Friday, November 5, 2010

Halloween Half Pics

Last Saturday's race in pictures.

 Mile 6- halfway there! I'm really cookin'! (Or is it bakin'?) 
Around mile 10. Love this Wall of Shame racing pic. Licking the gu off my lips. Ha! 
Pretty sure I hadn't noticed the photographer yet.
 Oh! Hey there, guy!
 Approaching the finish.
 Ahhh, done! That's a satisfied look if I've ever seen one.
Also, proof that I am a habitual finish line sprinter- notice the guy in black in the 2nd to last photo and see him again the last photo? I just can't help myself!

Some random Halloween Half factoids-
  • My apron says Cupcake Queen 2010 and I did indeed earn that title at a neighborhood Cupcake Wars last month. The cupcake that won me that apron? A white cupcake filled with a miniature pumpkin pie and topped with cinnamon cream cheese buttercream.  Every bit as good as it sounds.
  • I gave high fives with my mixing spoon along the course to all the li'l spectating kiddos. Lots of high fives. No germs!
  • I wore my new Yurbuds for this race and I love them! They never moved. And the music was crystal clear.
  • I got a phone call from my neighbor at about mile 11 and, for a second, thought about answering.  She had no idea I was racing and I think she would have been mortified if I had answered in the middle of a race. I do answer my phone while on training runs, though.
  • I haven't run since the race last Saturday because of how thrashed my quads have been. I tried on Tuesday but couldn't pick my feet up. I've never been this sore after a race (and that includes my full marathon last January.) No worries, though. I am finally recovered and headed out for a few easy miles tomorrow morning.
And just for fun, here's what I did this week-

I made a wedding cake!
 Here's a pic after the florist added a few touches...

Little Red and Firstborn were kind enough to pose with the cake. Love the faces. Those two crack me up.

See?! My costume for the half was totally fitting. I am a baker!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Half Recap

Last October, I had considered running the Halloween Half marathon while in marathon training. After mulling it over a bit, I decided against it because with a 2000 ft drop in elevation over the course of 13.1 miles, most of that being in the first 5 miles (see below), I was just too scared I'd injure myself.  The marathon training was more important.  However, I did get a chance to spectate the race and it looked like SO much fun.  The costumes were hilarious. Everyone just looked like they were having fun. Because, well, they were! 

This year I was determined to run it myself.  I'm not in marathon training at the moment and, let's face it, I really needed something to help me work off all the candy I've been eating.  I trained, I finally decided on a costume and I arrived at the buses on Saturday morning ready to go for it.
I'm a baker!

I rode the bus that morning next to a young mom named Wendy. We talked about our training, our goals for the race that day, our kids, our husbands, etc. We had plenty of time to chat while making our way up the Provo Canyon.  After riding up with her, I was feeling a little better about being at the race on my own. I've gotten so used to racing alongside my husband that being alone at a race pushes me a little out of my comfort zone. Luckily, runners are the nicest people so there was always someone to talk to.  After arriving at the start, I watched the costume contest (the Forrest Gump costume was awesome!), got in a last trip to the portapotty and chatted with a cute bee named Jana and also with Mike, a friendly guy with a Yoda backpack.  

Finally, it was time to start!  I lined up with the 1:55 pacer in hopes of beating my 1:55:29 from the Shamrock Half this past March. I heard the gun and we slowly made our way down to the starting line.  There were 3000 people at this race so it was packed.  After the first mile I realized that I was going to be going a bit faster than I expected. I passed up the 1:55 pace group and then quickly passed the 1:50 pace group.  It looked like a good day for a PR! 

Miles 1-5:  8:53, 7:45, 7:26, 7:31, 8:00

At about mile 5, I could feel a blister forming on my left foot. "Dang!" I was nervous it would slow me down.  I've never had a blister during a race so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I was just praying it wouldn't get too bad.  Luckily, even though I felt it the whole way, it never got bad enough that I had to stop. Phew!

Miles 6-10:  8:55, 9:05, 9:15, 8:36, 8:46

After the first 5 miles, we turned onto the Provo River Parkway Trail, which was beautiful.  There was a part of the trail that was coated with fall leaves. It immediately put a smile on my face. Out of the major downhill, my pace slowed considerably and at mile 8 (my slowest) I walked for a minute in order to get my jacket off from under my apron. That was tricky.

Miles 10-13.1:  9:10, 9:13, ? (forgot to stop the Garmin)

The last couple of miles I was tapped. I remember thinking to myself, "I am definitely leaving it all out on the course today. I hardly have anything left." That was at about mile 11.  From that point on, it was all mental.  I was definitely getting excited to see my husband and boys waiting for me at the finish line. Here's a little video of me in the final stretch. 

I love how my face changes when I see my family. I obviously needed the boost.

FINAL TIME: 1:50:46.6

I did it! I PRed in a baker's cap, apron, and holding a mixing spoon for 13.1 miles! Haha! And not only did I PR but by almost 5 minutes. Awesome! I almost couldn't believe it when I finished.  Of course, the course was supa fast.  All that downhill surely helped my time but I'll take it. I covered the distance so it counts, right?!

Great race, great day, great fun! And happy to be done! Hope everyone's Halloween was as spooktacular as mine!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ragnar Relay-Wasatch Back '10 Recap

I am still on a high from last weekend's race! I've never experienced anything quite like it.  Ever tried running while delirious from lack of sleep? While a van full of teammates sing songs to you over a bullhorn? Haha! And I can't stop smiling about the can-can dance my girls treated me to in the middle of my longest run.  I wish I had more time to write about it but instead I'm going to leave you with this video I made from the pics and video I took along the way. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Remember me?!

Wow! It's been awhile, eh?  After my last half-marathon in March,  I found myself floundering about without a training schedule and with no real motivation.  I was still running but it was so hodge-podge and lackluster that it was unimpressive at best. It took me a couple of months to find my footing again and I am now finding myself in the midst of all kinds of fun personal running news. Since I heart lists, here's a list to bring you guys up to date.

1. I'm training for marathon #2! My husband and I are running the Top of Utah Marathon on Sept. 18th in Logan, UT.  We tried to get in the St. George Marathon and didn't get picked out of the lottery to receive an entry so this marathon is actually our Plan B. All in all, I'm really getting excited for it because everyone I've talked to who has run it talks about how beautiful and fast it is. What could be better?! Today, we rounded out the 4th week of our 18 week FIRST training plan. So far, so good!  
2. Last weekend, I PRed at a 5k! I got a free entry into a 5k from my favorite local running store.  I was really excited about this one because I knew it had potential to get me a sub 24:00 time, which I really wanted to do. This was my attempt at a pre-race photo with my Blackberry. 
    I was in too much of a hurry to try again so this one will have to do.  The short of it? I PRed by more than 2 minutes and finished in 23:23!! Overall- 30th out of 180, overall female- 9th out of 109 and age bracket (31-45)- 5th out of 47.  Boy, it felt good! Well, that is after the initial "I think I'm going to hurl" in the finish line chute. Haha! It was possibly the first race I've run where I truly felt I left it all out on the course.  A great feeling.
    3. The Ragnar Relay- Wasatch Back is next weekend!! I have been stressing over this race because somehow I became the team captain even though I've never run it before. There is SO much logistically that goes into these relays it could make your head explode. I am really excited to get the team meetings, safety meetings, e-mails, phone calls, etc. all behind me and just enjoy the race and the company of all my teammates (which all happen to be my neighbors and great girlfriends.) Should be a blast!
    4. Train4Autism has kept me very busy the past couple of days as I've been manning a booth at the Utah Valley Marathon expo and finish line. One of the race directors was kind enough to provide me space for free and I have thoroughly enjoyed talking to so many people that have been touched by autism.  I received lots of positive feedback and encouragement and have even already gotten an email from some parents that want to be involved in our chapter. I feel so blessed to have found something that I can be so passionate about. Here's a pic of me and Sam Felsenfeld from Operation Jack.  Go and visit his blog HERE to read about the amazing work he's doing to raise awareness for Train4Autism.

    So, that's what I've been up to! Time to see what you guys have been doing! Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Shamrock Half race recap- as "luck" would have it...

