The Obligatory Year-In Post – 2011 Edition

This time last year I posted some goals for 2011, so let’s just see how I did, shall we?

Nonrunning…

  • Be happier and less stressed.  FAIL.  Although I’ve made some small strides here, I’m just not where I want NEED to be.  I just cannot shake this job stress.  I hate uncertainty and the unknown, and I worry every day about my future with the company. 
  • Decrease meat and animal product consumption.  SUCCESS!  I went full-on vegetarian back in July and have also drastically decreased my dairy.  I love it!
  • Decrease unnecessary spending.  Meh… I’ll give myself a passing grade here, but I don’t deserve an A.  Maybe not even a B.  But I’m not gonna fret too much over it.  We don’t own a credit card, we’re ahead of term on the two small secured notes we do have, and the purchases made haven’t interfered with our savings, so eff it.  A splurge here and there won’t kill anyone.  And besides, it’s not like I’m a big spender.  When I say “splurge,” I’m talking about something like the boots I bought on sale for $60 last weekend.  Some people spend that much on coffee in a week.
Running
  • Run 1,000 miles.  HUGE FAIL.    I didn’t even match last year’s mileage.  I have no one to blame but myself.  I completely lost myself this summer (in every aspect, not just running).  I barely ran, and I didn’t care that I wasn’t running.
  • More cross- and strength-training.  FAIL.  No explanation necessary.  I just didn’t.
  • Work on speed.  I started the year off well.  I set PRs in the 5K and half-marathon distance, but I didn’t reach the 2:10 half mary goal that I had set for myself.  I hit 2:15 in April and I’d like to think I would have hit 2:10 this fall had I trained through the summer.
Okay, now I feel like that was all pretty negative, so let’s now take a look at some of the positives, the highlights, the FUN TIMES from this year!  🙂
January – My birthday month!  (What, you don’t celebrate your whole birthday month?)  And a 5K PR in my self-hosted virtual birthday race.

February – 5K PR #2.  And more snow than we’ve ever gotten in my lifetime.

March – 5K PR #3
(Hahaha… okay, if nothing else, I’m amusing myself over here by going back and re-reading these race recaps.  Do you ever do that?)

April – I ran two half-marathons in April, exactly one week apart with a PR in the second one!  (What does it mean when most of your high points are running related?)  And a girls trip to Nashville with my sister. No running for me, but we did spectate lots of the Country Music Marathon!  And met up with one of my favorite running bloggesses!  I may have laughed harder that night than any other in 2011.


May – My nice’s high school graduation and all the fun surrounding that.  (My in-laws don’t do anything low key!)
My niece and I (What better backdrop for a graduation photo than a mildewed high school field house?)
June – Family trip to the mountains for my nephew’s wedding.
July – Made the change to vegetarianism.  And taught my cat to do laundry.  (Okay, maybe not.  Maybe I just found this picture while I was looking through July’s photos trying to find something noteworthy that happened.  Nothing else did.)

August – Rescued a pathetic little kitty, nursed her back to health, fostered her, and ultimately found her a wonderful, loving home.  This was one of the few times this year that I felt like I did something that mattered!

Before – Deathly emaciated, flea-ridden, weak, and with a bacterial eye infection.  
After 3 weeks – Fattened up, flea-free, clear-eyed, and couldn’t be still long enough for me to get a picture!

September –  Got my dream car!

October – CARDS WIN THE WORLD SERIES, BABY!!!!!  There are photos from the Game 7 party at our house, but we’ll keep those off the internet, m’kay?

November – Trip to Virginia!  Too many photos to repost–just click the link!

December – Lots of family time.  Everyone was home for Christmas, including my newly enlisted niece, and it was perfect.

