the big birthday

thanks beautiful man

Here we are… my birthday.

For me, my birthday is essentially a version of Jan. 1.  I make all kinds of resolutions/plans since I’m rehashing the past year anyway.  Resolutions isn’t exactly a fair word since I’ve given these up a few years ago.  But still, it makes me think about what I want for my year.  And this helps define my purpose for the next 365 days.

Yesterday (my actual birthday) was a really busy day at work.  We gave tours to perspective students and I worked a table from noon-4 pm.  The highlight of this was the caf offers these oh so delicious cookies.  Seriously, they are my absolute favorite.  They are filled to the brim with gluten and sugar but I decided to throw that aside for my birthday treat.  I’m sure I’ll pay for it but LOOK

#worthit
#worthit

The frosting is perfect – the fondant W?  Nope – that hits the wayside.  For dinner, I was off to Red Robin.  I’ve been craving a burger and fries and they have the best fries ever!  I also really like their gluten-free hamburger buns.  I got silly full with french fries, campfire sauce and a birthday beverage.  I’m not kidding – I brought home 3/4 of my burger and more fries.  AND 3 containers of campfire sauce <–totally addicted.

I also came home to a lovely snuggle buddy
I also came home to a lovely snuggle buddy

Work out update, I ran/walked 3 miles on Monday.  I didn’t get right up and get on the tready, I lazed around for the day, watched some Parks and Rec, Super Natural and ate an undercooked waffle.  Seriously, snow days are MEANT to be enjoyed no matter that was a partial work day.  I still got them miles done (along with some cleaning) because I have this dandy renewed sense of motivation.  The miles were a struggle, I’m guessing it was from the 4th day in a row on the treadmill.  Most likely not a lot for many but since I’m still in the “getting back into it” phase, I was feeling a bit shin splinty.

Anyway, it was a better birthday than I anticipated.  Not because I thought it would be a bad day per say, my friends and family are/were wonderful.  But I thought I would have the birthday blues.  However, I realized I DIDN’T feel as down in the dumps about being a year older (mostly – I mean, c’mon, it still freaks me out somewhat) rather I have a good feeling about the year…

to me! I mean if this doesn’t inspire a good year, what would?!

25k race=15.5 miles of tough running

The 5/3 Riverbank 25k is the largest road race of its distance in the country.  As I mentioned yesterday, 7,000 people take to the streets of Grand Rapids, MI and there are runners from all over.

25k start line

I spent the night with friends who live about 25 minutes away from downtown GR.  Hanging out with friends the night before a race is a great way to ease any anxieties.  Pre-race fueling of pizza and a beer, playing with an adorable munchkin (who loved saying my name – it was adorable) and hitting the sack around 11:30 pm was the order of the night.  I woke up on time (and multiple times during the night) and despite my game plan to leave at 6:45 am I made it out the door at 7 am.

I ate a bit too much pizza the night before as I was too hungry by the time it arrived.  I mention this because on the drive to the start, I almost had to pull over and throw up.  Jostling around for the next few hours was not appetizing and I didn’t eat my peanut butter sandwich until I arrived.  I did manage to drink some coffee though – priorities.

deep cleansing breaths kept the vomit at bay…

I drank some Vega Sport Pre-Workout Enegizer 20 minutes before the start.  I will post a review of this product in the next few days and it’s quality.  I’ve now tried it with training along with a race and I’m impressed.  The race started right on time, 8:20 am and I made it over the start line at 8:29 and this was the 11 min pace group.  The race is efficient.

I felt good for the first 5 miles.  I was using my quads and kept my ipod in my pocket so I could be in the moment.  I got stuck behind one guy who was complaining up a storm because the shirts didn’t say 25k on them.  It was a universal shirt for the 5k, 10k and 25k.  You could pay extra for a tech shirt with 25k on it ($15) but he “certainly” wasn’t going to do that.  He also said how he was going to send a nasty email to the director later this week.  Now mind you, I paid $35 for this race.  CHEAP!  Suck it up dude…

the shirt mr. grumpy pants was complaining about
the shirt mr. grumpy pants was complaining about

At mile 5 I took a powergel – provided, and turned on my tunes.  The water stops started at about 1.5 miles and they were approximately every mile and half after this, sometimes two miles.  The volunteers were incredible.  There was water, Gatorade followed by oranges and more water and then ICE!  Oh my goodness, I have never been offered cups of ice in a race but it was magical.  It was probably around mile 7 when it started and I would take a cup at each one hereafter.  It was heavenly.

