It's December which can only mean one thing! It's Christmas time!New Year's Eve is approaching!My birthday is almost here!Time to illegally acquire fireworks!Egg nog lattes with every meal!Time to stress about gift shopping! Oh shit, is the cat eating the tree lights?Shitter was full!
It's time to run my last half marathon of the year!
Before we get into the boring parts of this let me warn you that apparently 12 half marathons in so many months is what it takes to break my brain. After leaving the race I stopped at a 7-11 for a bathroom break/coffee stop. I walked into the bathroom, saw urinals and thought "weird that those are in the women's room." I proceeded to go into the only stall ("Why is there only one stall?") and noticed on the back of the door graffiti advertising a phone number to call for cheap bjs. ("ha, someone wrote that in the wrong bathroom!" Y'all, I really thought that.) I then left the bathroom, walked over to the coffee area where a giant lightbulb finally went off and I realized I had just used the mens' room.
There were some changes to my race calendar for multiple reasons and I ended up staying in town for my last half, the Hits Endurance Festival on Dec 14th. This was my first time running this particular race and perhaps the first time this race was held in Austin. The race was at the Circuit of the Americas, which is a Formula 1 track and that provided for an interesting race setting.
Empty seats as far as the eye could see! Concrete! Lots of turns! Hills! WTF, HILLS?!? But there was plenty of good too. Since it is a track they were able to pipe in music for us over the P.A. system. There were not many people running the half and full distance so no dodging people slower than me. (If we're being honest, this was mostly because there is no one who runs slower than me.) The weather was great. Strong head wind in some inconvenient places but otherwise cool and delightful.
I think I could have PRed this race but thanks to lots of sharp turns I wasn't able to run the tangents and I over ran the distance quite a bit. I realized I was going over for time and distance when I was at the foot of a pretty beastly hill, thought "aww screw it," and walked up to the top. Could I have run that hill? Maybe. Do I regret taking my time? No. Dude, I had already run up lots of hills that day, skipping one wasn't going to kill me. What I really needed out of this race, more than a PR, was to have fun. My last few months have been tiring and I've been dreading running lately. I really needed to get back to loving it and this race really did that for me. I felt strong the whole time. I felt fast (even though I wasn't). I crossed the finish line and actually thought "yeah, I could keep going."
So 12 in 12! Hell yeah!
But, um, now what? I'm feeling a little lost without some stupid challenge on my horizon. Could we all tell jparks I'm doing another challenge and I'll just go on vacation every month. You'll let me sleep at your house, right? We can marathon drink and eat. You better start training now because I'm already a pro.
"Okay, November half marathon done! Time to get to the important busy of blogging it!"
"Maybe I'll wait until I run the Turkey Trot so I can blog that too. Plus the kids are running the Kids K with me so I can tell a cute story of crossing the finish line with them!"
"Kids K was a disaster. Can't deal with talking about it yet."
"Oh look, it's no longer November. Shit."
Timeliness! Not my strong suit. Forgive me? (like you have a choice)
So my November half marathon! Wouldn't you think a November race would be cold? Or at the very least cool? Yeah me too. And despite every person telling me that it is always ridiculously hot for Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio, I didn't expect it to be hot. I am so smart. Hell, the week prior to the race Texas was seeing temperatures in the 30s! But guess what? Everyone was right! It was 80 degrees which isn't the hottest temperature I've ever run in, but the 90% humidity really made everything totally fucking miserable. My elbows were sweating. Did you know elbows can sweat? I didn't!
I saw two people getting IV fluids on the side of the road and the medics at the finish line were totally out of bags of fluids so I think it's safe to say that not many folks PRed at this race. I totally understand why others in the Austin running community warned me not to run RNR San Antonio. But! 11 half marathons done!
No finisher picture because I literally had to run back to my hotel room so I didn't miss check out and because I don't have eleven fingers. But I did take a picture of the two desserts I ordered at dinner the night before the race. The people next to me at the bar laughed and the bartender told me he was proud of my ordering skills.
Ugliest finisher medal ever, right?
Besides the RNRSA half I also ran the Turkey Trot this month where the weather was the exact opposite of the half. The kids were registered for the Kids K before the big race and the night before both were super excited. Then the morning of the race Truman decided he didn't want to run and since we couldn't leave him home alone, we dragged him down to the race to stand around in the cold. He was not a happy camper.
Pippa, however, was stoked for the Kids K. She kept pushing through the crowds and was jumping with excitement. And then the race started, she took three steps, and threw herself down in front of a jogging stroller. Awesome. Note for next Thanksgiving: skip the Kids K.