And now my 2012 goals:

Non-running is basically a repeat of 2011…

  • BE HAPPY, DAMNIT!!!  I’d give anything to have a job that was both fulfilling and paid a decent salary, but for now I guess I’ll just have to settle for the latter and ride it out as long as it will last, whether it’s until next year or until retirement.  Be happy TODAY for the blessings of TODAY.  Don’t worry about tomorrow because chances are it will be okay anyway.  I worried every day of 2011, and nothing disastrous ever happened, so it was all for nothing.  I WILL NOT spend 2012 stressing.
  • Continue to decrease dairy and processed foods.
  • Save a higher percentage of our combined salaries.
Running…Okay, so really this is a repeat of 2011 too. 
  • Run 1,000 miles.  This WILL happen this year.
  • Run a sub-2:10 half-marathon.  I should be able to cross this one off in March, at which point the goal will become 2:05 for the fall.
  • Run a sub-27 5K.
  • Run a sub-60 10K.
  • Cross and strength train more!  There will be absolutely no excuse not to do that because as of yesterday, D and I are the proud new owners of this
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B901 Pro Indoor Cycle!

and this…
Bowflex Revolution home gym!
The best part of this is that D is committed to making fitness a priority in 2012, too!  I would make “running a race with D” a goal for 2012, but I don’t wanna press my luck.  Baby steps, baby steps…
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!
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Santa Claus Must be a Runner

Because that dude certainly knows what a little runner girl likes.  (Or maybe it was the very detailed, very specific Amazon wishlist I sent to all his little elves…)

Behold!

Yes, my friends, that is indeed a running skirt, courtesy of the mother-in-law.  I don’t even wear a skirt to church, y’all, but I’m about to give the whole running skirt thing a whirl.

A head lamp!  This is gonna save me from breaking my neck or becoming road kill.  With these shorter days, I’m forced to run up town on our crazy cracked sidewalks and track.  There are street lamps but it’s still dark between them and I’ve tripped a few times already.  And there have been a few times that I’ve run out of daylight while running on the highway near my house.  This will be nice to have to draw attention to myself when I know I’ll be running that risk. 

 

A hydration pack!  My niece went off-list for this one.  I’ve never really thought about trying one of these, but she runs and she swears I’ll LOVE it.

I asked for gift cards to Dick’s because I have a spin bike picked out and wanted money to put toward that purchase.  A purchase that I tried unsuccessfully to make yesterday.  That will be a whole blog post in itself just as soon as I find out how everything is gonna play out.
And my absolute favorite:

How effing awesome is this shirt?!  I WILL be wearing this in my next race.

What fitness related gifts did YOU get this year???

Tuesday Tidbits

  • A company called Zipfizz recently sent me some of their product to try and review.  Stay tuned.
  • eBay pissed me off.  I listed my P90X DVDs, and they removed the listing, supposedly at Beach Body’s request, and basically accused me of selling a pirated copy.  WHICH I GUARANTEE YOU IT IS NOT.  I tried to relist it, and they wouldn’t let me.  Add both eBay and Beach Body to my list of companies that can suck it.  Anybody interested in a (very slightly) used P90X DVD set?
  • I am DONE Christmas shopping!  D-O-N-E DONE!!!!!!!!!
  • I swear I bought wrapping paper last year, but I can’t find it for the life of me.
  • Yesterday was one of those days… Up at 5, work, errands on lunch hour, back to work, worked late, more errands after work, home, cook supper for me, ate while standing up in the kitchen cooking supper for D, and finally sat down at nearly 8.  I locked myself in the bedroom, enjoyed a little medically induced relaxation, and watched All in the Family until I fell asleep a little after 10.  Archie Bunker is my hero.
  • This is the third Tuesday in a row that I’ve had to do my track workout in the rain.  I’m tired of running through puddles on my shitty track!

Possessed. By a SPEED demon.

Whoever has taken over control of my legs… please keep up the good work!