After mile 6 miles my quads started cramping a bit.  Mile 8 was my magic mile as I knew at this point there would be no question to me finishing.  This was also my first lovely embrace with some biofreeze.  I think mile 7 was the start of the hills.  Man oh man, the hills kept coming!  I had forgotten about them, conveniently I might add, but I took them in stride = I walked many of them.

While I was keeping 11 min miles in the beginning, this crept to 12 by the halfway point.  Mile 1o I took another gel.  I also kept focusing on what a cool experience this was and how lucky I was.  The last time I did this race, my mental attitude was already in the toilet at this point.

this is a great depiction of my previous meltdown

The last five and half miles were tough.  More hills, more quad cramping, one more biofreeze stop and lots of water.  It was a beautiful day with a breeze, which was lovely but I was seriously reaching my “I’m done” point.  The last mile and half took forever and horror of horrors you have to run UP a hill to the finish line.

25k finish line
this was at the top of a long hill

My leg muscles were melting at this point.  I kept saying, “c’mon legs” almost yelling at them as I wasn’t sure if I could stay standing.  It was so, so tough!  I had nothing left – heck, even the girl who was puking her guts out that I passed a few feet behind me managed to beat me.  I made it though.

at this point, I could barely stand up straight - I kept almost falling backwards
at this point, I could barely stand up straight – I kept almost falling backwards

Hard/enjoyable race and I ran my buns off.  I have some work to do before my next half (it’s in 3 weeks) and I’m keeping some of my newly employed racing strategies.  Good gel timing, starting my music later and a positive mental attitude – putting these into practice again!

fight the urge to compare!

A while back I wrote about how I didn’t cry when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon.  Everyone told me I would since I just completed this huge experience but I didn’t.  I was proud I finished but disappointed because I thought I would do better.  I wrote how I was hoping to have this major flood of emotion when I crossed the finish line in the final race of the Dopey Challenge.

I should be crying after all of these miles, right?
I should be crying after all of these miles, right?

And I did.  I cried a bit and was bursting with pride… but not for long.  First of all, I was surrounded by people who had just completed the Dopey.  There were 7,000 of us total who attempted and I am not sure what the final total was who finished but I am thinking most people did.  Then there was the conversation I overheard the night before the marathon on the bus back to my hotel.  The gentleman said, “I’m doing the Goofy.  I didn’t get into the Dopey but seriously, the Dopey is the same as the Goofy with just a few training runs before it.”  Hmmm… sour grapes much?

It did kind of stick with me though – was this really a big deal?  Was it simply a couple of training runs?  I thought about this and remembered earlier that day while running the half my legs were indeed, fatigued from the two days prior.  So, I (essentially) stamped out that little bit of doubt.

Of course, missing the under six hour mark by two minutes stuck in my craw a bit!  Haha, I know this is beyond ridiculous!  Pretty soon I did hear stories of others who finished the marathon portion of Dopey MUCH speedier than me and I started wondering if what I just did was actually all that great.

When I got home, I had two friends in particular who pointed out how proud of myself I should be.  In fact, they both said “I hope you are proud of yourself…”.  Not to mention, these weren’t two of my friends who I would have ever expected this from.  Hmm… is there a sign on my forehead describing how I downplay my achievements?!

My mom used to do this all the time.  She was an amazing artist but could never see it on her own.  It drove me nuts.  She would constantly compare herself to others.  Sound familiar?  When I realized I am guilty of the same thing I knew it was a habit that had to stop.  The achievements of others only over shadows mine if I make it so.

There are loads of memes out there that talk about this phenomenon so I know it’s common.  I don’t want to do it anymore.  It’s silly and feeling proud of myself is such a GREAT feeling!  Not to mention, when/if I have kids of my own I don’t want to pass this along to them.  While it’s part of human nature, I can make it less of a part of my nature.  It is something I need to commit to, I already know it.  It’s very similar to breaking my habit of amping up my anxiety by playing situations/conversations over and over again in my mind.  By saying “stop” out loud, I’ve been curbing this pattern and it has helped!

