*A look back at 2013*

Never in a million years would I have believed how this year would unfold for me. This time a year ago, there was no plan to run a marathon (or three!). No grand dream of running the Boston Marathon. No idea what a Ragnar Relay was. No sponsor offering support. No goals bigger than running a couple of races for fun. No website…

Crazy how things change and how our goals and dreams evolve over time.

It has certainly been one heck of a ride and I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, the people I’ve met along the way, the things I’ve achieved… and even the things that didn’t go quite right because I’ve learned a lot this year.

My races in 2013 included:

3/17/13   Shamrock Run, Portland, Oregon   15k   1:13:47   7:55 pace

4/14/13   Vernonia Half Marathon, Vernonia, Oregon   13.1   1:43:55   7:56 pace

5/11/13   Hippie Chick Half Marathon, Hillsboro, Oregon 13.1   1:44:05   7:56 pace

7/4/13   Foot Traffic Flat Marathon, Sauvie Island, Oregon   26.2   3:49:04   8:44 pace

8/23-24/13   Hood to Coast, Oregon

9/1/13   Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon, Dundee, Oregon   13.1   1:43:58   7:56 pace

9/7/13   The Color Run, Portland Oregon   5k (no time or pace, just a heck of a lot of fun with my daughter!)

10/6/13   Portland Marathon, Portland, Oregon   26.2   3:42:42   8:30 pace

11/8-9/13   Ragnar Relay Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada

12/1/13   Seattle Marathon, Seattle, Washington   26.2   3:41:33   8:28 pace

Besides the racing (or relaying as the case may be), I was honored with some great opportunities throughout the year. Some of the highlights include:

  • Being featured on Oregon Live’s Run Oregon blog as their featured runner of the week.
  • Getting invited to be a VIP at the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon in September, which of course means that I got to drink more wine! That race also provided me the chance to meet one of my idols, Olympian Kara Goucher, which was beyond awesome!
  • Winning a race entry giveaway on Run Danielle Run, which allowed my daughter and I to run the Color Run. It was a totally new experience and my daughter and I had a blast. I have to tell you, almost four months later, I still have orange dyed powder in my left ear!!
  • Volunteering time to help Fit Right NW with set-up for their fashion show which yielded free passes to the event. It was such a great production and evening. I was really impressed with the whole experience and look forward to next years show.
  • Receiving one of the highlights of my year which was an invite to run a Ragnar Relay with Nuun Hydration and Pro Compression in November. I did not even know what Ragnar was before then. I had never traveled outside of Oregon for a run. It is hard to describe what an amazing weekend it was. I met so many wonderful people and loved representing two fantastic companies. Without a doubt, one of my favorite running adventures EVER!
  • Being gifted on of the most generous gifts ever: sponsorship. Nearly all of the races I ran after July were made possible by Z.P. Transport Inc. and two wonderful people who I am so grateful to have in my orbit. They have changed my life and given me the opportunity to take chances and reminded me that I can believe that dreams do come true.
  • Loving my first coaching gig. I had such a great time as an assistant cross-country coach for a local middle school team and I’m fairly certain that there will be more coaching in my future.
2013review4

So many great memories!

Besides those highlights, I also marvel at discovering what I, and my body, is capable of. I run faster in my mid-thirties than I did in my 20’s! I ran three marathons in five months and my time improved with each one. I’ve discovered things about myself… things I didn’t know I wanted, or could do… until I dove into my training and began to follow my heart.

More so, I found so much joy in witnessing both of my children discover running this year. My daughter ran her first half-marathon in July and my son ran his first season of cross-country. As a parent, when your children begin to follow your lead, you can’t help but feel like you’ve done something right!

I ran my final run of the year this morning bringing my yearly total to 1,510. (125 miles for the month of December.) While I didn’t track the first two months of 2012, I roughly finished the previous year with around 800 miles. That increase shows how much of myself I have dedicated to running this year. It also reflects a passion that sometimes surprises me but continues to grow. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Then there are the people who have support me this year. And there are so many! But I just want to thank a few here. From the bottom of my heart, please know how thankful I am for you Ron, Makenna, Russell, Mom, Dad, Omma, Papa, Trudi, Allison, Meredith, Woody, and Linda! Thank you for believing in me, encouraging me, cheering for me, driving me, funding me, holding me up when my legs wanted to fail… whatever your role, please know how grateful I am!

