Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snowball effect

I am having an incredibly grumpy Christmas Eve morning here at WORK and am trying hard to snap out of it. This snow is killing me. I've let it get in the way of my workouts (I was supposed to try crossfit this week, I was supposed to go for a long run, etc.) and I haven't been further than walking distance since last Friday but now it has gone too far. How the hell am I driving to my Mom's today?

I have to snap out of it. I am so lucky and so grateful for all the things and people in my life. Feeling like I am missing out on a run is a luxury. Going out shopping is a luxury. Going to spend Christmas with my family is a luxury.

I just need to figure out how to do it with minimal stress and maximum safety.

In my attempt to de-funk I have been listening to Christmas carols and leave it to Kermit T. Frog to remind me of the most important tenant of the holiday:

(You just always learn something from the muppets, huh?)

The Christmas Wish

Kermit: I don't know if you believe in Christmas
Or if you have presents underneath the Christmas tree
But if you believe in love
That will be more than enough
For you to come and celebrate with me

For I have held the precious gift that love brings
Even though I never saw a Christmas star
I know there is a light
I have felt it burn inside
And I have seen it shining from afar

All: Christmas is the time to come together
A time to put all differences aside

Kermit: And I reach out my hand
To the family of Man

All: To share the joy I feel at Christmas time

Kermit: For the truth that binds us all together
I would like to say a simple prayer
That at this special time
You will have true peace of mind
And love to last throughout the coming year

(flute solo)

And if you believe in love
That will be more than enough
For peace to last throughout the coming year

All: And peace on earth will last throughout the year


Maybe we should shut down the fire department in the name of water conservation.

Maybe the next time you call 911 the dispatcher should try to arrange a carpool for your ambulance to reduce your carbon footprint.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

08, you been great

2008 is well is winding up much faster than I thought it would. It has been a great year overall. I was introduced to a new sport (triathlon) which I have come to love, new friends (TNT and others) who I came to admire, and a new outlook on my life which I really have come to adopt.

I am still not sure what caused the temporary loss of sanity that allowed me to sign up for Team in Training in January but whatever it was I am SO GRATEFUL for it and hope that everyone has a moment where they err on the side of ridiculous and have it turn out for the better.

I would NEVER have thought I could train for a triathlon AND fundraise for a charity. It is just not my thing (for example I only got the lowest tier of prizes when we sold Girl Scout Cookies because I sold so few boxes). But the TEAM made it worth it for me to go outside my comfort zone and ask people to contribute. I learned enough about the LLS to feel really committed to the cause and I was SO proud of myself and my TEAM when I saw how much we money we rose. There is something about sweating with people at the crack of dawn on a Saturday that hastens relationships.

Running in 2007 made me feel accomplished but I still did hate running; triathlon made me feel accomplished but it was also FUN! I love that I got to swim again, I am ecstatic that I got back on a bike, and running has truly become a pleasure. I saw so much more of Seattle on my bike and learned that open water swimming (even in a lake) was fun.

Marathon training was a learning experience too. I think what I am the most proud f is not running the Tucson Marathon, it is devoting my Saturdays to running long distances, by myself, with no spectators or aid stations. Just me and my feet. Learning about how far I could go if I really tried.

I joke with friends that 27 is my year of yes. I want to keep myself open to new challenges and stepping outside of my comfort zone….it has taken me 27 years to realize that some of my greatest experiences have required pushing through boundaries.

8 from 2008:

  1. Signed up with Team in Training and my life hasn't been the same since.
  2. New job which has reminded me that I'm no slouch when it comes to my field of work
  3. Moving to Seattle which has let me try out the lifestyle I've always imagined for myself (I walk to work! Awesome!)
  4. My first triathlon which revealed a fascinating world that I've not even scratched the surface of
  5. Have fallen madly in love (with my iPhone…how'd I live without it before?)
  6. FINALLY voted for a winner in a presidential election!!!!
  7. Made a new friend who inspires me to have the courage to figure out what I want and take the necessary risks to make it happen
  8. I ran a freaking Marathon

Were there let downs in 08? You betcha. Could I have done more? Sure. Worked harder? Absolutely. (hehe, this sounds like Don Rumsfield (Sec. of Defense `01-`06)) But I have certainly gotten to the place where I can appreciate the highlights and take the low points as areas that need work.

