You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2011.

Running & I have had a love / hate relationship the past few months.  I don’t feel I’ve had a good race since July.  Tether those thoughts with some doubts I am having about preparing for a full marathon, add lack of mileage in December & throw in some leg pain, I have the trinity of race day disaster written all over me.

I want to have a good race.  I want to enjoy running along the water with views of the Olympic Peninsula & Seattle.  I want it to be easier then the last two races and with a mostly flat course it should be.  I want the weather to cooperate & is forecasted to do so.  Mostly, I want to have fun.

As much as I want my brain to shut down the thinking portion, it is near impossible to achieve.  The course will help with an out & back route.  Like driving some place new, the distance there seems to drag on forever but on the way home it seems incredibly fast.  If I can get through the first 6.5 miles, I’ll be home free.

I keep reminding myself the importance of enjoying the journey.  As much emphasis is placed on crossing the finish line, I need to remember to live the moment.  If I can do that tomorrow, it will be a good run.


Finding Chris Guillebeau’s annual review in 2010 was the game changer for the things I accomplished in 2011.  Not only for the accomplishments but also for the way I wanted to live my life – with intention.

Starting fresh may seem a bit strange especially if this is your first year but it does give you a chance to look back at your year and plan how you want to live the next year differently.

For years there are activities I’ve wanted to do & places I’ve wanted to go.  I always let them slide because… frankly, I was afraid.  I mean, I lived four hours from Savannah, Georgia & not once made the trip even as it was my heart’s desire.  Need another example: I had attempted the Couch to 5k three or four times before I ever signed up for a race.  Who would think I’m closing in on my third half marathon?  Not moi.

The review starts with two questions:

  • What went well in the past year?
  • What did not go well in the past year?

Following those answers, create goals for the values you hold essential (travel, health, savings, relationships, etc).  In addition, these goals must have some kind of metric – heaven for a nerdy numbers girl.  Add in your theme for the year & you have completed your first annual review.  *Please read Chris’ blog post on conducting your own annual review for a more substantial step-by-step process as I have only highlighted the main points.

Last year, I was pleased with my theme but had a really hard time coming up with a theme this year.  Minus a few daft themes along the lines of “duh – that’s the point.”  As many things morph, I have stolen buttahcup’s theme idea of using an animal.  2010 was the year of metamorphosis à la the caterpillar; 2011 is the year of metamorphosis à la papillon (butterfly).

I have changed a lot in the past year as my grandma tells me every few weeks but I also get the same feedback from people I see only occasionally.  But even that change is small compared to what lies ahead in 2012.  And I can’t wait to get started!

As an openly Type A person (now…it took years to confess), I have calendars, schedules,  a notebook, an online goal tracker and numerous excel spreadsheets to track my progress in 2012.  The biggest helper tool is my friend buttahcup who has gone through the reset & the annual review at the same time I did; we have gone through the learning process together & have used each other to brainstorm.

As all good things grow: sQuirrely has joined our annual review team & I have monthly accountability meetings with my mom & sister who are going through the reset & the review process now.  It’s always more fun to play with others and it is inspiring to cheer on my friends as they achieve their dreams.

{Note: This is my subtle way of offering my cheerleading services to anyone who is interested in the annual review process.}

I have been mulling over 2012 races & running goals since July.  Sad, I know.  It started with registering for the Big Sur International Marathon.  When I first read about this marathon (October 2010), the 2011 race was sold out – eight months before the race.  I registered the minute registration was available.  About a month later, the Big Sur marathon was sold out.  As I heard about interesting races in 2011, I made mental post-its to see if it would fit into my 2012 race schedule.

Race Schedule for 2012

  • Resolution Run Series (10m, 15m & 20m), Steilacoom, WA
  • Lake Sammamish Half Marathon, Issaquah, WA
  • Big Sur International Marathon
  • Capital City Half Marathon, Olympia, WA
  • Rainier to Ruston 50 mile relay, Tacoma, WA
  • Grand Ridge Solstice 5 mile, Issaquah, WA
  • Cougar Mountain Trail Series (5m, 8m, 10m, 13m, 50k), Seattle, WA
  • Ragnar Relay: Blaine to Whidby Island, WA
  • Chicago Marathon, Chicago, IL
  • Seattle Half Marathon, Seattle, WA

There are a few other races I am interested in running but it will depend on whether they fit into my schedule.  I am most excited to run the relays and most nervous to run Big Sur (my first full marathon!).

