Monday, December 20, 2010

Pullman WInter Race Series #2

This weekend I participated in the Pullman Winter Race Series which I helped coordinate.  There were seven runners, and each chose how many 7.75 mile loops they wanted to run.

I chose one loop, and I gotta say that half-way through the loop, I felt like it was too much.

The race started off with me counting down and pretending to fire a gun into the air (which was pretty rad).  Rose, a new friend and fellow runner, ran with me for the first mile and a half, and it was kind of nice - the company, the gently falling snow, the cool winter air.  I had a good feeling about the race; and truth be told, I even considered running a second lap, depending on how I was feeling.

And then, everything changed.  And changed fast.

As I was slowly making my way up the hill by Schweitzer Engineering, the wind and snow picked up.  And before I was to the top of the hill by the Cougs Corner Mart, my whole body felt frozen.  The temperature was in the 20s, and so were the winds.  I had ice in my hair, ice in my eyes, ice on my cheeks.  And then I slipped and fell on the ice beneath my feet.  I mumbled curses under my breath as a driver - safe and warm in his stupid heated car - honked at me as I picked myself up and got back on my feet.

The worst of the race was still to come.  The entire stretch from the hill toward Roundtop to the section by the Bear Center was just miserable.  The blizzard conditions made it impossible to see in front of me as I attempted to run down the path.  The fronts of my thighs were so cold that they stung, and my shoes were completely covered in snow and ice.  When I tried to wipe my runny nose with my glove, all I felt were jagged ice particles scraping against my bare cheeks, and even though this may sound dramatic now, I thought that my face was bleeding.  I couldn't tell whether I was crying or if my eyes were watering or if the snow was just melting on my face, but my cheeks and nose were wet and colder than I ever remember them being.

I was alone on the trail with snow drifting all around me on the Palouse fields, and I wondered what my smartest move should be - keep moving forward, go back to the Coug Mart and call it quits (but get warm), or find/make some kind of temporary shelter.  (Again, I know this sounds dramatic and might be making you chuckle as you read this, but I was cold and I didn't know if the weather was going to get worse or where the other runners were.  It was definitely the lowest point of the race for me.)

I decided to press on, and by the time I got to the crosswalk at the Moscow/Pullman highway, the weather (and my spirits) perked up.  With my hands balled up inside my gloves, I picked up the pace and ran all the way to the finish line.  I was still cold and my ponytail was covered in ice, but the wind wasn't at my face anymore, and it was good to see other runners on Chipman Trail.  I knew I was almost done and that I could go home and get a hot shower.

I finished the race in 1:41:00, which is about a 13-minute pace.  I was actually quite pleased with my time even though I came in dead last in yet another race.  Considering the conditions and the distance, I was happy about how much I pushed myself to run.

I'd like to say that even though it was a tough day of running that it was a good race, but I think that would just be an attempt to make a happy ending out of a crappy story.  So I am not going to lie: this 7.75-mile race was one of the worst runs I have ever been on.  It was hard, and I don't think I am a "hardcore runner" that can enjoy these kinds of conditions.

That said, though, I did it.  And not many can say that.


P.S. Here is a picture that I took of myself after the race.  I don't usually share pictures of myself when I think I look awful, but I have to post this picture - the tired grumpiness is all over my face. :)
P.P.S. Here is me after a shower and a couple of beers.  I can't stay grumpy too long.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Beer Mile #2

We just had out second "beer mile" race, and even though it was cold and snowy, I had a lot of fun.  I ran my mile (and drank my four beers) in 18:08, which is 32 seconds faster than the October race.  Everyone said how much harder this race was, but I didn't think so.  Of course, that didn't mean that I kept the beer in my stomach any longer after the race was over... 

I'm glad that so many people came out to support the runners and the event.  The race - and the sausages, guacamole, and hot cider - were a success.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Doc Sears 2-Miler

This weekend I participated in the 14th Annual Doc Sears Fall Classic Run and Walk in Lewiston, Idaho.

At registration I was given the option of signing up for the 4.5-mile run (which they said was actually closer to 4.65 miles) or the 2-mile walk.  Since I hadn't been feeling well I decided to participate in the chip-timed walk.

I didn't run any of the event because I wanted to see how fast I could walk on flat, paved ground.  I actually came in first in my age group (applause, applause) even though my time was slower than I thought it would be - 30:38.  I think knowing my fastest walking pace (15:19/mile) is a good thing to remember as I continue racing; I'll be able to better gauge how much time I will lose when I need to walk.

