Unimpressed

This girl is not an Easter miracle this week, for sure.  Nope.  Newp.  Definitely not.   Any ‘uns’ that you can think of pretty much apply to me and my health right now: I’m unmotivated, undisciplined, uninterested…   I mean, I’m mildly motivated and interested.  I have been doing Zumba and I have been running two miles or so at a time for a grand total of six miles this week…  But I’m also not eating the best, not sleeping the best.  I’m worrying too much with the full awareness that I have nothing to worry about and the knowledge that I’m pretty happy, but my brain just keeps going through the files trying to figure out something to be upset about or to worry about.  After my training for the 15k, I still have the enthusiasm to run events but none of the enthusiasm to train for them.  I think I have something coming up at the end of April, but do you think I spent the second it takes to look it up so I can prepare for my race?  No.  Ignorance allows me to be apathetic, for now.  I can panic later, I suppose.  But for now?  Sure.  I’ll have another jelly bean, thankyouverymuch.

  
If I’m perfectly honest, I know what has me in a kerfluffle:

  • This week we have a musical in my second grade classroom with a cast entirely consisting of second graders.  Yes it’s adorable, meaningful and fun, but even the most fun stuff can bring a lot of stress.
  • March is the month in education without a holiday, snow day or planned day off, but also contains at least one full moon and conferences, so it feels like the month that never ends.  As teachers, we feel every single one of those 31 days.  Aiyiyi!
  • The presidential election in our country this time round is about 10,000 times more stressful than I have ever experienced.  This is high stakes, this time, and I haven’t met a soul who is sustaining support for the terrifying, tyrannical Trump, yet there he is, stressing my tail out at the end of every day!  I want it over.
  • Isis.  Why?  Why why why why?  Just STOP it.  I don’t want to think about you and you keep forcing me to with all of these atrocious acts on the world.  Just stop.
  • Money- is there ever enough?  Taxes are due, life needs to be lived and sometimes those two statements and needs appear to be conspiring against one another.

  

Spring Break begins on this coming Friday at 3:25 and this year I feel like I really need it.  I’m lucky/unlucky that my kids have the week at school and my husband is fairly busy, so I will be independent, which is quite rare for me.  What are my plans?  I’m planning to take care of myself.  How?  

  • First, I am going to go for a run every day.  I’m going to try out my running streak for the nine days in a row to see how that feels on me.  I had some feedback in the comments over concern for my streak- that my muscle needs to rebuild and all of that- but I would say this: two miles is not far for attempting a streak.  In fact, I think anything under five miles isn’t that big of a deal for many people, but I’ll readily admit that I don’t think I’m in that crowd yet.  If I were attempting a streak of further distances over an extended time period, then I might be concerned, but 60 miles over 30 days seems doable, just like 18 miles over nine days seems totally doable and reasonable.  Furthermore, any streak I do during my working year will also have Zumba involved which allows for the cross training that people want me to make sure to get.  In that case, like one commenter suggested, it will be a ‘cardio’ streak!  πŸ˜‰
  • I’m going to hit the weights three times.  I’ve gotten out of the habit of pulling weights and I need to get back into it.  When I’m pulling weights, my arms and shoulders feel better and I sustain less injury.
  • I’m going to the spa one day.  Preferably at the end of the week when I’m all sore and tired from running and pulling weights and needing to lay around in a room full of hot rocks or salt followed by dunks in the cold and hot pools.  Oh yes.  Hours later, I may emerge.  But maybe not.  I might just move in.
  • My kids have their talent show and I get to attend both of them!
  • My lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers should all be in the ground by the week’s end.  I should also get my cut flower garden planned and planted.  Summer is going to be yummy and pretty at Lj House this year!
  • Sleep.  Then more sleep.  After that?  I plan on sleeping in!  

