2012

Tomorow, at the stroke of midnight, as the ball drops surrounded by some very cold and very hungry people in Times Square, everyone starts fresh.  We have a new year and a new chance to be the best versions of ourselves.  Obviously we have this chance every day.  But this symbolic stroke of midnight gives us the time to reflect on the year past and look forward to the year ahead.  I always like to close out the year with a look back at all of the wonderful and sometimes not so wonderful events that have happened before storing them happily in my memory as I embark on new challenges and new adventures.

2012 By the Numbers:

Number of races: 11

5-k’s: 4

10-k’s: 1

10 miler’s: 1

Half Marathons:3

Marathons: 1

Number of age group awards: 4

Number of miles covered: No clue.  My goal is to track my mileage this year (maybe I’ll actually post on dailymile!).  On my Garmin alone I ran 802 miles which obviously doesn’t include treadmill miles/miles run sans Garmin.

Number of states visited: 5 (Arizona, Michigan, Colorado, Texas, Illinois).

Number of road trips: 4

Number of awesome blogger friends I got to meet: 3 (Whitney, Laura, and Jac).

Number of movies seen in the theater: 1.  Sad to admit that I paid full price for Magic Mike.

Number of times cried during the Olympics: 2.  Both were because of Miss Gaby Douglas.  Such a wonderful role model for little girls.

Number of cancelled highly anticipated concerts: 1. Fun. (The band,  not the situation).

Number of Instagram photos: 78

Number of times I hiked up a mountain: 2

Number of Super Bowl wins by the New York Football Giants:1.  Gotta live that up since it won’t be repeated in 2013.

Number of years in wedded bliss: 3

Number of presidential elections (and nasty political ad seasons) survived:1

Number of successful freestyle swimming strokes: 5. We’re going for 6 this upcoming year!

Number of Times I heard Call Me Maybe: 100,000,000,000.

Number of books read: 9

Number of colds successfully fought off: 1

Number of colds unsuccessfully fought off: 2

Number of art museums visited: 2

Number of train rides: 1

Number of boat rides: 2

Number of gingerbread houses made: 1

Number of walks along the beach: 1

Number of weddings attended: 3

Number of funerals attended: 2

Number of new babies met: 2

Number of times I got to sit behind gold medalist Sanya Richards Ross after watching her run: 1

Number of times we won Albuquerque’s Great Bus Race: 1

Number of races I got to run with members of my family: 5

Number of times Giuseppe has hijacked my photos/blog posts/facebook statuses: at least 200

Number of times of woken up grateful for my wonderful husband, puppy, family, friends, health, and life: 366

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Right after crossing the finish line.

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While the world had a pretty eventful year, we had a pretty quiet year here in Casa de Lavender.  While Aaron did change positions at work slightly altering his work schedule, our daily life is pretty much the same as it was one year ago.  This turned out to be ideal for reaching athletic goals.  With little drama to deal with, I was able to focus and train hard over the summer.  The Chicago Marathon is easily the highlight of my year.  Not only because it brought us to Chicago which is a magnificent city, but also because crossing that finish line gave me more confidence in myself than anything else ever has.

When I look back at 2012, the marathon will be the event that stands out most in my life. And possibly Call Me Maybe.  Because that song was everywhere.

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From our family to yours, we wish you a fun New Year’s Eve and a wonderful 2013! I’m so happy to have shared a bit of my life with you in 2012!

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Presenting: The 2013 Bucket List!

You’re so excited, I know!

(Also, one of these days I’ll get around to writing a running post again since Half #6 is in 3 weeks.  But there are so many end of the year posts left to do.  And I’m guessing most of you will have better things to do on New Year’s than read about my training progress…like nurse hangovers maybe).

As mentioned yesterday, the 2013 Bucket List will be a combination of 2012 rollover and 25 new things that I can reasonably accomplish before the ball drops on January 1, 2014 for a total of 42 items.  Yikes.  That is one busy/expensive year.

While I think I had a pretty well rounded list last year, I wanted to make sure that all of my goals this year didn’t revolve around running and races, so I divided them up by category.

And without further ado, here is my 2013 Bucket List!

Bucket List

RUNNING:

1. Run the Boston Marathon: This is a life bucket list item, and despite my initial mental breakdown, I’m actually getting pretty excited to cross this one off the list!

2. Run a race in a crazy costume: I always want to, but thus far I’ve been kind of lazy.  It needs to be the right race, too.