I can't believe this year's almost over…bring on `09




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Alcatraz or not?

On a whim I entered the random drawing for a slot at Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in June.

And I got it.

Now, do I go for it?

it is a COOL tri to do
gives me a hard date and defined goal for early in the season
I'll feel like a jerk if I got the slot and don't take it

I would be racing alone :(
Cost? (nah, I could drive down and it would be a pretty neat trip)

Hmmm...I have until 1/9/09 to register.

Monday, December 15, 2008

World's longest race report, part 2: running

Marathons are butterflies and sunshine (miles 1-4)
A few steps into the race, I remember looking over to Speedy and saying with excitement and fear in my voice "We just started a marathon!" Carrying my iPhone was going OK so far and at 8am I got a reminder from my calendar that I was running the Tucson Marathon (it made me chuckle). The sun had just risen and the desert glowed in the morning sunlight. There were a few locals out and we waved and hammed it up for them. Around mile 3 there was a garage sale. They were selling a bike and I asked Speedy how much she thought it was going for (hindsight later made me wish we actually had bought it). We were holding around 10minute/mile pace which Speedy kept reminding me was too fast for us and for the first half but I FELT GREAT and just couldn't fathom why we would slow down.

Running is fun! (miles 5-9)
I honestly just felt in the groove here. The course was beautiful and I was just picking off the miles. I felt sort of hungry/rumbly in the tummy but I decided it was just nerves and I needed to relax and enjoy the run. Speedy and I were able to have intermittent conversation and wound up running with a woman who was also doing her first full. We all chatted for a bit which I thought was great since it meant we weren't pushing too hard in the first half (as per GuySmiley). Then I sighted the first porta-potty. I was happy to see it UNTIL I stepped in and saw that it was (so as not to be too graphic) left out of order by the previous user. Hmmm, OK, I said to myself, I'll use the next one. We had slowed a bit to a 10.5 min/mile pace which I was happy with.

Training has done me good (miles 10-16)
These miles were starting to be tough but I could feel all of the miles I'd put into training. My legs felt strong and I was THRILLED to be through the halfway point. The temperature was still pretty comfortable but I had heated up enough to the point where I had to ditch my fave fleece running vest. My stomach was feeling...heavy and a bit gurgle-y but otherwise I was having a great run. At this point Speedy tried asking me about my job and I could not for the life of me answer. I was looking forward to seeing some spectators at mile 18. This may be a time to mention the hills. This course was advertised as a downhill course but they failed to mention that there were PLENTY of rollers to contend with. I was also feeling the pavement a bit since I had been training on a mix between pavement and dirt, the slope of the road was also a bigger deal than I expected and the sligt curve was making me a bit uncomfortable.

Why I should never listen to SpeedyDMD (miles 17-18)
Mile 17 is where my stomach started yelling at me. I was so sick to my stomach. My feet were performing fine but my innards were rebelling! I didn't know what to do. Speedy wasn't feeling too hot eaither, her legs were hurting and she wanted to walk. My idea was that we try to get to mile 20 running and then figure out our next move but in teh middle of mile 17 my stomach was so upset I had to walk. Speedy was glad for the break but we were both slightly freaked. We made a plan: we would run to the mile markers for the marathon then walk the 0.1mile between the marathon and half marathon marker.
So we did...

1st Marathon DNF (mile 19)
Mile 19 I was SO SICK. I didn't know what to do. I used a porta potty again and tried to breathe through it a bit. I was scared though. As much as we joked about not finishing I honestly never thought I wouldn't. I always felt like I would cross the finsih line on my own two feet. As much as I joked about dying on the course I never really thought I'd have to be driven back. But at mile 19, I did. I just didn't know how to make myself feel well enough to run anymore.
But Speedy started running at the mile marker and so did I and once I got running I could maintain it. So we carried on like that, I would keep us running then we'd walk that 0.1mile and she would get us going again. I have never needed a friend as much as I needed her that morning and I felt like she needed me too. It helped a lot.