    ...I accomplished 2 big goals in yesterday's half-marathon (my 3rd half to date)-
    1. I beat my previous PR, which was 2:00:45, by more than 5 minutes! (On a much harder course, by the way.)   AND
    2. I came in under 2 hours!!!  My final time- 1:55:29!
    And to think I almost didn't run it at all!  A little background info on me- I have something called Neurally Mediated Hypotension, which basically means that my blood pressure tanks from time to time.  It's not life-threatening but it can definitely put me out of commission, sometimes for a couple weeks. The symptoms are really annoying- heart palpitations, fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, basically by blood moves through my body at a snail's pace. Yeah, it sucks.

    So, how does this relate to yesterday's race?  I had been having heart palps for the past few nights and was just hoping for them to go away before the race.  I had a crappy run on Thursday and was feeling pretty off.  I spent all day Friday making Firstborn's birthday cake and preparing for his party, not resting like I should have been before a race. No rest. At all. Not ideal but what are you gonna do, right?  Anyhow, I went to bed at about 11:30-ish fully expecting to wake up and feel fine and go race.  I woke up at 2:00 am feeling the palps. Nards!  I went back to sleep and woke up again at 3:30.  Still having palps. Ugh!  I woke hubby up and told him he may have to run the half because I didn't think I'd be up to it. I was nearly in tears. I have never not showed up for a race.  Heart-breaking.  I said a little prayer and asked that I would have more surety of what to do once my alarm went off.  I went back to sleep and woke up to my hubby getting up.  I had about 3 hrs of really good sleep and the palps were gone!  So, I told hubby he couldn't have my bib, I was going to race after all!  (Sorry about the take-back, honey!)  He was happy to let me run.

    I got up, got ready and headed out the door feeling blessed that I was still getting to run. I had been a little nervous of running alone (I've done all of my long-distance races with Thai Guy) but I was just happy to be running!  No jitters. No goals that I was stressing over.  I felt good!  Here's a pic Thai Guy took of me before I left. Rocking the shamrock socks and Bondi band. (By the way, I was the only racer to sport Shamrock wear. What's up with that?)

     Not sure why I'm not looking at the camera.
    I live only 5 minutes from the race start so I quickly drove over leaving myself only a few minutes of having to stand in the cold before the race started.  It was really cold!  I probably should have worn pants but then no one would see my awesome socks! 

    As I was standing waiting for the race to begin, I heard someone call my name and I knew it had to be Whitney, a bloggy friend that was running Shamrock, too. Let me tell you, Whitney is every bit as cool and friendly as she seems in her blog.  It was great meeting her and I'll plug in a pic of us as soon as she posts it on her blog and I can steal it.  (I didn't have my camera with me!)  We chatted for just a minute before the race start, gave each other some last minute encouragement and then we were off!

    Miles 1-5

    I took off at the start of the race and quickly settled into a good pace.  I was pretty much trying to keep up with Blue Jacket Lady.  She seemed to be running a similar pace and was steady so she was my pacer, whether she knew it or not.  There was also this little, bitty, gray-haired guy (about 5 feet tall) in a blue shirt running in front of me.  I was amazed with his quick turnover. Those tiny legs moved fast!  As this wasn't a very big race (98 runners), there wasn't a lot of passing or being passed and I was with Blue Jacket Lady and Tiny Guy the first 5 miles.  A couple hills in there but nothing noteworthy.

    Miles 6-10

    Soon after the 5 mile marker, I passed Tiny Guy going up a slight hill.  He stayed right with me, though. I could see his shadow.  Blue Jacket Lady was still up ahead.  There was a water stop at mile 6. She stopped and walked a minute.  I had my drink with me so I ran on ahead.   Hmmm, now what am I going to do?  Well, not even another 1/2 mile later Tiny Guy passed me again and I figured I'd better try and keep up. :)  It was about this time that I realized that I just might be able to beat 2 hrs in this race and maybe by a pretty good margin.  That definitely put a little pep in my step!  There was one steep hill at about mile 8 that was tough! Definitely the worst of all the hills.  Just after that there was a gravel road for about half a mile. (Seriously! What is up with all the random gravel roads in my recent races?!)  I had to watch my feet but I was still able to keep my pace under a 9 min/mile.

    Miles 11-13.1
    7:58 (.18)

    The last 2.1 was all downhill or straightaways which made a negative split pretty much a guarantee.  Don't you love downhills?  My legs love downhills!  Some people hate them and say it hurts their knees but I really love them.  I lean into them and go as fast as I can. Felt so good!  I have to admit, though, that the last 1/2 mile before the final push was pretty hard. I think I had mentally finished the race already so my body felt like it should be done. Make sense?  Anyway, I came around the final bend and saw the race clock. It said 1:55:11 and I thought, "Holy crap! I'm going to finish in 1:55!!!"  I kicked it in for the final push and finished in 1:55:29!!!

    I was so thrilled and excited I could hardly contain myself!  Sadly, there was no one waiting at the finish line for me (Thai Guy had to stay home to tend to a sick birthday boy) but Tiny Guy struck up a conversation with me and talked about how I pushed him.  He was a really nice guy.  His daughter was about my age.  She was there supporting him.  I told him it was my first sub 2hr finish and he said that it was a tough course to get a PR on.  Thanks Tiny Guy, I think I'll call you Nice Guy now! Ha ha!

    I watched the racers finish and cheered Whitney in. She did awesome, by the way. You'll have to check out her blog to find out just how well.  I chatted with her and her husband for a few more minutes and then came home to get the house clean and ready for Firstborn's birthday party.

    This is how I felt the rest of the day.  So happy to have gotten to run in spite of my dumb body, thrilled to have gotten under 2 hrs and stoked to have another half-marathon under my belt. It was a great day!
    Can't wait to read about all the other races from this weekend!

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    And the winner is...

    First, let me say "Thank you, everyone!" for supporting me in my new passion. You have all made a difference already just by helping me spread the word of Train 4 Autism. Sam from Operation Jack refers to his work as throwing out darts. You never know which ones will land.  I'm pleased to know that you guys helped me to throw out lots and lots of darts into the blog world, on Facebook, on Twitter and however else you've helped.  You all rock my shamrocks! Thanks so much!

    Now onto the my very first giveaway winner...

     74 entries. came up with #46 and that leads us to none other than 
    Congrats, Marlene! I believe you have my email address already so email me your address and I'll get your prize in the mail right away!

    "No one can whistle a symphony.  It takes a whole orchestra to play it."  ~H.E. Luccock
    Thanks to you all for being my orchestra and playing this tune along with me! MWAH!
    Back on Sunday with a Shamrock Half race recap!

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Two Things Tuesday

    Two things sounds short and sweet, right?! Well, it is short and sweet because I feel like a madwoman this week with all the party planning, house cleaning, hair cutting, cake making and general stress around here.  So, here's my leprechaun sized list for today.
    1. I'm doing the Shamrock Half Marathon this Saturday.  Yes, it's been just 2 weeks since my last half but this one is practically out my back door so how could I resist?  I'm excited for another shot at breaking 2 hrs and this run also qualifies me for the Half Fanatics club coming in on the Neptune level, which is 2 half-marathons in a 16 day time frame or 3 half-marathons in 3 months. So cool! Can't wait to join the ranks!
    2. Thank you SO SO SO much for all the support for my Train 4 Autism chapter and for Train 4 Autism and Operation Jack.  It's amazing to already be meeting so many people with stories to share. I truly have such a feeling of solidarity with the work they are doing.  Autism affects so many families and I feel blessed to be involved with doing some good on their behalf. 
    That being said, don't forget to enter MY FIRST GIVEAWAY for $25 to iTunes!! I'll be picking a winner on Thursday so you've got 1 more day to enter!  

    I leave you with a pic of my cute new socks (Target!) and Bondi Band that I got for the race this weekend.  Forgive the webcam pic. Thai Guy took the camera with him to scouts to get some pics of Firstborn's first day in Cub Scouts.  Can't believe my baby is old enough for scouts!  By the way, when you guys wear funky socks for races, do you wear your running socks underneath them?  I'm a little worried about the rotten cotton.
    Hot! ;)

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Big Announcement + My First Giveaway!!