3. Run a Half Marathon PR: I’m way faster in general now than I was when I ran my last half in May, so hopefully this will be an easy one.  I don’t think my current PR really exemplifies where I am speed wise.

4. Organize all of our medals, bibs, and pictures into an impressive display: Right now they all sit in a sad little drawer.  That bling is too pretty to hide away.

5. Volunteer at a race: Race volunteers are awesome.  I feel like I need to do my part to support racers when I’m not able to/don’t want to race.

FITNESS:

1. Buy a bike.  For fitness and for riding to breweries.

2. Compete in an Olympic distance triathlon: This terrifies me.  But since I already have a 2012 triathlon rollover that will most likely get crossed off with a sprint distance, I needed this to be something different.  And I’m kind of punishing myself for the DNS earlier in December.

3. Get 4-pack abs (6 pack abs is asking too much I think): I’ve always wanted them, and I think now is the time.  I mean, one of these days I’m going to have to have a baby, and it ain’t happening then. And at that point I’m sure I’ll be sad that I didn’t have them for as long as possible beforehand.

4. Be able to do 50 push-ups in a row (boy kind obviously). My record is 35.  I think this is very doable.

5. Hike up a 14er: It will probably be challenging, but I imagine the views from above the tree line will be pretty worth it.

TRAVEL:

1. Pick a small town we’ve never heard of and spend the weekend there: This is as risky as I’ll get on the “throw a dart at a map” idea

2. See another city during Christmas time: I love seeing how other cities decorate for the holidays!

3. Spend the afternoon on a boat: Categorized in the travel section since “Albuquerque” and “boat” in the same sentence is nonsensical.

4. Explore 2 of New Mexico’s “must see” places (Carlsbad Caverns and Chaco Canyon): I tend to stay in my nice Albuquerque bubble, so I’d like to explore my state a bit more.

5. Attend an out of town festival: Tomato throwing festival? Duct Tape Festival? Cow Chip Throwing Festival? The possibilities are really endless.

BECOMING A BETTER/MORE ENRICHED PERSON:

1. Volunteer consistently for an organization: Thanks to people like Hyedi, I’ve been inspired to get involved with Girls on the Run.

2. Do one big random act of kindness: I’ve got plans for this one, but does planning it make it less random?

3. Watch 5 thought provoking documentaries: Both to expand my film knowledge, and to learn something.

4. Take an art class: When I had graduated college but before I got a job, I took an art class at our community college.  It was a lot of fun.  I’d love to do it again.

5. Study up on the history of Israel vs. Palestine: This topic comes up every few years and every time it does, I say I’m going to actually try and understand what the heck is going on.  Instead I watch a short segment on NBC Nightly News and try to make opinions based on that.  Not cool.

MISCELLANEOUS:

1. Brew our own beer: Aaron got a beer kit for Christmas last year and we still haven’t used it.  Maybe I’ll beat him to the punch…

2. Start a “house” savings account: I’m having an overwhelming desire to do home improvement projects lately.  And it does get a little disheartening knowing that we’re pouring money every month into someone else’s house.

3. At least once a month, choose a recipe and cook dinner with Aaron: I think he’ll be happy to share the responsibility every once in awhile.

4. Get a tattoo: I still need to get my celebratory marathon tattoo, but it will probably have to wait until after Boston when I’m not training for anything.

5. Host a ridiculously over-themed Mad Men Party: This will make my life happy.

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Well, there we have it! I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve!

The Bucket List That Didn’t Get Crossed Off

Way back last December, inspired by other bloggers, I decided to nix the idea of New Year’s Resolutions and instead create a 2012 bucket list of experiences I wanted to have before the year was up.

If you don’t follow through with resolutions, you have failed. Failure is sad. If you don’t follow through with bucket list items, nothing happens.

Nothing especially happens when you don’t get very many of your BL items in the “DONE” category like me.

I did do some things.  Just not as many as I would have wanted.

I’ve decided to keep this sucker running.  I’m working on my 2013 list with 25 new items to be revealed tomorrow.  The rollover from 2012 will stay on there with the hopes that I’ll eventually cross those items off the list.  And as the years progress, I’m sure I’ll establish a pretty decent list of “gotta do before I die which hopefully won’t happen for 100 years” items.

My actual level of BL completion is below, listed item by sad un-crossed off item.

