Flashback: 2012 Edition

So here it is.  New Year’s Eve.  Time to flip the calendar.  (Suck it, Mayans!)  You know what that means….

The 2012 Year-in Review!
One year ago I set a few goals for myself.  Some were running related, some were not.  I gotta say, I had a pretty dang successful year.
Running-related goals: 
  • Run 1,000 miles –  SUCCESS!!!  It came down to the wire, but I DID IT!!!!  With seven whole hours to spare!
  • Run a sub-2:10 half marathon – SUCCESS!!!  I finished Rock n Roll St. Louis in 2:07:24
  • Run a sub-27 5K – SUCCESS!!!  I ran a 26:45 at a small local 5K, also securing a 2nd place AG award
  • Run a sub-60 10K – Well, this one was neither a success nor a failure because I didn’t run a 10K this year.  I was planning on one in May, but I ended up getting sick.  When I was still running fever the morning of the race, I decided not to go.  Since that’s the only 10K in the area, I’ll have to wait until May 2013 for my next shot at it.
  • Cross and strength train more – SUCCESS and FAIL respectively.  I’ve loved having a spin bike here at home and have used it quite a bit.  I definitely cross-trained more than last year, and I absolutely think that had a hand in keeping me injury free in 2012.  I totally dropped the ball on strength training though.
General life goals:
  • BE HAPPY! – SUCCESS!!!  I’ve made huge, huge strides here.  We had an incredibly trying year in 2012.  Lots and lots of job uncertainty for both of us… a layoff, talks of cutbacks and closures… but through it all, I have tried to keep a positive attitude and not worry about the things I couldn’t do anything about.  Sure, I’ve had my moments… some worry, some nearly paralyzing fear… but for the first time ever I was able to keep it from consuming me and was still able to find joy in the little things.  Very significant difference from 2011.
  • Continue to decrease dairy and processed foods – SUCCESS!!!  I consider myself an herbie now, and really the only processed foods I eat are cereal, Clif and protein bars, and the occasional vegan convenience foods, like Tofurky.  Although I do still have a weakness for Fritos.
  • Save a higher percentage of our combined salaries – FAIL.  No excuses.  Just haven’t done it.  We haven’t saved any less or spent any more, but we didn’t meet my original goal of saving more.
So I didn’t do so bad!!!  Yeah, I missed some, but I nailed the ones that were really important to me.  There’s always next year for the other ones!  Other than those, I really haven’t thought much about what I want to accomplish in 2013 yet.  I’m still kind of reveling in 2012.  A few highlights…

1st place AG!

Little Rock Half Marathon

Michele and me at the Shamrock Half
3rd place AG at a local 4-miler

Cruisin’!

Hangin’ out at the marina with friends.

Running to the finish line with a new 5K PR and a 2nd place AG award.

PRing at the Rock n Roll St. Louis Half Marathon

Lining up for St. Jude!

Celebrating 26.2 #2!

Finishing my favorite race to date with my best friend in the world!

Christmas Eve with my fabulous husband and his awesome family.

And now since I don’t have kids, you get an eyeful of my furbabies!  This year C.C. turned 13 and Bella and Harley each turned 3.

The queen overlooks her domain…

Nom, nom, nom

Always happy to go for a ride.

I am zombie cat.  Must have pink mouse brains!

Psssttt… you awake?

Is Daddy’s weed eater broken?

zzzzzzzzzz….

Move over, Mom, you’re taking up too much room in my bed.

They even hold their Kongs the same way.

I’m just gonna lay right here and wait for Santa.

Does that guy have a cheeseburger???

HAPPY 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Three Things Thursday

1.       My little patient is recovering from ACL repair fabulously and is doing better and better every day. She looked like this three weeks ago…

… and today she is walking on it fine and even trying to run on it a little bit.  Not RUN run… just trotting through the house.  She won’t get the opportunity to test out her running legs for another three weeks or so.  We’ve had to keep her very confined with no exercise.  She’s going a little stir crazy, but other than that everything is just peachy.  She goes back for another post-up checkup tomorrow.

2.       I am 48.1 miles away from my 1000 mile goal!  Barring any illnesses, injuries, or apocalypses in the next 11 days, I’ve got it licked.

3.       I’m finally finished Christmas shopping, but right now it all still looks like this.

MUST. START. WRAPPING!

Getting My Legs Back

Soooo here I am.  Thirteen days post-marathon.  I finally feel like I’m getting my legs back a little bit.  I know lots of people say you’re supposed to take it easy for a few weeks after a marathon, but those are the people that run marathons a lot harder and faster than I do.  I’ve taken it super easy since the marathon.  Tonight was the first time I’ve gone a notch beyond an easy run.  The plan for tonight was 1 mile warmup, 4 miles @ 9:33, then 1 mile cooldown.  During the first warmup mile, I still had that heavy feeling in my legs.  It for reals made me wonder how the hell I was gonna get through 4 tempo miles.  The first one was pretty rough.  I felt like I was working pretty hard and it was a freaking 10:00 minute pace.  And then something happened.  I started feeling like young Forrest Gump must have felt when his braces started falling apart.