    I told you before my trip that I had some big news to share.  And now that I'm back and have sorted out some of the details, I thought I'd let you know what I'm so geeked out over.

    Well... (drum roll please)

    I am now the Utah County Chapter President for Train 4 Autism  
    with the 1st chapter to be formed in Utah!

    Exciting, right?!  Now you are probably wondering- why Train 4 Autism? I think I'll explain in a list, since you all know I love lists. ;)
    1.  I don't really talk about my kids much on this blog (other than the random comments about how precious and exhausting mommyhood can be).  It's always just been a place to talk about running.  A getaway of sorts. However, in order for you to understand my interest in autism awareness you should know that my oldest son, Coleman, was diagnosed with autism in 2005, when he was just 3 yrs old. It is something that affects my life everyday. 
    2. There is a LOT going on in the world of autism,  from researchers looking for a cure for autism to dozens of different types of therapies to help children and adults living with autism cope in their daily lives.  With Train 4 Autism, you get to help fund the cause that is most important to you, be it national autism awareness programs or a local school in need of therapeutic toys. (<----This totally sold me. You get to pick the charity that you feel most passionate about.)
    3. Train 4 Autism is set up in such a way that- YOU choose the sport, YOU choose the race, and YOU choose the cause.  There is no other program quite like it.  
    4. Basically, the work that is being done by Train 4 Autism spoke to my soul. As a runner. As a mother. I knew I had to be involved. 
    I first heard of Train 4 Autism on Redhead Morgan's blog where she talked about Operation Jack.  Operation Jack is Sam Felsenfeld's journey to running 60 marathons in one year in order to raise awareness of Train 4 Autism's plight.  Amazing!  His own son, Jack, is his inspiration. This is from his website:

    After watching his son struggle day after day with his condition, Sam decided he wanted to do something to make a difference in his honor. His plan is Operation Jack. If Operation Jack succeeds, Train 4 Autism will grow and countless people living with autism — along with their relatives and friends — will benefit for years to come.

    How's that for taking action?!   Sam has dedicated an entire year of his life in order to help Train 4 Autism grow.  I am truly inspired by him and realize that if he can run 60 marathons in one year, I can certainly do my part by raising awareness in my own community.

    Ok. This is where I tell you about my first giveaway!  I've seen many people talking about the music on their iPods lately.  Seems like we're always looking for new songs to help us through our workouts.  Maybe it's spring fever.  I don't know but I do know that you could all use-

     $25 to iTunes!!!

    That's right! With $25 you could completely overhaul your playlists! Ok, well maybe not completely, but $25 worth of music is enough to run over an hour and a half while listening to all new tunage!  No more drudgery listening to the Rocky theme over and over and over.   Ha ha!  And if you don't have an iPod, I bet you know someone that does! What a great gift it would be!  (Have I sold you on it enough yet?)

    Here's how you gain entries into my giveaway:
    1. Become a follower here on my blog.  Leave a comment telling me you are a follower.
    2. Post this giveaway on your blog, on Facebook, or tweet it on Twitter. Leave separate comments for each one. (3 possible entries)
    3. Become a fan of Train 4 Autism-Utah County Chapter on Facebook HERE. Leave me a comment telling me you are a fan.
    4. Become a fan of Operation Jack on Facebook HERE. Leave a comment.
    5. Just SPREAD THE WORD!  If you do anything to spread the word of Train 4 Autism or Operation Jack, let me know in separate comments for extra entries!
    This giveaway is all about raising awareness.  There are so many people out there just like me that may want to be involved with Train 4 Autism but they have never had the chance to hear of it.  This is your chance to help out!  Even if Train 4 Autism isn't something you are necessarily passionate about, you never know which of your Facebook friends might see it and want to be involved so make some noise, friends!  Thank you guys SO much for your support.  I love all the friends I've made through this blog and feel blessed to share in all your journeys.

    I'll be choosing a winner for this giveaway, by random number generator, on March 18th- in one week!  Good luck!

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Red Rock 1/2 Marathon- Full Recap

    Thai Guy and I took the boys to Disneyland this past week and we decided to stop over in Vegas on the way home to Utah from SoCal to run in the Red Rock 1/2.  Part of me wanted to do the full but I knew after a week at Disneyland, I'd be running on tired legs. This race was put on by Calico Racing, the same race company that hosted our marathon in January.  I love their events even though they have a reputation for tough courses. I could tell by the course elevation map that this race would be a doozy but I love a challenge!  Here's a look at the elevation profile-

    Yes, you are seeing that right! 1000 ft. uphill in the first 9 miles, then a screaming 1000 ft. descent in the last 4.  It was the toughest race I've ever run.  Even tougher than my hilly marathon. That's serious!

    We got into Vegas on Friday afternoon and settled into our fancy-schmancy room at the Red Rock Casino Hotel and Spa. This place was nicer than any hotel room we have ever stayed in. Not that we've stayed in that many fancy hotels but the bathroom had leather walls for goodness sakes! And a TV by the tub!  I felt a bit like Elly May Clampett taking pictures of anything shiny.  "Garsh, y'all!" This West Virginia hillbilly is definitely easily impressed but I really think anyone would've been impressed with this place.  And we got a super discounted rate since this was the host hotel for this particular race.

    Anywho, the boys and I enjoyed relaxing at the hotel room while Thai Guy and his Dad tracked down a couple of MMA gyms hoping to meet Randy Couture and Wanderlei Silva.  He came back with a couple t-shirts but no luck meeting the fighters.  Seemed happy enough just to check out their gyms, though.  We took the boys to IHOP for some pancake carb-loading and got back to the hotel with just enough time to hit the slot machines with my mother-in-law before bed.  She gave us both $20 and I'm happy to say that I got up $6 and quit! That's right. I quit as soon as I get up at all.  I'm really not much of a gambler. That $26 paid for our food the next day! :)  I'm also very proud to announce that I GOT CARDED!  Hilarious!  Totally made my night.

    On to the race-  race morning I was feeling just a little nervous about my lack of water and proper nutrition in the week leading up to the race.  I brushed it off and decided to just do my best. No real time goals.  I wanted to PR but knew it would be a lofty goal on this course.

     At the start. Cold and excited.
    Because there was no parking at the start, we made our way to the front of the hotel to catch a shuttle up to the race start.  It was a bit cool but I knew the temp would be perfect once we started running.  We didn't stand around too long before we were called over to the starting line and after a couple quick announcements, we were off!

    Miles 1-5

    The first mile was weird because we started on a paved road and turned off onto a dirt road, went out about 1/3 of a mile and turned around, came back and continued on the original paved road. Very strange and scary.  I watched my feet the whole time while hopping around loose rocks.  I'd be a terrible trail runner.  I was sure that I was going to turn my ankle.  Thank goodness I made it back without injuring myself.  The next 4 miles were uneventful.  Uphill.  And you can tell which miles had the steeper hills from my pace.  I never train hills and I was regretting it.

    Miles 6-10

    Miles 6-8 I was thinking, "Ugh, where do the hills end?!"  The website had said 8 miles uphill and I specifically remember looking at my Garmin, still going uphill, at 8.5 miles.  Good thing Thai Guy is so good at hills because the only thing keeping me going was the fact that I didn't want to get separated from him.  He was truckin' up those hills and I was just trying to keep up with him.  Then, finally, the downhills!  I love running downhill.  Aaahhhh! Felt so good. And fast!

    Miles 11-13.1 (actually 13.2)

    Mile 11 had a little uphill in the middle of it but not too bad.  And the final two miles I just went for it!  I ran as fast as my legs would go and leaned into the downhills.  I ended up leaving Thai Guy those downhill miles because his knees aren't quite as forgiving as mine.  Those last couple of miles made the whole race worth it to me. I felt great!  I passed all kinds of people and I really made up for some of those really slow uphill miles which made me feel a bit better about my overall pace.  I finished at 2:05:02 on the Garmin and 2:05:01, official chip time.  Not even close to a PR but infinitely more satisfying than my PR half.

