2011 Running Recap

It’s hard to believe that the end of 2011 is here! Oh my God, where has the time gone when it seems as if the year just started.

It’s been a good year for me. I hit a snag there in the middle, but looking back, over all, it’s been a really good year for me. In a nutshell, I ran:

  • 5 – 10Ks
  • 1 – Duathalon
  • 1 – 2 mile run
  • 1 – 4 mile run
  • 1 – 10 mile run
  • 18 – Half Marathons
  • 1 – Full Marathon
Crazy fun running in a negligee!

Starting with Fleet Feet’s Annual 2 mile Pajama Jam in Stockton.  This was so much fun.  I ran in a negligee and got a lot of crazy looks because it was FREEZING COLD!!!  It was a great way to start off 2011, complete with winning a prize.  I ran with some friends that were crazy enough to run with me on that cold fateful night and we had a lot of fun.

Great way to start off 2011!

Hours after the Pajama Jam came the Brazen New Year’s Day Trail Half. I ran with Mac and my friends, Erika, Judy, Julie, and Rodger.  It was great to start 2011 surrounded by the company of my friends!

Cal 10 - Super Cold!

Then came an early morning 10K, The California 10. It’s a 10 mile race, but they had a 10K option and since I had just worked the night before, I thought that this would be the best option for me. I ran with my friend, Cory.

Davis Stampede!

Davis Stampede Half Marathon, in Davis, CA. Wow. This race was not best venue. I didn’t enjoy running in Davis at all. Lots of tunnels, and it felt as if we were going around in circles. Yeah … not my thing. But it was fun to run with Mac and Erika Rae.

Shamrock'n Tutu - Courtesy of Mac!

Shamrock’n Half Marathon. This race is a nice little fun race. The course was a little different this year due to construction in Sacramento. For this race, Mac made custom shamrock’n tutu’s for us, and our friends Cory and Judy. This race was also Chris’ very first half marathon! I thought for sure he’d hate me, but in reality, he actually enjoyed himself and signed up for a few more halves! What?!?!?

Santa Cruz w/Mac & Mel!

Santa Cruz Half Marathon. This was a beautiful half. What a lot of fun. Ran with Mac and Mellie Mel.

Love Indy!

Indy Mini Marathon. This is the longest that I have ever traveled for a half marathon … all the way to Indianapolis, Indiana!!! My brother lives in Indy, so I did have a reason to go and visit. I loved running in Indy. It was a very nice, very well organized run. Running thru the Speedway … AWESOME! It was a great experience!

Me, Penny, & Kristy reppin' Punk Rock Racing in Fresno!

Fresno Eye-Q California Classic Weekend Half Marathon! Nice, inaugural race. It was here that I met my Twitter friends, Penny (@southbaygirl), and Kristy (@KristyLPants) in real life. We had dinner with our friend, Linda (@MsV1959), and just had a good time. The race was a really nice run thru what most consider the armpit of California. I enjoyed it.

Eradicating Polio in Stockton!!!

Stockton Rotary 10K Run To Eradicate Polio. It’s not thought about that much anymore – Polio. We take it for granted because we in the United States are vaccinated against it, but it’s still prevalent in some countries. Amazing. I ran this 10K with Erika Rae, and with my friend, Linda V., who ran the 5K. I ended up coming in 3rd in my age group and had a lot of fun running it. May have been because I was delirious from lack of sleep after working all night, but I think it was just a good run over all.

Crazy wet fun!!!

Nitro Trail. Brazen puts on a great venue, but they really can’t control the weather. This race was cold, wet and rainy! What? It’s June, really? I ran this race with Mac, Erika Rae, Judy, Mel, and Christina and Cindy who both ran the 10K. I wasn’t fond of this race as it ran around in circles. Yeah, I’m not a fan of going around and around and around … Plus it was WET. Super wet and cold and rainy.

Double backin'!!

See Jane Run. At the last minute, my friend, Erika Rae and I decided to do a back to back. We had just run Brazen Nitro Trail the day before, and this race was to end our weekend together and send Erika off because she wouldn’t be running for awhile. We thought that the weather in Alameda would be the same as it was for Nitro Trail. However … it wasn’t. It was overcast and warm. It was a really good run we had together. We ran for our chocolate and just had fun.

My Best Girl! Love Grace!

Fleet Feet’s Annual 4 Mile Firecracker Run.  This is a nice 2 loop run thru Lincoln Village West in Stockton.  It’s fun just to go out there and meet your friends and just have a good time.  It’s always HOT though.  Ugh.

Moo-n light run!

Davis Moo-nlight Half Marathon … It was a night half. We thought it would be a nice, cool run. Instead it was still HOT and muggy. Chris and I drove up with Cory and her family. It would be her husband, Sam’s first half marathon. We had dinner at IHOP – yecht. Remind me not to do that again. It weighed a little heavy in my belly, but it was okay. Just the food was gross. The course was once again … BORING. Circles, overpasses, and bridges. Not only that, the course was cut short by one mile. One mile! Yep, the volunteer at mile 6, misdirected the runners and we were cut short by a whole mile. Oh well, it was okay with me as I was ready to be done with that crazy race! No only did I run with Cory and Sam, but Mac and Mel were there, Judy ran as Chris, and I met Anne, Mac’s friend.

With Mac & Mel in SF! I left my running heart there ...

The end of July brought us to the famous San Francisco Marathon. I ran the first half with Mac and Mel, and well, it just was NOT the run for me. I had a really bad run. A really bad run. It was awful, and I did not enjoy myself at all. I felt very bad that I was not having a good time at all and my friends were. This was an eye opener for me. I’m not quite sure if I was over training or if I just really hated running, but I needed to just stop where I was and reevaluate what was happening. I hung my shoes up for awhile and something happened … I started to crawl out of the hole that I had fallen into. I did different things. I ran alone. I changed up my workout and started doing what I enjoyed .. and it got BETTER.

Keep Moving Forward ... perfect as I search for running self.

Keep Moving Forward 10K was a run to benefit those who are visually impaired. I didn’t tell anyone that I was going to run, and I just signed up because the venue was literally across the street from my mother-in-law’s house. I just ran and had a good time. No one knew that I was there. I ran incognito.

Shakas from the Giant's Half with Cory!

The end of August brought me to the Giant’s Race. It’s a half marathon that benefited Project Open Hand, and ended at the Giant’s stadium. I loved running that race. It was fun. My friend, Judy, was supposed to run with me, but there were some things happening in her life in which she could not attend so she put her bib up on FB. Cory responded that she wanted it and so off we went … we ran the Giant’s Half together. It was a nice run from the Giant’s stadium, up to Chrissy Field and back, finishing inside the stadium on Home Plate. Loved it. Mel ran as well as Shiloh, but we really didn’t see either one of them. Chris ran with us, but made his run a 10K instead of the half.

My TBFF, Torie and I at Disney!

Disneyland Half Marathon. I was supposed to run this race with Mac Erika, and Judy, however, Mac ended up selling her bib to Ali, and Judy couldn’t go, so she gave me her bib to give away, and then I was not able to hook up with Erika. It was kind of disappointing, however, I was able to give my friend Judy’s bib to my Twitter BFF, Torie who lives in Long Beach. We made plans to meet in real life, and run together. It was awesome to meet her! We had a great time, and we ran together and just enjoyed each other’s company. I was also able to see my friends, Ali, Lauren, and Kristy for a minute which was nice. The run itself was a nice, fun run. The weather was perfect, and the post race refueling and expo was very nice.