It was a nice morning and a fun, free event.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Goblin Valley 10K

Last weekend I traveled to Utah to run a 10K (my second 10K to date and my sixth state for anyone who is counting).  The scenery was beautiful, and I am glad I went.

The terrain is very different than that of Washington.  
The sky was blue and gray, and the ground was red.  What a place!  It almost doesn't look real...
This picture was taken near the end of the race.  I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to beat my 10K PR, but I was smiling as I rounded each pumpkin that marked the course.  

That's me running through the valley of the goblins.  I wasn't scared, but I was pretty tired.  The course was A LOT hillier than I was led to believe.  My shoes were caked with muddy clay.
Another picture of the goblins. 
I ran 5 of the 6 miles with Travis, a new running friend.  It was great.  He is the only person who has ever told me that I have a fast walk/hike up hills, and he was upbeat the whole time.  He came in a minute ahead of me after he picked up the pace through the goblins.  Yay!

Final time: 1:24:07.

Added bonus: the 10K-ers got a Goblin Valley Ultramarathon medal and shirt, so when I run around Washington, folks will think that I am an ultrarunner.  Nice.

Thoughts for next year: It would be awesome if the 10K course could be altered into a big loop so that more of the park/valley could be enjoyed. 

I made lots of memories on this trip, and I felt blessed to be out there enjoying nature and seeing a new part of the world.  And while my time wasn't stellar, I am still proud of it given the hilliness of the course.  All in all, a great day.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My First Full Marathon

I signed up for my first full marathon one and a half days before the race.  It wasn’t planned, and I hadn’t trained for it.  But I had my reasons, and I registered for the Salmon Marathon in Salmon, ID.  I packed my bags and told almost no one of my plan for fear that they might discourage me from participating.

I got in the car after work on Friday, drove to Salmon alone, and slept in my car. 

Saw this cow moose on Lolo Pass.  She ran away when I was taking her picture.

At 4:30 on Saturday I awoke, got dressed, and went to pick up my race packet at a neighboring hotel.  I waited at the table for my packet, but no one ever showed up.  Stressed that I would not have a race number or timing chip, I got on the bus for the start anyway. 

Once at the start, I got my race supplies and took a little breather.  Though the morning had started out a little rocky, I got there on time, met a couple of runners before the race, and felt warm with adrenaline even in a tank top and 45-degree temperatures. 

At 6:45, the race began.  Woo Hoo!

Miles 1-5: The air was cool, and my body felt good.  I made myself walk even though I didn’t need to.  I looked around and said to myself, “I am really running a marathon!”
(I love this picture.)
Miles 6-10: No complaints yet.  I jogged most of these miles and walked when I thought I should.

Miles 11-12: I started feeling tired but knew I had a long ways to go.  I emptied the rocks from my shoe at mile 12 and watched the half-marathoners (who had just begun their race) pass me.

Mile 13.2: This was the farthest that I had ever run.  I felt proud and determined.

Miles 14-17: This uphill section was long and tiring.  I knew I was way behind the pack, and I just couldn’t get my legs to run no matter how hard I tried.  I walked as fast as my legs would carry me as I sipped on a fuel packet.

Mile 18: I must have been looking pretty rough since the doctor/aide station volunteer wouldn’t let me leave the station until I had stopped to drink some water (and take the rest of the bottle of water with me).  It was obvious that he didn’t know me at all when he asked, “Do you think you’re going to finish?”  I smiled back at him and told him that there was nothing that could keep me from finishing.

Mile 19: My slowest mile all day.  Every part of my body was tired and sore, especially my feet, my knees, and my left hamstring.   Even though I was slow, I kept putting one foot in front of the other.

Mile 20-22: I walked a lot and jogged when I could; in fact, jogging used different muscles than walking, so I got some relief when I jogged/shuffled along.  I knew I found my spirit again when I passed a 35 mph sign and joked with myself that I had better slow down. 

Miles 23-25: I’m not gonna lie – I was really tired and hurting all over.  The race couldn’t be over soon enough.  The photographer asked if someone could jog it in with me since "they" had taken the course down already.  (More on this later.)  I didn’t answer him because I was holding back an emotional breakdown.  I held it in and kept moving.