I could feel the rust breaking up and flying off.

Mile 2 – 9:31
Mile 3 – 9:28
Mile 4 – 9:25

It felt pretty freaking fantastic.  Onward I go!

Hands Down the Most Fun Personal Worst EVER

This past weekend, the hubs and I met Michele and her hubs and kiddo in Sevierville, TN, and she and I ran the Santa Hustle Smokies Half Marathon.  When we signed up for it, we knew it was TOTALLY for fun because, HELLO, I just ran a marathon the weekend before!  Well, when we decided on this “just for fun” race, Michele took that and ran with it.  Which resulted in this:

Thaaaat’s right.  That’s me in a tutu.  Yuk it up.

We saw some cute outfits in the starting area (which was literally right in the parking lot of our resort, by the way), but I think this was probably the best.

Thanks, random chick, for letting me take a picture of you and your offspring.

And then it got even funnier when a guy dressed up as The Grinch started acting like he was stealing the kid in the middle up there dressed up as a present.

Before long, it was time to head to the start.  Michele’s race crew was there to see us off, (true to form, mine stayed in bed) and snapped a few photos.

I didn’t even realize it was time to start until the crowd started moving forward.  We got in no hurry on the course whatsoever.  We ran when I could, walked when I couldn’t.  (Dude, my legs were still like 400 pounds each 8 days post-marathon.)  We chatted, we ate cookies, we stopped to take pictures…it was 2:44:45 of awesome.

Aid station fuel
Screw Gu.  We have Oreos.
Michele with her beloved Oreos.  They still had a gazillion left at the mile 12 aid station. The volunteer told us to take a tray with us.  It was EXTREMELY tempting.

Michele’s family was there to meet us at the finish line (yep, my husband’s ass was still in bed) and caught my most favoritest picture ever.

Can’t see it?  Zoom in.

Yep, that picture pretty much sums it up.

With an elf handing out candy canes as you cross the finish line!

I find it hilarious that my 10th half marathon was my slowest, but I would not have changed a single thing about this!

Race Report: St. Jude Marathon

The short version:

It was hot.  I bonked.  5:13:44.

The long version:

I knew going into this weekend that the weather wasn’t going to be ideal for me, but I knew I had to just make the best of it.  I knew regardless of what went down, it was going to be a fun weekend.  I was spending it with a girl that I had gone to high school with.  She had signed up as a St. Jude Hero and had committed to a pretty high level of fundraising.  High enough that they supplied her hotel room, so she invited me to crash with her!  They put us up in the Double Tree RIGHT AT the start line.  Seriously, this is looking out our hotel window.

See that street just on the other side of that parking lot?  Yeah, that’s where the corrals lined up. PERFECT location.

Nicky’s goal was also 5 hours, so we planned to at least start together.  And then the day before the race, I got this text from a good friend of mine who was running the half.

A twosome just became a threesome!

Kelly’s been battling back spasms throughout the training cycle and didn’t know where she was going to come in time-wise.  She ran St. Jude as her first half in 2:07 last year but knew she couldn’t do that this year.  If she was going to have to run it slow, she figured she may as well run it slowly with two friends!

So anyway I got to Memphis about 4:00 on Friday.  We got all checked in and situated and walked a few blocks to the expo.  Zero line for packet pickup or T-shirts.  Awesome.  We poked around the expo for a few minutes and still had time to kill before we ate dinner.  Nicky had tickets for us to the Heroes pasta party and presentation, which didn’t start until 6:30.  Rather than stand in the crazy long line that was already forming to wait for them to open the doors, we walked to the Trolley Stop Bar across the street in the Marriott to have a drink while we waited.  When the time came, we headed back, got our food, and got seated just in time for the presentation to start.  Parts of that were kind of interesting.  Parts kind of boring.  Parts really depressing.  I wouldn’t go to another one.  Not because I don’t support them, because I do.  They’re a great facility doing a great thing.  It’s just that I go to these races for fun, and that was not my idea of a good time.  I played on Facebook through most of it.  By the time it was over, we were ready to head back to the hotel to get our stuff ready for the next morning and turn in.

Since the race didn’t start until 8 and since we were so close to the start line, we didn’t have to stress about getting up early.  We actually both woke up well before our alarms went off.  We were dressed, had eaten breakfast, and were heading down by 7:30.

Walking up from the back end of the corrals.

We didn’t have assigned corrals.  They had pace ranges posted on each corral sign and let you seed yourself.  After discussing it the night before while looking at the hour-by-hour forecast, we had decided to move ourselves up to corral 9 instead of in 10 with the 4:55 pacers.  The first few miles would be a good 10-15 degrees cooler than the last miles, so we thought we would be better off taking advantage of that while it lasted.  The plan was to run about an 11:00 min pace.  Not MUCH faster than the 11:27 we needed to come in under 5, but enough to hopefully give us a little cushion so that we could slow down when it got hot.  I texted Kelly and she agreed that sounded like a good plan to her too.