So, I am confident I can change this about myself.  Besides, who doesn’t want to embrace their accomplishments?!  Heck beyond embracing them, CELEBRATING them!

in style of course

little miss whines a lot

First of all, I wish the title of this post was, “little miss wines a lot”.  Maybe this weekend…

Back when I was a small tyke, the “little miss and mr. men” books were very popular.  We bought one called “Little Miss Bossy”.  I am fairly certain I liked the fact she was a blue (my favorite color) character and she looked cute.  Maybe it was because she wore boots – these are all possibilities.  Never did I imagine what a mistake this was…

this isn’t little miss bossy boot’s best side – I doubt I was ever this bad!

My family always said I was bossy and when we read the book about “miss bossy boots” they latched onto the (almost) literation and it became my nickname.  Whoa.Is.Me.  I am still called “bossy boots” to this day.  I perfer to say these were leadership qualities displayed at an early age but no one buys it.

Why the long intro?  Because I’ve been feeling like “little’ miss whines a lot” all week.  No, this isn’t an actual character but it should be.  Frankly, I want to punch everyone in the face and I am simply irritated.  IRRITATED!  There is no one specific reason why.  Honestly, most were a bunch of #firstworldproblems.  I was going to whine to you all but  you’ve been saved – sort of.  I spent the last part of my day listening to someone whine incesisently so I didn’t want to put you through that torture.

this is me… all week long

So I revamped this post a bit!  Ordinarily I would go for a run to sweat this mood out but I’m feeling kind of crummy.  I recognize I say I don’t feel well quite often and there are a variety of reasons for this.  I’ll jump back into things this weekend for sure.

A run is also sort of out of the question considering I don’t have a sports bra clean.  My laundry mountain is out of control.  I don’t even remember the last time I did laundry but I think it was Jan. 2nd.  Maybe.  I’m getting low on clean clothes!  As in, it’s almost time for bikini bottoms as skivvies!  I am both lazy and bratty: I don’t want to walk outside in the freakin’ arctic blast!  I did finally come up with a decent brilliant idea of getting the laundry to the laundry room without breaking a hip on the ice.  I’m going to use one of my big older suitcases on wheels and roll it back and forth.  I am good at using my resources well and considering the amount of laundry this will save my back.

nope, no idea

Other than these silly annoynaces I just feel out of sorts.  I need to pull my head out of my bum.  I got to catch up with a dear friend last night and haven’t woken up late once this week!  I’ve had bacon for dinner three times this week.  I have a wonderful bottle of wine for the weekend.  I picked out races to sign up for and will be registering very soon.  I also don’t have to pay for my own heat which is huge during the aforementioned artic blast.

perhaps I’m a bit too excited for the wine – if this is possible

AND I paid for my running coach!  I still can’t believe I went through with it!  I’ve thought about it for a while and thought I would never be able to afford it.  Or that it was only for runners who were really good.  Or it would be something where I talk about it but am too nervous and allow it to get in the way of my goals.  It was kind of like registering for Dopey – I just did it, refusing to consider there was a possibility of failure.

I will never tire of this picture
I will never tire of this picture

Most of the time, in the midst of all my whining I do remember the positives!  Not to mention, I still have ice cream left!

self esteem > budget

Saturday was friend get-together day!  Instead of swapping gifts, we meet up and do some kind of activity together.  It’s great since two of them live an hour and 15 mins away (in opposite directions of course!) and my other friend lives in town but our schedules don’t seem to match up all the time.  So a day devoted to our friendship and fun is fabulous!

well, this almost happened

M and I started the day with a run.  It was my first run since Dopey and M had a baby 8 weeks ago and it was her third or fourth run back.  Let me just say, she is a champ!  Check out her blog here for adorable baby pics and her post-baby fitness routine.  I really appreciate how M finds pockets of time to be active with snowpocalypse and a wee babe!

in case you forgot what we looked like
in case you forgot what we looked like – old pic but totally works, just add more snow

After 3.5 fridgid (seriously, it was 17* and with a feels like 4) we quickly changed and headed out to meet up with L at our new Baskin Robbins!  Yay!  Really quick, the run felt good.  I could feel it working out some racing kinks but yesterday my legs felt fairly fatigued.  My knee tweak was also annoying me.  Saturday night my feet hurt too and I am not sure if this was from the run or the mall-shopping extravaganza.

Coffee in hand we hit the mall.  Here’s the deal, it’s not exactly like I haven’t been spending some cash lately.  I’ve been wanting to build my reserves back up from the holidays and my vacation so I wasn’t planning on purchasing much.

