Race Thru the Redwoods (or as I like to call it, Race THROUGH the Redwoods) Race Recap

According to my coach,  I start training for the California International Marathon right after Labor Day.  Until then, I’ve been in maintenance mode and just running for fun.  Up until late last week, I was planning to run a cross country race with my pal Meg, but when we realized that Santa Cruz Endurance would not have a full women’s team at the race, we decided to jump into the Race Thru the Redwoods instead.  Here’s the thing… I don’t race trails (and if you have ever tripped on something as silly as a speed bump and broken your hand, all ideas of racing trails with no sense of irrational fear is long gone).  For that reason, this race was simply for fun.  Fun was what I had, and I actually surprised myself to boot!

Because I had signed up for this race last minute, I didn’t have my normal pre-race stress.  In fact, I didn’t even look at the course map until Friday.  At that time, I thought… “Oh crap! This is going to be rough.”  Take a look…

Do you see that hill?

Do you see that hill?

That’s right… There’s a big whopping hill right in the middle of this course.  I figured that I could prepare myself a little better by asking Meg what the hill was like.  Her response was, “Well…. I’ve never actually ran up the whole thing.  It’s impossible.”  Okay…. it must be a considerable hill since I think of Meg as strong on hills.  

With this in mind, I proceeded to do an 11 miler on Saturday with Elise, as she had 18 miles on her schedule.  After that, I went to a Barre class/Practice session to prepare for another one of my new adventures – becoming a Barre instructor (stay tuned… mega blog post coming up on that soon).  For final race prep, I put on some high heels and went out for a nice dinner with my hubby.  This isn’t how I typically prepare for a race, but I knew this was just for fun and didn’t feel any race pressure.

Sunday morning, I planned to meet Meg at her house to carpool to the race.  Meg’s friend Dustin rode with us and was running the race as one of his first races ever.  Go Dustin!  We grabbed our bibs, did a warm-up mile and restroom break, shared some hugs with other teammates and lined up.  Shortly after that, the gun went off and Meg and I used Mile 1 as a bit more of a warm up.  This part of the course just meandered through some paved roads, and at the end of this mile the trail started.  Shortly after this, I just went with a pace that felt comfortable.  Mile 2 was pretty uneventful, and then… the hill started.  Mile 3 was simply conquering the hill.  I ran on the less steep parts and power walked the rooty, steep parts. In fact, I even got a few compliments on the speed of my power walking.  Thank you fellow racers!  

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Mile 4 was a rolling out and back section which was great because I could see some of the runners in front of me heading home.  This was also the point that I realized that I was the 3rd place female.  Cool!  Right after the out and back section, the hugest downhill ever was included in Mile 5.  Don’t misunderstand me… downhills are awesome, but these were super steep and I had visions of speed bumps in my head.  It’s all good though… I now know a perfect route for Boston training this spring.  Towards the end of Mile 5, we ended back up on trails for the last half mile or so of the 10k.  This is where the magic happened… I was stoked to be back on the trail.  Once I hit the trail, I had a moment of true appreciation of where I live and realized that trails make me happy.  Running makes me happy (90% of the time), but to run on the trails felt really freeing.  Prior to entering this last bit of trail, I’d been running pretty much neck and neck with a young man.  When we got to the trails, he entered before me and I let him go.  I know… you are probably thinking, “Silly girl!  Go get him!”  Believe me, I thought about it, but I also wanted to savor that feeling of running for joy.  It was simply amazing!

My race buddy... I'm not sure he felt the same way, but I say we're friends.

My race buddy… I’m not sure he felt the same way, but I say we’re friends.

When all was said and done, I finished in 46:14 which was fast enough for 3rd Female and 1st in Age Group.  Not bad!  If I had to rank this race, I’d give it a 7/10.  On the plus side, the race was easy to get to, parking was good, bathrooms were plentiful, and the course was well marked with helpful volunteers.  For the negatives, there wasn’t race day registration, the shirts were regular old cotton t-shirts, the awards ceremony was odd, and there wasn’t an ounce of coffee to be seen even though there was a tease of a pancake breakfast after the race.  Overall though, it is a race to put on your list for sure!

