Mapping Out the 2013 Race Schedule

One of the most overwhelming parts of reading running blogs is the exposure to the endless race possibilities.

A year and a half ago, I had no clue that more than 5-10 marathons even existed let alone what they were called.  I didn’t know that there was a Chicago Marathon, and while I think I knew that there was a Boston Marathon, I didn’t know that it was any sort of a big deal (now we’re all on a first name basis).

But with all this exposure comes tremendous race envy.  *Almost* every recap I read drives me to look at my bank account to analyze if next year’s race fits into our budget.  I mean, all of the sudden I want to go to places like Duluth and Cincinnati for fun? What is going on here? (keep in mind that I say this out of love if you live in those places.  Albuquerque isn’t a dream boat city either).

But we can’t leave town every weekend to run races, so choices must be made.

This will be the 2nd time that I attempt to map out our race schedule for the entire year.  Realistically, we can afford one, maybe two, major “destination” race per year (last year it was Chicago, this year it is Boston), so everything else has to be regional (Arizona, Las Vegas, Colorado, or West Texas).  And timing plays a big part.  We need to have plenty of rest in between races to recover physically and financially.  And as a glass half full type person, I’m always under the impression that at any given time I will injure myself and never be able to run again, so I want to run the “must-do’s” first whenever possible.  Running Chicago as my first marathon was no accident.  I wanted my first time to be with a marathon that I really loved.

This year I’ve had a few other considerations while planning our race schedule:

1) Boston.  Everything else this spring has to revolve around it include filing taxes.

2) Aaron has expressed that he’s getting burned out with our constant road racing, so I want to incorporate more “non-traditional” races in the mix.

3) Training for a triathlon.  I’m going to need a few months off of running just to focus on swimming and bike riding because this IS happening in 2013.

As of right now, I’m only officially registered for 2 races (Arizona and Boston), but here’s what we’re thinking for 2013:

JANUARY: Rock n Roll Arizona Half.

MARCH: Bataan Memorial Death March 14.2 miler (Las Cruces, NM about 3 hours south of Albuquerque): This race has a full marathon and a “half” option that is actually misleading since it is more than half a marathon.  This is New Mexico’s “big deal” marathon and it is really geared toward veterans and active duty service members.  Many members of the military will run it in full uniform with a loaded backpack.  Lots of uphill, REALLY warm temperatures, lots of loose sand, and likely some rattlesnakes nearby. This is actually considered one of the hardest courses in the country. My dad is planning on running the full marathon (WHAT????) and even my little sister is planning on running the half.  I don’t even know my family anymore.

SOURCE Photo by David Young

APRIL: Boston Marathon. Considered the most prestigious road race in the world.  Still somewhat in denial that I’ll be running it.

MAY: Run for the Zoo Half (Albuquerque):  This falls just a few weeks after Boston, so this is a BIG maybe even though it has become a yearly tradition for me.  It took me a month after the Chicago Marathon to be able to run again.  I’m hoping for a faster recovery time this go around, but I probably won’t register for this until the week of.

JUNE: Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run (Colorado Springs).  This race is full of rolling hills, but at least each uphill is matched with a downhill. The views are gorgeous apparently.

SEPTEMBER: Imogene Pass Run 17 miler (Ouray-Telluride, CO): Aaron has run this race before.  It sounds miserable yet amazing.  The website says the following: “The reality is that despite whatever emotions we may have for the mountains and their environment, they are in fact unfeeling objects and they follow the natural rules of physics which are not always benevolent toward living creatures, great or small.”  I guess they all can’t be easy.  Check out that elevation climb!

Please note the trail. And the lack of trees. 

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER: We’re going to put in for the Nike Women’s and ING New York City lotteries (if New York opens it up).  Statistically we’re not likely to get into either one.  But a girl can dream.

DECEMBER: Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half (Full?).  It is pretty pricey/cheesey, but Las Vegas is close, and I think running the strip at night would be pretty awesome. And Las Vegas at Christmas time is actually really pretty.  Plus, the race falls right around our wedding anniversary, and I’m not opposed to renewing our vows along the course at the “Run-Thru Wedding Ceremony!”

SOURCE Photo by Steve Marcus

Other Possibilities:

Duke City Half (Albuquerque, October): This was my first half marathon.  Not the most amazing course, but it will be good to do if (when) I don’t selected for NWM or NYC. Plus, you can’t beat a local race where you can go home and nap in your own bed right after.

Tucson Marathon (December): A downhill marathon!  I don’t really want to get into the marathon habit, but if I decide after Boston that I MUST RUN MORE MARATHONS, I think a downhill one will be a nice option.

Rock n Roll Denver Half (September):  This is a back up if Imogene fills up before we register (last year it only took a few hours).

I plan on spending the summer in the pool or on a bike, so I don’t want any big races during those months.  Otherwise, everything is pretty open and subject to change.

Anyone else doing any of these races?  Any other good recommendations in the Colorado, Arizona, or west Texas areas?

I hope you have a WONDERFUL weekend!

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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? 

Giuseppe’s First 5-K

Boy, what a weekend in the world of running.  First, New York was cancelled (I admit I was brought to tears when pictures of runners volunteering on Staten Island started getting posted) and then Toyko was added to the World Marathon Majors (joining Chicago, New York, Boston, London, and Berlin).

Meanwhile, in our neck of the woods, Giuseppe ran his first 5-K!

Our local Animal Humane Center organizes an annual race called the Doggie Dash and Dawdle 5-K that allows puppies to partake in the racing fun.

I mean, did we have any other option?