    Thai Guy finished at 2:05:30, so he wasn't far behind.  We got a quick bite to eat at the finish line and hopped back on the shuttle to get back to the hotel and relieve grandma and grandpa from their babysitting duties.  I took this pic of the vista while we were waiting for the shuttle.
    It was a beautiful run but I definitely didn't take enough time to appreciate the scenery. Most of the time, I was just trying not to die. Ha ha!

    Firstborn took these pics of us with our medals after we got back to the hotel.

    We are serious runners. Don't let this pic fool you.
    And the medal. Cool, eh?

    Oh, I almost forgot about the mini-meltdown. It was a strange thing for me.  I was so excited to have finished the race strong and I was talking to the hubby about it right after the race as we were eating our post-race pancakes and I just got incredibly emotional.  Not happy emotional, like sad because I spend so much time second guessing myself and beating myself up in my day to day life.  I am generally a happy person but I do doubt myself on almost a daily basis.  And that's really sad.  I don't like that part of me.  Anyway, in this moment, I felt sorry that I had wasted so much time being my own worst enemy.  Something about being physically exhausted really brings emotions to the surface, you know? Finishing this tough race proved to me that I can do it!  I proved to myself that I don't quit when things get tough.  It's like I had forgotten that girl existed and this race helped me to remember her.  It was a bitter-sweet moment.  Looking back on it now, I'd say I was just really proud of what I had accomplished.  Isn't that what racing is all about?  Reminding us what we're made of? 

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Red Rock Canyon Half Stats- quick recap

    The numbers-

    My official chip time- 2:05:01

    Overall place- 168 out of 596 runners (Thai Guy was 175)

    Age Group place- 27th out of 120

    Climbed 1000 ft. in the first 9 miles.

    Ran the last 2 miles at a well under 8:00 min/mile pace.

    Some more interesting numbers-
    5 people running in party hats.

    1 guy running with 2 beers.

    2/3 of the 1st mile on a dirt road with break-ankle loose rocks.

    1 miniature meltdown after the finish.

    0 sightings of the infamous Desert Tortoise.

    More tomorrow!

    Friday, February 26, 2010

    Mickey Says Relax!

    And that's exactly what I plan to do as soon as we get going Saturday morning!  Although, no relaxing yet and I'm quickly posting this at almost midnight Thursday night with one more day of packing, cleaning, entertaining, etc. before we leave.  My in-laws have been visiting with us all week so I've had no time to be on the computer although I've been reading everyone's blog posts on my Crackberry.  (Still haven't figured out how to post comments with that thing. It just won't let me!)  Anyhow, you guys have been writing your little hearts out this week. I'm lovin' it!

    Just wanted to quickly thank AJH, Heidi and Katye for some fun awards!  Heidi sent me this fantastic Sunshine Award that gave me warm fuzzies all over. Thanks Heidi!  Wish you were running Red Rock with me! :(
    AJH nominated me for this Gorgeous Blogger Award.  Too adorable for words. Love it! Thanks AJH!  You rock as much as age groups! ;)
    To accept the Gorgeous Blogger Award, I need to list 6 things about myself.  So, here goes. 
    1. Seems all my favorite posts are the ones that include lists.  LOVE the "random-things-about-me" posts! Probably because of all the weird things that people admit. Makes me feel normal. 
    2. It's so strange to be in my thirties. (I'm 32.)  I don't really think about it too much but occasionally I get a glance of a new wrinkle or a gray hair (I've got one total...and it's in my eyebrow of all places!) and it kinda freaks me out.  I guess I don't really have a grasp on it yet.  Just hoping to age gracefully.
    3. I just bought 4 shirts yesterday.  Got them all home. Tried them on again.  And took them all back to the store today.  Not really sure why I bought them in the first place.
    4. I am SO jealous of all of you who buy multiple pairs of running shoes!  I really need a new pair and have been putting it off because I haven't wanted to spend the money.  It just hurts my soul a little to cough up $100 for a pair of shoes. But I will.  And soon.
    5. I worked at Old Navy in Orlando one summer and I dressed up as the Old Navy dog for a celebrity all-star soccer game at Disney Wide World of Sports. Woof!
    6. My mailbox is falling apart and needs new screws. Has for the past 4 years. One of these days...
    So, there you go! Thanks again, AJH. That was fun!

    And last but not least, Katye nominated me for the Honest Scrap Award.  To accept, I must give you these scraps of honesty.  10 Bests.

    1) Best Meal Ever: There's no way to chose.  I've had lots of fab meals in my years.  Although, I have eaten at the Melting Pot a couple of times and that place never disappoints.  Fondue for two!
    2) Best Sleep Ever: Any sleep I ever got when my boys were babies.  Oh man, I don't miss the sleep deprivation.
    3) Best Cup of Coffee: I don't drink coffee.  Although, I sometimes wish they'd make a coffee scented candle because it smells SO good!
    4) Best Romantic Moment: When Thai Guy proposed.  He is not really the romantic type but he surprised me at work (Gold's Gym) and proposed in front of everyone. Such a sweet memory!
    5) Best Childhood Memory Moment: Any family vacation. My parents took us to Disney World nearly every summer from the time I was a baby.  Those were great times.
    6) Best Moment of Your Life:  Marrying Thai Guy.  Best moment. Ever. Well, and the moments my boys were born.  Now those are amazing moments! Meeting the little guys after carrying them for 9 months.  Thrilling.
    7) Best Moment of Revenge: Hmmm, nothing comes to mind.  Just have never been big on revenge, I guess.
    8) Best Thing That Someone Has Done for You:  Loved me unconditionally.
    9) Best Thing You Have Ever Done for Someone Else: Loved them unconditionally.
    10) Best Life Changing Moment: I want to say finishing my first marathon but I really think that the best life changing moment was actually finishing my first 5k.  It was that moment that gave me some faith in myself, in being able to achieve my goals.  It was that moment that made me want to be a lifelong runner.

    Thanks Katye! Love your energy girl! Wish I had just a smidgen of it. You are amazing! :)

    I'll be MIA for the next week but I'll be back with a Red Rock Canyon recap soon!  I also have some really exciting running related news that I can't wait to share!

    Nite all!  Better go put this young'un to bed.  Ha ha! I'm such a nerd.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    A new friend!

    When I joined Tall Mom's 1000+++ miles for 2010 club, I was thrilled to see a blogger that lived close by listed on the challenge spreadsheet.  Candice only lives about 15 minutes away so I knew I'd have to set up a running "date" with her.  (Totally reminds me of ESH's post about running partners HERE. Go read it. It's hilarious.)  I decided fairly last minute to run a 10k with a local running club this morning (which I've never done before) and asked Candice if she wanted to run, too.  After all, this gal was considering running with a gun, for goodness sakes!  I told her there's safety in numbers and all she really needed was a running buddy.  I was so thrilled when she said she'd be there. Yay! My first bloggy meet-up!

    Funny thing- I had such a hard time going to sleep last night because I was anxious about meeting her.  Would I recognize her?  Would she like me?  Would our paces be similar?  Would she bring said gun anyhow?  Ok, I wasn't really worried about the gun but I was nervous!  Even with all the silly thoughts, I drifted off into a deep sleep and woke up bright and early this morning feeling ready to run. 

    Thai Guy had decided last minute that he wanted to come, too.  My in-laws are in town and we really love having them around to watch the kiddos.  (We've paid sitters WAY too many times to go on runs together.)  Anyway, Thai Guy and I proceeded to the local running store to meet up with Candice and the other runners.  She must have arrived right after we did because she walked in the store only a moment later and I knew her right away. (Phew!) Tall Mom calls her Runner Barbie and it's well-suited to her. She's slender, blonde and a total running babe. (I can say that, right?)