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well the training has gone coming off the Nearly Runless Summer of 2011.  I’ve really just been working on building back up a decent base to this point, but I’m now just getting started on the actual training plan leading into my March half-marathon(s?).  I put together my own plan (with a little help from Hal Higdon and Greg McMillan), and I think I’ve come up with one that will be quite challenging, but totally doable.  I can only hope it all goes as smoothly as the first two weeks have gone.  They have definitely been a huge confidence booster.

Thursday I had a five-mile tempo run scheduled.  I was running after work, so it was dark.  I could only occasionally see my pace when I would run under a street lamp, so for the most part I was just trying to run at a comfortably uncomfortable pace.  Until Thursday night, the fastest five miles I had ever run was at a 9:44 pace at a five-mile race last January.  So I was SHOCKED when I finished the run and looked at my Garmin to see a 9:29 overall pace on Thursday.  SHOCKED, I tell you.

And then Saturday… aaaaaahhhh…. I’m still soaking in Saturday just a little bit.  My long run was a repeat of last week.  Eight miles.  Just last weekend I ran a small local 8-mile race and set a PR at a 10:12 pace.  Which, to be honest, I was tickled to death with.  I tried to be a good girl and run Saturday’s eight at a pace closer to what all the smart people say a long run should be run at, but it just wasn’t happening.  When I tried to do the suggested “long slow distance” pace it just felt plain ol’ AWKWARD, so I decided to ignore my Garmin, pay attention to my breathing, and run at a pace that I felt like I could run for a long time.  And that’s what I did.  I didn’t pay any more attention to my pace until I got near the end and saw an average pace of just slightly over 10.  So at that point I did kick it in just a little bit.  I ran just fast enough that last quarter mile or so to end up with this:

A sub-10 on a long run???  Who ARE you???  I don’t know you anymore.

Sometimes I love running.

If It Ain’t Broke…

So I finally broke down and went to urgent care Friday after I got off work about this pain in my ribs.  It’s really been hurting to do anything lately–sit, stand, lie down, cough, sneeze, hiccup, laugh.  Just about the only thing it DOESN’T hurt to do is run, so at least there’s that.  (Oh, it hurts plenty if I take a deep breath and expand my rib cage, but if I breathe CORRECTLY while I’m running–from the belly/diaphragm–no pain whatsoever.)

Anyway, long story short, he tapped on my ribs, I cringed; he pushed on my ribs, I said curse words…
And then he sent me for an x-ray.  To see if the ribs were broken and to see if there was anything showing up in my lungs that would have caused such a severe cough in the first place.
Hopefully this is the only image of my bare chest on the internet.
I was ultimately given the all clear.  Along with a diagnosis of bronchitis and pulled intercostal muscles and a sweet Christmas present of hydrocodone-laden cough syrup.  🙂
Cheers!

Tuesday Tidbits

  • We stepped outside of our hard-rock box and went to a country concert with friends Sunday night.  Lady Antebellum.  It reminded us why we don’t like country music.  A guy named Josh Kelly opened for her.  It was absolutely hysterical.  I’m pretty sure he meant for it to be.  It HAD to be a comedy act.  Because no white boy should expect to be taken seriously wearing skinny jeans, a V-neck t-shirt, and rapping the theme song to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • I have seriously pulled (if not broken) something in my rib cage.  I feel fantastic now, but this cough just will. not. go. away.  I’m THISCLOSE to going to the doctor.  If you know me, you know this is major.
  • I still don’t have my Christmas tree up.
  • Nor do I have my shopping done.
  • The shopping that I have done, I’ve been making a conscious effort to buy independent.  I’ve bought   seven things and none of them have come from a big-box store or chain.
  • I have eaten an embarrassing amount of caramel corn today.
  • I’m pretty sure I just added a second half-marathon to March’s schedule.  My mom’s best friend lives in Little Rock.  The Little Rock Marathon is March 4th.  You do the math.
  • I had to scale the fence to get to the track.  I guess now that football season is over the high school doesn’t think anyone needs access to the field and locked the gate.  If they’re serious, they should invest in barbed wire.  Six-foot chain link fence?  Pfffft.  Please.

