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What if that person is me?

Sometimes, I wonder why I’m still running.   Not so much why but I am a bit amazed I’m still doing it.  I think about the numerous obstacles – mostly stemming from my brain – and how any one of those obstacles could have sent me back to my couch.

In the beginning, I didn’t always take training to run a 5k seriously especially as the days got shorter & colder.  But wanting to take the training seriously because I wanted to achieve the end goal.  The sudden panic two weeks before race day when I wasn’t even running a mile straight.  Deciding to get rid of time intervals & running until I couldn’t run another step.  My mantra: mine to battle, mine to conquer, mine to take.

Yesterday, I ran my new favorite route – a route I’ve yet to fully run.  Because there are six hills, three with a 10% grade.  Usually, I walk the middle third of each hill.  It’s easy to let myself off the hook – if I just make it to that bench, that pole, I can walk the rest.  Last night, I decided I was running the whole route, hills and all.  I wasn’t concerned if it took all night but I was running those hills.  And run them I did – in record time.

What made last night different than last week?  Are my normal thoughts geared more towards leniency?  And if they are, how do I make the take no prisoners mantra the rule rather than the exception?

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I did not realize when I made my 36 x 36 list there may be certain items I would no longer want to do.  Like eating at Bottega in Napa Valley.  I still have a crush on Chef Chiarello’s culinary skill but the excitement of eating some delish food has diminished. Plus, logistically, it would be a major pain to plan with my upcoming San Francisco trip and I don’t have the extra time next spring when I run Big Sur.  A drive up (down?) the Pacific Coast Highway may suffer the same fate.

So, Bottega got nixed.  In its place is a walk (or bicycle) across the Golden Gate Bridge.  I should also add a trip to the Presidio.  The two things I was unable to do the last time I was there …for some unknown reason.  Like, getting off at the wrong bus stop and walking hours through some wooded area alone (smart, smart girl who sometimes has the worst internal GPS), finally making it to the bridge and realizing there was only enough time to take another bus back to Chinatown to meet a friend for lunch.

As best laid plans (of mice & men) often run amuck, sometimes it is just a change of heart.  Gone is the GRE (change of heart); a 30 day yoga challenge in its place.  Totally stoked about the 30 day yoga challenge; I have thought about little else all morning.  Can September 1st get here quickly?  As for my August accomplishments – it has gone from crossing off three items to completing only one.

Full Tilt ice cream tasting went to the wayside (until maybe October or May if I want to try the tequila caramel chocolate ice cream – I dare you to say its not dreamy) because some runner girl in training thought it was best to give up sugar until the day after her first half marathon.  Still gives me about 24 hours to get all the San Francisco gelato a girl can devour.

Stand up paddle-boarding was available Labor Day weekend missing my August deadline by four days.  Who would have thought all of August would be scheduled?  Blame it on the lovely sunny weather in Seattle.

Once again, I’ve rearranged my schedule and figured out availability based on what else is scheduled, the coaching season and my tentative race schedule.  Life has a way of stampeding through all my best intentions.  But again – the point.

As I was going through my tweets this morning, I noticed one.  It said the Nike Women’s Marathon (and half) was seven weeks away.  Seven weeks.

There was a little freak-out followed by a calendar verification.  Thankfully, not all people have my knack for numbers.  I’m safe by half a week.  Seven weeks seems a lot scarier then 54 days.

All my worrying (totally needless if past experience has anything to say) is hanging around these days because I have no clue what to expect come race day.  The first time is the hardest, right?  The first yoga class.  The first kayaking excursion.  The first time (& the last time) black water rafting.  The first 5k.  The first mudrun.  The first volleyball practice of the season.

Getting my hands dirty works best.  Unfortunately, I can’t run a half marathon without the training.  (Whiteboard quote: There is no glory in training but there is no glory without it.)  I’m going to need those 7.5 weeks to prep for the finish line – there are at least 3-4 miles I need to add to my long run.  The mental aspect of training has been as grueling (if not more so) than the physical training.

As one runner said “it’s not surviving the race, it’s surviving the months of training.”

Saturday’s practice was held with the winter team and KJ’s story was shared.  Mr. C’s daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and one week before his first TNT event, she passed away at the age of 19.  What she left behind was a list of ten life lessons.

10) Deal with life one day at a time.
Sometimes when life gets crazy we feel like we’ll never sort everything out.  But if we just deal with everything one day at a time & instance at a time, life has a way of working through things.  It also makes life’s circumstances a little less overwhelming.

9)  Turn every life experience into a learning experience.
The best way I have found to cope with hard times more easily is to become knowledgeable about what is going on & try to find meaning in everything that happens.  Trust me, there is always one there.

