The Obligatory 2010 Year-End/2011 Goals Post

Okay, first thing’s first.  Is it “year-end” or “year-in” post?  I’ve seen both, but “year-end” just makes more sense to me, so that’s what I’m going with.

I can’t even begin to say how much better 2010 was than 2009.  I am so grateful because I was long overdue for a really good year!

I honestly can’t do a goals/accomplishments comparison because I really didn’t have any set goals for 2010.  But I’m happy with the way things went down.
 
On the non-running front, in 2010 …

  • I turned 30.  I know, I know, that’s not exactly something I had any control over, but it was still a pretty big deal!
  • my family was healthy.  I did have to have a lymph node in my neck checked out early in the year to rule out the c word, but praise the Lord, that turned out fine. 
  • I was promoted to Postmaster.  No more money than my supervisor job but LOTS less stress, and that is PRICELESS!
  • we added our newest member to our small furry family.  We adopted Harley from a bully-breed rescue in February.
  • I was baptised.
  • we enjoyed wonderful trips to Cabo San Lucas, Destin, and Las Vegas.
  • we made great strides towards reducing debt.  We no longer own a credit card  Those things are the devil in a little plastic suit.

And in running news, in 2010 …

  • I ran my second and third half-marathons.  I finished my third one 21 minutes faster than my first slightly less than a year prior (21-minute improvement from November 2009 to October 2010).
  • I completed my first only marathon.  Yes, I’m still saying I’m done with those.
  • I ran 710.3 miles.

Considering that I hardly ran at all in January and very little to speak of in May or June and missed SO MANY miles with my knee during the marathon training, all in all, I’m satisfied.

Now for my 2011 goals…

Nonrunning …

  • Be happy.  Simple, right?  I’m cutting ties with the people and things in my life that bring me stress, unhappiness, and drama.  Buh-bye negativity!
  • Further decrease my meat and animal product consumption.  I’ve cut way back on my carnivorous ways the last several months, and I want to continue this trend.  Also, the more I learn about dairy, the more I think I should scale that back too.  I have no desire to become completely vegetarian or vegan, but the benefits of a primarily plant-based diet (for your body, for the environment, and obviously for animals) are inarguable.
  • Decrease unnecessary spending.  Do I REALLY need that new coat?

And running …

  • 1,000 miles.  That’s almost 300 more than I ran this year, but if I stay healthy it’s totally doable.
  • Make more time for cross and strength training.
  • Work on speed.  I would like to see what I’m capable of in the 5K distance, and I would like to be under 2:10 in the half-marathon distance by the fall.

(I hereby reserve the right to delete this post and deny that it ever existed if I fall embarassingly short of these goals.)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

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Three Things Thursday

1.  MY.  ABS.  ARE.  SORE.  I mean REALLY sore.  Like to the point where I coughed and thought I was gonna die.  I went to the gym last night and did quite a bit of core work.  I think I may have overdone it just a wee bit.

2.  My sweet new mattress finally has blankets!  We have had a king-size mattress for several weeks but hadn’t been able to find a comforter set that we I liked.  We bought sheets out of necessity but had just been using odd assorted blankets but no comforter.  I finally found a heck of a deal on a set I loved on overstock.com and it came in yesterday.  It’s soooooooooo pretty and sooooooooo fluffy and comfy.

3.  I totally outdid myself in the kitchen last night.  I made some killer veggie quesadillas.  I didn’t know I had it in me.

A One-Act Play

Pam has just finished a fast, hilly run and is standing in the master bathroom, peeling off running clothes, about to step in the shower.

D enters room and ogles.

Pam:  Not now.

D:  It’s too bad you’re not a nympho.

Pam:  It’s too bad you’re not a millionaire.

D:  Touche.

***CLOSE CURTAIN***

The "It’s M’Burfday" Virtual Race!

I’ve had this idea for a while, but true to form, I’m a dollar short and a day late, so Adam beat me to the punch and stole my date!  But oh well…that’s where the phrase “two birds with one stone” comes in!

On January the 10th, I will be turning 31 years old.  If that’s not cause for a 5K, I don’t know what is.  (31…3.1…5K….see how that works?)

