2015 Enchanted 10K

Somehow, I’m still not sure how, I convinced my BFF Jessica that she wanted to run the Enchanted 10K with me.  I think part of the convincing involved letting her pick the costumes.  And that’s how we ended up being Mike & Sully.

Mike & Sully

Mike & Sully

It was definitely cold (but much better over the humidity of last year).  We were in line to get our picture with one of the backgrounds when Snow White should appear!  Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

With Snow White

With Snow White

Finally it was GO time!

3, 2, 1, GO!

3, 2, 1, GO!

 

While the Disneyland 10K course is my favorite, I do like this course as well.  Especially running around the Boardwalk!!

And before you knew it, we were rounding the corner towards the finish line!!

With our medals

With our medals

Running with Mickey

Running with Mickey

Oooh, shiny

Oooh, shiny

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Hello 2015

I tend to disappear in January.  One of the dangers of being an accountant at a company with a calendar year-end.

Today is Day 43 of being at the office.  Indulge my pity party for a minute.  It would be one thing to just be in the office 43 days straight but many of those days are extremely long.

I thought last year was the worst January on record.  However, last year my first day off was the Super Bowl and my Seahawks WON!  This year, I still haven’t had a day off and my Seahawks lost in crushing fashion (seriously – why didn’t we RUN the ball?!?).

Currently my weekends consist of some sort of attempt at running followed by time in the office.  Today, for example, I had 12 miles on the calendar (due to the fast approaching Princess Half).  While I was loving the weather, and being outdoors, the running turned into a lot of walking.  After ending 2014 with such promise with not one, but two PRs, it is a little disheartening to realize how quickly speed can disappear.

Food?  Whatever is available and delivers to the office.  Needless to say I’ve gained weight which on top of feeling tired and worn out leads to a fantastic attitude (heavy on the sarcasm).

During these long days, one needs a ray of sunshine.  For me it comes in the form of vacations.  First up is the Princess Half!  Pretty sure I’m going to be Ariel once again for the half considering I’ve done no costume planning.  And technically, the 10K would be first up since I once again signed up for the Glass Slipper Challenge.  I will be debuting a new costume for the 10K (assuming it all comes together).  Stay tuned…

I have a few other Disney trips planned, including Expedition Everest and Tinker Bell Half.  I have been coveting the pink Coast to Coast medal ever since it was unveiled.  My first two Coast to Coast medals were Tinker Bell & Princess but before the pink medal.  I signed up for Tink this year, thinking if nothing else I could defer.  But as of now, Tink should be a go!

I do have a few non-Disney vacation plans, however, I’m going to keep them under wraps for the moment.  Except to say, I will be running a 10K in Stockholm!!  Karla’s article on the expanding Nike Women’s series intrigued me and when I saw they had a race in Stockholm around the time I will be there I signed up.  My first international race!!  I’m super excited!

Well this was a slightly jumbled, poor me, whiny post but fairly cathartic for me.  So thanks for letting me complain!

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Life and Racing in 2014

It’s no secret I run a lot of races.  A LOT of races.  This year in particular it may seem that I am running #alltheraces!  It may seem as if I am racing every. single. weekend.   Why is this?  Why so many races?  Why risk burnout, injury, not to mention the cost, with all these races?

To say the last year has been rough is an understatement.  It has been one of the most stressful periods of my life for a number of reasons.  And it doesn’t help I’m in a new city, half way across the country from my home, from family and friends, from what’s familiar.

I honestly can’t remember a time in my life where I’ve had less time for myself.  Or for a life outside work.  Keep in my mind, I’m only speaking about myself.  Everyone has a different tolerance for work/life balance.  Someone else might look at my schedule and think what’s the big deal.  But for me, life outside of work continues to be more and more compressed and elusive.  No lie, sometimes I will go out of town, just so I won’t go in to work (San Francisco, Chicago for example).

By signing up for races, I have something that I have committed to, a reason to keep up with “training” or really, a reason to get outside or on a treadmill and be active.  Any number of times I would race, shower, and head in to work.  It would have been easy enough to not race and get an extra hour or two or more of sleep.  But then my sedentary life would be even more sedentary.  Races help to motivate me to be active.

I knew this year was going to be difficult and I knew I was most likely going lose speed, but I didn’t realize how demoralizing it would be at times.  Even though I haven’t necessarily focused on speed to any great degree in past years, I’ve generally seen some sort of improvement.  For a good part of the year, I figured I wouldn’t see any type of PR.  I kept on racing, watching the times get slower, but it was better than doing nothing.

