Race Report: 2014 Whidbey Island Half Marathon

Running this year’s half marathon was awesome for a couple of reasons. First off, hubby was home so he was able to be with the kids AND cheer me on. It was also the 3rd in a series of 3 – so all of my race medals match! (It really is all about the race jewelry, right?!) And finally – the weather was FANTASTIC! We just don’t get stunners like this out here very often. We could see snow-capped Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainer off in the distance, as well as the majestic olympics! Simply breathtaking.

Eating breakfast, I looked out our back door and was greeted by a perfect sunrise!

Morning Sunrise

I rolled my ankle along the way which stinks, because not only did it slow my pace, it hurt! But DNF (Did Not Finish) is not in my vocabulary. The result – I walk/ran the remainder of the race, and attempted to sprint/hobble through the finish!

Collecting the medal, grabbing some grub and meeting up with hubby and the kiddos he says, “I have a story to tell you!” Meanwhile Jake is dancing around hollering, “I RAN WITH THE RUNNERS!!! I RAN WITH THE RUNNERS IN THE RACE!” Eric is grinning.

While I was running and hobbling and enjoying my views along the course, Eric was on minion management patrol. He proceeded to tell me that while chasing Hannah, Eric lost sight of Jacob. As in, could. not. find. him. This is my worst nightmare come to life. Turns out he caught some racing fever, dropped his coat, and took off with some random racers! He raced all the way around the park, and through to the finish line. Meanwhile, Eric spots Jake’s coat and starts looking for Jake. He happily runs up to Eric after his “finish” and informs him that he ran the race with the runners. (Non-racers are never allowed on the course, and definitely not minions racing through the finish line!) Leave it to ours to do just that!

We had a serious talk about how it’s his job to ALWAYS stay with us, and we HAVE to know where he is! I think this may be payback for the time I was separated from my parents at a wax museum. My parents were a hot mess of emotions when they finally caught up with me, mostly relief and anger. I had no idea I was “lost”. I was happily posing for a picture with a random wax figure. Yes, mom. I have been paid back.

At the finish line with my friend Jaye! She shaved 8 minutes of her race time for a new PR! Let me tell you, that’s not easy feat on this crazy hilly course!

2014 Whidbey Half Marathon with Jaye

 

Despite temporarily losing our kid, it was an awesome way to round out the races in Washington!

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Goals and Year End Stuff

I had a whole list of goals this year, and many were accomplished. One was to run/ride at least 500 miles. Yeah, that one didn’t happen. (I checked my stats and I hit a dismal* 180 miles.) I killed myself last year running crazy miles to achieve the goal of 300. I felt great though, and the feeling of getting something done I had set out to do was an awesome feeling. As the saying goes, fail to plan and you’ll hit it every time. Here were some of the things on my “to do in 2013” list:

*Tough Mudder
*Spin Certification
*Group Exercise Certification
*Whidbey Half Marathon
*Whidbey Triathlon

This year has been different in some ways. The hubs returned from a long deployment, we settled into new routines, I continued working out, but definitely not at the pace I had kept up the last two years. And I’m feeling it. I actually haven’t been running since the Tough Mudder in October.

Ugh. It makes me sick to even type that.

I know I need to run. My body craves it. I’ve been focused on teaching spin, the kiddos, and being active daily, but not in a measurable way like before. For me, concrete, tangible goals make a huge difference.

Looking forward to the new year, I’m not one to make hard core resolutions. I do like to take stock of what transpired the year before and think about what I’d like to do differently or better in the next. So that’s what I’m in the midst of doing currently. And as part of those goals and planning for the next year, our upcoming PCS move next summer, and the not knowing what life will bring – I have signed up for a few races already:

*Resolution 5k/Polar Plunge (I’ll be skipping the dip into Puget Sound in January, thankyouverymuch!)
*Sweetheart 5K/10k
*St. Patricks Day 5k (Did that one last year with the minions)
*Whidbey Half Marathon
*5/5/5 Duathlon 5 miles on the spin bike, 5k run, followed up by another 5k

2014 has 365 days in it – just like every brand new year. But really, a January 1st isn’t necessary to fulfill goals and dreams. We are given a new start every single morning we wake up. So for my next 365 – I want to maintain that mindset, that each day is a fresh start, a day to work at goals, getting better and making the choices that support the health of not only me, but of my family.

Do you make resolutions? If so, are you able to keep them?

*Let me clarify that when I say the word “dismal” about 180 miles, those who run 500+ miles will understand. For non-runners, 180 miles seems like it’s a lot. It’s all about perspective.

Bittersweet Love Affair

Ah, sweet Half Marathon.

We started out not sure if we would like each other very much a couple of years ago. You with your attractive 13.1, me with my newly healed shins and proper running shoes. It was destiny, seeing you across the “room” of Honolulu. Then you made eye contact with me and I crossed your finish line….and it was over. I was in love with you.