We put off signing up because I wasn’t sure I would be able to run much less keep up with a hyper puppy, but we registered on Thursday, picked up our packets, and I made Giuseppe his own little race bib.

We showed up on Sunday morning and got ourselves orientated.  Giuseppe was overwhelmed and excited with all of the dogs everywhere, but he was very well behaved.

The other dogs are about ready to fight.  Giuseppe is focused on getting to the start line on time. 

My parents and sister came to give Giuseppe moral support, and we ran into a few friends (including one of Aaron’s lifelong friends who does every race dressed as Batman) who were also dashing.  The race got off to a delayed start, but we eventually got lined up.  The runners without dogs got to start first, and it was a bit of a free for all for everyone else.

As anticipated, the first half mile was a major disaster.  I’m really good at weaving through people, but add in a puppy on a leash (and a bunch of other leashes just waiting to trip you), and it wasn’t quite as easy.

We were a little worried about Giuseppe because we haven’t been training him as much as we should since we’ve both been trying to recover from Chicago.  We got a pretty solid 2 mile run in with him on Friday just to make sure he wouldn’t collapse, but we didn’t know how it was going to turn out.

Turns out I’m the one we needed to worry about.

After a 2 week taper, the marathon, 3 weeks off of running, and a week of cautious attempts, I was in no condition to run a fast 5-K.

Meanwhile, Giuseppe was speeding along, completely focused.  I know he’s a smart puppy, but I’m positive he knew his goal was to run until he crossed the finish line.  Even as we passed my cheering family, he looked over, gave them a smile, and kept going (typically, he runs over and showers them with love and excitement).  We got to a steep hill and Aaron yelled out, “POWER UP IT SEPPE!” and he did.  I did not.

Meanwhile, we were averaging somewhere between 7:00 and 8:10 minute mile paces, passing the big dogs and doing just fine.  Giuseppe took a quick water stop (they had water stations for dogs and for humans), and then kept going.

I was DYING.  It took me one mile for my legs to warm up, but I just didn’t feel very good at all.  I  never do feel very good for 5-K’s, but I’m typically running faster than marathon pace.  OUT OF SHAPE.

But we kept running.  Giuseppe powered out a little bit, but he was determined to keep up.

We crossed the finish line together, giving us a finish time of 23:01!  Both my and Aaron’s Garmin showed the course was significantly short though.

We came in #31 and #32 out of people running with dogs, and I got a 3rd place age group medal!

I would like to point out for the record, that I finished faster than Aaron! 

After the race, Giuseppe was tired, but he seemed really happy, and overall not too bad off!

I LOVE 5-K’s! 

He got lots of treats and lots of hugs to celebrate his amazing accomplishment!

In other news, I joined athlinks this weekend on the encouragement of another friend we ran into at the race (he doesn’t have facebook, twitter, or instagram, so that was the only way he could keep track of our races).  I don’t really get it, but if you are on athlinks, you can be my friend and see my race times!

I hope you have a wonderful week! Happy 1 Day Until Political Ads are Over Day!

So…Now What? Or, Accepting that Chicago is Over

This past weekend I went to cheer on my dad (and a bunch of other people I know/don’t know) at the Duke City Marathon.  I came bearing big race signs and I wore my Chicago marathon shirt so people wouldn’t think I was a non-runner just because I wasn’t racing! (just kidding…sort of…).

My dad had a great first half and finished in 2:06:something! AND he wasn’t even sore the next day! Pretty sure an addiction was created.

I rarely spectate at races (I know I should probably be volunteering more), so it was interesting to experience it from the other side.  For one, cheering is kind of awkward.  I have the same two phrases, and I was stressing the whole time that I was saying the wrong things and causing runners to lose motivation in the home stretch.

I was also pretty stir crazy, standing there with my race signs watching all of the runners coming into the finish line area.  I wanted to be racing!

But two weeks after Chicago, I’m still not able to run.  I have nagging issues in my calf/shin area.  As far as I can tell, it is just muscle tightness, but it is pretty annoying.  I’m doing all the usual rehabbing efforts, but I have to keep in mind that supposebly it will take 26.2 days for me to be all better.

Luckily, I don’t have anything to train for until the second week of November, so I’m able to not run without affecting any future race times.

I’m trying to really enjoy this time off, but boy am I really taking it off.  My workouts have included walking the dog, “weight lifting” (and by weight lifting I mean squats and curls), a single elliptical workout and my 1st swim lesson (attempting to put my head underwater without plugging my nose with my fingers…I think progress was made!).

I’m amazed at how sluggish I’ve become just from not working out regularly.  I always feel tired and I can feel my body slowly getting more lard-esqe.  Luckily I think I’m over the post marathon blues because of the excitement over the upcoming holiday season (OMGSOEXCITED), otherwise the combination of not working out and depression might have driven me to eat lots and lots of ice cream and potato chips.

On the plus side, all this lack of activity has given me the chance to reflect on what I’m going to do now that Chicago is over and establish what my goals are for my upcoming races.

First, in mid-November I will start half marathon training for Rock n’ Roll Arizona (January).  I’ve decided I want to train into running a fast half (1:35 or 7:15 average pace).  9 of my marathon miles were sub-8, so I feel like this is a reasonable goal to reach for.  It will require a lot of speed work (more 400’s instead of 800’s! Hooray!), but it is nice to have a base established.

I will start training for Boston the week following Rock n’ Roll.  I want to have a completely separate training plan for each of these races.  Instead of the 16 week training cycle, I’m going with a 12 week cycle.  After a training into a fast half, I should have the speed, so I’ll just have to work on re-building the endurance and focusing on becoming a strong downhill/uphill runner.  Unlike Chicago, Boston is not flat.  That little tiny hill felt epic at the 26 mile marker at Chicago.  I’m dreading the Newton Hills.

