job was overwhelming. When all was said and done, I gained about 70 pounds back.

A friend and I decided to try Weight Watchers together. I started the program in 2006 (same year I got married!) and hit my goal in 2009. Now, in 2011, I've maintained my weight and, as you know from reading this blog, I'm an ATHLETE! I've run 8 half-marathons, 2 full marathons, and countless miles on my way to 1000.

Me, Today- 117 Pounds Down
So, while 1000 miles might not be a big deal to a lot of runners (I know some who have hit 1000 miles already- in June!), it's an exceptionally big deal to me. A few years ago, I would have laughed in your face had you told me that, some day, I would want to a) run any distance at all and b) run 1000 miles in a calendar year. Today, I'm laughing in the face of anyone who thinks that I CAN'T do it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pain in the...

If you are a Facebook friend or a Twitter follower (@Princesks) of mine, you are probably aware that I'm working hard on completing my goal of running 1000 miles in 2011. In fact, as of last night, I've run 324.88 and, therefore, have 675.12 left to run.

Now, if you are doing the math, you'll see that at the end of this month, I'll be halfway done with the year..and probably NOT halfway done with my goal. So, what's the hold up?

I'll tell you what the hold up is! My...umm..rear end! I have a literal pain in my behind. Now, don't get all weirded out on me- it's a muscle or a nerve issue the impacts my lower back, all the way down to my hamstrings.

I've had injuries before- a lot of them. I've had a neuroma, plantar faciatis, sesamoiditis, tendonitis...blah blah blah- and all of them were fixable! I got orthotics, I rested, I stretched- done. But this- this is driving me crazy because it just sticks around.

I've started seeing a massage therapist and I've learned some stretches that seem to be helping. And while I slowly seem to be getting over, the fact still remains that this pain in becoming a real pain in my...!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

So Much To Say! Three May Race Reports!

Today is June 6- FAR later than I had intended to write this post (or, what really should be three separate posts). Nonetheless, I'm here, I'm posting. All is well!

Back in this post, I mentioned that my friend J and I were training for the Colorado Half Marathon that took place on May 1st. We completed a training program that I derived from a few plans I'd completed before, maxing out with a long run of 12 miles. More important than our race preparation, however, was our race OUTFIT preparation! We decided early on that we wanted unique outfits for the race and, in the end, we probably had the most unique outfits out there!

We made these race shirts with our names on the front and "We Run This Town" on the back. I got really scared leading up to race day that it would be too cold to wear our short sleeve shirts but, in the end, we just layered a few long sleeve shirts under them. We got tons of compliments on our outfits before, and during the race!

The race started at 7:00 AM but we had to board a bus at 5:45 AM to get to the starting line. This race starts up in a canyon and heads down into our town and cars aren't allowed up the canyon on race day. Hence, the buses. However, our bus driver didn't seem to know where she was going so she drove us half way up the canyon, and then turned around and brought us back to town. As if we weren't all nervous enough!! We finally found the race director who gave her directions and we made it to the start.

It was so cold that morning, both J and I had our teeth chattering. I wasn't sure how I was going to hold up in the cold since I'd had some lingering issues with my legs. To make matters worse, my iPod that I'd charged all night, decided to the starting line. Luckily, I'd planned for this and brought my AWESOME first generation iPod shuffle with me. It's not trendy but it worked!

Finally, the race started. The course went gradually downhill for the first several miles. We did hit a significant uphill around mile 6 that was pretty rough. We'd trained on some hills but, clearly, not enough. Who knew? Around mile 8, my back and legs started to cramp up on me and we stopped and did some stretching. J got a bad cramp in her side, as well, so we took a few walking breaks between miles 10 and 13.

We rounded the last corner of the course and saw the finish line- thank God! We sprinted to the finish to find a big group of our friends waiting for us. My parents were also there with my hubby- it was the first time they'd seen me finish a half-marathon! After all was said and done, I did take over 4 minutes off of my previous PR! I was also so proud of J for training for, and finishing, her first half-marathon, ever!