Mile 26: The course was gone, and neither my bike sweeper (Julie) nor I knew where we were supposed to go.  There were no cones, no road paint, no signs.  The tears started to well up again, and I stressfully informed Julie that we needed to find the finish line…soon.  At exactly 26.2 miles, a blister popped and sent a tingling, shocking kind of pain throughout my left foot.  With some quick thinking, Julie took a quick left and took me over a bridge where I saw the finish chute just up the way.  (I also saw another cameraman that was set up facing the other direction, indicating that we should have come over a different bridge.  I was disappointed that I didn’t run the exact course, but it wasn’t my fault and I kept going.)

Mile 26.35: I crossed the finish line, slapping people’s hands, listening to them all clap and cheer.  I was the last one to cross the finish line at 6:24:26 (14:35 min/mile).

As soon as the race was over, I walked over to the grass, took my shoes off, and examined my sore feet.  I had seven blisters on my toes and one on the pad of my foot.  One of my toenails was purple.  Julie came to my rescue and got me a bag full of ice for my feet, as well as a water bottle and a piece of watermelon. 

When I got up the gumption, I walked over to the food tables (which had all been cleaned up), the massage therapists (who were getting ready to leave), and then finally to the river where I could sit in the cold river before driving over seven hours back to Pullman.

These mountain sheep were more fond of the camera than the moose.

Overall, my experience with my first marathon was great.  The course was absolutely beautiful, and I repeatedly wished that had had a camera to take pictures of the mountains, the rattlesnake I saw on the road, and the funky old farmhouses.  The volunteers were supportive and prepared, and the bike sweeper was absolutely wonderful! 

While I have no plans for running another marathon in the near future, I have to say that my first marathon is one race that I will always remember.  Before I left for Salmon, I told people that I would just do my best, and anything over 13.1 miles would be a success.  After I crossed that starting line, however, something changed in me.  I found strength and confidence in the mere fact that I was standing there at the starting line of a marathon, and I knew that I was going to finish.  And I can honestly say that there was never a moment that I believed that I wouldn't finish, even when my miles were slow, no other runners were around, and I knew I was going to finish last.  In fact, in the times when I was alone with nature and the race and my aching body, those could have been the most amazing/important of the race; those were the times that I saw what I was made of.  And it was a pleasant surprise.

Even though my decision to race was made on a whim, it may be one of the most important decisions that I have ever made. 

Other notes:
  • The website’s race description gave a cut-off time of seven hours, so I believe that any racer who finished by that time should be able to enjoy all parts of the race – a marked course with aide stations (minimum), a picture at the finish line, and also a plate of food and a massage (if desired).  I don’t think that a racer should ever feel like they are putting people out by having to stay out there within the designated time.
  • I want to say thank you to everyone that has supported me and texted/called me with their congratulations.  And to the sweet gal who wrote, “you are one of the bravest people I know.  Fast, slow, whatever.  You’re putting yourself out there and you are discovering what it means to truly be alive,” I love you.  I’ve never considered myself brave, but it is true that I feel braver and stronger now than I have in a long time…even as I hobble over to the cupboard to get myself more Ibuprofen. 


Monday, September 13, 2010

Moscow Mountain Mad/Sickness 2010

I haven't been training for any races, but when I saw that Moscow Mountain Madness was coming up, I decided that I wanted to give it a go.  After all, it was local, cheap, familiar, and a guaranteed PR (since it was a distance that I had never before run).

Admittedly, I was nervous before the start.  I hadn't slept well, and I participated in a beer-drinking/rating activity the night before, so my body wasn't feeling energized and fresh.  (In fact, my stomach could only handle half of a Clif bar, as it was still dealing with the chocolate, vanilla bourbon, and extra stouts.)  I hoped that my max-strength energy shot would give me the energy that my body was lacking.    

Shortly after 9:00, the gun went off and I started up the 3-4 mile ascent.  After only about a mile, however, I started to feel bad.  Really bad.  In no time flat, my half a Clif bar and five-hour energy came up.

That would have been enough for most stomachs out there, but not mine.  (It's a champ!)  Every few steps, my body would start feeling that hot and then shivery feeling, and then I'd immediately have to lean over to wretch a little into the bushes.  With each dry heave I came closer and closer to giving up hope for the race. 

At 2.25 miles, I was ready to quit.  My stomach was tired of flexing up in dry heaves, and my Garmin kept giving me hell about being behind my desired pace.  And to make matters worse, the race sweepers (who walked the whole time) caught up with me.  Morale low, I told them that I wanted to quit.