THE DATE:  January 8th or 9th.  (Adam’s Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K is January 8th, so feel free to use his as mine and mine as his.  Yes, he’s already given permission in his race rules that his 5K can be part of another race or training run.)

THE COURSE:  Whatever your precious little heart desires.  Inside, outside, hilly, flat.  I don’t care, as long as it’s 3.1 miles.  Or for you GBAs out there (and you know who you are), 31K.

THE PRIZES:  HA!  Yeah, right.  Like I’m made of money.  If you want prizes, sign up for Adam’s race.  The best you’ll get out of this one is bragging rights and a mention here on my blog.

If you want to participate, just leave a comment or email me to let me know.  Afterwards, send me a link to your race report.  You’ll have until Friday 1/14/11 to get that done so I can start putting together a winners post.

One Lucky Lady

I have been one lucky lady this year in blogland!  I’ve entered my fair share of giveaways and virtual races, and I’ve made off with some pretty awesome loot in the process.

I scored this shirt from Vanilla at Half-Fast (*sniff, sniff*  I sure do miss him who just came out of bloggy retirement like fifteen seconds after I saved this draft.) as a prize in Razz’s GW,MA!6.66M virtual race

Ummm… thanks?  hahaha  This definitely ranks right up there at the top of the list of the ugliest race shirts I’ve ever seen.  But I now have Ian’s autograph, so I shall cherish it forever and always.  Until I sell it on eBay for millions when he becomes a celebrity.  *snicker*

Rad Runner hosted a giveaway for Bradford Tonic, in which I scored a four-pack of their B-Ginger ginger and lime drinks.  Pretty cool because I would have never heard of them otherwise!  No store around here carries them.  Not a big fan of the drink by itself, but it made a great mixer!

The drop-dead-gorgeous and knock-your-socks-off-fast Emz asked everyone for their favorite running tunes and had a prize for the person who suggested the song that became her new favorite. I didn’t win, but I came in a close second, earning me a $15 iTunes gift card!

Bobbie at 2010 Journey in Running hosted a giveaway for Snorg Tees, which I won and picked out this hilariously inappropriate-for-a-chick-to-wear That’s What She Said shirt.

MCM Mama joined the ranks of the Masters this year and hosted a virtual race to commemorate the occasion.  The pity prizes were much better for this virtual 8.25-mile race.  Ian and Razz could learn a thing or two.  She sent me a pair of Wright running socks.
 
Amanda at RunToTheFinish is always hosting incredible giveaways (and if you didn’t get in on her HBBC, you’re missing out!), and I was lucky enough to win a biggie.  It included a bottle of Salt Stick tabs (which I am hoping will help me out during the summer running months!), this long-sleeve UV Skinz shirt (their web site calls it a swim shirt, but I’ve used the heck out of it running), and lots of stuff from Scape Sunscreen.  I never did a review on any of it, but I would highly recommend all of it! 

Amanda also hosted the PR Challenge in which she matched runners up with others based on their current PRs in a given distance, then we all raced that distance again.  Whoever got the biggest PR in the group WON!  My 8:08 improvement from Nashville in April to Clarksville in October in the half-marathon distance put me in the top spot.  The PR Challenge rules state that the winner was to receive a small prize from her competitors, and Lynn from H20Break sent me this coffee mug.  How cool and generous is that?!  (I saw the price on zazzle.com.  If this is her idea of a “small prize” it’s too bad for me the rules didn’t say a “nice gift”!  ha!  Thanks again, Lynn!)

On Thanksgiving, Jen at Setting You Free announced the winner of her iPod Touch, and I was shocked that I was the winner!  (It has since been rehomed, but still.  That pesky utility company thinks you should pay them EVERY month, and Momma needed to pay the utility bill worse than she needed an iPod touch.  And I’m certain my friend’s teenage daughter will take excellent care of it.)
And, most recently, I won these Vintage Retro Shorts from Running Diva Mom.  They haven’t come in yet, so I’m snatching her photo.

With all this luck, how did I NOT come back from Vegas a multi-millionaire???

