2018 Beginnings

Oh 2018.  You and I are not off to the best start.  Why, you ask?  Let’s rewind, shall we?

I started going to Orange Theory – basically high intensity, interval training.  I really like it when people tell me what to do instead of me trying to figure out what I should do at a gym.  As I started going more regularly I was noticing dividends (aka getting faster in my running and feeling stronger overall).  One morning I came in to class and saw the bosu balls were out.  I had my first moment of apprehension.  With the demonstration my apprehension turned into dread.  I am not the most coordinated person in the world and am somewhat prone to tripping and falling.  We were to do jump overs on the ball (hard to describe in words but basically jumping on and off the bosu ball).  I immediately knew I should not do this part of class and tried to do the dumbed down version but still managed to tangle my feet and fall, spraining my ankle in the process.  I heard a loud pop and since this was not my first time spraining my ankle I knew what had happened and sure enough, my ankle swelled almost immediately.  I went home and began a regime of icing, elevating, and resting until I got the okay to start back running.  With some ibuprofen thrown in.

I always find it amazing how long it takes to build up a base and how fast that base erodes.  That first run back was definitely slower and more labored than it had been a few short weeks ago.

I have this love / hate relationship with running where I never really appreciate the love part until I can’t run and then I really miss it!  Over the years, it has become a staple in my life.

I had just started back running when BAM!  Literally BAM!  I was rear-ended in my brand new car.  Oh, I bought a car!  I had my car for a little over a month before one unsuspecting day I was driving to work and was hit from behind.  My car didn’t even have license plates yet.  Wah wah.

I’m trying to give my body space to heal but it can be frustrating.  And here you find me, on my next round of rest, ice and repeat.

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2017 in Races

Boy oh boy!  As we enter 2018, its time once again to look back at my racing year!  43 races in total.  43!  It didn’t feel like I was working towards anything, other than finishing 40 races.  Although I did have 1 PR!  Thank goodness for downhill races!  I am proud of my accomplishment.

What’s on tap for next year?  I’d really like to get stronger (I’ve said this before) and really stick to a training plan and see if I can break 2:45 for the half (again).  They are somewhat lofty goals, but they also fit into my overall goal for 2018 which is balance.  Being able to carve out time for me and finding what happy looks like for me.

By the numbers:

  • 8 – 5Ks
  • 15 – 10Ks
  • 1 – Quarter Marathon
  • 2 – 12Ks
  • 3 – 15Ks
  • 14 – Half Marathons

By the pictures:

2017 Run in Review

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2017 Berlin

Time for another Thanksgiving Europe trip!  It took a bit of back and forth and different options but Nilufer and I finally decided on Berlin and Prague for this trip.  We met up at the Berlin airport and made our way into town.

Our hotel (NH Freidrichstrasse) ended up being in a fantastic location – near an U-bahn, S-bahn, and tram stop.  And not too far from the Brandenburg Gate.  Our room was on the second floor and overlooked Friedrichstrasse, and while it was noisy at times, overall it was fine.  After dropping our bags we knew it was time to eat!!  We made our way over to the KaDaWe store for some schnitzel, as well as shopping.  We weren’t too far from the Victory Column and so to help keep me awake we walked over and up the 270 odd stairs to the top of the Victory Column.  It was dark by then, but still a beautiful view of the city lights.

The last time I was in Berlin (which was nearly 10 years ago!!) I visited the Reichstag, but I had no recollection of needing tickets in advance.  Fortunately the tickets were fairly easy to sign up for (although the website is not the most user-friendly).  They had day of tickets available and we requested a pair for the 5:30 time slot and made our way over in the pouring rain.  Sadly when we arrived they couldn’t find our reservations (apparently the system doesn’t always update when you reserve online for day of tickets).  The only ones available for that one were for later that night so we made a reservation for the next morning.

The Brandenburg Gate is a short walk from the Reichstag and we enjoyed the gate at night as well as the exhibit in front of the gate (three city busses standing up, signifying unity) before heading back towards our hotel.


Neither of the restaurants close to our hotel had any room (we were encouraged to leave rather than wait) and so we took the recommendation of the waiter to try a restaurant (Da Vinci) a few blocks down.  It was Italian so I was definitely okay with it.  And their pizza was absolutely delicious!!

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The other good thing about our hotel was the fact there was an ice cream shop next door!  We finished the night with ice cream.  Because what’s vacation without ice cream?  Even when its cold out!

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Finally it was time for bed!  I was proud of myself for making it until 8 PM!

The next morning we made our way over to the Reichstag, stopping for breakfast at Brotzeit.  I had avocado toast for the first time, and it was delicious!

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We finally made it into the Reichstag and up the elevator to the bottom of the glass dome.  It really is amazing to see up close.  From there we made our way back to the Brandenburg Gate to see it in the daylight and over to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.


Our last stop of the morning was Checkpoint Charlie before making our way over to Kreutzberg.  When I was last in Paris, I had taken a photo class/tour and enjoyed it so much that I decided to take another one in Berlin.  (Why Berlin vs Prague?  Because Berlin was at the beginning of the trip and hopefully I could use what I learned the rest of the trip!)