8 ) Always look for the positive.
No matter how bad life can get, there is always a positive to be found.  If you focus on the positive aspects of life, the hard times are easier to get through.  The power of positive thinking is amazing & it works.

7) Try to do at least one new thing every day.
Much too often, people get into a routine of doing the same thing every day & their lives become boring.  The new thing doesn’t have to be big.  It can be something really small, like taking a different route to work or trying a new kind of food.  Make a wish list for yourself of new stuff you want to try.  Some things can be small & others, big.  Plan on completing one of those things each day & by the end of every day, your life will be that much more full.

6) Be true to yourself.
No matter what happens in your life, if you are true to yourself & confident about who you are, you can overcome anything.  Always stick to who you are & don’t worry if people are going to accept you or not.  If you are confident with yourself, it will show & the people who really matter will accept you for who you are, not for who you are not.

5) Touch as many lives as you can.
Every time you meet someone new, you leave a little bit of yourself with them.  They are effected by you.  The more people you meet, the more complete both their and your lives are because of how you have been effected by each other.  Think of the possibilities.

4) Enjoy the little things.
Although the big accomplishments in life are important, sometimes its the lil things that are more enjoyable.  Conversations with your best friend in the middle of the night or a quiet moment somewhere peaceful where you were just able to think, can add up to be much more important & memorable than any big thing.

3) Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Many times in life, people begin getting concerned with petty things.  What people forget is that in the long run, it doesn’t matter what “he said” or “she did.”  It’s not worth your time to get worked up about anything small or petty.

2) Hold on to your friends.
No matter what happens in your life, good or bad, your friends will be there for you.  Whether it is a pat on the back or a shoulder to cry on, your friends are there for you always.

1) Make every day count.
Life is short & we never know how long we are going to have.  We must live life to the fullest EVERY DAY.  Everything we do should have a greater purpose.  We should never throw any opportunities away.

– left behind by KJC

I crossed off one item from my 36×36 list last night paddling around the hahbah.  Paddling about 5 miles – why couldn’t running be so easy when I first started.  Granted, I am not sore today but I do have some lovely scars to share.

Scars first:
 Forty-five minutes into the lesson, my thumbs looked like this.  It was so much fun though, I couldn’t stop paddling.  And it doesn’t stop me from wanting to go back tonight except I can’t because I have to run.  For reals.

I shared a two-man boat with Ms. Paula; I was seat two and in charge of the rudder.  Ms. Paula was in seat one and in charge of setting our pace.  Do you remember playing Poll Position at local pizza joints when you were a kid?  Or Mario Kart?  And you’d be driving along and all of a sudden need to make a correction – maybe Yoshi dashed into your lane and you had to swerve around him?  But because it was immediate, you over corrected and then had a hard time getting back to the non-lunatic driving?  (Okay, so maybe just me?)

That was me with the rudder.  Also, I’m not sure I can do two things at once.  Pay attention to direction (to avoid that dinghy eating trees) and also be in sync with Ms. P.

So, there you have it.  I had a total blast and cannot even begin to fathom why I waited so long to give kayaking a go.  Maybe it was the $200 lessons in North Carolina at the U.S. National White Water Rafting Center.

Seriously: F.U.N.

I have been a lil print obsessed lately; my pinterest “words of wisdom” board is overfull (if that were possible for an online cork-esque board).  The three rules are a reminder for moi (closet francophile…) but maybe also for you.

1) I have been chatting all things running with my Wednesday running buds, buttahcup & the infamous Robby K since the beginning of 2011.  It was great to chat with another friend who got into running about the same time I did (unbeknownst to moi).  He showed me all the cool features of his garmin & I’m a lil bit hooked.

Mostly – I maybe I shouldn’t admit this – but I love the graphing feature.  It will show your pace plus heart rate for all your runs.  And if you are concerned about any point of your run, satellite images will pinpoint exactly where you were at that moment.  I know I’m behind the curve on this but I wanted to purchase this fantastic toy around Christmas.  After seeing his cool little presentation, I almost bought one this week.  Still going to wait – I’m a sucker for Thanksgiving / Christmas sales.  Besides, I am a tad bit worried about having that suntan line (shallow, I know).

2) PSA: Nipple chafing is a real and serious situation.  Let me restart – I have not experienced this.  But I saw an article in some magazine about nipple chafing.  And I thought “this must be some kind of joke.”  After seeing the horror of certain male TNH race shirts last weekend, I can confirm it is a real & serious thing.  So, two things: one – men should not EVER wear light-colored shirts running long races & two – please figure out a way to prevent this (AT ALL COSTS).  I am scarred for life.  For those of you who are morbidly curious, google images for marathon shirts – bloody.  Sweet dreams.