I’m super excited about what is to come. Without a doubt, 2014 is going to be a great year and I look forward to sharing my vision with you soon!

Until then, have a wonderful New Year’s Eve. Make time today to reflect and take stock while you celebrate the passing year and all that you have to look forward to in the coming one. Above all, please be safe!

Cheers!! xo

Advertisements

*Good, better, best*

In a recent issue of Runner’s World, there was a little blurb about race goals that accompanied a featured article on racing. I can’t remember the specifics but what stuck with me was that the author suggested that runners should have three race goals. The first one should be easily achievable and realistic. The second, something more ambitious but still very much doable. The third goal should be something that would require all of the stars aligning and the running Gods smiling down on you on race day (in addition to solid training of course).

Never has it occurred to me to set my goals this way. Usually my goals are time based… finish in under xx:xx, set a new PR, qualify for Boston… As I’ve started to clarify what I want to do at the Portland Marathon this weekend, I find myself considering three possibilities.

Yes, mostly still time related but it’s a start.

GOOD: A better marathon experience.

My initial intention for running Portland was to have a better marathon experience. The Foot Traffic Flat (FTF) marathon in July, which was my very first marathon, was harder than I anticipated. I made mistakes. I may have been a little delusional in thinking that I could BQ on my first try. And, even though Sauvie Island is beautiful and it was a great event, there was not a lot of spectator support because of the closed course. I’m looking forward to the energy of cheering crowds along the route. I’m also hopeful that I can avoid that doubt that begins to creep in around mile 20.

BETTER: Beat my first marathon time and set a new PR.

I’m still proud of the fact that I finished my first marathon in under 4 hours with a time of 3:49:04. In the second half of the FTF marathon I slowed way down. I started out too fast which is not uncommon for me. My pace average was 8:46. My plan to accomplish the “better” goal is to stay consistent at a slightly slower pace. I will likely stick pretty close to the pacer since I’m such a ding-dong when it comes to pacing.

BEST: Finish in under 3 hours and 40 minutes.

This is when I hope that all the stars align and the running Gods smile down on me. A 3:40 finish would get me my BQ. I missed it by 9:04 in July so there is a lot of room for improvement. I know I will not be running Boston in 2014, but I still have unfinished business to tend to. Whether I get into Boston or not in 2015, I just want to prove to myself that I can achieve what I believe I am capable of.

So, dearest running Gods, please smile down on me this Sunday. It is my birthday after all and I cannot think of any gift I want more. But should it not happen this time, I’ve got other achievments that I look forward to celebrating too.

*Marathon training update*

Sooooo… apparently I’m running a marathon in 24 days.

WHAT? 24 days? How is that even possible?

The reality of it all is that I slacked off in August. I missed two long runs on consecutive weekends and feared that I would not be able to catch back up. After I ran the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon on Sept. 1st, I vowed to recommit to my training, pick up where I left off, and give it everything I’ve got. Kind of like cramming, last-minute, for a big test or final!

Last Sunday I ran 16 miles. This Saturday I will run 18. The following weekend, 20. Then I taper. I know that I will run, and finish, the Portland Marathon on October 6th.

But then… there is this other thing… (yeah, I know I said it would be for fun.)

For those that aren’t familiar with the process of qualifying (and registering) for the Boston Marathon (which I find I’m still learning too), registration opened this past Monday. Basically, when registration first opens, anyone that met the qualifying standards by 10 minutes, or more, gets first dibs. By Wednesday however, two days after opening, the marathon was already half filled. This is after they expanded the field to 36,000 participants for 2014, an increase of 9,000 runners.

When I registered for the Portland Marathon, and was asked for my projected finishing time, I submitted a 3:40:00 finish. That time is what I need to qualify for Boston. I missed it by 9 minutes and 4 seconds at the Foot Traffic Flat in July. The reality of it is that EVEN if I do qualify, I know there will not be any vacancies left for next year’s race.

But that doesn’t make me want it any less. There is really no pressure for me to finish in under 3:40 knowing that even if I qualify, I won’t get in. I don’t even know if it is possible at this point but I’m still holding onto the hope that the stars will align that day and something magical will happen… a glimpse of the unicorn.

