Friday, February 1, 2013

Hello Digi


Last fall we moved to a different house, in the same neighborhood.  It happened at a busy time of year and I truly detest moving.  Peter and Dad promised to help as much as possible to make the move as easy as possible for everyone.  For me, that meant that Peter would pack all my scrapbook stuff – a full room’s worth – all himself while I was in Chicago running my first marathon.  I didn’t know he was going to do that.  When I got home from my marathon, the “scrap room” was reduced to a room of boxes.  It was scary to see 1) none of my scrappy stuff anywhere and 2) just how many boxes of stuff I have.  Even the completed albums for the girls took 5 plastic crates - not to mention the various albums that were in various stages of semi-completion. I think that's enough!  Since I was losing my scrap room completely in the move, some tough decisions had to be made about how I was going to proceed in my croppin', gluey, scrappy life.
So....I am downsizing.  Going hybrid. Going lighter. Going digi.

I always had an interest in digi scrapbooking but I never went all the way.  Well, I think I am now.  I won't be abandoning all my stuff....I can't do that.  But for the future family albums, I am going to create digi pages, and get them printed.  So I am reacquainting myself with my Photoshop Elements skills (thanks to JessicaSprague.com and her awesome digi scrap classes that I used to frequent years ago and am back now!), and here are a few of my brush-up layouts. 


I am also embarking of Project Life - all digi also.  So this will be my 2013 scrappy experiment.  To scrap daily life and to do it digi.  Did I say that I like doing my scrappin' while lying on the bed?!  Couldn't do that before.  :)
 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hello 2013!


It's been weeks since I last signed on, and it was a much needed break. Not from the blogging, because I seem to like to talk to myself here, but from the structure of the marathon training. Boy, have I been slacking off.

The good news is that my “runner’s knee” and my hamstring pain have vanished.  That’s what happens when you don’t run for three months.  Those were my over-use, over-training injuries leading up to the Chicago Marathon last fall.  Had those injuries come just a month later and I had arrived to the start line injury-free, I would’ve finished the marathon in under 6 hours like I had leniently allowed myself.  Nothing speedy, just a near decent finishing time.  But woe is me.  The injuries hit one month before race day and I felt lucky to have hobbled across the finished line in under 7 hours.  Whoop de doo {sarcasm}.  Don’t get me wrong, my marathon experience was one of the best of my life.  It was a perfect 1st marathon experience (Thanks to Candi, Mei, Troy and a beautiful downtown Chicago).  I learned so much about me, myself and I, and am ready to march (or run) forward.
All the books and websites say the best way to heal overuse injuries is to not run.  They also say to maintain cardio and muscle tone by cross-training (but let’s not go there yet).  So I took time off after Chicago.  I jog-walked the Dana Point Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, still feeling tinges of pain, but feeling good about eating a good dinner later that day.   

Time off from running was helping me relax and recharge.  I was starting to forget about all the early running mornings and the long runs I had logged during the hot summer.  In a the matter of only three months all that training was being forgotten in the bustle of the holidays and the coming New Year – not to mention we moved to a different house one month after the marathon.  I felt discombobulated for a while.

Time off from running also causes extreme shrinkage in clothing. Funny how that works out. Remember that bit about staying fit and doing cross-training?  Yeah, me neither. 

So 2013 is a bit like starting all over again.  I have done some short runs this month and they are pain free – at least from the standpoint of my knee and hamstring.  Not so pain-free from an ego, “how come you are not in shape anymore” standpoint.  It’s all good.  No pressure this year but to enjoy my runs.   Which isn’t to say I don’t have races on the calendar or goals in my head.  I do – on both counts.

You can see the list of registered races on the right. Woot.  Looking forward to each of them, for different reasons.  Some I will be more ready for than others, but to me it’s all good.  By the way, it feels so good to be running in cool weather.  Last summer was a beater.

So with my 2013 running goals in mind, here are my words for this year – which I will apply to everything I am going to work on….from running, to family, to crafting, to anything I take on.


