Monday, December 31, 2012

The Quiz: version/366 days of fabulousness

The annual year-in-review.  2012 style.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
Ran a half-marathon, visited the Bahamas, shot a gun, did some freelance writing

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No resolutions for 2012=no resolution failures.  I want to run a sub 3:50 marathon, but we'll see.  I'll be happy to run/jog/walk/stumble across the finish line for #5. 
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not this year.  Lots of friends and acquaintances preggo though.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no funerals this year.  A friend of a friend passed from cancer this year, but I dodged the death thing in 2012.

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
More motivated running, a maid service, more time spent with friends (always a wish!)

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
September 4th--the day I started a new job after 8 years at the same company and my first 'real' job.  It was sad and exciting at the same time.  I loved working for WS and actually exclaimed many, many times how much I loved my job.  But some ugly stuff happened in the final months and I had to stop making excuses for being miserable and start being brave.  For the record, it was bittersweet, but absolutely the right choice.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Changing jobs

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not believing in the beauty of my dreams

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A food poisoning incident in July that I actually left work early and missed a day for (ugh!!!) and a rolled ankle that kept me from running for a long weekend.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
An awesome vacation with my friends.  Plane tickets to Grandma's 90th birthday party.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband. Always. For putting up with my girlish drama, for making me laugh, for being ridiculously sweet, and for loving me unconditionally.  I didn't know you could love so much more after the butterflies subsided, but I'm pretty thrilled that I get to love more with each passing day.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Nothing changed from last year (or any previous year): "The rude and angry public that lack manners."  I'm too classy to name other names. Ha!

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, groceries, date night, the cruise bar tab.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The cruise, the epic rafting/shooting range/bowling/party weekend, a new job, Grandma's 90th, meeting a real live Loopster (aka Flying Tomato), running marathon #4/half-marathon #1, the Olympics

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
"Call Me Maybe", it' okay to judge me

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? H-A-P-P-I-E-R
ii. thinner or fatter? same-ish.  I dunno, not as toned, but not as girthy? who cares, except me?
iii. richer or poorer? richer--Adam and I got new gigs with mo' $$

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Not too much.  I don't have too many regrets about time spent in 2012. 

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Getting up at 4:30am.  Waiting for life to change me instead of me changing my life. Worrying, always worrying.

20. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Never fell out of love....

21. How many one-night stands?
Zero, that same guy keeps sleeping in my bed :)

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Parenthood, New Girl, 90210

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Yes, but classy broads never name names.

24. What was the best book you read?
"Born To Run", the Hunger Game trilogy

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Pandora streaming on my phone

26. What did you want and get?
A Vitamix.  It still is awesome almost a year later.

27. What did you want and not get?
A Dyson.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Yes, I'm 30 and yes, I liked the final Twilight movie.   

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude, it was epic.  I was on a Bahamas cruise with a few of my besties and my awesome siblings.  I ran a 30K for being 30 in the morning, chilled during the day, and had a crazy awesome evening with formal night and birthday shots.  I am pretty sure that it was the most fun one is allowed to have.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being at peace with myself about the choices I make.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
I finally bought a pair of skinny jeans and slouchy boots.  I bought 6 v-neck t-shirts in assorted colors from Target that are staples in my wardrobe.  Lots and lots of running clothes.

32. What kept you sane?
Running, shooting a gun, making new friends, wine

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Oh my.  I'm just happy my candidate won.  The only other great things to come out of election year 2012 were the awesome Google chats/Twitter feeds.  I love technology!

34. Who did you miss?
Seeing my besties every day.  But that just makes our interactions that much sweeter.  Love all of you!

35. Who was the best new person you met?
Flying Tomato-he allowed me to be comfy with a running friend and coerced me into a half-marathon. 

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
“I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we're all cowards.” -Alberto Salazar
Change is good.
Eat more kale.
Stepping away from what's familiar can reap valuable rewards. 
My brother and sister are siblings, but they are also great friends.  I'm lucky like that.
Each year, I do a lot of dumb stuff (it's fun!!!!!!!!!!!), but I also continue to gain a little wisdom with my age (wahoo!!!!!!!!!!!)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Loopster inspiration and I hope I got my cootie shot

Biscuitpusher's Christmas calorie contest has kicked my running into high gear this week.  Nothing like a little friendly competition to get me out of a funk.  I'm so far away from winning the awesome prize, but I am totally enjoying the daily posts.  Having the The Loop makes me relatively accountable for my running, like weekly-ish.  Loopville makes me think about it more often--I see it throughout the day on FB, but I don't feel the need to contribute every day.  This calorie contest is 'forcing' me to contribute every day and I definitely don't like the goose egg days.

