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How Owning a Dog Improved My Health and Sanity

When I asked my friends and family if I should adopt a rescue dog, they looked at me sideways. Didn’t I recently say that I wasn’t a dog person? Aren’t I afraid of dogs? Didn’t I know that being a dog owner meant having to take it out, rain or shine and in the cold? Yes, all those thoughts occurred to me, but I also knew that this puppy needed a home and I could provide a good home for him. His story’s a little hazy, but the rescue thinks that he was a stray roaming the streets before he was picked up. He had heart worms, wasn’t neutered, and didn’t have a microchip — all signs that even if he’d once had an owner they weren’t a responsible one. I’d also joked that Charlie needed a new friend and I thought they’d be a good pair, since they were of similar sizes.

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I also selfish wanted to adopt a dog for reasons beyond just having a dog. Owning a dog meant that I would be forced to leave the house and go for walks on a daily basis. A lot of times I feel too stressed or under pressure to take care of myself through exercise or giving myself a mental break. Becoming a dog owner meant that another creature would become dependent on me to care for them. I could justify needing to go for walks if it was for Sirius, but not if it was just for me.

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So after five and a half months of adding Sirius to the family, I feel sure that adopting him was one of the best decisions I’ve made recently.

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I can confidently say that Sirius helps me get my 10,000 daily steps and forces me to take a break and get outside of the house. For example, the other day I felt overcome with stress and anxiety. I decided to go talk Sirius for a walk and when I got back to the house I felt so much better! Sirius got his walk and I got a fresh perspective on the day. It’s a win-win!

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Sirius encourages me (metaphorically) to stop and smell the roses, as well as enjoy the scenery.

And in the past few months Charlie and Sirius have become fast-friends and partners in crime. It makes my heart full to watch them play and take care of each other.

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Perhaps this is one more instance where I needed to think less and act more. Instead of being talked out of adopting him by all the logical reasons why it didn’t make sense, I followed my gut and knew it was the right thing to do. I might not have needed a dog, but Sirius need a home.

Motivational Monday

I saw this quote on Instagram the other day and I really liked it. Not only am I a big fan of Brené Brown, but I feel like this quote perfectly syncs with #Project29.

I truly believe that life is about embracing the process and constantly working to improve ourselves. I am a radically different person than I was in my early 20s. While I don’t particularly like the person I was in my early 20s, it was also part of the process of getting myself to the person I am today. If I hadn’t been that person, then I wouldn’t be who I am today. I’m sure in another 5 years or so, I’ll look back and think something similar. I need to own the process of growing up and the constant evolution of myself. We need to own who we are and our previous experiences and that’s a scary thing to do. For me, #Project29 is also about the process of turning 30 and wrapping up my 20s.

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If you haven’t seen Brené Brown’s TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” I highly recommend it. It’s very much worth watching.

Fall Zen

Yesterday I tried a new yoga class — flow + meditation. It turned out to be exactly what I needed and the perfect way to wrap up my day.

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When I got into the class the instructor told us that she’d been thinking about the idea of fall. She talked about how fall or falling is about giving in, letting go, and trusting.

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Falling also means accepting vulnerability and trusting in others.

I love that idea and think it’s very applicable to #Project29. In the next 10 months I’m working on pushing myself, accepting any failures or stumbles, and most importantly trusting in myself and my own capabilities. It’s also a new start in many ways. It’s my way of changing my perspective and outlook on life and myself.

Anyway, after doing 45 minutes of pretty vigorous flow (boy my triceps and core are sore today!) we transitioned to 30 minutes of guided meditation and self-reflection. Numbers 5 and 6 of #Project29 focus on developing a regular practice of yoga and meditation, so this really is the perfect class for me. I think having someone guide me through the meditation will help a lot in the beginning. Also, the instructor encouraged people to bring note pads, journals, or sketch books and take the last 15 minutes of the class for reflection. In the future I want to bring a journal of some sort to write and reflect on her prompt during that time.