I went with the same company as the one in Paris (Aperture Tours) and Katrin was a great instructor – I really liked how she explained how to use my camera.  We explored some of the Berlin Wall remains before heading over to a market hall to continue the tour.


After the tour ended, Nilufer and I made our way back over towards our hotel and the pizza restaurant.  Because again, I really enjoy pizza on vacation (well anytime really).

Our last day in Berlin started off very similar to the previous day with breakfast at Brotzeit.  I knew it was going to be a good day because there was a design in my coffee!!  We decided to split the avocado toast (but added eggs and bacon to it) and the pancakes.  The pancakes were not American pancakes, but were still delicious.


We took the S-bahn to Oranienburg, and began the 20-ish minute walk out to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.  The museums were closed, however the grounds were still open.  It is such a sobering experience to visit and yet I continue to visit concentration camps as I feel it helps to keep the memory alive as well as honor those who died.  And even today, I feel like we need to remember the past so we are not doomed to repeat it.  The familiar Arbeit Macht Frei (work sets you free) greeted us as we walked through camp entrance.  The camp was massive and had a good number of signs to help depict life at the camp.


We made our way back to Berlin and over to the Hackescher Market area for some shopping and exploring (and where we tried currywurst!) before making our way over to Potsdam Platz where there was just the beginning of a Christmas Market.  Of course I had some gluhwein!

We were up early the next morning and took advantage of the Starbucks next to the hotel before taking a cab over to the main train station to catch our train to Prague.  Berlin to Prague via train was about 4.5 hours.  Why the train vs a plane you may ask?  Well I was having difficulty finding a direct flight from Berlin to Prague and so when you add in connection time, 4.5 on a direct train really wasn’t too bad.  Plus the tickets weren’t super expensive and I like traveling on trains!  I took advantage of my time on the train to get caught up on my Lightening Round of Races recaps.

Stay tuned for Prague!

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Lightening Round of Races X

HERE WE GO!!  This is the FINAL lightening round!  Can you believe it?  I will say having this goal allowed me to find some joy in the number 40 rather than dread.  Age is just a number right?  My final race(s) ended up all being holiday themed, and for December that makes sense.

#40 Santa Hustle 5K – I was going to be in Chicago for work and out of habit looked to see if there was a race happening, which there was!  The Santa Hustle started and finished at Solider Field (outside, not inside).  A former co-worker lives in Chicago and I convinced her to run, with the giant caveat that since this was Chicago and December that this was completely weather dependent.  It ended up being a beautiful day!  And fun to see all the Santa’s hustling!


#41 Holiday 5K – I find it hilarious that the race in North Portland was colder than the race in Chicago!  This is a fun 5K with carolers along the way and a cookie stop!


#42 12Ks of Christmas – One of my favorite races!  I’m always glad when it works out that I can make it back to Seattle for this race.  The course has had a lot of changes over the years, but I like this version of it.  While there are hills, it is much more flattened out, and the hill at the end is DOWN hill, not up hill.  My one complaint about this race (that continues to be a complaint – you’d think they would learn) is often they run out of water.  There was water at the first stop, but none at the second.  Wah wah.  Even with the water issues, this is still one of my favorite races.


And there you go!!  40 races in 2017.   I might need a nap now!

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2017 Wine & Dine

I knew Wine & Dine was going to be my 38th and 39th race!  I just knew it!  Of course I forgot about that last-minute sign up for the Scary Run, which meant they were actually my 39th and 40th, but since they are both under the Wine & Dine umbrella, we can just count them as one race, right?  This way I can have a true 40th race.  Shhh, we’ll keep it our little secret!


After some plane drama, including a missed connection, I finally arrived in Orlando and met up with Michelle, Jason & the kids.  Jason had decided to run the challenge this year!  We did the quickest expo pick-up I have ever done and headed over to Animal Kingdom where I was able to experience Pandora!  We did Rivers of Light (which I really enjoyed) and then hightailed it over to Flights of Passage to get in line minutes before the park closed.  The ride was A-MAZE-ING!!


How I love early Disney race day mornings (ugh).  After barely any sleep, I was up and ready for the 10K.  I didn’t realize the course had changed until I realized we weren’t getting dropped off at Epcot!  Instead we were dropped off at a Magic Kingdom parking lot.  I met up with Jason and we began the long wait until it was time to enter the corrals.  And we were off!  The course took us to Hollywood Studios and then over to Epcot.  There weren’t a lot of characters out.  Oh well.  I finished at just under 1:30, which may be my fastest Disney 10K.


I met up with Michelle & the girls at Hollywood, where I conquered my fears on Tower of Terror and ran into Krissy!!  How fun!


I was slightly paranoid about having the clocks fall back and not being up at the right time so I set all the alarms.  Once again it was a very early morning and I met up with Jason as the Magic Kingdom parking lot.  The course took us through Animal Kingdom where we got to run through Pandora!  From Animal Kingdom we made our way towards Hollywood Studios and finally Epcot.  Along the way I ran into Jenn!!!


