Running For Sherry Arnold

I rarely give it any thought when I head out the door and go out for a run.  I just grab my stuff, give my husband and/or kiddos a general idea of where I’ll be and who I’ll be with if anyone.  Most runs are run alone, and in the streets of Stockton, California.

If you know anything about Stockton, California, you will know that it has been ranked FIRST twice in three years as THE MOST Miserable City in the United States according to Forbes.  No joke, the city that I live in is considered miserable.  However, I’m one of those individuals that believes in perception, and making the best out of what your situation is.  I don’t see the city that I live in as “miserable” … Stockton has a lot of good points, it’s just unfortunate that only the ugly, bad parts are magnified.

Getting back on track to what I was trying to write … I run in a scary city, and I rarely, if ever, give it a second thought that I do.  Other people do … my husband worries, my mother worries, and a lot of people who I tell that I run in Stockton point it out to me.  But I’m not afraid, and I go out and run anyway … unarmed, but ready should anything happen.  I’m not saying that I’m invincible, nor am I saying that nothing will happen to me … I’m just saying that I don’t run afraid.  I am not afraid to run in my city, nor should I be.  I believe that if you run scared, your chances of something happening are heightened.

In early January of this year, in the city of Sidney, Montana … MONTANA … which to my knowledge is NOT a miserable city or anywhere close to it … Sherry Arnold headed out for her morning run, never to return again.  She was found seven days later, dead. It was later learned by her abductors, who were caught, that she was abducted at 0640 … she left her house at 0630.  10 minutes.  10 minutes was all it took.

So why am I writing?  I’m writing because I think that it could have been me or anyone of us … I think that because of where I live, you would’ve think that it would be more likely that it would happen here in Stockton, not in Montana.   But it brings to light that it could happen anywhere, and that it could happen to me, to you, to your friends, etc.  I’m sure that Sherry Arnold didn’t believe that anything would happen to her when she headed out on her run that morning.  You get the gist of what I’m saying.

Will it change how and where I run?  Maybe a little, but I doubt it.  I’m pretty aware of my surroundings, and I do tell my husband, and others where I’ll be.  I’ve been good about running with a partner when one is available, or my husband and kids  have been known to run or ride their bicycles or skateboard beside me, and I do run with my phone.  There are some good apps out there such as Bluelight that can track you or alert someone if you have not returned at a certain time point.  For the most part though, like I said, I just use the old fashioned, “Hey, I’m gonna be out at such and such place running.  I should be back at  such and such time.  Okay?”  I know … scary!

On Saturday, February 11, it has been asked that we all take some time to remember Sherry in a Virtual Run being held in her honor.  It was the brain child of her cousin, Beth, who is also a runner.  Read about Sherry and the Virtual Run being held in her honor here.

I will be taking some time out to run a few miles in Sherry’s honor because I know that it could very well have been me.  She was my age.  She was a mother, wife, math teacher, runner … she is us.  So with that, I ask you to take some time to run for her.  If you’re already running a race, dedicate a few miles in her honor.

I ask you to be more cognizant when you’re out there – especially when you’re alone.  If you can, run with your phone – I know that a lot of us do these days, and it’s not a bad idea.  Let your loved ones know where you are going to be.  Run with a partner – it’s always funner that way anyway.  Make eye contact with people who you come into contact with.  Just be careful when you’re out there, but don’t run afraid.  If you’re afraid, then your gut is trying to tell you something and your gut is usually right.

If you’re around on Saturday and live in Stockton, I’m planning on a short 5-6 mile run around the Spanos Park area.  Download your bib and come run with me and then we’ll go have breakfast somewhere … You don’t have to be fast … Those who know me, know that I will never leave you behind.  =)

Train HARD.  Train SMART.  Eat WELL.  Have FUN … Let’s goooo run for Sherry!

My Race Day Rituals And What-Nots

Indy Mini!
RnR Arizona!
HMB Int'l!

I’m one of those people that is a creature of habit. Not really “set” in my ways, I mean, I am adaptable to change (after some moaning and whining) and open to new ideas and suggestions.  This past weekend though, after my friend, Audrey, asked me about my “Race Day Rituals,” it dawned on me that even when out of my element, I am still a creature of habit and fall back to what I know before race day …

This is what I know about Row. the day before race day …

I make a list. It’s pre-set what’s on there. It’s the same thing every time.  I have a hard copy on my iPhone, but I still hand write it all out so that I can check and double check that I remember.

I plan my outfits. I know it sounds a little silly but I need to mentally see what I’m going to wear on race day, then I make sure I have all the right components: Shorts, or capris, tank, compression shorts (if needed), socks, shoes, arm sleeves or long sleeved shirt, etc. If for some reason I have to change my outfit in the morning, it throws me all off.

I put the D-ring or timing chip on my shoe the night before. I also put my socks in my shoe because I am notorious for not being able to find socks!!!

I don’t put the race bib on until AFTER I get dressed in the morning because I stretch out my tank or shirt putting it on and it’ll pull the pins sometimes causing tears in the fabric. I don’t like holes in my expensive dri-fit clothing.

I make sure that my Garmin is charged up several times, and I look for the sweatband that I wear underneath it and keep them together otherwise I’ll forget and my Garmin is so huge on my that without the sweatband it slides and causes blistering and/or pain to my wrist bone from it hitting.

I always make my electrolyte water the night before and fill the water bottles that go into my iFitness belt and put them in the fridge.

I pack my iFitness belt with my Gu, S!Caps, and gum and make sure that I put my ID in my bag.

I make sure I know where my earbuds are and put them in my iFitness belt so I don’t have to frantically search for them in the morning because God knows that they could be anywhere because my Grace loves to borrow them!!!

I go to Starbucks the night before and purchase my Tall, Triple Shot, Non-Fat, No Whip Mocha and refrigerate it so that I can have it race morning after I just nuke it. I know you’re asking why I just don’t go to Starbucks the morning of … Well, it’s because Starbucks is usually not open until 0600 on Sundays and we’re usually well on our way to the race by then with no time to stop. I know that I could very well make my own coffee at home on race morning, however, there’s something in Starbucks Coffee that provides me with a kick. Their beans must be genetically and chemically engineered with something extra special in them that’s not in the expresso beans that they sell to the public.  I do plan on experimenting with making my own coffee in the mornings though to see what does and doesn’t work, just not during race day though.  I still don’t mind spending a few dollars for my race day coffee, refrigerated or not.  I also get a sesame bagel from Noah’s Bagels or from the grocery store and eat it toasted with peanut butter.

Because I know that I don’t sleep well the night before a race, I make sure that I get some good rest the day before or the night before the night before the race.  LOL!  I know that doesn’t make sense, but seriously, they say that it’s not the rest that you get the night before, it’s the rest you get 2 nights before race day that counts.  As I don’t tend to sleep that well, I try to get in as much sleep as I can, be it naps or whatever.  Just get your rest.

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.  Pretty simple, short, sweet.  It’s not complicated, and I don’t stress out on race day anymore.  This list works well for when I’m racing out of town also.  It helps me remember what to pack and bring.  I never imagined that I had any race day rituals, but it turns out that I do.  However, the most important one though, is the prayer that I say for myself and my friends who run … that God will run along side us and carry us to the finish when we get tired.

As a side note, here are a few things that I have learned while racing:

Carb loading should be done two days or more before the actual run, not the night of.  If you’ve forgotten, then lunch the day before is probably best.  Same thing for hydration.  Limit your soda and alcoholic intake, and drink your water, or Gatorade, or whatever sports drink you prefer.

Check the labels of the electrolyte tabs or salt tabs that you use.  Try them on your training runs.  Remember that too much of a good thing is NOT always a good thing.

Nuun tablets should NOT be placed in your water bottle that you carry with you because what ultimately happens is that it’s effervescence will cause it to fizz and explode IN. YOUR. FACE!

Body Glide is your BFF.  Put it on all over you in the places you believe you may chafe!

Never, under any circumstances, use new shoes on race day unless you have for some reason forgotten your shoes and you’re far away from home! It’s not recommended even if you have used the brand before.

Your feet will thank you if you use dri-fit socks.  I love Balega brand socks.  They’re comfortable, they don’t cause any blisters, they’re cushioning, and they protect your feet.  There are a lot of good brands out there, the trick is to find the “right” pair for you.

Cotton is not your friend.  Cotton is rotten while racing.  Cotton shirts, especially cotton socks … no.

Don’t try any new foods on race day or the day before unless you want to frequent the portapotties along the course.

When it’s cold, I wear old sweats over my racing outfit as we drive up to the venue.  I’m not much into discarding old sweats along the run so I haven’t tried that, but a lot of people do and they get picked up by volunteers who donate them to local homeless shelters.  I’ve discovered the functional fashion of a garbage bag to keep my shoulders warm.

Compression stockings will be your BFF after running a long run!  I love my Zensah compression stockings, and my InVigorators.  They’re awesome and feeeeel soooo gooooood!

I really would suggest a list.  The list will help keep you organized and help you to remember.  Mental lists … don’t work for me as my mind is getting slightly foggy.

Unless you’re gunning for a time goal, have fun on race day.  In all honesty, the only person that you’re racing is yourself.  Everyone out there has the same goal as you … to cross that finish line.   There’s no need for rudeness or ugliness.  Encourage each other, encourage everyone.  Thank the volunteers that are out there at the aid stations.  Smile at all the photographers.  Have fun!

**Disclaimer:  I’m in NO way an expert on anything.  I’m not offering any advice on anything. These are just a few things that I’ve learned along the way from experience.  I’m just you average runner who has run a few races for FUN.**

– Posted using BlogPress from my RowPhone =]

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 20 – Sealing My Fate

I was waiting for a sign.
Yep ... What Nike says ...

I’ve been dickin’ around with this for far too long.  It’s time that I made up my mind and decide one way or another if I’m running CIM or not.  Soooooo … As of today, right now, this very moment … After much deliberation and over thinking … I’m “IN.”  No more changing my mind or fretting and worrying about it.  I’m going to run CIM.  No more thinking about it, only planning for the run, and getting into and staying in race mode.