I’m not quite ready to call my Boston time goal.  I obviously want to put in my best effort and train hard.  EVERYONE is fast at Boston so I’d at least like to not feel like the one slow person in the bunch.  But now that I’ve qualified, I don’t know if I want the same pressure to hit a certain goal. I kind of want to see how Arizona goes before I start thinking about whether I’m ready to prepare for a sub 3:30.

I do also want to learn to swim by the end of the year, per my bucket list.  Saturday showed that I really have a looooong way to go.  But with coach Aaron leading the way (did I mention he’s also an accomplished swimmer?) and a new-found confidence that I can do anything I put my mind to, I think it can be done.  I’ll consider myself sufficiently schooled in swimming if I can make it across the pool and back using proper free-style stroke, and employing a solid breathing strategy that doesn’t include keeping my head above water at all costs.

I also want to get back some of that muscle definition that I’ve lost ever since I started running half marathons last year.  It was near impossible to do any quality weight lifting while training for a marathon because my muscles always felt fatigued, but now that we’re back in half marathon land for awhile, I want to focus on a supplementary workout program.

I’m also excited (surprised but excited) to see most of my marathon buddies signing up for a second round! We must all be nuts.  But it will be awesome to follow everyone’s training again come spring!

What’s your winter/spring race schedule?  (or, if you’re in the southern hemisphere…your summer/fall schedule!).  

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Chicago Has Food (and Lots of It!)

So, a couple of weeks ago we went to Chicago.  The marathon was obviously the whole point, but seeing as how neither Aaron or I had ever been there, we decided make a vacation out of it and do some exploring.

Vacations include testing out the regional flavor.

For Chicago, this means deep dish pizza and loaded hot dogs.

Don’t mind if I do!

In the days before the race Aaron was really keeping to a gluten free diet, but after the race, when stomach issues wouldn’t ruin mile splits, his inner garbage disposal came out and the Chicago style gorging began.

I will say this though.  Chicago is lacking in the local microbrew department.  We did find PBR at every restaurant (like, even the really snazzy ones) but since we can get that here for 75 cents on college night, we refrained.  Even though 75 cent PBR was the first drink Aaron bought for me before asking me out.  Big spender even bought a round for the whole table. Ah, memories.

Also to be noted that in addition to the 38,000 + people in town for the marathon (and their loved ones), a big football game between Miami and Notre Dame was held on Saturday, so the city was PACKED with runners and football fans.

Amy and Aaron’s Adventures in Chicago Eating

I forget the name of the restaurant where we got these martinis, but it was some sort of chop house a few blocks from our hotel.  It was an “Amy” type of place as evidenced by the the photos of my best friends on the bathroom wall.  They had a cool martini menu.  I’m usually a dirty martini type of girl, but who can resist a martini with chocolate swirls?

An added bonus was witnessing a lady trying to get a very drunk man she met at the bar to ask her out. I mean, he couldn’t figure even out how to spell Julie in his phone. How romantic.

On Saturday we stopped by The Berghoff which was down the street from our hotel.  Turns out it was a German themed microbrewery and the building has been there since the late 1800’s.  The beers were actually pretty good, and the Reuben sandwich was perfect.   

So happy to be at Berghoff’s!

Our carb loading on Saturday took us to Elephant Castle, another pub across from our hotel.  I wish Albuquerque had more pubby type places because I enjoy a good black and tan surrounded by British memorabilia.  It proved to be a great “pre-race” choice because of their special marathon menu.

We ran into a very drunk man who said as long as he stopped drinking by 10, he’d be ok for the marathon the next morning.  I wonder how that worked out for him.

The official beer sponsor of the marathon was Goose Island which is a Chicago microbrewery and it seems like the pride and joy of Chicago beer.  Aside from PBR.  Apparently they have a tasting room in Chicago that we didn’t get to.  The 312 Wheat Ale was pretty good as was the Matilda.  Aaron tried out the Bourbon County Stout at a restaurant which was AMAZING.

Our post marathon dinner on Sunday was at the infamous Lou Malnati’s (sounds suspiciously like Illuminati…I kept thinking we were in a Dan Brown novel).  Thanks Allison for this suggestion! This place did not disappoint (and with an hour long wait, we weren’t the only ones vying for some pizza goodness).   Fantastic deep dish pizza, and some great people watching.

A bunch of former frat boys in town for the Notre Dame game (who still were acting like idiotic 21 year olds despite being about 30) kept trying to pick up a pair of British marathon runners. Very unsuccessfully.  Made me a bit embarrassed to be American. Luckily the pizza made me happy again.  And seriously, even though it was good…I still prefer thin crust. Sorry. 

Monday evening we stopped by Paddy Long’s (I think it was in the area by Wrigley Field).  This was the bacon and beer bar.  They had an ok beer selection, but the bacon board was heavenly.  It was also the first place we went to that wasn’t crawling with people.

This place was also really cool because if felt “local.” So many of the other places we went to were overridden with tourists.  I felt like a Chicagoan! On Monday for lunch we headed to Portillo’s (thanks Hyedi for that suggestion) for their famous hot dogs and chocolate cake.  The place was a bit overwhelming and set up kind of like a food court (it took us a few minutes to figure out where to stand in line), but there were a lot of fun pieces of Chicago memorabilia.  And it was CHEAP. And tasty.

Aaron, staring dreamily at the hot dogs.