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But even without the yoga class, the day felt like the perfect fall day. Everything fell into sync and I accomplished tons in all facets of my life. So overall, it was a really great day. I ended up taking Sirius on a short walk in both the morning and afternoon. I also read a chapter of comp reading as I walked on the treadmill, which felt like a double accomplishment. I managed to squeeze in my Weight Watchers meeting before office hours and then some hammock+reading time in the afternoon. A perfect fall day.

Question: what does fall mean to you?

Wrapping up loose ends

I always leave packing to the last minute. I leave for Florida early early Thursday morning. Tomorrow is going to be a full day of errands, laundry, packing, maybe running, and tying up loose ends. As excited as I am to visit Florida, I’m a little sad to leave Charlie all by himself. I was watching him sleep this afternoon, sunbathing in his usual manner – sprawled out on his back, and I feel bad that he’s going to be alone and lonely for so long.

I’ve come to the realization that I just might be spending more time in the car/traveling on my vacation that I am staying in one place. I’m going to be visiting St. Pete (obviously), Tampa, Orlando, Tallahassee, Gainesville, and Jacksonville — all in the next week. Whew, I’m tired just thinking about it.

The majority of my shopping dilemmas have been resolved. You can all rest easy now. 🙂 It’s been a week since I purchased and begun using my adult wallet and I can safely say my life is more organized as a result. It’s much bigger than the wallet-substitute I was using previously. Although, I’ve started having minor panic attacks that I’ve lost my keys due to them no longer being connected to my wallet, but overall, I much prefer the more-organized wallet.

My fabulous parents also went to Nordstrom’s for me this past weekend and picked up a Fossil cross-body bag that I scouted out online. I haven’t seen it in person, but I think it’ll be the perfect traveling bag. I hope I like it so much it becomes a regular purse for me as well.

I still need to solve the shoe issue, but I’ve done a lot of researching and I have a clear idea of what I want. I’m planning on dragging my mom shoe shopping when I get home and if all else fails, hitting up the outlets as part of my Orlando visit.

In other news:

– I applied for a credit card so I could earn a free flight on Southwest and found out that apparently someone thinks I owe Dish network $742 and I’m skipping out on my bill. UGH. I’m really annoyed that someone’s mistake has become my problem. I filed a dispute, but now I have to sit and wait for the credit check people and the collection agency to realize their error.

– I’m actually really looking forward to challenging myself to continue eating healthy and making healthy decisions on my vacation. I’m not craving sugar and sweets nearly as much as I was a month ago, so I don’t feel like I’ll fall off the bandwagon at the sight of a cupcake. For Thursday, I’m going to make overnight oats so I can eat them on the shuttle to Seattle. I might try and make a green smoothie in the morning too. That way I’ll get some fruit, veggies, fiber and protein in for the day, in case I’m stuck with bad food options at the airport. My plan is to get a fruit cup or something from Starbucks for lunch/dinner, if I have time. I’m also packing homemade trail mix so I can have something healthy on-hand during the flight.

I had more… but this will have to do for now. Perhaps my next post will be from the airport or better yet, FLORIDA! 🙂

twenty-five

1. Happy birthday to me!

2. I’m quite happy to be 25, mainly because I like odd number birthday years more than even number ones. I’m just weird like that. Regardless, I know this will be a good year.

3. This was the first year that I’ve spent my birthday completely alone. I’m usually either with my family or my friends or both. This year I was all by my lonesome. It turned out okay though. I talked with my family for a while and then skyped with A and C for a long time. I’ll celebrate for reals when I get to Florida.

4. 30 Day Yoga Challenge Day 4 – I found a relaxation/sleep yoga sequence on YogaJournal.com, which I did right before bed. It was fabulous. The instructor kept saying things like, “don’t push yourself too hard, this is all about relaxing and unwinding.”

5. 30 Day Yoga Challenge Day 5 – Let’s just say that I did the savasana pose for seven hours. 😉

6. 30 Day Yoga Challenge Day 6 – I ran for three miles and thought it’d feel good to do some yoga to unwind after the run. I didn’t feel any different. It wasn’t particularly refreshing. Oh well.

7. Back to birthday stuff – my parents gave me a sweet paring knife, a green cutting board, and collapsible measuring cups!