Items categorized as UNSUCCESSFUL didn’t happen or even come close to happening.  Items listed as ATTEMPTED were at least approached with cheerful effort.  SUCCESSFUL items (the few and far between) were ones that I was able to cross off the list.

How Amy Fared on the 2012 Bucket List

1) Get Passport stamp #4: UNSUCCESSFUL.  Though the possibility is MUCH higher in 2013 thanks to some college graduating sisters and their graduation present vacations.  I’m hoping we get invited (hint, hint, Daddy).

2) Pay off credit card debt: UNSUCCESSFUL: I don’t want to talk about this.  At all.  However, still thankful that my credit card debt load is tiny compared to the average American.

3) Ride in a hot air balloon: UNSUCCESSFUL. Shit’s expensive. And I’m kind of scared to go with the cheapest company because I don’t want to die.

4) Run a full marathon: SUCCESSFUL!!! Definitely a lifetime bucket list item.  AND I think I get bonus points for the BQ.  That was also a HUGE bucket list item that I didn’t bother adding to the 2012 list because I didn’t think it would happen for many many years.

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5) Run a race every month: ATTEMPTED.  I ran 10 road races and 1 virtual race, so I missed it by 1. I think doing the smaller ones helped me get better at racing, plus I snagged some age group awards, but the more longer races I do, the less excited I am about paying $10 per mile in a 5-k with no medal and a sad cotton t-shirt.  Sorry.

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6) Compete in a triathlon: UNSUCCESSFUL.  But I think I’m more prepared mentally to take on this challenge in 2013.

7) Learn to swim: ATTEMPTED.  I think I’m closer than I was this time last year.

8) Read my way through Newsweek’s Top 100 Books of all time:  UNSUCCESSFUL. I knew this would take more than 1 year.  I’ve read some books that I hadn’t heard of that I ended up  loving. But I’ve also been stuck on the 180 pager The Souls of Black Folk since August. I read 7 books this year (on the list anyway…I think there were 2 that I’ve picked up that weren’t on the list) which is better than the 1 I read in 2011.

9) Go on a White Water Rafting weekend expedition: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I’m starting to rethink this one.  I was pretty bored after a couple of hours of kayaking down the river in September. Could I really spend 4 days cold and wet with sore shoulders followed by sleeping on the ground for 4 nights?

10) Start dressing my age:  ATTEMPTED. I think some progress has been made. I tried to avoid stores where the majority of salespeople are in high school and I haven’t worn flip flops since it got cold out. I did however walk around Chicago dressed like this, so whateves. Although, maybe wearing black stretchy pants IS dressing my age. Sigh.

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11) Visit a new state: SUCCESSFULGot to experience Illinois in all of it’s finest! And by finest, I mean Chicago.

12) Send a birthday card in the mail to people on their birthdays. SUCCESSFUL. I did this at least twice.

13) Learn how to use my camera and take awe-inspiring photos: ATTEMPTED. I started looking up tutorials on Pinterest.  I’m still not Ansel Adams, but I least I know how to change shutter speed, ISO, and aperture, even if I have no idea what any of them mean. I did get a bokeh photo in of the Christmas tree!

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14) Relearn French: UNSUCCESSFUL. Although I’m listening to the French Cafe station on Pandora right now, so maybe I’m picking up a little bit? However, one of the potential graduation trips might require that I learn, at the very least, how to say, “I’ll take another glass of wine!” in order to get around (“plus de vin, s’il vous plaît!”).

15) Go horseback riding on the beach: SUCCESSFUL. It was fun.

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16) Write a novel: ATTEMPTED: I totally started one! I am 5 pages in.  At least I have the idea and the characters and the general plot line.  Now that the gingerbread house is done, I’ll have more time to devote.

17) Buy a new car: SUCCESSFULAnd I’m in love.  Aside from the fact that I spend twice as much money on gas. 

18) Do a massive house cleaning and reorganization: ATTEMPTED: I think this will happen pretty soon into the new year.  I’ve cleaned out a few closets and drawers.

19) Take the GRE: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I do want a masters degree, but at this point, I don’t know if it would be incredibly helpful or financially responsible.  And I still kinda don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

20) Go to a live music festival. UNSUCCESSFUL. I think this will require choosing one and planning a year in advance.  But with all of these potential vacations and Boston which is quickly shaping up to be as expensive as an all-inclusive week in the Caribbean, I don’t know if this is the perfect year for it.