I’m going to start calling my savings account the “banana stand”

HA!  I laid out some cash.  The economy should send me a thank you card.  Part of the catalyst for my change of heart/mind was Thursday I noticed my favorite pants are starting to get a hole in them.  Granted, I’ve had these pants for 6 or 7 years but I only have a couple of pairs that I feel look decent, i.e. aren’t summer capris, don’t make me look like a street walker because they are so tight, or gigantic from my much heavier days.  Yes, I’ve kept some of these clothes but this is a subject for a post on another day.

While I’ve been kicking up the fashion a bit lately by getting creative with my closet, having two pairs of pants in the middle of an arctic winter is difficult.  Considering what I just mentioned above about the state of my other pants, there is something to be said about feeling confident in what I am wearing.  Stuffing myself into a pair of pants so I have to stand in a certain way or suck in my tummy all day makes me feel really down on myself.  I don’t think about how I just ran 48.6 miles in four days.  I think about how I’m a failure and should be losing weight.  Boo.

body image quote 2So spending some money is worth it.  I’ve had this realization before but it took some talks with my friends to realize it again.  I’m worth it!  My body is worth it!  And feeling good about myself begets healthier habits – whether it’s to maintain weight and fitness or to improve it.  Dealing with depression has brought on approximately 15 lbs and I need to stop feeling ashamed of this and instead embrace the fact that I’ve made it to the other side of the depression.

Oh yeah and the SALES!  This definitely made it easier!  For instance?  I got two pairs of cords from Ann Taylor Loft for $40.  I bought four bras that were each $16.00 – and this was from Victoria.  Probably TMI but I think nice underlovlies equals higher self-worth (for me).  Why?  Because I’m even spending money on something the world doesn’t see!  Just my own theory/view.

this was the first time I’ve enjoyed shopping for regular clothes in at least a year!

All in all, it was a great day!

What do you do if you are having a low self-esteem day?

Do you love or loathe shopping?

I had a dope time, yo

While I guarantee I will be referring to my weekend again in future posts I think this will be the last in the Dopey series (1, 2, 3, 4).  I’m sure you want to thank me for moving onto a different subject matter.

run!
run!

I’m really happy I took on this challenge.  It was a huge confidence boost and brought back many of those “I love running” feelings that can sometimes get lost in a majorly long training cycle.  Yes, I started rebuilding my foundation back in May or June and then started training around July.  Those are some long months!

all the medals!
all the medals!

Here are some of the highlights:

1.  Met Amanda from Too Tall Fritz!  Well, ambushed her actually but those are just semantics

a celebrity siting!
a celebrity siting!

2.  Went over to Animal Kingdom lodge where I had my tasty mouse head waffle and checked out the animals.  It’s great – you can see some of the animals you would see on the safari tour without having to go to the Animal Kingdom park.

giraffes are the best
giraffes are the best

3.  Discovered the Mickey head ice cream sandwich.  Also very good and cute to boot.

this was very good regardless of the shape!
this was tasty regardless of the shape!

4.  Disney kind of slacked on the Dopey merchandise and early expo attendees wiped them out of the stock they did have (I mean in about 4 hours).  They had tech shirts left but I wasn’t interested since I already had one.  I finally found a light sweatshirt from Raw Threads, which I love.  Also in Downtown Disney Hanes has a design your own shirt so I created a long sleeve Dopey one.  It was super speedy and they have a ton of different characters.  Disney did come through afterward though and I found a (cotton) shirt online and yes, I already ordered it.

the sweatshirt is from raw threads
the sweatshirt is from raw threads
this is the shirt I made!
this is the shirt I made!

5.  I took advantage of the fun atmosphere.  Disney races are geared toward all-level athletes and it is a good time with no pressure – well, aside from the pressure you place on yourself!

my namesake restaurant in downtown disney!
my namesake restaurant in downtown disney!

6.  The race snacks weren’t anything extravagant but they did have these rice chips and little things of cheese.  This became the absolute yummiest thing in the entire world.

dopey snacks7.  Running in costume is so fun!  People are so freakin’ creative and I loved seeing what everyone came up with.  Mine was fairly simple but thanks to Sparkle Athletic, Running Skirts, Pro Compression, Aspaeris and some RockTape, I was running in style.

cleaning my costume in my room - much better than being all smelly
cleaning my costume in my room – much better than being all smelly

8.  It was warm.

beautiful view and no snow!
beautiful view and no snow!