Shiloh lured me with cookies!

Buffalo Stampede and Migration. This was a last minute entry into a 10 mile race. I was lured by a beautiful girl who promised to bake me some cookies. I love my Shiloh. She’s so beautiful, and she’s an awesome athlete. She’s so inspiring. I ran the migration (slow) while she ran the stampede (fast). It was a really nice run thru a posh neighborhood in Sacramento. Awesome! =)

Ready to gooo in HMB!

Half Moon Bay International Marathon. This was my second half for September. It as an inagural race, and I was thankful to score an entry. I had so much fun meeting the race director and mingling with runners. I loved it. I met and ran with some really nice people, and had an awesome post race massage. The pasta feed dinner was really nice. I needed this race. Running by the ocean. I prayed for my friend who recently lost her husband. They loved HMB and spent a lot of time there. I loved this race and I’m excited to run it again next year!

Team Nucking Futs!

Muddy Buddy San Jose. I have done this race for the last 6 years. This year though, was the first year that they moved it to October. This is the third year that I’ve partnered with Rosa Aguilar and this year we were team Nucking Futs. Rosa has had a rough year so I wanted to make sure she had some distraction. She needed this. We had a lot of fun. They changed up the obstacles a little but not much. This year I went up with Claudia Powell and her partner Felisa. We had so much fun!

With Cory & Claudia @ Nike SF!

Nike Women’s Marathon. This race holds a lot of sentiment for me. It was the first long distance race I had ever ran, and every year I run it in memory of my father. I was able to raise a good amount of money on my own for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. This year, I only ran the half marathon as the distance of the full really doesn’t entice me as it does others. Chris and I had a few SNAFUs and we had some issues but our friend, Cory, came to the rescue and drove us to SF. We hit the expo, then the wall of fame, spent a few minutes in NikeTown and we were outta there. Too many people, too little of an expo … yeah, so not me. We met up with Shiloh and Linda for my birthday dinner. Shi Shi got me some awesome cupcakes and we had a really nice time. It’s just not the same race for me anymore. I’m not sure when it happened, but I just don’t feel the same about it. It’s why I only ran the half when in other years I’ve run the full. But it’s Nike … It’s an expensive race, for a piece of Tiffany bling. But like I said, its pretty sentimental as I run for my father.

My fav race pic!

St. Joseph’s Stockton Half Marathon. This is the 2nd annual Stockton Half. I run it because, for one, it’s in my hometown, and because I work for St. Joe’s. I love this race because I have a lot of friends who live and run in Stockton. It’s always fun to run with people that you know. I had a great time. I loved this venue not just because I ran with friends, but because it’s a fairly nice course, and because they offered free onsite pictures, and the post race venue was awesome! I also love it because of the fact that my husband and daughter come out to cheer! =)

Foxy Mama - according to my kiddos!

Fresno Two Cities Half Marathon. I had a great time the last time I ran in Fresno. I also like Fresno because my oldest son lives and goes to school at Fresno State. We met up with him and had a good time catching up. I miss my son. It was going to just be a girl’s weekend, with just Grace and I, visiting with Sam, but at the last minute Noah decided to come with us. We had a really nice time. The only thing was was that there was 40% chance of rain, and I didn’t bank on the 60% chance of sunshine. It was sunny and beautiful! I was over dressed and uncomfortable, but the run itself was really nice.

Post Turkey Trot Craziness!

Stockton’s 7th Annual Run To Feed The Hungry. I love this run. I love running with my friends after getting my turkey in the oven. It’s for a great cause, and the weather is usually cool and beautiful for a run. I ran a really good race. I met Cory there as well as some other friends, and finished with my friend, Rosemary.

Judy and I - CIM Finishers!

California International Marathon (CIM). I can’t believe that I ran another FULL marathon. It was a commitment made two weeks prior to the race. I had not trained properly, nor was my heart into this race. At the time I decided to fully commit, my friend, Cory, backed out. However, my friend Judy would run with me. I knew that Mac and Mel would be running, and that my friends Shiloh, Khrystyne, and Linda would be running the relay. I told Judy that if she should need to forge way ahead of me to go … She stayed by me throughout the entire 26.2 miles. She was my rock and we had a great time. It was a hard run because my feet hurt sooooo much.

Double Bling!!!

Walnut Creek Half Marathon. This was the last of the NorCalHalfSeries. This is the race that would end the series for me and get me an extra medal. I really enjoyed this series. You had to have run at least three races in the sereis and this last race in Walnut Creek to qualify for the medal. I had already run Davis Stampede, The California Classic Weekend, and The Giant’s Race. It was a great series to run. Walnut Creek’s race was an inaugural run. It was a nice course, despite the big @$$ hill from mile 6 to 8. I ran this race with Mellie Mel, and saw my friend, Layla. The only thing was was that it was SUPER FREEZING COLD!!!

Six point two miles for Sam & Jack!!!

Operation Jack is the brain child of Sam Felsenfeld, marathoner and father of three, one of which, Jack, is severely Autistic.  Last year, Sam ran 61 marathons in an effort to raise funds and awareness for Autism.  Last year, Sam had the bright idea to have his very last marathon run close to home – so … he organized a small marathon to be run with friends.  However … we all wanted to help Sam and in a matter of days this small marathon blossomed into something huge with the development of a satellite run which would include a marathon, half marathon, and 10K.  Last year, I was able to organize an Operation Jack Satellite 10K in Stockton and we had a great turnout.  So much fun.  However, this year, I wasn’t able to do this so I opted to run my own 10K.  6.2 miles done, all with a smile on my face.  This is a race that I will continue to do virtually every year for as long as it is offered.  I am thankful to have had the opportunity to help Sam and Jack!

Alexis, Becky, & Me ... The beach is over there ... =)

And lastly … last but not least … a last minute sign up at the urging of my friend, Alexis.  I was talking to her one day about running a half on New Year’s Day, like I did last year.  In fact, I signed up for the Brazen Racing New Year’s Day Half.  Then I found out Alexis was running the New Year’s Eve and Day Halves.  She urged me to run both with her … What?  Really?  Yep, she said something about “double bling” and “fun.”  I’m not sure what posessed me, but out of my mouth came a resounding, “Okay, I’ll do it.”  Our excitement spread like wildfire somehow, and caught the attention of our friend, Becky who had never … read NEVER run a half marathon in her entire existence, but yet she also signed up to run BOTH NYE and NYD halves.  Let me just say that this was an epic weekend and we had sooooo much fun.  The New Year’s Day half will go onto my 2012 recap, but let me just say, it was soooo much FUN!!!

And that, my friends, is my 2011 recap. It’s been such a nice year.  I logged over a thousand running miles.  I learned a lot about myself.  I made and met a lot of great runner friends. I watched my friends whom I motivated grow as runners. I changed up my training a little. And I just did my own thing. I had to find my passion for running midway through the year. It’s hard to get away from it. I learned much. I’ve grown much. And I’ve had a lot of fun. I’m thankful for my ability to run, move, jump, breath … I can’t complain. It’s kept me in shape, healthy, and best of all, sane. Life is good. Running makes it a little better. Running with friends makes it the BEST.

Thanks everyone. Looking forward to a great 2012 season. Remember … the hardest move to make is that first move in getting your @$$ of the couch!  Putting one foot in front of the other gets you *that* much closer to your goal …  And like I always say … Train HARD … Train SMART … Eat WELL … and Have FUN!!!

