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.


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.


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.


Hollywood Half Marathon!


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…


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!!


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.


Kristin and I after Bryce Canyon Half Marathon


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.


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!!!


Henderson Trail Classic Half Marathon


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.


Hanging with friends post Long Beach Half Marathon


My Beach Cities Medals and Challenge MEDAL!!!!




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.


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!


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.


My year in bling!!

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

The Sweet Feeling of a Mental Victory

As you saw from Saturday’s post, I tried a new workout Saturday with two friends. You also know that I am not the biggest lover of strength training. I am making an effort to incorporate it into my routine because of the benefits, but it is always a struggle for me. Well, Saturday, it was a challenge. the TRX system is a great challenge, and that hour session helped me realize where my strength training was, and how it could improve. It wasn’t easy, I was exhausted by the end and my muscles were shaking. But, I did it. A small victory!

So of course, after a workout like that, you know you will wake up to sore muscles the next day. I was set to run 6-8 miles on Sunday. I didn’t prepare well for it at all. Here is what my weekend looked like:

Saturday: workout at 10:00 am, breakfast of egg white veggie omelet and toast, cleaned the house, picked up groceries for dinner. Homemade pasta and chicken/turkey meatballs for dinner with a friend. Some drinks. Definitely not enough water. Cupcakes with ice cream in the middle. Stayed up late.

Sunday: woke up sore. Had french toast and bacon for breakfast, laid around, drank some water. Still very sore. Decided to try a run anyway…

So, I changed, had a Honey Stinger vanilla gel, filled up my water bottle, packed some Honey Stinger pink lemonade chews and my tunes and headed out. Seriously, walking out of my development felt weird (you know that sore muscle I think I’m walking funny feel). I realized it was pretty freaking windy. Great, let’s add that to the mix. So, after the first 3/4 mile I wanted to turn around and go home. I told myself well, that will be 1.5 miles, so you should just keep going and you can cut the route so you get at least 2 in if you don’t want to do 3. So, I ran up hill into the wind. (I swear in Vegas there is always a headwind) I at this point also decided to take walk breaks when I needed them, but to keep them to a certain number of light poles. If I was running and wanted to walk, I couldn’t until I passed a certain number of light poles, yes… I play mental games with myself to keep me going. Well, when I hit the point where I could turn and go home and settle for 3 miles, I told myself, head out a bit and at least get in 4. I knew deep down if I could get my feet to go that way, I would end up getting 7 miles in. I wouldn’t stop until I hit my scheduled turnaround point. So, I trucked it up to the park, filled the water bottle, had the chews and did a loop around the park. Heading out of the park I felt a sense of happiness and pride. My legs were exhausted and I knew I was slower than normal, but, I also had about 1.5 miles left until I hit 7 miles.

As I turned the last corner and finished my run at 7 miles I almost cried. Not from the pain (well, not entirely) but from the joy I felt for actually running the 7 miles when  I didn’t want to get off the couch. When I had every excuse to not go and did a good job of not preparing. I went anyway. I posted my run from the app to daily mile and said: “didn’t beat my time today, but beat my mind. Better victory”. I shut up the doubting side of my brain, I overcame the thoughts of negativity and self doubt and completed 7 miles. It wasn’t until about 30 minutes later I looked at my pace. Because honestly, I didn’t care. I ran to run, to beat my mind… and I did. And yes… my pace was slow, and I don’t care.


So… remember the next time your mind is telling you no, and the self doubt is creeping in, that you are capable of more than you think. You will never know how much until you try. Get out there, take the first step and see where it leads. Mental victories are amazing… I honestly think that brutal 7 miles was more rewarding than some race finish lines. I challenge you to not just step out of your comfort zone but to destroy the hold that keeps you in it. Achieve YOUR mental victory!

And, I am back!

Our Christmas Photo

Our Christmas Photo

Took a bit longer than expected, but wanted to do it right… I am officially self-hosted. I attempted to move over my subscribers, but please verify or resubscribe just to be safe and so that you don’t miss anything!!

A HUGE thank you to my husband for his patience and assistance in helping me understand html code a little better. Please let me know your thoughts on the new blog… more pics of me will be added soon, I am working on some professional photos for the main image.

This will be a busy week getting all the posts out that I am behind on. Have a great weekend everyone!!!