Fast forward two weeks to May 15. I registered for the Kaiser Permanente Colfax Half-Marathon on a whim, even though it was only two weeks after the Colorado Half Marathon. Since this race was in Denver, I went down there on Friday and stayed with my friend, K for the weekend. She was such a great host, taking me to Target to get a long sleeve top (since, again, it was forecasted to be freezing cold!), and to Q'doba to get my requisite pre-race burrito.

On race morning, I woke up and K was already up. She said "I have good news! There's virtually no wind!" and I said, "What's the bad news?" and she said "It's 40 degrees!" K drove me to the starting line and it was a little rainy but the rain let up before the race started. I jumped in line for the port-a-potties and then it was time to line up in my starting area.

This course is an out and back course up Colfax Blvd. and back. It's a steady, gradual uphill climb for the first 6 miles, and then a steady, gradual downhill to the finish. I was very exciting as I was on pace to DESTROY my last PR by over 5 minutes hip flexors got in the way. I've never had this problem before but on both legs, my hip flexors tightened up and I had to keep pulling over to stretch them. Luckily this was around the 11 mile marker when this started so I only had to deal with it for a few miles.

I did manage to finish with another PR, taking 2 minutes off of my Colorado 1/2 Marathon time. I really enjoyed this course and would absolutely run this race again- even if it's only 40 degrees!

Finally, Hubby and I decided to run the Bolder Boulder 10K. It's the second largest 10K in the country and it is supposed to have tons of community support. The race takes place every year on Memorial Day, so we booked a hotel in Boulder for the night before. In the morning, we got up early and walked to the starting area.

This had to be one of the most well-organized races that I have ever participated in. I guess you have to be organized when 50,000 people participate in your event. We stood in line for five minutes to check a bag and then made our way to our starting area. In this race, there were waves that started from 6:00 AM until 9:30 AM- each about ten minutes apart. There were staff members throughout the starting areas, checking bibs to make sure people were in the right areas. I was amazed at the how well coordinated everything was!

At last, our wave was schedule to start and off we went. Hubby hadn't run as much as I have lately, so I decided to stick with his pace and just do this race for the mileage. Along the course, we encountered people throwing marshmallows to the runners, a trampoline acrobatic team, bands, people passing out popsicles, and more! Hubby decided to try out the slip and slide that someone set up in their front yard. All was well until he got the wind knocked out of him. He encouraged me to run ahead while he took a minute to catch his breath. When he caught up to me, he had a donut in one hand, and a beer in the other. I think he was feeling better!

We finished the race in Folsom Field at the University of Colorado. It was an amazing feeling running into a stadium full of cheering people. Once we got off of the course and made our way into the stands, a group of Marines ran in, in formation- the crowd went crazy and I almost started crying.

Overall, May was a fantastic month for racing but I'm hoping to take a breath in June. I'm still working on logging miles to reach my 1000 mile goal, but I'm running for fun- for me- not because a race is coming up. It's been nice just running with no goal in mind. I did sign up for the Rock 'n Roll Denver 1/2 Marathon in October and I signed hubby and I up for the Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon in December. I figure by October, I'll be ready to set a new PR- I have a very specific time in mind- if I make it, I'll tell you what it is! Until the next!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Best Laid Plans...

I'm still here and I'm still running! The only thing is, I'm not running as much as I should be. What gives? I'll tell you what gives- I have been TIRED. So tired that I want to go to bed at 7:00 PM and, even if I sleep ten hours, I'm still tired. So tired that my body wants NOTHING to do with running, or walking, or moving. Hmmm- this is no good.

I'm tired. And I'm worried about it. So, what does any intelligent person do? Google my symptoms, that's what! So, let's see, not only am I tired, but I'm perpetually cold and frequently dizzy. Boom- WebMd tells me I might be anemic and I should add iron to my diet. Sounds like a plan to me!

I got some iron supplements and took started taking them yesterday. Certainly, it's got to be too early to make any difference but, I swear, today has been one of my best days. I woke up and got out of bed with no problem and I was alert at work. I finished up my work day and was actually EXCITED to get a run in today. And, what do you know, my run was great! Again, it's probably just a placebo effect but I hope I keep feeling this energized. I can't slump again like I have if i want to complete my 1000 miles this year.