One more week.  
One.  More.  Week.
I’ve got this.  πŸ˜‰

Streak

I follow a large number of people on Instagram and Facebook who have running streaks that span years.  One guy just had his second year anniversary of running at least three miles per day!  Man.  Three miles per day?  For two years?  Seriously.  That’s dedication!  And it’s just the kind of dedicated challenge that I like to give myself.  I keep thinking about my own streak, because you know as soon as I saw those other guys I wanted to go streaking myself!  I was sad that I failed to think of this plan in February as I thought the shortest month would be the month with the highest chance of successfully hitting my streak….  So this is what I’ve been thinking:

  • I want to have my own running streak.
  • I think I’ll start with a weeklong streak and see how that feels both for distance and consistency.
  • I think that I need to fulfill a two mile per day running minimum.  I can run more but not less.  Decent distance means something to me for the streak.  Two miles seems short, but with daily running I’m not sure I could endure too much more if I’m also planning on running further distances on the weekends for training purposes.
  • I’d like my official streak to last for an entire month.
  • Summer will work best since my Zumba crew will be more difficult to wrangle when school is out.
  • Eventually I’d like my streak to be about three miles per day.
  • I usually earn 3 miles each Zumba session…  Should I count Zumba as a ‘run’ or should I run a mile or two on top of that?

I think running daily would give me that strength of character that I always like to see evidence of in myself.  I have a tendency to think of myself in not the best light and having proof like this is definitely helpful.  I think running that far, daily, would show me that I’m capable of more an I realize.  I also think that daily running would do a lot for me, training-wise and I’d build a lot of endurance.

  
But then today happened.  And I know, we all have off days, but this was a tough one!  I don’t know what my problem was, but all the way around the loop, every one of those 27 minutes was awful.  I was pulling air like a beginner runner, my shins were tight, my calves were tight…  It was just not that great.  I could have sworn that Bradley was pulling me into running sub-ten minute miles with his fast pace, but when I looked at my timing I was running much, much slower.  Anyhow, I suppose that comes from taking those two weeks off and losing a little bit of my training.  Ah well, it’ll be back in no time, especially if I start trying to hit a bit of a streak!  πŸ™‚

Spring Sprung

I try to be a machine.  I’m supposed to live like a warrior- a weightloss warrior before, but now a warrior intent on getting her life to a place where I can authentically experience the world for as long as possible, more than just focusing on fat loss…  But even a warrior gets worn down.  I’ve been waging this war on my former habits for more than four years now and every once in a while I notice that I just kind of drop away from it.  It’s not intentional, I’ll just hit a two or three week slump where I sleep a lot, I usually get sick, I step away from my strict eating and exercise and sit down, lay down and eat a cupcake.  In general I get about three days into it and freak out, feeling myself slide down a familiar and slippery slope, knowing that a decade ago this would also be the end of my efforts.  That I’d gain back whatever I lost and lose whatever progress made, but I’ve been riding this merry-go-round  long enough to not be afraid of it anymore.  That’s where I’ve been for the last two weeks, and this time I just let myself.  It was interesting, to say the least.  I watched myself get into bed, get sick and make choices not to run or to worry about my nutrition awfully much.  This time I figured my body was asking to slow down after all of my hard training for the 15K.  This time I decided I earned a rest.  And it was so goooood!

The best part was that it worked out a bit magically.  I kind of ate whatever I wanted and didn’t exercise much at all.  I mean, within reason.  I ate real food, I ate healthy, I just didn’t alter anything to make up for the fact that I wasn’t working out and still ate dessert.   Yesterday I said to Bradley that I was afraid of the scale.  I told him the scale was not going to be my friend, then I impulsively got naked and jumped on before I could give it a second thought.  Like magic, it read 191!  Well, 191.6, but still!  That’s my current low!  I was flabbergasted that I didn’t gain anything!  It seems that the break was indeed in order- my body knew it.