    I was quickly struck by her friendly and sweet demeanor as we made some small talk while waiting for our run to begin.  I introduced her to the hubby and was super impressed when she called him Thai Guy. She does read my blog!  After a few minutes, we got our very confusing instructions (and maps) and headed on our way.  The miles went by really quickly as we talked...and talked...and talked some more.  I have to admit I did a lot of the talking.  Not because she didn't want to mind you, but because I just was spouting things out like a crazy person.  I was nervous!  And I wanted her to like me.  Anyhow, hopefully I was even the slightest bit charming and funny and not too, well, annoying. (There's a thin line, folks and I never know which side I'm on!)  I had such a great time meeting her and really look forward to having a new buddy to run with.  She's a peach!  Here's a pic of us after the run.  See?  Such a Barbie!  Thanks for the fun run, Candice!
    After our morning run, Thai Guy and I stopped by the grocery store to get some chicken for his mom's famous Thai curry.  While there, I snagged this yummy trail mix for breakfast.  I love yogurt almonds!
    So, all in all, great morning!  I tried running a little more on the treadmill tonight but only cranked out a mile before I felt like collapsing. I'm just tired!  I'll get back to it on Monday.

    Just one more week 'til Disneyland!!!  Two weeks 'til the Red Rock Half!

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    A lazy streak.

    "Ultimately, the best runners are the ones who are willing to work very hard but who have a little bit of a lazy streak in them."

    Benji Durden, Coach 

    I love that this quote validated my very lazy decision to skip my tempo run last week.  I had been feeling a bit guilty about it but no more. My laziness will make me the best runner I can be!  Thanks Coach!  Seriously though, I have definitely got a lazy streak in me lately!  Seems that I'm proving that with every day and every run that goes by without a simple bleep on the bloggy world radar.  Sheer laziness!  Well, I have been crazy busy with life in general, too. You know the usual suspects- running the kids here to there, cleaning the house in preparation of a visit from the in-laws (they come tomorrow!) and trying to squeeze in my runs in the absence of any real downtime.  Exhausting.  So, here's a little of my training thus far this week-

    Tuesday- long run- 12 miles- 9:28 pace

    I dropped Little Red off at preschool and headed out to blaze new (to me) trails.  My favorite local trail is closed due to the construction of a bridge (until Fall 2011 no less) so I'm looking for a new route for my long runs.  I ran about 6 miles around some neighborhoods north of here and started to get some IT band pain (dang road camber!) so I decided to head home a finish up on the treadmill.  Once I got home, I had done about 8.3 miles.  I jumped on the treadmill and ran the final 3.7 and rewarded myself with some slow, PAINFUL stretches on the foam roller.  Hurts so bad but gotta love the magic in that roller. I wouldn't be running without it!

    All in all, a good run but not a good route.  My IT band hated it.  I need to keep looking...

    Today's run- 3x1600 intervals- 8:27 pace

    Let me preface this by saying I never run in the early mornings.  Like never ever.  Well, maybe 7 or 8 am once in a blue moon but never 5:30-6:30 in the morning.  I'm just not a morning person.  That's why it's worth noting that today I ran at the morning!  Crazy.  You see at about 6:20 I awoke from this terrible nightmare (and of course, I don't remember even a bit of it now) and did not want to go back to sleep so I decided to go ahead and try to get in as much as my run before having to get the boys out of bed and ready for school.  I was dressed and on the treadmmill by 6:27.  My training plan called for a 20 min warm-up with 4x1600s at an 8:17 pace.  I knew I wouldn't have all that much time so I got in about a 5 min warm up and 3x1600s instead of 4.  And then a 5 min cool down.  So, a run that would've normally got me 7 or so miles ended up being 4.2.  I'll take it!

    The best part if having my run done before the boys got up?  While Little Red was at preschool, I went shopping.  For 3 blissful hours!!!  Maybe early morning runs aren't such a bad thing after all.

    My plans for this weekend include a 10k training "race" with the local running club + a couple extra warm up and cool down miles.  I've never met with this running club so I'm looking forward to it!

    Saturday, February 6, 2010

    My journey.

    Inspired by all the posts I've been reading about those bloggers out there who are on their own journeys to a healthy body, I thought I'd share my own journey.

    From about age 10 on, I was a chubby kid, as proven in my recently shared photo from 1990 here.  In high school, I thinned out a bit but was never really thin, just average.  Here's me circa 1996.  Pretty sure Sonic Youth would've revoked my fan club membership for this photo. So uncool, Alicia.
    I had been on the tennis team in high school but was not really very athletic.  It was fun but mostly just a social outlet for me.  I really knew nothing about exercise until I went to college. Once in college, I joined a gym and quickly became a gym rat and started shaping up.  This was great but I became too obsessed and quickly developed an unhealthy relationship with food.  I just didn't get it.  I was starving myself and ended up in the hospital twice because of what the diet pills I was taking did to my heart.  Crazy. Again, so uncool, Alicia.  Here's a pic of me at, oh, about 21.  (Barbara Streisand and I were just kickin' it at the wax museum in Vegas.)  Probably about 125 lbs. Totally appropriate weight but killing myself to stay there.  I didn't know how or what to eat and I was spending sometimes 5 hours at the gym a day.  Did I mention that I worked at Gold's Gym back then, too.  That gym was my whole life in those days.
    I soon met my sweet husband and we were married about a year later.  I felt healthy and happy but I still hadn't gotten a grasp on appropriate nutrition. About 140 here on our wedding day (Aug. 2000.)
    Right after we were married I started gaining weight.  I got a full-time job, stopped exercising and soon (within 2 months of our wedding) had my drug-addicted baby sister living with us as we tried getting her help.  I was super stressed and I ATE! Within a few months, I had gained about 15 lbs and was at about 155 lbs.  Here I am at about 155.  Firstborn was 2 here. He's now almost 8.  So, about 6 years ago.  I stayed at this weight (minus when I was pregnant) for about the first 5 years of our marriage.  I wanted to lose weight and tried several times unsuccessfully.  I just seemed to always end up back at 155.
    After Little Red was born (in Aug. 2005), I was hoping that some of the weight I had gained while pregnant would just melt off but 3-4 months after he was born, I still weighed 180 lbs.  Way too much for my 5'5" frame.  I remember the day this picture (with my Mom) was taken. You wouldn't guess it but I had a girdle on under that sweater, trying to suck it all in.  I felt so defeated.
    I was SO unhappy. I was taking care of a newborn, suffering from postpartum depression and my oldest had just been diagnosed with autism, which brought along a whole new set of struggles. My life felt really out of control.  And I was in a downward spiral. I had seen the doctor and he had given me a prescription for an anti-depressant.  I wasn't sure about getting it filled so I talked to Thai Guy about it.  He suggested that I exhaust all my other options before deciding to rely on a pill to make me happy.   I have to admit, I was disappointed at first.  I was looking for a quick fix but he was looking out for my best interest.  I'm so thankful that he gave me that gentle push I needed to take control of my life again.  I read Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Solution and began making small, healthy changes in my eating habits. We then bought a treadmill and I began run/walking while my baby napped everyday.  Within 6 months, I lost 50 lbs and had run my first 5k. I was finally feeling like myself again.  I was smaller than the day we got married! And that felt good! I began making time for me everyday and I was becoming the mommy and wife that I wanted to be.  It was like a revelation!  That was 4 years ago and I have been able to keep my weight between 127-135 lbs since.  Right now, I'm at 132.  This pic is from my half-marathon finish in Sept. (Also, 132 here.)
    I always have a goal to eat better or tone up or lose a little here or there.  My journey is not over. It continues everyday and I just feel so blessed that I've had the strength to make it to where I am now.  I would have never believed it if you had told 25 year old Alicia that I would be a marathoner at 32.  I'm so thankful for my body and that I have an opportunity to treat it the way it deserves to be treated.  I am healthy and strong and couldn't be happier with the direction I've chosen for my life. Life is good!

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Thank you, Tricia!

    I can't believe I won! Tricia from Endurance Isn't Only Physical has named me winner of this awesome Nathan hydration belt and I couldn't be more stoked about it. 

    If you haven't been over to Tricia's blog (who hasn't?), you definitely should!  She is an amazing mom who has lost 122 pounds (!) and continues to support her new healthier lifestyle by eating well and running.  She has a contagious positive attitude and seems to never let anything get the best of her.  What a great example to me of perseverance and optimism.  Thanks Tricia- for the belt and your shining example!