And then came #streakingwiththecoolkids.  What started out as a goal to run (or walk) a mile a day for the month of October turned into running (or walking) a mile a day for the rest of the year!  Some days were extremely slow and some days I had to struggle to fit it in.  But one month turned into two and turned into three.  And I think the consistency showed itself with not one, but two PRs to end the year.

So what about 2015?  I think I want to focus on shorter distances and maybe actually work on speed (rather than say I’m going to work on speed and then not do it).  There will still be a half marathon here and there.  In fact, I think I might try to go for that elusive 2:45 next October at the Detroit Half Marathon.  Wait, did I say that out loud?  Part of me doesn’t want to admit that wish, even to myself.  Because that means its a real goal!  But I am putting it out there.  I want to PR Detroit.

To wrap up 2014, let’s look at the races I did run (all 37 of them):

  • 1 – 3 miler
  • 1 – shortened 4 miler (due to weather)
  • 1 – 4 miler
  • 1 – 6k
  • 1 – 12K
  • 1 – 15K
  • 1 – 10 miler
  • 1 – 20K
  • 2 – 5 milers
  • 6 – 10Ks
  • 7 – 5Ks
  • 14 – half marathons

2014 Year in Review

Posted in Running, Year in Review | 4 Comments

2014 12Ks of Christmas

I was so excited when I realized I would be home for the 12Ks of Christmas.  This is probably one of my favorite local races.  I love the distance, the festive atmosphere, and the costumes!

They changed the course this year and rather than starting with an uphill, they moved the start line up to the top of the hill so you were starting somewhat flat.  I parked in my normal spot and began the trek to the new start line.  As I got out of my car, I realized I had forgotten GU back at my parent’s house.  Well boo.  There wasn’t much I could do at that point.  I hoped against hope one of the vendors would have something I could eat (I found something).

The predominant colors, being a Christmas race, were red and green.  However there was a third color(s) – that of Seahawk blue.  Lots and lots of Seahawks outfits.  Some of the best were half Christmas, half Seahawks.

Even the cow was dressed up

Even the cow was dressed up

We lined up ready to start.  Coming off last week’s PR, deep, deep, deep down, I was secretly hoping for another chance to PR.  I figured this one would be a bit more difficult than last week.  But once I realized I had forgotten my fuel, I put aside thoughts of a PR.

The race organizers had been promoting the fact the course had been flattened out.  Although due to construction issues, they did have to change the course slightly from what they had anticipated.  While it was definitely flatter in some parts, it seemed that the hills just shifted slightly.  The hill at the beginning was gone, but then there was a super short, but super steep hill.  And the hill that used to be at the beginning ended up being at the end.  Overall, I still enjoyed the course (except maybe that last hill which we’ll get to).

Ready to go

Ready to go

While I didn’t think a PR would be realistic, it was still my “A” goal, followed by “B” at 1:35, followed by “C” which was under 1:40.  “D” wasn’t too far behind with finish.

We started out (with the 5Kers – another change from prior years).  It was drizzling slightly which only reminded me more that I was back in Seattle.  They had signs pretty early on telling the 12Kers to stay left and the 5Kers to stay right.

Ready, set, go

Ready, set, go

From the short steep hill we were heading back down Market and through downtown Kirkland.  The giant hill had not been removed and I tried to keep up my intervals while climbing it.

The next big change to the course came around Houghton (I think) where we turned right instead of going straight.  This is also where we passed the first water stop that was empty.  A few stray cups but no water.  Now, while I am slow, I was still with a decent number of people and I know there was still a good deal of people behind me.  Regardless, there should have been water.  There wasn’t anything I could do about it and so I kept plodding along.

Around Mile 5, I looked at my watch and attempted to do race math.  I clocked in Mile 5 at just under 1 hour (barely) which meant I had 33 minutes to do approx 2.4 miles to beat my PR.  Or 35 minutes to get goal “B”.  This might just happen.

By now we were back on Lake Washington Blvd, with the views of Lake Washington.  The street wasn’t closed, but the shoulder was blocked off.  Between the shoulder and the sidewalk, it felt like enough room since the pack had thinned out.