So, yes, it's January 11th as I write this and the year is pushing two weeks old, but I feel ok saying Hello to 2013 at this time, because now I am ready to face it.
Happy New Year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chicago Marathon - Race Report


It’s been over two weeks since I completed the Chicago Marathon, and it’s taken me that long to digest, reflect and regroup after the experience.  If you read no further, just remember this: It was AWESOME! The elite men’s champion set a new course record.  The elite women’s champion won by ONE SECOND.  After 26 miles, decided by ONE SECOND!  The whole race had a record number of finishers: 37,455.  I was one of them, and I wasn’t last.  Close, but not last.
Amazing elite men runners.
Besides the excitement and pride of finishing 26 miles, 385 yards, I got to finally meet my running buddy, partner in marathon mayhem, Facebook friend, Candi – and her red hot beau, Troy.  Can I just say that this “blind date” was the best EVER!  I made some great new forever-friends, and that made this adventure truly special.
Canders, Troyster and that chick from California.
I flew to Chicago on Thursday and stayed at my sister Mei’s house.  I immediately enjoyed the fall weather and colorful foliage of the season.  California was unseasonably HOT and annoying.  I took a light jog Friday morning on the lovely “Prairie Path” and got a pre-marathon massage from sis.  Got to spend quality time with Mei’s family – her grand kids Taylor and Miles, and my nephews Matt and Nate.  My brother-in-law Kevin is an endless source of dry humor and guitar plucking.  Mei made homemade pizza and Nate’s wife Debbie brought a sinful chocolate cake from Portillo’s*, for an early celebration of Nate turning 26 (an appropriate birthday number for my weekend exploits).  *This place would come back into the picture post-marathon! 
Taylor Rose and Miles Dude
Saturday we headed downtown to check into our hotel, meet up with Candi and Troy and go to the expo.  Downtown Chicago was buzzing with marathon excitement, plus there was a big football game at Soldier Field Saturday night too.  Meeting my running buddy in person for the first time was exciting.  We met on Facebook and connected over scrapbooking and running.  It just sort of all clicked and somehow, somewhere along the way we talked ourselves into running a marathon together.  It was perfect for both of us...Chicago.  About 90 minutes from where Candi lives, and not far from where Mei lives.  I wanted to travel somewhere special for my first marathon, and this had all the ingredients.

The expo was teaming with crowds and we took our time.  Got our bibs, and walked the floor.  Lots of excitement and urges to buy things!  It was fun to soak in all the energy.  I really didn't want to miss anything.  We took lots of pictures, bought a few things, and then headed back to rest and get ready for dinner.
Found my name WAY up high on the  marathon participants wall.
The big bowl of pasta at the Brooks booth!

The only medal I would touch for awhile....
A t-shirt for Troy.....
   
Mei found the great restaurant for Saturday night. Sapori Trattoria in Lincoln Park. Talk about delicious food.  Lobster ravioli, bread coming outta my ears. A fine glass of vino....chocolate raspberry cake...oh yeah.  We had such a cute table upstairs overlooking the street.  Perfection! Dinner conversation was wonderful and covered all sorts of topics.  Top on my and Candi's mind was "we are running a marathon in the morning!"  We went over all the details for the next morning, Mei and Troy figured out all the possible viewing spots around Chicago and to bed we went.   Not that I went to sleep right away, but I tried.  Riding a cab in downtown Chicago back to the hotel, by the way, is like riding a roller coaster.  :)
 
Candi and I met at 6AM race morning and took the shuttle to the start.  It was maybe in the ‘40s – not too bad, even for a thin-blooded California girl. We were in the start area early and mingled around our corral area.  The “M” corral – the last corral, the happiest corral.  We could just barely hear the earlier groups starting way ahead of us.  We finally started moving forward about 8AM, and crossed the start at about 8:20.  It was by far the most exciting start of any race event I have participated in.   
 
There were so many people at the start and along the early parts of the route.  Much of it past in a blur, and I am grateful for some of the photos that shows what we actually did!  I ran at slow pace – slower than I had planned months ago – thanks to a faulty knee that was actually behaving race morning, and a hamstring that decided it didn’t want to do it’s job.  In the end, I ran slow, walked through the early aid stations, and just kept going.  The early miles went by quickly, it seemed to me.  Lake Michigan swam by, a band playing Beatles music, the colored-leaf lined streets of Lincoln Park.  By about the half marathon mark, Candi kept her pace up while I slowed down.  We met up and regrouped whenever we saw Troy and Mei.  The two of them were having some fun gallivanting around Chi-Town by train and taxi to show up along the route.  It was wonderful to have support and familiar faces along the way.  The fall weather and scenery was perfect.  It stayed chilly throughout the run, with gusty breezes and sunshine when the tall buildings weren’t blocking it.  There was always something to look at.