Warning… Only Read if You Have Self Control

Seriously… only continue reading if you have self control.  I clearly do not.  Let me confess that I honestly believe that I am a sugar addict.  I’m constantly craving something sweet.  Can I blame my mother for this?  She never let us have dessert unless we cleaned our plate… and she always served peas which I hate (well… unless they are in a pot pie and then I can eat them cause they are surrounded by gooey goodness).  What can you conclude from this… I sometimes (um… often) missed dessert.

I really try to eat a clean diet, and actually fare pretty well during the week.  It is the weekend that I get way out of balance.  If there is a cookie or a cake or anything remotely scrumptious I will gobble it down… and fast.  For that exact reason, I don’t buy sweets for home frequently.  Last week, I was hungry for something sweet and I remembered the recipe for No Bake Energy Bites from the blog Give Me Some Oven.  After a quick look through the cabinets and freezer, I was set to make these little balls of goodness.

No-Bake-Energy-Bites-Redo-1

Here’s the recipe:

No-Bake Energy Bites

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: About 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used gluten free old fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes (I was lazy and didn’t toast the coconut)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ (I had neither, but I did have sesame seeds)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar ( I used honey)
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional… but I had some ground chia and used this)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Method

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until mixed well. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.

Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like.  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.  Recipe says it makes 20-25 balls, but I didn’t make it that far.

Sounds easy enough, right?  It really is until you discover that the balls are just so yummy that you have to have a few spoonfuls before they go to the fridge to chill.  After putting them in the fridge to chill as directed, I attempted to make the balls… until I ate another few spoonfuls and said, “Forget the balls… I’ll do that later!”  I put the container back in the fridge for the night.  The next day, I had a few bites for breakfast and then proceeded to eat the rest as an after school snack.  Those balls didn’t stand a chance.

You may be wondering how many “Oh Wow(s)!” these earned from my husband.  The answer is ZERO.  This recipe was delicious, but sadly, Adam didn’t have a clue that I had even made them because I ate the entire recipe without his knowledge.  What’s a girl to do… they were wonderful!

Maybe it was guilt, maybe it was embarrassment, but I downloaded the book I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson.  I need to get control of this situation, especially before marathon training begins again.  This chic is going for a PR!  Stay tuned… I plan to read the book and implement some of the suggestions, but September is my birthday month so it may be a slower transition.

Saturday Snippets – Happy Babies, Scarves 101, Hunter Pence and Clean Eating

This past week marked that day that every teacher has a love/hate relationship with… the first day of professional development and/or classroom prep for the 2014-2015 school year.  Honestly, where did summer go?  I swear it lasted much, much longer when I was a kid.  Now, I know that summer doesn’t officially end until September 21st (which also happens to be the only sad thing that happens during my birthday month), but once I put my teacher cap on, I start thinking FALL.

When I think of fall, I think of scarves.  It was perfectly fitting that I saw a post on how to tie scarves on Facebook this week.  In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that I was having a scarf wearing conversation with some girlfriends.  You see… living in Santa Cruz means that a scarf is a wardrobe staple.  However, the Midwest in me still associates scarves with beautiful fall.  If you have found yourself doing the same old scarf loop, or obsessing how celebrities make their scarves look so cool, then this video may be just what you are looking for…. and it’s from Nordstrom so that is always a win!

4 Scarves... 16 Ways!!!

4 Scarves…
16 Ways!!!

Click here to find out how to perfect 16 different scarf techniques using 4 types of scarves… which are probably already hiding in your closet.  It’s like having a new accessory without actually purchasing a new accessory!