Monday night, on the recommendation of our Paddy Long’s bartender who understood our plight to find good beer that wasn’t IPA (way harder than it sounds), we headed to Clark Street Ale House.  I think Dominick, may have also recommended it, but I can’t find evidence of that conversation.

The beer selection was big, but most of the stuff we found was stuff we could buy in Albuquerque. The place was really empty too.  Apparently people in Chicago are too responsible to go out partying on a Monday night? We still made friends though. 

These dudes were like, “take a picture of us!”  I would kind of be surprised if homeboy actually knew what Livestrong was.  The other guy actually had a job similar to Aaron’s  and had lived in a similar part of Phoenix (and he was relatively sober), so they were able to talk for a bit.

“Seriously?” Or, “Bitch, please.”

NOT PICTURED: We had a post marathon breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s which was a cute mid-century diner.  I was seriously too sick to enjoy the meal (or take pictures), but it was a really cute place that has apparently been in a lot of movies that I’ve never seen.

IPO was the hotel restaurant.  REALLY trendy interior but the food was TOO trendy.  Oh, and pork belly is just pure fat. I didn’t realize that.  I was hoping for a bacon sandwich.  BLECH. The hotel (The W City Center) also had a really swanky bar/lobby, but it was pricey.

Chicago isn’t a cheap place to eat/drink.  We were really surprised every time we got the bill.  But people watching was better here than it has been anywhere else we’ve gone.  And I did love the feel of being in places that had been there since the turn of the century.

Thank you, Chicago, for feeding these very hungry and thirsty runners!

The W Lobby/Bar.  They had giant lamps.

Pretty Much The Coolest Thing About Albuquerque

From a tourist standpoint, Albuquerque doesn’t compete with the excitement of a large city like Chicago, New York, or San Francisco.  We don’t have amusement parks or professional sports or beaches.  We lack the historical appeal of Santa Fe and the quirkiness of Roswell and our ski valley isn’t the best when compared with the others in the state.

But, I can say this about my city: we put on a heck of a Balloon Fiesta.

For one week in October, we play host to the largest gathering of hot air balloons in the world (and also the most photographed event in the country), and Albuquerque turns into an international hot spot of early morning green chile seeking, hot air balloon loving dwellers.

We get up and get to the park by 5 am, find some breakfast burritos, FREEZE (mornings are cold here in October), and then watch as hundreds of hot air balloons inflate and take off against the backdrop of the New Mexico sunrise.

The Balloon Fiesta is an awesome experience and is a yearly tradition in which I gladly participate   Even in college I would come home from California for the occasion   This year Aaron and I went with my parents and sisters (who had both come home from school for the weekend) on Sunday morning for the “farewell” mass ascension.

Burritos: Just as important as the balloons!

Me and my dad ordering burritos.  The man looks VERY interested.

Eating the burrito

Dawn Patrol.  These first few balloons go up to make sure conditions are ok.

Aaron’s photo artistry

DARTH!

This guy is a local investigative reporter who brings down politicians and other scammers…this is a really scary balloon.

Bee Family!

Instagram Version!

 

Bank of America Chicago Marathon: The Recap

So, I am probably the last person out there to offer up my Chicago Marathon story.  26.2 is a lot of miles to process.  The drawback is that the mile by mile play by play is fuzzy and making way for a more general race memory.  So, unfortunately you won’t get the most detailed report of what I felt during 3:33:55 hours of pure marathon goodness (and not so goodness).  BUT I think you’re probably cool with that. Even though this is still over 3000 words long.  It WAS 4,000 words long. And I think all of the pictures of the race (rather before and after the race) are on Aaron’s phone which is with him at work right now.  So, you may have to check back tomorrow!

THURSDAY

We arrived in Chicago on Thursday afternoon to temperatures much warmer than we’d been anticipating.  Our hotel was about half a mile from the start line, so our cab drove us right by the starting area.  I was amazed at how huge the marathon village was, and how many porta poties were lining the streets (this would seem like a lot less on Sunday morning while waiting our turn to pee). As I started unpacking, I realized that I had forgotten some essential items like  running socks, pajamas, iPod shuffle, and toothbrush. Oops.

FRIDAY

We went out for a 2.5 mile easy run along the lake front.  Temperatures were still warmish, though not as warm as they had been the day before.  The temperatures were predicted to get colder until Sunday.

Then we headed to the expo.  I love expos.  They combine running AND shopping! The expo was well organized and everything was labeled and easy to find.  But wow, were there a lot of people, and Friday was the slow day.  I’m scared to think what Saturday looked like! Nike had a whole store set up, and I bought myself a special marathon shirt (and some socks because I forgot mine).  I also signed up for my 3:35 pace group, and got a 3:35 bib to pin to my back.

SATURDAY:

We did a 2 mile shake out run, however this one was much colder.  But really, a few minutes in, I felt overdressed in my winter gear.

We opted to do the Art Institute Museum on Saturday morning.  Coach Aaron wouldn’t let me wear heels, but my jeans are all too long, so I had to walk around Chicago in my running capris and running shoes.  THE HORROR.  Seriously.  But the museum was huge and we were on our feet for easily 3 hours, so I’m glad I wasn’t in stilettos.  We also carried a water bottle and focused on drinking obscene amounts of water.

I did insist on changing into boots for dinner on the condition that we eat at the pub across the street from our hotel.  Awesomely enough they had a special marathon menu so I got my pasta carb loading fill! Aaron ate something with mashed potatoes (how does one carb load on a gluten free diet?). Bedtime was 9:30.