    I leave you with a pic of my view of my 4 yr old from the treadmill this morning.  He has a habit of getting in my bed in the middle of the night.  (I have to admit, I kind of love it.)  But I still had to run first thing so I hopped on the treadmill thinking he'd wake up pretty quickly.  My treadmill is not quiet. In fact, lately, it's been quite loud.  (In desperate need of a tune-up, I think.)  Imagine my surprise when he slept through the first 5 miles!  Somebody was tired! 
    Oh, and by the way, that is my Hello Kitty pillow. And, yes,  I am a child trapped in a woman's body. What can I say?

    I should really be in bed right now...

    ...but it's been almost a whole week since I've posted anything on here.  Since I always love reading lists in others blogs, here's a top five of my past week.
    1. Back from "vacation" and feverishly planning the next, which is Disneyland at the end of February/beginning of March, with a stop in Vegas on the way back for the Red Rock Canyon Half.
    2. Finally getting around to really planning out my race schedule for the next few months. You can see it in my sidebar.  Four half-marathons and the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay over the next 5 months.  Probably some 5 and 10k races sprinkled in there for good measure (and PRs, hopefully.) I'm also planning on volunteering at the Lake Chase Relay in May just for fun. I've never actually volunteered at a race and it's definitely time for me to give back a little. I'm looking forward to it. :)
    3. Had my yearly physical today.  I'm in good shape overall but will be anxiously awaiting my cholesterol test results.  I had my first high cholesterol reading when I was just 11!  And ever since, it has bordered on high unless I'm paying extra careful attention to my food choices.  I haven't been great lately but let's just hope I've been good enough. *crossing fingers*
    4. Thai Guy has been feverishly training for his first amateur MMA fight.  That means he's been hitting the gym twice a day most days and leaving me with little options when it comes to my runs.  I've been squeezing them in but usually on the dying treadmill, while my 4 yr old hangs out in my room watching cartoons.  I really need to get outside again, like, soon.
    5. I've run 74.9 miles since Jan. 1st (and that's with a whole week off post-marathon!)  I'm well on my way to 1000+ miles for 2010!
    Can't wait to see what everyone else has been up to in the last week but first- I must sleep! Until tomorrow!

      Wednesday, January 27, 2010

      enjoy your stay.

      I'm on vacation!  Well, not really vacation- more like the boys and I tagging along to Thai Guy's work conference in St. George.  But we get to stay in a hotel!  And I really *heart* hotels because I don't have to clean! No dishes, no vacuuming, no laundry. So, yes, this is a vacation- for me. Right now, Thai Guy is off listening to some boring keynote speaker and I'm lounging by the (indoor) pool with the laptop while the boys swim their little hearts out.  Life is good.  (I'll bet housekeeping is making my bed right now.  Bless them!)

      My absolute favorite thing about vacation?!  Running, of course!  There is nothing more fun to me than to find a new trail or a new route and to discover a town the way I like to- in my trusty running shoes!  After a less than stellar Saturday (low BP issues, more on that later), I was determined to be rested and well so that I could get a couple good runs in while here.  St. George is at least 10-20 degrees warmer than my hometown so I was looking forward to some warm-ish runs.  Sunday night, after a little Googling, I found that there is a trail head just about 1.5 miles from the hotel so Monday morning I got up, got dressed and headed to the trail.  I had 10 miles on tap but wasn't really sure how much trail I had to work with. I had to quickly decide whether to go left or right on the trail and after studying the trail map for a couple minutes, well, I realized that I couldn't really read the map so I went right.  My first thought, "Isn't it supposed to be warm in St. George?!"  I was freezing my fingers off!  I had gloves on but still my fingers were so cold that they hurt.  Like, really hurt.  Like, maybe-I-should-turn-around-and-go-back kind of hurting.  And the handheld I took with me was definitely not helping.  But, against my better judgment (of course), I trekked on.  I dumped out 2/3 of my drink out in order to save my fingers since just switching the bottle back and forth from hand to hand wasn't helping.  And neither was holding the bottle strap by one finger. Oh, and holding the bottle in one hand while warming the other one in my pants pocket was becoming potentially dangerous.  So, I dumped the drink. I had to. So much for staying hydrated on this run.

      Soon after dumping my drink, my fingers started feeling happy and I came across this cute bridge about 2 miles into the trail.  I stopped to take a quick pic and quickly continued on.  Not even 1/2 a mile later I was starting to feel a little secluded.  No one on the trail.  And every pile of rocks cave I saw on the trail made me feel like a wolf was going to pop out at me and bite me.  (Are there even wolves down here?)  So, I made the executive decision to turn around and head back.

      I got back to my car with only about 5 miles under my belt so I decided to try going the other way on the trail.  "Hmmm, maybe I should've gone left?" After a quick drink from my water bottle in the car, I headed out in the other direction.  Sadly, same story.  This time I got a little over a mile in before feeling "spooked" and heading back to the car.  So, my 10 mile run turned into 7.6 miles but I was okay with that.  Beats getting eaten by a wild animal, I suppose.  So, what did I learn about myself on that run?  That I'm way too neurotic to be a true trail runner.  I love trails but just the trails that are planked by neighborhoods and parks and civilization.  You know, where people will hear my screams for help.

      All things considered, though, I still had a great time enjoying the St. George scenery.  The red rock is really beautiful in it's own right.  And if all goes as planned, meaning I get chosen out of the lottery, I'll be running in this gorgeous scenery at the St. George Marathon in October.  *fingers crossed*

      Well, off to enjoy what I have left of my "vacation."  I'll be home soon and making the rounds to everyone's blogs.  I leave you with this question-

      Are you a neurotic runner?   
      (Please don't tell me I'm the only one or I'll feel like a total nerd.)

      Thursday, January 21, 2010

      Now that I'm a Mommy.

      I  know it's not Mother's Day but being Mommy is like 90% of my life so...

      a mommy inspired list.

      Now that I'm a mommy:

      1. I know the meaning of the word "ouch." (Delivered rugrat #1 with no epidural. Ouch, indeed. Makes me ashamed that I ever used the term before.)
      2. I only decorate with items that can't be broken.
      3. I have a new appreciation for abstract art and I display it all over my fridge.
      4. Exercise and "me time" have to go hand in hand because I have no time for both.
      5. I learned I can take a punch to the face. Who knew?
      6. I had to buy a steam cleaner.
      7. I will sometimes stay up way past my bedtime no matter how tired I am because it's quiet! Ahhh, I love those nights.
      8. I went from thinking that I'm a kind, patient person to thinking, "I've really got work on being more kind and patient."
      9. I can ignore crying, whining, etc. for hours on end. Doesn't phase me one bit.
      10. I get it! I get why everyone says, "It's the toughest job you'll ever love." Wouldn't change a thing about my life or my boys. Just to hear those little voices call me Mommy. What a blessing!

      Little Red, Firstborn and me last month on my birthday.
      Love, love, LOVE these little guys!
      (Even with all the pee on the toilet seat. The joy of boys.)

      Also, today was my first speedwork day on the new plan and I loved every second of it.  That's where I get my runner's high.  Going faster than I think my legs will let me. So fun!

      When do you get the runner's high?  Or have you never felt it?  I'm curious!

      Tuesday, January 19, 2010

      Back to it!

      Are there people out there that seriously take 3 weeks off from running after a marathon?  I took one week off and by Day 3 I was dying to get back out on the road.  I did wait a few more days, though, because of my poor aching neck. By Saturday, I was thrilled to get in a quick 3 miles before my pump class. The neck still hurt a bit but I think a run was exactly what I needed to loosen me up.  Ahhh, just felt right!