As stated above, there is a love/hate relationship with going back to school.  I love working with the kiddos again.  There isn’t much that can top a hug from a sweet little kid, or watching a kiddo learning something new for the first time.  The only thing that drags all this awesomeness down is the fact that my schedule gets alot more pressed for time.  Enter the handy, dandy Crock Pot… this thing is a life saver!  It seems like there is a 50 Best Crock Pot Meals posted every other day on Facebook.  I always look at these, but it seems like they are often full of some pretty sketch ingredients.  Fortunately, there are some lovely recipes on the blog He and She Eat Clean.  They have a whole section on slow cooker meals.  Love!  On the menu in our casa this week would be Italian Stallion Chicken.  I plan to do the prep on Sunday and then toss this in the slow cooker on Tuesday or Thursday when my schedule is tightest.  What do you think?

Italian Stallion Crockpot Chicken Clean Eaing Slow Cooker Italian Chicken

Okay, with going back to work adding some humor to my days is an absolute must.  The things that I found the most hysterical this week would be the crying baby that hears Katy Perry and all of the Hunter Pence heckling signs that have sprouted up at baseball diamonds all across America.  Really,  if these don’t crack you up there is no way you are human.

Click here to see the video...

Click here to see the adorable, hysterical video.

What would your Hunter Pence sign say?

What would your Hunter Pence sign say?

 

That’s all I have for this week.  I’ll let you know how many “Oh Wow(s)!” the Italian Stallion Chicken gets.

Hoping your Saturday is full of joy and the chance to do something extraordinary!  Enjoy!  Oh… and if you try any of the above out this week, let me know how it went!

What Does It Take to be Called an Athlete?

Have you seen the new ad from Under Armour featuring Misty Copeland?  Holy amazing!

Click the link below.  Amazing!!!

Click the link below. Amazing!!!

 Click here to see this amazing video.   It’s only a minute!

 So often, when the image of an athlete comes to mind, it’s easy to picture a favorite player from a favorite team, the looks of determination (and sometimes agony) of a track athlete heading towards the finish line, or the calm, yet powerful images of a boxer while training (or when smashing someone’s face in).  But one thing that this ad certainly conveys is that athletes can be anybody doing any activity.  It also points out, very matter-of-fact, that if you are told it’s not possible… think again!  When I think of  athletes, these are some of the images that comes to my mind…

Ernest chose a bike instead of surgery to lose more than 200 lbs.

Ernest chose a bike instead of surgery to lose more than 200 lbs.

Read Ernest’s story here.

Photo courtesy of www.mid-day.com

Lance… Photo courtesy of http://www.mid-day.com

I know… he can be a total jerk, has made some super bad choices, but the dude still won the biggest cycling race not one, but seven times…. after nearly dying of cancer.  The good in me believes in the good in Lance.  He’s got a lot of life left to live.  Still not convinced… check out Esquire‘s latest article.

Seriously... this looks hard!

Seriously… this looks hard!

As a teacher of students with disabilities, I’m often in awe at my students’ efforts to overcome some very serious obstacles.  If you have been around a person with a disability for much time, you will notice that they have very little negative self-talk.  I’m often reminded that when I think a workout is too much or that something aches, my issue is really just peanuts in comparison.  Okay… last video.  Have you seen this Guinness Beer commercial?  Happy tears are in your future.

Last… when I think of athletes, I think of these ladies.  I’m very fortunate to live in a community with some very talented female runners.  None of us are pros (although some are close to it), but despite family commitments, work commitments, illness, injuries and the many other things that take up space in the our lives, time is still made to set a goal, put in the time, and with a little support from others – smash it!

Setting goals and getting by with a little help from one another.

Setting goals and getting by with a little help from one another.

What image comes to mind when you hear the word athlete?

Saturday Snippets (A Day Late)

The Virgo in me is really annoyed that I didn’t get this blog post out on a Saturday, but the “I’m trying  really hard to chill out” in me says being a day late is a good sign.  So… here comes the Sunday version of Saturday Snippets…

Last week, I mentioned that I had an anniversary coming up and that I’d be making Honey Chicken Chipotle Bowls from How Sweet Eats.  I’m here to report that they turned out excellent!  I had a little bit of mango salsa leftover from fish tacos earlier in the week, and this provided an extra bit of YUM to the dish.  Also, instead of cooking the chicken on the stove, my husband threw it on the grill.  This was perfect because it meant less clean up after dinner.  This dish was given the green light to make again (and not just by my man, but from our foodie friends too).