Me, Nicky, and Kelly.  And I’m embarrassed to admit how long I looked for that Sweaty Band before I remembered I put it around my neck so I wouldn’t forget where it was.

They started letting corrals go right at 8:00, and we crossed the start line 16:22 later.  I remember this because I paid close attention to the clock as I crossed the mat, because like a DUMBASS, I forgot to turn my watch on until the corral ahead of us was starting.  It didn’t find signal until we were almost at the one mile mark.  I waited until Kelly’s watch showed 1.00 to start mine so I would know that mine would always be exactly a mile behind.

We did pretty good at sticking to our 11:00 plan.

1 – 11:14  (Typical first-mile congestion.)
2 – 10:40
3 – 10:50
4 – 9:37    (That’s bullshit.  The buildings were messing with my satellite signal)
5 – 10:49
6 – 10:56
7 – 11:02
8 – 11:02
9 – 11:04

We had been walking through the water stops, but somehow we got separated during the one around mile 9.  That was the last time I saw Kelly.  She went on to finish the half in 2:22.  Not bad at all for not having halfway trained!

I was really starting to get hot, so it was around that time that I decided that it was time to start throwing some more walking in.  I started doing 0.9 mile run, 0.1 mile walk.  Plus walking through the water stations.  Even doing this, I caught back up to Nicky somewhere around mile 14.  When I stopped for my 0.1 mile walk, she said she was going to go on ahead again because she was planning to stop at the next portapotty.  That was the last time I saw her.  (She went on to finish in 5:00:17.  She didn’t wear a watch and didn’t realize how close she was to five hours.  She said if she had known, she would have been a little quicker in the portapotty, or maybe stopped for one less picture, or maybe would have refrained from posting a Facebook status that she was halfway through her first marathon!)

10 – 11:17
11 – 10:51
12 – 11:09
13 – 11:39  (Walked an extra few seconds at the halfway point to rearrange things in my SPIBelt that kept bouncing and driving me crazy.  I ended up just taking the damn thing off and holding it.  It’s NEVER bounced like that.  I don’t know what was different this time. )
14 – 11:03

Mile 15 is where things started to get pretty sketchy.

15 – 12:02
16 – 12:51
17 – 12:04

And then the wheels fell off.

18 – 13:04
19 – 12:01
20 – 11:44

It was somewhere around mile 18.5 that the 4:55 pace group caught up to me.  I tried.  I tried so hard to hang with them.  I just. didn’t. have it.  I stopped and walked and sobbed as they pulled away from me.  It was right then that I gave up any hope of 5 hours.  I was exhausted.  I was crusted over with a layer of salt.  My hands and fingers were hugely swollen.  I was sunburned.  I was fueling like crazy and drinking at LEAST one water and one Powerade at every single station.  But it must not have been enough because…

Then the muscle cramps started.  Both inner thighs, left hammie, and right shin.  The right hamstring was tight, but it never full-on cramped up.  The inner thighs were what had the most impact on my running.  After mile 20, I was pretty much running for a minute and then walking for however long it took me to walk the cramp out.  There were a couple of times that I was able to run for two or three minutes before the cramp took hold, but mostly I was fighting just to reach one minute.  That’s how the last 6 miles of this thing were run:  One minute at a time.  It made for a looooong 6.49 miles.

21 – 13:19
22 – 13:11
23 – 13:35
24 – 13:35
25 – 13:01
26 – 14:00
26.49 – 12:33

I finished in 5:13:44 and was (am) so, so, so very disappointed.  But I left all my tears on the course along with everything else.  I can be upset about the outcome, but I can’t be upset about my effort.  I know that I gave it every little bit of everything I had on that day.  I’m positively certain that had it been cooler, or even cloudy, I would have reached my goal.  I just did not stand a chance on a sunny, 71-degree day in December after being acclimated to much cooler temperatures.  This is not the scene that you expect to see on December 1st.

Clear blue sunny skies as seen from the infield of Autozone Park.

Eighteen weeks of training shot to shit on one unseasonably hot day, but whatcha gonna do?

After we grabbed our finish line goodies we headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up.  We both tried to take a nap, but neither of us were successful.  Rather we just laid around and watched TV until we headed down for a delicious Thai meal.  Right after that we met back up with Kelly and her husband, Ben.  He ran a 3:52 marathon, by the way.  As awesome as that is, the heat and cramps got him, too.  He had trained for and was shooting for  a 3:30 finish.  Quad and hamstring cramps crippled him in the last miles.  We met in our hotel bar and stayed there until we were just all too sleepy to stay any longer.  That was by far the highlight of the weekend.  There’s absolutely nothing like drinks and laughter with old friends to make you forget about a crappy race.

Kelly, Ben and two of their other friends that I met that night.
Me.  Beer makes me laugh.  A lot.

Me, Kelly, and Nicky