Views along the water

Views along the water

We came up on the second water stop and guess what?  Yup, no water.  Boo.  By this time I was seriously thirsty.  But fortunately I was also that much closer to the end.  Where they better have water!

Mile 6 came, followed by the 10K sign (Lords a leaping).  I took a quick glance at my watch.  I was really close to a 10K PR.  Through the old finish line area and up the hill past the new finish line area.  And up, and up, and up Market we went.  This is where I was doubting the whole new course idea.  I was not a fan of this hill so close to the end.

I reached the top.  Woohoo!!  It had to be all downhill from here, right?  Back down the super steep hill, on to Waverly, where we turned into the park and finished!!!

Before we get to my time, I need to complain about one thing.  (Only one, you ask?  Well, there may have been a few complaints a long the way!)  Some ding-dong jumped into the course to finish with his girlfriend, which fine, except he completely blocked me from the photographer!!  This wasn’t his finish, it was mine!  And I’m one of those people who actually buy the race pictures.  I was extremely irritated.  It could have had something to do with the fact I was starving and thirsty as well.

And across the finish line I went!!  With a time of (drumroll please) 1:29.28!  That’s another 3 minute PR!  I honestly didn’t think I had it in me.  I was definitely more uncomfortable on the course as I kept pushing where I normally would back off.  But it paid off with a shiny new PR to end the year with.

And that's a PR

And that’s a PR

I am very happy to say they did have water at the end which I gratefully guzzled.

So ends my 2014 in racing.

Finished!

Finished!

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Four Things


mustache

It’s my turn to answer some questions, thanks to the fabulous Kellie for nominating me!

Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

  1. Em
  2. Emmy/Yemmy
  3. E
  4. Red/Ginger (Ginger is my Vegas name!)

Four jobs I have had:

  1. Babysitter (many, many years)
  2. McDonalds crew person
  3. Office Manager
  4. Tax Accountant

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  1. Anne of Green Gables (even the third one!)
  2. The Mummy series
  3. Love Actually
  4. Sabrina (either version)

Four books I’d recommend:

  1. Exodus by Leon Uris 
  2. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  3. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
  4. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Four places I have lived:

  1. Newcastle, WA
  2. Bellingham, WA
  3. Houston, TX
  4. St Louis, MO

Four places I have been:

  1. London
  2. Paris
  3. Rome
  4. And most recently Turks & Caicos

Four things I don’t eat:

  1. Broccoli
  2. Green Beans (I’m allergic!)
  3. Cucumbers
  4. And sticking with the vegetable theme – Brussels Sprouts (except when wrapped in bacon!)

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Pizza
  2. Gelato
  3. Pizza
  4. Pizza (are you sensing a theme here?)

Four TV shows that I watch: 

  1. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
  2. NCIS (all versions)
  3. Castle
  4. Scandal

Four things I am looking forward to this year:

  1. One thing that I can’t speak about (at least not yet) but I am SO looking forward to it (while be slightly terrified)
  2. Vacation!!!  But where to?  Maybe Australia?
  3. Princess Half Marathon weekend (where I totally will meet Kellie!!)
  4. Detroit Half Marathon (a tunnel, a bridge, AND you get to cross the border between the US & Canada?!!)

Four things I’m always saying:

  1. Exactly
  2. I hate people
  3. For the love
  4. Oh snap

Here’s where I should be nominating others, but I’m never good at this part and so I’m breaking the chain.  However, if you are reading this and wishing you were nominated, then consider yourself nominated by me!

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2014 St Louis Hot Chocolate 15K

I’d be lying if the thought of a 15K PR hadn’t been on mind leading up to this race.  Granted, I still really done any sort of training, but I’ve been keeping up with a mile a day now since October 1st.  It’s been a long year of watching my times increase.

But last week ended up being an extremely long week at work.  Late nights, lack of sleep, and lack of food.  Yesterday I started writing this blog post in my head with my excuses of why I didn’t PR.  The excuses centered around lack of sleep

How much of running is mental?  Here I was basically sabotaging myself, deciding I was going to have a bad race due to extenuating circumstances.  I tried to stop those thoughts and instead concentrate on having a good race and my time would take care of itself.

To add yet another wrinkle, I didn’t get home on Saturday until late and then I couldn’t get to sleep.  I was lying in my bed telling myself I needed to go to sleep but sleep was a long time in coming.