9.  I’m obsessed with all things Dopey.  Luckily, I didn’t let this overtake my pocket-book but it was close!

dopey is just so cute!
dopey is just so cute!

10.  Iced mochas are tough to come by outside of the parks.  There aren’t coffee shops in the resorts, which really surprised me.  So future race attendees not visiting parks, you can score a good (naturally expensive) espresso drink right outside of the ticket areas of Epcot.  You do have to go through bag check but then it’s fairly close.  For me, it was totally worth the cash!

my view from the coffee hut
my view from the coffee hut

11.  I’m not quite sure on how much money I spent but doing a Disney race certainly isn’t the cheapest option when it comes to racing.  As I was walking to Epcot after the marathon, a security guard asked me if I would be returning next year.  I told him, to ask me after my body had recovered!  Honestly, I won’t be back next year.  There are a lot of other races I want to do and Disney kind of saps my race budget.  Nevertheless, I am so happy I could take advantage of this opportunity and was actually able to save for it!

I so wanted to keep this space blanket... but I didn't
I so wanted to keep this space blanket… but I didn’t

10.  Simon has decided I can’t go anywhere for a good long while.

dopey simonI am so grateful for this experience!  I’m grateful for all of the support, encouragement and confidence from all of you and my other friends and family.  There were times when those “you got this” were what kept me going!  Thank you!

now 26.2? what a dopey idea

Did you know there is a handle in the porta potty hooked to the door to hold onto while doing your business??  I had no idea!  I was quiet Sunday morning thinking about what was ahead of me.   As we gathered at the porta potties for our last race, we were all talking about nerves.  Almost falling in the porta potty (again) made me even more nervous and I told my friends this.  They asked me why I hadn’t held onto the handle?  This was race-changing folks!

only 26.2 miles to go!
only 26.2 miles to go!

At the start line, I was freezing cold.  It was a chilly morning and I was happy as a clam.  We all knew it was going to be much cooler than the day before and I was thrilled.  I sat and chatted with a woman who was doing the Goofy and we talked running for about a half hour.

oooo - pretty! now RUN!
oooo – pretty! now RUN!

An even bigger set of fireworks exploded and the first group was off!  At this point, I realized I had to go the bathroom again.  I had time to run to the porta potty but I thought maybe I was just nervous and I wouldn’t need to pee anymore once I started running.  Plus I hate porta potties so I didn’t want to use it if I didn’t really have to.  Unfortunately, I overestimated my bladder and I had to stop even before I hit mile 1!  Great job, Aim! But the handle sure was helpful!

dopey marathon signI used the same strategy as the last three races and made sure to walk once a mile.  I used the water stops a lot and also walked any hills despite them not being very steep.  My legs were sore and at the start of the race I seriously questioned whether or not I could pull this off.  Five miles in, I knew I would finish.

it really helps with moral to have a giant mouse cheer for you
it really helps with moral to have a giant mouse cheer for you

The day before, I found some flat ground in the grass along side the road and since it was a similar course for the full I did the same thing.  It allowed me to get in a zone in many areas of the race and I could just run.  It was hugely helpful – physically and mentally.  My pace was pretty even and I felt more and more confident.  All of a sudden I completely believed I was a STRONG runner.

Mile 14 changed my race and my running future.  When I saw the mile marker I said to myself, “I only have 12 miles left!!”.  Last year?  “Oh my gosh, I still have 12 miles left”.  The difference between the words “only” and “still” is the best example I have of my strong mental attitude.  My  quads were tight and hurting.  My feet were sore, my left calf was irritated and I was more and more excited about this race and distant running as a whole!  It’s completely twisted.

race/game/life changer!
race/game/life changer!

I took some fun pics – Rafiki is my little zen master and last year when I saw this army guy I wanted to punch him in the face.  It was nice not to hate him this year!

rafiki and I sharing a zen moment
rafiki and I sharing a zen moment
he was pretty funny!
he was pretty funny!

