National Coffee Day!

I do love my coffee, and you would think as a blogger I would have an awesome coffee pic to share, but I don’t.  I’m currently drinking a salted caramel iced coffee that I made myself this morning! Sometimes it’s hot coffee, but more and more it’s iced because it’s less acidic and kinder to my tummy.

Whatever coffee you’re drinking today enjoy it!

—————————-

We found ourselves with an unexpected free Saturday, nice weather, and no plan as to what to do when our original plans fell through.  Thankfully we stumbled across the Watershed Festival on the Nisqually Nature Preserve, it was free, and there was a ton of activities that we knew Sky would love!

We had so much fun watching her have fun and exploring the boardwalk through the preserve!

 There was fish painting, printing a fish on a shirt, face painting, henna, beading, bird house building and it was all free!!!  Sky just went from booth to booth having a blast painting, building, playing and exploring!

This was by far her favorite thing!  They are colorful capes but most of them are animals so the hood is the face and the arms are the wings, or legs, or whatever.  The arms had sticks in them so when you lifted your arms if you were a bird the wings flapped like you were flying.  There was just enough of a breeze that the caps were all fluttering so pretty in the breeze.  Once there were enough kiddos dressed up a volunteer would lead them through the festival in a parade.  Sky LOVED it!!!!  We wen’t back to this over and over and by the end of the day she had tried every cape on, and talked Daddy, Grampy and me into as well.
 Getting the sticks ready so she could flutter her arms in the parade.
 I love this pick because for one she’s listening to Mark explain how to do it, and because when she concentrating she sticks her tongue out and it’s adorable! 

School bus selfie!  Sky was so excited there was a school bus ride involved!

 So much green!  It was a pretty walk and it’s crazy to think this is right next to I-5!

There is something so exhausting about being out in the sun on your feet all day long!  Chasing after Sky and managing her just adds to the exhaustion.  I was very happy to bundle up in a blanket after dinner and enjoy a glass of wine on the new wine patio!  Have to make the most of it when it’s not raining because soon enough there will be not sitting out there enjoying wine.  
I only had one glass though because Sunday Morning I was up early making sure I was ready to offer run support to Michelle the second half of her Half Marathon.  I’m so proud of her for even starting the race.  It’s a hard course when fully trained, but given she hadn’t been able to train due to her back issues, an already hard course becomes so much more daunting!  
I was able to get to the aid station right before mile 7 to wait for her, and cheer on a lot of friends including Alicia who was running her very first half!  

I’m so proud of both of them.  Alicia finished 4 minutes faster than her goal which is amazing for such a hilly race!  Nice job Alicia!

I know Michelle was having a hard time at the end, and had to really dig deep to get to the finish line. It’s so hard to know your friend is having a hard time and there really isn’t much you can do about it. It seems so insignificant to just be there next to her offering encouraging words that don’t really make it any easier.  She stuck with it  though and finished, and I’m so proud of her!

We were talking during one of the walking breaks about how difficult races are so valuable for perspective.  You learn how deep you can dig, that you can keep going even when it seems like you can’t, you appreciate the runs/races that are magically perfect more than before, you learn the value of a full and injury free training cycle, and you have empathy for others that you may have lacked before.

While I know it wasn’t fun there is value in perspective, and in knowing what you are capable of accomplishing under difficult circumstances.  Ultimately Michelle did it all on her own.  She made the decision to keep taking step after step when it would have felt a whole lot better to not even hit the start line, or stop when things started hurting.

Now it’s time for both of us to rest for a while, cut back on the running, if we run at all, and get ourselves set up for a strong training cycle for Santa Barbara!

I’m actually starting a couple of 30 day challenges Oct 1st, pilates, planks, and squats to focus on and keep me busy while I’m not running (as much).  🙂

——————————————

What kind of coffee are you drinking today?  

Who raced/ran this weekend?  Tell me about it!    

Race For A Soldier Re-Cap

My mind is a little bit all over the place with this race…lot’s of emotions and excitement about finishing and reaching my goal!