Why yes, carb loading included beer.  This means beer + marathon = BQ! And one of the few moments I got cell phone service! Aaron was annoyed. 

SUNDAY:

The alarm went off at 5 am.  I did my pre-race ritual of showering (one can’t dominate marathons with unshaven legs), and ate some Luna bar and some banana and layered on the winter gear. We got out the door at 6:15.  The city was dark but alive with thousands of shivering runners walking to the start.  We felt like cattle.  We may have moo’d.

The first thing we did was get in the potty line which was already pretty long (we waited about 20 minutes).  Gear check drop off was easy, but at this point it was time to head to the corrals (they closed at 7:20, no exception), so I didn’t get in my second ritual pee.  Aaron and I said our goodbyes as he headed to “B” and I headed to “C.”

This was post race, but it gives you an idea of what I look like when I realize that my husband is photographing me coming out of the porta potty. 

I couldn’t find my pacers.  And since everyone was wearing sweatshirts over their clothes, I couldn’t find any 3:35 bibs.  I kept inching up until I found a nice looking man and asked if he’d seen the 3:35 signs.  He said he was in the 3:35 group and as far as he could tell the people surrounding were all in it too. A few people turned and nodded in agreement, and grunted a “welcome to the pack.”  I took off my long sleeve and tied it around my waist because I knew I would get warm pretty fast and I didn’t want to attempt undressing while running.  I was cold in my racer back, but not miserable.

Looking around I also realized that Chicago was a pretty male dominated race.  And let’s just say I was one of very few women wearing hot pink, sparkle headband, and a running skirt.

The race started, and while I was anticipating a good 10 minutes before we crossed the start line, we actually approached really fast (within 3 minutes).  And we were off!

The first 3 miles

This is the official start line photo.  I found Aaron (he has a red circle around his head).

So, the first thing you do is run uphill into a tunnel.  Tunnels are dark.  Tunnels also have dividers in the middle. Someone ran into someone who ran into me and I ran into the next person because someone didn’t see the divider in front of them until it was too late.  Luckily nobody was actually knocked down in the confusion, but it was pretty funny to see.  I guess you had to be there.

We emerged from the tunnel, and I looked down at my Garmin to see that it had lost signal.  Fantastic.  I spotted the pacers way ahead so I figured I would just hang out with them since I no longer had pacing function. It was awesome (and warm) to be running with so many people (over 38,000 at the start), but hard to get anywhere.  I saw the pacers but I couldn’t actually get near them.  Luckily, my Garmin got it’s act together pretty fast.

I saw some soldiers with amputated arms, and the crowd went wild every time they ran past.  I saw a lady with a prosthetic leg.  I saw people in wheelchairs.  I saw people going out of their way to support other runners.  Marathons restore faith in humanity.

I allowed myself to not worry about pace (pointless since maneuvering around people was impossible), and take in the sights.  A huge shout out to the city of Chicago and the spectators!  I felt nothing short of  rockstar status because these cheering people with their crazy signs were amazing. Also amusing were the people starting to shed clothes.  They would attempt to throw them into the crowd, but 75% of the time the clothing article would bop a runner on the head.

After trying to get myself next to the pacers for the first few miles I finally succeeded at about mile 3.  Everyone was de-clothed and I could see the huge group of 3:35ers emerge.  The crowd started thinning, and I finally got myself into a rhythm.

Miles 4 to 16

Crowd support was amazing.  Every neighborhood/church/school had bands or DJs and motivation was high.  So high that I suddenly found myself running sub 8 miles with no effort, and the pacers were somewhere far far behind me. I knew I needed to slow my ass down.  But I couldn’t.  The energy was too much to handle.  I was on track to run a 3:30 marathon (noted that at mile 6 this is hardly confirmation of anything), yet here is where I made the decision to run a Boston qualifier.

Gangham Style was being played by three different groups (including a Korean church with nice Korean middle aged ladies in track suits doing the dance).  Aaron, who at that point was about 15 minutes ahead of me, said that those same groups were playing that same song so it must have been on repeat.

The pacer bibs turned out to be quite the conversation starter.  I had people come up to me saying I was ahead of schedule (as a compliment, not as a warning that I was running too fast). And indeed I was.  While there were a few 3:35er’s I was surrounded by 3:30s and 3:25ers.  But I was feeling great. Instead of wishing desperately to be done at the 13.1 sign, I was like, hey, half way done! Hooray! But I was still stressing that I was running too fast.

The course was awesome! So many cool neighborhoods and so many cool sights.  For several miles, the Sears Tower was in view. And the weather was perfect.  I was cold at a few points, but overall, I was feeling wonderful.

There was uphill.  Not anything crazy, but there are rivers to cross and bridges aren’t at street level, so we did have to go up them.  I figured if this is what the last hill at the end looked like, I should be in ok shape.

Mile 16: 

Potty break. My pre-race ritual calls for 2 stops at the porta potty, but I only had time for one.  I had to pee the entire time,  and while it was annoying, it wasn’t affecting my pace.  I put it off as long as possible and was looking for a pee station right off the course (a few required some detour efforts).  I had my chance at the mile 16 aid station. By the way, Chicago gets a HUGE thumbs up for their stations.  They were almost every mile and 2 full city blocks long.  A nice person yelled out where things were upon approach so no guess work was involved.

According to my Garmin, I was stopped for well over a minute which makes me sad.

Miles 17-22

I was still feeling good, and amazed that I was SO CLOSE to finishing.  But, this is when crowd support went from super energized on steroids to non existent.   I REALLY wished I had my music to turn on at this point, but alas my iPod was back home in Albuquerque.