Whatever, at least her track suit was adorable.
So here we are, one more half marathon! Possibly two if I decide that I really won't be able to sleep unless my year of half marathons becomes 13 13.1 in 2013. So close to the end! When I get there can we celebrate with drinks?
October! Do you know what October means for me? Double digits! That's right I've made it through my tenth half marathon of the year. I actually hit this milestone early in the month, on the 4th, but I was waiting to post to see if I was going to manage a second half marathon this month. Sorry to disappoint y'all but I couldn't make it happen. I did, however, manage Run for the Water, which at 10 miles, isn't nothing. Also, it was rainy for Run for the Water and I don't run in the rain. (Yes really. Running in the rain is not for me.) So even though it was 3.1 miles shorter than a half, it felt just as miserable challenging.
The start line for the Rock N Roll San Jose race was really nice. Very personalized.
Ten! Two hands worth of fingers! I credit that bib number with my good race. So even!
Same story with my Run for the Water bib.
I mean, have you ever seen me look this happy in a picture? I'm so confused by what my mouth is doing. Is that a real smile?
So here I am. 131 miles into the year. (141 with my bonus race.) My last two races will take me to San Antonio and Baton Rouge. I find it entirely too entertaining that I've been all over the country this year to really exciting cities for races (NYC! Philly! San Francisco! Portland! Seattle!) and I'm ending my year in two cities that have no appeal to me. Good planning Regan! Way to keep your excitement for these halves high.
26.2 miles to go. Y'all, I have that! I'm going to make it out of this year alive!
Some folks have asked me why I decided to run all these races and I don't have much of answer other than this:
Steak frites! (And an obscene amount of butter!)
Boquerones! (That's fancy speak for delicious anchovies and pickled things)
So yeah, I eat a lot when I travel. Anyway, back to this specific race.
Number 9. Um. Well. Maybe we should go back to looking at pictures of what I ate.
Yes, I finished Half number 9. No, it wasn't pretty.
I don't know what happened this month. Previously during races, I've thought "I would really love to quit but I know I can keep going." This time I thought "I need to quit. It is not in my best interest to keep going. Fuck this shit."
At mile 8, I needed to pee. Usually I don't stop during races, choosing to skip the lines at the port-a-potties along the course to save time. This time it was a stop or pee on myself situation. But to really give you the full picture, let me tell you that I had been experiencing leg cramps that required me to break out the salt tablets, a stomach that felt like it was going to produce some projectile vomit at a moment's notice (probably thanks to the salt tablets), and I just sort of felt flu-ish and run down. By mile 8 I had stopped to stretch a few times and even asked a couple of medic tents if they had foam rollers. They did not.
So I hit mile 8 not feeling my best and decide to stop at the single port-a-potty I see. I step inside, smell the typical port-a-potty aroma, and focus on locking the door. Once locked I turn and see that inside this port-a-potty a human has exploded. Look, I grew up in New Orleans so I've seen some pretty bad stuff in port-a-potties at Mardi Gras but this was a different beast all together.
Instantly I know I can't handle this situation and start to freak out. I'm gagging, dizzy, and basically clawing at the door trying to get it unlocked. I start pushing it with my shoulder, get it unlocked, and hit the ground outside. From across the street the medics yell "You okay?" so you know I was looking awesome. After a couple of minutes of sitting next to the port-a-potty of doom (and warning people that they really REALLY should just keep going) I get up and start walking. Each step is misery.
At some point, I have no idea when, I started to run again. I think I only managed to do that because I knew it would get me to the finish line faster than walking.
This is my "kill me now" face.
Once finished I wanted nothing more than to rip that damn running skirt off. I was honestly having such a strong reaction to it (for no valid reason) that I stopped at the Rock N Roll merchandise tent before going to find my friends. Unfortunately that tent only sold shirts and jackets so I made my friends stop at Athleta on our way to brunch because I am a spoiled child. I bought a pair of shorts, changed into them in the fitting room, and thanks to their magical healing properties I felt a thousand times better instantly. I was even able to rally for a couple of post race Bloody Marys and steak. (And later that afternoon I rallied myself into letting Maura get me totally and completely tanked on gin and tonic.)
I ended up with a pretty jacked up hip after the race and my physical therapist was all "Why did you finish! You should have stopped! You would feel much better right now if you had!"but it's feeling better today, just in time for my long training run tomorrow morning. (13 miles! I have a mental illness!)
So yeah, nine. Four left. Hopefully things can only improve from here out.