Finish What You Start

It doesn’t matter what place you finish, what matters is that you finish what you start.

This was my motto as I went into CIM on Sunday.  I knew that I hadn’t trained properly and I knew that it had all the potential to be a very ugly race.  But I also knew that I signed up for this marathon.  Two weeks before the race, I committed myself fully to running it regardless of what kind of training I had done – which was minimal.  But if there’s anything that I know about myself, it is that I know that I am tenacious and resilient, and I knew that come hell or high water, I would finish.

The morning of the marathon started off great for me.  I had carb loaded and hydrated for three days prior, and I had been banking as much sleep as I possibly could.  I got my gear ready on Friday.  On Saturday, I rested as much as possible and made a few last minute runs to pick up things that I needed – like my customary coffee and bagel cause Starbucks doesn’t open as early as I need them to on Sundays.

I got up early, dressed and sent a text to my friend, Judy, who was running with me to make sure she was on her way.  I didn’t hear from her.  Uh oh.  I called her … no answer.  Crap.  What the hell?!  Our goal was to leave by 0400 and it’s dangerously close.  Then it’s 0400 … and I get a frantic call.  She just woke up!  Are you kidding me?!  Wow.  I’m panicking and Chris says, let’s just go get her.  She’s 25 min away in the OPPOSITE direction.  I’m going nuts.  But Chris says that there’s not much we can do … we need to just start where we are and chill.  Okay.  We get her, and we’re an hour late from when we initially wanted to leave.  I send a text to my friends, Shiloh and Khrys, who are waiting to take us to the start and they tell us to relax and chill – No worries.  However, all the while Chris is driving I’m thinking we’re soooo late, and why is he driving sooooo slow!!! But we get there in one piece, and our friends are not at all wigged out that we’re 30 minutes late.

Judy & I at the start!
Chris, Shiloh, Khrystyne, & I as we wait to board the bus to the start!
Beautiful Khrys!

I love Khrystyne and Shiloh.  We met at Khrystyne’s house where she graciously let me use her toaster to toast my bagel, and then her restroom to change out of my sweats.  We then followed them to the point where we could get as close to the start as possible … where we were then bussed to the start which was awesome. We didn’t have to wait long once we got to the start, and there were plenty of porta potties so that there were no lines.  I got a text from Mac, but I couldn’t locate her.  It would be Judy and I once we got separated from Shiloh and Khyrstyne.  (Shi and Khrys were running the relay.  Shi wanted to run a half so she ran the first leg with Khrys and her second leg.  Khrys was leg one.)

No one believed that I ate this burger & drank this Pepsi & I ate Snickers throughout the run!
Judy & I at the Half.

We ran an uneventful first half.  It was FREEZING at the start with temps in the 30s.  Judy and I just ran together, and we warmed up pretty quickly.  It was a nice run thru the streets of Folsom.  We were looking forward to getting to the halfway point where Chris would have my requested hamburger and Pepsi waiting for us.  Let me tell you that I got a lot of flack for that.  A lot of naysayers and non-believers did not believe that I could eat that and keep running.  Let me tell you … I know my body.  I know that I always eat before I workout.  I knew that I could handle this, and I knew that I needed to eat.  I was hungry … so I ate.  Two burps later, I was good to go.  After a much needed break, Judy and I took off again.

Mile 14 … my feet start twinging.  I can feel them.  I stop to stretch them.  I tell Judy that if she needs to go, or to run faster to please not wait for me.  She tells me that she’s having a hard time keeping up with me.  What?!  So we run.  At this point, we’re running and we “feel” someone running beside us.  We look up to see Mac and Mel.  I say, Hi and I’m happy to see them.  But they’re faster than us so they run off.

Judy and I continue to run together.  We encourage each other, remind each other to take water at the stops, and to just keep moving.  We count down the miles.  At one point I tell Judy that once, just once, I’d love to just be a spectator.  To just stand on the sidelines and just cheer people on.  I love the people who spectate and cheer on the runners.  I love the volunteers.  I thank them as we pass each water station.

It gets harder for us from mile 19 on.  We work on light post to light post.  We keep moving forward.  We never get discouraged because we know that we’ll both finish.  Just one foot in front of the other … keep moving forward.  Look ahead, don’t look back.

By Mile 24 we’re both done.  We’re spent.  I’m starting to hallucinate some, not from exhaustion, but from pain in my foot.  I keep moving, Judy right beside me.  We’re both tired and cold, but we forge on.  We talk, we walk, we run … Through this whole time I am so very thankful to have Judy by my side from the very first step.  At this point, she is my rock and I am hers.  We’re waning though, but for some reason, at this point we get mad.  Not at each other, but just mad that we’re taking so long, that the mileage seems unending … and we say, “Let’s just go.  Let’s get this sh!t done!.”  And we go.  We move not much faster, but we walk a little less.  Mile 25 … Mile 26 and the Capitol Building.  We’re there.  We’re done.  We have finished … The medals get place around our necks.  We can hardly walk.

Soooo happy to be DONE!

It was a LONG, but good run.  We never tired, we were just hurt – my feet and ankles, and her back.  We never bonked or hit that wall.  In retrospect, I should have changed my shoes as planned at the halfway point.  I can’t remember why I didn’t, but I’m sure it’s because my feet feel okay and I think I can make it.  I’m not really sure if changing shoes would have made a difference.  I believe that they still would have hurt just as much.

I’m thankful for my running partner, Judy.  I’m thankful to my hubby, Chris, who drove me there, picked up my friends and taxied them all over the course, brought Judy and I food, then waited for us at the finish.  It was a very long day, but I’m happy that I made it to the finish in one solid piece. (Like that wasn’t gonna happen.)

Fffrrreezzzing!

I spent the rest of the afternoon icing down my feet for about a good solid hour, then wearing my compression stockings with my feet and legs elevated.

The rest of my training week was pretty uneventful.  Hahahaha!  Yes, I did say, “training week.”

Monday:  Rest day.  It was an all out stretch day.  The foam roller was my BFF.  I’m a little sore, but I’m moving pretty well so I don’t complain.  I’m happy that the swelling in my feet have decreased some.  I still walk around with my compression stockings on.  Let me tell you what, my Zensah’s are the bomb dot com.  Those things are awesome.

Tuesday:  I have an appointment with my massage therapist.  Oh. My. God.  What a great session!  90 minutes of much needed DEEP tissue massage.  I love how when I say that she can put more pressure onto me, she says, “Oh yeah, you’re an athlete.  You like pain.”  Yes, I love really DEEP tissue massage.  She really stretched me out then she gave me much needed TLC for my feet.  Yes!!!  Soooooooo Awesome!

Wednesday:  I was going to go to Cardio, but I lolligagged too long and missed the time.  Oh well.  I probably needed to rest another day since I’m also nursing these allergies vs cold that I have.

Me & ERae!

Thursday:  In the morning, I got a good 35 minutes on my the trainer.  I love my spin bike.  My legs were loose, and I worked them out pretty hard.  In the evening, I hit Fleet Feet Stockton’s Brooks Nightlife Run.  It was a very nice, leisurely three mile run with Tony from Fleet Feet, and my friend Erika Rae, and a few other girls.  There was a contest for the best lit individual – I came lit in mini Christmas lights.  Fun!  Tony took all of our pics and put them up on the FF Stockton’s page on FaceBook and the one with the most “likes” at the end of the week wins.  I’m hoping to be the lucky winner!