21) Choose an NFL Team to cheer for: SUCCESSFUL. Though, now I’m questioning my decision.  How can a team go from winning the Super Bowl to scoring once in two weeks???

22) Win something (anything) in a radio contest: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I seriously tried though.  I even put in for a pair of Uggs last week.  I hate Uggs.

23) Invest in a piece of artwork: UNSUCCESSFUL.  Though I have decided that I want an abstract painting with warm colors.  So now I can be on the lookout!

24) Finish a Tough Mudder: UNSUCCESSFUL, mostly because it didn’t happen in Albuquerque like we thought it was going to, however it is scheduled for my birthday in 2013.  I’m rethinking this one because thanks to blog land and some detailed recaps, I’m not sure that I would have the best time.  I mean, cool that you are tough enough to do it, but it sounds mostly miserable. And I could think of better ways to spend a birthday.

25) Figure out what in the world I’m doing with my life and take steps to get there: UNSUCCESSFUL: but 2013 WILL be my year.  I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I still feel like I’m just in a holding area until my life really starts.  Considering I’m about 1/3 of the way through life already (if I’m lucky), I want to at least feel like I’m on the right path.

So, over the course of the year, I successfully completed 7 out of 25 bucket list items.  Here’s hoping that more items get conquered in 2013!

Are you creating a bucket list for 2013? 

Gingerbread out the Ears

Happy Day After Christmas!

For the next few weeks I’ll be in a state of depression because the world that has been so beautiful and sparkly will return to it’s normal, unadorned state.

Our Christmas weekend was fantastic with lots of family time, gluten free cookies, and general festivities.  And considerable drama trying to get Aaron his Christmas present after Nordstrom shipped him a size 10 black dress.

On Saturday we had some friends over for a Gingerbread House decorating party, and I was amazed at some of the creative structures that can be formed with graham crackers and frosting.  I’m not sure why we aren’t all architects  (for the record, one of our friends is actually an architect).

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AND…

I finally finished my own gingerbread house!  After an inspiration photo, a sketch, a scaled drawing on graph paper, a 3-D prototype, lots of gingerbread, royal icing, sugar, fondant, food coloring, chocolate, (an exploded Pyrex glass, but NO fire this year!!! and as I’m typing this, there is a segment on The Today Show about exploding Pyrex.  WHAT ARE THE ODDS?), and weeks of countless hours spent baking and decorating….

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…the finished product is done and ready to decorate the kitchen until at least July! Thanks for all of your sweet comments! Everything on here is 100% edible (though…ewe) and made from scratch.

While my gingerbread project does cause self-induced stress, kitchen disasters, and usually a fire or two, seeing everything put together makes me extraordinarily happy, and it really is one of my favorite parts of the holidays!

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IMG_5633I hope Santa was good to you, and I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Christmas Survey Because I Love Christmas

I saw this Christmas Survey on Christina’s blog, and I decided to steal it.  Consider this a gratuitous fluffy non-running related post (they do ask a running question!).  But I mean, who doesn’t love more Christmas (well, except Aaron who apparently has watched one too many Hallmark movies and now goes around calling himself Ebeneezer)?

1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song?

I mean, really.  There are so few that I don’t like (Feliz Navidad comes to mind…I think they play it more here in New Mexico).  For traditional songs, O Holy Night and Silent Night.  Newer,  All I Want For Christmas is You is my jam.  Frank, Dean, Rosemary, Nat, and Buble can sing anything and I’d be a big fan.

This however, is hands down THE WORST Christmas song ever.  But I can’t stop listening! It takes some talent to express gratefulness for being born in the USA and wish Jesus a happy birthday in one sentence.

2. Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?

Confession…we almost always take Christmas off.  There just isn’t a good time of day to squeeze it in.  One year, when we first got engaged, Aaron had to work on Christmas, so I hung out at the gym for a couple of hours.  But otherwise, if you can’t let go on Christmas, when can you?

3. What do you usually eat on Christmas morning?

Aaron and I always get up and go to my parents in our pajamas and open presents there with some mimosas.  Breakfast is usually some fancy pancake dish or traditional tamales and eggs. There are usually always baked goods.

Slightly deranged looking. It’s ok.

4. Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition?