8. H gave me new rainbow sandals. It’s been over three years since I bought new sandals, so I’m pretty excited.

9. A sent me a Nashville care package, including a Mayfield Mastering tshirt and guitar pick earrings AND a London survival kit. Yay!

10. State Farm actually called me today to wish me happy birthday. Ha. The perks of living in a small town.

11. My birthday dinner and cake.

12. July 17th is my three year anniversary with Charlie — or is it two years? Well, I got him two years ago and he’s probably the best birthday present to-date.

13. I received an e-mail looking for volunteers for the Whiskey Dick Triathlon and the Ellensburg Sprint Triathlon. After thinking about how much I appreciated the volunteers during the rock n roll marathon and the chance that volunteering might put me in contact with other local athletes, I’m going to help out! I’ll get a “snazzy tricked-out t-shirt” and maybe even the phone number of a cute triathlete. 😉 Regardless, I think it’ll be fun to help out and meet some people.

14. Amazon is now offering students an “Amazon Student” account, which basically means students now get a free Prime account for a year. Free two-day shipping? Yes, please! This is especially awesome since I live in Ellensburg and we lack any sort of large store! I also found out that some used books sellers actually ship through amazon, saving me the mandatory 3.99 for shipping on any used book! Sweet.

15. The other night I had a craving for ice cream but it was too late to go get anything, so I made banana soft serve. You’re supposed to stick 2-3 frozen bananas in a food processor and let it whirl around for a few minutes until it becomes whipped and ice-cream-like. Well I only have a blender and it was not becoming whipped, so I added some almond milk and a bit of honey and it turned out delicious – a bit soupy, but delicious.

16. I honestly think that reading outside is one of my favorite activities. I’ve been making due by sitting outside my apartment door in a collapsible camping chair and reading in the mornings and around sunset, avoiding the hottest parts of the day. While it’s definitely not the beach or even the Park St. Starbucks, it works.

17. I met with the “critter sitter” here in Ellensburg. I’m no longer worried about leaving Charlie here alone while I’m in Florida. The girl is a student at CWU, probably close-ish to my age and definitely has an established system. She has a contract she fills out, asked me to fill out an info sheet on both Charlie and myself, and spent about 20 minutes at the apartment. I’m happy. I might even see about having her watch Charlie over christmas break, if things go well.

18. Is it possible to get a bicep workout from being on the phone for hours? My arms are literally sore from catching up with friends on the phone.

19. I’m going to Cicely, Alaska tomorrow. Hah. I didn’t make it to the farmers market this morning, but to be honest, I think I like the Roslyn market more. Plus, there are a couple things I specifically want from their market. It’ll be a nice little adventure.

20. Downtown St. Pete does a sunrise sale every year around my birthday. I’ve gone a couple times. Once I found two pairs of dress pants that I LOVE and last year the sale sucked. Well, Ellensburg does something similar except they do a moonlight sale. It’s next Thursday and I’m excited to see what it’s all about.

21. I’ve run out of things to say…

22. For whatever reason I decided that waking up early would be a good idea. I’ve been trying to wake up around 6:30am or so and my body just does not want to wake up at that time.

23. One of the biggest food and diet changes that I’ve yet to make is my habit of drinking diet coke. I had sworn off soda for a while last year but ended up caving during winter break. Since then I’ve been drinking soda on a regular basis. I know I need to give up the soda. It’s almost hypocritical of me to be eating whole, organic foods with a side of chemical soda… Well, I’m almost out of soda and I won’t be buying any more. I’m going to try and drink unsweetened tea in its place or water, obviously. I realized today that passion tea with sparkling water will probably be a pretty tasty substitute. Wish me luck!

24. I’m rereading Harry Potter book 1 at the moment and Oliver Wood mentions that Charlie Weasley was one of the greatest Gryffindor seekers in history. I named Charlie the cat after Charlie Weasley as a not so obvious homage to Harry Potter. Anyway, it’s interesting since Charlie the cat is a bit of a seeker himself. He’s not afraid to dive after his toy mice or fly in the air to get them. Charlie the seeker. 🙂

25. My favorite color is bright green.

30 Day Yoga Challenge – Days 2 & 3

It’s a good thing I’m doing this yoga challenge publicly because I probably would have jumped ship already.

