Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NYC Craziness

Like everyone else running the NYC Marathon, I'm anxiously waiting to hear whether the race is going to happen.

Hurricane Sandy wreaked major havoc in New Jersey and New York with extensive infrastructure damage. Friends, family and clients have been asking me for two days if the race is going to happen, but we all know it will most likely come down to a last minute decision.

Of course, I would be extremely disappointed if the marathon was canceled, but this is beyond anyone's control.

I always find it fascinating when people start freaking out via Facebook or Twitter demanding unreasonable answers. Of course, NYRR can't answer whether or not the marathon is still on right this minute! There's several days ahead of us where major clean up and improvement can be made. It's not an ideal situation for anyone, but to demand a decision from NYC and NYRR immediately would force them into a situation where their only option is to cancel. Not to mention, it is beyond the NYRR's control whether La Guardia will reopen. Insisting that they post travel updates is absurd. It's the responsibility of the traveler to determine whether it is feasible to travel or not.

It is what it is, people. It sucks for everyone, myself included, but we all just have to hang in there and wait and see.

Don't get me wrong, I really want to go to NYC. I want to cross that finish line. We trained for months in ridiculous desert heat. I don't want to do that again next year. And really, I'm betting the race will happen. New York is one tough city, so my money is on being at the start line Sunday morning...even if that start line is moved to a new location.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Last Team Run

Today was our last Team Chances group run before we leave for NYC. We met at Coach Susan's house at 6:00 and it was still dark...and actually chilly! No more 90 degrees at 5:00 am. Thank God.

Cool, right?

Neighborhood run

Our run was only 40 minutes and then we had a team breakfast, which was really fun. Coach Susan went through all of our travel and race day information. I'm equal parts super excited and super scared. Eeeeeek!

Team Chances Arizona (I look like a midget)

Seriously, I don't feel like I'm this short!
(ETA: I totally forgot to give Ari credit for the team photo. I shamelessly stole it from her Facebook page.)

Going Gangam Style

Me, Jason and Ari

Anyway, by this time next week, I will be in New York City! I love NYC. Can't wait to experience the finale of this crazy journey.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Unconventional Run

I decided to keep my run last night very low pressure. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by everything that I have going on right now (mostly the big scary marathon) so instead of going for a regimented training run with a specific distance, I decided to keep it low key. And I dragged out my Princess Half tech shirt for the occasion.
Yep, I'm a princess.
After my weird "Stranger Danger"experience, I made a few changes. First, I left a lot earlier than last time. It was dark, but there was a lot more traffic out and about. I also decided to camp out at the police precinct near my house.
Feeling a lot more secure with the the police near by!
My friend, Deb, also suggested I buy a whistle. Not sure why I didn't think of that earlier. Sometimes I'm a dummy.
Oh great, now I have that Flo Rida song in my head...
There's a nice park at the precinct, so I basically just jogged, walked and chilled out in the park for an hour. I also did some bridge training for the NYC Marathon.
What? This doesn't count as bridge training?
I stumbled upon this Halloween gem. I have to say, the iPhone takes some pretty damn good pictures in low light. I didn't use my flash for any of these because they don't turn out as well with the flash on.
I also had two very intense text conversations happening. One about the presidential debates with Kristy and another with my friend, A, about anything and everything. She's my texting pen pal. I've only met her in person once at the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, but we talk almost every day via text. It feels like I've known her my whole life!
 So last night, I kept myself entertained by jogging along in between texting.
Yes, this is a typical conversation between us...
So no, my run last night was not your typical training run. But I'm okay with that because my goal was to get off of my couch and get out of my head for awhile and it worked. I didn't look at my Garmin while I was running, I just wanted to be on my feet roaming around for at least an hour and if that meant doing a little texting and Facebooking while on my run, so be it.
All that really matters is that I wasn't camped out on my couch watching TV. I was out enjoying the fresh air and our finally cooler temperatures.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sport of Kings

Today I went to my first polo match! You'd think that since horses are essentially my life and I happen to live ten minutes from a horse show facility that also has a huge polo field, that I would have been to a polo game before.

West World of Scottsdale hosted the Scottsdale Polo Championships which consisted of 3 different matches. We purchased tail gating tickets and parked along one side of the field. I don't really know a lot about polo except that basically they hit the ball toward a goal.
Mostly, I just enjoyed the crazy weirdness that I saw, the fun people and beautiful horses. And the booze. There was lots and lots of booze....
This is me pretending to be Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, except,
ya know, for the prostitution part..
The horses get up close and personal...
The very cute boys parked next to us.
Mary and Katie
A random stray wandered in and drank with us for awhile..
More ponies
More me, because aren't all bloggers narcissistic?
Not sure about this outfit...
More pony action
We're responsible, right?
Kristy...digesting her booze.
We had so much fun today! I'm ready to do it again soon! Hope everyone is having a nice weekend so far!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Whacked Out Wednesday

I'm having one of those days where I'm feeling a lot of anxiety. Do you ever have that happen? Like I'm worrying, but really couldn't explain why.