      However, after that one run without a training plan, I felt lost.  After just ONE run.  Over the past 5 months,  I've followed 2 separate training plans and now it's like I'm paralyzed without one! I ran for 3 1/2 yrs before ever having any type of plan.  Just ran when I felt like it.  Ran hard when I wanted to. Scaled it back when I needed to. Was just happy to know I was burning calories. Well, apparently that part of me is gone.  Now, I have to know that I'm building speed or mileage or my VO2 max (not that I really know what VO2 max is.)  I just need to feel like I'm working towards something.  Running for no reason makes me feel like I forgot something. You know that feeling when you leave the house some mornings- "I just feel like I'm forgetting something.  I can't think what it is but it's going to drive me crazy until I figure it out."  But still you leave and can't believe you are leaving without "it" even though you don't know what "it" is.  That's how I feel running with no plan.  Just not quite right.  So, in order to calm my crazy side,  I have signed up for my next race- Red Rock Canyon Half Marathon- and I have a new training plan. Yay for training plans!

      It's on the fridge and ready to go! In fact, I've already done the first 2 workouts so I need to get "X"-ing all over this bad boy. *sigh* All is well.  (Although, for some reason after uploading this I feel like maybe I should be doing the full.  But the race is at the tail end of our Disneyland vacay.  Not the sort of rest week you need before a full. I'm just aching to do another full!)

      A couple things about the race and training plan:
      • Red Rock Canyon Marathon and Half-Marathon is put on by Calico Racing which is the same racing company that organized my first marathon.  I can't tell you how much I loved the organization of that race. It was small but obviously put together by someone with a pure love of the sport.  I will go back for Calico's races again and again.  In fact, we already have plans to run in the Angel marathon again next year.
      • My training plan is from the Furman Institute of Running & Scientific Training (FIRST) and it's seems great. It's based on having just 3 runs a week- speed intervals, tempo and a long run.  This is perfect for me as I love my rest days and I've been wanting to get in more weight-training on my off days.  Can't wait to see how it goes!
      And I leave you with a pic of today's cheat- Lindt Dark Chocolate with Chili! Surprisingly spicier than I thought it would be but SO good.  Just what I needed today. 

      Have a happy week!!

      Friday, January 15, 2010

      It's Wayback Day!

      I've noticed over the past couple of days that a few of my friends have been changing their Facebook profile pics to younger pictures of themselves.  It's one of those "Post your pic and change your status to...etc., etc." If you're on Facebook, you know the drill.  They have been getting the expected, "You were so cute!" and "Love it! Such a doll!" kind of responses.  I thought about posting mine but decided against it because my pics are, well, not so cute!  But since I'm always up for getting laughed at, I thought I'd share with the bloggy world. Presenting Alicia- age 12, in all my chubby glory. Enjoy!!

      Don't you love it?!  It has all the makings of a perfect 1990 photo.  The sideways pony, the feathered bangs, a Bart Simpson t-shirt (yes!), acid washed jeans and don't you just want to pinch those cheeks! Ha ha! It's all too good not to share.  Hmm, interesting that I only have the proof.  I can't imagine why my parents didn't order prints...

      And for something a little running related- think you could finish a marathon after getting hit by a bullet at mile 10?! This guy did!

      Thursday, January 14, 2010

      Post-marathon Pick-Me-Up!

      I'm on Day 5 of marathon recovery and while my legs have been feeling great since, oh, like Tuesday, my neck still has me feeling like I'm walking around with my shoulders attached to my ears.  Thai Guy's new affectionate nickname for me- "Stiff Neck."  When he gets home from work, "How's it going, Stiff Neck?" and "What's for dinner, Stiff Neck?" Romantic, huh? How about "Can I get you anything, sweetheart?" "Want me to rub out that...Stiff Neck?!"  Well, to be perfectly honest, he has offered but what he does to my neck will surely injure it further so I settle for ibuprofen and a heating pad.  Anyone else ever hurt their neck/shoulder during a long run?  This is the 2nd time this has happened to me!  What am I doing wrong? Oh, and the running joke around here (which I love) is that I hurt it because I had to keep looking over my shoulder to see where he was during the race.  Ha ha ha! Probable, I guess.

      On to the pick-me-up! TMB @ Racing with Babes awarded me this Beautiful Blogger Award and it has really made my day! (Thanks, doll!)  In order to accept this prestigious award I must give you guys 7 random facts about me and then award 7 others.  So, here goes:

      1. I find it really funny that every time I mistype marathon (of which I do more often than not) it comes out marathong or marathin.  Totally something Freudian going on there.  Makes me laugh every time. Well, more like my head. You know.
      2. My mind goes blank in the middle of sentences sometimes.  I will just forget a word. Something simple like...flashlight. (Not that I talk about flashlights often.) It usually goes something like this- "I can't see. Can someone get me a, ummm, uhhh...." And I play some sort of impromptu charades to get my point across. It's ridiculous. It's frustrating!  (But actually pretty funny, too.) Just hoping this doesn't mean I'm headed to early onset Alzheimer's or something.)
      3. My name is pronounced- uh-lish-uh.  Just figured you should know.  Although, my Dad calls me "Leesh" with a think hillbilly accent.  Which leads me to-
      4. I grew up in the hills of West Virginia.  No, I'm not a coal miner's daughter but I am a hillbilly's daughter and I love going home to visit every summer. Being with my family just resets me and makes me feel comfortable and happy.
      5. I love to decorate cakes and I have a cake blog where I post pics of my cakes. Nothing else. Just pictures of cakes. If you'd like to see it, you may. Just click here.
      6. I love watching food shows when I'm dieting.  Somehow it calms my cravings. Right now I'm hooked on 101 Tastiest Places to Chowdown on the Travel Channel.  Food porn.  So good but oh so bad.
      7. I got hit by a car when I was 5. Don't worry. I'm okay.
      How do you like that for random?

      Now, I officially award the Beautiful Blogger Award to:

      Heidi @ One Step at a Time
      Casey @ VivaRunVegas
      Dorothy @ Mile Posts
      Mel @ Tall Mom on the Run
      Christy @ It Just Looks Like Slow Motion
      Julia @ Chocolate Shoestrings
      AND Anne @ Asthma and the Gift of Running

      Can't wait to read your lists!  Have a great day!

      Monday, January 11, 2010

      Running from an Angel '10- 1st Marathon Recap

      The other side! For weeks, months I sat here wondering what it will feel like to be on the other side of all the marathon training: all the fantasies of crossing the finish line, what it might feel like in the final 6 miles, the emotions I might feel as I gutted it out, and how happy I would be to finally say I'm a marathoner.  And here I am on the other side and it feels...AMAZING!!!  Our first marathon definitely had it's ups and downs (quite literally!) but Will and I have both come out on the other side feeling like we could take on anything.

      Here's how it all went down:

      Will, Dad, the boys and I traveled from Utah down to Boulder City, NV on Friday night, checked into our hotel room and headed out to IHOP for some pre-race pancakes, my carb-loading food of choice. (Love the Harvest Grain & Nut pancakes!)  We then went back to the hotel and settled in.  I set out our clothes and anything and everything we would need for the next morning's run.

      I felt surprisingly calm, no pre-race jitters, no nervous tics, no defeating self-talk. That's weird.  I always get nervous, even before short races.  I figured that maybe the nerves would come the next morning.  Fast forward to the next morning (after a terrible night's sleep on the brick-like mattresses at the hotel)-  I woke up at about 4:30 am. I tried really hard to get back sleep but just couldn't get comfortable.  I finally gave up at 5:30, even though the alarm was set for 6:00, and got up and got dressed.  I was still surprisingly calm and stayed that way the rest of the day.  I was a mess before my first half so I'm still not quite sure why I was so calm.  I was just happy!  I was excited to have the day finally here- the reward for all the hard work!  I knew that this day was going to be great- no matter what!

      We left the hotel at about 7:10 and headed over to the race start at Lake Mead N.R.A., which was about 5 minutes away.  We were there fairly early (8 am start) so we (well, my dad) took a few pictures.

      views of Lake Mead from starting area

      my race shirt

      Will and I with the boys with Lake Mead behind us.

      The race photographer getting ready to snap our photo. 
      I can't wait to see the pics that were taken out on the course!

      Friends from church who were running, too. Cami (first marathon), Will, me, 
      Jen (5th marathon) and Lisa (1st marathon.)  So great to have them there. 
      Made the run that much more special.  They all did AWESOME!

      Lisa and I.  Love this girl!

