Monday Happy Hour

As a new addition to my blog I will be writing a weekly Monday Happy Hour post… where I will share my wrap up of the week, highs/lows, plans for the weekend, etc. Because as much as I need coffee on Mondays, a post Monday drink is also nice. So… grab your favorite cocktail and settle in.

If we were at happy hour, I would tell you that my week was exhausting. We got back Sunday from Disneyland’s Star Wars race weekend and I relaxed most of Monday. As you have read, I have been dealing with a hip issue, so finally had the MRI on the hip Tuesday. On Wednesday, another doctor’s appointment for a different issue, which hasn’t yielded any results, but plenty of frustrations. I am not a fan of holding patterns.

At happy hour I would also tell you that work is very busy but in a positive way, I work for the National MS Society and our annual Walk MS event is coming up so I am busy getting participants, donations, sponsors, etc. I love the busy. But I am also terrified it won’t be a success.

I would also tell you that I miss my best friends… for some reason this week I just really wish I had them near me.

Then, I would tell you that my workouts are going… ok. I could be doing better, I could be running more days, but this week was mentally draining, so it was mostly yoga and walking my dog. I will catch up on core and upper body workouts this weekend! This coming month I am trying a Tabata program, Class Pass in Las Vegas, on top of my normal workouts. This will be fun and adventurous!

I would also tell you that I am excited for Huntington Beach/Surf City Half Marathon this weekend. It’s my third year running it which moves me to Legacy status and this past year, I was an ambassador for them! This event is one of my all-time favorite courses. Which reminds me that I need to finish my Star Wars race recap ASAP!

I would tell you that we celebrated the retirement of my former boss, mentor and great friend… I love that lady so much, and to celebrate this new chapter in her life was such an honor.

Lastly, I would tell you that I LOVE my new personalized planner I received from Plum Paper (on Etsy). I chose the family planner, which gave me seven rows I could label however I wanted. I picked: Work, Personal, Social Media, Workouts, Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. A great way to manage my tasks, meals and workouts! I also ordered the blog section to help keep me organized there!

Oh! And I would suddenly remember that it’s almost the end of January and I am still not done with my first book in my monthly book club. Best get on reading “You’re A Badass”.

So… at happy hour, what would you tell me? How was your week and weekend? What do you have planned for this week?

Spartan Events 2015

Hello out there and fellow OCR fans… I’ve got some exciting Spartan Races news, a discount code and…. A GIVEAWAY!

Is one of your 2015 goals to complete a Spartan Race? NOW is the time to do so!! They have some amazing and challenging events coming up, are continuing the Trifecta, and some great new stuff!! What they have in store for 2015 WILL BE EPIC!

To start, Joe Desena, Spartan founder started a podcast! I love podcasts… I listen to various ones EVERY day, from sports to true crime to educational to health related, so to say I am excited for this one, is an understatement!! Sign up for the podcast via iTunes or the podcast app on your smartphones. Some powerful and motivating interviews already!!

A fan of cruises? Spartan Races is also hosting their first ever cruise! You read that right… details for the cruise are here. But come on, a cruise, fellow OCRs and the chance to win prizes? Who wouldn’t want to go?? Info and signups here!

As always, Spartan is offering their season pass for the dedicated OCR lover… unlimited racing, travel discounts, and free bag check to name a few of the perks. Are you looking to complete the Trifecta? If so, this is for you, it practically pays for itself. To join, sign up here.

For anyone interested in registering for a Spartan Race, follow this link and use the code SPARTANBLOGGER for a 10% discount. (Photo link will allow you to register for any site!)

And… the part you have all been waiting for… the giveaway. Spartan Races has kindly, again, offered me ONE FREE RACE ENTRY to give away to one lucky reader. The prize will be good for ONE continental US race,  MORE MORE INFO.

Contest is open for 2 weeks. Enter below and GOOD luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Welcome 2015!

