Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back

It's hard to believe that in just a few short hours 2012 will be over.  I said to my husband a few days ago that this is the first time in a few years that I'm not hoping for a new job in 2013.  What a relief that is!  2012 was pretty good to me, and I'm hoping for more of the same in 2013.

I did a 10k in January, but by the time I was halfway done I was wishing I had only signed up for the 5k instead!

January - The Dam Run 10k

Another 10k in March was going well - on pace for a major PR - when I got to the finish line and realized I had only run 5.5 miles.  The volunteers had moved the aid station which cut the course short by .75 mile.  Oops!  It was still a fun day.

In May, I did a half marathon with about 20 other ladies that I know.  It was the pinkest event I've ever seen in my life, but I was pushed along to a 13 minute PR!  I also did a super sprint duathlon.

May - Daffodil Super Sprint Duathlon
June brought me a 5k PR.

See Jane Run 5k with my best race buddy!

But even more fun than a PR in June was the trip to Hawaii that I took with my family.


I convinced my brother to ride down Haleakala with me.  Awesome!
And if you're going to take one vacation in the summer, why not take two?  In July, Dan & I took Emma to Tahoe for the first time.

Dog days of summer.
In September I celebrated another birthday and started private swim lessons.  I also did another duathlon.

See Jane Run Duathlon

October was filled with golf and friends.

My favorite golf course.
November was another 5k and my first Bruce Springsteen concert in a number of years.  Bruce has still got it!

At the Mermaid 5k with Christina.
I did another 5k in December and wrapped up the year with the hardest 10k of my life just a couple of days ago.

I'm looking forward to what 2013 had to bring - my first metric century bike ride, improving my swimming so I can complete my first triathlon, more time with friends and family.

Wishing all of you the best in the coming year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Brazen New Year's Eve 10k

Brazen Racing is a local event company that puts on very well organized trail runs.  They are some of the best events I've ever participated in - extremely well organized, great aid stations, friendly organizers and crowds, just all around great races.  I was hoping to get in one more 10k before the end of the year, and this one fit my schedule perfectly.

I got there with plenty of time to spare yesterday morning - easy to do when your start time is 8:55 - and I was very happy that it wasn't raining.  I picked up my packet, stashed my extra belongings in my car, and then hung around and waited while the half marathoners took off.

All smiles before the start.
A few minutes later it was time for us to go.  I lined up towards the mid/back of the pack.  I had trained for this event, but it was going to be hilly so I expected a lot of walking.  We took off and the first 1.5 miles went just as planned.  I did my run/walk intervals, grabbed a cup of water at the first aid station (the 5k turnaround point), and that's where the best laid plans went out the window.  The first 1.5 miles were all on a paved trail.  However shortly after we passed that point, we came upon this.

The point where things changed...
We had to cross this bridge for the second portion of the 10k route - all on unpaved trails.  We've had a crazy amount of rain over the past few weeks, so all of that dirt was now mud.  The mud was so deep in some points, I felt like my shoes were going to come off!  Oh, did I also mention that after we crossed that bridge, the course was now entirely uphill?  There was a point on the course where we saw a couple of half marathoners who had decided to give up - the mud was so deep and the hills so steep, they decided to turn back.  But not me...I muscled on!

This wasn't the worst hill or mud...I wouldn't have been able to stop for a picture at that point.
By now I had figured that I was just going to make the best of the situation.  I never expected a fast race because of the hills, but I didn't realize how tough this was going to be.  So I decided to just keep pushing forward up that hill and changed my plan to hike instead of race.  I stopped when I needed to and just enjoyed the view.

Getting closer to the top.
When I finally got to the top and the aid station, it was like a party.  Like I mentioned, Brazen has the best aid stations and great volunteers.  Lots of people stopped and hung out chatting and refueling before making the trek back down.  It was the most time I've spent and the most fun I've ever had at an aid station.