On July 21st I ran the Chicago Rock N Roll Half Marathon. It was, um, what's worse than miserable? Totally fucking miserable? Is that worse? That's what it was. People were dropping left and right from the heat. Starting around mile 7, every quarter of a mile there was an ambulance picking up people and whisking them to the hospital. It was bad. I got scared and decided to start run/walk intervals because I wanted to remain upright. Because of those intervals my time was not good. I came out of that race feeling like I never wanted to run again. Sitting is pretty cool, maybe I'll train for some sort of competitive sitting competition.
I can 100% guarantee that I saw the photographer and started running as I approached him and resumed my death march after I passed him.
I was just so happy to be done. I'm always able to rally for post race booze.
Of course I couldn't just stop running, I had five more months of races to do. Oh, and full marathon training was starting 7 days later. No time for sitting, it was time to get even more serious about running.
Two weeks later, this past Sunday, I was back at another start line for my August race, this time in a much cooler San Francisco. 55 degrees, foggy, breezy, misty, ideal. I ran and ran and ran. I felt strong. I hit mile 12 and I was actually still smiling. Holy shit, was I enjoying running again? I was!
This half was The Giant Race and we crossed the finish line on the field at AT&T Park where the Giants play ball. I've been to AT&T Park numerous times for ballgames but I've never been on the field before. Y'all, I loved it.
We were allowed into the dugout, so I had to make an a call on the dugout phone before they are all replaced by cells. I was apparently making an angry phone call to the bullpen because my pitcher was really pissing me off. I like how the guy sitting there finds the situation amusing.
Of course, it's not a baseball game unless someone tries to steal third.
Do you see the long sleeves and gloves? LONG SLEEVES AND GLOVES! San Francisco, you are magical.
I believe my favorite picture from the whole thing is this one of me "sliding" into home. I'm so ready for the big leagues. Maybe Erica and I should skip the Super Social softball league next season and move right on up to Minor League play.
Total pro right there.
Thank goodness for a good August race. I feel excited about running again. I look at my training plan and don't want to gouge my eyes out when I see my weekend mileage. Thank you Giant Race! You were a pretty awesome 8th half marathon.
Not this last weekend but the weekend prior, I went to Portland for my May half. I'm not sure if that means I'm out of the timeframe where this trip is blogable but the hell with rules, let's do this!
Portland was 5 of 12 and the first of many Rock N Roll races I'll be running this year. I was a bit hesitant to sign up for so many Rock N Roll races without ever running one before, but I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best since buying their tour pass was the cheapest way to get through this year. I wasn't a huge fan of the set up of the Portland starting corral but that was really my only complaint. Well, the carpet all the way across the Hawthorne Bridge was kind of crappy since it absorbed a lot of your foot strike and made it feel like your shoes were sticking to it, but I guess it was better than the grate it was covering? So overall the race was good: well supported, the cheerleading squads along the way were cute, and handing out gu at one water stop was a nice touch (I didn't take it since I was using baby food pouches this runOMG WHAT HAVE I BECOME?)
I really need to mention how amazing it was to get to finish line and see so many people there cheering for the runners. Since this was my first race post-Boston I really didn't know what to expect, but it was as crowded as every other race I've run. Rhi (who let me stay at her house and play with her adorable Henry) came out to the finish line and it was amazing to see a face I recognized. It really meant so much more this time that people were there and showing support. Thank you strangers and Rhi!
Besides running, I also did a lot of eating in Portland. Like a scary large amount of eating. Rhi, being very Portland passionate and a food lover, knew all the best places to take me.
First up was Deschutes Brewery, where we had an amazing pretzel fondue and a beer sampler!
Yup, that was lunch for just two people. And yup, it was delicious.
We went and tried on workout clothes after this meal because when you're tipsy and bloated is totally the best time to try on spandex.
The night before my race we tried to go to Pok Pok for the fish sauce wings since I've been dreaming about them for years now, but the wait was two hours. Instead we walked across the street to Whiskey Soda Lounge where you can order the wings and not have to wait an insane amount of time. I also enjoyed a Hunny cocktail, which is grapefruit juice, lime, Som honey drinking vinegar, and tequila. Honestly, there's no better way to hydrate pre-race than a cocktail.
After the race I refueled with some pork and cheese curd fries with cole slaw. And some fried hand pies that I sadly took only two bites out of and then forgot in Rhi's fridge. I would have gladly packed those hand pies up for the flight home.
And because that wasn't enough refueling, that night Rhi and her husband took me out to a Japanese pub where I had the most amazing ribs and burger.