  
This week was a bit of a bear.  It was one of those weeks that looks easy but gets complicated with half days that have conferences, meeting days with lots of listening and celebration days which are fun but are also more work.  It was just busy, so when Tuesday rolled around and I was still a little bit sick, I only did ten minutes of Zumba before I dropped out.  But I knew I had to hit it again on Friday, and I did.  The two Jessicas, Julie and I all danced for one, sweaty hour of Zumba and it was wonderful.  I could feel that I was back.  I focused on precision, with my goal of being an instructor, of trying to learn the moves correctly instead of just getting close to it.  Saturday was my baby boy’s eight birthday, then today we decided to go for a run.  Oh my goodness, the run!  When I’m away from running I am scared of it.  Does it matter than I just ran nine miles two weeks ago?  Nope.  I assume that running longer than a quarter mile will be soooo hard that I freak out, but Bradley hasn’t been running in a few months and I knew that he needed it as much as I did and he wouldn’t be running like the wind, so it felt extra safe and helpful to go out.  The motivation was nice.  We just did the extra large loop with a few cut-de-sacs thrown in for a bit of mileage and it felt just awesome for a total of 3.5 miles.  So good.  I just love running.  I never thought I’d be the guy saying that, but it’s true.  I love identifying as a runner about the same as I love identifying at a Seattlite.   I also love it when my husband, who hasn’t been running with me since about November, tells me that I’m so much faster, now.  Pilgrims’ progress!

Happy Spring!  It’s official!

I’ve Got the Moves Like Grandpa

  
Have I mentioned how much I hate being sick?  Because I do.  Passionately.  This weekend is a thoughtful, reflective weekend, as a result.  A sneezy, runny nose, no exercise, overly-facebooked weekend…

My OB/Gyn who delivered Jude was top notch.  I happened to find myself in his office, on his table during his first day of work at the Everett Clinic in his first post-residency position.  As a newer teacher I totally trusted him to be on the up and up.  Knowing that new teachers have boundless enthusiasm and an up-to-date knowledge base, I figured the same would be true of a newer doctor.  He would be up to date and fresh.  I’ll admit to asking him questions about ‘how many of these surgeries have you done’ and stuff like that, because this was my life and body after all, but we fell into some pretty serious ‘like’ with that doctor as we continued on.  We would have liked to have been real friends in real life had we not had that whole pesky patient/doctor relationship in the way, but we accepted it for what it was- a year of regular meetings with a pretty cool guy.  As firsts, I think he took a special interest in us, too, and we exchanged Mickey Ears with his name on them from our Disney vacation at 5 months gestation for Seaworld souvineers for our girl from his vacation (which we still have).  It was a pretty special relationship that I missed as soon as my six week, post delivery appointment ended.  I’m lucky enough, now, to be friends on Facebook with him and we continue to trade articles and life events in that casual Facebook kind of way.  He is also a runner and I wonder, sometimes, what he thinks of me as I went from 340 pounds, sickly and pregnant during his care to a runner and healthy life-liver.  I would imagine that it’s frustrating, sometimes, to see patients and recognize what is possible, but for the sake of being kind and preserving the trust in the relationship you don’t feel like you can say something…  It’s like a kid who leaves my class as a challenged reader but then passes a hard assessment in fifth grade- there’s a sense of relief, on my part, “Phew.  She did it!  She’s going to be ok.”  I wonder if he feels that, too.  

Anyhow, this morning I was paging through my feed and happened to see a post my Dr. put up and it was about which kind of exercise is best for the brain and it’s neurogenesis– or ability to repopulate the brain with neurons.  As my goal for my body project is all about longevity, maintaining my brain definitely works into my plan.  In essence, the study looked at rats who were subjected to three different exercise models: forced interval/high intensity running for 15 minutes of sprint/jog-repeat, a strength training plan where the rats climbed walls with weights on their tails and the final plan of moderate jogging on a wheel at the rat’s own will.  The study found that the rats trained at intensity levels had added stress from training that undercut the benefit to the brain of the exercise, making their bodies stronger but adding no benefit to brain neurogenesis.  The strength training rats got stronger, but their brains didn’t repopulate at all.  The rats who ran a few miles at their own will, however: 

“Those rats that had jogged on wheels showed robust levels of neurogenesis. Their hippocampal tissue teemed with new neurons, far more than in the brains of the sedentary animals. The greater the distance that a runner had covered during the experiment, the more new cells its brain now contained.”

