Sunday, January 27, 2013

Race Report - First Half Marathon!

As you may or may not know, I took up running and triathloning (yes I can use that word) back in 2011.  Now I have never, ever, ever been a runner, let alone someone who would PAY to get TIMED to RUN.  Seriously, that is the stuff of my grade school nightmares.  Anyone remember those fitness tests, with the timed mile run?  I'm pretty sure those took me 20 minutes and I had anxiety about them the second I knew they were on the horizon.  I was (still am) a hefty lil girl, so those 60 lb boys whipping past me on their 3rd lap while I was still huffing and puffing through my first, yelling out "Fat turtle!".. you get the point.

ANYWAY, I caught the race bug as soon as I realized I could do it.  I could RUN.  Not fast, but I could do the thing I couldn't do before.  It took work, but I made it through a handful of 5Ks, a few sprint distance triathlons, and a few more longer races over the past couple of years.  I really wanted 2012 to be the year I did half marathons, but I ended up in physical therapy nursing some weird body quirks twice last year.  That really took a bite out of my running training and I was left doing not much more than 10Ks.  Oh well.

2013 - THE YEAR OF THE HALF MARATHON.  I signed up for this F^3 Lakefront Half Marathon way back in the fall.  And I basically didn't get off my ass for most of November and December, so I was worried when I realized I had only a few weeks to train for the longest distance of my life.  I hadn't even done a run longer than 6 or 7 miles in weeks, let alone the recommended 10 or so before a half.  Whatever.  Mind over matter, and it's not like I've got anything else coming up.  If I break something, I've got plenty of time on the couch to recover.

Race gear

My goal for the half marathon today was to finish.  If it was under 3 hours, that would be even better, but I finished in 3:07:00.  I was worried that the little niggling piriformis syndrome I have in my left side would flare up, but it didn't.  It was a cold day, started in the teens and ended up in the 20s while we were running, but it was sunny and the wind was at a minimum.  We really couldn't have asked for better weather, as winter runs go.  My feet were ice blocks for the first mile or so, but after I warmed up I felt fine.  I didn't start feeling stiff and sore until mile 8 or 9.  We were doing 3 minute run/1 minute walk intervals the whole time, which was a good strategy.  Towards mile 11, it was actually more awkward to walk instead of jog.  Once your muscles get used to that activated running position, they feel better staying that way.  I couldn't be happier to see the mile 13 marker sign, and I was so proud of myself for making it.  I crossed the finish line and got my super awesome cowbell finishers medal, shoved a bagel in my face, and jumped for joy at completing my first half marathon.  I made a beeline for the Novacare tent and the nice therapists there gave me a post race massage.

F^3 Half Marathon

What I liked about this race:  Well organized, inexpensive compared to other HMs (I had a discount code so I don't think I paid more than $35), decent course support especially for us "back of the packers", and I actually really enjoyed the half frozen cups of gatorade.  That was really tasty.

What I didn't like:  Only one potty station near the 7/9 mile marker.  There was a line by the time I reached it (mostly the other people on their way back from the turn around.)  This cost me about 5 minutes on my time.  I should have just kept going through the turn around and stopped on my way back when no one was left on the course.  The potty break also resulted in some booty chafing as it was super hard to get my running tights back on after taking them off.  Ah well, what's a 13.1 mile run without some chafing?!

Now that it's the next morning, I'm really surprised that the only soreness I have is in my ankles/feet.  Butt, knees, hips, IT band, are all fine.  I'll ice a little more today and pop some ibuprofen, maybe find a yoga video on Hulu and do that later.  If I had to do anything differently, it would've been to train for this distance.  I had enough of a base to actually make it through, but I know that if I had kept up with the long runs over the past two months, I would've been able to run much faster.  The bright side is that I've got the rest of my year to improve and beat this time.  Can't wait for the next one!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


, originally uploaded by cloudlover69.

I was doing some cleaning the other day and I found this stuck in a book. A statement from 2008 for my biggest, ugliest student loan. I have these set up on auto pay so I usually just chuck the statements as they come in, only opening them once every few months to see how far The Number has gone down. I was pretty excited when I got a statement this month so I could compare it to this one from a few years back. I still have a long way to go, but seeing the numbers get smaller is heartening. This feels like a weird thing to post publicly, but I was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune about my student loan debt in the fall of 2012, so it's not that big of a secret, and I know that this number is not nearly as big as it is for some people.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

First Shop Update of 2013!

1.1.2013 shop update, originally uploaded by cloudlover69.
I dyed these beauties up a couple weeks ago, but just had time to photograph and list them the other day. Go check them out! Plus, you can use coupon code NEWYEAR at checkout to get 13% off your entire order - this week only!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Everything was possible in 2012

 Everything is Possible
 Embroidery project by Cookoorikoo

2012 was a busy year. It feels like these past few years have been expanding at an exponential rate, especially since what seemed like a lull in the post college/first years of adulthood. I really got stuck in a rut during 2006-2010. Sure, big things happened, but it really feels like I got more involved with my own life in 2011 and 2012. Things worth thinking about happened. Things that make me look back and think, wow, I really got a lot of mileage out of the year.

In no particular order, here are a lot of firsts and other random events that happened in 2012:
  • Ran my first 10K (in half a foot of snow, no less) 
  • Started a new job (career, perhaps?) 
  • Traveled to half a dozen new cities for the first time, and visited some I hadn't been to in a while: 
    • Los Angeles 
    • San Francisco 
    • Albuquerque 
    • Boston 
    • Memphis 
    • Atlanta 
    • Portland 
    • Washington D.C. 
    • Houston 
    • Baltimore
  • Went to a casino
  • Flew first class 
  • Knit a sweater (for my nephew) 
  • Became an Aunt (and met my nephew) 
  • Completed my first Olympic distance triathlon, finished dead last AND still managed to place third in my age group (proof that showing up and trying is all you've got to do sometimes) 
  • PR'd in 2 sprint triathlons, one of them by a whopping 19 minutes 
  • PR'd a 10K 
  • Went through two rounds of physical therapy 
  • Marched in a Gay Pride parade 
  • Lost a pet, adopted two new pets, and lost another pet. File under: realized just how precious those furry little lives can be, and just how much they effect us. 
  • Rode the Santa Train 
  • Knit my first hat (seriously) and my first cables 
  • Wore the color orange 

The embroidery at the beginning of this post is by Shana aka Cookoorikoo, a gift she sent to dozens of friends at the beginning of the year.  Mine has been hanging unassumingly in my bathroom, just above the light switch, for the past year.  To me, it's been a daily reminder that every day of the year is its own adventure.

One of my goals (resolutions?) for 2013 is to try blogging again.  I always got bogged down by the process because I didn't feel like I had anything cool to say, or didn't have the neat picture to go along with the post, blah blah blah.  Well, I still feel that way, but I'm starting to learn to see the value in my daily living, and I've got a handy iPhone to capture it all without a lot of fuss.  No excuses.

I'll write more about 2013 later.  I don't want to burn myself out all on one post.