The Aftermath

One week post-marathon and here I sit.  I have felt surprisingly good this week!  After the first couple of days anyway.  When I woke up Monday morning, the day after the race, I felt like I was coming down with something.  I felt nauseated, weak, and my throat kind of hurt.  I guess it was just exhaustion because that passed within a day or so.

My knee?  Good gosh, my knee… Monday was brutal.  I could feel a grinding behind my kneecap, and that was a first.  It’s always just been a pain.  I had never felt the grinding before.  It was incredibly painful.  I also had pain below the kneecap, in that soft spot that you hit to test your reflexes.  That was new too.  It all gradually improved and by Thursday I was walking without a limp.  It still isn’t pain free, but it’s MUCH better.

I still haven’t done much of anything.  I have taken this week to just relax and revel in my sloth.  I plan to add some light cross-training this week and then put the running shoes back on next weekend.  I’ve really enjoyed the break, but I’m ready to get moving again.

And those post-race blues I’ve heard so much about?  I’m still waiting on those!  No sign of ’em yet!

Tag!

Lucky me, I was tagged twice yesterday because apparently I’m just THAT cool.

Emz and Funderson each tagged me to answer a series of questions, so here goes!  Two birds, one stone.

Emz wanted to know:

What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?

DUH!  Wanna see my medal again?

 
Running goals for 2011?

One thousand miles.  I will end 2010 with over 700 miles, so 1,000 isn’t that much of a stretch.  I would also like to work on speed in the shorter distances and knock a few more minutes off my half-mary PR.

What’s your favorite race?

Hands down — Nashville’s CMM.  It was crazy crowded and hilly, but the course support and spectatorship were awesome, and Nashville is just a great city.

Favorite Holiday Guilty Pleasure?

CHESS SQUARES.  I could single-handedly eat a freakin’ pan of those things if I didn’t control myself.  Do they have a jillion calories?  Yes, they do.  Do I care?  I most certainly do not.  I have them once a year, and I savor every bite!

Most embarassing running moment?

I had to think on this one.  Surprisingly, I couldn’t come up with anything that has happened during a run.  I was like, “Come on, Pam, as much as you embarass yourself, SURELY something has happened while you were wearing running shoes.”  But, nope.  Couldn’t come up with anything.  BUT I did come up with something running RELATED.  I used to attend a step aerobics class, and the instructor and I were training for the Clarksville Half Marathon (this was last year, so it was my first) at the same time.  She ended up moving off for a few months and didn’t run it.  When I bumped into her in town after she moved back, she asked me how it went and what my time was.  When I told her, she laughed at me.  Yep.  Out loud and right in my face.  Looking back on it now, it just makes me wish I’d grabbed her by her cute little blonde pigtails and slammed her face into the pavement a time or two, but then it made me feel about this big.

And Funderson wants to know:

What races do you plan to complete in 2011?

That seems to be the million-dollar question these days!  As I’ve said, I want to work on shorter distances and speed.  There is a Cupid’s Chase 5K in Murray, KY on 2/12 that I’d like to do.  And there’s a Chickasaw Chase 10 miler in the Chickasaw State park on January 8th.  And I will probably repeat the Johnsonville Charge and Race on the Trace 5-milers in January and February.  For my spring half marathon, there are two I haven’t chosen between yet.  They’re both close and relatively inexpensive, so I would do them both, but they are only a week apart.  I will either be doing the Murray Half Marathon or the Andrew Jackson Half Marathon.  I’m leaning more toward the Andrew Jackson.  In the fall, I plan on running the inaugural Rock n Roll St. Louis half marathon.

Notice how there are no more marathons on that schedule?  ONE AND DONE, BABY.

What is your #1 indispensable running accessory?  #2?

Numero uno is definitely my Garmin Forerunner 305.  Second would be my iPod.

Do you send Christmas/Holiday cards?  Why or why not?

I do not.  Because I am lazy.

What do you mostly think about when training?

I’m still pretty new to the sport, so I’m not to the “mindless running” level yet.  A lot of you guys talk about how you just let your mind wander and don’t even realize you’re running.  Yeah.  I’m so not there.  I still have to stay mentally present and concentrate on form, breathing, and pace.