I’m putting in the mileage… I’ve already run more than 78 miles since September 1st. I’m planning for a little more speed work before I begin my taper. My diet has been stellar… for the most part… and I know that I’m giving it everything I’ve got, no matter the outcome.

*Ready to move on*

Three days after my first marathon, and failed attempt to qualify for Boston, I gave myself some time to mourn. Late last night, I sat out in our back yard with a small fire in the fire pit and allowed the emotions that I’ve been carrying around since last Thursday to surface. With the holiday and several gatherings over the weekend, I felt like I just hadn’t fully processed my marathon experience or created the closure I needed. For the first time since the race, the tears began to flow, and I finally started to feel some relief.

The thing is, I do not feel crushingly disappointed. In the minutes that followed the race, after I staggered across the finish line, I told my husband that perhaps it was a good thing that I didn’t qualify for Boston because I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to run a marathon again! (I was however grateful that I missed the qualifying time by more than 9 minutes because had I been within just a couple of minutes, I might have imploded!)

It was the discomfort talking, I know. Within hours I was already considering another. Crazy.

I’ve played the run over and over in my head. Honestly, I have found it difficult to figure out exactly what went wrong. The best I can come up with is inexperience. It was my first marathon after all. I new the last 6 miles would be rough. I didn’t count on several miles before I hit the 20-mile mark to be as challenging. I didn’t count on blisters. I didn’t count on the fact that mentally I wasn’t able to stay as tough as I thought I could.

Strategically, my plan was to aim for an average 8:04 pace. This was based on a few training run times, including my 18-mile run which I did on part of the marathon course. I figured that if I could run that pace for the first 20 miles, I’d buy some time since I knew I would slow on those last 6 miles. I needed to average under 8:20 for the entire run to meet the 3:40:00 time to qualify. And I did… until mile 16. It is clear from my splits that I was starting to struggle and obvious that I cannot run a consistent pace!!!

Miles 1-13            9:11/7:55/8:00/8:06/8:09/8:05/8:10/8:08/8:14/8:09/8:14/8:21/8:17

Miles 14-26.2     8:20/8:19/8:36/8:45/8:58/8:38/8:46/9:00/9:21/9:57/10:19/10:14/10:12/2:40

My official time was 3:49:04 with an average pace of 8:44. I was the 14th female (out of 45) to finish in my age division and the 51st overall female, out of 222 women.

I’m not sure what is next… I’m not putting a ton of pressure on myself to figure it all out right now either. Within time, I will decide whether or not I want to make another attempt at getting that darn BQ! The next event on my calendar isn’t until November but I would really love to run at least one half-marathon in the coming months. And I’m hopeful that a spot on a Hood to Coast team will open up for me.

Right now I’m ready to move on. Move forward! And I’m ready to run! I’m hoping that by tomorrow my feet will feel good enough to get back out there because my heart is sure ready!

*Her first half*

piehalf

My gorgeous girl!

It’s true… this space has been selfishly about me. My running, my training, my whatever. I think in my state of me, me, ME!, I have failed at expressing enough how much pride and admiration I feel for my daughter. My Pie.

As I was running my first marathon, the Crossfit Kid (who we affectionately call Pie) ran her first half-marathon. I was in my mid-twenties before I ran a half-marathon. Barely a month shy of her 16th birthday, she already has one under her belt!

As a parent, my greatest hope is that I will, in some way, positively impacted my children’s lives. One of the biggest motivators in taking care of myself is being a good role model for my kids. The process of watching my child achieve this amazing milestone is a reminder that my actions are noticed and that they matter.

Pie ran the half with one of her besties and fellow soccer teammate, D. (Aren’t they sooooo cute?!)

pieandd

Rockin’ some festive outfits!

The girls finished in 2:05:11 placing them at 2nd and 3rd in their age division. I am SO proud!!!

*No BQ… this time*

I hope you are all having a wonderful Fourth of July!

I wanted to check-in and share the results of my marathon this morning. Sadly, I did not get my BQ. ; (

My first marathon proved to be a bit more difficult that I had anticipated. I’ll share more details and do a full race recap with you after I can process everything. My unofficial time was 3:49:04.

That said, DAMN!!! I ran a marathon!!! I am choosing to celebrate that today. Have a safe holiday!

finished

Finished!!!