Race Report: Over the River 8M

This weekend the TN State Park Running Tour made its stop in my neck of the woods for the Over the River 8-miler.  Just so happened that I had 8 miles on the schedule for this weekend, so why not go and take advantage of policed road closures, a visually stimulating route, and manned water stops for the bargain price of $6???  I’M IN.

I’ve been wanting to run this race for a couple of years now.  I heard about it in 2009, the first year I started running, but for some reason that I can’t remember now, I wasn’t able to make it out that day.  Then in 2010 it was the same weekend as RnR Vegas, so I obviously didn’t run it then.  I was happy to finally be able to make it this year. It’s a shame to miss a race so cheap and in your own back yard!

My least favorite thing about this race is the same thing as all the other state park events–the start time.  It doesn’t start until 11:00 am.  They do this to allow for out-of-towners to come in for the race without having to plan an overnight trip or leave well before the sun rises, but to me an 11:00 start just kind of screws up the entire day.  Start time aside, the race was perfection.  It was about 35 degrees at the start, full sun, very little wind.  I was comfortable for the first couple of miles and then I had to start shedding stuff.  First the gloves, then the ear warmers, and finally the jacket around mile 4, and even then I was still a little warm in my cold gear tights and long-sleeve shirt.  (Funny how much warmer a sunny 35-degree day feels than a cloudy 35-degree day.)

The elevation profile for the course didn’t look too intimidating, so the course was actually quite a bit hillier than I was expecting.  I knew that we would be running over this bridge (hence the name of the race) to a turnaround point, then back across the bridge.  I didn’t take any photos, so I borrowed this one from my friend’s photography web site.

That was pretty challenging in itself, but I managed to pick a few people off coming back over the bridge the second time.  After a little bit of a straight, flat stretch, the course went across another overpass and back, and then the most challenging hill was closer to the end when you ran up to and around the highest cabin on a hill.  It wasn’t all hilly, but the parts that were were pretty significant.

Overall I was pleased with my splits.  Five of the eight miles were in the 10:05 to 10:10 range, the first mile faster, the last mile slower, and the seventh mile a little slower than my average but not as slow as the last mile.  Garmin time was 1:21:34 for 8 miles, which is a 10:12 pace and 18 sec/mile faster than I’ve run any 8 miles before.  The official results aren’t up yet, but I expect them to be about 5 seconds slower.  My Garmin beeped 8 miles just a few seconds before I crossed the finish line, and I just hit stop when I heard it beep.  I’m not real concerned with what the official results are, as I wasn’t really treating this one as a race, but rather my first long run going into the next training cycle for my spring half-marathon(s).  I consider week one a success.  If nothing else, it helped get the bad taste out of my mouth from last weekend’s half…

Luck of the Irish?

Okay, so I’m not Irish, but I sure am feelin’ lucky and this IS the SHAMROCK Marathon we’re talking about here…

A few weeks ago, the fabulous Amanda was doing a giveaway for an entry to the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon or Half-Marathon.  I entered the giveaway, as I so often do, and didn’t give it any more thought.  I never thought I’d actually stand a shot at winning!

Skip ahead a couple of weeks.  While I was in Virginia at the Richmond expo, we overheard the girls at the Shamrock Marathon booth telling people that the half would probably be sold by the end of the month.  We decided if we were going to run it, we’d better register quick!

So I registered.

Skip ahead a couple more weeks.  I see this comment from on one of my posts.

No freaking way!

After I finished kicking myself for already throwing down $101.50 to register, I checked with Michele and found out that she HADN’T registered yet.  So after a couple of emails with Amanda putting her in touch Michele, TAH-DAH and MERRY CHRISTMAS, MICHELE!  🙂

Let the race outfit planning commence…

Race Report: St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon

I’ve been putting off writing this recap for a lot of reasons.  Honestly, I thought about not even doing a recap, but I kind of felt like I owed it to myself.  It’ll give me something to look back on as a reminder of how miserable I can make myself during a race.