One of the sweepers gave me her water bottle, and I sucked a little bit of liquid into my empty but vocal stomach.  The other sweeper started to make the call to the bottom of the mountain.

At that point, though, I reassessed the situation and decided that I couldn't quit.  I felt awful, but I wasn't going to let the race beat me.  I decided to keep going.

The next four miles to the top of Moscow Mountain was brutal.  I ended up throwing up the sweeper's water, and it was made apparent to me how far I was lagging behind when packs and packs of other runners were making their ways down the mountain as I was still going up.  I tried not to be embarrassed at my position and smiled as folks ran by saying, "You're doing great" and "The downhill is way better than the up."  I also tried staving off my anger at the aid station volunteer who told me that I would be on the mountain all day at the pace I was running.  (Grrr!)

At mile 6.2, I reached the peak and knew it was time to start heading downhill.  Even though I was a little worried about my knee (since downhills seem to aggravate it more than anything else), I welcomed the change and the opportunity to pick up the pace.  I looked down at my Garmin at mile 7 to see how I was doing pace-wise.  Big mistake.

Another important decision had to be made, and I made it fast.  I wasn't going to let the Garmin ruin the race for me or dictate how I felt about myself.  Yes, I was behind pace, but with nothing left in my stomach and some beautiful trails ahead of me, I decided that the best thing for me to do was to put the Garmin in my back pocket and run at my own pace. 

And I jogged/shuffled mile after mile.  I thought about walking but realized I didn't need to.  Despite the fact that most of my runs these days are only 2-4 miles, my lungs and my legs were in shape enough to finish the race in a jog.

And then I heard something that put a smile on my face.  "All right, Annie!  You're doing great!"  It was my running partner, Scott.  He had long since finished the race, and he had made his way back up the mountain to meet me.  He took a couple of pictures and followed me down to the finish.  I could have (and would have) finished without his support, but I was glad I didn't have to.

I crossed the finish line at 2:52:31, and I finished absolutely last.  And you know what?  I could feel bad about that.  But I don't.

I completed a 12-mile trail race, which is still one of my longest runs to date.  And it wasn't flat and fast, either; the race's website states, "You need to be in good shape to participate.  This is the toughest of the Palouse Road Runner events." Just finishing the race is an accomplishment.  And finally, I met my B goal - to finish in under three hours.  (My A goal was to not come in last. *smile*)

This was a good experience for me, even though I was sick and tired for most of yesterday.  And I learned some really important things:
  1. Drinking the night before a race is stupid. 
  2. Letting someone get under my skin during a race doesn't help anything.  I'll try to make this first time be the last time.
  3. Garmins are great sometimes, but it is good to know when to ditch them and just run. 
  4. Running partners are blessings.
  5. DFL is better than DNF in my book.
  6. Taking ibuprofen on an empty/queasy stomach is a bad idea.
Not too shabby for a Sunday morning.   


P.S. I have nearly 800 miles logged since I first started to run.  Can you believe it?

Monday, August 23, 2010

New PR

I went over to the Dan O'Brien track today at the University of Idaho.  I set a new 1-mile PR today with a 9:12 mile.  It makes me think that a sub-30-minute 5K might be possible for me.  That kinda makes me smile. :)


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Since the Half

Since I ran my first half marathon in July, I haven't had much direction in terms of my running.  I met my goal, and I haven't known if I wanted to make a new goal - like a full marathon or a faster half - or if I was content to just run a couple of miles a day, take part in my new runners' group, and train for the occasional 5K or 10K.  From what I have heard from other runners, this is a dilemma that many runners face after they meet their first big goal.  That is comforting.

As I write this now, I still don't know where I stand or what role I want running to have in my life.  As I look back over the past twelve and a half months since I first started to run, I can see that my motivations have changed.  I can see that my outlook has changed.  I can see that my goals and my expectations have changed.  And I am pretty sure that they will continue to change as I grow as a runner, as an athlete, and as a person in the next twelve, too.

As my plan for running takes shape, I'll keep posting blogs here.  All I can say for now is "stay tuned."

Even without a clear running goal, I have been staying busy with running and fitness activities.  As you know from my last blog, I co-coordinated and participated in my first two-day trail race.  I also ran the Spokane Indians 8K Pennant Race on July 24th, and I improved my time from my last 5 mile race.  My official time for the 8K was 57:27.  (I know they are technically different distances and that I got a PR for this 8K, but my joy comes from seeing the improvement from the 5-miler that I ran in October when I clocked in at 1:00:07.)