Speaking of running 1000 miles, I took my lunch hour to create a very detailed plan for the rest of the year that has me running my last miles on December 31, 2011. It's very realistic and I'm excited that I added some structure to this enormous goal.

So, I'm crossing my fingers and my toes that I can keep my energy up and am able to reach my goal. I'm also reminding myself to stay flexible because, you know what they say about the best laid plans.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Oh yeah, I have a blog!

Wow- I guess I took an unintentional break from blogging. What's up with that? Well, frankly, quite a bit is up with that!

First, my hubby, poochie, and I MOVED! We moved to Fort Collins, CO so I could take a position as an Academic Support Coordinator at Colorado State University. We've been living here for about six months and have loved every minute of it. Hubby got a job (!) during the first week that we'd been here and he's enjoying that a great deal. We've also made a number of friends and are loving having other couples to do things with.

Since this blog is essentially about running, let's talk about that.  WAY back, on Halloween weekend, I entered a 5K at the University, thinking, "This will be a nice way to ease back into running and start getting used to the altitude." So, I start the race and glance at my Garmin GPS at one point and see that I'm running at least two minutes faster per mile than I ever ran in San Francisco. Say what?? I thought that my Garmin was broken! So, it wasn't- I finished the race with a 5K PR. Hmmm...interesting.

Moving forward, I kept running and decided to register for the Colorado (Half) Marathon here in Fort Collins that will take place on May 1. I also convinced my new friend, Jen, to train for it as well.  We've been running together every Saturday and, still, my pace is 1.5 to 2.5 minutes faster than my previous training pace. On Valentine's Day weekend, Jen and I entered a 4 miles race in Loveland, CO. Our finishing time was 37:48!!! I got a race PR and a mile PR all on the same day!

Finally, since I was unable to complete 1000 miles last year, I decided to make that my goal again this year. So far, I've finished about 200 miles and I'm on track to meet my goal. I've decided to not only run the CO 1/2 Marathon but to also run the Colfax Denver 1/2 Marathon, and the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon in December. There's also a strong possibility that I'll run the Denver Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon in October! I've decided that the half marathon is my favorite distance and, instead of fighting that by running full marathons, I'm going to tackle more halves and try for better times.

So, overall, I'm doing great! I'm healthier and happier than I've been in a long time. I'm also excited about rededicating myself to my blog. So, here I am. Let's do this!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Wow- I really dropped off the planet for a while eh? The last several months have been very exciting in general, but very lackluster in the running area.

I ran the San Francisco Marathon back in July and, as it turns out, it was a little overconfident.  I was feeling great for the first five miles. Around that time, I hit my first big hill and ran it WAY too fast. I managed to  hurt my Achilles (again). I really thought about dropping out of the race a number of times but I ran into my friends A and G who seemed to be struggling as well. The three of us ran/walked them remaining 20 miles and, as luck would have it, I finished ONE MINUTE faster than the year before. I hoped to run a sub-five hour marathon but this was not my year.

So then what happened? Well, I just kind of...stopped. I had zero motivation to run so, I didn't.  My leg was bothering me and my life was pretty hectic. I interviewed for a number of new jobs and then landed one in Colorado. Hubby and I moved to Fort Collins in October 2010.

Then, I had the urge to run again. I signed up for a 5K on Halloween and surprised myself by running my fastest race EVER. Apparently thin air makes me fast! Then, I met some new friends. One woman, J, mentioned wanting to train for a half marathon. I told her that I would be interested in training with her since that is my favorite distance EVER. So, we've been training- and I've stuck to my program. I've even managed to run, and beat, my best mile time TWICE in the past two weeks.

Today is the second day of 2011 and I've decided that I'm going to shoot for running 1000 miles again this year. I came up (way) short in 2010 but I have a feeling that I can make it happen this year. This morning, I ran 3 (freezing cold) miles with J. And, with that, I say to you- I'M BACK!