Happy New Year (a few days late)… I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are ready to tackle this new year!! After a roller coaster of a year in 2014, I am excited for a new year, new goals and new adventures!!

So… here are my goals/plans for 2015 broken down by areas of my life:

Work:

  • Be successful.
  • Prioritize daily.
  • Succeed in achieving my goals.
  • Host successful events.
  • Outreach within the community.
  • Grow and learn.

Personal:

  • Be present.
  • Walk my dog every day.
  • Love more.
  • Tell people how I feel about them.
  • Appreciate those in my life.
  • Practice kindness.
  • Read more.  (I just joined an online book club, stay tuned for monthly book reviews!)
  • Smile and laugh every day.
  • Make someone else smile every day.
  • Offer assistance where I can.
  • Volunteer.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Respect my time, emotions, and needs.
  • Cook and bake more.
  • Spend more time with friends and loved ones.
  • Organize my life/schedule.
  • De-clutter my home.

Health:

  • Eat healthy 80% of the time.
  • Start flossing more.
  • Eat less sugar.
  • Cook more meals.
  • Plan my weekly meals.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get more sleep.
  • Walk 10, 000 steps minimum a day.

Fitness:

  • Create a plan with my trainer that challenges me, yet one I can commit to maintaining.
  • Try new things.
  • Join a yoga studio.
  • Swim more.
  • Bike more.
  • Run more.
  • Complete two sprint triathlons.
  • PR in a half marathon.
  • Don’t let the Philly Half win this year.
  • Become stronger.
  • Build more muscle.
  • Improve my hill running.
  • Be consistent in all my fitness.

Blog/Social Media:

  • Write more.
  • Collaborate with others.
  • Share my knowledge of essential oils.
  • Post more recipes.
  • Be more interactive.
  • Bring you more reviews and information on great products.

Essential Oils:

  • Expand my knowledge.
  • Earn certifications.
  • Share with others both the knowledge, benefits and opportunity with essential oils.

It may seem like a lot, but broken down into life areas… not so difficult at all to manage. To start, I ordered a planner/journal from plumpaper.com and began working with my trainer to create some workout plans/goals for the year. I have worked with my trainer for specific fitness goals, and while some of the goals listed here seem broad, the detailed SMART goals are written!! Now for this cold to go away so I can get to my running and dog walking goals.

What are your 2015 goals and plans? I’d love to hear them!!

 

Gore-Tex Philadelphia Half Marathon Recap

November 23, 2014 I ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon for the third year in a row. Although a desert dweller here in Las Vegas, I am originally from Northeast PA and frequented Philly often. This race became a family reunion of sorts with a few cousins and I meeting to run it. This year, there were two of us. We both had goals of just doing better than last year and not letting the hill at mile 9 win. We enjoyed a weekend of sightseeing and trying new restaurants.

IMG_8227 IMG_8204

Last year, I had a head cold for this race, and my time was okay, about average for me, a minute or two slower. I did my best to avoid getting sick this year, it worked… no head cold. After last year’s 13 half marathons, I did far fewer this year (this was my second official road half marathon on the year). I ran regularly, with fewer runs over the summer. I increased my strength training and became more consistent with it. I improved my eating. Heading in to this race, I felt stronger, good to go. I had my usual doubts and nerves… did I train enough, was I prepared for the cold. Could I really hit my goal?

IMG_8185 IMG_8166

I had a goal of finally, finally hitting 2:20 on a half marathon. I told two people this goal, one of which was my trainer. I felt good, even on race morning, I felt ready. I felt that my mind was in the right place and my body was ready. We woke up early, got ready, grabbed breakfast and walked to the start area. My cousin and I chatted away and then parted ways into our respective corrals. When I got to my corral it seemed weirdly empty… but I was finally able to get a picture of the Rocky Balboa statue and the art museum. I chatted briefly with someone as we walked up to the start line… got my watch and music set to go. And…. We were off!