They say that before you run your next marathon, you have to forget your last.

There.  It’s out.  It’s done.  Decision made.  I had a few heart to hearts with those that know the turmoil in my head.  If you’re wondering if I have any goals, well, kinda … I want to finish strong and healthy and in one piece.  I’m not sure what my buddy, Cory, has in mind, if she has decided to opt out or not, but I know that Judy has decided to run with me.  I know that Mac’s running, but I’m not sure about Mel. Last year I ran with time goals in mind.  This year, as I have said, I will run only for the pure joy of just being able to run and finish a marathon.  This will be marathon number 4 for me.  I’ll be going in without any reservations, I’ll be healthy, and injury free, and I will finish strong and happy.  (So it is written, so it will be and is done.)

That being said, I’m leaving it at that.  I’m not talking about it anymore, so don’t ask me …  I’m good with my decision, and I’m at peace. I know that I CAN do this and that I WILL do this.  That’s all that you need to know.  So … let’s get to training …

Sunday:  I got no data for you.  I was supposed to run something today, and I took the day off and everything, but signed up for nothing.  I’m sure that the Stockton Half was on this date last year and that’s why I took the day off, but they changed the date on me.  My running buddy, Mac, asked me if I wanted to run the Clarksburg Country Run, but opted out because of the fact that I’ve been running so dang much.  At the very last minute I thought I’d register, then opted out again.  I’m glad that I did because I feel pretty whipped!  I heard that it was a really nice venue, and I’m sorry that I missed it, but seriously, I’m glad that I didn’t run.

Instead, I sat around the house, ate not one, but TWO glazed donuts, and did absolutely NOT A DAMN THING!  And … I don’t feel guilty about it.

Me with two of my BEST buddies at AMAA: Z and Karyn! I love these two!

Monday:  I hit up American Martial Arts for a great cardio session with Jeanne and my girls.  I love my friends at AMAA.  Since my shoulder is still pretty stressed, I couldn’t do the exercises that required push ups, or left hooks, but everything else I was okay with.  I had to laugh when my friend, Karyn, asked me why I was there if I was injured … Girl, only my left shoulder is injured … not my legs, my core, or any other part of my body.  So I have no excuse.  I love working out there!  It makes me happy.  I signed up for Cage Fitness also … yep.  Something new to learn!  Excited.

Tuesday:  The plan was to get in the box but that didn’t happen, so then it changed to get in a spin workout, but instead I ended up with a whole lotta nothing!  Oops!  Oh well.  What can I say?  I’m tellin’ you, the weekend kicks my butt!  Ugh.  I’m not going to complain though.  I got some good rest in and I’m happy about that, then I worked a short stint at my Princess job.  Running around the hospital for 4 hours was enough of a workout for me today.

Wednesday: I’m surprised that I went.  I rushed in the morning to get there on time and when I got there, I wished that I just stayed home.

The Warm Up:
3 rounds of
Run 200m
15 Jump Squats
15 Kips (no kips for me because I can’t hang, so I was to do PVC roll overs)
5 HS Kick ups (none of those for me either)
Then … when that’s all done … 400m sled pull at 135#.

Let me tell you that I can’t pull 135# so I don’t know why I keep having to do it. Okay … I can pull it, I don’t like to pull it. It’s so freakin’ heavy and it takes me so freakin’ long to do it.  It’s frustrating beyond belief, and it sucks ass!

Strength:
I didn’t even do whatever it was that I was supposed to do, because that f’n sled pull took me too dang long!

The Workout:
3 rounds of
200m Farmer Carry – I coudn’t do that so my trainer switched it up and modified my Farmer Carry to a sandbag carry. 50# sandbag carried 200m.
20 Deadlifts – 105# for me
40 Overhead Lunges. Overhead was a no no for me, so I carried the weight to my side 15#.

I enjoyed the workout, just not the sled pull. I was not feeling it, and it’s starting to piss me off that my shoulder is STILL injured and hurting. Yeah. Workout done, but not with a happy heart.

Thursday:  The plan was to hit the box immediately after working my 12 hour  shift, however, the powers that be had other plans.  It was a very BUSY night at work, and according to my manager, she was told by the higher ups that she was not to give us breaks.  Really?  A 12 hour shift without a break or any meals?  That makes for a very unhappy employee.  Really, you’re not gonna give any of us a break?  Whatever.  That being said … I was not able to eat, or take a short rest period so that meant no workout for me.  So … I decided to go home, sleep, then get up early and hit the box at 1500.  My husband said that he woke me up, but he didn’t.  I know he didn’t because I heard him, and I wasn’t fully sleeping.  I know that he did NOT try to wake me up.  He went and worked out alone!  WTF?  Seriously?  Let me tell you … this made for one very pissed off, cranky, frustrated girl.  My shoulders are tense.  I’m mad as hell, my tolerance level is LOW.  That was NOT a good idea to let me sleep.  I needed that workout, but I probably needed the rest more.  That being said, I’ll leave it alone.

Friday:  I had every intention of going to workout in the morning, but didn’t make it.  I had every intention to go workout in the evening, but puttered around so much that I lost track of time so that was a bust.  That being said, I guess you can tell pretty much that my energy expenditure for the day was a huge … a really HUGE goose egg!  Nada!  Ugh.  I’m finding that the weeks after working my weekends are so difficult.  They suck.  I’m having such a difficult time recovering … not to mention, I have Seasonal Affective Disorder so it makes it even crazier.  I “forget” every year until my hubby mentions it to me.  Oh well … =[  No excuses.  It is what it is.  It just sucks to not get a workout in at all.  SUCKS!  Instead, besides fiddle farting around with my family, you would’ve found me with my H-Wave permanently attached to my left shoulder for at least 2 hours!  I love my H-Wave!

On another note, I signed Chris and I up for Brazen Racing’s New Year’s Day Run, and NorCal Survivor Mud Run.  Thanks to Schwaggle, I got the Survivor Mud Run at a HUGE discount (65%), so it was almost FREE!  And … since I got a nice offer from Morgan Hill (50% off), I signed us up for 2012’s Morgan Hill Half Marathon, which is in October.

Saturday:  There’s a new fitness rage at American Martial Arts Academy where I workout … it’s called Cage Fitness.  5 – 5 minute rounds of a total body workout!  OMG!  I signed up to attend a class today and absolutely LOVED it!!!  I had so much fun!  =)  But I LOVE martial arts.  I love MMA and boxing.  It makes me feel STRONG and confident.  It’s awesome.  So that was my workout today.  Jeanne kicked my ass.  I just wish that my shoulder was not so wonky so that I could do the moves at 100% instead of 50-75%  I know it’s necessary to save and rest my shoulder, but seriously, it’s been a month and it sucks.  So … more H-wave for me today again.  I spent the day cooking Paleo, and taking my kids out to the mall.  I had a great day.

That’s my weekly recap.  Not much of anything, but a little bit of some things … Could’ve been better, could’ve been worse.

I’m not answering any questions about my decision to run.  I know that’s insane, but those that need to know … know, and those that don’t need to know, know enough and really don’t need to know much more.  If I start talking about it, I know me … I’ll be able to freak myself out and talk myself out of it.  So … NO.  I’ve made up my mind and I’m now in race mode.  Thank you very much, have a nice day …

My training has been consistent.  I’ve gotten my runs in, albeit short and sweet, they have been pretty good and pretty taxing.  I love my trainer.  I know that my shoulder will get better – I just need to be patient and just rest it, leave it alone, and not push it as I have been.  I have faith in myself.  I have great friends and my awesome hubby that I can lean on.

I talked to my friend, Cory, today … she’s worried about CIM, but she says that she will run it.  I’m happy about that … =)  We can do it.  I know that we can.  It’s all good.  So … Me, Mac, Cory, Judy, and probably Mel.  Love it.

I have some training issues that I have to workout with my trainer next week, but I’m sure that they will resolve themselves. I just need to talk to him about a few things.  I’m gonna hit the box pretty hard this coming up week.  My kiddos are off from school so it’ll work out that I can go a little earlier or sleep in a little later … =)

Thanksgiving is coming up this next week also.  I have so many things to be thankful for as I am very blessed!  I have a great life.

So … two weeks.  Train Hard.  Train Smart.  Eat Well. And have FUN!  It’s not worth it if it’s not fun!

The fact that you can feel the fear means you also have the courage to get beyond it.  Otherwise, the fear would serve no useful purpose.   – Anonymous

Marathon Training – Week 19 … Decisions, Decisions

As of today, I have not fully committed to running the California International Marathon.  I have less than one month, and I have not decided whether or not to run this race, or to say, “Eff it!” and let it be my very first DNS!

This is where my Libra personality truly shows.  As a Libra, I have such trouble with making decisions.  I want so much for the answers to just come to me, and for them to just come easy.  I am ashamed to admit that I want decisions to be made for me so I don’t have to think.  I want things to be cut and dry.  It’s too difficult for me to be able to see both sides, and they both weigh so heavily on my mind.  I think too much, is my problem.  I can’t be one of those individuals that doesn’t think and just does, just takes a chance and goes for it.  Instead, I think, and think, and then over think as I weigh the pros and cons in my mind.  I can’t ask anyone what they think because ultimately the decision is mine and only mine to make, and I will have to live with that decision.

So … here I am.  Undecided with only three weeks left to go.  Not only that, I’m currently undertrained and slightly injured.  I haven’t run more than 15 miles in any one given run.  I am also suffering from a lot of issues with my ankles in which they start to give out on me at around mile 13.  I know.  Lots of things to think about, and I better think fast.  Oh boy …

Before I get too deep in thought … Let me recap my week for you …

40% chance of rain ... 60% chance of sunshine & clear skies. I should've banked on the sunshine!
Such a great venue! Loved it! Hoodie & Bling!

Sunday:  Sunday you would have found me in Fresno, California at the Two Cities Marathon.  You will recall that I had spent an awesome day with three of my kiddos on Saturday milling around the Expo and eating dinner, etc.