**Don’t forget to enter my Nuun All Day giveaway! A winner will be announced tomorrow!!

ENTER HERE

 

*Epic adventure, part 2*

Tomorrow morning I will get up around 4 am, make the 25 minute drive to Sauvie Island, soak myself in the abundant pre-race adrenaline, and for the first time ever in my life, run 26.2 miles.

I can’t help but reflect on the past 17+ weeks as the culmination of a huge goal, hundreds of miles, countless hours of researching, planning, and training, all come down to one day. One race. My first marathon.

On March 4th, I posted my first blog post here at Wasn’t Just The Wine Talking titled Epic Adventure. For several weeks prior I had an idea swirling around in my head. I had yet to cross “run a marathon” and “qualify for/run the Boston Marathon” off my list of life goals. These two (actually three) goals kind of morphed into one idea, one goal, which I blabbed shared over a glass of wine at happy hour with some family and friends days before my blog was born.

Early on in the planning stages, it seemed I was receiving signs from the universe… in the form of unicorns.

I decided that the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon on Sauvie Island, annually held on the 4th of July, had all of the elements I was looking for (close to home, flat, a Boston qualifying event) in a marathon. I officially registered on March 16th.

Already on my radar before the marathon goal evolved, I was planning to run the Shamrock Run in mid-March. I ran the 15k event and was so happy to finish in 1:13:47 with a 7:55 pace. My time put me in 42nd place in my age division.

Days later, Nuun announced that they would begin to accept video applications from bloggers that wanted a chance to win a spot on their Hood to Coast team. Oh man, did I want to make the team. This was my entry submission.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nq30ot_Sic&feature=player_embedded

Moving into April, I ran the Vernonia Half-Marathon and set a PR with a 1:43:54 finish. In this event I placed third in my age group!

The day after Vernonia, I spent the morning snuggled up on the couch and watched the Boston Marathon on tv. Hours later tragedy hit Boston and I, like the rest of the country and running community, was heartbroken.

Love to Boston

Love to Boston

A few days later, I found out I did not make the Nuun HTC team. It was a rough week!

I did find however, that I’ve never been more proud to be a runner as I watch everyone unite to support the victims, families, and everyone affected by what happened on Marathon Monday.

And then I got some good news! I received an email from Nuun inviting me to run a Ragnar Relay with them!

In November, I will get to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada to be a member of the Nuun team. The relay spans 200 miles, beginning at Mt. Charleston and finishing at Lake Las Vegas. I’m so stoked to run this event!!

On Mother’s Day weekend, I ran my second half-marathon of the year. I was attempting to run a 1:40:00 race and finish in the top 50 overall. A chronic hamstring issue preventing me from hitting my time goal but I still ended up finishing in the 50 which was a pleasant surprise because initial results put me in 51st place. I ran the Hippie Chick Half-Marathon in 1:44:05.

hch

At least I looked halfway decent!

Two weeks later I ran a local 5k as a mobile cheerleader with our Run Girl Run program. The program mentors young female athletes and trains them for their first race. I love being apart of this program!

That run also kicked off a 39-day running streak. The challenge, started by Runner’s World magazine, was intended to run Memorial Day through Independence Day. Since I started a little earlier, I finished a little earlier too. I ran a minimum of one-mile per day for all 39 days. My mileage total was 177.5!

The remainder of May, and then a good chunk of June, was pretty much dedicated to completing my training process, one long run at a time. Midway through June I ran my longest run to-date (20 miles!!!) and with that, the taper began. I have some mixed feelings about this whole taper thing but I’m learning to trust this very unfamiliar process and tomorrow will be the ultimate indication of how this all comes together.

At the tail-end of June I reached a blogging milestone! I posted my 100th blog post since that first one way back on March 4th. To commemorate it, I teamed up with my favorite hydration company, Nuun, to sponsor a giveaway of their Nuun All Day! (You still have time to enter, here, if you haven’t already!!!) And just so you know, they are offering free shipping on all orders through July 7th!

So here I am, hours away from running my first marathon. Looking back over these past 17 weeks I am so proud of what I’ve accomplished and beyond grateful for this experience. Regardless of tomorrows outcome, I know that I have given it everything I’ve got and I am ready.

It has, indeed, been an epic adventure.