IMG_8236 IMG_8237

When I started, I was unbelievably cold… but felt good. My pace was right on, my legs felt strong, my lungs were happy… my mind was happy. I didn’t even care that it seemed more crowded than years past or that the roads were a mess. More potholes and uneven surfaces (ok, maybe I am a bit spoiled here in Vegas that in my area, our roads are in good shape). I tried to enjoy the scenery and architecture, and focused on keeping consistent in my pace. Around mile 5 my hip started to ache a little. I shrugged it off, and kept pushing. At the 10k split, I was on point for my PR and feeling good. That realization gave me the burst I needed to conquer the mile 7 hill without a single walk break. Then, around mile 8 my hip really started to ache, but different than when I injured it previously. This was a wraparound pain from the groin to mid-butt cheek, it felt stiff and tight… heading into the dreaded mile 9 climb, I tried to focus on that hill, one step at a time. Part way up, the pain got real. I stopped to stretch and loosen it up, decided to walk for a bit to see how it felt. When I tried to run again going up that hill, it hurt. I decided to fast walk the hill to not lose too much time, and run from there. I tried running again… it hurt, but I kept going, just slower. I realized then, around mile 10.5 that 2:20 just wasn’t going to happen this year. My focus quickly switched to finishing, and trying to run as much of it as I could. By mile 12, I just hurt, so I went to run/walk intervals. I cried… a combination of the pain and realizing that this race was my nemesis and my goal was still just out of reach. Running uphill hurt the most, so at the marathon/half marathon split, I walked that little climb, and started running again. As I came around the bend with the finish line in sight, I gave all I had in me to “sprint” to the finish. I finished.

IMG_8240 IMG_8247

I finished, but I was in serious pain. Walking through the finisher chutes, I cried. I tried to calm myself down and walk it off, but every. single. step. HURT. I tried to call a calming presence in my life, forgetting (or not caring) it was 3 hours earlier in my home time zone, got no answer. So, I made it to where my aunt and mom were, drank my coffee, text my trainer and a friend, and waited for my cousin.

A very small part of me is upset I didn’t make my goal time. But mostly, I am worried about my hip. This isn’t the first time it’s acted up, but it is by far, the worst it’s ever been. I keep thinking could I have trained differently, stretched differently, worked out differently, etc., etc. Then I think, what happens if it’s something more serious? I have the Star Wars Rebel Challenge mid-January, and Surf City a few weeks after that.

And, well, I’m trying to work through the emotions from that race. It’s my third year… year one was decent, I was sick year two, and now this… this race is becoming my nemesis. I don’t do well with not moving, with not running… that cliché: running is my therapy, is so true for me. I work through things on my runs, think about work ideas, unwind and de-clutter my mind. I’m eight days in to no running and seriously struggling.

It’s time to come clean on this injury. Walking takes patience and more time than I want it to. It hurts to walk any significant distance, sit too long, or put to much weight on my right leg. My doctor sent me for x-rays. Now, I try to dig up patience, to not push it, to let this heal, to rest… to not go stir crazy while I do the waiting, and healing and resting. When I went to see my chiropractor Monday, and was given the no running order. I knew it was coming, but it still hurt to hear it. I got the x-rays, followed orders, and still hurt, although a little less. I drug my dog out for a slow, painful two-mile walk Saturday and Sunday. I stretched, iced, stretched. I went back to the chiropractor yesterday and I still can’t run. I can do non-impact exercises like cycling or aqua jogging, I can try body weight exercises and see how it feels. I know this is progress, but not being able to run is frustrating and a real struggle for me. Nothing else I do helps me feel as amazing mentally and physically as running does. So…now is the time to heal my body, to focus on health, to figure out other ways to work through stress and emotions, to stay calm and to emerge stronger and faster.

When you can’t run, how do you stay fit? What helps you deal with the injury and healing? More importantly, how do you handle holiday stress without your greatest stress reliever?