No doubt, the going got tough.  I was frustrated inside that my body wasn’t cooperating, but I mentally kept pushing to stay positive and enjoy the experience.  I had to walk a lot during the second half, but in the end, I am fine with that.  Past 18 miles it was more a matter of mental toughness than anything else.  The last miles are both anxious and lonely in some ways, because you know you are close, but you SO want it to be done.  The last mile marker is like an oasis.  The sign that says “400M to go” is like the holy grail!  When I rounded the corner to the finish, I saw Candi off to the side all teary-eyed waiting for me, and that made me just lose it.  We linked arms and ran across the finish together in tears of joy, relief, happiness, excitement.
 
I ordered this photo...what a moment! This is just the proof, and I do mean PROOF!
Funny Remembrances:
  • Why or why was “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” playing on the marathon route?  Not upbeat. Opening line…”when you’re weary….”  Fail.
  • Teaching a CPD officer how to Gangnam Style.  Loved him.
  • Seeing our biggest fans along the course - and things that reminded us of them.....oh, and I loved Elvis.
The amazing support crew.
  • For the short time I ran without my jacket and people could see my tee shirt, one lady called out, “Go funny bunny!”  Maybe next time I will have my name on my shirt!  Candi had her Coyote tee on and she got lots of supportive hoots along the way!
  • After saying our goodbyes after the race and heading back toward Mei's house, we stopped at Portillo's for dinner (met Kevin and Matt there).  I had the yummiest, meatiest roast beef sandwich and fries ever.  Race recovery at it's finest. Coincidentally, Candi and Troy stopped at a Portillo's on their way home too - and we didn't even plan it!
Things that went askew:
  • Charged my Garmin all night.  At least I thought I did.  At about mile 3, it beeped and flashed “low battery.”  Wha?  It died at about mile 18. Boo hoo, no official Nan-Garmin time for my Garmin Connect account.  Typically this would send me into OCD convulsions, but now that the marathon is done, I decided who cares?
  •  Lost one glove.  I started out with gloves for most of the race and periodically removed them when I got warm or needed to dig in my waist pack.  When I realized I had dropped/lost one, I ran for a little bit ala Michael Jackson style with only one glove, until I decided I looked funny (ok, funnier than usual) and threw the other one away.
  •  Thinking I was doing pretty well on pace since I was keeping up with a Nike pacer with a 5:45 on her back.  Then I overheard her say she was WAY off.  Great.
  • Not going to dwell on the shortage of finisher's medals at the end of the race.  Race officials are handling it; Candi already received hers, mine is on it's way.  I love the medals I have earned in the past and was really looking forward to this one.
Welcome to China Town (and yes, it did feel like we had run all the way to China!)
Things that went well:

One of many well-stocked aid stations.
  • I packed just the right amount of food on me for the duration of my time out there.  It amounted to three packages of PowerBar Energy Blasts, and a small bag of pretzels.  Had a banana, bagel and pretzels before the start. Plenty of water and Gatorade along the route.
  • Glad I wore my lightweight jacket.  It was just right, with a short sleeve tech tee underneath.  The weather was in the ‘40s with some wind.  There was a short time when I ran without the jacket and it felt so refreshing. 
  • Legs were very tight Sunday, but Monday I got another amazing massage from Wonder Mei, massage therapist to her marathon-nuts baby sister.  I didn't walk funny at all after 48 hours.
Even though this is a long post, it really only touches the surface of all the feelings and thoughts and emotions surrounding this event.  I can't say enough about how much Mei supported and helped me on this trip.  I love my sis.
Words also seem to be inadequate describing how wonderful Candi and Troy are, as people, as training buddies, and as new friends.  I am so happy we did this together!
 I am also at a bit of a loss about whether I will run another marathon.  Right now I say 'probably not' - but I know that's not true even as I say it.  Candi was the first one to say 'never again' just minutes after the finish, yet she has already registered for her 2nd 26.2.  Go Candi!  I know I will do another - just don't know when or where.  Right now I am still letting my body recuperate and I have set my sights on the Surf City Half Marathon in February.

I am sure I am not done talking about this, but for now, let me just say - good run!   

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ready to Run...


Eight months ago – February 1 to be exact – Candi and I registered for the Chicago Marathon.  At the time, it seemed like a good idea.  An event far into the future.  Something big to achieve.  Something to train for.  Something to be proud of.  Now here it is.  I get on a plane tomorrow and get this thing done!
I’ve logged hundreds of miles.  I’ve sweat buckets – it’s been the hottest summer! Let’s NOT talk about the smelly laundry, bleary-eyed early mornings, blisters, gastric distress and general grossness associated with hardcore, badass running.