You aren’t as brutal as Full Marathon. I can still recover in a day or two after running you, but you do give me a hard time. Today you just had to bring Miss Frigid Temps. You know I don’t care for her at all. I think you do this just to sabotage me.  I am seriously rethinking our entire relationship. Not only did I have to wear extra layers and felt like the this guy:

41wpBoQexXL._SL500_SS500_

but by the end of our date, I felt like an 80 year old whose arthritis was acting up. Seriously?! Who does that to someone they love? Apparently you do. You and Miss Frigid. Ugh. You disgust me.

Okay, okay, not really. I do love you. I just love you more when you are warm. Does that make me a bad runner? A fair-weather-only runner? A part-time runner? ….. ♪ ♫ We are undercover passion on the run, chasing love up against the sun ♪ ♫ ….cue Stevie!

Wow. That was awkward. At least we did see some beautiful sights this morning, you and me and Miss Frigid. Sights like this:

Oh, yeah. I no longer have the smart phone with which to take pictures. And I haven’t yet learned how to download images from my mind. Well, we did see some trumpeter swans and an eagle. (HUGE!) and it was a stunningly beautiful clear day with the snow-topped mountains in the distance…..similar to these….

images-2 images-1 images

(Yes, these were taken from the internet, but it was from the route we ran!)

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m glad we had this little chat. I think until you decide to break it off with Miss Frigid, we won’t be seeing much of each other. But that’s okay. I’ll wait for you.

Because I love you.

Downsizing, Reorganizing, Purging, Moving and Other Things I’m Grateful For

I love a new year. I love the clean slate feeling. Perhaps it’s not just the clean slate, but more spring being on the horizon. (And yes, you can have a “clean slate” every day – no need to wait until “monday”, “tomorrow”, “next month” or even a new year.)

For me, that clean slate feeling also comes every time we move (and being in the military, we do it often!) While the hubbs is home, we are currently in the midst of packing, downsizing, purging and reorganizing as we prepare to move into base housing in 3 weeks. Moving in the military, while it can be stressful, really is the way to go because they come in and do it for you. Usually in 1-2 days they wrap, box up, and put everything you own on a truck. It’s quite amazing just how fast it can get done. (Especially when they aren’t oohing and ahhhing over things not seen since the last move!) This time however, we are doing it on our own. Pack a box here, a box there, non-essentials that we won’t need for a couple weeks, play with the kids, make a meal, pack a box, put kids to bed, pack a box, fold laundry, pack a box, do some dishes, pack a box, then collapse into bed. It’s so sloooooooow. But, when its all said and done, I am happy to say we will be in a cute new house with a giant kitchen that will make this foodie very happy!

This clean slate will also overlap into my running a bit with my first race event of 2013! I’m running a half marathon tomorrow and am getting really excited! I’m doubting any PR potential, but I just want to start the year off with a feel-good race and see what happens. The new iPod shuffle will get it’s race inauguration as well! We did a practice run this week and I am in LOVE with this thing! I felt so free running without my phone strapped to my arm! (Yes we are still living prehistorically with no smart phones!)

2012-ipodshuffle-gallery2-zoom

It’s so stinking tiny!! And, like all Apple products – so simple and intuitive to use. I remember roller skating in my driveway with this monster:

walkman

I am so grateful for technology!

So fun and armed with my Gu and warm running pants – I’m ready to run!!

Preparation

Today was the last race before Eric’s departure. Kind of bittersweet, but I really didn’t have time to dwell too much on it because I was SO completely unprepared for today in every way that I just had to muddle through.

Flying by the seat of my pants, I snoozed longer than I should have (after staying up the night before longer than I should have), tried to get some breakfast and get dressed before Hannah woke up…no luck. She woke up so I was stuck nursing while watching the clock tick down the minutes before we needed to leave! Ugh. Normally, I am a person that plans and prepares and sets out the race gear/number/water bottles/breakfast the night before so I don’t have to think too much! Not so much this morning….

Then it dawns on me – hmmmm…. there was no race packet pick up. I don’t have a race number. I never got an email about one. Crap! But then Eric wondered aloud if I’d registered for this race way before I’d gotten hacked and changed it….Crap! Crap!  I quickly got online and found there wasn’t a packet pickup – just a number pick up at the start line. Okay cool. Now – where the heck did I put my armband for the gps/iphone for my tunes?? Crap! Crap! Crap! (Perhaps the title should be renamed CRAP!) Ha!