3) There are about 65 days until race day in San Francisco.  I purchased my plane ticket and am trying to plan stuff to do in San Francisco that doesn’t put too much stress on my legs or that will keep me uber busy.  Down time is probably good.  So, I’ve narrowed it down to only two things – walking or riding across the Golden Gate bridge and hanging out in North Beach with the Italian waiters eating gelato.  I kid.  I kid.  City Light Books is the only other thing I have on my list.  Oh, and the Presidio (only thing I didn’t do last time I was there that I had wanted to do).  And maybe Korean BBQ … and that burger place Mel went to in Oakland.

On the running front, I’m suddenly very nervous about meeting my training goals.  In about 30 days, I will have my longest training run & then I start to taper my miles until race day.  Is it possible to add about 3-5 miles in 30 days?  Focus is being shifted back to all things running.

Happy trails!

A few weeks ago, I realized I was blatantly ignoring my 36×36 list, knowing I would eventually get around to it.

And therein lies the problem with “someday…”

I knew by the end of the month I would cross off at least one item but have decided August is the perfect time to knock out three of these jokers:

34.  Kayak
35.  Stand Up Paddleboard
36.  Ice Cream Tasting at Full Tilt

Although I decided a few weeks ago, to take a kayaking class some Tuesday night in August, I have yet to register for the class.  In fact, I have been contemplating my registration for the past 20 minutes.  Who in their right mind would play angel & devil on her shoulder over something she has wanted to do for at least 4 years?

My someday demon has had lots of practice; he looks a lil bit like the Hulk, after all the power I’ve given him.  But now that I’m registered for the beginners kayaking class, it feels a little like I’ve let some air out of his massive bicep.

Today marks the day I have to decide whether my training & fundraising efforts have been for naught.  I also must decide if I can either squeeze more donations out of family & friends or plan a fundraising event (or two) to bridge the gap between my current amount raised & the minimum amount needed to participate.  All in all, after some pokey donations come in, I have about $370 left to raise.  Which is totally awesome!!  And all because of you!!

I filled out my re-committment paperwork early and will be buying my plane ticket shortly (if I could ever figure out the online error I’m receiving… ugh).  Plane ticket – check!  Someone is going to San Francisco!!  (Keeping fingers crossed one of those crazy volleyball dads will be piloting the plane.)

And now begins the countdown.  Perhaps, the real countdown.  Ten weeks (& yes, still counting).  Ten weeks to add about 5 miles to my current training plan.  Ten weeks to get super stoked (ok, so I’ve been stoked the whole time) but get over the nerves of all things unexpected & eliminate those doubts that sometimes pop up.

Big time shout out to everyone who has supported this journey!!  I cannot thank you enough.

*photo courtesy of Robby K

You know how they say when you volunteer, even though you are doing something good for other people, you usually end up doing good for you.

That was the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon for me.

I love watching people run.  And I love watching people sprint across the finish line.  To add to this list: I love watching people doubt their ability (not really that part) but who end up totally hitting it out of the park.  They may not be the first person to cross the finish line but they do cross the finish line.  And the sense of accomplishment & added confidence they take away from that is somewhere beyond awesome.

I stood somewhere between miles 4 & 5 and played cheerleader (so not a cheerleader) to the runners who ran across the bridge, up the nasty hill to Jackson and then up another smaller hill at War Memorial Park.  Even though she refused to let me cheer her on, I’m happy volunteering for the Tacoma Narrows Half put me on the course to root for buttahcup – running her 1st half marathon (ever!).

I saw her cross the finish line too.  Thirteen point one miles.  And she did it in under her stretch goal time.  Plus, she got a PR & that is serious business when it comes to racing.  Incredibly proud & happy all her hard work for the past 3 or 4 months paid off in a big way.

Buttahcup and I feed off each other – inspire each other – IM over fears, goals, possibilities – pump each other up – share interesting running blogs, knowledge, etc.  I am not sure I would be here writing this today if she didn’t occasionally give me a swift kick in the pants.  Her race inspired me in other ways too.  Lately, I have had a bad case of the mean reds when it comes to running.  I have continued to struggle with foot pain (is it shoes?  do I need to see a doctor?), lack of motivation …really, I’m running in the land of doldrums.

I ran my long run this morning and decided before I even left my house, it was going to be a GOOD run.  And it was.  Not a great run but good.  And that is a big step in the right direction.

Major props to buttahcup for running an amazing half & getting to cross something off her 2011 review plus her bucket list.  One step closer to earning your Half Fanatic status, swagger included.  And a big thank you too for inspiring this runner girl in training to get back to it.  Ten weeks…

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on the road