Why I should never listen to SpeedyDMD, part 2 (miles 20-23)
Here is where I started getting mad. I was pissed at the freaking race. the was NO WAY I was going to let it defeat me...I am WAY too stubborn for that. I wanted to just get it behind me because it was really annoying me to no end. I was mad that I had spent so much energy being sick to my stomach when my legs were performing exactly as I wanted them to. I was mad that I couldn't get myself back on track physically or mentally. I was just mad.
Si Se Puede (miles 24-25)
Here is where we realized it would take a miracle to finish under 5hours. For me this was deflating, fopr Speedy it motivated her (we would have had to do the last 2.2miles in 18minutes in the condition we were in). But I did relish in the fact that the home stretch was in front of me and I had come WAY too far not to just figure out a way to finish. Speedy's bpyfriend caught up with us and ran with her, which mad eme smile and gave her a bit of a kick and we seperated for the first time that day.

Did I accidently sign up for an ultra? What if mile marker 26 never comes? What if I throw up and die with less than 1/2mile to go? (mile 26)
OK, I started feeling defeated again...WHERE WAS MILE 26? I started walking around 25.7miles and was inconsolable until I saw mile marker 26.

HOLY CRAP (and please don't pass out right after crossing the finish line)! (mile 26-26.2)
Jubilation, I ran that mother in. Speedy had finsihed ~1minute ahead of me and we smiled and took breathless pics. We did it! It wasn't perfect and it wasn't pretty but it really did feel sweet.

Stats and deep thoughts to come tommorrow.

World's longest race report, part 1: pre race

**the focus on food will become clear later
Thur, 12/4/08: Left work at 4:45 for my 6:30pm flight to Pheonix. Grabbed a burrito at the airport and hoppend on a plane to get my marathon adventure started!
Saw Buddy1 for the first time in a year. SO GREAT!

Fri, 12/5/08: Bagel for breakfast then spent the day shopping and hanging out with my buddy and her girls. We got costco for lunch (which is my FAVE!) and hung out waiting for buddy2 to drive in from CA. We held dinner for her and by the time the tortilla soup was served I was FAMISHED.

Sat, 12/6/08: Up, grab a bagel and ready to head over to Tucson. Before we left I was saying goodbye to buddy1's girls. The 2 year old asked me where we were going. I told her that I was going to be running REALLY far the next day. She thought for a second and then said, "maybe you can borrow my mom's car!" Ah, from the mouths of babes comes true wisdom.

I bought myself and my 2 college buddies tickets to the pasta dinner where we were going to meet up with Speedy and her man. As per usual at these events the pasta dinner is an early bird special and started at 5pm. My friends wanted to skip lunch and wait until pasta time before eating; there was NO way I could make it that long so I insisted we stop and I grabbed a bagel and latte at the 'Bucks.

We found our hotel which was super nice, a great pool and sauna (which we did not use) and fire pits outside the bar area. Then it was time to see SpeedyDMD and meet her new beau. She looked great! And, even better, she felt good. Her foot wasn't hurting and now we could focus on the sheer terror of running a marathon.

We hit up the expo and chattered about our fueling regimines. I said these words "I think I have come to the conclusion that fueling is not as important as it seems, I did my 18miler without anything and felt fine."

Then came the pasta dinner. We LOVED our pasta dinner experience from last year so we went into it with high expectations.
IT ROCKED! GuySmiley, the M.C. was there again and there was a guest speaker. We sat at a table with a creepy old guy (we both thought so) and a creepy younger guy (although I think he was just hard of hearing or uninterested in our witty banter). Then we got showered with love and a door prize for being 1st time marathoners! There were games and questions and a lot of emphasis that on this course you MUST take it easy in the first half and try to have a negative split (cue music indicative of something important). As the place cleared out we got personal good wishes from some hottie Canadian runner boys and I thought, "too bad they'll be finished and home and showered before I get to the finish line...on 2nd thought, better that they don't see me post marathon."