And people started dropping like flies starting at mile 20.  Up til this point I hadn’t seen anyone have any major problems.  Now people were puking on the sidelines, stopping to stretch, and stopping to walk.

Meanwhile I was gaining a whole new crazy confidence.  I calculated along the way that I needed to be at the 20 mile point by 2:40 to be on track for a 3:30.  I hit 20 miles at about 2:41.  CRAZINESS.  I was going to pull this off!

Miles 23-25.9

Um….WALL.

Training at elevation made it so that I never felt out of breath or without energy in low altitude Chicago.  But at mile 23, my legs said NO with the stubbornness of a two year old.  My feet felt fine, but my calves tightened and I realized that I was ready to be done with this thing.

The whole race my pace had stayed pretty consistent   Here it dropped to about 8:30 (the same as my pee mile) and it never came back down. But this was also when I had the most support from my fellow runners. A nice man came up to me and said, “way to go 3:35! You’ve got this!” Another lady came up and said something about girl power. But, despite the encouragement, the marathon became a completely personal battle.  I had to make a decision to keep going or stop and no amount of course support or inspiration could do the work for me.

Last week Kelly left me a comment that said to “trust myself.”  I decided that I would use that as my mantra, and in my time of need, that was the only thing my mind could come up with.  Trust yourself.  It literally got me through.

Regardless, at mile 25 I wanted to stop and walk.  I was beyond ready to not be running anymore.  But then I realized that if I kept going, I only had about 10 minutes left.  With 10 minutes left I would hit my goal.  If I didn’t keep going, I would literally miss qualifying by mere seconds.  The prospect of coming in at 3:35:02 was far more painful than sucking it up for the last 1.2 miles.

So, I sucked up (after taking the last water station very slow). And wow.  A mile has never felt so long.

Somewhere near the end

Miles 25.9-26.2

I saw a sign that said “only 800 meters to go!”  I HATE 800’s.  Not helpful.

We turned a corner and there it was.  THE HILL.  It was humongous.  Much bigger than the rest. At the top was the  mile 26 sign.  But I had to get there first. I felt like I crawled.  It was the longest minute? 30 seconds? of my life.

I felt a huge relief in my legs and I knew that I had reached the top. The course turned and the giant FINISH sign came into view.  I couldn’t move any faster, but I ran in (no sprint possible).  My life turned into a movie with the Rocky soundtrack playing in the background (in my head) and the roar of the crowd somewhat muted behind my racing heart. I crossed the finish in 3:33:55!

The crossover was pretty uneventful.  I know I was happy.  My goal was met.  But I didn’t have the energy to be super excited about it.  A girl that came in right behind me screamed BOSTON! And I wanted to turn around and give her a Boston Sister high five.  But I didn’t because I needed to focus on forward motion. I didn’t cry at the end.  Strangely, aside from complete contentment, I experienced very little emotion until hours later.

Aaron spotted me pretty fast (hot pink does have it’s advantages), and we proceeded to go through the longest post race walk EVER (about a mile worth of walking).  We did get our medals and our space blankets, but it would have been ok with me if the walk had been shorter.

Aaron’s Race

Aaron had such a strong and awesome first 21 miles.  He was holding a really fantastic pace and should have come in right about 3:10.

But then he got muscle cramps.  He had already run through the world’s ugliest blister (2 inches in diameter and YUCKY to look at), but running through muscle cramps just isn’t very easily done.  His last 5 miles involved a lot of walking and stretching.  And at the end of that hill at mile 25.9, a medic asked if he needed her to walk him in, so apparently he looked pretty pathetic.

He politely declined (people actually started cheering for him when he got moving again) and made his way to the finish in 3:27:21.

When he found me after I finished we had to stop on about 3 occasions during that long, long walk for him to sit down and stretch.

He wasn’t in good shape. He was understandably frustrated and really has been playing out what he could have done differently in his mind.  But he still had an awesome finish time that he’s happy to brag about!

After:

Gear check pick up was kind of a cluster-f and it took a good 20 minutes for us to get our stuff.  Not impressed.  It was arranged by bib number and bib numbers were arranged by pace, so each line was bombarded by people finishing at the same time.

After that, we still had another half mile walk to the finish line festival. We redeemed our free beer ticket then started the long walk back to the hotel with all the other limping people.

About an hour after finishing my left calf tightened to the point that I couldn’t walk on it (and couldn’t for the next few days).  And my stomach which thankfully held up so nicely during the race, decided to go crazy on me in grand style for the rest of the day.  I may have reached my goal but I paid for it.

In Conclusion:

Chicago organizes a great race.  I’ve heard some complaints, but my experience was fantastic! Volunteers, aid stations, the course, the signage, everything was spot on (they did run out of medals for the last few finishers but I think most of them were in past the cut off time).

The crowd was so amazing, and I appreciated all the support, all the signs, all the costumes and all the music.

I was amazed at how my legs just knew what to do and did it and at a much faster pace than I thought I could do.  I don’t think I would have been able to go faster at the end if I had slowed it down during those sub 8’s and if I had slowed down, I probably wouldn’t have met my qualifying time, so I’m happy that I ran faster than advised.  And really, my pace was so consistent throughout which really makes me happy.

I don’t think this will become a lifestyle.  I still enjoy halves far more, and I’ve never had such a long recovery period.  I’m still walking with a limp and trying to get my calves to loosen up.  And even though I am already forgetting the pain, I remember thinking how wretchedly awful it was to be at mile 25.  I’ve had some mean thoughts during the later miles in races, but I’ve never hated my whole existence as much as I did toward the end of the marathon.  It did make for a very sweet feeling when I pushed through it anyway but really, humans aren’t designed for this.