Honey Chicken Chipotle Bowl... my attempt!

Honey Chicken Chipotle Bowl… my attempt!

I made Classic Margaritas from one of my all time favorite magazines, Real Simple too.  Adam looked at the pitcher and said, “That will never be enough!”  I assured him that it would be plenty… we were all rather buzzed after one each.  As predicted, I was right.   I did double the batch and we used Patron Silver Tequila and Patron Citronge Extra Fine Orange Liqueur instead of Triple Sec (I can thank the kind man at Bevmo for that suggestion).  And then… we had cake.

Chocolate Devil's Food Cake with Whipped Cream frosting from The Buttery.  Life is better with cake.

Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake with Whipped Cream frosting from The Buttery. Life is better with cake.

I’ve looked at a couple new recipes to try this week, but I’m going to have to remake Run Eat Repeat’s Chili Relleno Casserole again.  I like to judge the worthiness of a new recipe by the number of “Oh Wow” that I get from my husband.  This recipe was given two from him and he asked that we have it again really soon.  Here’s what I learned from making this the first time around:

  • Yes… I do indeed own an 8×8 casserole dish.  I just couldn’t find it because I recently cleaned the cabinets and it was neatly stacked with the other casserole dishes… as it should be.  I’ll use it next time.
  • I love my rice cooker.  It makes perfect rice every time, and I can always make extra for other recipes during the week (this week it was a yummy Brown Rice Greek Salad)
  • I can go without eating meat, but Adam likes to say “If we weren’t supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?”  To remedy his need for meat,  I put a couple of chicken breasts along with a jar of salsa verde into the crock pot before I went to the gym.  He got his meat, and I got to have a delicious veggie meal.  Two birds.  One Stone.
  • We added a little light sour cream (again left over from fish tacos) and avocado (which I almost always have in my house… #midwestgirlproblem… Now that I can buy them so cheap, I think they are a staple)
This dish was given 2 "OH WOWS!"  That means you should make it.

This dish was given 2 “OH WOWS!” That means you should make it.

In the LEATHER department, Banana Republic has recently launched their new leather (and some fine looking faux leather) pieces.  I’ve been on the hunt for a leather tank or t-shirt for a bit and was super stoked to see a leather tank and a faux leather tee in the line-up.  We went to San Jose today to do a little shopping and I was hoping to try the them on, but they were not in the store yet.  The sales girl thought BR would have these items on August 8th.  If you are excited to see them or order before then, here’s a peek. I’m also hoping that BR will have one of their awesome coupons that includes either item.  Do you ever get frustrated when you pick out that one item that is excluded from the too hard to believe percent off???  Yep… me too!

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Okay… last snippet.  I have to go back to work this week, although I won’t have students for a couple of weeks.  I’ve signed up to lead a few back-to-school trainings, and I also have to attend a few back-to-school trainings.  It always takes me a bit to get back into the swing of things so I’m a huge fan of the pony.  Lucky me, I have really thick hair, and with the help of a Keratin treatment, it is very easy to make a pony tail look polished.  Unlucky me, thick hair is quite heavy and I almost always fail at the messy top-knot look… until now… check out this easy tutorial from Espresso & Cream.  I was able to do it (albeit with a TON of bobby pins) so I’m sure it will work for you too!

Easy Messy Top Knot

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Hoping your Saturday (um… Sunday)  is full of joy and the chance to do something extraordinary!  Enjoy!  Oh… and if you try any of the above out this week, let me know how it went!