Now on the eve of my departure, I am filled with a range of emotions.

1.       Excitement.  Nervous excitement.  It’s a bloody marathon, people.  I have been in big races, though none of this size. It’s also TWENTY-SIX POINT FLIPPIN’ TWO MILES.  I haven’t gone that far.  Ever. 

2.       Joy. At finally getting to meet my distant, virtual training buddy, Candi. We met on Facebook.  We have similar interests, which is why we were connected in the first place.  Running, scrapbooking and baking.  What more could I want in a friend?  We have supported each other through training and had a blast – as much of a blast as we can have between Illinois and California.  What an incredible thing to share with such a sweetie pie.  When it’s all done, we will both have this amazing accomplishment and memory of doing it together.

3.       Frustration.  Injuries.  ARGH!  At the beginning of the year, it was plantar fasciitis.  I worked through it and now it’s a dull achy, annoyance.  Two weeks ago: Runner’s Knee.  Did you know, if you Google “knee pain two weeks before marathon” – you get a whole bunch of info on runner’s knee?  I have rested, drugged and shot up my knee these last two weeks.  The one thing I haven’t done much of is run.  I am not afraid of pain.  I am afraid of failure.

4.       Sisterly love.  Mei.  My sister has been supporting me on this from the start and agreed to be my crew on race day.  Never mind that she is also conveniently a massage therapist, which all runners need on race day.
5.       Whoop.  I get to meet Candi's guy.  Words cannot describe my thoughts on this.
In three days I am going to go from runner to Marathoner.   
See you on the other side.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Things I Know for Sure When I Am Running




  • If I am going 10 miles, might as well go 11 miles.  If I am going 11 miles, might as well go 12 miles.  If I am going 12 miles, might as well go 13 miles.  Etc.  Etc. Etc.
  • Stretching my legs above my head on my bed after a long run (and after a heavenly shower), is about as good as a dish of ice cream.
my calves are not as big as they look, it's the vertical perspective;  at least i think that's what it is! proud to note that i have all 10 toenails.  whooya!
  • I know I look terrible when I run.  My hair is untamed and sticking out all over.  My fuel belt is askew.  I have a confused look on my face as I try to figure out exactly what Nicki Minaj is singing about. Sweat and smell everywhere. (Candi, bet you can't wait to see this!)
  • No, I don’t have running form like Kara Goucher.
  • I know the distance between all major intersections on Antonio Parkway between Santa Margarita and Crown Valley.
  • Cold lemon-lime Cytomax tastes like the nectar of the gods during a long run.  (But tastes like pee water when I am sipping it in the kitchen.)
  • I sometimes wish my family would drive by and offer me a ride home.  
  • Today they informed me that they drove to the bagel shop and didn't see me.  DUH.  Bruegger's Bagels is only 2 miles from the house (Dove Canyon to La Promesa). I was at least 3-4 miles further down the street!
  • I can write a great Runner's World article in my head while I am in the midst of a long run, but when I fire up the laptop to write, all I want to do is play Solitaire (and then fall asleep).
  • I can't wait to run my first marathon.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Marathon Training: COUNTDOWN



I haven’t blogged in awhile.  Where does the time go?  I remember being on a big running high the last time I posted, then hitting a slump, a deep trough, coming out of that slump (which coincided with a cooling trend in the weather) – to rebounding to where I am now (where I don't really care about the heat anymore - it is what it is), and now it's just about a month away from Chicago time.  Yikes-a-Doodle.
This training business is really the marathon.  Race day itself – while being adrenaline fueled and exciting – should really be the culminating party.  It’s these hot days of summer that have been the real challenge.  Rising at or before 5AM multiple days of the week; working around the heat; slogging along on these long long runs; trying to imagine what actually completing 26.2 miles will actually be like.  I can’t think of another time I have set my mind to a consistent 18 week anything, let alone this very physically challenging feat.  And it doesn’t stop at the end of those Chicago 26.2.  Three weeks after my first marathon, I will run the Los Angeles Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon.  I ran that one last year and so enjoyed it  I signed on very early this year to do it again (before I knew I was running Chicago).  So I also have a goal to repeat that race and maybe even improve my time.  It’s also Halloween themed, so I may have to break down and actually wear something silly this time. Check out the Halloween medal and shirt - yum!