What can I say about the Two Cities Marathon?  They predicted 40% chance of rain … so what did I do?  I didn’t bank on the 60% chance of sunshine.  I dressed for wet and cold, and instead it was dry, warm, and sunny.  It was a perfect day in Fresno and I was overdressed!!!  Seriously OVERDRESSED.  Wow.  Capris (I haven’t worn a capri since February!!!), tank, long sleeve, and a lightweight jacket (in case that 40% chance of rain falls, y’know?).  Oh, and I can’t forget that I was asked to wear a fox beanie by my son for good luck.  It didn’t rain even one single, tiny drop … It was beautiful and sunny for my entire run.

It was great that most of the hotels offered shuttle service from to the start.  I came alone, no husband, and I didn’t ask my kiddos to come tag along and wait until I was done running.  I didn’t know anyone there, although once I got there, I could see on FaceBook that there were a few people that I knew who signed up.  There were thousands of people at the start.  I had my coffee and breakfast while on the shuttle.  I had some random person snap my picture while waiting for the start, used the Porta Potty, and then made my way down to the corral I was assigned to.

The course itself was really nice.  I can tell you that the crowd support was awesome, as well as the entertainment along the way.  It’s become somewhat customary that I use the porta potty at mile 2 – so I took a short break and went.  Throughout the run, there were ample aid and water stations, there was no shortage or long lines for porta potties either.

I had a great run.  I enjoyed running and interacting with the crowd.  I got a lot of compliments on my son’s beanie, and since our bibs were custom, most people gave me a shout out as I ran by.  As usual, I thanked as many volunteers as I could for being out there to support and help us, and I encouraged most of the runners that I ran alongside.  I have found that it really helps me when I am able to do that for others because I know how difficult it can be.

I ran a fair race.  I can tell you that I started to have ankle issues around mile 7.  Since I’ve had PF, I haven’t really been able to find the correct orthotics to help with the way my ankle turns in when I run.  I’ve kind of been neglecting it because it really doesn’t bother me until after the run.  However, running a half marathon and suffering is going to be much more difficult than running a FULL marathon and maybe having my feet fall off and the ankles.  It may be a real problem!  I’ve been trying to get into see my PT so that he can help me figure out how to stabilize my ankles.  I have also been experimenting with different shoes to see if that will help.  So far nothing.  So … my hubby’s suggestion is that if I do decide to run CIM, he will meet me at the half way point (exchange #3 for the relay) with food and a change of shoes.  Which may be something to consider.

Anyhow … back to Two Cities Half Marathon … the finish was incredible.  LOTS of people cheering.  And a short recovery walk from the finish until you got your medal hung around your neck, water, chocolate milk, and a very warm hoodie!  YES, I said a hoodie!  Immediately after, you are surrounded by tents with people cooking breakfast – HOT meals – pancakes, bacon, sausage, etc., and a tent with ice cream sundaes.  It was incredible!

Getting from the finish, back to the place where the shuttle bus driver said he would be was amusing!  I got lost.  I asked several volunteers and they all steered me in various directions except for the right one.  My only option was to pull out my iPhone, and use my GPS to find my way back.  It was only one mile and some change, so I wasn’t worried.  I had thought about calling my son to pick me up, but road closures and getting my daughter out the door would make things difficult so I opted not to call him.  I would trek my way back, and as I did, I prayed to God that I would somehow meet up with the shuttles so I would not have to walk long.  As luck would have it, I didn’t have to walk far.  God heard me.  I walked smack into the the shuttle bus driver.  Thank you, Jesus!  I got him to take my post-race picture then he drove me back to my hotel without incident where I was able to take a very long, hot shower, and checkout on time!

Would I run it again?  Yes.  It was a really nice venue!  I enjoyed the expo and the post race festivities!  I like the fact that the hotels were able to coordinate shuttles.  I love the hoodies and the hot breakfast.  I enjoyed the course entertainment, and crowd support!  It was a great race.  Not my best race, but it was fun, and I had a good time.

Monday:  I thought I’d rest.  Instead, I hit up AMAA for some cardio fun in the afternoon once I was able to get a good couple hours rest after my kiddos left for school.  You know that I love cardio at AMAA!  I love working out with my friends.  I had to modify a lot of the moves because I can’t throw a left hook because of my bum shoulder, but it was all good.  I had a really great 45 minute session with a lot of leg and core work!  =)

Tuesday:  You found me in the box today with a workout that really kicked my behind!  Seriously … It made me wish that I stayed home.

The warm up kicked my behind … Literally. Thank God for my hubby who carried a little of my weight at the end of the sled pull. Ugh. So weak today!

The Warm Up:
20 High Knees, Butt Kickers
20 Squats, Lunges
20 Kips
10 Push Ups, Pull Ups
400 m sled pull (125 #)
I couldn’t pull the sled at body wt today, so for the last 200m, Chris took a load of 25# off me. Thank God for marriage, right? Sometimes it’s 50/50, 60/40, 90/10 …

Strength:
Since my workouts are modified to accommodate my injured shoulder, my strength workout was Back Squats. Find an uncomfortable weight and do three sets of 5 reps. Okay then. My “uncomfortable” weight was #110 lbs. Yep – both the sled pull & my back squats were close to body wt. Ugh.

The Work Out:
Row 750m
50 HL Push Ups – for me modified to Jump Lunges
50 KB swings
50 Pull Ups – Modified to GHD Sit Ups
Row 750m

It was a really good workout, but when the warm up kicks your butt there’s a problem!  Whoa!

Wednesday:  The gist of it went down like this …

The Warm Up:

Run 1000m then
3 rounds of
10 Walk Out Push Ups
30 Ab Mat Sit Ups

Strength:
Back Squats for me – work up to a weight that is uncomfortable and do 5 sets of 3 reps. Yeah. I love squats, so it took me awhile to find that uncomfortable weight of 105# (I think).

The Work Out:
6 Rounds of
5 Cleans (12# dumbbell touch ground, and lift overhead for me)
5 Burpees
5 Push Presses (26# KB swing for me)
5 Box Jumps
5 Front Squats
5 Push Up Deadlifts

Row 1000m

Thursday:  I love working out. There is no doubt about that. Today’s workout taxed me and made me doubt myself for a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome workout, but it was rough.

The Warm Up:
3 Rounds of
10 Burpees
10 Mountain Climbers
10 Ring Rows
200m Run

Strength/Skills:
Accumulate:
1 minute L sit
1 minute L hang
1 minute L ring support
2 minutes Hand Stand Hold
10 Skin The Cats

Okay … this workout really had to be modified for me because of my shoulder. I could do the L sits, but the L hangs I could not so that had to be modified. The Ring Support I could do. The Hand Stand Hold, I could not … so … my trainer modified it for me so that I had an upside down Bosu ball that I would put my hands on, and then an exercise ball that I would put my toes on and hold for 2 minutes. He wanted to see if I had plank skills … I have MAD Plank Skillz! I rocked that exercise and I’m pretty proud of myself! I skipped the Skin the Cat move altogether because I’m sure that was one of the exercises that jacked up my shoulder weeks ago!

The Work Out:
4 Rounds
200m Sandbag Carry (45# for me)
24-18-12-6
Sumo Deadlift High Pulls
Bar Facing Burpees

This. Workout. Kicked. My. Ass! It took a lot out of me, and I had to dig deep to find the strength to finish. But finish I did, and I finished strong.  But I was dying on the floor when I was done!  Although I had a substitute trainer today, I’m thankful that he was encouraging, and motivating.

When I got home from my workout, I had a message on my answering machine from my Chiropractor, Dr. Brian Crawford, telling me that he had read my FaceBook status and telling me that I needed to get my butt in his office so that he can fix my shoulder!  Lucky for me, my kiddos had an appointment so we all headed down there.  He cracked my back, my neck, then adjusted my left shoulder.  He knew which spots to hit in my scapula, the front of my shoulder, and my bicep.  He knew that there was some nerves that were also getting impinged along with my muscle because of the shooting pains I was getting in my bicep.  How did he know?  I didn’t say a word.  Let me just say that I felt instant relief after getting adjusted, then I was able to use the H-Wave for 30 minutes as I waited for my boys to finish.  I have an awesome Chiro.  He looks out for me, and didn’t charge me for my visit.  He knew that I was hurting as I’d been in a few weeks earlier complaining of the same thing.  He takes great care of my family and I and I would highly recommend him to everyone!

Friday:  It’s Friday, and it’s Veteran’s Day. I’m thinking that the box wouldn’t be open at all, but Noah, Chris, and I, and our tag-a-long, Grace, go in hopes that it will be open … and it was! I’m glad we went because we had a great session. Easy and fun. Well, you know “easy” means something entirely different to me.

The Warm Up:
800m run
3 rounds
10 PVC Good Mornings
10 PVC Squat Jumps
10 PVC Overhead Presses

The Workout #1:
11 minutes AMRAP
11 Ground to Overhead (modified to 26# KB swing)
11 Toe to Bar (modified to Ab Mat Sit Ups)
11 Box Jumps

The Workout #2:
5 minutes AMRAP
10 Ball Slams (modified to side slams for me)
7 Burpees

Deep stretching.

It was a nice way to end my week. =)

Saturday:  Nope … Got nothing for ya today.  I’ve worked out all week and I’m done.  Today’s a rest day for me.  Sleep and recover!  =)  Seriously!  Sleep and recover!

It’s been a great week.  I’ve worked out hard, and I can see results and I like that.  You know that my week last week was crap, and although I know that I need weeks like that where I do nothing, it was still mentally devastating that I had such a long rest period.  It threw my game off on Sunday when I ran in Fresno … Okay … It may or may not have, I just know that I wasn’t 100% at Fresno, where a few weeks earlier I had a great run in Stockton!  I just know that it makes a difference in my game and performance when I’ve worked out.

I know that in the upcoming weeks I have some really hard decisions to make.  I’m sure I’ll end up running CIM if just to run.  I have never DNS’d a race and I don’t know if I really want to.  I know that it won’t be a pretty run, but I know that if I do run, that I’ll finish!  So we’ll see …

Maybe I set my goals and bar too high.  I know that my expectations of myself are very high.  I’m hardest on myself and I expect a lot out of myself.  I’ve tried to lower the bar and my expectations, and I’m not just able to.  I am very good at beating myself up physically and mentally.  I am a positive thinker, and I do believe that what you tell yourself plays a big role in how you perform and what your outcome is … I know that I expect a lot out of myself, but I am also kind to myself.  I know when to back off, and when to let go of the dream.  It might take a minute, but I’m a realist.  It’s all good and I can roll with the punches.

