Sunday, December 29, 2013

Signing Up For A Half In Three Weeks Means I Should Maybe Do A Long Run

I went for my first long run in probably two months last night. Thank God for my friend, Lara, otherwise I might not ever make it out running at all. She's immune to my whining, sniffling and complaining. I'm pretty good at all three of those things, so kudos to her. Also kudos to me, cuz I really wasn't feeling like leaving the sweet cocoon I made on my couch. There was a Law & Order SVU marathon on and everything. Yesterday, I signed up for the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half in three weeks, so maybe a run longer than 4 miles is in order, especially considering I've only got a week before I should be tapering.

I met Lara late in the afternoon and went for an 8 mile jaunt. The first 3 miles sucked. Like sucked a lot. I really need to always run longer than 3 or 4 miles because I can't seem to get into a groove until about mile 5. I suppose that's a good thing, considering I'm a distance runner, but wow. I spend those first few miles hating running, hating myself and pretty much hating life in general. I don't know that I'll ever be good at the 5K distance.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not really good at any distance. I'm slow even by the standards of slow runners. But I stop hating the world around mile 4 or 5, so I guess I'm meant to run distance.

In fact, when I was training with Susan Loken (the nicest lady ever and the fastest runner I know), our Team Chances coach for the 2012 NYC Marathon that never happened, she said to me, "the marathon is your distance." Something about slow twitch muscles versus fast twitch muscles. Apparently I'm a slow twitch kinda gal.

That's probably more true for the half marathon distance, but the idea of labeling myself as a runner at all, let alone a marathoner, still makes me laugh. Like I pulled one over on the world and tricked everyone into believing I'm a runner. Haha, world! Jokes on you!

I don't even mean that in a self snarking way. It just takes me by surprise sometimes that I'm an actual runner. Especially considering that my love of sitting far outweighs my love of moving. But I like going to races. They're like horse shows only everyone gets a prize and I don't stress out over them. Win, win!

Anyway, we did 8 miles. There was plenty of walking, but when we ran, we kept a pretty quick pace for me. Not for Lara, but it was speedy for me. And there was a nice sunset.

For the rest of the night, my glutes and lower back were killing me. It hurt bad enough that I actually got up a couple of times during the night to do pigeon pose yoga stretch.

Now, I'm not really into yoga. I totally should be because I can get myself all wound up and tight like a champ. But it's never appealed to me at all. Until I start hurting. Then I'm all over it. I need to add stretching to my list of resolutions for the new year.

The pigeon pose is a form of self torture that could get a prisoner to spill their guts. It hurts and feels terrible and I can barely do it. But I have to admit it works. I'm finding that a lot of joint ailments can be relieved by various stretches. Once I had some serious pain in what felt like a joint in my foot. I started stretching my calves a ton and it went away.

Oh and by the way? I look nothing like the woman in the picture when I do stretch. My hips are way too tight. I look more like I tripped and fell and now I'm stuck that way. Nobody wants to see that shit. That's another reason I don't go to yoga- I look ridiculous. I've also found that sitting cross legged really helps my hips.

Does anyone else have any amazing stretches for tight hips?

This is post is brought to you from me and my writing staff.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hot Chocolate 5K Recap

While searching the web for information about the sizing of the hoodie you get when you run this race, I came across blog after blog after blog criticizing The Hot Chocolate Race in various cities. I was a little apprehensive about how the race would go based on what I read, but I'm happy to say that the Phoenix event is amazing and really well run.

Last year's Hot Chocolate Race is my only DNS. The race happens to be the morning after our barn Christmas party. The race is a 5K or 15K. Last year, I signed up for the 15K, proceeded to drink way too much and then decided, hell no, I'm not dragging myself out for a 9 mile run.

Only one or two glasses into the evening.
I knew a 15K was out of the question this year.

For some reason, we always end up visiting the horses in our formal attire.

This year, I was smart. I signed up for the 5K, knowing that I could walk the 5K and not be too miserable. The main reason I wanted to do this race was the sweet hoodie. Plus, it was about $40 to enter the 5K with the same swag. Sold!

First of all, the expo was a breeze. If I hadn't been sidetracked by sparkly shiny things, I could have been in an out of there in a few minutes.