My gingerbread house is probably my favorite “Amy” tradition.  I think Aaron is still wondering how he married into such a crazy kitchen disaster.  Otherwise, watching Christmas movies, our annual Christmas party, River of Lights, falling asleep to the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve, and spending time with family are my favorite.

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What Christmas looks like at the Lavender House

5. Real tree, fake tree or no tree?

REAL.  A few years ago my mom bought an artificial tree because nothing in nature was as perfect as she wanted (plus, they always look pretty dead by the time Christmas comes around).  But I can’t do it.  I love the smell.

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6. Christmas pajamas… yay or nay? For as long as I can remember, we always get to open one present on Christmas Eve…Christmas pajamas.  So, always yay. (See picture above).

7. Where do you spend the holidays? Both of our families are in town, so we do presents/breakfast/Disney parade with my family and more presents/dinner with Aaron’s family.

8. Food that you always have during the holiday season? Favorite Christmas food/treat? 

When I think of Christmas food, I think of traditional New Mexican favorites.  Tamales, red chile enchiladas, taquitos, and biscochitos.  It ain’t Christmas without them.

9. Open presents all at once or take turns?

All at once! That way you don’t have the awkwardness of having everyone watch you and your reactions.

10. Favorite Christmas(ish) movie? 

I’m going with It’s a Wonderful Life because Jimmy Stewart is my boyfriend and the story is SO GOOD. I really like almost any Christmas movie though. Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Love Actually, Eloise at Christmastime, Miracle on 34th Street, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Polar Express, The Holiday, The Grinch.  You name it.  Except for those wretched Claymation movies.  I’ll watch Rudolph, but anything else is just not gonna happen.

Which Christmas song do you think is the worst?

According to the Christmas Song Authorities, Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey is the worst.  I still think I Love Christmas beats it. I’ll let you decide.

(Half) Marathon Reflection…Tuesday

I know there are days of silence going on right now.  I’m not really sure when the official one is (I’ve seen several), but I know I couldn’t bring myself to post for the last several days.  I am heartbroken over the events of last week.  I came home for lunch on Friday and I sat in front of CNN and cried, and I still can’t make it through a news story without getting a terrible feeling deep in my gut.  I don’t think anyone, myself included, will recover from this emotionally for a very long time.  My thoughts and prayers are, and have been, with the people of Newtown.

The family of one of the little girls just moved to Connecticut from an Albuquerque suburb recently and they were members at the gym that Aaron manages.  Emilie Parker used to go to the gym day care pretty often and a few of Aaron’s employees knew her pretty well.  According to the news, her favorite book was Charlotte’s Web, and she used to greet her kindergarten teacher here in New Mexico last year with a “salutations, teacher” every morning.

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This weekend I was looking at my calender, and I realized that, even though I’m doing two separate training cycles, I am 4 months out from Boston meaning I am officially in the marathon training time frame.  So soon?  Truthfully, right now the thought of 17 mile runs is slightly overwhelming. I was so excited to start training for my first marathon back in June, and even though I’ve forgotten the pain of the actual race (MARATHONS ARE FUN!), I remember vividly the lost weekends, miserable 800’s, and chaffing/bleeding/blistering.  Even now that I’m getting back into the 10-12 mile runs, I’m starting to get a slight feeling of dread as I lace up my shoes.

And this weekend’s 10 miler wasn’t my most inspired long run.  Turns out, if you spend the winter running on a nice flat treadmill in a climate controlled guest bedroom and then attempt to run up a mountain, your body rebels in grand fashion. On Saturday, we kept hoping that if we waiting a bit longer to head out, the temperature would rise.  It kind of did (36 degrees is warmer than 27 degrees)…  As much as I run, I haven’t invested in any long running pants, so I wore shorts and compression socks. Meanwhile I saw people walking dogs who looked prepared for a walk in Antarctica. I was ok, but I think that my legs took an extra long time to warm up, and they had that weird tingling and redness that comes from sweating and simultaneously freezing.

The uphill miles were SLOW and I didn’t quite get the exhilarating feeling of flying during the downhill miles either.  Our past few (flat coursed) long runs have been fast, and I’ve been able to get 7 miles in during the first hour.  On Saturday I barely got 6 in during the first hour.  Luckily, it wasn’t completely miserable, but it did serve as a good wake up call that I haven’t been keeping to my weekly goals and and apparently I’ve forgotten about those lessons learned the hard way during marathon training.

So, as a reminder to myself of what I said I would do at the beginning of the cycle, here’s what needs work for the next 5 weeks leading up to Operation Fast Half.