As I roll into week 20, I’ll make my decision as to whether I’ll run CIM.  I’m pretty sure I’ve made up my mind.  I’ve had a couple heart to hearts with my good friends Marci (@BA_MarciRuns), and with Erika (@erikarae74).  I have yet to talk to my husband who knows me best, but seriously, I think I know which way I’m leaning.  Like I said, I know that ultimately the decision is up to me and me alone, and I will have to live with whatever I decide.  I’ll keep training hard.  I’ll get a LONG run in next week and see how I feel, and I’ll keep bugging my PT to help me with stabilizing my ankles.

It’s all good.  I know that whatever I decide, I’ll be okay with my decision.  It’s been a great training week for me!  I expect next week to be another good week.  I’ll make it the best week that it can possibly be.  I have a few friends running Clarksburk Country Run in Sacramento on Sunday … One running a half, the other a 20 miler.  I almost … *almost* signed up for the half, then the half relay … but in the end decided to stay home and chill out.  I don’t feel bad at all for missing a race!  =)  Those who have been following me know that I have been racing at least 2x month.  It’s taxing when you tally up my miniscule training runs during the week.  I know that I’m over a 1000 miles for 2011 already.  I’m proud of that.

So … Week 20’s comin’ up … Get out there everyone.  Train HARD!  Train SMART!  Eat WELL!  And, most importantly, have FUN in the process.

Marathon Training – Week 17 – Fakin’ It ‘Til I Make It

Sometimes the only way to do something that you don’t want to do is to just do it … Fake it until you make it.  Smile and pretend that you’re having a great time, and turn off the voices in your head that tell you that you’re tired, etc.  That works for me, anyway.  I just keep pluggin’ away and talk to myself, telling myself positive things … there’s the occasional cursing in there, but for the most part, I get what needs to be done, DONE!

Me, Bel, & Cory
I love these girls! Tigger & Pooh!
My Twitter Budz! @mikebravo11, @erikarae74, & @cindy_rivera209

Sunday:  I was skeptical about running the St. Joseph’s Stockton Half Marathon.  I was exhausted … literally bone tired.  I hadn’t been sleeping well the whole week, nor had I been eating as well as I usually do.  But … I was going to run.  I signed up for this race, and I would run it.

She got up early to support her Mama & friends!

I was thankful that my husband was able to take the day off so he could come with me.  Like I said, Chris is my biggest fan.  He’s my driver, my cheerleader, my BFF.  We brought our daughter, Grace, who loves to come hang out with us and cheer the runners on.  We got up early, hit Starbucks, and headed on over to the race start.

We were able to find my friends, Cory, Erika, and Cindy easily.  We took advantage of the time we had and hit the porta potties, then took our customary pre-race pictures.  It was nice to have a lot of time and not have to rush.  Race start was promptly at 0730.  After a pre-race speech by the race director, Tony Vice, and by Mike Ricks, VP at St. Joseph’s Hospital we started without incident.

Me and Hardy!
Beautifu, speedy Melanie & I.
Some random guy I got to throw up a "shaka" sign as we passed the photographer!

The race was pretty uneventful.  The weather was perfect.  The course was completely – COMPLETELY – marked.  It was similar to last year with just a little tweaking.  I ran mile 1 and 2 with Erika and Cindy.  Erika was pacing Cindy to PR.  I didn’t want to screw that up too much ’cause I was just running.  I ran a few feet of mile one with my friend, Hardy.  He’s a FAST runner, so I told him I’d see him at the end.  At mile 2.5, I knew that I had to stop and take a potty break.  Good thing, too ’cause I really had to gooooo!!!  I ran mile 3 thru 5 pretty much alone.  At mile 6, my friend Melanie caught up to me and we ran together until mile 8.  Melanie’s FAST(er) than I am so when I started to peter out, I told her to go.  I saw Chris and Grace and their awesome signs!  My favorite cheerleaders!  I ran alone from there on out until the end.  Not really alone though as I ran with others and I did my best to encourage them as we ran together, or as I passed them.  I did get a one guy to throw up a “shaka” sign as we came towards a course photographer! Too funny!

Rounding the corner to the finish!
My FAVORITE pic - coming up to the finish line. Thanks to Mike Bravo's Bro for this shot!

Finish Line shot!

From the back!

Around mile 10, I had to have a talk with my very heavy legs.  They were trying to tell me that they were tired.  I told them that they were not, that we had a little over 3 more miles to go so they had to suck it up, STFU, and keep on moving!  Basically, I said, “Too effing bad, you better keep moving, and get the rest of us to the finish line!”  They follow directions well … cause I got to the finish without much incident or anymore complaining from them.  I love that when I rounded the corner from Grand Canal towards the finish, I briefly saw Chris and Grace, then I heard the announcer over the PA announcing … “Annnnndddd comin’ in towards the finish is one very happy Row. Wallen.”  Since it’s Stockton, and it’s where I live, I have the hometown advantage.  Lots of people that knew me were there cheering me on!  It was such a great feeling!

This was by far a really great race!  So much better than last year.  Packet pick up went very smoothly at the new Fleet Feet of Stockton.  We not only got a nice tech shirt, but also a reflective running vest from Mizuno.  The expo, albeit small, was friendly.  I love how most of my friends were running the booths!  On the course we were given COLD water!  OMG!  COLD water is like gold!  The Gatorade that was offered was also COLD.  There were ample aid/water stations, and enough porta potties on the course.  As I mentioned earlier, the course was completely marked.  The volunteer police, as well as the paid police on patrol guiding and controlling traffic were very helpful.  The volunteers at each aid station were all very lively, enthusiastic, and motivating.  I absolutely LOVED the mile 12 volunteers who danced with the sign and encouraged every runner as we ran by!

Post race we were offered not only our medals, but a towel, and water.  We were also provided with some awesome post race nutrition – cookies, fruit, and Togo Sandwiches.  The race photographers, CaptivatingSportsPhotos.net, took some great – seriously GREAT –  race pictures before, during, and after the race … AND … they provided us with FREE photos to pick up at the race, or to download from home.  I have a lot of pictures from this event, so if you want to see them you’ll have to log onto FB and check out my album there.

So much fun.  I’m thankful to have been able to run this race once again this year. With the sponsorship of St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Tony Vice, the race director, was able to put on a great race this year.  Thank you so much for providing Stockton with a venue that we can all be proud of.  =)  I ran a great, happy race … can’t ask for much more!

Monday:  Thought I’d take a rest, huh?  Oh no …

I’ve had serious DOMS since very early Friday morning. I could barely walk then or on Saturday. Then I ran a half marathon yesterday. You’d think I’d rest today, but nooooo … the hubby said I needed to go workout with him. So … okay … I’ll go …

The Warm Up:
800m run
High Knees
Butt Kicks
Opp Heel Reaches

Strength:
Deadlifts – “Find a weight that is slightly uncomfortable.” Really? What exactly does that mean? Heehee. For me … it’s 90lbs. I know … weak. Oh well. I worked it. I LOVE deadlifts.

The Workout:
“Bradshaw”
10 rounds –
3 HSPU (modified to 6 hand lift push ups ’cause of my healing shoulder. I asked to do HSPU and was told NO!)
6 Deadlifts
12 Pull Ups
24 Double Unders

Hahahahaha! This was a great workout! I can feel myself getting so much stronger. I know that this workout ROCKS. I love it so much. I love my trainer! He’s awesome!

Tuesday:  For the life of me, I can’t remember what workout I did on Tuesday!  What the heck?!  I know that I went and worked out because  … I know I did, then I went home and showered and went to lunch with my gal pal, Linda!  Aaarrrgggh!  I can’t find it on my trainer’s website either because it’s down for maintenance!  Okay … This day is to be updated … Oi!

Wednesday:  Since I worked last night, I decided to go ahead a make today a rest day.  I know.  Lame.  But It is what it is.  I’ve been working my butt off at home, at work, on the pavement, and in the box so don’t judge unless you’re walking in my shoes.  My body is one EXHAUSTED mother!

Thursday:  My body said, “Row., you’re tired. Stay home. Rest.” Did I listen? No, of course not. I got myself dressed, and out the door I went.

I was late and I thought about not getting out of the car, of just driving away when I got there … But I was seen so there was no backing out now. So I got out and started …

The Warm Up:
Run 400
Leg swings – side/side, front/back
Good mornings
Then … Then … Wait for it … Sled Pull at just about my body weight to 400m! HOLY COW, Batman!

Strength:
Bench Press on a ball

The WorkOut:  (As if everything else wasn’t enough …)
4 Rounds
20 sec L sit
20 KB swing squats
8 burpee broad jumps

That workout took a lot out of me. Wait … The sled pull took a lot out of me. My trainer said he wanted to work my “powerhouse muscles.” Really? Yep. The backs of my legs were on FIRE!!! Yep. It zapped my energy. It tested my faith in myself. I asked to be killed. And yet … I survived. Thanks to my trainer.