I think I've got too much on my mind right now and way too many things to do.

Or maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with the fact that NYC Marathon is only two and a half weeks away. Eeeeek!

Ever notice how the moment you're getting ready to go out of town, everyone around you is sick? Seriously. I'm surrounded by sick people. As if running 26.2 miles isn't difficult enough, I can't even imagine doing it while sick. But I swear, I'm freaking out every time I feel a tickle in my throat.

Instagram was required to make me look healthy
and not run down in the picture...

I also need to finish my fund raising. That's making me a little nervous, for sure. I do have several people that made the commitment to make a donation that haven't done so, yet, (my sister included. *ahem*) before I send out leg breakers Tony Soprano style.

Nope, not scary at all. Now pay up, bitchez.

Also, I need to go shopping for clothes that are actually suitable for winter like weather. I'm still wearing flip flops.

Don't pay attention to my messy desk.

Oh, and the tags on my car are expiring and when I went to renew them online, it says that I need to get my emissions tested this year. FML. Doesn't the government realize how crazy busy I am right now?!

I guess I just answered my own question as to why I'm feeling stressed out...

I'm trying really hard to get as much rest as possible right now, but so far, I'm not succeeding. Too many things to do!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tricks and Confessions

Let me just start this post by saying:

18 freaking miles.

This is at about 7.5 miles when I still felt like smiling.

Yep. 18 miles: check! My knees are killing me and I'm sore from my neck down, but I did it. It's my longest run to date.

They say that training for a marathon is mostly mental and I would have to agree. This is especially true if you are not the speediest runner because the longer it takes you to go a distance, the more time you have in your head. Luckily, when I'm running, my thoughts don't tend to get into the negative zone, but it does get really easy to focus on how uncomfortable you are.

I felt really good until about 13 miles. At 15 miles, I was pretty miserable and by the last mile I was torn between walking and running because my feet hurt more when I walked, but my calves hurt more when I ran.

Since this was my longest run so far,
 I had new scenery to look at!

Because I was shuffling along for 4+ hours, I had time to think about mental tricks that I've picked up when things start to feel crappy.

  • Randomly smile. I have a way of locking my jaw into some sort of pained grimace when I run. By the time I'm done with a race, my jaw actually hurts. Plus, the second I force myself to grin like a moron, it's like my body feels some sort of relief. Seriously, try it.

  • Change your stride. Anyone that follows Galloway knows that he encourages shorter, more plentiful strides. I don't strictly follow Galloway's program, but I like a lot of what he says. I've learned that when I start to fatigue on a long run, instead of walking, it helps to quicken and shorted my stride for awhile. Or sometimes lift my knees higher for a few moments. Anything to ease the repetitive motion of using the same muscles over and over.

  • Walk for as short of a period of time as possible. This probably varies wildly for a lot of people, but for me, if I let myself walk for too long, I can not seem to get back into a run. Even if I alternate running and walking for really short periods, I have to make myself start jogging again quickly or it's over.

There's a lot of stuff in the blogosphere about fueling, sleeping, splits, etc, so I have nothing to add to that, but these little tricks have really helped me, so I felt I would share.

Now for confession time. I rarely watch reality shows. In general, I don't enjoy them. I don't watch Survivor, American Idol or Real World. Today as I planted my sorry ass on the couch for the afternoon, I stumbled across a marathon of a show called Cheer and well, I got sucked in.

It follows a group of elite cheerleaders from an gym in New Jersey called Central Jersey All-Stars and these girls are hard core. Now I was never a cheerleader or anything, but I love anything that shows people working their ass off to in competition.

Obviously, I love training and competing for things or I wouldn't be going to races all of the time, But I also showed horses very competitively when I was a kid and a teenager.  So I could relate to their struggles and successes.

Me Circa 1994. Nice high tops!

Anyway, I know how it feels to really, really want something and the the amazing feeling when you get it and the heart break when you don't. So yeah, I watched a cheer leading reality show all afternoon. And it was awesome. These girls are serious athletes.

On another note, I found this little gem when trolling Pinterest for pictures of the NYC Marathon.

Love. It.
Also, a huge thank you to my friend, Ari, for not only making muffins for our team this morning, but also for making special gluten free muffins for Tara and me. Check out her adorable blog! Lots of great recipes and running stuff. Thank you, Ari! You rock!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dancing Queen

I did not go run on Wednesday night like I originally planned because all of our sales reps were in town and so we had a work dinner.

Tiana and me
Most companies probably have catered dressy affairs, but my company knows how to party. So yeah, there was a lot of drinking, a lot of dancing and a lot of borderline inappropriate behavior. That's my kind of party!
 You'll rarely find me in a country bar, I don't ever listen to country music, but this place is really, really fun. They even have bull riding, but I didn't get any pictures of that.

