A very merry Christmas and some running in between

This month has been just one quick blink of an eye and it’s already gone. It’s the most cliche saying in the book but man, where does the time go. This Christmas was a great afternoon and evening spent with family and we hosted it at our house again. I really enjoy doing it, I just wish we had a longer dining room table! I did get some pretty cool running gloves that I can’t wait to try out but as of yesterday, the weather has been so warm here! I also got two new long sleeves for running and new Sauconys! It seems like they are officially my shoe now and I’m glad I have two pairs to keep them lasting longer. Over the past two weeks I’ve only run about 25 miles, but it’s been busy and I have also been resting since Tuscon. I thought I would be doing an early January marathon, but right now I’m going to hold out for a bit to re-train.

A few weeks ago, we got a new couch! We ordered it at the beginning of October after searching for quite some time for the one we liked. It finally arrived and man, it has been a great addition, also perfect for Christmas! As you can see, the dogs love it.

couch

Running lately has been decent actually. I think I will close out the month with nearly 100 miles and almost 900 miles for the entire year! We’ve had practice at 7 am this week and on Monday we went out to breakfast after practice with the team. Only about 1/4 of our team was able to make it. It was hilarious and high school kids, I tell ya, are crazy!

ccteambreakfastSophie and George were all ready for Christmas! It was actually Sophie’s first Christmas with our family. I’m still so thankful that we adopted her earlier this year. She has brought so much joy to our family and wears George out.

gandschristmasOver the weekend B’s parents, brother who lives in NY and I went to his fire station. I haven’t been in a while and it’s always so interesting to go! I love seeing him in such a different element. His parents had never gone to this station and it was nice to get the full tour again. I’m actually going with a friend’s family who has kids next week and I can’t wait! It will be fun to see him show the girls all about the station.

lafdchristmas2013

I went for a really relaxing run on Christmas Eve and it was just perfect. The sun was just coming up and it was cold, but I was still wearing shorts :) Thank you California weather. The time flew by and before I knew it, the run was over but everything was just glowing in the morning light. It was a great way to kick of the busy next two days and then I didn’t have to worry about running for two days too.

running-christmas-tree-sauconyI got this from Honest Tea earlier this week and thought it was just too cute not to share! It’s so creative and fun and luckily this year I didn’t have to break the glass in case of emergency. It was a really cute thing to send out for the Holidays!

honestteaemergencydrink

I hope you and your family had a great Christmas and were able to take some time to experience the true reason for the season.

xoxo

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An awesome and frustrating run

I thought about the finish of the Tucson Marathon this past weekend long and hard and along with a few bags of skittles and twizzlers, the sting of the race not going to my plans is finally seeming to pass. Though I still keep asking myself the same questions. Could I pushed harder? Did I give up too early? Why do I always seem to have stomach issues? What can I do next time to not have this happen? After a great time in Sedona with B, I knew I should do a shake out run to see how tired my legs were when we arrived back home. Right after we came home, I took off for a run and just ran. I kept my watch under my sleeves and just enjoyed the sun and warmer weather. Once I got home and looked my watch and normally, I’d be proud of myself, but yesterday it was just so darn frustrating. I saw how fast I was running and how it didn’t take much effort and thought to myself, How?! On tired legs, only a few days after a race and I went out for an easy run and ran the exact pace I thought I would be running last Sunday. It was just such a punch in the stomach to see the numbers I wanted so badly to see on Race Morning.

Mile 1 – 8:29
Mile 2 – 8:26
Mile 3 – 8:01
Mile 4 – 7:47
.5 Mile – 4:05

timex-running-training-marathonI’m still thinking about the race and it’s obviously bothering me a lot. This run I had yesterday wasn’t suppose to be awesome. It was suppose to hurt and remind me not to run a marathon any time again soon. It was suppose to be hard and my quads were suppose to still be in recovery from Sunday and when I got done I wanted to look down at my watch and think to myself, gah! I was running slow! It’s okay, I just ran a marathon, but it wasn’t any of that. It was one of the most frustrating yet rewarding runs I’ve had and it’s really got me thinking about the next race. Right now, I’m thinking it will be sooner than later, because I still feel like I have a race in me that I haven’t run yet.

xoxo

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Tucson Marathon Race Recap

This recap took me a bit to write, not because I didn’t want to write it, but because I was honestly pretty disappointed about how the whole race went down. I was just bummed. This was my goal race this year and I knew my training was solid to hit sub-4, which is what I wanted. After Santa Clarita my confidence was boosted and I was really excited about this race. We took off to head to Arizona on Friday and I was feeling good. My legs were good, my mind was in the right place and I was ready to run. After picking up our bibs on Saturday I was really ready to go and couldn’t wait for the next morning. It was a very, very small expo and we were in and out in less than 20 minutes. I didn’t buy anything but we looked around for a bit. We had lunch at SmashBurger which was super good, I wish we had a closer one back home.