Why I Broke Up With My Scale

Why I Broke Up With My Scale

Let’s face it… we are all aware that everywhere we turn there are messages about weight, fitness, being the perfect size. Magazines, TV, billboards (especially here in Las Vegas) promoting the latest and greatest way to get that perfect body. Those, along with the “fitspiration” messages (that’s another blog post altogether) are constantly in your face. This pressure to look perfect can be overwhelming and all-consuming. It can also be unhealthy.

Another fact we all need to face….not all of us will look like the model. It is perfectly okay. It is genetics and life. Everyone on this earth has a different body style, fitness level, fitness desire, and genetics; a different set of knowledge and views on what constitutes healthy. For that matter, different goals.

I am a runner. I sometimes don’t run. I am a person who doesn’t do yoga as much as she’d like. I lift weights with the guidance of a trainer. A majority of the time I eat healthy. I like beer and wine and vodka. I like cookies, chewy sprees are my weakness. According to every single BMI and weight classification chart, based on the last time I stepped on a scale, I am overweight.

I am not perfect, nor is my body. But that number on the scale, it ate away at me. I would obsess over it, step on the scale every morning to see if there was a change. I would cut out things I enjoyed eating (and eventually fail), I would increase my physical activity until I was exhausted. I got blood tests done to make sure everything was in order. But still, that number was stubborn… would go so far, then stop, then go up. I would get frustrated, angry, sad… I couldn’t get to where I thought I should be, to where the charts said I should be. I had long conversations with my trainer discussing options, nutrition, fitness, you name it. I did some soul searching.

Here is what I learned about myself during that time. I enjoy being active. I love to run and do yoga and ride my bike and lift weights. Every single time I hit a fitness goal, I felt amazing and strong… until I stepped on the scale. I also enjoy food. I enjoy the experience of eating itself… preparing it, smelling it, the appearance and the taste. Not just quickly eating food to not feel hungry, but the experience, the use of those senses to experience it. I often look at pics of “healthy” fuel, powdered food or pureed concoctions, etc. and think, none of that looks appetizing. What happened to real food… seasoning fish, preparing vegetables…  a giant salad of fresh greens and vegetables. Truly enjoying what you are eating.

Therein was my dilemma… give up the foods I enjoy like sweets, alcohol, breads; make them healthy; or find a balance to enjoy them, be physically active, and be happy. I chose finding the balance.

My first step… was to take the scale and pack it away. I didn’t even step on it to get a “starting weight” for this endeavor. I just walked into my bathroom, picked it up, and walked into my closet and buried it under stuff on the top shelf. That day I suddenly felt liberated. That square piece of equipment was done ruling my life and emotions. My next step was to create a shopping list of foods and meals for the week. To make sure I didn’t eliminate things, but there was a 90/10 ratio of healthy to unhealthy. Then, I talked to my trainer. I told him of my crazy plan, and we worked out some workouts. I often rave about my trainer, but to his credit… he really let me go with this one. I am pretty sure he was skeptical or concerned, but, he trusted in me, and respected my decisions. I then reviewed my goals. After removing a goal weight, I noticed all of my goals were health related, not size or looks related. I wanted to be stronger, I wanted to be healthy, I wanted more energy. None of my goals focused on what my body looked like, they were just about a healthy body. I realized then that was my true goal, to be healthy. My trainer and I stopped doing weigh-ins and measurements, we focused on fitness. He gave me workouts, I did them. He gave me monthly fitness tests, my numbers improved. I ran when the urge hit me. I ate well. I also had treats and alcohol. I just lived. I was no longer defined by a number.