Oh the elevation from mile 6 to 8 ...

Friday: Another rest day.  Actually, I did a lot of walking.  Chris brought me up to Walnut Creek to the Expo for the Walnut Creek Half Marathon.  It was a nice little expo, and I’m excited to run despite the elevation.  LOL.  While at the expo, I was able to try on some Brooks Pure Flows which is equivalent to the Saucony Kinvaras.  I’m really excited to get me a pair.  When I slipped my feet into them, they cried out, “Please.  Pleeeeease … buy us!”  They were pretty comfy!  I really need to find the “right” pair of shoes for my poor feet.  I really put them thru a lot and they do deserve to be treated right.

Also, while at the expo, I was able to meet The Praying Runner, Jose.  He’s such an inspiration to me.  I first heard of him while I ran the Half Moon Bay International Marathon.  I remember seeing him on the course at HMB complete with rose in hand and cheering him on as we ran past each other.  I initially wondered what the rose was about, but really didn’t give it much thought until I read his story.  Jose had lost his wife earlier this year after a LONG battle with breast cancer.  As she was his biggest fan and supporter, who encouraged him to pray for others as he ran, he dedicates every run to her and runs with rose in hand which he leaves at the finish line.  He then takes his medal and goes to her grave site and leaves it there for her.  I thought it was such a lovely, touching story.  I’m honored to know him.  He accepts prayer requests and several times I have asked him to pray for my father (at Nike, which he ran also), or my daughter (during CIM), and even myself (also during CIM).   It’s ironic that while at HMB, I was compelled to pray for my friends even before I met him or heard his story.  I prayed for my friend KK and her hubby who had just passed away.  If you want to read more about him, click here.

Dark, COLD, but ready to go!!

Saturday:  Today’s the day of the Inaugural Walnut Creek Half Marathon, and it’s also my last race for 2011.  I’m able to meet up with Mellie Mel in the morning and together we walk to the start line.  It is a very COLD morning in Walnut Creek.  Mel and I shiver for awhile as we wait for the start.  I look for my friend, Layla, who will be the 2:10 pacer.  Shortly after she arrives, it’s gun time and we’re off.

Bad@$$? For a little scratch? LOL!

Mel and I run the first few miles together.  At mile 1.5 we hit the porta potties, since there was a SNAFU at the start and there were only a few.  Oops!  Coming out of the porta potties, I have a little mishap with a bush and it scratches me up pretty good.  I’m okay, but it looks worse than it is because I’m bleeding everywhere.  No way am I stopping though.  I laugh because at one point in the race, someone yells out to me, “Oh. My. God. You’re bleeding, but you’re not stopping.  You are a bad @$$!”  Really?

Miles 1 thru 5, besides my little mishap, are uneventful.  Mile 6 is where we started to climb uphill.  I’m trucking along, encouraging everyone, and I just keep pushing.  I had to shake my head because this is where all of my sled training came in.  I always – ALWAYS – grumble and moan when my trainer straps the 145 pound sled to my back and says, “GO!”  I whine, moan, etc., and he tells me that it’s good for me.  He says that we’re workin’ those power muscles, and I just shake my head in disbelief because that thing sucks soooooo BAD!  Well, running up that hill was nothin’ thanks to my trainer.  I won’t grumble and complain so loudly anymore.  I’ll just mumble under my breath.

Just when you think you’re going to turn around and head back, you don’t.  You keep going UP  higher and HIGHER … Mile 7 … Mile 8 … Mile 8.5 is when we hit the turn around and start to head down.  Yeah!  I let gravity work for me and let it carry me down the hill … err … mountain.  Miles 10-13 were relatively even, but still rough.  My feet had given up on me at mile 5, but I still kept going. I could feel the pounding that they were taking, but I forged ahead.  =)  I got to the finish and couldn’t have been happier.

Double Bling!!!
Mellie Mel & I ... Double Blingers!
Me and my friend, Layla. 2:10 pacer. She's awesome!

Walnut Creek Half Marathon was the the last half marathon for the Nor Cal Half Series.  What does this mean?  It simply means that over the year, I have run a few races that were part of the series and because of this, I qualified to receive a “bonus” medal at the end of this race kind to acknowledge my participation in the series.  It was fun to run and be part of this event.  I enjoyed all of the races and I’m happy that I participated.  The other races that I ran that were part of the series included:  Davis Stampede, Fresno’s California Classic Weekend Half Marathon, Davis Moo-nlight Half, and The Giant’s Half Marathon.

So … That’s my week in a nutshell.  My feet are pretty mad at me right now for running a half marathon six days post full marathon.  I am working hard to find the right orthotics or the right shoes to help my feet survive more than 13.1 miles.  Seriously, they start to cry if I go longer than that distance, but they keep going and never complain when I drown them in an ice bath.  They put up with my antics and for that I am truly thankful to have the feet that I do.

I have had a great week, and an even greater year.  It’s been a very wild ride with all of it’s ups/downs, highs/lows … My year in review is a blog post of it’s own that will be up soon.  So much to write, yet so little time.

Thanks for comin’ with me on this training run that ended with CIM and Walnut Creek.  It’s been a crazy 22 weeks!  To all the nay sayers out there who didn’t think or believe that I could do it … this one’s for you.  Let it be known that I am Row., and I finish what I start!  I ran that marathon, maybe with not such a great time, but I finished that sucker, and went on to run a half six days later.  I may not have run quite as much as an average marathoner does, but I must have run enough to get me through the marathon with crazy beat up, sore feet.  I trained hard in other areas, I built some good muscles, I worked hard, and I had fun.  Life is good.

The training continues on for me.  For me, every day is a training day.  To get thru life, this training is necessary.  I enjoy what I do and I have fun, for the most part, in the process.  I don’t know if I will ever run another full, however, I have said that four other times … I love the distance of the half.  On Monday, the training for life starts again.  I have different goals, different plans for myself.  Come along for the ride, ’cause you know me … it will be a wild one.

My 2012 Racing Schedule is up somewhere on this blog, however it needs to be tweaked and I hope to do that in the next week, as well as get a 2011 recap up.

Life is good.  Continue to train HARD.  Train SMART.  Eat WELL.  And have FUN.  Whatever you’re doing … have FUN.  See you on the flip side!

Marathon Training – Week 11 – Workin’ It …

I keep saying that I’m going to find that marathon training schedule that I chucked during my tantrum in week 5.  I have yet to find that dang thing.  I think I really threw it away!  Seriously, I can’t find it.  I know kinda what the mileage is, and I’m getting most of the runs in, and the long runs, too.  And if I wanted, I guess I could just print off another schedule … but in that respect, I’m lazy.  Ah well, I’ll eventually get to it seeing as I’m already halfway into it!  I keep saying that I want a new schedule anyway and in a sense, I have made up my own.  I’m running, and I’m getting my long runs in so it’s all good.

I’ve really been training hard.  Seriously … I have been training so hard that I’ve worn my body down slightly.  I’m at a point now where I *need* to rest or I’ll suffer another bout of burnout.  I believe in the last 2 weeks, I’ve had a total of 2 rest days.  As much as my mind loves the workouts and marvels at the results, my poor body has been pretty beat up over the last few weeks.  I’ll see what I can do to scale it down a little bit.  I know.  Crazy.

Ready to GOOOO!
Comin' up to the finish!
The BEAUTIFUL Girl who lured me ...