1) Train in harder conditions than you want to:  Neither RnRAZ or Boston are flat.  So why am I training on a flat surface? Hitting pace goals is nice, but that won’t help power me through Heartbreak Hill.

2) Weight lifting/muscle burning exercises: my muscles are tiring faster than they should.  And my shoulders keep tensing.  During marathon training I discovered that rows helped prevent shoulder tightness.  Yet I haven’t been doing them.

3) Yoga, stretching, and general injury prevention: My calves are tight every day.  Running on tight muscles without taking care of them is a sure way to get injured.  I also have been neglecting the foam roller.  I will say though, I don’t see myself icing any time soon.  Ice is cold.

4) Cross-training: This isn’t nearly as essential during half training because the mileage really isn’t enough to completely burn me out or really injure me from over-training, but I still want to be doing more spinning and swimming for overall fitness. I haven’t in a couple of weeks.

5) Core exercises: I haven’t been doing my daily core exercises.  Instead of feeling like a cohesive unit barreling through space while running, I feel like I’m flopping around like an octopus.  My body parts aren’t working together.  And my lower back has been aching more recently.

I’m less than 5 weeks out from what is supposed to be a strong fast half that will help me transition into “Don’t Be the Slowest Person at Boston” marathon training, and I need to start taking this seriously.

I think I started falling into the mindset that, hey, it’s the holidays, I can be lazy.  But I can’t.  (Sidenote: this new enthusiasm may be slightly prompted by the creation of my 10 year high school reunion facebook group.  I’ve never been very keen on actually going to my high school reunion, but I suddenly feel pressure to have some noteworthy accomplishments.  Like, maybe I haven’t climbed the corporate ladder or moved out of state after talking loudly about how much I hated New Mexico for the first 18 years of my life and the last 5 years after college, but I can run a fast marathon, gosh darn it!).

And really, I should be taking advantage of the fact that my long runs are only 10 miles and weekly mileage is between 20-35 miles because too soon I’ll be back to thinking 10 miles is any easy day (just kidding…I’ve NEVER thought that!).

On the Christmas front, I am now way behind on my gingerbread house.  I need it to be done by Saturday, but I have so much left to do.  I  may have to pull some all nighters here this week….

Hope everything on your Christmas to-do list is getting done! Only one more week to fit in as much Christmas as you can!

Hi!

Hola! (This is the extent of my Spanish, by the way).

I’ve been on a self-imposed social media hiatus for a few days.  Definitely impromptu, but I was due.

I didn’t necessarily plan to leave everyone hanging on the “did I or didn’t I” do the indoor tri. And I apologize for not responding to comments in a timely manner (I promise I will!).

Last week was weird.  I won’t bore you with details of my out-of-nowhere week long funk (basically, I wanted to curl in a blanket and eat fried chicken all day and not talk to anyone or do anything while simultaneously moving far away and winning the lottery).  So, instead of blogging about it and making people question my sanity, I decided to unplug for a bit and do things that make me happy.

I think everyone has probably guessed that I didn’t do the indoor tri.  I wasn’t into it.  And I don’t think it was even just the lack of swimming talent. For example, on Saturday morning, we set out for our run, and I made it 3/4 of a mile in before getting sick and having to walk home and lie down. So, if I had participated in the race, I would have made a scene, and not finished anyway.  It’s like my intuition helped sway me in the right direction.

garmin chartMy pace chart from my Garmin…running, stopping, walking, dying.

This sickness thing happens every once in awhile.  Sometimes when exercising, sometimes when not (I had a lovely episode in the Reagan Airport once).  My doctor has never been very concerned, so I just attribute it to having a stomach that makes mistakes every once in awhile.  (Unfortunately, it isn’t related to alcohol consumption, so it isn’t even like I got to have a good time first! AND I’M NOT PREGNANT.  I promise.).

Getting sick wasn’t fun (walking home by myself after sending Aaron on his way wasn’t fun either), but it reminded me to trust myself and my decisions.  I did feel bad for not doing the race, but mostly because I felt like I was disappointing everyone.  I truly love you all and value the friendship and support I get from the online community, but I think sometimes I get caught up in doing things just to be interesting for the blog.  Yes I want to do a tri, and yes I really want to learn to swim.  But that doesn’t mean I should jump into it before I’m ready or in a race that I don’t want to do just so I can have something to talk about. And I think this is what this race was.  Something to talk about on the blog.  I cannot turn my life into a publicity stunt.  That’s how Lindsey Lohan gets herself into trouble.  I don’t want to be Lindsey Lohan.