I find this to be incredibly exciting.  It’s actually brain-smart to be pushing for mileage like I have!  I feel validated at my nine miles pushing 13!  Plus, when I’m out running, I find that my brain just wanders.  My mind explores things and goes on walkabouts that surprise me.  It’s during my longer running sessions that I’m struck with genius, a new post is prewritten, a problem as school is solved, I imagine a new way to share information with my students.  It’s during my runs that I think I’m hilarious and really enjoy being with myself.  It’s where I rebuild my spirit and find my power.  It makes absolute sense that during these times of peace with optimal oxygen flowing and my muscles working in symphony that I feel most whole.  It makes sense, then, that my brain would also use that time to rebuild.  To heal.  To renew.  To refresh.

My mom has always admired my grandfather, who is 94 and the captain of the living long like a badass club.  Here’s a man who maintained golf appointments until cancer stole his painless days, stays active in the Eagles, works doggedly with the Shriners, plays bridge, dominoes, gin rummy, cribbage and poker regularly. He organizes the people and solves problems in his apartment community, still winks at the girls- and he just never stops.  On top of that, we call him The Colonel to friends because he is a military man in many ways, but one of the most important ways was that he ran 2-5 miles daily when he was on active duty, which was most of his life.  He stayed active in brain and body and today he’s still sharp as a tack and, while he has his mobility issues, most of us would feel lucky to have the quality of life he has at his age.  In fact, he advocated and fundraised for a new piece of exercise equipment at his apartment building and is presently on a plan to improve his mobility, and it’s worked.  He can now walk better!  He is a role model to me and many others, for sure.  He’s outlived so many, he’s seen many stories unfold in his lifetime, he has children, grandchildren, and even his great grandchildren who are getting ready to step out into the world and possibly provide another generation for him to see in his lifetime.  My wish is to see as much of the story as possible, just like he is able to, so I really look up to my grandpa and the healthy way he’s chosen to lead his life.

I think I am looking for the balance.  Everything has its place- the long slow runs rebuild and refresh.  They keep our brains active, alive, healthy, responsive.  But without the body, without the strength, you can’t keep your head on right.  If you have a weak hip at 85 and you end up slipping and shattering it, that can be an endgame.   A shattered hip can result in someone going in the hospital and going through a series of procedures that can break a person’s spirit down until they give up, give in and slip away.  There has to be both- brain and brawn.  Strong memory and joints.  I think the high intensity stuff has a place, but perhaps not as much now that I’m in my 40’s.  I’m getting older.  Maybe that’s for the young’ns and I’ll happily let them have at it…  At least until I see another article that disputes this one.  πŸ˜‰

  
Yes, I know it’s not always a choice, some people have lupus or diabetes or Alzheimer’s or….   But for many of us it is a choice.  Look at that.  Who do you want to be more like?  It’s a real question- I know people who look forward to the moment when they can finally sit down and quit pushing themselves so hard.  Finally, at 74, they can sit down and catch up on all that TV they missed out on without feeling guilty…  But I am banking on travel in my 70’s, like my grandpa, The Colonel, did.  I think I can, too.   I want to still be out and about, bossing people around, getting my finger into all the pies, just like he did and still does.  I want be an active Grammy who takes her grand babies on hikes, to museums, zoos, to lakes, to rivers, who enters them into 5k’s and runs it with them, accompanies them to Disneyland to ride the scary rides while mommy nurses the baby and all that.  I don’t want to sit until my grandpa does and he’s still going so I don’t know how old I’ll be when I finally will get to sit.  I want to be amazing like him, so I’m planning on never stopping, like him.  My time for sitting will be when I stop breathing, and he and I are both hoping that’s a ways off yet.

 I’ll allow my little sick day today, but then I’m going to get right back to it.  It’s my life.  It has to be.  πŸ˜‰

Fresh Starts & False Starts

The other day I was talking to somebody and they gave me a really nice compliment- she said that I’m inspiring and that what I have managed to do is amazing. I was grateful, thanked her and then turned the compliment back to her.  She is one of those people who started a really successful fitness, health and fat loss program, got derailed for several months, got discouraged and now is picking up the pieces, getting back in the saddle and hitting the trail again.  I authentically admire her effort and progress in the same way she admires mine.  Truly.  And that seems funny to people sometimes, I think, because why would I admire someone who has ‘only’ lost {insert any number} of pounds when I have lost a ‘staggering’ 149 pounds?