My view from the top.
Down wasn't nearly as bad as up, although it was hard to run even on the downhill because it was so slippery.  I ran where I could, plodded through the mud where I had to, and was happy to get back to that bridge and across to the paved section.  I had been passing and getting passed by the same woman all through the day.  When we got back across the bridge we stuck together and talked the entire way back to the finish line.  She had the best line of the day when she said, "I didn't realize I had signed up for a Tough Mudder race!"

I have to say that this was by far the toughest event I have ever done.  The steepness of the hill combined with the mud made it a brutal course.  But for some reason I couldn't get the smile off my face the entire time.  I had plenty of times when I'd think, "This is brutal," but my thoughts never ran to the negative place of "This sucks."  I really enjoyed myself - I liked that it was hard, and that I never felt like giving up.  I didn't get hung up on my time or how long it was taking me.  I was just grateful to be out there participating.

I think this was the perfect way for me to end 2012.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Weighty Issue

Happy holidays to everyone out there in blogger-land!

This time of year is full of opportunities for extra eating and drinking - more social events, big holiday dinners, that special package that my mother-in-law sends us every year, cookies and candy at work.  It's no wonder that people tend to pack on a few extra pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

But my issue seems to be that I've packed on those extra pounds from Thanksgiving 2008 through now.  Starting in early 2009, I've had a rough couple of years - I was laid off, had some health issues, found a job that I was incredibly unhappy at, lost my dog of 13 years, adopted and lost another dog after only two months.  You get the picture.  These are things that can happen to any and all of us at any time, but I felt like bad things were happening to me one after the other.

Zack - my first dog ever and the one who will always have my heart.
And so I ate...and drank.  "I lost my job, so I might as well have a few cocktails."  "I hate my new job, so I might as well go out and have something good (usually high fat/calorie) for lunch since it will be the bright spot of my day." "My dog died, so I deserve ice cream."

Things have (thankfully!) turned around for me over the past year or so.  I've got a great job at a company I love.  I have an awesome dog who is the cutest thing I've ever seen and who makes me laugh every day.  My health issues have been resolved.

Emma - the current resident Princess Pup.
The problem is, I haven't stopped with these bad eating or drinking habits.  I still enjoy a couple of cocktails or a few beers on the weekend - especially if I've worked out hard that day.  I'm still eating candy on an almost daily basis.  And it has really caught up with me.

And now, it's time for it to stop.  This is not an early New Year's Resolution.  It's simply a fact.  So I'm putting it out there in blog land in an effort to make myself more accountable.

Goodbye Swedish Fish - we will not be seeing each other so often.

I will change my eating habits. I will do strength training on a more consistent basis.  I will fit back into those smaller size jeans!  I'm not putting a deadline on this, because losing the amount of fat that I want to lose will take some time.  Yes, I want to lose fat, not necessarily weight.  I'm not going to obsess about the number on the scale - I'll pay more attention to how my clothes are fitting.  I'd be perfectly fine if the number on the scale stays the same but I fit into jeans two sizes smaller, because that would mean that I have lost fat and become stronger.

And I know I can do this.  Because it's time.  And because I really, really want it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

For the Love of Golf

When I tell people that I golf year round, they are often surprised.  Isn't it cold?  What if it rains? I'm not made of sugar and I won't melt.  I've been playing golf a lot longer than I've been running, and if it weren't for the number of rounds of golf I've played in the winter I probably wouldn't have considered running outside in the cold and rain.

So Saturday morning Dan & I set out to play at our local course.  There was a 45 minute frost delay so we stood around freezing and waiting to tee off.

Dan in his stocking cap waiting near the first tee.
We were lucky that we got to play by ourselves.  Usually if you make a tee time for two, they will pair you up with another twosome or a couple of singles. I guess not many people wanted to play in this weather.

It was a hot chocolate kind of morning.
I was playing really well considering I haven't been to the driving range to practice in months.  But we both felt like we were a little under dressed.  There was a cold breeze which is unusual for that time of day.  Brrrrr!