It was decent weather in Tucson and though it was going to be a cold morning, I was prepared with ample clothes and mittens. I knew I would have to bundle up as I don’t do as well in cooler weather, so I made sure to pack extra.

tucson-marathon-bib-pick-up

tucson-marathon-prepared-clothes

I laid out all my clothes the evening before and we had a delicious lasagna to carb load up for the race. The morning of the race I changed my mind and decided to wear a heavier black jacket instead of my purple top and I was so glad I did. We drove back into Tucson and parked to board the buses that would take us to the top of Mt. Lemmon, where the race started. It was a pretty long drive but I was feeling pretty good and was happy to be on a warm bus. We left the bus with 30 minutes to the start to hit up the portapotties before the race. While we were waiting in line at the portapotties snow flurries were coming down. I couldn’t believe it! The wind was whipping around but I was still feeling confident. We finally got out of the bathroom line and headed to the start where there wasn’t even a banner or anything that said start line and the horn went off and off we went. It was a pretty boring start but I was ready to go at that point so I was glad we didn’t wait around a long time.

We started towards the very back of the pack because we didn’t think that weaving more toward the front was worth it. The first 5 miles were relatively hilly and it was pretty cold. I was feeling good and our splits were right around 9:13-9:22, exactly where I wanted to be for the first half of the race. At mile 5, I really had to go to the bathroom so I told Mary Kate to keep running and I would catch up. What I thought would be a quick stop ended up being much longer, but I was thinking that this was hopefully the only stop I would be making and on I went. Unfortunately at mile 7.5 I had to stop again. I felt really good and picked up the pace a bit to see if I could catch Mary Kate and did right before mile 10. Then it was a very long, very hilly and killer out and back section where we both struggled, but I was glad to be together. At the end of the out and back, I had to stop again and this time it was for a lot longer that I wanted to stop for. That’s when I realized that I wouldn’t be hitting my goal this race. My stomach was just not happy and I was already feeling pretty miserable.

Mile 1 – 8:56
Mile 2- 9:15
Mile 3 – 9:19
Mile 4 – 8:40
Mile 5 – 8:10
Mile 6 – 13:45
Mile 7 – 8:20
Mile 8 – 8:45
Mile 9 – 8:17
Mile 10 – 8:08
Mile 11 – 9:42
Mile 12 – 9:28
Mile 13 – 10:25
Mile 14 – 17:50

Right after this stop it also dropped quite a bit in temperature and I put my hood on for at least the next 10 miles. I was so cold! I continued on but didn’t push the pace and to be honest, I felt pretty defeated. I was so ready to go and then had the usual stomach issues. I was hopeful that MK was having a great race and way out in front of me. I just counted down the miles and ran/walked each mile. At a time when I was feeling most defeated, around mile 18, I found some random guy that I started chatting it up with and he pulled me right along which was awesome. I ran with him until mile 23 when I unfortunately met back up with Mary Kate who was also having a tough day. We walked until the last .5 of a mile and then ran in together.

Mile 15 – 9:10
Mile 16 – 10:22
Mile 17 – 9:28
Mile 18 – 10:50
Mile 19 – 11:07
Mile 20 – 10:53
Mile 21 – 9:52
Mile 22 – 9:51
Mile 23 – 11:07
Mile 24 – 15:20
Mile 25 – 16:43
Mile 26 – 13:26
Mile .37 – 4:44

tucson-marathon-finish-linetucson-marathon-course-photoI was glad that we were able to finish the race together, even though we both had rough days out on the course. I’m also pretty glad that I didn’t quit when I really wanted to. After mile 14, I was just done. My legs were tired, and I just never got that feeling that it was go time, well besides being go time in the bathroom. As soon as I knew that it wasn’t going to be my day I really wanted to call B and have him pick me up. I knew that I’d be out there for a while. I’m glad I stuck with it though and finished because I think I would have been even more disappointed if I quit.