You’ll notice the lack of photos.  I never even took my phone or camera out.  I just wasn’t in that happy picture-taking frame of mind.

I had been sick the week leading up to the race.  Not deathly ill, mind you, but I had one mother of a head and chest cold.  At least I guess that’s all it was.  My stubborn ass never went to the doctor.  But I seriously don’t think I’ve ever coughed so much in my life.  It interfered with everything I tried to do…running, sleeping, talking… but especially sleeping.  There wasn’t a single night in the week leading up to the race that I got more than 4 hours of sleep.  Every time I started to doze off, I would wake up coughing and gagging.  (The honey remedy I mentioned in a previous post proved to be effective in the very short-term only.)  And what little sleep I did manage to get was in an unrestful, uncomfortable sitting-up position on the couch.  I took off work Friday hoping to get a little extra rest before we drove to Memphis.  D was coming with me, and he couldn’t leave work before 3 or so, so that gave me all day to try to relax and rejuvenate a little bit.

I wish I could say that I did just that, but I’d be lying.

The plan was to get to Memphis, check into the hotel, go to the expo, and meet up with some friends for dinner.  None of that worked out exactly as planned.  We were later leaving than we planned and sat in traffic for about 40 minutes because of a wreck on I-40.  We knew we wouldn’t have time to get to the hotel, so we drove straight to the expo.  I ran in long enough to grab my bib and shirt and was back out the door.  We met up with our friends at Kooky Canuck’s, which was fun, but I just wasn’t feeling well, and I was soooooooo sleepy by the time we left there, which wasn’t until nearly 10:00.  I had planned to be asleep by 10:00.  Instead, by the time we got to the hotel, got checked in, got my crap together for the next morning, etc., it was nearly 12 before I got in the bed, and after 1 by the time I was able to go to sleep.  After waking up a couple of times through the night, when the alarm went off at 5:45, I had had another night of not nearly enough sleep.

Dressed, breakfast, walked to start line, blah blah blah… and then this race just almost didn’t happen for me.  The week of physical and mental exhaustion caught up with me and I started crying right there in the starting corral.  I did NOT want to run this race.  I wanted nothing more than to leave.  I told D if it hadn’t been for all the money wasted on entry, hotel, gas, etc., I would just say, “Eff it, let’s go.”  He told me he had been wanting to talk me out of running this thing sick for a week, but he told me he would support whatever I wanted to do.  After a lot of debating I decided to just suck it up and do it.  But then I told D that he had better just leave so that I couldn’t change my mind.  So he left me there in the corral in tears just a few minutes before gun time.  I was defeated before I even started.

I wish I could say that once I started running I felt better, but I’d be lying.  I was so fatigued, and I had no mental strength left to pull me through.

I wish I could say that I tried to make the best of it by soaking in the course and the emotion and everything St. Jude stands for, but I’d be lying.  Instead I chose to be a self-pitying little bitch.  I just turned up my iPod as loud as I could stand it and went inside my head and just did what I had to do to keep moving forward.  When I say I tuned everything out, I mean I TUNED EVERYTHING OUT.  I’m reading everyone’s recaps about the excitement of running on Beale Street, the power of running through St. Jude…  and I’m thinking, “Was I really even there???”  Because I honestly don’t remember any of it.  The most vivid memory I have of the whole 13.1 was running into the zoo and smelling the stink.  That was the first thing I’ve smelled in a week.

I wish I could say that I was so over the run that I ran it fast to get it over with, but I’d be lying.  I ran some, I walked a lot, I stopped to heave when I coughed to the point of gagging, I walked off the course to blow snot rockets in the grass.

When I crossed the finish line 2:38:36 later, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.  D texted me to tell me where he was in the stadium.  I found him and we got the hell out of there.  I think I was asleep before we got out of the city limits and slept most of the way home.