      Coleman and Cooper waiting patiently for the race to start. 

      Calico Racing sign. There was a 50 mile ultra, marathon, half-marathon, 10k and 5k 
      that morning and Calico seemed to have it all running so smoothly. 
      The race director, Joyce, was amazing!

      After snapping a few photos we all headed over to the start with just a few minutes before go time.  The race director, Joyce, gave us a pre-race talk (all 68 of us running the marathon that morning) and was sweet enough to mention my grandmother and the fact that we were running our first marathon in honor of what would've been her 86th birthday. There was also a guy there who was running his 200th marathon! Crazy!

      8:00 am- Go Time!
      We all lined up at the small starting line chute and we were on our way as soon as the race director yelled go!

      Starting the Garmin

      Bye, Dad!

      Miles 1-5

      Mile 1- 9:30
      Mile 2- 9:18
      Mile 3- 9:46
      Mile 4- 9:26
      Mile 5- 9:32

      We started out feeling fresh and happy to be finally meeting our goal of running a marathon.  I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face!  We were chatting with the people around us and the miles were going by smoothly and quickly.  The weather was sunny and beautiful.  Our pace was a little quicker than it would have normally been on a long run but we both felt we were taking it pretty easy so we stuck with it.  It was somewhere in this first 5 miles that we ended up running along with a few other marathoners and forming our own "pace group."  There was Eric (the triathlete from AZ), Ed (the marathon maniac from So. Cal.), Casey (a local marathoner working on getting her 3 marathons in 3 months to gain membership to the maniacs elite club), Mitch (another maniac who ran with us off and on) and another first-timer (I forgot his name!)  They were such a fantastic group! We were all super chatty which helped the miles fly by.  There were rolling hills in this part but nothing too hard. Which brings us to-

      Miles 6-10

      Mile 6- 10:10
      Mile 7- 9:24
      Mile 8- 9:42
      Mile 9- 10:33
      Mile 10- 10:54

      Still hammering it out here.  More rolling hills.  There were really NO flat parts on this course.  In fact, before we started the race, one of the other runners told Will, "You sure picked a hard one to be your first!" Yes we did!! You can see which miles had the uphills and which had the downhills by our mile splits. Anyway, I'm still all smiles at this point.  I'll spare you the suspense and just let you know- I smiled through this entire marathon! (This little tidbit will seem quite impressive a little further down in this story.) I was having so much fun just living in the moment.  Nothing could shake my positive attitude.  Will seemed to be doing well, too, but he was uncharacteristically quiet. I chalked it up to being in the zone or just enjoying listening to everyone else.  Our group was still all hanging in there together.  We learned so much about each other and about running from the experienced marathoners in the group.  Physically, I was feeling good. No aches or pains.  My wind felt great and I was thinking, "I'm going to finish this marathon easily!"

      Miles 11-15

      Mile 11- 9:47
      Mile 12- 10:40
      Mile 13- 9:38 (2:08:17 at half-marathon point)
      Mile 14- 10:19
      Mile 15- 10:58

      Mile 11 brought us down a fairly long hill where the road was pretty curved.  My ankles were bothering me a little until we got to where the road was a little more even.  We then preceded up a steep hill and back down the other side to get to the halfway turn around. We got there in just over 2 hours. We were on our way to the sub 4:30 time that we had set as our goal! And we were still feeling good!  I was drinking at every station and had taken 2 gels. My energy was high as we turned to run that 13.1 miles back the other way.  Mile 15 brought us to a steep hill (the same one that hurt my ankles on the way down) and this hill was brutal!  One mile uphill!  We managed to run up the hill with no stopping and were so relieved to get to the top!

      Miles 16-20

      Mile 16- 11:24
      Mile 17- 11:29
      Mile 18- 10:37
      Mile 19- 12:48
      Mile 20- 13:01

      Something changed in Mile 16.  Will started to slow down a little.  He was breaking away from the pack. I knew something was wrong but he said he was fine and continued on.  He didn't seem fine, though.  Our group had pretty much dispersed at this point.  All except for Ed (the marathon maniac from So.Cal.)  He and I were running a little ahead of Will only to look behind us to see him struggling.  He had put on his headphones for a little "pump up" music and despite his best efforts, took his first walk break between miles 18 and 19.  His left quad was locking up on him and had been for the past couple of miles. He was trying to hide it and continue but it was really hurting at this point. There was an aid station right ahead so we stopped for a moment to meet back up with him.  I was jogging just a little to keep my legs moving but Ed stayed back with Will.  Before I knew it, I was at least a quarter mile ahead of them.  I turned around to see Cami and Jen passing by Will and stopping to help rub out his thigh a little.  I needed to hold back and stay with Will.  I stopped and waited for him even though he was telling me to continue on. WHAT?! No way!! We were going to finish this marathon together, no matter what!  He started to get emotional because he felt he had let me down because he wouldn't be able to run the whole way.  He felt like he had failed me.  I assured him that I was more concerned that we finish the marathon together over anything else. Still, he felt a little dejected and I could tell. I hated that he was so worried about me being disappointed. One thing he didn't know was that what he would accomplish over the next few miles would make me as proud as I've ever been of him.

      Miles 18-20 were stop and go.  We would walk a little, run a little.  Ed continued to stay with us and coach us.  (By the way, Ed was awesome!  We seriously had our own personal coach out there!  He was running his 35th marathon and was a wealth of knowledge.  He talked to keep Will's mind off of the pain and continued to give him advice on how to push through. We loved Ed!  What a blessing it was to meet him out there on the course.)

      Here we are with Ed after the race.

      Miles 21-26

      Mile 21- 13:58
      Mile 22- 13:43
      Mile 23- 13:36
      Mile 24- 14:13
      Mile 25- 15:17
      Mile 26- 14:33

      This was gut-check time for Will.  He was not going to let this marathon (or his body) beat him. With six miles left, now both of his quads are locking up and the left quad is starting to get worse and worse.  What started at the bottom of his quad is working it's way up. He kept hoping that the walk breaks would loosen him up but no such luck. Running was excruciating for him but he still continued to push past his limits.  I started to get emotional watching him. Every step he took inspired me.  Amazing.  He kept running, albeit slow, and was determined to finish.  No matter how much his body screamed at him to stop.

      The Finish

      We had ascended the last small hill and were headed down the .2 to the finish line.  Ed ran on ahead of us to allow us to finish together. (And, as I learned later, to make sure that our family and friends would be ready to meet us.  My dad said Ed came across the finish line saying, "Who here is with a Alicia and Will?  Here they come!" Again- love Ed! Who, by the way, headed right back out to do the course again. Maniac indeed!)  Anyway, when we got close, I grabbed Will's hand and we finished together!  I was so emotional and so proud of my husband (and me!) for what we had just gone through together.  Truly a spectacular feeling to cross that finish line and to do it side-by-side. If a marathon is a great metaphor for life then it is truly fitting that I would be right by his side to the very end.  Our official finish time- 5:05:48.

      Here's some video of us at the finish line.


      Will was definitely in some pain as we finished. I got this still shot from the video.  A picture can speak a thousand words, don't you think?

      I was just grinning from ear-to-ear and happy to be done.  Will needed some time before he could be happy about it all.  :)  After a drink, some electrolyte tablets, and some chili (the post-race food was yummy!) he started to feel a little better and within a half an hour he was planning his comeback.  Another marathon? What?!  I thought he said this would be his one and only.  He said he just can't go out like that. So, we are already planning his comeback.

      As for me, my legs ached for sure but I generally, felt good throughout the race.  In fact, my only real pain is in my neck.  I guess I just kept my shoulders too tight.  My dad joked about how you never expect someone who has just run a marathon to joke about how much their neck hurts.  Ha ha! I guess that's true!

      Anyway, I'm hooked and ready to find another one to do this spring and perhaps in the fall, too.  I loved the whole experience.  Strike that, I hate that Will was hurting but I loved the marathon and everyone who was involved in it and all the ups and downs.  It was exhilarating!  What a great weekend we had!

      Thank you Running from an Angel Marathon! You may have been tough but you just showed us what we're made of!!!