I also went to the Spokane River one day and hiked a good four or five miles.  I found a nice little spot in the middle of the river to day-camp on.  I caught some fish, drank a beer in the sun, and then hiked back to my car.

(This video was taken from my cell phone, which should explain the quality.)

And I biked the farthest I have ever biked - 32 miles - on Saturday.  (And on Sunday, I biked another 10.25 miles, despite some very sore body parts.)  In the process, I found out that I am capable of things that I didn't know that I had in me... and equally important, I questioned what else I have in me that is hiding out, waiting to be discovered.

I am enjoying my fitness journey and look forward to where it is going to take me.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Palouse Double

I ran another race this weekend.  Although it was not as huge or emotional as my half marathon last weekend, it was unique for two reasons: 1) it was a two-day race, and 2) I was a co-director of the event.

Our race was called the Palouse Double, and it took place in two states - on Moscow Mountain in Idaho and on Kamiak Butte in Washington.  Basically, the goal of the race is to run as many loops as possible (or as desired) in a seven-hour window.  Runners, walkers, and hikers of varying abilities and levels of seriousness came out, and it was a lot of fun.  Here are the highlights (for me as a runner, not as a director).

Day 1:

The day was beautiful, and after the .8-mile climb to the trail head (carrying camp chairs, Gatorade, and other race items), the race began at 8:00 AM.

I decided to run my first lap with another runner, and we had a great time just taking it slow and easy.  We enjoyed the shady, fern-bordered trail; the open, meadow-y areas; and even the switchbacks that took us up the mountain and back down again.  We joked about how the trail seemed to be uphill both ways, and we never worried about our 20-minute/mile pace.

A little over half way down the mountain, the other director of the race (and the one who was attempting to run 28 miles that day) caught up with us.  Surprisingly, he decided to finish the lap with us, even though my left knee had started hurting something awful and we were going even slower than before.

Once we finished the first lap, I decided to ice my knee and play cheerleader for the other participants.  And when no one was around, I soaked up the sun, watched chipmunks dart here and there, and attempted to finish an unexpectedly difficult crossword puzzle.

After my ice was melted, and my knee was sufficiently numb, I decided to do a second lap.  I don't have much to say about this lap other than my mind was glad that I did it even though my body wasn't.  My knee hurt almost immediately, and I ended up walking almost 100% of the loop.

At the end of the day, I was happy to have completed 8 miles on the race course, and an additional mile or so on the road leading up to the trail head.  Not too shabby for a Saturday on Moscow Mountain!

Day 2:

I awoke around 2 AM with pains down my left leg.  My knee was sore, and my IT Band felt like it was seizing up.  I took some anti-inflammatories and tried to get back to sleep.

I awoke again around 4 and again sometime before my alarm was scheduled to go off at 5:45 AM.  Needless to say, I was not rested, nor was my body excited about the second day of the Palouse Double.  I gave my attitude a pep talk before reaching Kamiak Butte, saying, "You've felt this pain before, and it is temporary.  Right now you just need to toughen up, find some energy reserves, and be excited for this race that you helped create.  You can do this!"

About an hour after the official start time, I decided to make my way up the butte.  The 1-mile climb to the top is brutal on the ol' lungs, and my heart was beating about a mile a minute.  I felt the burn in my calves and tried to change my climbing technique to use other muscles.  Once I reached the summit, I took a big breath and could feel the relief throughout my body.

The ridge of Kamiak Butte is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever seen.  It is just magnificent.  I spent a lot of time up there taking pictures, getting photos taken of me, enjoying the view, and talking to other hikers.  (I know, I know.  I was supposed to be "racing," but sometimes I believe that talking to people trumps original plans.  I met a couple of really neat people up there who reminded me to take care of my body, to take lots of pictures to remember my favorite moments, and to enjoy the beauty around me.)

After a very painful descent to the bottom of the butte, I decided that my first lap was going to be my only lap.  I took a seat in my camp chair, put some ice on my knee, and fell asleep.

I only ran 2.5 miles, and it took over an hour, but I was proud to be one of the race's only "doublers."


In the end, the two-day race experience was a good one.  I completed a total of over 10 miles, and came in first in my division (even though I was the only one in my division).  Woo Hoo!  


Thursday, July 8, 2010

My First Half

So I did it.  I ran my first half marathon, and even though my legs are still sore, I feel a smile coming on every time I think about crossing that finish line.