 

Wharf to Wharf – Going 5 For 5 and Thoughts Throughout

Talk about an emotional roller coaster!  The week leading up to this year’s Wharf to Wharf my mind was all over the place.  As I stated in my earlier post regarding this race, I knew that I wasn’t where I wanted to be mentally or physically, but I also knew that I had some good training under my belt that should get me to a Top 100 finish.  Michele (my awesome running coach), writes my workouts and race plans on Sundays.  I had an entire week to wrap my head around the race plan, but there was still a nagging voice in my head that said, “It’s impossible…. you are so out of shape!  You can’t possibly pull off a PR, let alone run close to what you did last year!”  Then, I had days that my mind said, “You got this!  You’ve been hitting your paces at the track, so just start to believe in yourself and do this!”  I won’t keep you in suspense any longer…. here’s how it all went down:

Race morning, I made plans to meet up with some Santa Cruz Endurance teammates at Meg’s house.  Meg wasn’t running because she was kicking some marathon booty in San Francisco, but her house is about a mile from the start so it serves as a perfect warm-up spot (plus, the parking situation is pretty darn good there too).  Since the race is point-to-point, Adam dropped me off at the start so that I didn’t have to battle traffic to get back to my car later.  I’m thankful that he didn’t drop me off sooner because I wasn’t fun company race morning.  After a hug and a kiss, I was out of the car and ready to warm-up with Bob, Bob, and Jaime (yep… two Bobs).

Bob, Jaime, Bob and I ready for a little warm-up fun.

Bob, Jaime, Bob and I ready for a little warm-up fun.

After our short warm-up, we found a little known about restroom (and no… I won’t share this location… sorry, I love you, but Bob, Bob and Jaime have threatened my life if I divulge the secret spot).  After the quick restroom stop, the Bobs and I headed to an empty parking lot to do some quick strides before entering the corrals.  On our way to and from our strides, we were able to see other running friends and teammates and give a quick smile, hug and good luck message.  Then, we were in the corral and there was no real turning back.

There they are... all 16,000 runners (and an estimated 4,000 bandits).

There they are… all 16,000 runners (and an estimated 4,000 bandits).

While in the corral, I was still trying to figure out how this race would go down.  I figured that I would at least try to go out with Michele’s paces in mind (6:25) and see how it went.  The first mile was a lot of weaving in and out trying to get around the runners that quite possibly should not have been in the Elite corral.  Mile 1 was 6:30 pace, but I was feeling okay with that considering how much I had weaved.  The second mile includes the first hill of the race.  Mile 2 ended up being 6:30 pace as well.  I have a tendency to look at my watch a bit too much so I turned it to show only the clock after this mile.  Mile 3 has a couple of hills and my time slowed to 6:41 pace.  It was shortly after this that I started to think about Mile 5 coming up.

(Side note:  Adam informed me on Saturday that he decided not to go to the race this year.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much this news took out of my psyche.  I had been preparing myself for not seeing Zeuf at her post, but I had not even started to think about Adam not being there either.  This news really made me sad, but I too have to understand that he knew and loved Z much, much longer than I had, and he had the joy of manning Mile 5 with her years before I came along.  It totally makes sense that he wanted to do something else that day too.  He made plans to go on a bike ride with the dudes, and he was right… this was my race and my results did not directly depend on where he was at on the course.)

I didn’t pick up my pace much during Mile 4 and ended up with a 6:40 mile and then… Mile 5 came up.  At this point in the race, I honestly didn’t want to run any longer.  I wasn’t tired, my body didn’t hurt, I just didn’t have the heart any longer.  Mile 5 was a whopping 6:51 pace.  When I passed 36th Avenue, it was quiet.  I told the folks standing there that this was Zeuf’s mile and that cheering was not optional.  I’m guessing the fans there understood because they did begin to cheer.  I picked up my pace a bit after that and finished the last mile in 6:33.

Official Watch Time:  39:49

Official Watch Time: 39:49

My official race time was 40:00 good enough for the coveted Top 100 (56th female).  You can find full results here.  With an average pace of 6:39, I was pretty far off of my actual race plan, but when it was all said and done, I really thought that running a 6:40 pace was where I was at mentally in this race.  When I reflect on this year’s Wharf, I look at it as closure.  Closure that I needed from the achilles and broken hand incident, closure from the lack of cross training, and closure for Mile 5.