Seriously not joking about that burger. It was amazing. Also, being able to get a giant burger and sushi under the same roof? Perfection.
Next month I'm off to Seattle where I'll be able to see more friends while I put more miles under my feet. If it's half as much fun as Portland then it will be absolutely amazing.
I don't know how to tell you this delicately without you thinking I've lost my damn mind so I'll just spit it out: I've been drinking bulletproof coffee. Does that mean nothing to you? Brace yourself, here it is:
So yeah, coffee with butter. And oil. I'm drinking that shit. I think I might have hit my head pretty hard recently and I don't remember it because why else would I be drinking this? Oh, because people on the internet were doing it and I'm a lemming. Awesome, where's the nearest cliff?
A while back I came across the recipe for bulletproof coffee and I'm pretty sure I sent it to various friends with the comment "Paleo people are batshit crazy!" And I still stand by that statement and accept that this now makes me batshit crazy too. Do I like the coffee? Maybe. Kinda. I don't know. I mean, it's supposed to be magical and at this point, I'm drinking it waiting for the magic to happen.
I find I'm in a similar situation I was in during my Whole30. That program claims that around day 16 you start to feel amazing. Stronger! Thinner! An all around better human! Everyone wants to feel awesome so I committed to the program and ended up feeling kind of normal the whole time. Sure, I became ridiculously cranky as they predicted but instead of swinging over to Super Human, I just slowly swung back to my normal self. I went through the trouble of making almond milk for that? Ugh.
Jump ahead to my current life and a friend on Twitter was raving about her daily bulletproof coffee. She was losing weight drinking butter! She was performing better at Crossfit! Of course I immediately thought "I want those things too! Pass me the caffeinated butter juice!"
I've been having one cup every morning for about two weeks and once again there's no tiger blood. No increased strength. I feel exactly the same. I have no idea how long I'll continue this odd morning routine as grassfed butter isn't cheap and neither is the special MCT oil needed. On the other hand, today I came across this infographic and hell if I know how much of it is accurate, but it is interesting.
So there you have it, I'm drinking butter in my coffee. I guess my next move will be to cut out the middle man and straight up have a stick of butter for breakfast. But only grassfed butter. Anything less than that would just be crazy.
I wrote this post yesterday and was scratching my head over what to title it when I saw the news about the explosions in Boston. My focus immediately shifted to that situation and everything else fell to the wayside. This morning I opened my computer and found this post sitting open in a Chrome tab. I debated posting anything because the day after a national tragedy is a sensitive time. People are on edge and we are quick to point fingers and call names. We want answers, not distractions. But my words have nothing controversial in them. And maybe you do need a distraction. Maybe you're like me and you feel compelled to sit and watch hours of news even though you know it's not healthy. Having something else to read and focus on, even if it's for 2 minutes, is good for you. After this, go outside. Pick up a book. Go grocery shopping. Play with your dog. Step away from the news for a little bit. Step away from the fights on Twitter and Facebook. Truly awful things happened yesterday but today, focus on the good. Let's all be kind and gentle to each other.
I've started and restarted this post about six times. Yes, this month's race was just another half marathon but it was also so much more than that. This race was the start of traveling for my 12 in 12 plan and I felt immense pressure for it to go well to prove that all the time and expense of traveling this year was worth it. I'm a worrier by nature so I worried if I didn't PR I would find it hard to justify the rest of my travels. That jparks would be disappointed in me and guilt me into not going away again. That the whole trip would be money wasted and I wouldn't want to step foot on the plane to Portland in May.
Oh y'all. I invested all that worry into this trip and there was no reason for it. Going to NYC alone was awesome. I had the best time wandering around the city without having to worry that jparks would sprain his eyes rolling them as I slowly walked all nine floors of Saks. (9! A whole floor of the most beautiful shoes I've ever seen!) I could eat whatever I wanted even if that was cupcakes for dinner.
The race itself worried me because the course was a loop through Central Park, repeated twice. I've never run a race that was like that and in my mind that second lap would be awful. I would know where I would struggle. I would know when the hard parts were coming. Worry worry worry.
Surprise, that worry was pointless too. The second lap was fine. Totally, shockingly fine. I run the same route around my neighborhood all the time and knowing what's coming doesn't make my runs unbearable. The first lap passed much faster than I expected and the second was even easier. At least until I had to cross the start line for the third time at mile 12.