Is your sweetheart supportive of your extracurricular active activities?  How?

As much as he can be, yes.  He always tells me he’s proud of me and never complains about the money that gets sunk into it.  Which is more than I can say for myself.

What’s your proudest moment of 2010?

Here, let me show you again.

And now TAG, you’re it, Bobbi, Bootchez, and Zaneta!

Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon Weekend Recap – The Race!

Okay!  So to pick up where I left off in my last post

I slept like a baby the night before the race.  I had my alarm set for 5:00 to be ready to leave the hotel room at 6:00 to be in my corral at 7:00.  I got up feeling pretty good.  M asked me if I was nervous, and I answered honestly.  No, I was not.  I wasn’t nervous; I wasn’t excited; I wasn’t really anything.  I had a few butterflies when we first got to Vegas, but after that there was really NOTHING.  I knew what had to be done, and I knew what I had to do to accomplish it.  I just had a very calm, matter-of-fact feeling.  Regarding the race, anyways.  I was excited as all get-out just to be in Vegas with friends!

I knew that the strip was going to be closed Sunday morning, so all along I had just been planning on walking to the start line at Mandalay Bay from our hotel, which was about a mile and a half away.  But as we were leaving D asked a taxi driver, “How close can you get us to the start line?”  He told us to hop in, so we did.  A few minutes and $12 later we were THERE.  Like RIGHT there.  He got us closer than I imagined he could.  Since we ended up riding rather than walking we got there earlier than I had planned.  We just hung out on the sidewalk right outside the corrals, people-watching, stretching, and eating my Clif bar breakfast.

Before I knew it, it was 7:00.  Only then did I stand up, strip off my throw-away clothes, and squeeze myself into my corral.  I wish I’d kept them on until I got closer to the start line.  It was another 25 minutes before I actually made it to the start, and I was FREEZING.  It was comfortable with my yoga pants and a sweatshirt on.  Not so much with a tech tee and shorts.



View in front of me from my corral

 I was in corral 16, but I think I actually ended up crossing with 18 because I hopped out of line to make one last stop at the portojohn.  And with that, I was off!

The first half of the race was basically an out-and-back of the strip with a loop at the farthest point.  Within NO time after starting, we were already seeing the wheelchair racers coming

back up the strip toward their finish.  Just a few minutes behind them were the fast cats.  It was cool to get to see them on the course!
I think Vegas has some sort of optical illusion effect to it.  The course is advertised as being flat and fast.  But from the very start, I felt like we were on an ever-so-slight downhill.  It didn’t FEEL like I was running downhill, but it did look like it.  I was thinking, “Ah, crap.  That means I’ll be on a steady uphill grade the entire way back.  The funny thing?  It looked the exact same way on the way back.
I took my phone with me on the course for two reasons.  First of all, I wanted to be able to keep in touch with my husband and friends to let them know where I was and whether or not I was still alive.  Yes, we could have signed them up for runner tracking, but that only tells you so much.  And secondly, I wanted to have a camera with me!  I took several pictures with it, but for most of them I didn’t stop so they ended up blurry and not even worth keeping.  I wish they had turned out better because I saw some cool stuff on the course!  There were lots of interesting characters running.  I saw Tarzan (running barefoot and wearing nothing but a loin cloth, and I think he was within the top 10 half-marathon finshers), Spongebob, Fred Flintstone, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, more Elvises than I could count, and lots of Santas.  Did I get good pictures of any of them?  Of course not.
I took my first walk break somewhere around mile 7-8.  I don’t remember where it was exactly, but it was the first GU station I came to.  I walked through the station long enough to suck down a GU and wash it down.  At that point I was right where I wanted to be.  I was trying to hold between an 11:00 and 11:30 easy pace, and I was doing just that.



How cruel to tease a bunch of marathoners with a bigger-than-life glass of beer!

 And that leads me to a question for you experts out there.  In theory, a flat course would be easier than a hilly one, right?  It just makes sense that that would be the case!  Flat = easy!  So WHY did it feel so taxing?  All of my training is done outside, and very, very little of that is on flat terrain.  I’m usually either going up a hill or coasting down one.  Is it because with a flat course you have to maintain a steady level of exertion without the breaks of a downhill?  I don’t know what the issue was, but by the time I came to the halfway point, some of the muscles in my hips and glutes were on FIRE, and that’s the only thing I could come up with.