Friday:  I so wanted to stay home.  Heehee.  It would be so easy for me to just climb into bed once Grace gets on the bus.  However … I know better, so I got my hubby up and off we went …

“Maybe we should’ve stayed home,” was my first thought when we got there. The box was full, people were everywhere … so we just settled in and started the warm up …

The Warm Up:
Row 1500m OR
Run 1 mile … I ran one mile
10 Wall Balls
10 Pull Ups
10 Walk Out Push Ups

Strength:
3 rounds of
10 Back Extentions
20 GHD Sit Ups

The WorkOut:
20 minutes, As Many Reps as Possible (AMRP)
Run 200m
15 DB Thrusters
Okay … I did this workout three weeks ago and jacked up my shoulder, so my DB Thrusters were modified to Back Squats. I was happy with my 45 lb bar. Once I started though, my trainer and his partner came at me with some weights for each end of my bar. They added 30 lbs to my measly little bar. What could I do? I just went with the flow, gutted out the workout and finished 8.5 rounds! It’s all good. =)

Saturday:  Would you believe me if I told you that I went and worked out?  Don’t.  I did nothing.  I worked a long ass 12 hour shift, came home, slept, then went to Stockton Thunder Hockey!!!!  I made myself have a rest day and spent it with my awesome Fam Bam!  I seriously still hurt.  My body hurts.  I’m sure it’s from the cumulative effects of constantly pushing my body and asking it to do more and more everyday.  EVERYDAY!  Even on rest days I’m still doing something.  Like today … Rest?  Hahaha!  I did a lot of stretching before and after going to the game.  I mean, seriously, I am very thankful for my body.  I am thankful for all that it does when I push it.  I know that I ask a lot of it, but it always delivers.  Always.  There’s usually some moaning and groaning coming from the mouth, but my everything else delivers.  So if I want to slack off a little and just lay in bed a little longer … then so be it.  My body deserves it.

Hockey was fun.  It was Halloween day, so my lovely daughter, Grace, dressed up as her requested “Dead Zombie Cheerleader.”  I never knew that she was such an avid hockey fan!  She was all over the place – screaming, cheering, clapping, and just having the time of her life!  I love it because it’s loud and fun!  I also love it because it’s time with my family that’s been a little to few and far between.

I can tell my body needs to get to the Chiro.  I also need to make another massage appointment.  My shoulder is still pretty tight and sore, and my legs are full of lactic acid!  LOL!  =)  I’ll do that next week.

I got my hotel for the Fresno Two Cites Half booked, and I got my registration in for the Walnut Creek Half Marathon finally.  Was just waiting on some final details.  I know.  Crazy.  So … it’s been a very eventful, busy week.  Next week doesn’t get any easier, it’ll be just as crazy with Fresno coming up.

On a good note … my muscles a poppin’!  Hot damn!  My trainer’s been workin’ me hard and he promised me that if I was faithful and put in 100% that I’d see results.  He was right.  I’m very pleased with what I’m seeing … No … I’m stoked!  I’m happy.  I’ve been working hard!  My trainer always tells me to “Stop testing the waters and just do it.”  I know … I think too much, and he can see that I do too.  He pushes me all the time, never lets me slack.  Love it and hate it at the same time!

Week 18 comin’ up … 4 weeks left.  I’ve gotta get this sh!t done!  I’m tired, but I’m not going to think about it anymore.  I already know what I need to do and I’m just going to work hard and get it done!  I need to get a 20 miler in!  Eeek!  Train HARD!  Train SMART!  Have FUN!  Let’s goooooo …. =)

Marathon Training – Week 16 – Running On Fumes

It’s just about time to start gettin’ down to business … Week 16 … Uh yeah, Row.  We’re gettin’ down to the nitty gritty and it’s time.  There’s no time anymore to dilly dally or fiddle fart around.  Com’mon now, Row.  You better get real about this marathon, or this marathon’s gonna get you!  I know.  I’m just lazy, and like I said … I’m just not into it.  This marathon’s gonna end up biting me in the a$$ if I’m not careful.  Ah well …

NWM ... I Run To Be MIGHTY!!!
Customary - Shaka at the Start!

Sunday:  This is the day of Nike Womens Marathon.  This race was my first real run that wasn’t a 5 or 10K not even a half marathon, but a MARATHON.  I started running this race because my husband thought I’d rock it!  He thought it’d be a great way to honor my father that passed away a few months before registration opened.  Thinking that it was a lottery, and that there was no way I would “win,” I entered … and then … I “won!”

This year would be no different.  I’m old hat at this race, right?  I know what to expect.  I know what to do, where to go.  I’ve got a routine down.  Right?  No sweat … Except this year was a little bit “off.”

Starting on Friday when our Party Bus took a dive while Chris worked to ready it.  He worked so hard to determine the problem, but he was unable to that night.  On Saturday he thought he had the problem fixed, only for it to hesitate as we drove it to go pick up Cory.  We took it back home because we didn’t feel it was safe to drive it such a long way, and we worked on formulating a Plan B, which was to find a rental car to drive.  As we searched for one, we were fortunate enough that Cory offered to drive to the city.  Thank God!

I, myself, felt “off.”  I wasn’t feeling like myself, I was so unusually exhausted that no matter how much I slept I never felt as if I was rested. I attribute this to me getting the flu shot, although this has never happened to me in the past after getting the shot.  So I dunno.  I just could not get myself together.  I thought it would pass and I’d just go about my merry way, but when you’re not 100% it’s rough going.

Me, Cory, and Claudia at the Start ...
Sooooo many people!!!

Sunday morning, I found myself awake at 0300 and unable to go back to sleep.  Try as I may, it was not happening.  0500 came quickly.  Cory and I dressed, and packed up our stuff and prepared to haul it back to the car that was at the parking garage.  Chris’ plan was to drive the car to a destination close to the finish line.  We left him at the parking garage and off Cory and I went to the start.

At the start of a huge race like this … we found ourselves in a sea of people.  There were 22,000 people registered to run this race.  Add on their families and miscellaneous viewers and you really have a lot of people!  A LOT!  I knew that going to the restroom prior to race start would be an issue.  The lines for the porta-potties alone were sooooo long.  I told Cory that it would be faster if we could just go back to the hotel and use the bathroom there, however we had no room keys!  Ugh!  Lucky for us, our friend Claudia was close by and she gave us her room key to use!  Quick jaunt back to the hotel, and less than 15 minutes later we were back while people were still in line to use the porta potty!  Wow!  Pre race we were able to get a good 1.5 mile warm up in trekking from the hotel to the parking garage, to start, back to the hotel, then back to the start.

Making our way to the start we encountered a mob.  We were gridlocked, stuck in a mess of people who happened to not be moving.  Seriously, Cory, Claudia, and I were stuck!  We tried to push our way through with no such luck!  Then Evan found us … actually, she saw ME of all people.  Evan barreled her way through that crowd like a champ!!! Yep!

We did the customary pictures at the start.  There was no reception for me so to post on Facebook, or tweet anything wasn’t worth the effort and waste of battery.  We just took the pics, and tried to send out a few texts … most didn’t go through at all.  It took us about 25 minutes to get to the start line.

I ran the first 2 miles with Cory and Claudia.  At mile 3, I turned around and they were no longer beside me.  I knew that the big hill was at mile 6 then again at mile 9 … I was prepared.  Running in a sea of walkers was no bueno.  Walkers, TNT walkers, 5 deep … WTHeck?  Where is race etiquette here, people?!  I found myself weaving in and out of walkers countless times.  I was not a happy runner.

You know how sometimes you just know that things are not going to go according to plan?  This was one of those times for me.  I’ve only had one really good running experience in San Francisco and that was my first Nike.  I just don’t know if San Francisco likes me at all.  I love SF.  I spent my summers there with my grandma, and I wanted to live there as a kid!  My memories of the SF Half from July hit me like a 1/2 ton of bricks.  It was as if I had PTSD!  Whoa, the flashbacks!  I never saw any of my running friends.  I ran alone … But I talked to myself and reminded myself that it would be okay and to just keep going …

Did I have a good run?  Of course, I did.  I love Nike.  I love that I am able to honor my father by raising money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society!  I should know better than to do well in SF.  I should lower my expectations and just be happy running. I was very disappointed that I did not see one friend (besides Cory who I drove up with, or Claudia who stayed in the same hotel as we did).  I didn’t see Shiloh, or Linda, no Mac, no Mel.  I didn’t see Felisa, or Norah, or Brooke.  I didn’t see Erika Rae.  My friend Jessica, nope.   I saw no one … Not even at the finish area.  Ugh.  It was really sad …  I was really sad.

This is kind of silly, but I only have one of my Tiffany Necklaces out and that’s my first one.  The others are still in the box.  Someone asked me why I don’t sell them on Ebay.  Well … think about it … they’re my medals.  I wouldn’t think about selling my other medals on Ebay, why would I sell my necklaces?  I worked HARD for these medals.

Fffrreezzzzing!!! But my feet felt sooo much better!

Post marathon, Cory and I did quite a bit of walking back to the car.  We know that we walked just about 2 miles to get back to the car.  It was a little difficult because … Because … I broke rule number 1 … “Don’t try anything new on race day.”  Technically, I didn’t break the rule.  I got new shoes and had worn them on short runs, but the long runs I didn’t try them on.  They felt okay with the short runs so I took a chance.  I felt some pain at mile 6 but gutted it out and finished the race.  Post run, my right foot really, really hurt.  Walking was slightly difficult.  When I got home, I set up my foot spa as an ice bath.  Oh. My. God.  That hurt!  I could only put my feet in for 30 seconds at a time and that was it!  Total mileage for the day 17 miles!  Ugh!

Monday:  I’m exhausted!  I mean EXHAUSTED!  Beat down tired and I just want to sleep.  Unfortunately, I promise my mother that I will help her with some things around the house that she needs done.  So I spend my morning with my mother.  As much as I love her, her negativity grates on me.  Everything is a “problem.” Oi Vey!  Really, Mom?  Negativity drains me.  It saps my energy.  I missed my morning workout, but it’s okay.  I contemplate making it a rest day for a minute, but I found myself ready to go in the afternoon so I took myself to AMAA and worked out with a bunch of my favorite people!

Kickboxing with my favorite people is awesome!  I love AMAA!  45 minutes of intense cardio combined with resistance training!  Yep.  Combo punches, kicks combined with squats, ground kicks.  Ab work … Ugh.  Yeah.  Love it and I felt much better after having finished.

I finally brought my St. Joseph’s/Stockton Half Marathon registration in to Fleet Feet for Tony to register me.  I lagged getting my registration in.  Oops!  Ah well, I got it in and I’m “In.”  While at Fleet Feet, I picked up some really crazy cool running shorts that match the jacket that Chris got me at Nike Town!  I’m excited to run which is weird because I wasn’t this excited to run Nike which is pretty sad.  To be more excited to run Stockton instead of Nike … I know, I’m pathetic!  But I am excited to run in my home town …

Tuesday:  You found me in the box today.  Chris and I hit the box at 0900.  Too crazy!  I will admit that I was a whiner today. Not really whining, more like sarcastic under my breath talking to myself, etc.  I don’t whine really. It’s a defense mechanism for me to become sarcastic. Really. I did go workout today so that’s winning for me.