The woman who brought the cups of Pepsi was back (tasted fabulous!) and another woman brought pretzels.  I love taking treats from strangers during a race!  I took another picture of the castle so I could completely take in the moment.  My new motto became, “it’s going to hurt anyway, so I might as well go for it”.  I would select something in the distance and run to the point and then walk a certain amount.  I stuck to these mini goals like glue.

once again, chills as I ran through
once again, chills as I ran through

My average pace was approximately 14 mins for the first half and a little over 14 mins for the second half.  I really owe all of my solid pacing to the treadmill, which I no longer hate with a passion.  I hit the medical tents for BioFreeze 3 or 4 times, was able to get 1 Tylenol (they were really strict about this), went through every water stop, and took advantage of the two banana stations.  They also had a cold wet wash cloth station and incredible volunteers.  I finished in 6 hours and 2 mins!  I crossed the finish line and started crying.  I truly had a good time the entire race.  I felt tough and ran through the muscle fatigue and the hurt.  I was/am so stinkin’ proud of myself!

wahooo!
wahooo!

I collected all of my medals, took a massively cheesy finisher picture and headed to the ice tent.  They wrapped my quads and I waddled out to our meeting area.  I was waiting for friends and then kind of forgot I had the ice on my legs for about 45 mins maybe?  It wasn’t until my friend asked me why my knee was turning blue that I took the ice off and noticed my numb legs.  I gave myself a minor case of frostbite!  It’s no joke!  I got a ripe ol’ sunburn and frostbite in the same day.  By the way, my legs are still kind of numb so take it from me and be careful when icing.

this wasn't my smartest move
this wasn’t my smartest move

Oh and right when I got to the meeting area I had to ask a stranger to help me sit down!  My legs were incapable of doing it on their own.  Once we had all of our team in, we took pics and I headed off for coffee.  Seriously, knowing an ice cold mocha awaited me was a huge motivator.  I did forgo activities in the evening as I was beat.  Just getting off of the bed to pack was an effort!

oooo - shiny!
lots of shiny!

I really am looking forward to my next marathon.  When I was running, I kept thinking about how lucky I was/am to participate in such a cool event.  I thought about how just 8 months ago I was so depressed getting out of bed was my accomplishment.  I remembered how I had to rebuild mileage and the love and support I’ve gotten from so many people.  Endorphins + feelings of gratefulness is some powerful stuff people!  Thank you all!

#dopey challenge – half way through

I was going to recap both the 5k and the 10k but I am exhausted.  So, I’m going to chat about some of the highlights I’ve enjoyed so far on this trip.

First of all, I almost didn’t get here.  My car wouldn’t start the morning of my flight.  It was 5 am and I panicked!  I even hit my head on the steering wheel Back to the Future style but no such luck.  This trip was destined to happen though because a friend was able to jump the car at o’dark early and I was on my way.

this is how I felt getting to the airport!  So happy I made it!
this is how I felt getting to the airport! So happy I made it!

I’m staying in a Disney resort, Pop Culture.  I’m thrilled with my choice of staying on the property this weekend.  Going back and forth to races is a million times easier staying here and I love that I can get back from the finish line so quickly.  I highly recommend it.  I thought the prices would be out of my budget range but in reality, it was fairly close to the price I paid last year at a hotel further down.

I'm in the 70's building
I’m in the 70’s building

I got a Mickey Mouse head-shaped waffle!  I first saw this on some blog and I knew it was on my list of things to do.  I just think it is the cutest thing ever!  I headed out today and missed the breakfast cutoff by 45 minutes.  I was kind of crushed to be honest since there was no other day I could get one.  After presenting my case to the manager at the eatery, he said he would make me one.  YAY!  Truth be told, everyone has been so generous and kind here.  The customer service is incredible.

super delish and enjoyed outside under the sun!
super delish and enjoyed outside under the sun!

Hanging out with friends as well as having my own time.  I’ve blended this as much as possible.  I want to make sure to get some downtime  and enjoying some outings.  Each morning my friends and I walk down to the buses and keep one another company.  It is a great way to not focus on the upcoming miles rather be in the moment.  We meet up after the race – I really like doing this with other runner-friends.

this is how WDW is tracking runners participating in the dopey
this is how WDW is tracking runners participating in the dopey

Oh yeah, I’ve run two races already!  Whoopie!  I will do recaps when I get home and will combine the 5k and 10k races.  I’ve done a good job of keeping my pace nice and easy including walk breaks.  I also have pulled over for some character pics!  I’m not sure if I will do this for the 1/2 or the full.  Tomorrow it’s projected to be 84* and I want to be finished before it really starts to get warm.  Today I noticed the heat at approximately 10:45 am when I headed out for my waffle hunt.  So I want to be done with the race and drinking some iced coffee at 10 am.

you can't tell but my finger is a hook - oh yeah, my creativity is out of this world!
you can’t tell but my finger is a hook – oh yeah, my creativity is out of this world!