 {I have a nasty cold so you get race day pics instead of new derpy run pics otd}
 What I have come to realize though is that we aren’t so different from Edison, who famously tried thousands of fibers before he figured out which filament would be most effective in the lightbulb.  Those of us who want to change our lives- get healthy, get skinny, get active, get happy- whatever, we try and fail over and over again until finally we don’t fail and the lightbulb stays brightly lit. Just like Edison, with each attempt we learn something new.  We make shifts.  We try new things, form new hypotheses and try again.  I learned that cute little diet plans don’t work for me.  I rebel, sneak and find work arounds a like a naughty child if I follow a prescribed plan, so I had to go rogue and make my bare bones, honest-to-a-T calorie input and output plan.  I learned that I fake and dumb down exercise by slowing my walking down to a saunter, avoid chasing tennis balls and float/swim, so I decided to force myself to run.  Further.  Longer.  Faster.  I can’t fake in running like I can fake walking, swimming or any kind of sportsing.  Believe me, I always found ways.  I learned that any person who coached or guided me me besides myself instantly became an enemy.  I would boil with contempt if I felt forced, so I had to be the one to force myself.  I learned that self reliance was key for me.  I had to learn discipline.  I had to learn how to be honest with myself.  It took time, many false starts, a lot of forgiveness and fresh starts before I finally was able to put it all together and make this miracle happen.

  
So I really admire the people who are making that fresh start.  I know that each time they start they’re that much closer to being successful.  They’re that much stronger, that much smarter, that much more determined and that much more likely to meet their goal.  It’s exciting to watch it happen and it’s always fun to have friends with things in common- especially passion projects like ours.  I always say that every moment is an opportunity for a fresh start.  Seriously- if you know me or have been a student in my class, you know that this is a mantra of mine.  As soon as you make the decision to start fresh it’s like a miracle occurs.  You can wait for Monday, but tomorrow works as does tonight, this evening and even right now.  There’s no shame in false starts or mistakes, especially if it’s followed by a fresh start, and isn’t it amazing that you can’t have too many fresh starts?!  They won’t run out until you’re dead, so keep trying and know that you have at least one person in your corner who is on the edge of her seat, rooting for you and believing in you!  (It’s me! Lj!😘)

  
Speaking of passion, I’ve long been trying to figure out how to turn my passion project into something more than a hobby.  Kendall, the primary instructor from shinedancefitness.com, is coming to Seattle in September to teach a master certification Zumba class.  It got me thinking about how much I love being fit and sharing my passion for health and fitness with other people.  I love bringing my friends together for Zumba after school in my classroom…  I think I’m going to try to become an instructor!  I chatted a tiny bit with Kendall and asked if I need to have a dance background and she let me know that I don’t.  I am going to practice, in earnest, the routines this spring and summer to see if I might actually have it in me to be coordinated enough to become an official Zumba instructor.  I don’t know what I would do with that, but it feels like a start…  Of something.  From there I started researching steps to becoming a personal trainer and I started seeing some fun potential.  I don’t think I’ll be quitting my day job anytime soon, but it’s always fun to learn more and it will be nice to have some official answers to some of the questions I get.  πŸ˜‰

How Now Brown Cow?

We headed to Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate my favorite boy’s eighth birthday on Tuesday.  With us came piles of food.  Piles and piles.  I’m pleased to report that I managed to make smart choices.  After the race on Monday I weighed myself to find that I was holding a lot of water.  A lot.  Seven pounds of it.  So coming on vacation with a bunch of weird food was not exciting to me.  I packed a lot of veggies- and I’m glad I did!  The whole time I was at the water park I was sloughing water and going pee like crazy, so hopefully that 199 weigh in was temporary.  While the kids did the MagiQuest, I followed them around and got steps.  I turned on my tracker just for fun to see what kind of times and mileage I got and I have to say it wasn’t so bad!  I walked all over the hotel, explored many floors, found all the secrets and got some steps.  Then I sat in the lobby and journaled to my heart’s delight until it was time to slay the dragon and head home- and back to my reality that includes a 13 hour workday today.  Fun fun. It was a lovely, mid-week, unexpected and much-needed vacation!