The Warm-Up:
3 sets of each –
5 Deadlifts
5 Power Snatches
5 OH Squats
5 Rack Snatches

Strength:
Finding 70% of Max 3 sets of 2 reps of OH Squats
*Since I have this injured left shoulder, I was to do the same but of Front Squats.

The Workout:
3 sets of each
Row 500m
15 Pull-Ups
15 Ring Dips
(Time 14:30)

Wednesday:  I have to tell you that I made today a rest day.  Gasp!  I know!  My body is still not 100% – I still feel sooooo blah, and my poor left shoulder still cries.  I have this “issue” with my left shoulder. I injured it one day during an intense workout (probably the one where I skinned the cat), and ended up straining my sub-scapular muscle and even impinging it! That was 2 weeks ago. It still hurts.  I’m sure it’s because of the fact that I’m not a good “rester.”  I push my little body pretty far, and I test it’s limits more than I should.  So today … today I rested and my body sighed a huge sigh … only to remember that I have to work tonight!

Thursday:  My intent was to hit the box at 0800 – immediately after working my 12 hour shift.  Instead what happened was some things happened at work and I was not able to leave on time, so it was decided that I would hit the 1500 time slot.  I asked Chris to wake me up at 1400.  Wow!  I slept well, but not enough.  But I got up and I went.

Since my shoulder is still pretty jacked, and I was given orders to rest it, I reminded my trainer and he promised to “modify” my workout.  He told me that today’s workout would be absolute torture for my shoulder so I was to do a workout completely different from what everyone else was doing.  I was thinking that I’d get off scott free … Oh, no!  My trainer don’t play!  “Modified” workout my a$$!

The Warm Up:
Run 400m then 2 sets of –
20 High Knees
20 Kick Butts
20 Jacks
Then run 400m. Stretch.

My “Modified” Workout:
3 Sets of –
50 Jump Lunges
50 Ab Mat Sit Ups
Run 400m

Then …
3 Sets of –
15 Back Extentions
25 Box Jumps

My Cool-Down:
Row 1500m

I watched others do handstand crawl-outs, and rope climbs, and “L” sits.  My workout was definitely the harder of the two!  Wow!  I got my a$$ beat literally!  I know that my legs are gonna be thrashed tomorrow!

Friday:  My glutes and hammies hurt!  I have DOMS really BAD!!! They ache.  Seriously … I hurt.  BAD.  I got dressed this morning after work and headed off to the box, however, I was late so I went home thinking that I would go with Chris to the 0900 class.  I fell asleep – with all of my clothes and even my shoes on as I waited.  Oh boy.  I did nothing today.  Not a dang thing.  And I feel guilty.  I feel really bad that I did nothing.  I feel as if I am lagging.  I’m lame – figuratively and literally.  It hurts to walk.  It hurts to move fast.  I tweaked my shoulder a little more today because I couldn’t wait for someone to put the 5 gallon water bottle up on the dispenser.  I did it myself and just about tore my shoulder out of it’s socket!  Ugh.  I folded my laundry standing up because I felt bad.  Yeah … I’m straight trippin’.  I am also running on empty.  You know when you’re driving your car and you know that you’re just about out of gas?  You know when you look at your gauge, and check the range and it tells you just how much you have left to go before you run out of gas?  Well, I am running on fumes and saying prayers that I make it to the next station … You know you’ve done it.  You look at that gas gauge and tell your self, or like in my case, you lie to yourself telling yourself that you’ll make it to that next gas station.  Then you tell God that if he allows you to make it, that you’ll never do anything stupid like that again.  Yep.  That’s me in life also … always skating by on a wing and a prayer.  I’ve always made it, God hasn’t let me down yet.  Yet I know that if I continue down the path that I’m headed, that my luck will eventually run out and I’ll be stuck, out of gas and praying won’t help.

Look who found me at FF ... Erika Rae & Thor!!!
See ... I clean up well ... =)

Saturday:  Uh … yeah … nothing.  Not a dang piece of training to post.  Zero!  All I did today was stretch my VERY tight glutes and hammies out, and ice my shoulder as well as try to stretch that out also.  I am having very serious doubts about running tomorrow’s half.  I am tired as all get out, there’s no time to rest because I’ve got stuff to do today, and then a birthday party to attend tonight.  Oi vey!  All I want to do is sleep!

Packet pick up for the St. Joesph’s Stockton Half was at our local Fleet Feet.  Grace and I were browsing around the store and I heard someone call out my name … I turn and see Erika Rae in line.  I haven’t seen her since June because I’m such a lame friend! She looked fab!  We hit the tiny expo and then headed out.  Grace and I did a few more things that we needed to get done before heading home, then it was time to get ready for zeeee party!

The birthday party was a 50th birthday celebration for my friends, Fern and Felisa!  Chris and I had such a great time mingling, then dancing.  The food was good, the company was great, and the party was rockin’.  We had a really nice time.  It’s just so out of our element to be partying.  But we had a good time.

Right when I got home, I got my race gear ready and went to sleep as I was sooooo tired.  It’s so irritating to run on lack of sleep … this was to be one of those runs.  I was hoping that between my DOMS and my lack of sleep that I would do okay … let’s hope.  (To be continued …)

That’s week 16, people!  I know that I need to get more rest.  I know that I need to take my rest days seriously and actually do nothing.  I push and push and push my body and myself, asking and demanding more and More and MORE …

I wish I could say that I was having a good time with running.  I’m just not.  I’m still having a hard time and I’m only running bare minimum.  I need motivation.  I need some really good motivation.  I feel as if I’m running on empty literally.  Most days I’m exhausted and I feel as if I’m not 100%.  The injury to my shoulder really has nothing to do with running – meaning that it hasn’t hindered it at all, but it still makes me realize how much I really thrive on being 100% and when I’m not … when I’m struggling … I realize how much I really use (and ABUSE) my body.  I don’t ever take my body for granted.  I am thankful for everything that I have been blessed with and I am grateful that I am able to move, run, throw, jump … everything.  You just don’t realize until you’re injured just how much you rely on your body.  I’ve been icing, getting massages, using heat, muscle rub, H-Wave, to help get it back to 100%.  I am not one of those people who will sit by idly and hope that it will just heal itself.  I have not taken any pain meds, not even a mere tylenol.  It’s not that painful, it’s just irritating.  And I’m more pissed than anything that I’m injured!  Really?  It’s a sub-scapular strain with an impinged muscle!  Wow!  And only on the left shoulder.

I have 6 weeks left, I’m guessing.  I’m hoping that all goes well and that my mojo will find it’s way back to me STAT!!!  Anyone wanna help a sister who’s floundering with motivation out?  I’m sure I just need a very swift kick in the a$$!!!

Until then … I’m not going to “hope” that week 17 looks brighter.  I am going to make sure that week 17 rocks me to my core!  I know that if it is to be, it is up to ME, not anyone else.  I’m going to take whatever fumes I have and make sure that I harness it and use it to it’s fullest advantage.  I will make it a great week … make yours the same.  Train HARD!  Train SMART!  Have FUN!  Go! Go! Go!

Marathon Training – Week 15 – Setting Myself On FIRE!!!

I will be my own catalyst & set my own self on FIRE!!!

The countdown to CIM continues and you know what?  I’m still not worried.  This could be bad because I’m not sure it’s because I’m not worried or if I really don’t give a flying effff … err … flip!  I’m sure it’s because I really don’t give a crap about this stupid marathon.  It’s the wrong attitude, I know.  I know … I’m registered to run it.  I am already confirmed “IN.” So … in the interest of NOT DNF’ing … I will run it.  And in the interest of getting through it, I will change my piss poor attitude and become my own catalyst.  What am I talking about?  I means that I will be my own flame and fuel, and I will be driven by my own determination and persistence.  If you know me, then you know how tenacious I am and can be.  I will set my own self on FIRE!!!

Why?  Why am I so unmotivated and not excited to run this marathon?  This will be marathon number 4 for me.  I know what it takes to run the distance and I respect everything about it.  26.2 miles of running.  What the eff?  I know that I let myself be influenced by my friends, and I, in turn, asked others to run with me … It is because of this fact that I will run.  The fact that I feel “obligated” to run with my friends that I asked to run with me.  That and I’m not into seeing DNF or DNS by my name.  That is NOT me.  No, that is NOT me.  It’s okay.  I know that I will run with heart and that I WILL finish.  I know because that IS the me that I know.  I have lots of fuel.  LOTS of fuel!  That being said … Let’s go!  BRING IT!

MiniRow .. BEFORE
MiniRow ... AFTER

Sunday:  Muddy Buddy San Jose!  Yeah!  I love this event.  7 miles of smiles – biking and running!  Yeah!  So much fun!  This is year 6 for me doing this event!  It’s year 4 of me and Rosa as partners, but it’s our first year with a team name that will stick throughout the years!  Team Nucking Futs!  Yep, don’t mix the letters up.

Once we got to San Jose, Claudia and I met Felisa at REI to pick up our packets and our shirts, and what other little things we needed – Gu, etc.  Felisa and her family was kind enough to take us to dinner at Bupa di Beppo where we carb loaded on yummy garlic bread and all kinds of yummy miscellaneous pasta dishes!

I was fortunate enough to be invited to stay with my friend, Felisa, who was partners with Claudia.  Felisa ended up staying with her husband who had gotten his own room, so Claudia and I had a room all to ourselves!  It was a great room at the San Jose Convention Center Plaza!  Claudia picked that room purely on the fact that they had “cool chandeliers,” so she says.  Lights out was at 2030!  Yep.  She laughed at me because I slept with the bathroom light on.  I’m a day sleeper okay?  I sleep in the light!  Hello?

Fueling Up ...