It was a hard race, but at the end of the day I was still able to cross the finish line and even though it makes me angry right now, I know in a few days I’ll be able to get over it and the medal is actually pretty cool. I was also VERY happy that B came to this race, and it was his first marathon he was able to come too, I just wish that I had a better race.

tucson-marathon-finish-bdAs for the course, I honestly wouldn’t run it again. It was pretty rough and VERY barren in both spectators and scenery. It was somewhat pretty and thankfully they did have quite a few portapotties but it was not one that I would run again, maybe because I also had a rough day. Either way, number 11 is done!

holualoa-tucson-marathon-race-recap

xoxo

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The Story of the Star

Even though B and I have now been married for 2 years, for some reason we haven’t gotten a star yet for the top of our Christmas tree. The past two years we’ve just put a red bow at the top and we both were happy with it. This year though he said, I think we should get a star.

I thought about it and started telling him about how important the star was in our family growing up. It had a nativity scene on it, was double sided and ivory and my mom’s favorite thing to put on the tree. Year after year it graced the tree and I remember walking up the stairs by our usually over sized tree and as I passed the top I saw the star. B told me that it was cool a cool memory to have and I was honestly surprised I remembered so much about the star I had for my entire life.

The following day, I headed to Target and saw a few stars but they just weren’t right. They weren’t a timeless one that we could have for a while. Then it was onto Cost Plus and Michaels to see what they had as well, but I just wasn’t happy with them for some reason. Either they were too trendy or themed to a certain tree. I thought maybe I would have better luck online. I went home and started googling a few different ideas. I searched a few times for Christmas Tree Star, Christmas Tree Topper, then I started looking at the angel options but nothing was right, it just wasn’t the one. I started googling nativity star, thinking that maybe I could find something similar and then, before my eyes, this showed up. It was the SAME STAR I HAD GROWING UP. The tears just flowed from my eyes. I couldn’t believe how many memories I had flooding back just by seeing it. It’s been almost 8 years since my mom has passed away, but seeing this was a reminder of her, her love for Christmas and many family memories.

enesco-1983-star Instantly I looked for a few of the Enesco 1983 Nativity Themed Star and found that they were listed pretty randomly on Ebay. There were two options when I started looking. A buy it now star and an auction for one that was ending the next day. When I woke up, the buy it now was already bought by someone else and the auction was on. I ended up losing the auction and told B that I had lost even though we bidded it up quite a bit. He knew I was bummed, but I told him I had seen a few listed and even if we didn’t get one this Christmas, I would be looking for it in the future and at least they were out there. Just the next day I got an alert that another one was listed and it was a buy it now! This star is on its way to me and I couldn’t be more excited! It looks to be in great shape for being 30 years old and I am even excited that it comes in its original box.

enesco-1983-nativity-star1983-enesco-nativity-star-tree-topperThe Holidays can be a hard time for those who have lost someone very close to them, but I am so thankful for supportive family and friends who are always there for me through them and make them fun by cherishing memories that I shared with my mom. I can’t wait to put this star on top of our tree this year.

xoxo

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The final week of training

So this past weekend was the final week of training before Tucson. It was a little all over the place with Thanksgiving and I was procrastinating a lot on a few of my runs but I did end up getting every run I wanted too in. The sunrises were beautiful all week long and made it easier to get up earlier.

running-sunrise-long-beachI worked hard on speed work this past week to try to freshen up my legs for this weekend. I really, really pushed hard on a run that I procrastinated on. It was the day after Thanksgiving and when I woke up it was POURING rain. Normally, I don’t mind a few sprinkles but this was a lot and I didn’t want to risk getting sick. We ran a few errands, where I also got a new running tank on sale, then ended up at home around 3 when it wasn’t raining and I decided to stop putting it off and get it in. The new tank that I wore with armwarmers was the perfect motivation. I started off chugging along but once I hit the second mile I was feeling great.

It was just starting to sprinkle and the sky was again gorgeous. Everywhere I looked there were leaves falling and big puddles that reflected the sky above. I just kept running faster and faster and feeling better about the upcoming race. I kept telling myself, I can do this! I can run fast!

running-long-beach-heartwell-parkAround mile 7.5 things started to hurt and I was getting tired, but I knew it was only 3 more miles until I was home. It started to rain a bit harder and it was getting darker, but I was done before I knew it and then could take a warm shower and call it a day.

running-rainy-saucony-glide-7Everywhere I looked it was a reflection of the beautiful evening, and it made that super hard run not as hard. Every single one of my runs last week was under 9 minute mile pace, so I’m hoping that Tucson will be a true reflection of my training, or at least I push myself as hard as I can and am happy crossing that finish line. No bathroom stops would be a huge upside too. :/

Last week I ended with 24 fast miles, so here’s to heading to Tucson!

xoxo

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