My field rep, Kim, me and one of my vendor reps, Jess

Plus, after a whole lotta wine, I can dance! Of course, it helps to dance with men who actually know how to dance, which I have to say some of our reps are really good dancers!

Apparently, I kept trying to lead, but what can I say? I don't dance all that often. And it's too bad I don't have any pictures of all of us dancing, because that was quite amusing, I'm sure.

This guy doesn't know it, but we're in love.

So, no, I didn't run. But I did dance my ass off. And I arm wrestled with a some mechanical dude.That counts as cross training, right?

We have a very long run scheduled in the morning, I need to make sure I rest up tonight.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stranger Danger

I will admit that I'm not the toughest girl around.

Okay, so anyone that knows me, would agree that I'm not exactly bad ass and ninja-like.

However, I did live in an apartment complex for several years where people fired guns on a fairly regular basis and the cops regularly patrolled the place, shining spot lights into our windows in the middle of the night that were bright enough to be seen from space. I finally bought my townhouse in a better neighborhood after I was getting into my car in the parking lot and some crazy douche bag fired his gun out of his car window less than 50 feet from me. After that, I packed up my dog and cat and stayed with my mom until I moved into my house.

The point I'm trying to make is that I'm not typically a person that worries about going out alone, no matter what the time of day. I don't freak out about parking lots and I don't feel like I need an escort at night.

I used to watch My Ghost Story on A&E and then scare the shit out of myself by running at night afterward and let me tell you: I'm typically MUCH more afraid of ghosts and goblins than serial killers or kidnappers.

I pretty much see this on every night run. True story.

Last night, I ran 8 miles. I left somewhat late because it's still warm here in the desert. It was about 8:30 by the time I left. Now before I get all sorts of lectures about running at night, I live in a pretty nice neighborhood and I've never felt that I've been in danger in the 3+ years that I've been a runner.

I was on the last mile of my run, running along a fairly busy street, but being that it was around 10pm at this point, there wasn't a lot of traffic. I had just slowed down to take a walk break when a silver Mustang pulled along side me, coming from behind. There's 3 lanes of traffic each direction, but no other cars were on the road at that moment.

I stopped and stared for a second, surprised, but then he sped off. I really tried to shake it off like maybe he was just going to ask for directions or had just pulled a U turn and simply pulled into the farthest right lane, but my hackles went up and I felt unsettled in a way that rarely happens to me.

I watched him drive away for awhile and then continued on, still feeling shaken. I jogged along for another 5 or so minutes and that same car came back from the other direction and turned left into a row of medical offices right in front of me.

By now I was only a quarter mile away from my house. He didn't pull his car anywhere near me, but rather pulled right up to the front of a dentist's office and got out of his car.

Now this is where you could say I was supremely stupid or sort of bad ass.

Ninja or Dumb Ass? You be the judge.
I literally stopped running, and turned and stared him down...from a safe distance, of course. I was plenty far away, close to my house, and I knew there was no way he could catch me before I made it either to my house or the strip mall next door, where a Blockbuster is located.
Finally, I turned and jogged off, but I kept looking over my shoulder just in case. And then of course, I went home, got in my car and decided to drive past the parking lot several times from the safety of my vehicle on a busy road from the opposite side where he couldn't see me.

The car didn't move and the man was no longer there.

I will admit that I watch a lot of crime drama. Like, a lot of crime drama. Maybe I watch too much Criminal Minds late at night, but that's not unusual for me. I've watch crime drama since I was young.

Why, hello there, sexy crime fighters!

Anyway, the point of all of this is that experience really shook me in a way that I haven't experienced in many years. I could be over reacting, but since I don't scare easily (unless we're talking ghosts, then yeah.) and on some base level I was really unsettled and unnerved.

I'm still not sure what to make of that experience, but considering I rarely react like that, I think my gut was trying to tell me something...

So yeah, 8 miles done last night.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Horsin' Around

Had a great weekend that so far, has not included any running. Oopsy. I will rectify that tomorrow since Little Lou is going to get a two day break.

I missed our group run on Saturday because we took Lou to a schooling show. We had a lot of fun and made a party out of it with my barn mates.

Louie and Petey in the trailer headed to the horse show

How cute is this little face?

Katie and Sarah. Of course, we had champagne.

Me and Katie

Ava helping me get Lou ready.
Showing Lou

I am now officially Louie's new owner. Last night, his previous owners came by to give me his papers and I gave them a really big check. Welcome back to debt! Hope my car lasts a few more years because there's no way I can afford another one right now.

It was sad to watch them say goodbye to him, but he will be much happier in his new job. They decided to sell him because he didn't want to be a western horse, much like Bam Bam didn't want to be one, either. I assured them that I would take very good care of him and that he would be really happy at our barn.

Now I'm off to get ready to meet up with Jason, Tara and Ari from our running team for some shopping and dinner. Pictures and blogging to follow!