Day 2 – I woke up with sore arms. Normally I’d be happy about this, but I think it’s a sign that my arms are super weak and not a sign that I worked super hard on day 1. At least my biceps are getting a work out! I did the same yogadownload work out and I felt like it went a bit smoother than on day 1 – as expected.

Last night I also had some strange dreams — dreams about doing yoga in public places like Chuck e Cheese near the ski-ball machines and the proper application of eyeliner. I have no idea what the dreams could possibly mean, but they were sorta fun.

Day 3 – I really wanted to go running today. The weather was gorgeous! Temperatures in the high 60s/low 70s and minimal winds…. But I made too many excuses and ran out of time. Anyway, around 8pm I realized that I had not done any yoga and I really wanted to just skip it. Instead I sucked it up and decided to do Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown DVD. I figured it would make up for my lack of running/cardio work out and satisfy my yoga requirement. Let’s just say, Jillian Michaels’ is no yogi. She basically made fun of the yoga poses and names the entire work out, instead turning the usual yoga poses into a strength training routine. For instance, she runs through Sun Saluation twice in rapid speed to keep the heart rate up, but to serve as a break in between her “circuits.” Overall, it was a good workout, but if you’re looking for some relaxing yoga, don’t expect to find it here.

I’ll be interested to see if I’m sore tomorrow. I’ll also probably do the workout again tomorrow.

The past couple days I’ve watched Food, Inc., King Corn, and Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat. If you haven’t seen them yet, go do that right now. They are all available on Netflix Instant Play. If you watch them, let’s discuss!

They triggered a lot of thoughts for me, but I’m not sure I’m ready to put them into words yet. Regardless, Food, Inc. might have been the push I needed to put me in the land of vegetarianism or maybe more specifically, only eating meat that I know where it came from/how the animal was feed/treated. For example, I now really admire Chipotle’s company goals. They use all grass feed, free-range meat in their restaurants. They’re also aiming to use local vegetables and organic cheeses, etc. So basically, I’ll probably still order my usual there. Pita Pit, on the other hand, I think I’ll opt for the vegetarian options from now on. I want to read some of Michael Pollan’s books, as well as, Fast Food Nation. Seeing these documentaries has only reinforced the direction that my diet is currently heading — organic, natural, no processed foods, etc. Speaking of which, I want to do a post with some of the new food discoveries I’ve made recently!

One last thing – I booked my plane ticket home to Florida! I’m extremely excited to visit my family, friends, and go on roadtrips to the beach! Weeeee!

30 Day Yoga Challenge – Day 1

Last night as a spur of the moment decision I wrote that I was going to do a 30 day yoga challenge.

Today was day 1.

I’ll admit that I regretted my public declamation and didn’t want to do any yoga today, but I did and I’m very happy that I did. I found on YogaDownload a 25 minute sequence (it’s free) that is aimed at weight loss and a beginner level. It’s perfect for me! The instructor focuses on stimulating the thyroid and weight loss from the inside out. She also incorporates many movements that I recognize from Bikram and considering my apartment is quite hot at the moment, it was almost like taking a hot yoga class. I actually really miss the option of having a Bikram studio close by. The cleansed and detoxed feeling that you get after sweating like a pig for 90 minutes is refreshing and I miss it. Since there isn’t a studio close by, the rec center doesn’t offer group classes during the summer, and I’m trying to save money, I think this challenge and this sequence is the best of both worlds. I’m definitely out of practice. I need to work on coordinating my breath with the movements and increasing my overall flow. It’s okay though, it’s only day 1.

Again, I’m not sure what I’m trying to accomplish but as I notice changes or maybe notice something I want to focus on, I’ll report back.

namaste.

Marathon High & Foodie?

One of the reasons why I love running races is the high that I get AFTER the race is finished. The impending training deadline and knowledge that I’ve paid a registration fee before a race does not motivate me as much as the race itself. Between the expo before the race, the sense of completion after the race, and the need to top my last accomplishment — racing motivates me to work out harder and try new challenges. Sadly, that high only lasts so long.