Other Running (or Running Related) Goals

  • Run 5 half marathons
  • Run 2 marathons
  • Run 2 relays
  • Run 1200-1500 miles
  • Complete a trail series
  • Beat my 2011 Grand Ridge Solstice time (by a lot!)
  • Sub 10 minute/mile pace
  • Go to yoga 2x/week
  • Take the 30 day yoga challenge
  • Do the splits (maybe a long shot, but…)
  • Yoga poses to perfect: Lord of the Dance, Tree & full Pigeon
  • Attend Crossfit 2x/week
  • Compete in an obstacle course (à la Mudrun or Warrior Dash)

I have non-running goals as well – crossing off all items on my 36×36 list, some travel goals plus I am planning on crossing off two basketball arena visits from my bucket list in 2012.  At some moment in 2011, I thought it would be cool to watch a game at each arena & then thought maybe it was a stupid idea.  It’s still on.  The real question will be if I can blaze my green Celtic pride in a sea of Chicago red.  We’ll see if I have the guts to follow through with that in February.

Next up: annual review info for those interested.  It has been such a great exercise in living intentionally & I have nothing but great things to say about it.

And since that will happen after Christmas:

Wishing y’all a very merry Christmas!

sammie: jingle dog sister who stood still while we wrapped her in Christmas lights

I have been working on my 2011 year in review & focusing on 2012 goals this past week.  And I’ve wanted to do little else including writing here.  Consider it remedied.

2011 Goals Notes Completed
Run 3 5k races Finished 4 races Check
Run 1st 10k by 6/25 Finished 10k Mudrun 6/18 Check
Train & complete Mudrun Crossed finish line w/ a muddy face Check
Run 5 10k races Ran 2 10k races Half check
Run half marathon by 12/31 Will run 3 half marathons by 12/31 Check x3
Strength Training Started crossfit in November Half check
Register for Big Sur Marathon Registered 7/15/11 Check
Take up yoga Completed 30 day challenge Check


For the most part, I completed 81% of the running goals I set out to complete in 2011. A few caveats: I didn’t compete in five 10k races but instead I completed two half marathons with a third in less than two weeks. Each half marathon equals two 10k races; using that rationale, I accomplished that goal as well. I’m only giving myself half credit for strength training. I did keep up with mudrun training through March but gave it up when I joined Team in Training. And although I started crossfit in November, I have yet to attend a class in December (resting my knee). I am going back January 2nd.

In addition, the purpose of running a 10k before 6/25 was to run the distance of the mudrun before the mudrun. A small technicality: the mudrun was 6/18 (not 6/25 as I thought) and I could say I completed that goal as well. Cheating, I know.

This is the only category in my 2011 Annual Review where I earned a “B”, and a “B-” at that. The other categories fared much worse. All in all, I ended up completing 50% of the goals I set out for myself last December. Some were no longer a priority for me, others, I bombed for various reasons.

My 2012 running / health goals will be available on Thursday and I will share the annual review process this weekend.

There are extraordinary people who walk among us.  They hide their super powers behind glasses and rarely do we see their capes because they blend in with the rest of us.  (Who gives Clark Kent or Peter Parker a second look?)  They are not celebrities hiring publicists to create & manage rumor & scandal to keep them in the spotlight.  The superheroes I reference lead unassuming, quiet lives.  They look a lot like you & me.

You’ve met them.  You usually feel energized by their presence & walk away feeling as if the whole world opened up & is yours to experience.  That every dream you dream is possible & within your grasp.

I met two last night at a holiday running club party.  Although one had a more profound effect on how I want to live my life, the other has done some amazing things.

Runnerboy grew up how I imagine most boys grow up: doing things just because he thought they were interesting or fun, would leave behind bruises or scars but also fascinating stories.  Like deciding to run the Wonderland Trail – a 93 mile trail that circumnavigates the base of Mt Rainier – as quickly as possible to beat the current record.  He ran it unassisted with only a small backpack of tortillas, some fruit & one water bottle he refilled in creeks he found along the trail.  He did beat that record in the mid 70’s, running the trail in 27 hours (+/- time…his memory was fading), only to lose the record three weeks later.

Wonderland Trail in red

He has run the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail, climbed Mt Rainier and numerous other adventures.  He also just started running again after an accident that left him in a wheelchair for six months, on crutches for an additional six months and a year relearning how to walk.  This summer, he is going back to walk the Wonderland Trail.

And then there is Claudia.  buttahcup & I attended the party together and both walked away in awe of this woman.  She is who I aspire to be when I grow up.  Claudia is a beautiful, retired woman in her late 50’s, early 60’s.  She has laugh lines that could tell you stories.  She has also walked the Wonderland Trail.  She has jumped out of an airplane.  She has climbed Half Dome, the last portion on a staircase, as she described, left me short of breath & on edge.  Although she mentioned fear on certain climbs, as soon as she did them, she was that much stronger for conquering her next adventure.

I love that she still does the crazy stuff.  That her age isn’t a factor in how she spends her time (although she has a lot more time to spend doing these things).  She is still testing her mettle even after all these years.