Notice the windshield on the cart.
Then a few holes later it started to rain.  Luckily we were prepared.  Rain gear and umbrellas - check!

12 holes in and still smiling!
Lucky for us, a few of the groups in front of us weren't quite prepared for the weather so they quit at the turn.  We breezed through the back 9 quickly.  Then I got to go home and take the hottest shower of my life.

A good golfer is prepared for any situation.
Looking forward to doing it all over again next weekend.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Walnut Creek 5K

A 4:00 am Saturday wake up for a race that started at 7:30.  I should have checked the start time before I signed up for this one!  But it was fine.  I had gone to sleep early enough on Friday night and was able to sleep well.  I was lucky that my friend Meredith agreed to pick up my race packet the day before, saving me two hours round trip to get it.

There was a half marathon taking place as well, so I got to the site extra early because I was concerned about finding parking.  I found Meredith and we sat in her car for about a half hour to stay warm.  We finally decided to brave the cold and head over to the start area.  We saw the half marathoners take off.  Wow, some of them were fast!

We hit the porta potties, checked our jackets, and were thinking about warming up when our friend Berenice found us.  So we lined up and a few minutes later we were off.  I lost Meredith in the crowd but Berenice and I stayed together for almost the entire first mile.  I started to think I was slowing her down so I told her to go ahead without me.  I was keeping a really good pace, but running the entire first mile was NOT my race plan so I switched to run/walk.  The first two miles were good (12:29 and 12:20) and I started to think I might be able to PR.

And then the weather of the previous week caught up to us.  Most of the last mile was on an unpaved fire road.  We had had record breaking rains the weekend before this and the trail was full of mud.

Not quite this bad, but you get the idea!
There was a clear lane down the middle, but that is where everyone decided to run.  I had to slow down because of other runners and so I didn't slip and wipe out.  I spent a lot of time and energy trying to get around other runners and trying not to fall, and it took its toll on me.  By time I got to the end of the mud, it was mostly uphill and my legs were not cooperating.  My pace had slowed considerably and I knew a PR was out of reach so I just went with the flow at that point.  The final approach to the finish was up then down a bridge, so I walked to the top in order to have something left for a sprint to the finish.

It was a good race - well organized and not too crowded - and I'm glad I did it even if I'm a little disappointed with my results.  Final time: 40:24.

I found Meredith and Berenice afterwards and we hung out and watched some of the half marathoners finish.  The winner was a 17 year old with a time of 1:14:38.  That is just mind boggling to me!

Next up for me is the Brazen New Years Eve 10k on 12/29.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bruce and Stormageddon

It's been a crazy weekend in the Bay Area.  The first of three storms rolled in on Thursday night, and Bruce rolled into town on Friday night.

As far as the storms, I'll just say wind and rain, wind and rain, wind and rain.

As far as the Bruce Springsteen concert, let's just say that the man never disappoints.

I saw my first Bruce concert back in 1985 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia and I've been hooked ever since.  It's not just a concert - it's an experience.  I'm such a huge fan that I even named one of my dogs Rosalita in honor of one of my favorite Bruce songs.

My sweet Rosalita.  I miss you!

Friday night was an incredible experience as always.  He played for over three hours - 27 songs including many old favorites and a few newer favorites.  He went crowd surfing.  He had a moment of silence for former band members Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici.  The band put on Santa hats and played "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."  I had been looking forward to this concert for months and they did not disappoint.

The rest of my weekend was spent hiding from the other storms that rolled through the area.  My husband wound up working the entire weekend due to the rain, so I had a lot of time to myself.  I managed to get in a 4.5 mile walk/run this afternoon.  It was more walking than running because of the conditions.  There was so much debris on the sidewalks that I was afraid of tripping or slipping, so I took it slow.  Slow miles are better than no miles!

I started planning my workouts each week in Training Peaks and it seems to be working well for me.  I'm meeting a friend for spin tomorrow night and I've got a swim lesson on Tuesday.  And that's what's going on around here.