For some reason crossing it the third time got into my head something fierce and I had to stop running. There was no reason why I couldn't run the last mile but my anger towards that start line slowed me to a walk. I walked about a quarter of a mile then finally managed to shake myself out of that funk and started running again. I so wish I had been stronger than that start line but I wasn't. Screw you start line.
The only other complaint I have is that when I registered I must have underestimated my pace and I was slotted to start with the last group. I spent the first two miles weaving my way through the walkers and slower runners, trying to get to the pack of people moving at my pace. Lots of wasted energy there, but totally my fault. Hey self, you're faster than you think. Start owning that and race day will be much better.
I finished in 2:23:18 which isn't my best time, but I'm happy with it. I enjoyed my trip, I enjoyed running with 7,550 other women, I enjoyed the sign that said "Keep Running! (Because I don't know CPR!)" and I enjoyed how supportive everyone was of each other. When Deena Kastor, who won the race with a 1:11:03 finish, passed me at mile 4.5 on her final lap (about her mile 10.5) we all clapped and cheered for her. It felt like no one got their medal and left the Park. Nope, people walked to various points along the route and cheered for us still out there trying. I've seen people do this at other races, but not this many people. It was really great.
I should spare your feelings and say it's not you, it's me but that's a lie. Zooma you are an awful race, a hard race, a race that I can't seem to crack and I'm done with you.
I should have known from the beginning that we were not meant to be. You gave me a crappy bib number. Odd numbers! How can I possibly perform well with only one even number on my bib! So inconsiderate of you Zooma.
Can we talk for a second about your need for me to wake up at 4am? Because 4am is hella early. My timeline for race morning was:
4:30am leave house
5am arrive at parking lot/catch shuttle to resort
5:40am arrive at resort, pick prime spot on lobby floor and camp out for 2 hours until race start.
Two hours Zooma. I sat on a hotel lobby floor for two hours reading a book and trying not to pass out using my gear check bag as a pillow. I also got to eat a baggie of boiled eggs that I peeled in a hotel bathroom because at 4am I wasn't thinking clearly enough to peel them before leaving the house.
Bathroom eggs Zooma. You made me eat bathroom eggs.
You're hilly Zooma. So hilly that you make the Austin half marathon look flat. That's quite an achievement and you should be proud of it. But damn if that doesn't pose a problem for anyone in a relationship with you. Hills are exhausting. Hills are hard. Hills can break a girl.
I mean really, a big hill at mile 10.5? That's not good for our relationship.
Zooma, I admit that for the first five miles I thought we were going strong. You had me convinced you were one thing but then something changed and your true self came through. I'm sorry, but I didn't like who you became. In fact, at mile 12 I absolutely hated you.
Hey mile 12 sign! Screw you. I almost ran over and knocked you down. I totally would have done it if running to you wouldn't have meant I had to take ten extra steps.
I know when you're ending a relationship it's good to get right to the point and not prattle on like I'm doing but dammit Zooma, I thought we had a good thing. You were my March half and I was so ready for you. I wanted to do well. I wanted to PR. I wanted to continue our relationship next year. But it's not meant to be. We are never ever getting back together.
Embarrassing. But at least my March half is in the books. Onward to April and a new relationship with a half in NYC.
As much as I like to pretend I lead a glamourous life, the truth is that since re-committing myself to working out I live in workout clothes, tee shirts, and pony tails. I often don't bother with makeup because I'm just going to sweat it off while running.
Here's me on basically every day of my life. I love a giant purse and have carried this love over to under eye bags. The bigger the better, yes?
I like to think I clean up well though so last year when we took family pictures I started thinking about how jparks and I aren't getting any younger and how we have only a handful of pictures of just us. We eloped and there's only a few pictures from that event and definitely no engagement session. Our kids are runners so if we ever dared to try to a take picture of just us out somewhere we would totally lose them both. The only thing to do was book a session with Michele for just jparks and I, ditch the kids, and get gussied up.
This one, which I love, makes me feel like I should be eating a salad in it. (I know the meme is eating salad alone but whatever)
This session was hard for jparks. He didn't realize the pictures would be posed and he was utterly embarrassed by everything we did. We were far from alone on the streets and people kept walking passed us saying "engagement session!" It really took a lot of of him to not be a smart ass the whole time. In this picture he was told to touch me and he would like you to know that this is technically touching.
Michele asked jparks if he could jump and jump he did. This was his warm up one:
And here's his best Jackie Chan impression:
Y'all. I'm so glad we did this session. I love all the pictures and can't accurately describe how awesome Michele is. I'm always amazed when we get our pictures from her and eager to book another session. She's the best ever. Seriously.