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12 in 2012: San Dimas Turkey Trot 10k

I'm a glutton for punishment.

I'm now able to see the light at the end of the tunnel that has been 2012. I completed my 11th race this weekend and I'm down to two more scheduled 5ks.

2 more 5ks in two weeks, that is. Somehow when I picked up my last races this year I didn't really notice I was scheduling them back to back to back. So this weekend I ran race 11 on Saturday, this Friday I'll walk/run a bonus 5k race then I'll wrap it up with my 12th race the Saturday after.

Yeah...3 races in 3 weeks. Sigh... What was I thinking?

Either way I've got a lot to share and race pictures to post. This last race was not my best effort as I'm slowly burning out on the running. I did this about June and it seems that every 6 months I just flat out give up. It's cyclical.

But I'm not done and I don't plan to give up entirely. I'll finish my races and complete my 2012 goal to run 12 of them in the span of a year. Hell, I'll actually finish with a total of 13 races but one of them I'll only consider as a bonus run.

After that I'll give myself a little time off, focus on some other areas and then get back into running regularly because I've signed up for a July half marathon in Seattle called See Jane Run. Because, you know...I'm a glutton for punishment.

A lot of exciting things have happened in the past couple of weeks and I'll get to those updates towards the end of my post. For now I'll write about my turkey trot from this past weekend.

On Thursday morning, before we sat down to feast on turkey and stuffing, I forced my younger sister to go to a body blast, two-hour workout at our local fitness center. It was long and tough but worth it. Well, I thought so. My sister might argue that point.

While the burn was good, I discovered a few things: One, I'm not a fan of kickboxing. Punching into thin air doesn't do it for me. I feel like it's all for not. Two, I thought TRX would be a nice change of pace and had actually considered signing up at The Y for a few classes. NOPE! Tried it on Thursday as one of the circuits and found it to be not my cup of tea. Too much relies on your sense of balance which I barely have any of. I could only see myself getting hurt.

By Friday morning, I could barely move without squealing in pain so I was seriously considering NOT running my race Saturday. But I knew my sore muscles would be looser come Saturday morning so I had no excuses.

Up I went and found two sleeping body in my living room. Looked like the guys had a good time the night before and a few had stayed over. Can't say I mind if it means they aren't driving home after knocking back a few. I did try to stay quiet but took a little pleasure in making some noise while I brewed coffee and made toast before I left.

The morning was cool and I was lucky to snag one of the last parking spaces in the lot closest to the race start line. I took the chance to use the vacant restroom nearest me and then started up my pre-race routine of jogging and stretching and fretting with my sleeves. I did worry at one point that I would overheat in my jacket but that didn't end up being an issue, thank goodness.

I was feeling pretty good when I realized we would be running in the same park and the same route as the Girls On The Go 10k back in September. I figured if I ran it better than my first time around, that would be a huge accomplishment. Sadly, I was not quite correct. While the majority of the route was the same as September, they threw in a little twist at the end. Mile 5 was a nice low grade incline that really kicked my butt. At that point I was doing good on time and pace but I ended up walking the whole hill.

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Not too bad, I'd say. I ran under a 10 min/mile pace at one point and I walked a 19 min/mile pace on that damn hill. I finished with an overall time of 83 minutes which is at least 10 minutes slower than the first time I ran this race. Boooo....hiss....Oh well. It's not like I gave it my all. As I said before, I'm beginning to feel the burnout and it's starting to show in my efforts.

 

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But you can't complain too much about a huge ol' hill at the end of a race when you get to have pumpkin pie at the finish line!

 

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And you get a cute medal with a little turkey on it! This race was put on by the Renegade Racing Series, a well organized group. There were booths and water and food and an easy registration/bib pick up. Thanks to all the volunteers on the course who rang cow bells and gave us smiles and thumbs up to push us on. It was really appreciated!

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Now for the exciting news....

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As of November 17th, The Guy and I became engaged! He asked me while we took a little vacation away to Big Bear! It was a total surprise, one that I'm thrilled to have experienced with him. It was a first for both of us and we are both super happy. My son is also very very excited to have a big ol' wedding to look forward to. He's been bugging us for months to have one.

 

2012 has really been a roller coaster of major highs and deep lows. Becoming engaged to my 2nd grade sweetheart was one of the biggest highs ever while some family issues brought us to new lows. Through it all, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and crossed each finish line with my two guys there rooting me on the whole time. While the wounds of this year are still healing and tender, I'm glad to have faced them with The Guy at my side and I'm so looking forward to completing my first half marathon with him as my husband at the finish line.