Sunday:  In a last minute decision, lured by a beautiful girl and her cookies, I decided to sign up and run the Buffalo Stampede and Migration 10 mile run in Sacramento.  I wasn’t going to.  I was perfectly happy to just spend a lazy Sunday at home, but my friend, Shiloh @bakinginheelz, said that she was running and she said that if I came, she would bring me the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I have been coveting.  Okay … I’m tellin’ you … a beautiful girl and her cookies.  How could I say no?  I registered before the deadline and I was “IN.”

Done and Happy!  =)The race itself was a very nice run that started at Rio Americano High School and went thru a very posh neighborhood of East Sacramento.  It seriously reminded me of running thru the neighborhood that surrounds the University of the Pacific here in Stockton, but better.  Ten miles of beautiful houses … how could one not dream build during this run?  Loved the course.  Loved the support from the CHP, the kids of Rio Americano High School, and just miscellaneous volunteers.  The course was well marked, and it had enough aid and water stations throughout.  One pit stop for me at mile 6 – I’m glad I stopped too ’cause I really had to goooo!  I was bombarded by a guy with a box of donuts once I stepped out, but I already told him that I was getting cookies at the end!  The weather was perfect and the pre-race speech had a lot of people choked up.  The only downer … no bling!  =(  But we did get a really cool reflective vest!

The "goods," the bait ... PURE Yumminess!!! Thanks, ShiShi!

I ran alone as it was a last minute run, and I signed up for the Migration Run (>10min/mi) vs. The Stampede (<10min/mi) so I started an hour earlier than my friends who I knew were running:  Shiloh and Mike Bravo @MikeBravo11.  I saw Mike around mile 7 where we high fived.  That was a much needed boost.  It was nice to see a friendly face, not that there were unfriendly faces on the course, I just didn’t know anyone.  I did run with a man named Jay off/on throughout the ten miles.  It was during the last 2 miles that we interacted.  I kept telling him that we were almost done, that we needed to finish strong. He was happy that I was there to help him. That’s what it’s about to me … having fun, and helping others get to the finish. =) (Just don’t tell Jay that I was really talking to myself … lol!)  It was a fun run.  I was happy to get my long run in, and to see Shiloh at the end.  Her cookies are to die for, let me tell you.  Moist, oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies.  Mmmmm!

Looking at my time, I was a little disappointed.  However, I had to remind myself that I had worked my legs HARD all week and they really hadn’t been given a break.  I also reminded myself that I was running sick.  Yep … Upper respiratory cold.  I gutted it out.  I didn’t complain.  I was out there, running, and I did well.  At one point as I was running, I looked down at my legs and I could see the changes being made, and I thanked them.  I swear I heard them say, “Girl, you shouldda stayed in bed!”  Seriously, I thought they were going to fall off at mile 9.

I have to tell you that I went to work in the afternoon.  Seriously.  I was floated to part of the hospital that’s new and is about a half mile from where the parking lot is.  I did a lot of walking on this shift as the department is HUGE and my patient load was fairly busy.  I’m sure that I got another 2.5 miles in just walking in my short Princess Shift!  My legs are really getting used to working while tired.  Last week Knotts Berry Farm after a half marathon.  This week, running on tired legs then working immediately afterwards!  My workout on Saturday just about did my legs in.  I’m basically teaching my legs to work while tired … breakin’ them down to build them back up as my trainer would say!

My Saucony Strong!

Monday:  I woke up and knew that I was not going to make any kind of workout today at all.  I could hardly breathe and my body was really screaming for rest.  I wasn’t 100% so I sidelined myself.  I mean, I could’ve just gotten up and gone, but it would not have been a wise choice.  So I laid in bed, becomming one with my mattress.  Instead, I played with Saucony’s “Strong” on their website and ordered my shirt, I slept for the better part of the day, then I got up and got my eyebrows done, and went grocery shopping with the fam.  Easy schmeasy, no stress, very chill day.  Just what I needed.

Tuesday:  Still not 100%, maybe only 85%.  I considered taking another day off, but why?  Why when I could go workout and give all that I had at the gym?  So … I made the decision to suck it up and go, and I’m glad that I did … Here’s how it went:

The Warm-Up:
Run 800m
20 Mountain Climbers
20 PVC OHS
20 Push Ups with Rotations

Strength:
6 x 5 Back Squats with increasing weight. My max load for today was 140 lbs.
Handstand pushups. Yeah! Love those! =)

Workout:
Run 800m
10 dumbbell clean & jerks with 20# dumbbells
10 burpees
Run 400m
10 dumbbell clean & jerks
10 burpees
Run 200m
10 dumbbell clean & jerks
10 burpees

Never mind that I was suckin’ in air by the time the last run came around.  Never mind that I couldn’t breathe.  Never mind that my legs were screaming with the last set of clean and jerks.  I was spent, but I felt good!

Wednesday:  I found my lost marathon schedule.  I’m pretty much on track with the short mileage, and most of the long runs that have been due.  I’m okay with what I’ve been doing.  I’ve been running a lot more than I’ve been posting.  Seriously … my runs are all interspersed in my workouts and I’m counting them all.  My long runs have been pretty much spot on.  So all is good.  If my blog workouts look familiar, it’s because I post on Daily Mile so if you follow me on there, you’ll see pretty much the same thing posted.

I missed my morning workout because I was falling asleep at the wheel while driving home.  Not good.  So I slept, got the rest that my body needed, and I decided to get up and hit AMAA for a cardio workout!  I’m glad I went.  I went to the first class thinking that it was early and that if I really wanted to, I could get things done afterwards.  I ended up feeling sooooo good that I stayed for a double.  Yep!  1.5 hours of pure cardio and resistance.  I was my usual “Front Row” obnoxious self!  It felt “easy” and I felt great.  The first class was torture using the resistance cuffs around my ankles!  Jump lunging, knee strikes, mountain climbers, and kicking by itself if hard, with the cuffs on they are rough, but I did it.  Lots of kicking, push ups, planks to push ups, ab work … yeah … I got my friend Karyn to stay for the second class with me.  We thought we were doomed in the first few minutes of the class, but it got better.  Ladder/agility work, more push ups with punches, ab work, knees, and so much more stuff!  We laughed the whole time because we were having FUN!!!  =)  I love Karyn!  I love all my peeps at AMAA!!!

Thursday:  I knew today was going to be a good day!  I love when I know I’m gonna get my butt whipped!  I got there and got started right away …

Today was such a FUN workout for me! I loved it. Kinda crazy, I know, but I felt really strong despite sucking in some serious air!!!

The Warm Up:
20 yd knee raises
20 yd butt kicks
20 quad stretches
20 leg squats
20 opposing heel reaches
800m run

Strength:
6×2 80lb Push Presses

The Workout:
2 min at each station (no breaks):
Burpee Wall Climbs (10)
Tire Flip (26)
Box Jump (35)
Distance Stone Carry (40lbs/525yds)

I loved this workout.  It made me feel strong throwing myself over the wall, and doing all that work.  I felt so proud of myself when my trainer called me a “Power House.”  It made me work harder!  =)  I just enjoyed myself.  I’m getting stronger!  I can feel it.

Friday:  I woke up feeling as if I really shouldn’t go or do anything.  I wanted to be lazy.  Seriously lazy.  I could’ve skipped my workout this morning. I could’ve, but I didn’t. I chose NOT to. I chose to go, and make the best of it because I love my workouts!  I seriously LOVE my workouts with my trainer, and I feel the effects of my workouts for HOURS afterwards.