The facts:
-Well organized.
-Supports an awesome cause (PTSD treatment for soldiers).
-Challenging yet fun course.
-Plenty of bathrooms.
-While it didn’t start on time it wasn’t their fault…it was mother nature.  There was a downed big shrub/tree thing on the course that had to be cleared away.
-We totally got lucky with the weather, only a little bit of rain and only a few windy spots.  Was ready for it to be so much worse!
-Amazing community support with spectators and groups cheering you along the majority of the route.
-Parking is no fun, but that is the case with most races around here.
-Early bird registration is a reasonable price, even though I don’t remember what it was I remember feeling good about it.
-Free pacers.
-Love the heavy dog tag medal.

-This is a run every year race for me.  While it’s a really challenging course with one killer hill, and lot’s of other not so fun ones thrown in, the community support and beauty of running in Gig Harbor make it totally worth it!

Staying warm with throw-away shirt and blanket before the start.  Yes I know I look like a hobo.
 
It’s emotional because running a 1/2 is a still a big deal for me (actually running any race is a big deal still!).  It takes so much effort and determination to train, run the race, and finish that it feels like a major accomplishment.  Finishing this race was a double accomplishment because not only was I crossing the race finish line, but I was crossing the finish line of my running goal for the year…Half Fanatics!  
 
It’s official…registration fee paid and the sticker is on my car to prove it!  
 
The biggest reason I was near tears multiple times though is because I got to run all three races (and almost all the training runs) with Michelle!  Not very many people would go from “I’m going to run my first half and see if I like it or not” to “I’ll run 3 half marathons with my friend and be a Half Fanatic with her” at the drop of a hat!  Who does that?!  Michelle that’s who! 
 
It’s still amazing to me that we only started running a few years ago, and back then we only wanted to do 5K’s.  Running more than 3 miles was such a big deal that we would leave her car at one end of our training route and mine at the other, so we wouldn’t have to run an extra half mile or mile to get back to the car once we hit our 3 miles.  Now, we run 1/2 marathons!!!
 
The best part about yesterdays race was we went into it relaxed with the only goal being to finish.  Time/pace was a non-factor.  This last race was primarily about qualifying for Half Fanatics, and not about the race itself.  Totally took all the pressure off.  It was really nice to have fun, enjoy the course and the support, and accomplish a goal with my best friend.   
 
Thank you Michelle for being such an awesome friend and running partner.  2013 will forever be our summer of running!   
 
A big shout out to Elya who ran 30+ weeks pregnant!  Girl you inspire me.  I’m so proud of you pushing yourself to get through this one!  Now, rest and relax…Whidbey Island 1/2 training starts before you know it!  🙂
 
To keep this from getting too long and emotional Thank You to Mark, Bob, the kiddos, Dad, Fleet Feet Sports Tacoma, the Stroller Running Group, Yannick (was waiting near the finish with my 1/2 fanatic window sticker for my car…he is an awesome run supporter!), Amy, Jodi, Mom, Elya, Eleanor, Skinny Runner (perfect advice on how to handle the short time between race #1 and #2), everyone who posts on FB/Instagram/sends text messages/emails/calls offering support/encouragement/good luck.  It all helps get me to the start of each race and carries me through to the finish!   
 
Enjoying a rest day today…knees are a bit sore from all the hills…and then tomorrow starts a few 30 day challenges.  More on that tomorrow though.  🙂
 
P.S. This is so silly I probably shouldn’t even share it…I got to do two things I have always wanted to do at a race 1. Rip clothing off and toss it aside as I warmed up, and 2.  We got the silver space blanket things as we finished…totally made me feel like a “real” runner wrapped up in my silver blanket…because running a 1/2 isn’t real runner enough.  🙂
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 


Race For A Soldier – We Did It!

Finished in 2:24:42, not bad for a very hilly/easily the hardest 1/2 course I’ve run ever!  I’m pretty proud of Michelle and I for not walking once during the race.  There were some walk worthy hills let me tell you, but we chugged along and got it done! 

I’ll do a proper race review in the next day or two.  For now I have an email to send to Half Fanatics with my qualifying races, beer and pizza to enjoy, and a painful date with the foam roller.  I’m already way more sore after this hilly one than I have been after the other races. 

Felt good to finish this one!