Cheers!!!

Beginning of the End

It is officially the holiday season. That means it's only about 6 weeks until the year 2012 comes to a close. My goal for 2012 was to run 12 races. As of today, I have completed 10 races ranging from 5k to 12k in distance. In the next 6 weeks I have scheduled 3 more races. Count them 3!

Yes, when January 1st rolls around, I will have completed all 12 races plus a bonus 13th race. Before November closes up and December descends on us with all it's holiday festivities and whatnot, I have two races to run and I'll officially have met my 2012 resolution!

I got an email about the first race, a Turkey Trot 10k the Saturday after Thanksgiving. As I read through it, I realized that the route I would run for this 10k is the same as the Girls On The Go 10k race I ran in September. Ha! Go figure! Once I realize that this was the case, I got really excited. That would mean I could check my time against September and see how much I'm improved over the last 2 months. And the races as almost to the date! I ran the first 10k on 9/22 and this race will be run on 11/24.

I'm curious to see if I cross the finish line faster this time around!

About a month ago an opportunity to do an electric night 5k race came up for November 30th. My sister let me know about it and we planned to have a group run the fun run together. We don't plan to run it for time, but just to enjoy the lights and the music and each other. This is my bonus race (technically).

After that I get a week to rest then I run again, my last and final race of 2012. It'll be the same Holiday 5k I ran last December, another race that I can match against my 2011 results and see how my time has approved.

This year has flown by and maybe it was because I spent most of it running towards this big goal I was determined to accomplish. 12 races isn't something to shake your tail at, it's a big goal with lots of consideration and preparation for each race to keep in mind.

Did I do this whole year perfectly? Fuck no...There were many breaks in my routine (a habit I'm noticing now) and there were lots of preconceived notions about my abilities and my running that kept me from hitting those high notes. But along side all of that are the good. The fact that even with breaks here and there, I never stopped. I never canceled a race or didn't show up. I kept running and I worked to complete this year as I had promised myself.

Now, like all my races, I am determined to cross that finish line running.

No walking, no limping.

I will finish strong.

I will finish.

Ebb And Flow

This should be my new screen name: Ebb and Flow. Because this is my behavior. This is what I do.

About 5-6 weeks ago I set out to run in the mornings before work. I would get up, get dressed, start up my running app and my music, then I would take off into the dark morning. I'd run about 2-3 miles about 4 times a week.

I did this for a solid 5 weeks. I got up with no hesitation and no problems. I ran/walked and did my routine. Then I followed with breakfast and a protein smoothie.

4 times a week I did this and without complaint. I was thrilled! I thought I had found a routine I could happily stick to. I enjoyed the cold morning and getting my workout done before I left for my job. Things seemed...well...for lack of a better term, perfect.

Then I had a race and the moment I physically crossed the finish line, my mind seemed to have crossed an invisible finish line and I was done. 

Just done.

It's been a week since my race and I have not gone out for a jog since then. I've told myself I would go numerous times. I would even have my running stuff on but my feet wouldn't pick up and go. I even remembered to set my running alarm only for me to ignore it and sleep later.

I've paid more attention to this issue this time around because I had a challenge on the line. A challenge that only lasted 4 weeks but would cross over that line in the sand I've subconsciously drawn. I saw it, I took on the challenge and I watched myself, waiting to see if this enticing challenge between The Guy and myself would push me to overcome this issue.To get past this 6 week lifespan of my habits.

The challenge wraps up this week and, by the goals I set up for myself, I have failed. Am I bummed? Yes, but I'm determined to break this little issue of mine for the future. There is some mental blockage that keeps me from continuing past 6 weeks. For some reason I don't give up, I just reach my threshold and take a break.

I do go back and I do resume with gusto. I just wish I didn't stop at all!

Why can't my habits stick!?! It drives The Guy nuts. He can't seem to wrap his noodle around this. And, to be quite honest, neither can I. If you can imagine pulling at a stalled donkey hunkered down to munch on a carrot, that's pretty much my internal battle the last week. I'm pulling to no avail while whatever deep seeded part of me sits there content to just chill.

Sigh....This ass needs a swift kick. And I'll be the only one who can administer it... 

12 In 2012: weSPARK Universal Backlot 5k

This weekend I ran my 10th race of 2012. Both my son and I ran in the weSPARK 4th Annual Run/Walk at the Universal Studios backlot. 100% of the proceeds from the race goes towards the weSPARK Cancer Support Center in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Running for a cause always leaves me with a good feeling. Which is why many of the races I've participated in this year are all for programs that give back to the community or are raising money for programs that will support and promote awareness of certain diseases and illnesses in both adults and children. So not only am I running to accomplish my own personal 2012 resolution, I'm also running to give back and help out!