See? A breeze. No crowds.
Just in case someone has stumbled across this blog hoping to find out the sizing of the hoodie, I say that they run big. The hoodies come packaged nicely in a plastic wrapper and they ask you not to open them, but to use theirs to try on so that if you have to exchange yours, the original is still packaged nicely. I wish I had known that up front because I was wearing a thick pull over sweat shirt and nothing (but a bra, of course!) underneath so there was no way I could try my size to make sure it was right.

Mine ended up too big. The sleeves are pretty long. They're the style with the thumb holes, so they are supposed to be long, but these seem really long. Otherwise, it's really nice and good quality. Best race "shirt" I've gotten so far!

A nice hoodie, a shoe bag and a travel mug for a 5K?
Totally worth getting up for.

There was a mini expo set up, as well, and that was a lot more crowded.

Still not too bad.

Also, the merchandise for race specific gear was amazing. I would have gone a little crazy on merch if I was running a longer distance than 5K. Pay attention, NYRR, run Disney and Rock 'n' Roll! This stuff was really nice. I wouldn't mind owning some of it with the NYCM logo on it.

There were racks and racks of really high quality items.
I also purchased my first Sweaty Band. Oh em gee, I'm in love. I wore it all day and it never slipped once. I'm going to need about 20 more of these. Tara got the yellow daisy one at the Disneyland Half Expo while I was waiting in the most ridiculous line ever at the expo and I was jealous that I didn't have one. Well, my life is complete now that I have one in pink.

You totally want one, right?

So yes. This expo was a breeze and I got some sweet goodies. And just like I knew we would, we drank way too much to consider this an actual race. So from the beginning I knew I was going to walk it. Blake and Lara actually ran it, but luckily for me, I ran into Tara and we used our 3.1 mile stroll to catch up. We've only seen each once since Dumbo Double Dare weekend and that was to volunteer at Iron Man Arizona.

Corrals, obviously

It was pretty cold for Phoenix

My one complaint about this race is that the route is really not scenic at all. That's why I've only done R'n'R Arizona once (Although, it looks like I'm doing it in January). Phoenix just isn't that entertaining to run through. But for all of the swag and a cheap entry for the 5K, I could suck it up. Plus, I wasn't paying attention to the scenery, anyway. I was gossiping with Tara.

Once you cross the finish line, you can head over to the tent to get your finisher's mug. They refer to it as a collector's mug, but honestly, I would never use it again. It's not a real mug and it's sectioned into parts. However, the chocolate fondue that was in the mug was truly delicious. I wish they had given out spoons because I didn't have enough things to dip into the fondue to use it all up.

Breakfast of champions. There's way more calories in this mug than I burned.
Me, Blake and Lara
M&M t-shirts made by Lara
I would totally do this race again. I'm sure that our Christmas party will fall on the same weekend next year, so look for me moseying along at a stroll on the 5K course nursing a hang over like a serious athlete. You can't really buy a nice hoodie for $40, so it's worth it just for that. Just remember it runs big and to wear a thinner shirt to try it on at the expo.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Marching To The Beat Of My Own Drum While Keeping Up With The Joneses

I'm always feeling torn about the reality of blogging and what it means to me. I'm equal parts March To The Beat Of My Own Drum and Keeping Up With The Joneses. And yes, I had to Google the proper form of Joneses. (I also originally wrote "marching to the tune of my own drummer". Good thing I Googled that, too, or we could add idiot to my list.)

My blog started off as a running blog, recapping all of my races. Then I started added other random things. Then it got more random. Then I tried to direct myself back to running and fitness. Then I got bored with myself. I mean, seriously. How many times can I tell you about the miles I've run or didn't run or what I ate for dinner, which isn't gourmet or photo worthy. But others do it and they do it successfully, so what do I know?

I suppose the point of a healthy living/fitness/running blog is to inspire others and/or chronicle one's journey to meeting some sort of goal, be it weight loss or marathon training or any number of things in between.

Here's some honest truths about myself that are lacking in the motivational department:

1. I like watching TV. I like watching TV more than I like running or exercising of any kind. Don't get me wrong, I don't sit around all day doing nothing. I'm a single woman that works to pay a mortgage and an expensive horse addiction. I ride almost every day before work and then I work a regular job like anyone else. When I leave my office, I do not want to run. I want to make a beeline for my couch and plant my ass there and guzzle down some wine. (I don't always guzzle wine, but I want to.) Besides, I just discovered The Blacklist, and seriously, if you are not watching that show, you should drop everything you are doing and watch all of the episodes thus far. You will thank me, I promise.