When we were nearing the halfway point, back where we started at Mandalay Bay, I seriously wanted to slap some people in the crowd.  There they were at the half/full split and they’re yelling, “You’ve got this!  You’re almost there!”  Ummm…. excuse me, but not all of us are almost there.  Some of us were almost HALFWAY there.  It took a lot of will power at that point to veer right instead of staying straight and finishing with the other 19,000+ half-marathon finishers!  But alas, 5000+ of us made that right-hand turn and pushed on.
I had gotten a text from D telling me that he and M & C were there after the turn waiting for me.  It was nice to see them at that point! 

I slowed down to a walk and M walked with me for a minute, asking me how I was feeling and telling me, “You’ve got this!” and all other sorts of lies to make me feel good.
It was right after the halway point that we came to the first overpass bridge.  Holy moly!  I thought my glutes were on fire before!  I walked again up the rest of that hill, stopped and stepped up onto the sidewalk to stretch for a bit, and then coasted down the other side.   Ahhhhhhhhh…. that felt good.
After that, the scenery changed drastically.  No more big, pretty, elaborate casinos to look at.  No more spectator-lined streets.  There was the occasional band or cheer squad, but for the most part it was just me and the other runners on the back half of the course.  And it was nothing to look at.  The mountains were pretty in the background, but it wasn’t long before we turned and headed into what seemed to be a more industrial part of the city.  Lots of warehouse-type buildings and such.  Once I made it to the back half and I knew I was okay on time, I started walking through all the water stops.  I took my first really significant walk at around mile 18.  It was about there that my knee really started giving me some sass, so I walked a half-mile to appease it.  I honestly didn’t care about the time as long as it was under the 5:30 cutoff.  I was doing all sorts of math in my head:
“If I hit 20 miles at 4 hours that leaves me with an hour and a half to do 6.2 miles.  That’s just a little less than a 15 min/mile.  I can walk the rest of the way in at that pace!  But wait a minute, my Garmin is showing about 0.25 mile longer than the mile markers.  I need to jog on a little longer.”
Haha… yeah.  You can have some pretty strange dialogues with yourself when you run alone for that long.
At mile 22 I decided I’d given it what I had.  I walked it in from there.  I knew if I walked at a 15 min/mile pace I would finish with a few minutes to spare, and that was ALL I cared about!
When I got to mile 26, though, my pride got the best of me.  I couldn’t cross that finish line walking!  I picked it back up to a jog and crossed the finish line at 5:27:08.
I was in a pretty good deal of pain and was physically and mentally exhausted.  I grabbed some Cytomax and water and a Snickers bar and met up with everyone just right outside of the finish area.  After sitting and stretching for a few minutes we headed toward the beer garden and passed a tent where they were engraving people’s medals with their name and chip time.  I thought that sounded like a cool idea, but when I got up there I saw that it was $20 so I passed.  D ended up convincing me it was worth it.  I think his logic went something along the lines of, “Do you know how many $20 bills I just fed to a slot machine and have nothing to show for it?  At least you’ll have something to show for this $20!”  haha  Twisted logic, I know, but it worked.
Am I glad I did it?  Absolutely.
Will I do it again?  I believe my exact words at the finish line were, “Never again!”.  But I’d like to recant.  Instead of saying “Never,” I will say, “Not in the foreseeable future.”
For now, my immediate future holds at least a two-week hiatus from running.  I had my knee at a point that it didn’t hurt–not so much as even a twinge of pain–during the short runs of the last two weeks of taper, but I’m not sure what Sunday undid.  Monday was brutal, but I took today off work too and have mostly sat around alternating ice and heat.  It’s better than yesterday, but that’s not saying much.  If I can get it back to where it’s happy with four and five miles every other day or so, that’s where I will start and I will GRADUALLY build up my base from there.  There are some local half-marathons this spring that I would like to do, so hopefully I’ll be pain-free and PR ready by then!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go look at my medal again.
Here, I’ll show it to you again too.