Enjoy your weekend eve!  Thanks for all of the support!

races can change lives, you know

At mile 11ish, I started thinking about how I never wanted to do anything longer than the 1/2 marathon distance again.  Granted, I have already signed up for Dopey but in that moment, that was it.

Naturally, 24 hours later, I was looking up fun marathons to do in the spring.  Isn’t this always the case?!  In the heat of the pain, exhaustion, wanting to stop and sit down for a bit, I was thinking, “WHYYYY???”.  When I finished I was thinking, “WHEN AGAIN??”.

While I have already talked about my pride in pace and finish time, I want to talk a bit more about how I felt during the race.  Aside from the “please carry me now” minutes, the rest of the race was amazing.  I felt strong and capable.  I felt ready to tackle the miles.  I felt confident.

You know those training runs where you start to doubt you should have ever started the run journey in the first place?  Each mile seems to weigh heavier and heavier on your spirit and your legs?  This was not the case.  I’m not bragging, rather I want to reiterate how thrilled I am with this turn of events.

super amyYou see, I haven’t felt this good in a race or simply running in general for a year now.  I felt fairly great in my first marathon last year, although I knew I could have trained better.  But still, I felt confident and had those moments of sheer awe that I was running a marathon in San Fran!  But then this dwindled.  Between sickness, physical and emotional, complete lack of motivation and determination my running spirit and muscles atrophied.  It was sad for me to see/feel this happening but I felt powerless to stop it.

Now I am taking the power back!  This in itself feels both empowering and incredible.  I am rediscovering my running spirit and along with it putting back the slightly broken pieces of myself.  It may sound dramatic but running has become part of my soul and it was difficult when I didn’t enjoy it or find any momentum to get my legs moving.  It was completely indicative of how I felt about myself and where I was in life and I knew it.

So, the Grand Rapids 1/2 marathon was an incredible experience for me.  I know not every race will hold such weighty enlightenment and this is a-okay with me.  What’s next?  Small festive races for this fall.  A local turkey trot and some kind of Christmas race just for fun.  Then off to Disney World to test my endurance, my determination and my training.  Oh and to just have a sh*t ton of fun!  Ultimately, I’m recognizing (again) this is what it’s all about.

felt this was an appropriate “joyful” pic considering my impending future

you just never know…

Yesterday I woke up and I was CRAB-by!  Great scott!  I’m on duty for work and had a couple of late night calls, had somehow gotten roped into volunteering for work and I had a dull ache in my head that made me want to cancel ALL plans for the day.

Spoiler alert!  I’m really glad I didn’t…

4572d1acd6b62d0e9bb80dab49b2fff4

First up was the 1st Annual (is this possible with the first?) Strip Run 5k sponsored by my office.  The point of the race was to wear extra layers and then “strip” them off as you run at different points of the race.  All the clothes were donated to charity.  While the turnout was small, I think it’s a fun idea for a work-related event.  Unfortunately, it was 34* and the “feel like” was 24*.  It took me hours to get the feeling back in my fingers!

Also, one of my favorite people ever volunteered for the race.  It was so great to see him and catch up!  After our shift was over I bribed him into driving me to Pop City Popcorn downtown.  Oh.my.goodness.  This place is FABULOUS!  I mean, seriously, a whole store dedicated to popcorn?  I got some Irish Creme Caramel popcorn – check out this bag of scrumptousness

oh so tasty!
oh so tasty!

Next I was on my way to a relaxation class.  I considered skipping and going home but I was on a sugar-rush from my popcorn and stuck to the plan.  You guessed it – a good choice!  The meditation session was excellent.  The woman running the class got the same holistic health certificate I am looking into so I talked to her after the class.  She couldn’t have been more encouraging!  In fact, at the end of our conversation she offered me an internship when I get to that portion of the of the program!  I know, crazy!

Then it was back to my apt for the hottest shower ever, a lovely little nap, a surprise visit from a friend and a nice evening at home.

So there you go… I would have sat in my apt all day, feeling guilty for shirking my responsibilities, sorry for myself because I didn’t feel well and lonely.  Instead I said YES and made some quality connections.  Yay!  Three cheers for an unexpected good day and making things happen.

f0407b54c6aa1b2653baf7f230cd4f42