I have nothing but regrets relating to this race.  I regret not training better for it.  I can’t help but wonder if trying to do too much in the couple of weeks before the race is what led me to get sick to begin with.  I regret running it when I knew I wasn’t feeling up to it.  I regret not going into it with a better attitude after I made the decision to go ahead and do it.  I regret missing out on all the things everyone else saw and experienced on the course.

I’m not posting this looking for pep talks or reassurances or anything of the sort.  I know that it all stemmed from sheer exhaustion and a piss-poor attitude.  But I’ve got a feeling that this one will haunt me for a little while to come.

21 Random Things

I was recently tagged by the famous GBA momof3 to post 21 random things about me.  MAN!  I struggled just coming up with seven when Kim tagged me just a few weeks ago!  But I thought long and hard and finally came up with these.  Way more than you ever cared to know about what makes me me.  Drumroll please…

1   I absolutely cannot stand to get my feet wet.  I’m not talking about in the shower or running in the rain or anything like that.  I’m talking about UNEXPECTED wet feet.  The quickest way to make me shout words that would make a sailor blush is to drop an ice cube in the kitchen floor and not pick it up.  Seriously, my toes are curling just thinking about stepping in that.

2   I am ticklish to the point of becoming violent. Screw water boarding.  Tickling is pure torture.

3.  I found my first gray hair when I was 15.

4.  I’m not real sure what my natural color is anymore.  My hair has been various shades of red, blonde, and brown ever since my sophomore year in high school.

5.  I used to play the clarinet and the alto sax.  Not to toot my own horn (pun intended) or anything, but I was really good at it.  I miss it a lot.

6.  Some people have a bucket list of things to do before they die.  I have a “destination” bucket list of places I want to go.  I’m pretty sure I’ll have to win the lottery to even make it to half of them.

7.  My elbows don’t straighten out all the way.

8.  Sometimes I really feel like I serve no purpose in life.  My job is thankless and unfulfilling, yet it can be all-consuming.  If I could quit and do absolutely anything in the world, it would be something to do with animal rescue and rehabilitation.  Animals touch my heart and soul in a way that no human can.

9.  We are child-free by choice.

10.  I’m kind of a hippie when it comes to certain things.  I recycle everything that I possibly can, buy secondhand when it’s a feasible option, and I cannot stand waste.  That totally negates the fact that I drive a gas-guzzling SUV, right?

11.  I have a cast-iron stomach.  I can eat whatever whenever and never have to worry about how it will affect my stomach during a run.  I never realized how fortunate I was until I talked to and read blogs by people who have to be very careful about this.  Or else.

12.  I do not tweet.

13.  I have trained for six half-marathons and one full marathon, and I have yet to lose or even have a blackened toenail.  Or a blister.

14.  I faint at the sight of blood.  Or even if I know there is blood around.  When I have blood drawn at the doctor’s office, I have to be lying on an exam table and they have to use an infant needle to keep me semi-conscious.

15.  I avoid watching, reading, or hearing the news at all costs.  I know the world sucks.  I don’t have to be reminded at noon, 6, and 10.

16.  I am almost 32 years old, and I still chase NyQuil with pickle juice to keep from gagging on the taste.  I figured this trick out on my own when I was a kid, and I still do it.  Works like a charm.

17.  I don’t have a crafty or creative bone in my body.

18.  I’ve had electrolysis done on my eyebrows.  It was expensive and it took about a year and a half, but it was totally worth it.  It money were no object, I would laser off every hair below my head.

19.  I’m a total grinch.  I would hibernate from Thanksgiving to the New Year if it were possible.

20.  Baseball is my sport of choice.  Basketball?  Hate it.  Football?  Meh…I can take it or leave it.  But the St. Louis Cardinals rock my world.

21.  I do not and will never again have a credit card.

Now the rules state that I’m supposed to tag 10 people to post their own 21 Random Things, but I always skip this part.  If you wanna play along, TAG, YOU’RE IT!