So, even though I got my stomach settled after the run on Saturday, I still didn’t feel up to running on Sunday.  We are ahead of schedule for half marathon training, so we’ll push the 10 miler back to next weekend and still be ok.  This gave me the awesome opportunity to sleep in which I desperately needed.

And while I didn’t do the tri this weekend, I DID spend a lot of time being Christmasy!

We finally bought our Christmas tree and got that sucker decorated!  I love how putting up the tree can really make my house look and smell so much better.  And really, now that I co-habitate with a male, I take any excuse I can get to cram in some glitter.

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Got my Dicken’s Village up.

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We took Giuseppe to see Santa Paws (he was terrified).  Santa Paws also seemed a little nervous.

I got our Christmas cards sent out.

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And I made some progress on my gingerbread house.  Next up I have to insulate the windows with some window panes and do some fancy brick work.  I’m on track to be done in a week and a half.  Aaron really wants his kitchen back.

IMG_5536The flaws aren’t as noticeable in real life…

And even though I didn’t run all weekend aside from 3/4 of a mile, I had a strong 3 miler on Monday and solid quarter mile repeats yesterday (I’m averaging between 1:30-1:45 for a pace of about 6:13 a mile…HUGE improvement from last year!).

And, most importantly, I got over myself and my weird funk! But I still want fried chicken. All the time.

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend (is it weird to say this on Wednesday night?).

When I Just Don’t Feel Like It

This is bad.

It is Friday afternoon and I still haven’t decided whether I’m really doing that indoor tri tomorrow.

I still might.  You never know.

Out of all races, this silly indoor tri is probably the one I am most ok with stamping as a DNS, but still, I feel a real sense of quittership going on, and I don’t like it.

As many good excuses as I try to make for why, it kind of just boils down to that I don’t want to.  I hate that excuse when it comes to throwing in the towel for anything.  Like when people say they are going to run a 5-K, get frustrated, don’t run it, and then never run again.  Or people who enter one of those weight loss competitions, don’t want to put in the work, and then stop showing up because they don’t want to (my husband led a group like this for a couple of years, and I have judged many a person for quitting before it’s over).

I’m tired.  Physically.  I haven’t been sleeping well.  And this whole week I’ve been randomly having a case of what I imagine Holly Golightly was referring to when she talked about having the “mean reds” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.   Except I don’t have a local Tiffany’s to help me feel better. (I should note that I’m a very happy person and not entirely concerned!).  Surprisingly, I’ve actually had a great running week (A hard run last night helped improve my mood! Hooray!), so, maybe I need to have these off weeks more often to reach my running goals?

Yesterday, Aaron said he didn’t feel like going to the gym to swim, and, instead of saying “well, that’s nice but I DON’T WANT TO DIE IN THE POOL,” I didn’t argue because I didn’t want to either (I wanted to go buy a Christmas tree but we didn’t do that either).

And I didn’t ever find (didn’t ever really look) for a swimsuit. So, sparkle bikini it is!

I don’t want to give up.  I don’t want to DNS.  I don’t want to say that I’m going to work towards something and then not. And I don’t want to back out just because I’m not good at it.

Thanks, Pinterest, for the reminder!

Initially, I was proud of myself for going out of my comfort zone (like, waaay out), but now I just really want to sleep in tomorrow, do my 10 miler (Aaron is on injury prevention mode again), and decorate the tree that we will hopefully finally purchase tonight. And continue swim lessons because this is embarrassing.  Like, if we were swimming in lanes next to each other at the pool, you would deny knowing me.

So, that’s my story.  Chances are I’ll do it.  But I don’t want to (imagine me jumping up and down in temper tantrum mode).

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Good luck to the Sarah and Kara who are both running their first marathons this weekend! You can do it!

WINNER! And (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Random.orgCongratulations, Emily! I’ll be emailing you later today, and I hope you enjoy your North Beach Sunglasses from The Sunglasses Shop! And thanks so much for everyone who entered!