And then Manny and Cathy are getting everyone all excited for the Dana Point Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.  So being one to want to run off Thanksgiving dinner before I eat it, I signed on for the 10k. This will be my third consecutive trot in Dana Point - whoda thunk.  That should do it for 2012.   

But never fear, I am already registered for Surf City in Huntington Beach (hello, they are repeating the Beach Cities Challenge in 2013 - so I just may need to run OC and Long Beach again next year too), and Team MOB is putting together a Spartan Race team for late January.  Yep, I agreed to run through mud and fire.  Oh lord. I have read that runners often plan their next races before the race they are training for has actually happened.  Or even, in the throes of agony crossing a finish line, they start talking about the next time they will do it again.  Yup - that's me.

Could it be that I really like this running thing?  I DO!  And this picture that Run the Edge posted not long ago reminded me of why I do.  It's all for me, baby.
Yeah, I have been too busy this summer training and spending time with the family to do much crafting this summer, but there will be time for that later....in fact, I was seriously considering going 100% digi on the scrapbooking....may just be the way to go.  Anyone up for a scrappy yard sale?  That'll be for another time.  Right now, it's COUNTDOWN time for Chi 2012!.

Whooya.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Marathon Training Essentials: Perfect Fun

OC Fair Fun Run - Pre-Run
Nine more weeks.  The countdown clock says 60 days.  We are at the halfway mark of marathon training.  This is where the fun begins.  Double-digit long runs every weekend. Seven, eight, nine, 10 mile mid-week longish runs.  “Easy” runs are a smooth 4-5 miles.  I just wish it wasn’t so freaking hot right now, and then the miles wouldn’t feel so grueling.  I went for an easy 3 last night after the sun went down, and I still came back soaked like a wash rag!  Ew.  
The Perfect 10 Crew
It was a good three, however.  I needed a soft and easy three, even if it was hot.  Last Saturday I ran “the Perfect 10” – a fun, unofficial race, well, actually a group of friends who called it a race with an excuse to drink beer and celebrate the race director’s birthday!  It was primarily a trail run (btw, I have done NOT trail running thus far in training), for a total of 7.5 miles.  Oh, and the first 4.5 were all uphill.  After this expedition, I will NEVER call the hills in my neighborhood “hills”.  Those are not hills – those are little grades. 
Yes, the line slanting down to the left is a road, we came up it.
The hills I hiked on Saturday were hills.  Trail hills.  Rocky, gravelly, deeply pocked, uneven terrain, technical, steep, dusty, cougar and rattlesnake-infested, beautiful hills.  I did mostly walking.  And it was good.  The highlight - besides heading down - was making it to the flag.  We signed into the book that’s kept in a metal box to prove that we were there. 
Yes, I am hanging on to Old Glory. Michelle holding me up!
Then it was indeed a lot of DOWN.  It was probably more technical going down than going up because gravity was pulling me and urging me to fall on my face or trip.  My ankles got an amazing work-out billy-goating from side to side.  If it took 90 minutes to make it up, and only 30 minutes to make it down.  Race director Shannon, handmade beer bottle opener medals for all finishers.  And it was good.
Going down, down, down......you can't tell from this photo, but the ladies on the far
 right heading down were sliding on their butts from the slippery dirt!

The hill.
Sunday, the girls and I participated in the OC Fair’s Fun 5k Run.  Last year I ran by myself and didn’t have nearly the fun.  Marli took off at the gun and we never saw her again.  But Franny and I hung together (she set the run/walk pace) and we participated in every “detour to fun” on the route.  This is what makes this such a great family event.  We played a carnival game (Franny won a green dog breaking a plate with a baseball), we rode the giant “euro” slide, and then got to play on the main stage at the Pacific Amphitheater.  It was an excellent way to get 3.1 in after the hills the day before.  Franny and I had a blast, and then we blasted Marli for missing the good times! Ha!
That was the last I saw of Marli until the finish line.
Does Franny looked embarressed to you?  Is her mama crazy or what?
Now, two things should be noted:

1)      It was totally awesome to have a different way to get my training runs in this past weekend.  Granted, I broke up the 10 miles I supposed to do by running them in two very different ways – and certainly not a standard workout.  But it was so great to do something different, meet new people, run with the girls.  Loved it. And…

2)      Got to run with Michelle – the girl who started it all.  It was my na├»ve question to her about three years ago …”uh, michelle, how do I start running?” that got me where I am today.  She was my “sweeper” up the hills on Saturday.  Awesome, loved it.
Run on.  Whooya.
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