It was so humid and I was so ready to be done!  Across the finish line I went!  I met up with Michelle, Jason (who finished way before me) and the girls.


After starting the day over again, I made my way over to the Magic Kingdom for some much needed magic!


And so ends race 39 (and only race 39).

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Lightening Round of Races 2017 Part IX

Someone call IX-I-I!  Every time I tell you, every time!   I see Roman numerals and that phrase pops into my head.  Good news, we are definitely heading into the homestretch!

#35 Portland Half – One of these days I will fully train and PR this race.  But not this year.  This race, while perfect timing weather wise, is a horrible timing work wise.  But I have hopes that work will calm down eventually (fingers crossed) and let me train for this race.  Maybe even next year!  It was overcast, and rained a little, but nothing like the deluge last year.  The course was slightly changed, but still an out and back on Naito Parkway with an out and back on Highway 30 as well.  I really wish I wanted to do a marathon because that course goes over St. John’s Bridge and you know how much I like bridges.  It isn’t super scenic and the roads in the more industrial section aren’t great, but you do have pirates cheering for you.  What more could you want?

#36 Girlfriends Quarter Marathon – Any race that ends with firefighters is okay in my book.  Plus there was a brunch afterwards!  This race takes place in Vancouver.  They changed the route slightly from last year, but a good portion still took place along with Columbia River.


#37 Monster Dash 10K – When you have a crazy ambition to run 40 races, it means you run on vacation.  But what better place to run, than along the Pacific Ocean?  It was a loop race and the 10K did two loops.  And afterwards, we got to take our shoes off and dip into the ocean!

#38 Scary Run Half – This was a “I really need to run 10+ miles but I don’t want to so I’ll run a race” race.  There is definitely something about running with other people!  It was out in Washougal, WA (over the river to WA and east along the Columbia).  It was the inaugural half marathon (the 5K and 10K had been run in years past).  Since the race literature didn’t have a time limit listed and it was an inaugural race, I emailed the race director to ask about time limits.  The answer was as long I as I finished in time for trick or treating it was fine.  Well okay then.  There were *maybe* 50 people running the race.  With that few of people, I felt for sure I was going to be dead last, which has always been a fear of mine.  Too late now, I was in it to win it.  Fortunately the half started a half hour before, which gave me at least an illusion of cushion time.  Ha!  The volunteers were great and there were ghosts and ghoulies to give you a fright.  I was a little worried about this (would they chase you?), but really they weren’t too scary – but just scary enough.  The first part of the course was on a paved trail, the second was on a packed gravel trail.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the gravel trail, but I survived!  And I survived all the ghosts and goblins.  Guess what???  I wasn’t last!!  And I wasn’t last by several people!!  I even came in (barely) under three hours at 2:57.  Whew!

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Lightening Round of Races 2017 Part VIII

Oooooh boy!  We are heading in to the home stretch!  If you have stayed with me this long, thanks so much.  As a recap, I decided to celebrate my 40th birthday by running 40 races!  And without further ado, let’s commence with Round VIII!

#31 Hero Up 5K – Last year this was my surprise half PR.  This year I did the 5K version.  The 5K is mostly contained within Cook Park and avoids the evil hill that is the Ladybug 10K.  A lot of people do dress up for this race and it was great to see all the costumes!  Since I had a half the next day, I took this one easy and enjoyed being out in the sun.  And I wore a cape.  Races are definitely way more fun with a cape.


#32 Wine Country Half & Relay – In some ways I’m not sure how this happened, and in others, this is definitely par for the course.  There were two options with this race – either run the half, or run the half as a relay team.  My plan going into it was to run the half, but when I realized I could talk Jessica into the relay portion I had a dilemma.  Which was easily solved when I emailed the race director to ask if I could do the first half as part of the relay team and then do the second half as well.  They were great and worked with me to make that happen.  The race started at a winery and finished at a street fair.  In between were gorgeous views of vineyards and a wine stop!  It was a really fun race!

#33 Bridge of the Goddess 10K – I hadn’t planned on doing this race since I had done Bridge of the Gods earlier in the year.  But when the Eagle Creek wildfire caused the race to move to Vancouver (which meant a 30 minute drive as opposed to an hour), I decided to sign up for the 10K at the last-minute.  The route was very similar to other Vancouver races I have done (along the Columbia) and the after party was great.  The whole race was really well-organized, especially considering they had changed venues earlier in the week due to the fire.  I finished just as the half winner finished which meant I got a lot of cheers.  Oh wait, maybe they were for the half winner. But I still used the cheers for motivation!


#34 Country Girl Half – This was another race I hadn’t planned on doing, but when my weekend plans changed I took advantage of this race as a training race for the upcoming Portland Half.  It was the same course as the Hop Hop Half, which was good and bad.  The views along the Columbia were amazing as always.  It started to get hot towards the end and I was glad when it was over.  Oh, and there were mimosas at the end.  Score!

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