Am I even allowed to post this image? Do I have to source it?
Someone help me before I get myself sued!

2. I keep losing the same 10 pounds over and over and over. I initially lost 20 pounds in my first year of running and have since gained and lost 10 of those like a zillion times. That's lame, I can admit it. And annoying. And here's where I have trouble calling myself a healthy living blogger. Mainly because I'm not all that healthy. I eat weird things and usually way too much of it. It would help if I ran more, but I don't really like running. Should we talk more about The Blacklist?

3. I have a really hard time censoring myself. I love Disney races and I love dropping the F bomb. These things do not mix well, right? I find myself constantly censoring what I want to say because Disney tends to bring out the wholesome bunch and my rD inspired posts and recaps tend to bring the most page hits (although I can name several run Disney besties with just as foul mouths as mine, right Team Freedom?) but shouldn't I just write what I want to write and say fuck it? Whew! That felt good. We'll see how that pans out.

4. I'm torn between my Keeping Up With The Joneses side and Marching To A Different Drum side. I see lots of bloggers getting sponsored for things and getting products to try and I immediately think, Hey! I wanna do that, too! But then what do you do when you hate a product? Is it worth it? Do I even want to do that? Do I want to start my blog entries stating it is a sponsored post? Also see number 3. Sponsors probably don't want you to review a post by using profanity. Unfortunately, that's my favorite way to communicate. Also, I'm good with conveying messages via a healthy dose of sarcasm.

Although, I would totally review this unicorn hat.
Because it is awesome.

So there you have it. I haven't given up on running or blogging or anything like that. I still like racing. And to race, you must run at least a little. (Although through an anecdotal personal experiment, I can confidently report that it is possible to finish half marathons on very little training.) I really don't want to be one of those bloggers that never improves, but I'm human and I already have an extremely time consuming sport. So it is what it is.

And just to be oppositional to all that I just wrote, I'm signing up for Janathon. I keep threatening saying I'm going to sign up every year, and then never do. At least it will give me something to write about and force me to exercise every single day in January. All of you dedicated runners should check it out. It's running and blogging! Who wants to join me?

Also, I decided to sign up for Rock 'n' Roll Arizona in 3 weeks. And I've only 3 run 39 miles in 2 months. That should go swimmingly! But the medal is pretty cool.

Headphones! And they finally did away with the plain neck ribbons.

More importantly, who else is watching The Blacklist? Let's discuss.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Change Is Hard

Change ain't easy, folks. The last I chatted with you lovely readers (if I have any left), I was challenging myself to a one year transformation, blah, blah, blah.  I didn't write about this, but I also challenged myself to run 1000 miles before next year's NYC Marathon. The timer started the weekend of this year's NYCM. Let's just say that's not going swimmingly.

What a rock star. It's taken me 7 weeks to run
the Goofy Challenge.
I have gone running twice this week, so that's something. I could make a million excuses, but the truth of the matter is that work is insane this time of year and I've got a family member with some serious health issues that has been taking up all of my energy. Also, I just haven't had the desire to get out there.

Look! Proof of me running. Well, it's proof I was
out in nature. Close enough.
I've also sat down to blog several times in the last few weeks but couldn't bring myself to so that, either. Part of the problem is that I don't really have anything to write about. It sucks when you realize you're not as entertaining as you think you are. Bah humbug.

Can you believe I only did 2 half marathons in 2013? One was part of Goofy Challenge and the second was part of Dumbo Double Dare. I think I'm going to do the half marathon at Rock 'n' Roll Arizona in January and then I'm doing Glass Slipper Challenge in February, which I'm crazy excited about. First of all, I'm going to WDW with WDW newbies and I get to see this girl. And we're staying for almost a week, so I can really see everything. Last time I was there for Goofy Challenge, we never even made it to Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. We were just too trashed after the marathon.

I still need to do a recap of the Hot Chocolate Race, which was awesome. Not because I was a running rock star, because that sure as hell wasn't the case, but because the race itself was great with great swag. Any the chocolate was crazy good. I know that race has gotten a lot of bad publicity, more the Phoenix event is amazing. More on that later.

In closing, here is picture of my adorable cats. The baby is bigger than Mommy Cat now.