My Buddies wanted to rush back to the hotel to do nothing which bummed me out and made me sit around being nervous. I pinned my bib on, attatched my timing chip and laid out my clothes. Then we decided to go sit around the cute fire pits at the hotel to kill time before I went to bed (SpeedyDMD slept at her own place). Sleep was good and I sprung out of bed at 4am, threw on my clothes and went to the lobby to wait for Speedy. But instead she called me sounding frantic! She lost her timing chip! She was freaked!

We SEARCHED her car and all her bags and I emailed the race director in vain hopes that she has a fancy pants phone too. But alas...nada! The line to park was a mile long and not moving so she dropped me off and I jogged (ugh...just shows I love her cause I was NOT planning on doing a warmup mile!) to find a race official. When I did he basically told me she was screwed. We boarded the bus, dejected. I was sad that Speedy was sad. We attempted to make the best of it and decided to run together and then my time would be her time. I was scared about this plan. She had finished the 1/2M 25minutes ahead of me the year before (I was ~2min/mile slower than her...hence her nickname) but I felt like we could give it a try and if she needed to leave me she was free.

At the start line we went to the stage and Pam Reed herself relived all of our stress by getting Speedy a new chip and a new perspective on the day.

We were ready!

We hit the porta-potties (where sadly I had performance anxiety) and dropped our gear.

As I ran I kept rewriting the tittle of my race report, so I will break the report down into those discreet segments:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Self-esteem of the Rich and Esteemed

I just read this article about Oprah's most recent weight gain and it makes me so sad and somewhat upset and somewhat relieved.

Whether or not you drink the Oprah Kool-Aid you have to admit she is pretty BAD ASS. She is a powerful and influential woman who drives her own agenda and has used her success to better the lives of others. But even she feels ashamed of herself and uncomfortable with her body. Even for her, what historically/biologically, is a basic need for all living things, food is a demon. If Oprah were my friend I know I would be so sad that she let her body image cloud the amazing person she (appears) to be. I would be livid that something as simple as her weight made her feel ashamed even for a minute.

It upsets me that we've been pestering this poor woman about her weight for >20years and that some people almost revel in the fact that All-Powerful-Oprah can't get her weight under control. I hate how women treat each other and themselves. A firend and I discussed the other day how absolutely shocked we are that friends don't consider themselves beautiful yet, if you asked me about myself, I would NEVER describe myself that way either. It disgusts me that when insults fly one of the first and often most hurtful thing a woman gets called is FAT. How did that become a slur?

I'm relieved because it reminds me that weight is a struggle no matter who you are. I need to stop wishing that I could have a different body and remember all of the incredible things I can do with the one I already have. I guess it is also nice to know that we are all works in progress, even when someone looks completely polished.

So Oprah, my fellow marathoner (hehe), stop being so hard on yourself.

Disclaimer: I have never been an Oprah fan specifically, I've not ever seen The Color Purple, I don't reader her books and I've never been a regular Oprah Winfrey Show watcher.

Back to normal except for

I have now RUN a MARATHON!!!

Had some unexpected technical difficulties toward the end (ok, last 9 miles or so) but I am still very happy to be a part of the marathon club.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Well, I leave for AZ in 8.5hours and I must say…I am tired.

I feel kind of numb about the whole situation. It feels like it has been too long since my 20+ mile runs and I just am scared that my body will let me down or worse that I've not prepared it the way I should/could have.

It doesn't help the situation that I have a weird mucus-y throat and am just overall not feeling 100%. I am also not excited that they are calling for a high of 73F on race day.



I am so excited to get down to AZ and see my friends and one friend's little girls. They are such little characters and I love hearing her talk about them. They were so fun to be around last year and I can't wait to see them again. 1 year is a LONG time in a 3 year-old's life. Then we get to drive to Tucson and I sprung for a pretty nice hotel that I am jazzed about. SpeedyDMD will be there and we can snark away at the pasta dinner.

My playlist is established, though I never figured out how to link 2 tracks together so that my podcasts will play continuously. I brought my old nano as a back-up iPod.

Shoes, hat, sports beans, vest, shorts, jogbra, shirt are all packed and raring to go.