BUT, I will run Boston in April and earn my Unicorn (more on that tomorrow).

Thanks again for all of your amazing support this weekend!  I thought of all of you each time I passed a time sensor, knowing that you were getting a text message or seeing my little stick figure along the interactive map! It helped me so much going in to know that you were coming along with me. It was a great experience and I enjoyed getting to share it with you all and with Aaron, obviously the best running coach ever.  I questioned him many times throughout training.  We were running too much.  We were running on courses that were too hard.  We were running in the heat.  But in the end it helped me have a relatively uneventful and goal crushing marathon.

It was the proudest moment of my life to cross that finish line under my goal time, and THAT was worth all the training and pain.

The LAVENDER Festival…Get It?

A few years ago, in 2006 maybe, my family and I went to a small event here in Albuquerque called The Lavender Festival.

Little did I know that in a few short years, my life would be pretty Lavendered out.

The Lavender Festival, hosted in a small town in the middle of Albuquerque called Los Ranchos, seems to be held whenever it feels like it.  We went in 2010, but there was no festival last year.

Apparently this year was an “on” year.

As certified Lavenders, I feel like it is our obligation to attend a festival that is centered around our (well…Aaron’s) namesake and heritage! And I may or may not have pretended to be Lavender Festival Queen.

{With my royal bouquet}

I would be lying if I said I didn’t LOVE having Lavender as a last name.  I had never intended to change my name after getting married, but it was important to Aaron, so I decided to go with it.  If he had ANY other last name, I probably would have stood my ground.  But who rejects Lavender?

Obviously not the people at the rather well-attended festival!

We headed out after our 10-miler on Saturday.  The event was well-organized with the friendliest bus drivers shuttling people out to the different festival sites and the various parking areas.  At one point, we were walking down the road, and the bus literally stopped traffic to pick us up.  But this may just have been because I was Lavender Festival Queen! I don’t know if regular Lavender commoners would have gotten the same treatment!

The vendors were about what you’d expect: lots of lavender bath products, lavender oils, lavender plants, lavender bunches, locally crafted jewelry, folksy art, antiques, goat cheese, owls, and alpacas.

We really didn’t buy anything aside from a bunch of lavender to keep in our bedroom for stress relief, but it was a neat event to explore on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon.

Our winery was one of the event stops, so we made our way over there for their festival special, Lavender Sangria.  Talk about yummy!

This lady looks like she had a little too much of the sangria! I love how her husband just sat there, completely unconcerned! Dear Lord, please don’t let this ever be me.  I could never show my face at the winery again, and that would be sad.

And if you’ve ever wondered what in the heck a Lavender Parking is… These are the exact same signs they used at the festival two years ago!

I hope everyone has a great Tuesday! This is what I’m doing this morning.  Coach Aaron has me on a strict stretching/rolling/icing routine until this little heel ache goes away!

To Relay or Not to Relay?

Yesterday I did my 2nd 800’s series of marathon training.  In half marathon land, we did 400’s and maybe 1 800 thrown in per workout.  I liked 400’s.  They made me feel fast! 800’s make me feel sick.  And while I know I’ll build up my endurance, I was DONE after 3 (I still finished out my last required two, but they were noticeably slower than the first three).

My fastest split was about 15 seconds faster than my fastest split a few weeks ago, so at least that’s progress! But man oh man do those 800’s not feel so good.  I was dreading them all day. Plus, that promised rain storm never came so I was once again running in the 6:30 p.m. heat.

Also, some jerk had the audacity to GRILL FOOD in one of the houses next to the track, so I got a major gag reflex every time I ran by that house.

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Yesterday I also got a phone call from an old co-worker of mine.  She’s training for the RnR Denver Half, and she knew that we’ve been training for a marathon. I guess a few people had dropped out of their 12 person relay team for the Wild West Relay Race that runs between Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs, Co, and she wanted to know if we were interested in taking their places. I have been wanting to do a relay just because everyone (like Erika) seems to really enjoy themselves at these relays!  But it is easier to say that you WANT to do something than to actually do it.

A few of my fears:

1) I am terrified of the dark.  I can’t help it.  Running by myself in the dark sounds kind of nightmarish.

2) Wild creatures like bears, bobcats, mountain lions, SNAKES, bugs live in the forest.  I don’t want to meet my demise because my headlamp didn’t illuminate the giant bear until it was too late.

3) I watch a lot of crime shows.  Criminal Minds has let me know that running in the dark in the forest surly means I will be abducted by some serial killer who will lock me up in a cave.  This doesn’t sound like much fun. Caves are dark.  See #1.

4) Spending lots of time in a van with people who I might want to punch in the face.  I only know 1 girl going in.  What if I have the worst weekend ever because I have to spend it with truly terrible people? OR, what if they all want to punch me in the face?  That’s pretty awkward too.

5) Getting lost.  They only have signs at points where the course changes direction.  The website literally says that they can’t be held responsible for signs that get turned the wrong way by some funny person, or if signs blow away.  If you miss a sign, or if it isn’t there, or if it is pointing the wrong direction, then you are lost in the forest.  See #’s 1-3.

6) Getting run over.  The roads aren’t closed.