We started our day at 0530!  We hit up Starbucks where we got these great Artesian breakfast sandwiches that Claudia introduced me too, and our coffeeeee! Yum!  The drive up to Mount Hamilton was beautiful, albeit on a VERY narrow, two lane road.  I was still sad that my hubby wasn’t going to be there, but when I looked on my Squawk I had seen that he was on his way!?!  What?  Really?  That totally made my day!  My hubby has only missed a few races (no more than 3) of mine in all these years.  I like having him there supporting me, so to see that he was coming to be with me was a HUGE BONUS!!!

It was a really nice day in San Jose!  The weather was perfect.  Claudia and I had a few issues with putting the tires back on our bikes.  We had a little panic attack as Claudia couldn’t figure out how to get her disc brakes open.  They were shut tight.  We asked maybe 6 different men, 2 straight up admitted that they didn’t know, while the other 4 tried to help us, but they really had no clue.  They tried though.  They were able to help me with mine which was a big help.  I knew how to do it, but I had to make sure … Who knew that there was a certain way that the tread went?  Felisa found us quickly and noticed Claudia’s panicked face.  We explained the situation to Joe who quickly assessed Claud’s bike and fixed the problem in less than 30 seconds!  Wow!!!  Claud’s mood quickly changed and we were all happy girls once again.

Team Nucking Futs ... BEFORE
Team Nucking Futs ... AFTER

The event booths were just a short walk from our parking spot.  My buddy, Rosa, and her beautiful daughter, Ari, found us quickly and we got our bikes and selves “decorated.”  We got our numbers on, Felisa and Joe got brooms for our bike, and we had these really cool dri-fit shirts that I had our team name put on.  I finally found Chris and Grace prior to the start.  It was great to see them.  They were with Michael and Fern and their family.

I love this pic of Felisa ... It's one of absolute joy!
With Claudia & Felisa - Team Sassy!

The course had been the same every year.  We start the bikers start first then the runners.  I’m not sure whose idea it was to let our group (76-85) go last, but there we were … Wave 11 … the very LAST wave to go.  We start going uphill … No, really … UP a HUGE freakin’ MOUNTAIN!  1.2 miles.  It was almost impossible to navigate my bike because so many women stopped and got in my way!  Really?  Move the eff over!!!  It took some time to navigate through the sea of women walking their bikes up the mountain!  Finally at the halfway point, I was able to get back on my bike and ride!  Obstacle one was done, and I took off running, while Rosie took off on the bike!

My Buddy Becky & Pamela - Team Muddy Mothers (I think it shouldda be Muthas, but that's just me!)

It went on like this, leap-frogging and doing an obstacle course, for the next 4 more times.  I love the bike ride for my second biking leg as it’s ALL downhill and it’s an exhillarating ride down, all the time screaming for the runners to move to their right!  LOL!  I skipped the slide obstacle … for one, the line was long, and secondly, I have NEVER liked the slide … EVER!  My workout buddy, Becky, found me on my second run, and she thunked me on my shoulder.  I wanted her to run with me … and she did for a little while as I yelled, “Becky, where you at?” the entire time.  I encouraged every biker and runner that I passed or passed me.  It was a good time!

I got to the finish line at sub 60.  My goal was 49 minutes this year, but I was slightly off.  It’s okay.  It was FUN!  Rosie was slightly peeved that we didn’t make better time, but I told her that we really didn’t train at all!

My Grace LOVES the Twins!
Love My Friends! =)

Post race fun was had at Hot Pot in Milpitas.  We had a good time!  We met up with Felisa, Fern, Michael, Joe and their families and just had an all out great time trying to figure out how to cook our food.  I am very thankful for Felisa and Fern picking up the tab for my family and I.

Muddy Buddy 2011 in the bag.  Great fun.  Great atmosphere.  And a GREAT support crew this year!  I loved it!

Monday:  I’m not sure what I did to my left shoulder … Well … I know what I did – I injured it some how during the dumbbell thrusters last Thursday, and tweaked it a little while on the bike yesterday at Muddy Buddy.  My range of motion to my left arm and shoulder is pretty shot … I can only lift it 45 degrees laterally.  After that it’s painful.  I’ve had my husband massage it. I’ve rubbed analgesic/medicated ointment on it.  I’ve tried to keep moving it and rehabbing it myself.  By the end of the night I was able to move it more, to maybe 75 degrees, but it was still painful.  So … I made Monday a rest day.  I did go and get a flu shot and called for a deep tissue massage appointment.  I’m not worried about my arm.  I know that it’s more muscle than anything else.

Tuesday:  My left arm is better but it’s still painful to move it up and down laterally.  My plan for today is to do cardio, no weights, and to hit the Chiropractor.  Chris did massage it early in the morning which helped, but it was only 75%.  I whined about missing my workout but there was NO way I would be able to lift any weight.

I went to lunch with my girlfriend, Linda, then waited for my kiddos to get home from school so we could hit the Chiro.

Dr. Crawford adjusted me from head to toe and got my left shoulder to about 80%.  It still hurts, but I can move it more freely laterally.

As far as cardio goes … I hit the spin bike for a good hour and twenty minutes as I watched Biggest Loser.  I love Biggest Loser.

Wednesday:  I only went to go workout because my husband was tired of me “whining” about how I wasn’t working out.  So … he sent me out the door and into the doors of the box where I was greeted with a hearty, “Row.!  Where the hell have you been, girl?”  Alrighty then … Time to get started.

The Warm Up:
Run 800m
10 Catterpillars
10 Leg Swings Each Side
10 Squats

Strength:
Cleans to Over head Squats
We practiced the move until we got it down, then added weight and then did the move until perfected.

The Workout:
30-20-10
Pull-Ups
Burpees
Ground To Over head with the dumbbells.

It was an awesome workout and I really would have liked it better had my left shoulder not hurt so dang much. My trainer showed me some great stretches for it though and it really helped.

Thursday:  It’s my birthday!  Good excuse to skip out, right?  Uh huh!  No way!  I know that this may be my last workout for the week so I had to go.  But first … Gotta take care of business.  DEEP.  TISSUE.  MASSAGE!!!  Oh yeah!  I love my maseusse!  She is awesome!  She applies DEEP pressure how I like it!  I mean DEEP.  She hit my left shoulder with a vengence and attempted to work out that nasty kink that I have in my scapula.  I can feel it!  It’s there!  It felt much better after Marie worked on it, but my range of motion is still limited.

My Trainer with my "Special Workout"

My workout … Oh yeah.  It was awesome!  AWESOME!  I drug Noah with me and off we went.  Chris thought he could get away with “hiding” in car … no way!  Our trainer spotted him and called him out! Our workout (mine and Noah’s) went something like this:

The Warm Up:
3X
Run 200m
10 Roll Up/Roll Jump Up/Roll Up Piston Jump
10 Toe Touch Jumping Jacks

The Work Out:
2 Minute Drills
– Max Double Unders (48 I could’ve done more but this hurt my shoulder to spin the rope)
– Max HSPU/Hold (1:05)
– Max Ab Mat Sit Ups (78)
– Max Push Ups (42 – I could’ve done more, but my shoulder)

The “Special” Workout – “The 43s”
43 Wall Ball Squats
43 KB Swings
43 Burpees
43 Broad Jumps
43 Cal Row …

OMG!!! I worked out with a bunch of kids today, My Noah included. They all whined, and all I could say was that I was an old lady, old enough to be their mother … so Suck it Up and do the work!!! We all laughed. It was a great day! =) Happy Birthday to Meeeee!!!

Friday:  I got no real data for you.  All I did today was rest and stretch.  I’ve been blah since getting my flu shot and I just feel as if I got my butt kicked.  Whoa!  It’s something else, but I probably need to rest and just get my mental game in order.

Saturday:  I am not 100%.  I am uber distracted with all this NWM buisness and everything that needs to be done in order to leave for SF today.  Our Party Bus broke down yesterday.  As Chris frantically worked to get it in working order, I can tell you that things went from bad … to badder … then better … then worse!  It took a massive dump.  I felt really bad for Chris because he had worked so hard to try and get it in working order, but it was not to be.  I called Cory to let her know that we were running late and why.  As we scrambled to come up with a Plan B – searching for rental cars, etc., Plan B kind of fell into our lap with Cory calling us to say she would drive.  Thank you, Jesus!  Within an hour, we were on our way to SF with Cory at the wheel!  Wheeeeee!

I Run For My Dad ...
Me and Cory ...

We were fortunate to find a safe parking garage quickly that was close to our hotel, and we hit the NWM Expotique (“expotique” because it’s sooooooo freakin’ small and soooooo freakin’ crowded).  We had a *tiny* SNAFU attempting to pick up one of the bibs, but we were able to quickly rectify it and get Linda’s bib from Kris!  Thank God!  Cory and I were feeling sooooo claustrophobic that we got our bibs, didn’t stay for anything in the expo, took a few pics, and hightailed it over to NikeTown!  We experienced more claustrophobia while in NikeTown and while at the Wall of Names.  We just got what we wanted and left … It was turning out to be a little bit crazy.  We trekked it back to the garage, got our stuff, and headed to check into the hotel.

So … all in all … maybe a mile and a half of walking total.  LOL!  That’s the mileage that I have for you for today.

Cory, Me, Shiloh, & Linda
Birthday Cakes ... Bite Me!

We met Linda and Shiloh for dinner at Ti Piacera on Polk Street to carb load.  While there we called Judy to see if she was coming because she said that she was, but it turned out that although she picked up her packet, she said that she would meet us in the morning.  We kinda knew what would happen next, but that’s not my story to tell.  We had a great dinner, then I was surprised with a HUGE box of cupcakes from Shiloh for my birthday!  Fun times!

We had a good day … But I was physically and mentally exhausted.  I was not running on all cylinders and felt way less than 90%.  I was able to fall asleep pretty quick … but you know how that goes pre race … (To be continued …)

So … that’s my Week 15 recap.  Decent and fun, but my midweek could have been sooooo much better had I just sucked it up and done the work.  Instead, I felt very out of sorts.  Seriously, for my husband to “have to” shooo me out the door to go workout is pretty pathetic.  I’m not sure if it was the flu shot that I received, or if I was just “blah.”  Probably a combination of the flu shot, lack of sleep, and over-training.  I know that’s what it is.  Eh … excuses, excuses.  I have so many.  I could blame this, or say it was that … but seriously, it is what is is and that’s all.