I am normally a run every other day kind of gal.  Or 4 days a week if I am marathon training.  I just have never felt compelled to run each and every day.  I love running, but hey, I love rest days too.  Most weeks I run 25ish miles, always more than 20, but rarely in the low 30s.  However, this week, I am at 34 and I still have 1 more day left.  And I am still excited to run!!!!  I don't think I could get this excited every week in a contest as the novelty would wear off, but I am enjoying this novely.

Monday, I ran 16 miles on the dreadmill, or as one of my FB friends said, in the pain cave. It was thunderstorming all frickin' day.  Tuesday, I Christmas-ed (booze + caloric-laden food=no running).  Wednesday, I ran 3 easy miles.  Thursday, I ran a hilly 8 miler.  Friday, I felt sickly so I rested.  Today, I ran 7 miles.  And today's run wasn't that terrible--I felt sluggish on the first mile, but then I settled into a comfy pace and felt pretty good.

Tomorrow I plan to tackle the onerous task of taking down the Christmas decorations.  Ugh.  Although, I must admit, I really love getting my house back after the holidays.  It's just a pain because it takes a few hours and Adam is super busy this week with everyone trying to use their flex spending for eyeglasses.  He's working 2 6-day weeks and he's feeling sickly so I'll be the nice wife and let him off the hook for Christmas un-decorating.  Poor guy was all NyQuil-ed up last night and I had to sleep in another bedroom so I could get some peace and quiet.  Hopefully, the worst of it is over and he keeps all the cooties to himself.  Yuck!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Awesomeness might happen in the next 11 days

I see the 2012 recap bandwagon....and I am just going to lollygag behind it for another 11 days.  I mean, I still have 11 more awesome days of 2012 to enjoy and some pretty great things might happen.  Probably nothing earth-shattering, just mildly amazing, but hey, I'm a newfound optimist.  Only took me 30 years to become one, but being one is pretty rad.

I ran 7 miles Tuesday night, 3.5 miles last night, and 5 miles tonight.  Getting out of bed has been a struggle ever since I started enjoying my cushy new gig.  This time last year I was getting up at 4:30am on a regular basis to get to work by 6am.  Now I'm lazily hitting the snooze button 3 times at 7am.  Oh well, I suppose as long as I know the price I pay for evening running. 

It hasn't been that bad actually.  Tuesday night's run was great.  Yesterday was not too shabby either.  Tonight, I felt a little sluggish getting into the first mile, but then I started to feel good again.  The top of my foot is still sore from dropping a 150 pound artificial tree directly on the top of it a few weeks ago.  I think I must have bruised the bone.  Maybe.  All I know is that it is still nagging me. 

In non-running news, I must say that it is super weird to not feel overwhelmed and exhausted with the month of December at work.  I am actually getting sleep, not eating Peppermint Bark for meals, and feeling like I am not super stressed about getting it all done.  Look! I even have time to write a blog! 
The best news? I have Christmas Eve off! How great is that?? I cannot remember a time in the past 10 years that I have had both days off.  I will probably just putz around the house in my pjs all day, but whatever...  I'm just thankful that I took the leap of faith and stepped outside my comfort zone.  Sometimes the grass can be greener.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Strategy for #5, aka learning from my dumb mistakes

After my 12.12.12 run, I decided to just stay with the status quo this week.  I ran an easy 5 on Friday night and an easy 6 this morning.  Friday's run was meh, but luckily today's was a little better.
I'm still a couple of weeks away from official marathon training.  I get nervously excited about raring back up each January for the March race.  I am hoping that I continue to learn what works and what doesn't work with my training and racing.  As I've said before, I am going to work on 3 things: slower long runs (no more faster than race pace 20 milers!!!), hill training, and strength training. 

We'll see if the combination gives me a PR or not.  At this point, I'm not really gunning for a PR on this course.  I think if I had good training and a good race on a flatter course, I could shave some decent time off my PR.  However, this hilly beast is difficult even under good conditions.  I'm hoping for good weather and for my body to cooperate.  Otherwise, I will just try to relax and enjoy the sweet reward of another 26.2 on the books.

Adam's birthday was yesterday and we celebrated by going to The Capital Grille.  We ate waaaaaaaay too much, but it was super delicious.  I had calamari, a blue cheese wedge salad, filet oscar (yum!!), creamed corn, truffle parmesan fries, and chocolate hazelnut cake (double yum!!).  We split a bottle of shiraz that both of us really enjoyed.  I've been drinking a lot more pinot lately, but I will always have a place in my heart for the full-bodies. On the way home from dinner, we cheesed out singing along with Christmas songs on the radio.