Here's how it happened:

Over the past two weeks, I have been doing lots of exercises on my left leg, paying special attention to my hip.  I've been working my muscles and stretching my IT Band whenever possible.  I even visited Brandon at ProFormance Physical Therapy to have him do Graston on me again.  It was that important to me to finish my race.

On the morning of the Foot Traffic Flat, I have to admit that I was nervous.  I worried about everything I could think of, namely disappointing my family and friends for not finishing and damaging my knee.  But I didn't let the dark thoughts stay with me.  As it got closer to race time, I made my third trip to the bathroom (by 6:45 AM), adjusted my brand new iPod Shuffle, stretched, prayed a little, and gave myself pep talks - "The important thing is that you finish - not win - the race" and "You know you can do this.  Trust your legs and your training."

At 7:00, the gun went off, and I crossed the timing mat and pushed "start" on my Garmin.  I remembered not to start off too fast, but I liked looking down at my Garmin to see that I was way ahead of my virtual partner (who was set at an 11:45 pace).

Before I knew it, the first mile had come and gone, and I remember thinking, "One mile already?  Shoot, I only have to do another twelve of these and I am done!"

Oh, silly me!  Around mile 4, my left knee started to give me trouble.  I caught myself feeling angry at my body.  But, I kept running, and even though the pain never ceased, it didn't really worsen until the last couple of miles.  The exercise, training, rest and ice had paid off.  I wasn't going to let my knee beat me.

The course was beautiful and flat, and when I wasn't concentrating on my time or my gait or my iPod, I took in the scenery.  I was happy to be alive, surrounded by green farmland, running my first half.
I smiled and ran.  I lip sync-ed to Taylor Swift and Billy Idol.  I proudly wiped away the sweat dripping down my jawbone and smiled some more.

At mile 8, I came face-to-face with the mental challenges of running.  Admittedly, I kind of wanted to cry.  I passed the mile marker, did the math, and felt discouraged that I still had another five miles to go.  The miles seemed to be getting longer.  As I ran, I visualized brontosauruses shaking the earth as they walked, for that was how heavy my body felt as its weight slammed down on my knees.

At mile 10, my virtual partner started to mock me.  She told me that I was behind my goal pace, and even though I wanted to tell her what's what, I couldn't; my tired legs just couldn't seem to pick up the pace. I ran when I could and walked the rest.

At mile 11 or so, Scott passed me up.  This was both good and bad.  For a split second I felt sorry for myself that a marathoner (someone running twice the distance) was passing me.  But then I got over it and was glad to see a familiar face.

"How you doing?" he called out to me. 

"I'm dying," I replied without thinking.

"Me too," he said as he moved farther and farther ahead of me.

At that point I decided to make a deal with myself - I was allowed to walk until the 12.1-mile mark (on my Garmin), and then I was going to run with everything I had for the last mile.

11.9 miles, 12.0 miles, 12.1miles...

And my once-stubborn legs picked up the pace.  I knew better than to try to sprint with a mile to go, but nothing short of the Divine Hand of God could have kept me from running my best for that last mile.

Right around then, a gentleman who I had been following started to walk.  Apparently unable to mind my own business, I told him that he didn't want to walk now; we only had another mile to go.  I asked him if he wanted to "run it in with me."  He said "yes," told me his name was Ken, and admitted that this was his first half marathon. "Mine too," I said with a smile.

With only two-tenths of a mile to go, a strange thing happened - my eyes started welling up and getting blurry.  Now for those of you who know me, that may not seem like a big deal; after all, I have been known to cry at the movies and because of sad books (or kind gestures or especially beautiful words), but I really didn't think that I would be one of those runners who cried at the end of her race.  I guess I always envisioned myself as the smiley girl at the end of the race, beaming with joy. 

But that isn't what happened.  Instead, I sprinted forward, and through blurry vision, I ran towards my friends at the finish line.  Two hours and thirty-seven minutes after I started the race, I finished.

Once my legs took me across the timing mat, my emotions (and a fair amount of snot) flowed out of me.  I cried first for the accomplishment, second for my sore knees, and third for my tired body.

I was happy and sore and relieved and proud all at the same time. I had done it.

Four days later, I am sitting here in front of my computer thinking about my race, and a part of me feels like it was all a dream.  I think I am still kind of in shock that I actually ran a 13.1-mile race.  But when I close my eyes and remember all of the emotions I felt - as I ran and when I finished - I know that it was real, and I want to keep running.  I don't know what my next goal is, but for now that doesn't matter.  I think that for a few more days, I'm just gonna sit back and enjoy my accomplishment. 