    
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Hot Chocolate 15K and how it went for me.  I’m simply astounded at the progress I’ve made.  To think that four years ago running, walking or really moving intentionally was hard is very strange to me now.  My identity is so closely tied to being a runner, to being healthy, to being active that I can’t even imagine living like that again.  To think that I finished running nine miles and just kind of casually walked to my car after and drove home is so odd.  That I pulled up to the Space Needle at the end and instead of feeling like I’d been through a battle I felt like I just went for a run…

It has me thinking a lot about distance and what running needs to be for me.  How do I look at being a runner now that I have the acumen of experience and knowledge.  Now that my muscles can pump and endure for nine or more miles, what’s next?  Now that my lungs can process the air and pull the oxygen into my bloodstream without making me feel like they’re on fire, how do I push myself?  For so long it just seemed like baby steps- run for 30 seconds: CELEBRATE!  Run one mile: CELEBRATE!  Run a 5k: CELEBRATE!  And on and on and on.  I keep push-push-pushing myself one step further, one mile further, one more minute and I’m not sure that’s where I need to focus now.  I really like the distance of a 15K.  Three miles is a fun run, six miles is a solid workout and nine miles is my new push point.  It’s a good distance to make myself feel like I accomplished something to be proud of while also balancing out the time issue.

  
{I needed to share a picture of my awesome new swimsuit- I’m Ariel!}

I think that hardest part about being a distance runner is the amount of time it takes to run all of those miles.  I’m not a fast runner- as you know, I get excited when any of my splits/miles are under 10:30.  If they’re under ten minutes I go crazy,  so running nine miles is, at a minimum, about 100 minutes.  That’s a long time to wait for Mama on a Saturday and you can bet your sweet tooth that I hear about it at length from my family.  Longer distances will need to be saved for when my kids are teenagers and don’t care what I’m doing on the weekend.  

  {This was my ‘back to the grind’ face that I shared with my mom on the way to work while stopped at a stopligt this morning- a loooong day ahead does wonders for the commute happiness.  Within 15 minutes of the student’s arrival the power went out.  It was an epic day.  😳}

What does that mean for my half marathons coming up this fall?  Well, I’m still planning on doing them.  I do the math and realize that I’ve been running nine miles about once a week since the end of January/early February.  I actually know I haven’t been terribly consistent at that, but rather than go look at data and pick at myself, I like to rest in my well of confidence that I do this now.  If I believe I can then I can- that’s what has worked for me so far, why give that thought cycle up?  Anyhow, it’s only four more miles.  Once nine is under my belt, I feel like adding a few more miles over the summer won’t be too hard and by the time the Blerch and River Run roll around I should be feeling prepared for that just as I was prepared for the Hot Chocolate run.  Then I’ll repeat the same running season as this year, I think.  Taper it back down to nine or less miles during the school year the up it when I have time in the summer.  It will be nice if this plan all works out…  πŸ˜‰