All that fatty, yummy food caused some serious snooze button issues this morning.  I was so groggy and did not want to get up to run before work.  I was really on the verge of not running, but I knew I would regret it.  Once I got going, I was (of course...) happy that I decided to get my lazy butt out of bed....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

You runners and your silly peer pressure!

It only took me 10 minutes to get to the 'New Entry' button.  Stupd %*)$#* pluck! Gah!!

But now I'm here.

I ran 7 miles yesterday.  Easy breezy.  I felt pretty good.  About 7 on the body/mind cooperation scale.  I was running a recovery pace so I was hoping to just finish my run without issue.
Today, I was driving home from work and thinking, 'hmm, I could go for a run before Adam gets home'.  I thought if I ran a little tonight and a little tomorrow night, I could split my usual run up.  I decided that I would run 3-4 tonight and 3-4 tomorrow night.

And then I started looking at FB while I was waiting for the dogs to do their business.  All the runner peeps were posting about their 12.12.12 runs.  I didn't really think about it too much at the time.  I put my running gear on, plugged into Pandora's pop fitness station (oh yeah!!), and decided I would do a little speedwork session.  The original plan was 2x1600 with a 1 mile warm-up and 0.5 mile cool down with a 0.5 mile recovery run in between.  4 miles, math majors.

1 mile warm-up at 6mph (10:00/mile).  Then 1 mile at 8mph (7:30/mile).  I was feeling sluggish by the end of the mile so I changed my tune.  I ran the next half mile at 6mph and then another half mile at 8mph.  By this point, I had finished 3 miles.  I liked this 800 on/off thing and decided I could run longer than I planned.  6 miles sounded great and I started to cool down for less than a quarter mile. 

Too much thinking in that cool down led to me deciding that another mile and a half would be doable and I could attain the awesomeness of completing a 12K.  Sweet.  I felt pretty good at the end and I was happy I decided to go a little further.  Yay for good kinds of peer pressure!!!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy 90th Grandma!

My one and only alive grandparent turned 90 this past Saturday. For the past year and a half, my family had been planning to spend the long weekend in Salina, Kansas to celebrate her birthday. On Friday morning, Adam and I, my mom and her boyfriend Bobby, my sister and her boyfriend Tim, and my brother headed to the middle of America.

Grandma is still completely lucid and in fact, is quick to snap back with one-liners that can erupt an entire room into laughter. Unfortunately, she has weakened a bit physically and we finally convinced her that perhaps she was old enough to use a walker and have a Life Alert (help! I've fallen and I can't get up!) subscription. The first hour we were at her house we got her all set up with her new 'toys'. It was sad at first until we saw how much happier she seemed to be scooting around the house with her walker.

But I digress, the weekend was really fun and full of an appropriate amount of celebration in her presence. And a little extra for the 'kids'. cheers

Friday, Adam had to go to his favorite Salina establishment: The Cozy Inn. They've sold little onion-y slider-sized burgers since 1922 and are a must-stop on every visit. Or 3 times, if you are my obsessed husband. That's right, he at Cozy burgers on Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday.

We spent the rest of Friday afternoon visiting with Grandma and then giving her a brief respite while we shopping at the DAV and a couple of antique stores. In the early evening, she and my mom and aunt and uncle went to a wake of a dear friend while the kids stayed back home and sampled some local brews. It definintely felt a bit strange to be drinking beer in Grandma's living room while she was dealing with death, but in retrospect, I suppose the best way to deal with death is to live life.

The group convened at Carlos O'Kelly's for some Tex-Mex and margaritas (notice a theme?). Grandma seemed to be happy to out of the house and we sat at the table for quite some time afterwards talking and catching up. And emptying glasses....

Once we got to the hotel, me, my brother, and my sister and her boyfriend hung out for awhile longer drinking 1 more beer before bed. (If you are counting my lushness--the number is only 3 for Friday night.)

When I got up at 8am on Saturday morning, I debated on going for a run. I thought we were supposed to be ready to leave at 9:30am to begin the festivities. However, by the time I realized I actually had had enough time to run, it was too late. Oh well. I wasn't feeling great anyway with the beers/margarita, getting up at 5am, and eating nothing but delicious garbage the previous day.

We went to Brookville Hotel in Abilene for Grandma's birthday lunch. A couple of my mom's cousins met us and the group had a nice meal at one of Grandma's favorite places.

After lunch, we went back to Grandma's for more visiting and perhaps, a little napping. It was a wonderfully slow afternoon of just relaxing. My sister and I went out in the early evening to run errands. We were searching for Obama and Romney chia pets (seen at the local Kmart), a gluten-free dinner option for my sister, and Cherry Mashes. We found Romney chia pets and a tacos for her dinner.