And of course by this time, Jacob is throwing a fit about something or other (there has been a few lately so it’s hard to keep track of them!) I then look outside to see it POURING buckets. Permeating, drenching, soaking wet rain. By the way – I got a sunburn yesterday from sitting in my yard. What?! I think I could deal with the weather better if there was some kind of consistency, but man! Is there something wrong with 2 days of sun in a row?! But, I digress……

Finally we make it – I have all my gear and I’m ready to go. Kiss Eric and the kids goodbye and I’m off. There is no chip timer. No gun start. Just a loud “3….2…..1….GO!” And there were maybe 75-100 people. TOTAL. Talk about a small race. And many runners seemed to be on the elite side because about 5-10 of us were bringing up the rear of the pack and I was running a 9-10 minute mile. Usually that pace puts me in the middle of the pack. Not a ton of beginners in this neck of the woods! Part of going from a city to a small town I guess….maybe that will help me get faster! Ha!

I did pretty good coming in at 2:21. The EXACT same time as the last half I did a few months ago. There was a definite difference this time in that with the lack of preparation – it just seemed to make the whole race that much harder because I felt like I was 3 steps behind before I’d even started! Mentally I kept hearing Christina (my Hawaii trainer) SCREAM at me…..”What?! You are stopping to walk?!!! You aren’t even breathing hard! GOOOO!!!!!!”

It’s a miracle we made it out the door! And I was totally sporting my Dumbell-Fit shirt! Gotta represent yo! 808 Baby!

Then there was the rain. Whoa. You know you are a “real runner” when even this soggy mess of a day doesn’t deter you! Whew. Even with a hat on, the water poured through the bill and my face was SOAKED. Afterwards I was getting the chills (Yeah, in June-uary!) So when we made it home I took a HOT bath! Felt great!

So moral of the story…..(or rather note to self) – PREPARATION IS KEY. Diet, sleep, rest, recover, run, cross train, hydrate – it’s all preparation. It’s all needed. And I will never again schedule a race in the last two weeks before a deployment!! Silly me!

Speaking of races…I better start looking for some to fill up the summer!!

Whidbey Island Half Marathon

Just had to share the pictures from last weekend!
This one was about mile 4-5 🙂 Feeling great and loving the sunshine that morning despite the cold temp!

 

The rest of the pics are from the finish line…..

 

 

It seems like I do this at the end of every run. I don’t seem to be able to help myself – I always feel so victorious at the end!! I’ll blame it on the endorphin high!!

 

Okay Berry Dairy Days Half marathon – I’m coming for you!! Let’s see how fast we can get it done!

New PR!

As always, I do my best thinking while running and had a million thoughts and ideas for this post and now I’m ready to jot it all out and can’t remember half of them!!

Here is what I DO remember:

1. I ran my 3rd half marathon today. While I still struggle to get (and stay in) single digit paces (that elusive land where REAL runners hang!) I will now call myself a REAL runner. I just ran my THIRD half marathon. I have two legs. I run. I am a runner. Regardless of what the clock says. (I may have to repeat that to myself a few times!)

2. My race number today was 2011. The significance of this number was not lost on me. There is no doubt that the year 2011 was the year that my life changed. Other than marriage and birth – in 2011 I changed my life, for the rest of my life. I lost the excess weight and gained so much more. I gained treasured friendships, gained more strength than I knew I had, and gained a clearer picture of who I am, what I want, and who I want to become. 2011 is one of my favorites. (My race number for the xterra half was 666. :/ Ha! I wonder what that says!? 😉

3. I improved. I like to set aggressive goals. I really want to be able to run a half in 2 hours. I will get there. Even though I told myself (and Facebook!) that I was aiming for 2:00-2:15, I STILL shaved time! My first was at 2:40. I ran today’s race at 2:21!!! That’s 21 minutes. Yeah – I’ll take that!

4. With roughly 25 lbs gone since the last half – my form has also improved. This makes running easier, less injuries, and quicker recoveries!

5. I love the running community!! There just isn’t anything like it! There is competition, sure, but mostly it’s with ourselves. We are all trying to improve. And when you surround yourself with these kinds of people, it’s easier to succeed.

6. Music is key for me. I put it on shuffle and somehow just the right song comes up just when I need it! Katy – I felt you with me as Mumford played, as always!! 😉 Jaye – totally thought of you as “Moves Like Jagger” came on! Jayde: you were right there for “Ali in the Jungle”! “Everybody gets knocked down… But how quick are you gonna get up?!!” I love that!! Nina – I now think of you whenever “The River” plays! You taught me to take in the scenery and enjoy the run!! And of course Christina was there yelling at me (nicely, of course!) “Don’t quit at the end!! Why would you quit when there is only 4 miles left! It’s ONLY 13 miles. It’s only HALF crazy!”

7. It’s ONLY a half. Screw that! It’s a half MARATHON! It’s not an easy thing. Only and marathon do not belong in the same sentence!!

The Whidbey Island half marathon was spectacular!! There really isn’t anything better than getting to know a place with a pair of running shoes! As a post on Pinterest says, “There may come a day when I can no longer do this. Today is NOT that day.”