This weekend was an awesome race. We headed out to Sherman Oaks on Saturday afternoon for our bib pick-up and then to check into our hotel. Burbank isn't necessarily far from us BUT we decided to make a weekend of it and stay over night. There are a lots of little details I can share about this weekend with LOTS of pictures so I'll just cover the basics for the stay but go into detail about the race.

Firstly, the Hilton at Universal Studios is highly overpriced and over rated and does not live up to the costs. I'd have much rather stayed somewhere cheaper and received the same overnight stay. Secondly, Universal City Walk is pretty cool and very overwhelming. Way too much to see and do in one night. We'll have to go back JUST to check that place out.

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Thirdly, Wreck-It Ralph was a real treat for us adults and a blast for the kids. Well, not my kid. He had a panic attack during the movie because he was over sympathetic towards a character. My poor little dude was not a happy camper.

 

And lastly, that damned fall-back time change does nothing to affect my son but totally makes me sluggish. By 4:30pm I was exhausted and wanted it to be much later than it was.

Ok now with that out of the way, let's talk about the race. This race was a sold out event. It started at 7:30am and last well after 12pm with food trucks, some musical performances and lots of booths to check out and visit. We didn't stay long after our races because we had to check out by noon but there was a lot to see and do. And man...there were a LOT of runners!

Originally the start time was set for 7:30am but was pushed back to 8:45am due to a noise ordinance or some such thing. I didn't mind the later time. That meant I didn't have to be up at the crack of dawn.

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Down we went to the Universal Studios Backlot where we lined up with a million other people to run for cancer. I knew it would be busy because the event had sold out but I didn't realize how busy it would be. The crowds affected both the hotel vacancies (which is why we ended up at Hilton instead of the hotel associated with the race) and parking but we made it work and got to the start line on time.

 

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I was nervous as all get out just like I am before any other race. I think my nerves were wrapped around the huge crowd and the excitement that had been building up to run through movie sets and around this cool place. I mean, check out that green screen! This was the area where all the food trucks and booths were stationed. They had the LA Kings girls on hand and face-painting for the kids. Lots to do and see while we waited to run.

We were told we'd be running through the backlot where the scenery for movies like The Mummy, War of the Worlds, Psycho, Jaws, and many many more were filmed and that had me stoked to start. Well we lined up and the actor who plays Schmidt from The New Girl was there to start us off. When he raised his arm and blew the air horn off the 5k runners went followed by the 10k racers and the 5k walkers bringing up the rear. A quick note, because those running the 10k were to lap the course twice, it may have been better to have them take off first. I tell ya it was scary to have those guy racing through the hordes of 5k runners trying to pick through the thong of people. It seemed odd to have the faster group start second so that they had to cut through the huge crowds of slower runners. I stuck to my pace and just kept an eye out for those speed demons but I know a lot of 5k runners complained about the safety concerns felt as the 10k racers charged through us.

While I ran through ancient Rome, an old New York city scene and Wisteria Lane, The Guy and my son waited patiently for me to meet with them at the finish line. Of course, seeing the tail of a crashed plane just on the other side of the race course called to my boys and they sneaked away to play around in the War of the Worlds scene.

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My son was amazed by the crashed plane and insisted that it wasn't just for a movie but that the plane had actually crashed there. I guess the people who created this backdrop can say they did a great job as they had him convinced it was real.

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The Guy then told our little man to stand in front of this destroyed house and pretend it was his. So, he dropped his shoulders in a defeated pose.

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Then he pretended to cry....

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Then he got all into the role and made believe he was depressed and sad that his house was destroyed. Waaahhhh!!!! I think these two had WAY too much fun. But it didn't last long as they were found out and asked to retreat away from the scenery and wait on the sidelines for the racers to make their way to the finish line.

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And there I was, coming through the wreckage! I kept a decent pace of about 12:12 minutes per mile on average though there is a bit of a discrepancy with my GPS tracker and the official time. I walked a little as there were some pretty decent hills to climb and a few areas that were cobblestone or rough ground.

 

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Now as I ran through the War of the Worlds wreckage scene, I saw my guys cheering me on wildly and was surprised by my son as he ran into the race and trotted along beside me. There we were running together and we finished together too!