Yesterday I bought myself a pair of new boots. My one friend wanted to see them when I wore them… so of course, I wore the new boots the next day. I took a pic and sent it to her. Her response, WOW you look great! I really looked at the pic and thought, hmm, I do look good. I sent the pic to my trainer. He was amazed at the difference. Then I really looked at the picture. I do look more toned. I still have no clue what I weigh, but I know what size I wear and how my clothes fit. I know that my fitness levels are continuously improving and that my emotional health is even better because I am enjoying life and have truly accepted my body, my perfectly imperfect body. I don’t have six pack abs, and I don’t want them, that isn’t one of MY goals, I still have cellulite, and so what. I feel great mentally and physically. I love how I feel, I am proud of the work I am doing, and I think my perfectly imperfect body is strong and looks great. But even better than that, it FEELS great. I have energy, I have curves, and a few extra pounds…. and that is okay. I know that if I push my body physically, it will give me more than I ask of it. It will climb that hill, run those miles, hold that pose and lift those weights. It will give when my mind doesn’t want to. That is my true accomplishment, a healthy and fit body.

As of today, I will work to never again let someone make me feel bad that my goals aren’t their goals, that my body isn’t perfect by media standards or for eating that piece of cake or extra piece of candy, for having that second (or third) drink. I embrace my mind, my body, my goals and my life. My wish for you… find what works for you, and embrace it. Set goals that matter to you, that fit with what you want and enjoy in life. Live your goals EVERY SINGLE DAY and they will just become your life.

….thank you for reading, live well my friends…

Hello world!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

Welcome to my new page and the start of my rebranding!! Stay tuned for some great product reviews, recipes and more!!! Thank you for checking it out!

Restart Button

Where have I been? Where am I going? Read on to find out!

I have opened this document and stared at the blank page more times than I can count. I start to write, re-read it, and start all over. So here we are…. months later, and finally hitting the restart button in many ways, in blogging, fitness, running, and most importantly, life. To say the end of last year and the start of this year were rocky is an understatement.

After a year of putting myself through a great physical challenge, which turned into a mental challenge… the battle wasn’t over. 2013 was a year for me… I lost my best friend, my grandfather… with that I went through emotional struggles I never imagined I would. I crept deep into my mind and soul on my training runs and during my races. I found that girl I lost a long time ago, that girl I always was… and couldn’t remember how to be. The next logical step was to let her free. Easier said than done, but, a necessary step on my path to true happiness.

Since the holidays, my life has gone turned upside down, and righted itself, went a little sideways, and seems to be righting itself once more. Ah, life… you tease… always keeping me on my toes. A significant relationship ended, I sold a house I was once so proud to be the owner of, I moved, I traveled more than I didn’t, saw my little brother get married, witnessed the fruits of labor of our race committee at another Susan G Komen of Southern NV Race for the Cure, had not 1 but 2 car accidents, I worked on several publications for work, I started a new job, ran my first relay event, PR’d at a half marathon that, for the first time ever, I didn’t take a walk break in… and sometimes I worked out, sometimes I ate healthy, sometimes I ate the cake and had the extra beer… I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I breathed deep. I learned I suck at being patient (hey, we can’t all be perfect). I held on to friends for sanity and laughter, I found new friends and amazing support from places I never expected, I turned 40. I grew, I changed, I learned, I loved… but most importantly, I came out of it all okay. I am happily, safely, wonderfully at a place where I put myself first, where I give with all my heart, and treasure those in my life.

So, am I back? I think so. I’m getting back on track with my fitness, I have worked with my trainer to reset my goals to what I feel is attainable this year, to what I feel matters, I have reexamined my priorities, I have found myself in a place I feel at peace and happy. Does it get better than that?

But, it’s time to restart this blogging journey… Ladies and gents… it’s time to get this party started! I will be moving over to www.naturallyangela.com! Don’t worry, I will redirect this page there… but, it is time to change things up. Like my page on Facebook and if you already follow me on Twitter, great! Just notice @solesisteronrun will change to @naturallyange and my Instagram will also change to @naturallyangela. The new format will continue to discuss running, yoga, and fitness, as well as add in wellness, recipes, natural approaches to healing and cleaning, etc. A bit of a rediscovery of self and keeping life simple… So… please continue to follow the adventures of me and Miss Mia Pup!