<3 and thanks for the encouragement...

Friday, June 18, 2010


This last week, I spent a little time in Canada.  I volunteered at an aid station for the Rainier to Ruston Rail-Trail Relay and Ultra, and I was able to do a little running/training myself (despite my sore knee).  Here are a few of my favorite pics from the trip. Such beauty...
Running in the rain

Enjoying the view on a suspension bridge

Climbing up some tough terrain


Colfax Trail

A friend of mine shared a new trail with me.  It is totally worth the drive to Colfax.  I've seen coyotes, deer, eagles, and an owl.  Oh, and the trail is long, relatively flat (at least for the section that I run), and gorgeous.  Here are a couple of pics.


Friday, June 11, 2010


I am really behind on my blog here, but I wanted to post a quick little something to document my latest race - the Coeur d'Alene 5K.  The course was very pretty, and my legs felt good the whole time.  I ran with a pack of middle-aged women and only sprinted past them in the last tenth of a mile or so.  My finish time was a 31:21 (10:05 pace), my fastest to date.

Once I crossed the finish line, I didn't stop to catch my breath or get my free beer.  Instead, I decided to run the course again and add a couple of miles to it.  That day, I ran a 5k, ran another five miles or so, and then walked two.  Hopefully that ten-mile run with help prepare me for my big race next month.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Official Announcement

I have officially signed up for my first half marathon!  On the 4th of July, I will be running the Foot Traffic Flat near Portland.  I've already started training, running seven miles last Sunday and increasing my long run each week.  With only another month to go, I am getting increasingly excited about running that 13.1-mile course.

This is quite a thing.... Less than a year ago, I couldn't run more than 60 steps without walking, and now I am running a half-marathon...


Monday, May 24, 2010

Running in Indiana

I attended an academic conference this week at Indiana University in Bloomington, but I made sure to make some time for myself.  I explored the town during a rainstorm, ate Momo at a Tibetan restaurant (a former professor of IU is the older brother of the Dalai Lama), and, of course, I went running.

I ran through campus and enjoyed this little creek and old cemetery.

 I went into an old church and said a little prayer.
 I snapped a picture of this guitar (which I later learned was made out of license plates, street signs, and hubcaps).
 I ran through Dunn's Woods.

And I ran the first annual Firefighter's 5K.  Here are the highlights:
  • I walked to the race, which was only a few blocks from my hotel.  After getting my race number and taking a few pictures, a fire fighter got us all to line up.
  • The race started promptly at 8:00, and while my legs felt good, I realized immediately that I should have run my race in other clothes.  (I have read lots of advice about not trying anything new on race-day clothing- or diet-wise, but my cute, new Brooks Podium Boy Shorts were calling my name.)  Within a few steps, those cute new sorts made their way up (way up) my thighs.  Not to get too graphic here, but I basically ran in underwear for 3.1 miles.  (I think I am about ten pounds away from being able to wear these shorts and keep them where they are supposed to be.)  While I could have been embarrassed, I decided that that wouldn't serve me well in the race.  So, instead of trying to pull the shorts down every few steps, I just decided to let them be and just run the best race that I could.
  • I decided to run without my Garmin, and that was an interesting experience.  On one hand, it was liberating - I didn't have the urge to look down at my wrist every quarter mile to check and double-check my pace.  On the other hand, I had no idea how far I had run (and there were no mile markers on the course).  It wasn't until I got to the turnaround point that I knew I had completed half of the race.  
  • My legs and body felt neither energized nor sluggish.  I ran a steady pace and didn't worry about "beating" any other racers.  I just ran for myself and enjoyed the feel of my body running.
  • When I saw the finish line, I expected to feel an extra surge that I usually feel at the end of runs/races; I expected to sprint toward the clapping crowd.  But, to my surprise, there was nothing left in my legs, and I just ran it in at the same pace that I ran the rest of my race in.  I crossed the line at 34:14, which averages just over an 11-minute mile.  I didn't get a p.r., but it was my second fastest 5K to date.
  • Overall, it was a fun race and a good workout.  I am so glad that I ran a race in Indiana!  This is a picture of me after the race, right before I sat down to breakfast; it was so humid that the sweaty clothes didn't dry by the time I left the conference that evening.  (Nice!)