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I felt good and my time showed it. I ran the 5k in 36:23, just a smidge over my goal time but with the crowding and the rough ground changes and the hills, I felt this time was excellent! The best part, though, was crossing that finish line with my little guy beside me.
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After that, we gathered with other parents and kid racers for the Fun Run. Jake ran quickly but we were quite disappointed with this portion of our race morning. Seems like they didn't expect the race to last so long and many of the adult runners were still finishing their race through Whoville and past Bates Motel. The kids were scheduled to run through War of the Worlds and around the Psycho House, down past the Bates Motel and then finish through Whoville but too many people were still running so they switched it up and had the kids run a shorter distance but with the flow of foot traffic. I wish this had been better planned.

 

Maybe have the kids run a whole different course or wait a little more between races. They did the best they could but many parents were upset because of the confusion. They showed up and didn't know where the start and finish line were. Many kids started late and it was a confused mess. But Jake ran his best and earned a medal that he has proudly displayed.

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Even with some of the bumps along the way to run this race, I had a fabulous time. I think my pace was excellent due to my excitement. I couldn't wait to turn the corner and see where we would run next or what character we would see. Frankenstein, Dracula, a Spartan, some mobsters, The Phantom and Christine were all in attendance and cheered us on as we raced to the finish line. I'd run this again just so I could stop and take some pictures since I didn't get one snapped while on course. I was too focused to entertain the idea of taking any pictures.

 

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What a wonderful race and a great weekend with my two loves.

Wrap Up: October Goals

I'm a goal oriented person. I like setting a bar to reach and then striving to make that goal a reality. It also helps that I like to reward myself with little things. There a major boost in my motvation when I know that finishing so many miles will get me something I normally wouldn't get for myself.

In October, I promised myself to run. Run at least 4-5 times a week and bring in a good healthy 50 miles. My high goal was 75. Well, ladies and gents, I officially ended the month of October with 55.23 miles total!

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Yes, I've recently become a complete girly-girl who likes make-up. But in my defense I only started really paying attention to cosmetics in like the last 2 years. Plus I figure I'm not down to my goal weight so why buy myself clothes I hope will be come too big or reward myself with food. So I save up and pitch in some dough for sweet rewards like glosses and nice brushes. 

Apart of those miles were for a 12k race I did at the beginning of October. That race kicked my ass but I finished and marked off my 9th race of 2012. 

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Heading into November and time to lay down 3 more races bringing me up to 12 total. Then I'll have a bonus Holiday 5k in December. 

Yes...I'm a glutton for punishment and I've schedule 3, count them 3, races in November and I'll be officially running 13 in 2012, not 12....because I'm just that awesome (crazy)!

The Ghosts Of Halloweens Past

We love Halloween. As a kid I always dressed up and becoming an adult and then a mom didn't stop me from doing the same. Every year we plot and put together our costumes and since my son was born, I've made it my special mission to dress in some theme until he gets too cool for it.

Here is our Halloween storyline from 2006 to present told in pictures!

Halloween 2006

Little Devils

Halloween 2007

Pirates! ARRRGH!

Halloween 2008

A Fireman and his Dalmatian

Halloween 2009

A Mummy and her Little Ghoul

Halloween 2010

A Little Dragon

(Mama didn't dress up that year)

Halloween 2011

A Fair Maiden and her Trusty Knight

Now this year I was blessed to spend my Halloween with my better halves: My son and The Guy. Not only does The Guy fit right into our little family, he's also geeky/imaginative like we are. So when it came to dressing up in theme, he was right on board. He played a big hand in planning our two (count 'em TWO) themed costumes, one for a grown-up only party and the a second set for trick-or-treating with the little guy.

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Hunters Of The Undead

(Our grown-up party costumes)

Halloween 2012

The Avengers, Assemble!

(Black Widow, Captain America, and Thor)

And Halloween isn't just about trick-or-treating and candy, we also dress up for the symphony's Halloween Spooktacular and for school, too. I think my son went through 3 costume changes this season and I bet he'll continue to dress up for the rest of 2012.

Spooktacular

A day at the symphony with Captain America

 Batman

I AM BATMAN!

Halloween was a lot of fun this year and like the rest, the moment we got home and dumped out our son's candy bag, we started to talk about next year's costumes. There has been some talk of Spider-Man and Mary Jane or just a gaggle of geeks including high waisted pants and pocket protectors. To me it doesn't matter what we end up being as long as we're having a good time and being a little bit silly...

 

Next Year

 

Trying on Thor's wig

To all the other ghouls, superheros and monsters out there, Happy Halloween 2012! See you next year!

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