Everyone else had Cozy burgers and later, we sipped on lime sherbert punch (some cups spiked with champagne) while enjoying Grandma's birthday cake again. Grandma looked pretty tired around 8pm, so the group let her rest. The kids reconvened in my brother's hotel room. We had a great time playing card games with M&M 'chips' and polishing off the beer. Lush count: 3 drinks.

Sunday morning, I was ready for my run. It was coooooold outside, but I was determined. I had in my head I would run 7-10 miles, depending on how I felt. I wore capris (probably should have worn pants, but I survived), a short sleeve, a long-sleeve, and gloves. The temps were in the upper 20s when I started out, but it was WINDY. 13* with the wind chill according to my weather app. Eek!

I ran north through a commercial district into the winds when I began. For about 2 miles, I tried to get my body and blood moving. Once I reached the residential section, I finally started to feel good and the houses blocked some of the wind. I got 'lost' for about 2 miles along some residential streets--a near impossibility when practically all the streets are on a grid. Once I found my way back to a familiar thoroughfare, I realized that I just needed to run one more mile north to make my run 10 miles. So I made the loop along my 'usual' route (I normally stay at Grandma's, but the group was too big this time).

I looped back on a much more familiar course though and ended up back at the hotel with just over 9 miles. And like any neurotic runner, I couldn't just stop at 9.1 miles. I ran past the hotel for another .45 miles and then came back for an even 10 miles.

I barely looked at my Garmin except to judge my distances and was surprised that I had a true progressive run with each mile faster than the last. I knew the last mile was fast because I was freezing my you-know-what off!!!! 8:11, 8:04, 8:01, 7:58, 7:57, 7:55, 7:45, 7:42, 7:40, 7:25.

After a really long and hot shower, we joined the family at grandma's for one final meal of Cozy burgers, leftover Brookville chicken, and of course, more birthday cake. Yup, my body was officially hating me yesterday afternoon....

My weekend by the numbers:

Cozy burgers: 12

Miles ran: 10

Pieces of fried chicken: 6

Alcoholic beverages: 6

Pieces of birthday cake: 3

Too bad I had to come back to reality today!!!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Smart Coach is smarter than me

1. I like to make lists.

2. I made a folder on my desktop today to organize my lists.

3. I keep a notebook in my car for random creative thoughts and/or list-making. 

4. I made three lists besides this one today: one for Christmas cards, one for Christmas gift-giving, and one for my impending weekend trip to Salina, Kansas.

5. All the organization on my desktop led me to clean out my email box (ugh!!!).  I'm not truly a type A as I stopped myself after 4 pages.

6. I then forced myself to decorate the interior of the house with the Christmas stuff. 

7. I got sidetracked dusting neglected corners.

8. Finally, 2 hours later, I called it quits and decided to do something fun: run!!!!!!!

And of course no good run would be without an epiphany.  I am fairly certain that at least half of my ephiphanies are like the ones I have when I am halfway finished with a bottle of wine.  Good ideas in theory....

But this one actually might have some merit.  I will begin training for marathon #5 next month.  I use Smart Coach for my training program.  I do the speedwork and run the distances exactly as they are written.  However, in my most recent 2 marathons, it occurred to me today that I have been running my LSDs waaaaay too fast.  I am dumb.  Smart Coach is smart. 

I was running them about 20-30 seconds faster than my goal marathon pace.

So it was like I was racing a 16-18-20 mile race every weekend.  Um, gee, I wonder why I felt so unmotivated last year on race day.  I mean, I had the prerace jitters and I was thrilled to be racing #4, but my body and mind were tired.   I had a 2-week taper, but I think the damage was done.

I realized that it was part of the reason that I felt so great for the half 10 days ago.  My body was rested.  My mind was not tired of agonizing over pushing my body to the limits every week.  Gosh, I thought I was doing something smart by thinking I could just do a dress rehearsal and feel fantastic.  Oops. 

So my marathon resolution is now threefold (oy!): more hill training, more strength training, and putting the kabosh on the kamikaze long-distance runs.  I'll be happy in I succeed in one category...

As for today's run--I hit start on the Garmin and vowed to not take a peek until the end of my 7-miler.  I had run 7 yesterday at a LSD pace and felt terrible.  I just let my mind wander and put forth a 5 out of 10 effort.  The last 2 miles, I felt pretty great so it was more like a 7 or 8 effort.  I was super happy to find that a medium effort was a sub 8 pace.  Yay!  Today's splits: 7:56, 7:53, 7:55, 7:51, 7:50, 7:45, 7:21.