The Warm-Up:
3 min Row.
20 Lateral High Knees
20 Good Mornings
20 Roll & Reaches

Strength:
25 Walking Lunges with a 25lb plate held over head then 300 jump ropes x 2 sets.

Workout – 3 Rounds of:
15 Burpee Box Jumps
15 Dead Lifts (90lbs)
15 Wall Ball Squats (20lb ball)
Run 600m

By the third round I was seriously considering hanging myself. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t get my HR down. I was thinking that there was seriously something wrong with me. I asked my trainer if this was normal. He said that he’d be more concerned if I wasn’t feeling like I was. o_O Really?  I felt as if I got hit by a train!  Heehee … My “train-er” kicked mah behind!  Lucky for me …It’s kinda like giving birth … I have a very short memory of the pain and I “forgot” and felt soooo FABULOUS afterwards.

Speedwork kicked my booty!  I know that it makes a big difference in my performance, and I know that it’s good for me … so I do it.  I only did 30 minutes worth, but it was enough!  =)

Saturday:  I haven’t done much in terms of running this week.  I mean, I’ve been running, but not “just running.”  I know that I’m missing a long run this week, and that’s okay with me.  Eventually, I’ll make it up somewhere, somehow.  I’ve been training my body HARD in other ways and I’m loving it as I’m having FUN!!!  With that being said … I did nothing today.  NOTHING.  Working my three day weekend kicks my a$$.  Imagine a 12 hour night shift, short staffed, busy as all get up, running around, without a break or lunch for 10 hours … yeah.  So you’ll forgive me that I did absolutely zero.  My body probably needed it.  My body always needs the rest, but I keep pushing it to it’s limits which is how I like it.  Hey!  As long as I can, I will continue to do as much as I can.  Okay?  Okay!

It became “official” last night that my friend Rosa and I will be doing Muddy Buddy San Jose in October.  I almost didn’t sign us up because of the fact that I know Rosie has been having a rough time these last few months.  I was waiting for her to give me the “go ahead.”  I waited patiently.  I was even secretly coveting my day off … But I knew that she wanted to do it.  She needs to find her “new normal.”  And I promised to help her.  So … I signed us up!    We are “Team Nucking Futs!”  Don’t mix the letters up now!  It’s gonna be a good race.  Good because this will be our third race together – and we promised to keep going until we got it “right.”  Good because I want Rosie to get out and find herself again.  Good because I love my Rosie, and I know that we’ll have a great time together!  We always do!   I plan to conquer the bike again this year, as I have in years past!  So … Look out San Jose!  Rosie and Row will be in the house at Mt. Hamilton!

So that’s my 11th week in a nutshell.  Pretty cool, ‘eh.  I’ve been workin’ mah behind off getting my entire body stronger.  I can feel it, and I can see it.  I love my trainer.  I love my friends who support me from near and far.  Speaking of friends … I got a SUPER cool package in the mail on Friday from my friend, Maddy @maddyhubba!  I feel sooooo loved, but ya’ll are gonna have to wait to see what I got!  I really do have some awesome supporters!  So … what does Week 12 bring?  I know!  A happy weekend with my awesome husband coming up in Half Moon Bay for it’s inaugural Half Moon Bay International Marathon  next Sunday which I was blessed to have gotten into as there are only 500 runners total for the entire race!  Whoo hoo! I’m excited!  I really lucked out with this race entry!

10 weeks out to CIM people!  3 weeks to Muddy Buddy!  4 weeks to Nike Womens!  5 weeks to Stockton Half!  6 weeks to Folsom Down & Dirty (haven’t reg’d for this one yet).  7 weeks to Fresno Two Cities!  OMG!  I’m tired just thinking about all of this! My schedule is full!  October’s gonna be soooo busy for me!  Eek!  But if I know one thing, I know that I am ready!  =)

Let’s get out there, peeps!  We got this!  Train hard.  Train smart.  Have fun.  Eat well!  =)  See you next week!

6th Annual Stockton’s Run Against Hunger

PreRace - Channeling my inner Punk Rock Runner!

I love this little race.  It’s a 5 or 10K run, or walk held in downtown Stockton.  The first time I ran this race was last year, so I thought I’d run it again since 1) It’s a good training run; 2) I’d run off any excess Thanksgiving meal that I happen to eat; 3) It’s for a great cause … I, myself, don’t like being hungry, so I cannot leave others to be hungry.

Today’s race was to be treated as a training run, but, of course, you know that a PR is always at the back of my mind.  I was just going to run … throw some intervals in there as I had done in a few past running drills.  However, I had spoken to my Coach, @speedysasquatch, earlier in the week and he put me back on a plan and gave me some guidelines.  One mile warm up, pick it up progressively, then run it in.  Okay.  I could do that.

PreRace Cheezin' with my good friend, Cory!

I was thankful that I was able to convince my husband to tag along with me.  He is my biggest supporter, and I love having him there.  I felt kind of bad for him though because he had worked a half of a shift that night, and because it was 37 degrees that morning!

Ryan & Cory - PreRace

I met my friend Cory and her son, Ryan, that morning.  Mac lives in Sac, and as this was just a little race, she would not be ruuning this one with me.  Cory and I had fun cheezin’ for pre-race pictures.  I was able to meet Cory’s friend, Leah, who is actually Cory’s neighbor and running buddy.  We looked for other friends, but it was just to be us.  It was really cold, so we tried to stand in the sun and just keep movin’.

Promptly at 0830, the gun goes off and we all take off in a mass of people.  I was thankful that even though the crowd was large, I was never stuck in a pack of people.  I lost Cory and Ryan in the first mile though.  =(  I was on my own, but that was okay.

I had made a new playlist for my run the night before so I was good to go …. Appropriately named “Row’s 10K PR Playlist,” it had 17 songs, and would play for no longer than 58 minutes.

  1. Just a Dream by Nelly
  2. G.R.I.N.D. (Get Ready It’s a New Day) by Asher Roth
  3. Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars
  4. Firework by Katy Perry
  5. The Time (Dirty Bit) by The Black Eyed Peas
  6. Raise Your Glass by Pink
  7. We R Who We R by Kesha
  8. Magic by B.o.B. (feat. Rivers Cuomo)
  9. Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) by My Chemical Romance
  10. Please Don’t Go by Mike Posner
  11. We No Speak Americano by Yolanda Be Cool & DCup
  12. Forget You (Glee Cast Version) (feat. Gwennyth Paltrow)
  13. The Rockfeller Skank by Fatboy Slim
  14. The Middle by Jimmy Eat World
  15. (If You’re Wondering If I Want You) I Do by Wheezer
  16. Like a G6 by Far East Movement

I knew what I needed to do.  I knew that once I heardRockafeller Skank that that was my cue …

I cruised the run, and was doing well hitting sub 10 min miles … 9:30, 9:15 … whatever.  I had my Roxanne (Garmin) on, but I forgot to hit “start” right at the beginning so it was a tad off, and I wasn’t really paying any attention to it.  I was just cruisin’ along.

Halfway point - lookin' strong, feelin' strong!

I wasn’t really waiting for anything.  I just knew my cue.  So when Fatboy Slim started blarring out of my earbuds, right before mile 5, I was gone.  It was fitting that the first words are, “Right about now … ” It was also fitting that I was following someone at a “safe” distance that I did not want to beat me.  I took off and passed this individual right then and right there.  I did not worry that they would catch me because I would not allow it.  I am thankful that Rockafeller Skank is a song  just about 7 minutes long.  I promised myself that I would run hard while it played … It worked.  I ran my fastest mile at sub 9!  =)

I finished that 10K in 55 minutes!  =)  Yeeeee Haaaawww!  I was happy that I did so well.  The number in my head was 54, but I was very happy with my 6 minute PR.