Project Gingerbread House hit a bit of a bump yesterday while I was heating sugar for the windows.  I do this every year (one year I set the microwave on fire because I put the sugar in a METAL cup), and I’ve gotten good at the process, but as best as I can tell, I probably caused a crack in the glass when I rinsed it out right after it was super hot (extreme change in temperature), so the next time I put it in the microwave, it shattered because the glass was compromised.

Sometimes it helps to know science! (I don’t know science).

BUT, this is what the windows look like when finished! What’s a little fire or shattered glass when we’re talking Christmas joy?

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Oh, and I take back everything I said about making swimming progress.  I couldn’t even get my head underwater in the pool yesterday without hyperventilating.  So, it’s looking more and more like doggie paddle for me! If you ever thought I was afraid of looking like an idiot in front of a bunch of people (then you probably haven’t met me?), this should prove you wrong!

Happy Wednesday!

(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday/Tuesday

Last time I left off, I admitted that running doesn’t seem to be a big priority in my life right now.

I can’t say that conditions have improved drastically since Friday.

For example, we did treadmill miles yesterday since the Giants game took up Aaron’s evening (we don’t want to talk about it), and I literally put it off until 9:30 (I like to be in bed by 10).  I ran 1 mile and hopped off to “grab some water (aka plop on the couch)” but Aaron ordered me back into the exercise room to finish out the last 2.

We DID however get our 9 mile long run in while we were in Phoenix.

I love Phoenix (well, Scottsdale at least).  One of the biggest reasons is because it was about 58-60 degrees out (PERFECT running weather), and everyone was bundled up like they were expecting a snow storm!

We did our run along The Green Belt which is a stretch of beautifully landscaped grass.  It was a great trail, utilized by a lot of people.  However, it was entirely concrete which is noticeably hard on the legs.  And I got a mosquito bite.

Photo by Jason Franz via blogs.phoenixnewstimes.com

I also have this weird quirk where I judge my speed improvement by how fast I can run 7 miles.  I try to get my 7 mile split in as close to under 1 hour as possible.  The last two long runs it has been between 1:0:30 and 1:0:52.  This time I was able to get down to 59:18, so I consider improvement to have been made!

Overall, this was a great long run.  I finished in 1:17:23 for about an 8:33 pace.  Most of my miles were pretty close to that 8:30.  I don’t usually start packing gels or worrying about water until I get into the 11 mile range, so 9 miles was fine without any of that, but we were pretty thirsty afterwards.

We’d forgotten our Nuun (ALSO just found out a few days ago that it is pronounced NOON.  We’ve been saying it very wrong) and the Whole Foods we went to didn’t have any, so we settled for some weird substitute.

WHAT I’VE OBSERVED THIS WEEK:

1) I ran with my compression socks for the 9 miler, and I had no calf tightness/annoyance.  I’ve been having this calf annoyance since even BEFORE the marathon two months ago but for the first time since then, I had no calf issues during or after.  I think this means I’m going to have to buy another pair.

2) I’m training faster than I ever have.  Typically I use speed work for fastness and run the rest of the runs at a really comfortable recovery pace.  But even yesterday on the treadmill I averaged about 8:03 per mile for 3 miles.  I pushed myself a bit, but it wasn’t uncomfortable.  For our fartlek (hehe) run last Friday morning, I kept a good pace in between sprints (usually I go unnecessarily slow in between).  I don’t know if this will help or not come race day since it is a different approach than I’ve ever taken, but I am a bit excited that I’m a faster overall runner if not a faster overall racer.

3) The thought of cross-training doesn’t seem to make me any more likely to get myself moving.  I’ve been wanting to incorporate more swim/spinning/yoga/weight lifting into my routine and I haven’t.

4) I need to do more upper back exercises like rows.  I did these all through marathon training and I didn’t have any of the shoulder tightness that I normally have for the race.  It’s back.

5) I kind of wish I hadn’t said I was doing this tri on Saturday.  Getting to the gym to learn to swim isn’t going to be easy this week with lots of evening commitments, I haven’t been on a spin bike in weeks, and I still don’t have a swimsuit.  I know I need to do it otherwise it’ll keep getting pushed back, but I’m not at all confident going in.  I’ve never felt more unprepared for anything in my life.

So, in sum, still not 100% into this training, but getting faster and finally (after 2 months) feeling completely recovered from the marathon!

Also, just one last push to enter the Sunglasses Shop Sunglasses giveaway! I’ve actually been wearing my North Beach shades a lot recently and I like them more everyday! I’ll announce the winner tomorrow morning!

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