ToiletTree Skin Care System Product Review

I was recently given the opportunity to try and review the ToiletTree Skin Care System. I have seen similar skin care systems at various beauty stores and have always been curious as to how they worked. Based on the price of some, I just wasn’t ready to make the leap.

Price is one of the many things I love about this skin care system, the entire system is only $39.95! But, really, the system itself is AMAZING!! The unit is waterproof and contains a body brush, a soft and medium face brush (for sensitive and normal skin) as well as a pumice stone for your feet! I absolutely love the options that this system includes as they provide an opportunity to care for your whole body.

IMG_5681

IMG_5937IMG_5940

I use the soft brush nightly on my face, it is soft enough to not irritate my sensitive skin, yet gives a nice deep clean. I am amazed every night at the extra dirt and make-up it gets off my face. Once a week I use the medium face brush for a deep clean. My skin has never looked better after a month of use. My skin is less dry and flaky, any inflammations and acne are gone.

IMG_5700

I have used the body brush a couple times a week, and it is great at removing the dry, flaky skin brought on by the Las Vegas desert weather and hard water. I just put a small amount of body wash on the brush and the spinning works up a great lather while sloughing off dead skin.

IMG_5942

Lastly, the round pumice stone. As a runner, my feet have seen better days. I use this 1-2 times a week and my heels are feel as soft as they would after a professional pedicure.

IMG_5941

The brushes change very quickly, and snap into place with ease. With the unit being waterproof, I leave it hanging in my shower so I never forget to use it.

Here is a rare pic of my skin make-up free.

IMG_5944

You can check out their products and follow them on social media~

ToiletTree Products

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon (for reviews and purchase)

Here is some great information from the company on their product and what the package includes:
Skin Care System Features:

·  System includes 4 interchangeable brush heads: 2 face brushes (1 soft for sensitive skin, 1 medium for normal skin); 1 large body brush; 1 pumice sphere for tough foot skin

·  Battery operated (4 AA batteries included with purchase)

·  Water-resistant design allows for use in the shower

·  Water-resistant strap for convenient hanging and storage

·  Available in 6 colors: Pink, Purple, Green, Blue, Gray, and Black


Skin Care System Benefits:

·  Reduces the appearance of problem areas, such as: dead skin cells, oily skin, dry patches, fine lines, blemishes, visible pores, blackheads and wrinkles

·  Stimulates skin renewal and improves overall skin clarity and appearance

·  Energizes skin and leaves it smooth, soft and radiant

·  Cleans deep to help remove stubborn makeup

·  Enhances absorption of moisturizes

The best part? I love this so much, I am going to give one away to one of my readers! Enter below!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lifestyle Accountability Podcast

Hello everyone and welcome to 2014! I was fortunate to be interviewed for a Lifestyle Accountability Podcast, and the interview is now live! Check out my show as well as some other great athletes!!

Podcast

2013 Year In Review

Well… they always say things don’t turn out as you planned, and 2013 definitely reminded me of that. Not just a moment in the year, but the entire year. This year has definitely been an emotional roller coaster for me. I’ve had more laughter than I could have hoped for, treasured friendships that started or grew stronger, found a physical strength and mental determination I never knew I had, dealt with chronic medical issues, and experienced the most painful loss of my life.  (sorry this blog post is a long one…)

In December 2012 I announced I would be running 13 half marathons in 2013. It was 2013, 13.1 miles, I was turning 39 (3×13)… a whole cute concept. I worked out my race schedule. I spent more money than I would like to admit. I know now, I don’t ever need to set that goal again, but I am grateful I was able to accomplish this goal. It was a true life changer for me. For many reasons outside of running, it was an exhausting year. At times I had no interest in going for a run, of training. I just wanted to run to run… I was starting to miss that, and some moments, it felt more like work. Overall, a good, solid running year. Here’s how the races went…

January’s race I woke with an occurrence of the chronic eye issue I have. I was in pain, my vision was blurry and I was frustrated. It was 20 degrees that morning. All of that, showed on the course. From the moment I crossed the start line I just wanted it to be over, and I couldn’t shake that feeling. I couldn’t get warm or find my groove.