Me, Ryan, Cory, and Mel. Me with the BEAUTIFUL People!
Ryan, Cory, & I - PostRace! We look awesome, 'cause we ARE awesome!

Ryan and Cory finished in respectable times as well, at about 60 minutes!  We met up at the end for more postrace cheezin’.  We were able to find our beautiful friend, Mel.  I looked for my friend, Christina, who Chris says finished in 48 minutes.  We had fun.

All in all, it was a great way to start Thanksgiving.  I am proud of myself, finishing in a very respectable time, improving!  I felt a little bad that I picked the person off at mile 5 and didn’t say a word.  Why?  Because I always encourage people.  I don’t care if I know you, or whatever, I will encourage you to come with me so that I can tag along with them.  But there was something, I don’t know what to call it, in me, that got a little peeved at this individual and I was done.  I felt no remorse about taking off.  To be honest, it felt really good.  I know that sounds callous and catty, but … I don’t care.  I did it.  In my head it was a challenge to this person to come with me … Eh, I was right, they didn’t.  And knowing the little bit that I know about this individual, I know it made them mad that I zoomed passed without warning!

Awesome.  I am thankful to have such great running friends in real life, and in my virtual circle.  I am thankful to have a supportive family, especially my husband who is my greatest supporter.  I am thankful for my Coach, Josh, who has more confidence in my potential, and helps me to expose it!

Foot Motivation written by Chris. It reads, "It's all about the mind. Run Row Run. 2010"

On a side note, I was reading a blog written by my Twitter friend, @RTDanielle09, and she had on there a small piece on how she and some friends, have others write words of inspiration on the soles of their feet. (Read that blog here.)  The words are not read until after the race is run.  I thought that that was such a great idea, so prior to putting on my shoes and socks this morning, I had asked my hubby to write something on the sole of my foot.  I actually forgot all about it until just about stepping in the shower.  I had him snap a photo of it for posterity.  I believe that this is a new tradition that I will continue.

PostRace - Happy, Thankful, Blessed to be able to run, and for so, so much MORE!!!

Happy Thanksgiving 2010, everyone.  Hope you are all as thankful and as blessed as I am …

Nike Womens Marathon – Race Report

MiniRow ... I Run To Be MIGHTY!!!

It’s all about the goal, right? Or is it?  You work sooooo hard at something – putting in the time, the effort, the training, and in some cases, blood, sweat, and tears … You give up sleep, weekends, sweets, sleeping in … You give up time with your family and hope that they can eventually forgive you and see that there is meaning and an end to all of this madness …

Then it’s time.  Time to show what you’ve got, what you’re made of, what all the training you’ve been putting in and all the sacrifices you’ve made has got you … you’re there.  And then the unexpected happens.

In my case, it’s a week and a half out from the Nike Womens Marathon, my right foot with the really bad plantar fasicitis has healed so nicely.  I’d been babying it, and making sure that it behaves and doesn’t flare up … so much to the point that I “neglected” my left foot … I guess it got a little mad at me, and decided that it wanted the same attention that the right foot had gotten … and it decided this a week and a half before race day!  I scrambled to try and heal it quickly – rest, ice, heat, repeat … Epsom salt soaks, special socks, new inserts, visits to my chiropractor, and a massage … anything and everything.  It worked to an extent, but it wasn’t 100%.  Lefty was still pretty pissed!  That will teach me to neglect it, it seemed to tell me.  It wasn’t *really* bothering me though, so I was going to run it, too f’n bad!

The weekend for me, started on Friday afternoon.  Chris and I left for San Francisco, checked into our hotel, and got situated.  Our hotel was a mere two blocks from Union Square – the hub of the Expotique and Nike Town!  So perfect!  We walked down to the Expotique so that I could pick up my packet and see what else was going on before the “big” crowds hit on Saturday.  Although there’s a lot of energy, and it’s fun, the thing about the NWM is that the expo is soooooo small that it’s called an “expotique.”  Not a lot of vendors, more pitch about Nike+, etc.  I’m glad that I went and got that out of the way!  We were able to meet my Twitter friend, Liana (@FITtorrent), and we had planned to go to dinner that night!

Liana (@FitTorrent) and I.

Liana is such an amazing, wonderful person.  She is an inspiration to me, and it was fun getting to know her as she drove Chris and I through the streets of San Francisco, and as we had dinner at Scomas!  Oh, soooo goood!  If you have not yet had the pleasure to eat at Scoma’s, it’s wonderful seafood with a great ambiance!

Saturday would be busy as we were going to pick up another one of my Twitter friends, Ali (@alitherunner), from the airport, then meet up with Linda (@MsV1959).  Ali’s plane was delayed by about 45 minutes, so Chris and I headed to Nike Town to see if there was any Nike gear that I wanted to pick up.  I needed a hat as forecast for the race called for rain and I forgot my hat!  I ended up getting a really cool running hat, a running jacket, and an official NWM hoodie.  Then it was off to the Oakland Airport to get Ali!

Linda (@MsV1959), Ali (@AliTheRunner), and I.

The afternoon was spent at the Expotique picking up bibs and visiting vendors.  After they picked up their race bibs from the Expotique, we called Liana and our new friend, Courtney (@runcourtrun) and we searched for a location for lunch!  After much deliberation, we choose to lunch at the Daily Grill, and we called Mac who eventually met up with us with her sister-in-law, Kim.  We had a lively lunch, took a few pics, then it was back to the Expotique and to Nike Town.

By this time, I was seriously getting sick or tired, or both.  I had been on my feet for a good part of the day, and I just wanted to take a nap.  So I left Linda and Ali, I had already lost Mac and Kim … went to find my co-workers Judy and Suzanne to say a quick hello.  Afterwards, I went back to the hotel and crashed … hard.  I slept for two solid hours.  I could’ve slept until morning, but I needed to fuel up for the race.  We were able to connect with Suzanne and Judy and we had a very nice dinner at a Mexican restaurant close to our hotel.

Suzanne, Me, and Judy.

Last minute race details – pulling out the alternate race outfit due to rain, pinning the race bib to my dri fit shirt, making sure the inserts in my shoes were “comfortable,” breakfast ready to consume, electrolyte drink mixed … I was ready.

I slept uneventfully.  No tossing and turning.  I hit the pillow and I was out until the alarm went off at 0515!  Surprising as I usually don’t sleep well pre-race.

I met Ali and Linda at 0615.  San Francisco was cool and crisp – perfect running weather.  Walking to the start line I was already having some issues with Lefty.  I couldn’t get it comfortable in my shoe no matter what I did to my insert.  I could only hope for the best at this point.

Team Sasquatch - Ready To Go!

The energy at the start line was amazing!  Great music, happy runners …  I wish I could say that I added to the energy, but I wasn’t feelin’ it.  I felt blah, and I was worried.  If there was ever a time that I wish I could DNS, today would be that day!  But there was no turning back now … I know, I know, I know … cut to the race chase already!  I’m even boring my own self!  Ugh.

Immediately at 0700 the much awaited for gun goes off, and the race starts!  It took me 20 minutes to get to the official start, and that first step … that first step with Lefty, I knew it was going to be a very LONG race!  I was going to gut this out, but it was going to be hard.