The finish line!!!!

The finish line!!!!

Bob James and I with out Top 100 jackets.  Woot! Woot!

Bob James and I with our Top 100 jackets. Woot! Woot!

Final thoughts:

  • “Start where you are.  Use what you have.  Do what you can.” – Quoting tennis great Arthur Ashe, this was the perfect mantra for 2014’s Wharf to Wharf.
  • To the young lady that received card #99…. your joy and excitement after your finish still has me smiling today.  You, young lady, have a very bright future in running.  Thank you for the reminder that running really is joyous and should be celebrated. (Looking at the results, Kate Tavella placed 98th overall.  She is only 13 years old!)
  • And by celebrated, I mean…. with Mimosas (once you are 21, of course)!
Cheers!

Cheers!

How was your Wharf to Wharf experience?  Have you ever had a mental block while running?  What is your strategy for fixing negative thoughts?

Saturday Snippets

Each week, I read a bit, surf the web, chat with friends and make to-do lists that sometimes get accomplished, and sometimes don’t.  One of the many reasons that I started this blog was to give myself that little bit of motivation to actually do some of the things that I discover through the week.  So, I’m sharing some of my findings each week with you.  Here are my discoveries this week:

I’m a teacher and the Back-to-School advertisements, shelves, and chatter is coming full force this time of year.  After doing this gig for 17 years, I still love the first days of school.  When I was little, I loved going shopping for supplies and new clothes with my siblings and mother.  Still to this day, I can’t escape the aisles without throwing some supplies into my cart, but even more exciting, is that I still purchase myself a new outfit for the first day of school.  So… when these came in the mail the last week…. I couldn’t help but get excited for the new school year.

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale always comes at the perfect time, and J.Crew has preppy teacher written all over it.

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale always comes at the perfect time, and J.Crew has preppy teacher written all over it.

This week also happens to be a big week of racing in my neighborhood.  Some of my friends are heading to San Francisco for the San Francisco Marathon.  In particular, I’ve been watching in awe as my most steady running partner has started to own the road.  She has become a beast on the hills and is busting out quick miles while looking like running is her job.  I’m not going to divulge too much, because as a runner myself, I know how much having outside pressures or the feeling of letting someone down can jack with your mind, but I feel with all my heart that she is going to KILL IT!  The rest of my neighborhood, and lots of visitors, will be running the Wharf to Wharf here in Santa Cruz.  This is a HUGE race giving back a lot of dough to our local schools.  I’m excited to join my teammates and friends on the course this year.  Look for a follow-up post on the race shortly.  In the meantime, I stumbled upon this quote from i<3torun’s Facebook page and found it fitting for the weekend’s events.  

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Finally, my hubby and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary this week.  We have plans to go to a Giants day game followed by a delicious dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  You might say… Giants game… for an anniversary???  Don’t judge… we love our Giants (and I love Timmy a ton) and if you haven’t had the garlic fries then you simply can’t understand.  Yum!  Because I can’t eat garlic fries AND the whole anniversary cake (each year I have The Buttery recreate the top of our wedding cake), I have decided to have Juliette and Dietmar (special friends that also played a HUGE roll in our top secret wedding plans) come share the cake with us.  I’ve been dying to make this Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowl with Lime Quinoa recipe that I found on the blog How Sweet It Is.  I may need to make a few changes to accommodate some dietary needs, but I can already smell the deliciousness of this dish.  

honey-chipotle-chicken-bowls-I-howsweeteats.com-5

Hoping your Saturday is full of joy and the chance to do something extraordinary!  Enjoy!

 

Wharf to Wharf 2014 – It’s so close!