We aren’t sure yet whether we’re going to do this or not.  It will disrupt our training schedule a bit (MUST FOLLOW THE PLAN), and at $135 a person plus travel and accommodations, it starts adding up.  With friends getting married here soon (and all the shower/bachelor(ette) parties going on with that), plus Chicago and all of those fancy stores and restaurants that the city must certainly contain, the next few months are going to be expensive enough already.  Plus, Fort Collins isn’t exactly anywhere near Albuquerque, so we’d have to take days off work (I’m running out of those), and spend a weekend driving for hours, sitting in a van for hours, running for a few hours, and then driving for more hours back home.  I could be doing a lot with those hours back home.

So, we’re trying to make up our mind by this afternoon.

I think it would be fun, but I also think it would be more fun if it was something that fit into our plan a little bit more.  We’ll see what happens.

Happy Wednesday!

Rain and Wine: Two of My Favorite Things (But Not Necessarily Rain IN Wine)

(This was written this morning, but I ran out of time to spell check and edit before having to head inside….And I was waiting on a few pictures (ahem, Aaron).  So, just pretend that you were reading this 5 hours ago for optimum effect!)

I am currently sitting outside in the perfect, cool, overcast early morning doing my blog catch up.  We had another fantastic, slow drizzle last night, so everything smells dewy and rainy (try topping that scent description, Pottery Barn!).  Add the yummy chai flavored coffee that I discovered at Trader Joe’s, and you get an Amy who has no desire to head inside to get ready for work.  I wonder if I could work from home today…

*Also, just a point of clarification.  When I said my long run this weekend was within my goal pace, I definitely did not mean that I ran it at my marathon goal pace.  I ran it at my long run goal pace which right now is between 1 minute and 90 seconds slower than my marathon pace (by the end I want it to be between 30 seconds and 1 minute slower).  This is the first long run of marathon training that I’ve actually hit those numbers, so I’m really excited, however I’m not quite cool enough to be running 14 miles at an 8 minute mile pace without actually being in a race situation.

This past weekend we headed up to Santa Fe for the Santa Fe Wine Festival.  If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of wine.  We have two local wine festivals that we go to every year.  The New Mexico Wine Festival is the next town over from Albuquerque during Labor Day weekend, and is the largest in the state.

But our favorite is the Santa Fe Wine Festival held over 4th of July weekend.  It is much smaller, but the lines are shorter, and the servers are usually actually the vinters as opposed to help hired off craigslist who wouldn’t know a dry red vs. a sweet red if it bit them in the face.  I wish I was kidding.  New Mexico is actually the oldest wine region in the country. Before Napa, little monks were growing and fermenting here way back in the early 1600’s.  Most wineries here still are family owned and have that “quaint” feeling as opposed to the ones in Napa that herd you in on guided tours (not that I’m complaining…I love Napa and Sonoma.  I’ll hang out at the Chandon complex anyday!).

I wrote an extensive post with lots of pictures of both the Santa Fe Wine Festival and the living history museum that hosts it last year, so I didn’t feel the need to go picture crazy this year.  We also didn’t buy any bottles since we’re still working on the 4 cases we bid on during the silent auction last month.

{We were pretty “wined” out, so we got glasses of bubbly}

After the wine festival, we were hungry, so we headed to a microbrewery near our house to get some grub.  The ladies next to us asked the server which beer was closest to Bud Light.  In a microbrewery.  Now, as far as running goes, I am 100% supportive of everyone and the journey they are on.  Fast, slow, short races, ultra distances, whatever.  I am excited for each and every one of you and where you are at.  But, if you ask for something that tastes like Bud Light at a microbrewery, oh my goodness I will go beer snob on you.  Might as well go to a Wolfgang Puck restaurant and ask for the thing on the menu that tastes most like a Big Mac (This may not be the best comparison…I’ve never actually been to a Wolfgang Puck  restaurant.  For all I know, they could offer something that tastes like a Big Mac).

I let out my rage on Facebook (which in retrospect, wasn’t the most classy thing I could have done, but at least people agreed with me!). For the record, if Bud Light is your drink of choice, more power to you.  I myself was a fan in college.  But maybe don’t advertise it at a place where someone has made it their life’s work produce something much better…and maybe try some of the good stuff every once in awhile.

Later, that same lady said something about the lack of domestics on the beer list.  Because beer brewed in the next room definitely isn’t domestic.

We took a picture of them, but I decided that it probably was a good idea not to post it lest they be part of the mafia.

SIGH. I’m fun to be around, I promise.

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Last night Aaron and I suited up and took Giuseppe for a run/walk in the rain.  I knew I wanted to vary it up a bit yesterday after all the running I did this weekend, so we walked around the neighborhood, let the puppy splash in the puddles, then found our way to the park to jog around the perimeter before heading back home.  Aaron splurged on some of that K-T tape because he’s willing to try just about anything right now to get back in the running game (you should see the arsenal of homeopathic products he’s been putting on his foot).  It is supposed to stay on for 4 days (good, since it is pretty pricey), and we definitely put it to the test by running around in the rain!  It might not help, but at least it stayed sticky.  Jogging on the grass also seemed to be more comfortable for his foot than jogging on the pavement.

We were soaked! You can see the one little dry spot on Aaron.

Eventually, we think we’d like to settle down somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.  Even though I LOVE my sunshine and warm weather, I’ve been really craving a rainy climate lately.  I think becoming a runner has made me appreciate cooler/less barren desert places. And I get really jealous anytime one of you posts pictures of your green, lake/beach side runs.  Anyone want to give us jobs in Portland or Seattle?

I finished out the remaining .8 miles of the 3 on the treadmill which actually worked out pretty well.  I got a good combination of walking, running, and splashing into my workout!

It looks like we have one more day of rain before the temps start heating up and drying out again.  But this Tuesday morning has been perfect.