The first 10K – I was holding steady.  I hit one of the dreaded hills and powered up without any difficulty.  I had lost my pacer, but I figured that I would just run and try to relax and have some kind of fun.  Lefty was irritated, but she was hanging on.  I thought about shedding a tear, but it I knew that it wouldn’t be worth it.  You see, Row. doesn’t cry.  Row. will keep on going.

Mile 9 – I had to go … and I had to go now.  I took a much needed porta potty break.  I’m not sure how much time I wasted waiting, but it didn’t seem like that long.

At mile 11, I see the turn off for the half and I contemplate turning off.  I stare at that turn off and long to steer my feet in that direction, but they wouldn’t veer off the path that they were on.  What?  Yeah, I know … my head knew that I had signed up for the FULL not the half marathon, and I wasn’t hurting bad enough yet to give up.  So, I bypassed that half turn off, grabbed a bunch of oranges from one of my favorite doctors, Dr. Gambhir, at the Kaiser Permanente station, and powered on.

Spotted by Chris at the Halfway point!

At the half, I was still having conversations with myself about why I didn’t turn and run down its path.  That would have been the easy way out.  I’dve been done already.  I’m just not a quitter.  I’m tenacious.  I’m strong.  I’m not smart enough to know when to quit.  Gah!  I stop to stretch out my tight calves and my poor Lefty!  I think again that it’s not too late to turn around and head towards the half … Yeah, it is, Row.  Yeah, it is.

At this time I’m running out of the park, heading towards my beloved nemesis … Lake Merced!  I love Lake Merced!  Hahaha … NOT!  But I had made it to Lake Merced this year without a hitch.  Never mind that I was soooooo off pace!  So off pace!  I knew that this would NOT be the race PR that I was hoping for.  I had already lost the race.  I was in my head, and try as I might, I couldn’t get out of it.  By this time, it’s raining … it feels good, and I think that if I were crying, it would sure mask the tears.  I wasn’t crying though.  I was running … just running.

Putting up a brave front - taken after my friend Jessica ran with me to mile 22!

At mile 20, I don’t know anymore.  I’m hurting … a lot.  Not just Lefty, but my pride is taking a big hit.  I can’t see how strong I am anymore.  I can’t see that I’m doing something incredible.  I’m pissed because I’m injured, and I’m not going to hit my goal of that sub 5 marathon that I trained so hard for.  I don’t care any more.  Then there’s a small miracle … a miracle in the form of a beautiful friend named Jessica Wilson!  She’s a friend of my son, Sam, and a student at SF State.  She had come out to support me.  By this time it’s pouring down rain, and I ask her, no, I BEG her to run with me for a minute.  “Please, run with me to mile 22,” I ask her.  She is a former cross country star, and I am ever so thankful that she says yes.  Jessica talks to me, she tells me that I am doing well, and that she’s amazed that I’ve come this far!  I’m sad when mile 22 come up and she leaves me … 4 more miles, Row.  Only 4 … I got this.

Yeah right … I’m hurting like you wouldn’t believe.  I’ve slowed down to an incredibly slow snail’s pace, and the letters DNF comes to mind!  But it’s only four. more. miles.  Power through.  Push.  I try to be positive.  I try to be happy that I would finish.  I don’t know what else to do.  I have nothing left in me … I’m tanked out.  Spent.  Done.  However, the only way back is to get to that finish line.  No one was going to come an pick up my sorry ass, and I am too proud to see “DNF” by my name.  I knew that I would finish come hell or high water …

And I did almost an hour later … by my Garmin I finished in 5:20ish.  I haven’t checked my official time, nor do I want to know.  I was done and I didn’t care.  I was ashamed that I couldn’t even be proud of my performance which was a PR, just not the PR that I was looking for.  I wasn’t happy.  All I could think of was, “I trained soooo hard for this!”  I felt so bad for my husband who was so proud of me, and all I could do was sulk.  I just wanted to get out of there!  It was cold, and it was raining wildly!  This time, the rain masked my tears.

I mistakenly sent a text to Linda telling her how I really felt which read, “I’m a loser.”  I couldn’t help it. I wanted to go home, crawl in a hole, and just die.  Okay, not die, but cry … I knew that I would be okay, but I really just needed to cry and get it out of my system.  My coach, Josh (@speedysasquatch), called me to talk about this “loser” business.  I let my cell go to voice mail as I just couldn’t talk to anyone.  I couldn’t … not yet.

A couple hours later, I was home, showered, unpacked, still tapped out, but fed.  My poor hubby, still trying to make me feel better, and I wasn’t having it.  I, who do not cry, let my guard down and the tears flowed.  He could not console me.  But I didn’t really want consolation, I only wanted to cry and get it out.

It wasn’t much later that I was able to talk to my coach.  The tears were no longer flowing, just a drop here and there.  He told me that I was NOT in any way, shape, or form a “loser.”  I finished that race – despite everything – injury, weather, difficult course – I finished that race.  I stared down the half chute and bypassed it.  I hit the wall, and perservered.  I hurt, and I kept going.  That, he said, tells him a lot about me.  I was reminded that most people would never even dream of showing up to the starting line.  I ran, and I finished, and I did PR despite not hitting my goal time.  So … hold my head up, he tells me, and be proud of myself.

And I cried again … because it is now that I realize that I am not a loser.  I am Row., marathon FINISHER.  When the going got tough, I got tougher, and I saw it through until the end.  That I believe is what people are talking about when they speak of the “Spirit of the Marathon.”  Thank you, Josh, for setting me straight, and for making me see me for who I am, not for what I do.

There will be other races, other marathons.  This is NOT the end for me.  This is just one of many, and I know that not every race can be a race where I PR.  For now I will take my finish and file it away.  I will be happy with the fact that I CAN run.   I will look harder to see the winner that I am because I know that she’s in there … I’ve caught glimpses of her before.  But right now, I need a well deserved break … and I am going to take it.  Not lacing my shoes up for a little while.  Gonna hang them up in a safe place and just look at them.

Quick Note:  I really have sooooo many people to thank for getting me through the finish line.  I know that I will not be able to name everyone, and if I “forget” to mention you … please don’t be offended.  First – BIG, HUGE thank you goes out to my coach, Josh (@SpeedySasquatch).  In the two (yes, you read correctly TWO) months that he worked with me, I improved greatly.  He kept my spirits up, and was a major factor in keeping my head screwed on right.  I have to thank, Mac, because she is my running buddy, and she never lets me down.  She is a solid rock, and a great inspiration and motivation.  I only wish that we could have run together.  I cannot forget ALL of my Twitter friends – I wish I could name ALL of you.  You guys ROCK!!!  You kept me motivated and held me accountable, you made the journey fun, and didn’t let me get down on myself when all I wanted to do was crawl in a hole!  For those who ran miles with me in real life – Ron (@PunkRockRunner), Linda (@MsV1959) and her running partner Kim, my friends from work – Cory and her husband, Sam, Suzanne, and Judy – who ran hills with me and came back even though I almost made her puke!  I TRULY appreciated all of your company as we put the miles in together!  And, of course, my awesome family!!!  Chris, who would bike beside me and be my SAG man and who has never missed a race of mine!  My kids who put up with my OCD and would push me out the door, and pick up a lot of the slack at home!  You guys are awesome and I love you!!!  Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU ALL!!!  I could not have gotten to this point without your support!!!