You’ll never hear their stories on the news or read about them in books or magazines but these are the people that make life interesting.  Your superheroes will be different than my superheroes.  The stories that inspire you to be bigger & better than your current self will be different from mine.

For me, meeting these two was perfect timing… kismat… serendipitous… an early Christmas present.  They are a living testament of lives well lived.  More important to remember as I start my annual review process.  More on that next week.

As much as I like to run on my own, there is something magical about running with friends.  Even if a girl lags behind because she starts taking pictures of cows & early frosty morning trees.

Even if everyone is running at different paces or running different distances and training for different events.  There is something special about knowing you are with kindred spirits out on the trail or road.

A little cheer (bonne santé) to all the wonderful, amazing people I have had the privilege of running with this year.

I have been slow to post last week’s race recap on the Amica Seattle half marathon.  Half numero dos in my quest to be eligible for admission to the elite Half Fanatics club.  Of which I am aiming for three half’s in 90 days.  Final race in this trilogy quest on December 31st – what better way to end this year of running?  Before I get ahead of myself, I must remember & give thanks for the Seattle half.

My original goal for 2011 was to run one half marathon.  Before the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco was on my radar, before all the fundraising, before I found Team in Training: the Amica Seattle Half Marathon was my goal race.  My one big race for all the marbles in 2011.  I, somehow, got caught up in the magic of running and found myself following in the footsteps of runner friends who were questing for their Half Fanatics number.  That number – it’s kind of a big deal.  (Don’t be fooled: in less than 30 days plus whatever time it takes to process my eligibility, I WILL be shouting that number from the rooftops.)

Digressing no further…

As if I couldn’t do things more wrong: do you know you are not supposed to take on new activities a few weeks before your race?  And do you know that is exactly what I did?  My thought process was if I didn’t start crossfit in mid-November, it would be harder to schedule after the race.  Plus there would always be another race right around the corner.  Start crossfit, I did.  And wouldn’t you know, I injured myself lifting too much weight on the dead lifts.  Because apparently, someone has a weak hip (from running), which means someone has a weak hamstring (from running).  I kept pushing through the crossfit trainings.  For the most part, the training runs the week up to the half were pretty good.  My pace had improved (side effect of the crossfit?) even as my leg was kind of gimpy.  I did feel the pull on my hamstring running downhill & the strain on my knee running up.  All in all, this race was going to be what it was.  I was already preparing myself for walking the race, if need be.  In fact, up until I received my race packet, I was see-sawing on whether I should walk or run the course.

At the race expo, I was determined to find kinesio tape.  It seems you can only buy it online and since it was last minute, not an option.  When I called a sports store two days prior to the race, they had no clue what I was talking about.  I found the kinesio tape at the expo and was given instruction on how to apply it.

The shake out run the day before the big race, I tried out the kinesio and all the hurt I had felt during the Turkey Trot – gone.  I am starting to think the kinesio tape is some kind of magic potion in tape form.  I have yet to figure out how it works but it does.  And not just my testimonial.  buttahcup tried it this week and she is also singing the praises of kt tape.

I really didn’t want to make this a comparison post between the San Francisco (Nike) & Seattle (Amica) races.  Each race was vastly different.  At Nike, I was in a zen state; Amica, I was full of excitement.  Maybe it was having M{squared} by my side but the atmosphere was abuzz with nerves but also anticipation.  What was this race going to bring?

starting line

The skies were brilliant in the early morning but that soon changed to light rain…to heavy rain… to being totally soaked and facing winds off the Puget Sound.  {unfortunate for runner girls!}  As soon as the horn blew, we were off.  I can’t tell you how cool it is to see a city on foot, running through the streets, seeing people, and shops, how the skyline changes.  It is one of my favorite things about running.  The monorail rumbled by overhead.  All of a sudden we were at the first water stop at mile two.  So far, smooth sailing.

hamming it up b/t miles 2-3

Part of the I-90 interchange was blocked for the race.  Awesome to run on the highway.  Awesome to run through a tunnel (honking noises included).  Recaps for the 2010 race, everyone said it was such an apocalyptic experience running through the tunnel.  It was plain fun.  That, and it was dry.

scary tunnel running

Mile four was somewhere in the tunnel or just on the other side.  As the full marathoners passed us, we got off the highway and ran along some waterfront.  From reading the course map, I have no clue where we were.  I imagined the course to go in a complete opposite direction.  At mile five, I made my first med tent stop.  My right knee was bothering me and asked them to tape it up.  Wet from sweat and rain, my 15 minutes of taping fell off within 30 seconds of leaving the tent.