My alarm went off and I slowly got out of bed.  I checked the weather and the threat of rain from yesterday was now at a 0% and the temperature was to be around 50 degrees.  Well, that was slightly unexpected.  Especially considering last year we were battling cold temps and ice.

I arrived downtown and after a port-o-potty stop, made my way into the corrals.

Ready to go

Ready to go

Go!  The course (slightly changed from last year) started at Soldier’s Memorial and headed west up Market.  My first couple of miles ticked off with decent times (11:43, 12:12, 11:32).  In fact, I had a near 5K PR.

Ready Set Go

Ready Set Go

We passed by the finish area, where the sounds of 5K finishers filled our ears, before heading past the baseball station and south on Broadway towards the Budweiser facility.

My next few miles continued with decent times (11:16, 11:20, 11:55).  I was also fairly close to a 10K PR.  I still wasn’t quite ready to admit I really wanted a PR, but I was getting close.  How close?  I passed by a STL birthday cake and didn’t stop for a picture.

Around mile 7, I was really struggling.  I kept looking at my watch.  I realized that not only did I REALLY want a PR, I wanted to come in around 1:55.  It was going to be close on both counts.

The finish was almost exactly the same as the St Louis Rock’n’Roll with a downhill, followed up a slow uphill that didn’t seem to end, before finally heading back downhill to the finish.

I walked up the hill and watched the clock continue to tick.  I picked a spot and when I reached I started running and didn’t look back.  It was slow up to the crest of the hill before I speeded up, as much as I could.

Goodies at the end

Goodies at the end

Done!!   Not only did I PR, but I also came in under 1:55 at 1:54.23!!  That’s a PR of 3 minutes!  Hooray!!

That PR tastes yummy

That PR tastes yummy

Bling!

Bling!

Posted in Race Report, St. Louis | Tagged | 3 Comments

Turks & Caicos 2014

A long time ago, you would never catch me wanting to go on a relaxing, beach vacation.  You could chalk up the reluctance to a number of things, but the chief reason being I’m fair-skinned and burn quite easily.  That, and my low self-esteem and poor body image do not like to be seen in a bathing suit in public.

But then I went on a beach vacation where I got a pretty nasty sunburn.  However, I learned that yes, even though I will probably get sunburned a little, I can keep reapplying sunscreen, there will be shade, and there’s nothing wrong in covering up or hiding under a blanket.  I also learned that once I’m at the beach, the body issues fade away, because, hey – I’m at the beach!

Fruity Drink O'Clock

Fruity Drink O’Clock

Normally a beach vacation would not be my big vacation for the year.  But with less vacation days, this year’s big vacation became a beach vacation.  It ended up a girls’ trip with Jessica & Nilufer & me.

Ice cream on the beach

Ice cream on the beach

Where to go?  We started out looking at Belize and I think we may have ended up looking at almost every island in the Caribbean before settling on Turks & Caicos.

Fort George Cay

Fort George Cay

Finally it was time!!  We arrived to pouring rain.  What?!!  No!  Are we going to spend our beach vacation inside?

After dropping our bags and checking out our room, we were able to book last minute massages to pass the time and avoid the rain.  Fortunately when our massages were done, we stepped outside to no rain!

Our days became fairly routine.  I was generally the first to wake up and would often find myself out on the balcony to enjoy the sun waking up.

Once everyone was up, we would head to the gym.  Yup, the gym.  Jessica & I are doing a T25 challenge & convinced Nilufer she wanted to do it too!  Which she agreed, but only if after we could do a “quick” WOD (she is the Cross Fitter of the group).  And then we would head to the beach for a mile-ish run/walk.

Running on the beach

Running on the beach

By this time it was around 8 a.m. or so.  The sun set fairly early so we were early to rise to take advantage of the daylight.

Sunset

Sunset

Since we had a kitchen in our room, we’d usually have breakfast on our balcony.

Breakfast on the balcony

Breakfast on the balcony

Then it was time to head to the beach!  Or the pool  Some days it was both.  And we’d park ourselves until it would get dark.

Relaxing at the beach

Relaxing at the beach

We did venture out one day on a tour to Middle & North Caicos for some snorkeling and cave exploring.  We even ate fresh lobster on the beach!

Mmm, lobster

Mmm, lobster

The time went by way too fast, but it was a great trip.  When can we go again??

Rainbow!!

Rainbow!!

Posted in Travel, Trip Report | Tagged , , | 4 Comments