IMG_2966

Running From An Angel Half Marathon

February was actually a great race for me, my time was back on point, I felt great, the race was at the beach in CA, truly, a great race. I was able to hang out with a great friend and make some new ones. I wish every race could be like that event.

IMG_3105

Charlene and I at Surf City Half Marathon

March… my husband had been sick for 2 weeks before this race. I woke up race morning with a sore throat. By the time I hit the start line, I was nauseous, achy, it hurt to breathe. I told myself it was a little cold, to get over it and run. I ran, and ran slow. It hurt to breathe when I was running, the body aches were brutal. My stomach was so queasy taking fueling was a challenge. But, I knew this course, and when to take it easy and when to push. I finished, albeit slower than normal. Turns out, I had bronchitis and severe respiratory infection. I was out of commission for a couple weeks.

Six Tunnels Half Marathon

Then, April came. I was excited for April, even though I hadn’t trained it was a shot at redemption, great race, great people, in Hollywood… my running BFF and I had great plans. Then, the start of that week, my world as I knew it forever changed. My grandfather passed away. I lost a part of my heart and soul that day. I made it back to town and felt in my heart I needed to run to try to heal. Maybe for the distraction, I don’t know. I went to the race. Until that race started I wasn’t sure if I would actually run it. Right before the starting gun I decided to start and to finish. Nothing more. To just let the race happen. I did just that. Overall, it was a good race, my pace was solid, and I noticed around mile 9-10 that if I stuck with it, I could PR on a half. When I realized that, I felt nothing, no sudden surge of energy, no intense motivation. I took that as a sign. I decided to just enjoy the last 3 miles, encourage others and enjoy the run. At that moment I felt such a strong presence with me it took me back, I literally stopped on the course to catch my breath. In my heart, I knew it was pappy guiding me. He led me to exactly the race I was meant to have. At mile 11 I came across a limping runner. It was her first half, she had hurt her quad but wanted to finish. She had that frustrated, annoyed, heartbroken yet determined look on her face. I asked if I could walk with her a bit, asked if she was okay. We started talking and I ended up walking with her to the finish, encouraged her as she jogged across the finish line, made sure she got to medical and that was that. That race gave me a brief sense of peace.

IMG_3332

Hollywood Half Marathon!

IMG_3329

Medal and pappy charm

May brought along the second race in the Beach Cities Challenge… OC! I knew from the get-go this would not be an amazing race. I am the Race Chair for the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and our event was the day before. So, on a handful of hours of sleep, a long drive from Las Vegas to CA, and an exhausted body… I dealt with the poor race organization and finished this race. Actually, better than anticipated, but honestly I don’t remember much of the course. I was in a daze I think for most of that race and later, when I saw video, thought, I ran there?! Five down…

IMG_3524

Charlene and I after OC Half Marathon

In June not only was I running a half, I was conquering one of my biggest fears: bridges. I have always been terrified of bridges, the Wipro San Francisco Half Marathon I was running ran over and back on the Golden Gate Bridge. Hey, if you are going to conquer a fear, do it big! So… I flew out to SF and stayed with my younger brother. We celebrated his now fiance’s birthday and had an enjoyable weekend. On race morning he chose to run the race with me. This meant SO much to me, and having him by my side for 13.1 miles, including that bridge, a priceless moment in time. He was great at keeping me distracted while on the bridge and keeping me moving on those San Fran hills!!

IMG_3779

San Francisco Half Marathon medals from 2012, 2013, and Half It All Challenge

July brought me to Bryce Canyon, Utah! We planned a lovely girls weekend, rented a house near the finish line and took off for a getaway. The scenery was beautiful! The race was fun. This course was mostly downhill, so that was an interesting challenge. After, we relaxed, ate, relaxed. We went for a hot but amazingly beautiful hike the following day.