Hot Chocolate 15K

 
What a day!  What a run!  I feel amazing!!!  I don’t even know what it is about running events like these that fills my bucket up so much, but they do and I love them!  This run, in particular, was really cool because we started out in front of Key Arena at the Seattle Center, ran down past the Science Center toward and past Pike Place Market, then we turned around, ran up some ridiculous, Seattle hills (if you’re from here, yes, I mean the ones that climb up from the ferries- those steeps bad boys), through a tunnel, then forever on Aurora, across the bridge and a good distance on 99 up a long, slow hill and finally back.  It was steep, windy, rainy, freezing cold and wonderful.  I had Macklemore in my ears and the gorgeous world around me full of fun people who paid to be there with me, running all over Seattle on a Sunday morning.  As I crossed the Aurora Bridge the first time I wanted to raise my hands in the air and holler about how amazing this all was and what a great day it is…  But I didn’t.  Instead I just gave a couple of fist pumps, plastered that grin on my face (as if I could wipe it off), and just kept climbing that long, gargantuan hill that just never seemed to let up.  When I crossed the bridge on the way back the wind had picked up, the rain had ceased to drizzle and was in full force shower mode, gusting into me.  That bridge crossing in the driving rain had me gasping and crying out old lady things like, “Oh gracious!  That’s cold!” I hiked up my hood, zipped my hoodie and hugged myself tightly to conserve heat.  But I still loved it.  I loved it best when I rounded the last corner and saw the Space Needle right there in front of me, one more turn and I saw the finish and I was so surprised that it was already over.  Already over?  That was nine miles, Girl!  You just did that!  I gathered my goodies and got out of there before I started shivering too much.  I was glad I brought dry clothes to change into because I was soaked!

 

I think I trained just right.  I had some extreme charley horse cramps on Friday that left my muscle bruised and sore.  I babied it all day yesterday and was apprehensive, at best, about being able to run this.  Imagine my pleasure, then, when it warmed right up by the second mile in and didn’t hurt much at all- like in a way that felt damaging- the whole time.  I didn’t cramp or anything!  I was so happy that I managed to massage, salt, heat, chill and elevate it enough that I was able to compete.  And while I didn’t place competitively, I still remain in the 40th percentile for my age group.  While I’m not even close to the fastest in my peer group, I’m also nowhere near the tail end.  While his isn’t a competetive thing for me and I don’t need to feel superior, it’s just nice to know that I’ve got more oomph than I ever thought I would.  And I PR’d my 15k on this race- even with an injury and all those hills!  Yeeehaw!  

Two really great things happened during this race:

  
The lady with the blue pants?  That’s Shana (like: Shane-uh).  At first I just admired the pattern on her pants and tried to decipher it- was it flowers?  Clouds?  Space dust?  The things one ponders while one runs…  But all of that consideration of her pants made me realize that she was staying right in front of me for the first three miles.  Eventually I thanked her for her excellent pacing and we started encouraging one another.  She’d look over at me and tell me that we’ve got it!  That we are doing great!  And it was fun to have a buddy who just matched me.  At one point I drank a big gulp of Nuun with a big gulp of air and I had to stop and walk for a second- and only a second becasue Shana came right behind me, laid a hand on my shoulder and reminded me I could do it.  It was like she was an angel in that moment, sent to give me a boost.  I smiled for a long time after that and used her support as I climbed that long hill.  I passed her and thought she would catch me, but the hill seemed to slow her down and I last saw her as we passed going opposite and gave a high five to one another.  I love that girl in that race in that moment.  I wish we’d have gotten slightly more official because running with her was pretty fun.

  
This was after the race, after I had changed into some warm, dry clothes and somehow got routed onto the running route I had just finished!  It’s a rare selfie-while-driving because I wanted to just capture this pure, happy moment of realizing what I just accomplished!  The Aurora Bridge had just reopened and it was marvelous to drive across, measuring with my car what had just been done on foot.  And guess what?  That was a long hill!  Even in my car!  

I don’t think I’ll do this event again.  While I had a fantastic time and I actually really liked the route, hills and all, it was expensive.  You got a lot of cool swag and a very cool medal, yummy hot chocolate, a nicer quality sweater and stuff, but I don’t really need all of that.  Just the medal, I think.  β­οΈIt’s so pretty and sparkly!  I also don’t like having to pick up my packet the day before.  Downtown Seattle is expensive to get to and hard to park in.  It’s a two day event, pretty much, and I don’t like that.  It was insanely crowded.  This was both really cool and a minor challenge.  With a lot of people we had to wait a long time to get going so we stood in the rain for 45 minutes before we finally got moving.  Parking and traffic were stressful for me to consider.  All of that said, I liked being able to run like I imagine the Boston Marathon or something.  Looking out and seeing that thick, sea of people is a pretty incredible experience.  I’m glad I did it, but I think I’m a one timer with this one.  😉