NWM is an awesome race that raises funds and awareness for blood cancers.  I am fortunate enough to be running it again this year.  I am thankful that with the help of my friends, I was able to raise $1,000 on my own for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society!  I am so happy and proud of my friends.  They are so awesome in supporting me as I run in honor of my father!  I miss my Dad and I know that he will be with me as I run NWM.  Again … Thank you to all of my supporters!!!

So … as Week 16 lurks around the corner … I remind you that I have a lot of fuel, and that I also know the number to my local fire department … 9-1-1!!!  I am thankful to have survived another year, to have had a birthday so I could eat cake and ice cream and then cupcakes!  I am thankful to have had the opportunity to run NWM again.  And I’m thankful for my family and friends … especially my husband who works so hard to keep me crazy happy!  He is my rock, solid and strong!  Thanks, HPP, you’re my favorite.

If you see me out there “lagging,” I give you permission to find some fuel and throw a match on me to help me keep myself on FIRE.  I also give you permission to help me put some of the fire out if my hair happens to be on fire.  Okay … Go … Go get your training on.  Train hard.  Train smart.  Have fun!  See you next week!

Row.’s 2012 Racing Schedule

It’s hard to believe that it’s already OCTOBER!!!  Yeeee Haaawww!! It’s my most FAVORITE month ever!!!  But it’s also time to get my 2012 Racing Schedule in check.  I’m excited, but yet, I know that I don’t really have a strong desire to run that much at all.  I do have races that I want to run, and I know that I will run, but I know that I will sign up for races as they come up and not so far out in advance unless I know that it’s a race that I want to and will run!

Sooooo … with that being said … let me tell you what’s on my mind, and what I’m filling my running plate up with right this second … Here we goooooo ….

January:

Pajama Jam 2 Mile Run, Stockton, CA, January 1.  It’s a crazy midnight run in which runners run 2 in their pajamas.  I had so much fun running last year, except I ran in a negligee and it was FREEZING cold!!!  This year I’m running with my friends, Alexis and Becky, and we’re planning to wear a Forever Lazy!

Brazen New Year’s Day Half Trail Trail Run, Lake Chabot, CA.  I can’t believe that I’m going to run this crazy race again.  Last year was fun, but it was cold and wet.  I’m hoping for another good run and to just have some fun.  It’ll be a good way to start our year off!  Mind you, that Alexis, Becky, and I are running Brazen’s New Year’s Eve Run the day before, so this will be an interesting, but fun run.

California 10 Miler, Stockton, CA.  I ran the 10K after working all night last year and had a lot of fun.  I’ll consider running it again.

Nike Women’s Half Marathon.  Com’mon, it’s Nike … Who wouldn’t?  I’m in, are you?

Tracy Half Marathon, Tracy, CA.  This is a new race and I’m hoping that it works out.  I’m excited to run close to home.  I’m excited that more races are being held close to home.  It should be a nice, fun, flat run.  I’m looking forward to it!

Tough Mudder, Phoenix, Arizona, January 14

Rock n’ Roll Arizona, January 15

This sounds pretty ambitious … to do Tough Mudder on Saturday, then run the RnR AZ Half on Sunday.  It sounds ambitious, but I know that it’s so doable.  It’s crazy, but I am entertaining the thought and I am seriously considering doing this  ** While it was fun to entertain the thought, it’s sad that it’s not going to happen. I thought about it.  Chris said I should go, but in the end, it was just a tad unjustifiable.  I would love to have run in AZ with my friend, Audrey.  We’ll have to plan another day. 

***Update 1/8/12***  I AM running Rock N’Roll Arizona!!!  My husband, who loves me soooo much, planned my trip with my friends, Erika and Audrey!  How cool is that?  He got my ticket for $10, and my entry fee was only $75!!!  Yippeeee!  So, I’ll be flying out on Friday to meet my friend, Audrey, whom I’ll be staying with, and running with both she and Erika on Sunday!  Thanks so much, My Love!!!

February:

No races scheduled yet.  Last year I ran Davis Stampede and I absolutely hated it.  I have no plans to run yet this month.

**Update** My February schedule now includes the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon in San Francisco, CA on 2/05/12.  I’ve run this race twice before, however, was not considering running this race because of the fact that there is NO bling.  No medals!  For real?  This is a health care company that continuously promotes the slogan “Thrive.”  Kaiser Permanente encourages it’s employees and members to “find their motivation,” however they don’t seem to understand that a medal (a.k.a. “bling”) is a form of motivation, nor do they offer their employees a discount on their sponsored events.  I’m not happy with that.  But … I’ll run because my friends are running and I want to be with them, and I’ll just continue to express my discontent with Kaiser.  Sorry, KP, but it’s true … Medals are a motivator, as are employee discounts.

March:

Shamrock’n Half, Sacramento, CA.  I’ve run this with Mac 2 years in a row and it’s a fun run through the city of Sacramento.

Oakland Running Festival, Oakland, CA.  I am running Oakland!  I know, right?  Oakland!  I’m excited.  =)

April:  Last year I ran Santa Cruz Half.  The year before, I ran Pescadero’s Artichoke Half, and I have to say that I love running in this area.  I’m just not sure which race I’ll run, or if I’ll run at all this month.

Update:  I am running Running of The Elks Half, Elk Grove, CA.  It’ll be Elk Grove’s first half marathon, and it’s not that far away from my home.  It’s perfect, although I know that running the beaches of Santa Cruz would’ve been much funner!  It’s okay though.  I’m happy to run in Elk Grove.  I’m going to try and talk my boys into running the relay.  That should be interesting.

Hollywood Half Marathon, Hollywood, CA.  Run with the stars?  Lured by a beautiful girl?  Okay … I’ll go!  Hubster says its okay to go run with Shiloh and Penny!  Horray for Hollywood!!!  I wanted to run this, but it’s not gonna happen.  I’m still hopeful, but not so sure.  We’ll see. 

May:

Indy Festival 500 Mini Marathon, Indianapolis, IN.  I ran this race last year and loved it.  The plan is to run it again this year, but plans change especially when the race is so far away from home.  But you never know.

Fresno California Classic Weekend Half Marathon, Fresno, CA.  I am a Legacy Runner for this race.  I loved running it last year with Penny and Kristy.  It was fun.  I loved running through the Fresno Zoo.

Run To Eradicate Polio 10K, Stockton, CA.  I ran this 10K after working all night last year and had a blast.  It was fun.

June:

See Jane Run, Alameda, CA. I still like this race and running for chocolate business.  If I run it, it will be my third year in a row.

July:

I got nothin’ for ya.  Last year I ran the DavisMoo-nlight Run and hated it, and I ran the SF Marathon First Half.  I have no desire to run in Davis,CA or the San Francisco Marathon at all.  Not even for that bling that they have advertised.

Update:  I am “IN” for the S.F. Marathon, Second Half.  I know that I said I wasn’t going to run SF, but I decided that I would.  I need to to get over whatever it is that I need to get over.  I need some sort of redemption from this race since my race last year sucked so much.  I am hoping for a good, happy run.  To just have fun and do what I need to do.  =)

August:

S.F. Giant’s Half Marathon, San Francisco, CA.  I loved this race.  It was the funnest race ever!

Keep Moving Forward 10K, Riverbank, CA.  A fun run to help aid those with visual problems/blindness.  I like this race because it’s literally right across the street from my Mother-in-Law’s house!

September:

Half Moon Bay International Marathon, HMB, CA, September 23.  I am a Legacy Runner for this race.  I loved this race so much last year and I can’t wait to run it again!!!

October:

Muddy Buddy, San Jose, CA.  This race is a duathalon and my partner for the last 5 years has been a beautiful girl named Rosie.  This race is fun and crazy!  We have enjoyed it so much that we keep going back over and over again!

Nike Women’s Marathon, San Francisco, CA.  My first marathon was the NWM.  It’s now become a tradition for me to run and raise funds for the Lymphoma/Leukemia Society.

Stockton, Half Marathon, Stockton, CA.  I’m a Legacy Runner for this race. It’s a nice little home town race.

Morgan Hill Half Marathon, Morgan Hill, CA.  I’m not sure why I registered for this half.  I know that it got good reviews.  I know that it sounded fun.  I also got it at a discounted rate at over 50%.  I know, I know … not a good idea sometimes, but … =)  I know I’ll have fun regardless!  =)

November:

Two Cities Half Marathon, Fresno, CA.  

Run To Feed The Hungry 10K, Stockton, CA.  It’s become tradition for me to get my turkey in the oven in the morning, run the race, then come home and finish up what I need to do to get Thanksgiving dinner done and ready to eat!

December:

Walnut Creek Half Marathon, Walnut Creek, CA.  This was a nice race despite being cold, and the angry drivers, and backed up traffic.  I really enjoyed running it, especially the really nice 2.5 mile uphill run!  =)  I can’t wait to run 2012!

Operation Jack Satellite 10K, Virtual.  This is a virtual/satellite run that can be run anywhere.  I love this run.  I love helping my friend, Sam Felsenfeld, and his son Jack and raising awareness for Autism.

2011 was an ambitious year for me.  So far it’s only October and I have already run 13 half marathons, 3 10Ks, and one 10 miler.  I have yet to finish off the year with the races that I have scheduled … 1 duathalon, 4 half marathons, 1 10K, and one full marathon!!!  =)  As much as I have enjoyed running, it has been known to burden me and caused me to quit many times.  When that happens, I know that I need to let go and take a step back for a minute.

My 2012 schedule is equally as ambitious.  I say that I’m not going to run, but I know that I will … I’m easily presuaded.  It’s all good.  Running has been my passion for such a long time that for me to stop would be somewhat of a shock to my body.  Also, I know that I will be training hard doing other things besides running.  I’m excited for the year to come.  An ambitious schedule and a touch of insanity works for me … Wheeeee … Who’s coming with me?  Let’s gooooo …. !!!