IMG_3916

Kristin and I after Bryce Canyon Half Marathon

IMG_3933

Hiking in Bryce Canyon

August… I did my first ever midnight race: the infamous ET Race in Rachel, NV. This was so much fun… it was dark except for runner head lamps, quiet and serene, which made the 7 mile incline at the start of the race less annoying. You could see the beautiful full moon and hear the cattle. If you ever are in the Las Vegas area in August, I suggest running this event. It is totally worth the lack of sleep.

IMG_4196

ET Half Marathon shirt, medal and race bib

September was my double-up month! I did my first ever trail half marathon at the Henderson Trail Classic, and that was truly a challenge, but so glad I did this. It renewed my love of running in a lot of ways… new challenges, new outlook, new workout. I got to spend some great time with my running BFF before and after, a truly great experience. I also ran a satellite Running Troops half marathon with my running BFF Charlene. This was bittersweet… getting to run side by side with her was wonderful, but this was her last run pre-injury and she was out of commission until right before Christmas. 12 long weeks. This brought me to 10 completed races!!!

IMG_4367

Henderson Trail Classic Half Marathon

IMG_4598

Running Troops swag half marathon

October I brought on a new challenge to myself as well as my 11th half marathon. I ran the final race for the Beach Cities Challenge in Long Beach, CA, where I PR’d for the year and got to hang out with some amazing running friends!! I loved this race, everything about it. I was just a little sad that my running BFF couldn’t run it with me as planned. Next up for my crazy October… a sprint triathlon, the Iron Girl. I was looking for a way to change up my training and reignite my desire to complete this goal. This was such an amazing challenge. The training, the event, the challenge of swimming and cycling… just amazing. I loved it so much, I am planning on 2 for next year.

IMG_4771

Hanging with friends post Long Beach Half Marathon

IMG_4769

My Beach Cities Medals and Challenge MEDAL!!!!

IMG_4877

I AM AN IRONGIRL!

IMG_4912

Coming in to the finish!

November brought me to Philadelphia, which has become a running family tradition. I met up with a couple cousins again this year for this event. I returned to PA for 1 ½ weeks prior to the race to spend time with friends, and ended up catching a cold. My goal to hit a sub 2:20 faded on race day with that cold, but, I was proudly able to finish at my regular pace, keeping me on track. At this point, some personal stuff was going strong, and I was struggling with that, so the running and training kept me distracted.

IMG_5129

Philadelphia Half Marathon

December… this is it, the final month, the final race. Due to changes with race schedules, I ended up selecting a satellite location for the Operation Jack Half Marathon on Dec. 28th. Unfortunately, I hurt my hip 2 weeks before, so trained less and had to run slower than normal… but I did accomplish something pretty amazing that day. For the first time in a half, I ran the first 10 miles non-stop. At that point took a 30 sec walk/stretching break and carried on. I took about 2 more over the last 3 miles, for a total of 1 ½ minutes of walk breaks. That to me was amazing compared to the 4/1 or 3/:30 intervals I have been using. I finished this race with a smile on my face, and a few tears. I dedicated a mile to those that over the past year have really made an impact on my life. My running BFF, very fittingly, was at the finish with a huge sign, a huge hug, some tears… and a cupcake. Is there any better way to finish a race? I don’t think so. I was also lucky enough to have a great friend pace me for this, to make sure I didn’t go too fast!

IMG_5515

Operation Jack Half Marathon

So, all in all, a fun racing year. Exhausting, at times overwhelming, but fun racing year. I am grateful I was able to accomplish this and thank everyone for their support. But an extra special, personal thank you to those who truly made a difference in my life the past 12 months; they offered support, love, encouragement and strength. Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today. So thank you to: RG, JH, MK, CR, CW, FA, WV, KZ, JD, KB, Pappy, and my family. Love you all more than I can put into words.

IMG_5512

My year in bling!!

Here is to an AMAZING 2014!! Stay tuned for the goals I have in store for next year!!