Before I even moved to California, my husband (the anti-runner) said I should check out the Wharf to Wharf.  Excitedly, I asked if he would run it with me.  Nope… I was informed that he’d be eating pancakes, drinking mimosas and cheering near the five mile mark.  While that sounded great, after I’d looked up the race, I knew my mimosas would be coming a bit later.  After all, that Top 100 status intrigued me.  So that’s how it started in 2010.

 

With that Top 100 jacket and my mimosa...

With that Top 100 jacket and my mimosa…

Now, it’s 2014 and I’m trying to go for my 5th Top 100 in my 5th attempt.  But this year, the race will be different since I’m in a different space, and Mile 5 will simply not be the same.  Let me elaborate….

In April, I put all my eggs in one basket hoping for the race of a lifetime at the Boston Marathon.  While prepared to come away with a shiny new PR, Marathon Monday was not my day (again… if I puked on you at Mile 15… I’m truly sorry!!!).  That’s okay… it’s part of being a runner.  Things don’t always go as planned.  After regrouping from the disappointment of my Boston performance, I told my coach that Wharf to Wharf was my “A” race.  She and I determine what runs I use to “get my mind right” and what runs I “better have my lungs hanging out my nose at the finish line.”  The Wharf to Wharf was to be the latter.  Mid May we started to incorporate twice weekly speed workouts, one long run and 2-3 easy runs.  All was going as planned and I had a “get your mind right” race scheduled for June 14th.  Then… my Achilles Tendon decided to scream at me to stop.  The race turned into pacing my friend, Jim, followed by three days of zero running.

Jim (on Rt), Brian and I before the race.  Jim finished 1 minute faster than expected!!!

Jim (on Rt), Brian and I before the race. Jim finished 1 minute faster than expected!!!

This was just a bump in the road, right?  Yes.  I did lots of yoga, got massages and some chiropractic treatment and I was up and running again.  And then….  this happened.

Broken hand… courtesy of tripping on a speed bump while running.

Broken hand… courtesy of tripping on a speed bump while running.

So here we are… within weeks of the Wharf to Wharf… and I have a cast on my hand.  On the bright side, the cast and I got to travel to Vancouver, CA where I got to run a bit and do the Grouse Grind… until my Achilles started to shout again.  Fortunately, it’s not shouting as loud as the last time.  After all these mishaps, I’ve thought a lot about the big picture of running.  Here’s what I have concluded:

Running, like life, doesn’t always go as planned. There are highs, and there are lows, and with any luck, we come out stronger, tougher, and wiser.  I am still running in between mishaps, and my times are within the ranges my coach sets for me.  There’s still a good chance of a Top 100 on July 27th.  Regardless, I will do what my mom always said, “Do your best.”  I may not come away with a W2W personal best, and that’s okay.  It will be my best on that day.  And lucky me… I get to run with 15,000 others that are doing their best on that day too.

One of the things that makes this race so awesome is the amount of people moving and shaking on and off the course.  I mentioned earlier that my husband hangs out around Mile 5 (36th Ave).  During all of these past races he has cheered alongside our sweet pal, Zeuf Hesson.  Together, they manned the high-5 zone, the cartwheel zone, the run backwards zone, etc. all the while cheering for each runner as if they were the only person out there.  I’m usually spent at this mile, but seeing Adam and Zeuf always gave me a push to the finish line (they also had coffee or mimosas nearby… jealousy could have played a role too).  Mile 5 will not be the same as Zeuf lost her long battle with cancer in December.  She’ll be there in spirit, so I encourage you to do something silly… or at least smile… when you get to 36th because if she was there in person… you probably really would do a cartwheel.

My husband, Zeuf and I after the 2013 Wharf to Wharf...

My husband, Zeuf and I after the 2013 Wharf to Wharf…

Best of luck to all those pinning on a bib this year!  I hope your race is fun, filled with smiles, and that you accomplish your goals.  To those cheering and volunteering… THANK YOU!  And just a little PSA… please don’t bandit the race (money raised goes to our local schools so pay the dough and be legit) and please, enjoy our city and beaches, but please, please pack your trash.

What are your Wharf to Wharf plans this year?  Please share!