Mile 8: second med tent stop.  This time they had kt tape and I was poked & prodded by the doctor with me nearly in tears (I still have bruises!).  Running out of that tent, I felt good.  My energy had been slacking and that rest was exactly what I needed before the big hill at mile 9-10.

Within a mile of the finish line, I was tired & cold & hurting.  My tape had come off and I was running unsupported.  And even though I kept plodding along, I would have found myself walking to the finish line had M{squared} not been there with her motivation.  Within a quarter mile to the finish my right calf cramped up – the kind of cramping that wakes you up in the middle of of the night a la charlie horse.  A short walk to work it out, and again, running into Memorial Stadium.  Running around the corner, seeing the photographer ready with his camera, both calves cramped up.  This was not how I wanted to finish my race.  I limped along to the finish line and completed my second half marathon.

no big smile, just a big sigh of relief to be finished

Soaking wet, I grabbed my medal and the warm sheet and hobbled to the little expo inside the stadium.  It hurt to move.  It hurt to breathe.  Where Nike was a mentally tough race, Amica was equally a physically tough race.  Instead of the tirade of curse words, my only question was “When am I going to get good at this?”  I am hoping with proper training runs (somewhat lacking between the San Francisco & Seattle races), my third half marathon will be the race where it all comes together.  Amica Seattle half had great moments and it had less than stellar moments but there was no pity party at the end.  I completed my second half marathon.  With the help of a truly amazing friend.

M{squared} had a race goal for me which she refused to share (good for her!) and minus the two med tent stops, I would have made it.  Including the med tent stops, I still PR’d by six minutes at 3:51:xx.  Good day in terms of race stats.  Although, it was far above the time I wanted to come in under. Without the med tent stops, my time was 3:30:xx, a potential 27 minute PR.  This is why my third half is going to be the one.  I am overly focused on getting my training in – which includes 5 a.m. runs across the bridge this week.  Add in the strength training, Yukon Do It will be the race.


1) Finish the race – CHECK
2) Beat my time in San Francisco – CHECK
3) Have a good time – at least half the race, I had a great time; the other half I was focused purely on finishing.  The average is pretty good.

This race is on my list for 2012.  I feel like it deserves a second go when I’m better at this whole racing thing.  And maybe by then, my type A race personality will have mellowed a bit.

How I stacked up in November:

  • Goal #1: run 75 miles
    Reality: I ran 53 miles
    LowDown: First, I am not always good at math.  I’m great at math but sometimes I’m …not.  I planned on running 89 miles in November and felt giving myself 14 miles of wiggle room would be sufficient.  Apparently, I planned running 74 miles (instead of 89) because my math was off.
    Remedy: double check your math!  Isn’t that what they teach you in school?  Also, taking up a new venture took priority to running after work.  Choices.  I made one.
  • Goal #2:  attend 5 yoga classes
    Reality: 3 yoga classes
    LD: Those two yoga classes I missed were due to my new venture & working late one night.
  • Goal #3:  run 3 races
    Reality: I ran 2 races
    LD: The race I didn’t attend was the Pineapple Classic 5k Obstacle Course.  The team I was going to register with fell through.  And signing up so late was going to cost me $120.  I did run the Gig Harbor Turkey Trot and the Amica Seattle Half Marathon.  Set a half marathon PR (personal record) and could have PR’d the turkey trot had I not stopped to take pictures.
  • Goal #4: complete 4 MRTs (Mud Run Trainings)
    Reality: completed 5 crossfit classes
    LD: My new venture was to sign up for crossfit which is essentially like an MRT.  Completed five classes and will be back in the gym sometime this week (after I heal from the half).
  • Goal #5: No sugar
    Reality: I was mostly good.  Minus the occasional ice cream.  And pumpkin bar.
  • Goal #6: {36×36 list} stop biting nails, 31 day reset & Christmas project
    Nail biting: I ignored this until 11/29.  Nothing like working on the last minute.  This is going to be an ongoing item.  I purchased some nail polish specializing in breaking people of the nail biting habit.  I have yet to bite my nails (in the last 48 hours); I’m unsure what kind of horror awaits for the random moment when I forget.
     31 day reset: I am two days shy of finishing my reset and cannot wait to start my annual review.  More on the annual review to show up in the next few weeks.
    Christmas project: Like the nail biting, I am waiting last minute to start my holiday project.  I will get a jump on it this weekend.  I hope.

Now, for December goals…

  • Run 100 miles.  (Double checked my math.)  Switching to early morning training + gym membership to insure this gets done.
  • Yoga: 5 classes
  • Crossfit: 7 classes
  • Races: 1 (Yukon Do It Half Marathon)
  • 36×36 list: eligible to join Half Fanatics / complete Christmas project / continue with the no nail biting
  • Misc: annual review / bring lunch to work every day / make breakfast at home

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on the road