Overall: 4720 out of 5154 · Division: 376 out of 419 · Gender: 1900 out of 2141

Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon Weekend Recap – The Non-Race Part

Well that’s that!  After months of preparation, in 5:27:08, just like that, *POOF* it’s over.

Where to start, where to start…

We arrived in Vegas about 3:30 Friday afternoon and met up with M and her husband (who beat us there by a few hours) at the hotel.  After tossing around some options, we decided to catch a comedy show that night.  We got what we THOUGHT was a good deal on some tickets–free tickets but a two-drink minimum.

Wanna see what a $13.50 beer looks like?

Yeah.  I really wish I were exaggerating.

But the show was funny and we had a good time!  Right after the show, we headed back to the hotel.  By that point, our friends had been up close to 24 hours, and I’m a perpetual early bird anyway, so we were all ready to call it a night.

We slept in Saturday.  By the time everyone woke and got stirring it was lunch time.  I still can’t say the name of the restaurant without giggling.

Inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino


After we stuffed our faces with Mexican food (which I was praying wouldn’t haunt me the next day!), we taxied directly to the Sands Expo & Convention Center for the race expo where we picked up our packets…

Nobody ever accused me of being normal.


… and proceeded to make huge dorks of ourselves.

I spent quite a bit of time at the expo but very little money.  I bought one Sweaty Band to be exact.  I wanted the 26.2 one, but I refused to buy it (or anything else with the word “marathon” on it) before I completed the distance.  I didn’t want to jynx myself.  M’s husband said they need to make one that says “22.5.  I almost made it.”  LOL

I also had an actual gait analysis done at the expo by some Brooks reps.  I’ve had one done before at my dinky little running store, but this was much fancier with computer monitors and software and stuff.  So I waited in line for about half an hour to run barefoot on a treadmill for 20 seconds and be told that I need a neutral shoe–which is exactly what my dinky little running store told me months ago.  haha  But it was cool to see the technology behind it.  And a second opinion is always good, right?  He recommended a couple of Brooks shoes, and I just might keep them in mind next time I buy.  I’ve been using the Mizuno Wave Rider 13s for a while.  I don’t THINK they are a contributor to my knee/ITB issues, but I’m not against trying something else to see what may work better.

After I had kept everyone waiting on me for too long, we left the expo and headed back to the Strip.  We had the cabbie drop us off at The Bellagio.  They had a really pretty Christmas setup in the lobby!

We wandered around and fed the slot machines for a while and then went outside to watch this before heading back to our hotel:

Okay, this will require some audience participation.  Use your imaginations and visualize a really cool video of the Bellagio fountains.  Stupid Blogger isn’t uploading it right.  It’s probably way too big.  (That’s what she said.)

We all ate pizza in on Saturday night.  (Do I hang out with some good sports or what?!)  D hung out with me in the hotel all night.  I insisted he go out, but he wouldn’t hear of it.  M and C caught the Cirque production Le Reve and said it was amazing.  I was planning on making an early night of it, and I succeeded.  I was in bed by 9:30, asleep by 9:31.  Before I knew it, the alarm was going off Sunday morning.  It was go time.

***FAST FORWARD 12 HOURS***

(This post is getting too long, so I’ll do a separate one for just the race!)

After the race was over and I had cleaned up and iced/heated my knee for a while, we headed out for dinner at my all-time favorite place… The Cheesecake Factory.

*wipes drool off the keyboard*

After I had successfully replaced the 2600 calories I had burned earlier that day (Have you ever looked at the nutrition information on their cheesecake?  Don’t.), we walked (limped) from the Forum Shops to Bally’s for Jubilee.  This was my and D’s second viewing, but it was definitely good enough to go back to see a second time!

The show was over by 9:30, but I was pretty spent, and my knee had had about all it could take for the day.  And M and C had an early flight out the next morning, so we made our way back to our hotel.

All told, it was a fabulous trip.  This was our second time in Vegas in a little over two years, and we still haven’t seen and done everything we want!  So much to do, so little time…

Next up… THE RACE!