It’s been two weeks since the marathon and my motivation is slipping. NOT GOOD. I have been really good this week, but I need to step things up a notch. I have two Jillian Michaels’ DVDs, both focus on (aerobic) strength training, my biggest weakness. I’ve played through both of them, but they are HARD and I’m a wimp. I decided not to play for summer gym membership here at Central because I will be gone for a chunk of August and a chunk of September, so my original plan was to alternate the DVDs with running. The whole reason (okay, not exactly) I started running was because I could do it anywhere. Well, now I need to put that into practice. I suppose it was easier to read my chicklit on the elliptical than to suffer through Jillian Michaels, but I need to. The 15 minutes of the No More Trouble Zones dvd that I did earlier this week made my inner thighs and butt hurt for days! That has to be a sign that it was helping work me out in new ways. I just need to suck it up and bit the bullet. I’m making this public declamation so that I can be held accountable.

I’ve also decided that I should add 20-30 minutes of yoga into my daily routine. Maybe I’m being too ambitious, but it’s summer and I have no set schedule, so why not? I’m going to try doing a 30 day yoga challenge. Yoga everyday for 30 days. I wonder what, if any, effects I’ll notice.

In addition to my fitness regime, my diet has been slowly evolving over the past couple months. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for the past two months and I’ve lost about 12 lbs. I’m truly hoping that this is the absolute last time I aim to lose any significant amount of weight and some of the changes that I’ve been making make me think that this definitely will be a lifestyle change. Anyway, one of the reasons why losing weight in Ellensburg is so ideal comes down to the lack of fast food restaurants here. I’m talking about higher class fast food places like Moe’s, Jimmy Johns, Tijuana Flats, Chipotle, Five Guys … you get the picture. I basically have complete control over my food intake, since I’m essentially forced to cook 90% of my meals. As a result, I’m constantly looking to find new meal and food ideas, which has led me to follow several food and fitness blogs. They have been such an inspiration for me! Most of these bloggers are runners, close to my own age, who had a turning point in their lives where they realized their eating habits were unhealthy and they needed to lose some weight. From there, each of these bloggers developed super healthy eating and fitness habits that are fundamental to their current lives; some have turned to a vegetarian lifestyle, some vegan, some just eat consciously and organic.

My point? Reading the blogs inspired me to go out and try new foods and new recipes. I’ve been having SO MUCH FUN cooking recently. The other day I made black bean brownies that tasted, in my opinion, better than the ghirardelli ones my family loves so much. Today I made oatmeal using old fashion oats, mixing it with milk, banana, strawberries and mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips. I also went to Fred Meyer and purchased quinoa, almond butter, edamame, and other goodies. I even want to try sweet potatoes, which I’ve never previously liked unless covered in marshmellows and brown sugar!

I’ve been eating nearly meatless (except when I go out or someone else cooks for me) for a while now. I discovered a blog, which is inspired by a book, that is by an endurance athlete living a vegan lifestyle for athletic performance purposes. This intrigues me. I’m not against meat because of moral purposes, I just don’t like cooking meat, it’s more expensive to buy, and I love veggies. I think it would be beneficial for me to look into a vegetarian lifestyle, simply so I make sure that I am getting all the nutrients that I need for a healthy diet. In addition, with my own health issues, I think a more natural diet would also be really beneficial. For instance, I really need to look into the issues with soy and hormones. If soy isn’t good for me, what are other non-meat ways to get protein. I think that if I start expanding my food options, adjusting to a more natural diet, then I won’t want overly processed food and won’t revert back to unhealthy eating habits.

So basically, I don’t really know what my food philosophy is at the moment but I do know it’s changing and that excites me. More to come in the future – who knows, maybe I’ll turn this into a food blog! Hah. 🙂

I’m melllllting

It’s 95 degrees and I live in an apartment without AC. From 2pm till 8pm I am one miserable girl.

I actually went for a quick run at noon and it wasn’t bad yet. I think it’s the lack of humidity that made running possible; although I did take a luke warm shower afterward and it felt awesome.

Thankfully it still gets cool at night/in the mornings and the temperature will be dropping in a couple days. It just sucks for it to be this hot and not have any AC. I actually sat outside my apartment this morning, drinking iced coffee and reading for a while – it was beautiful. I think I’m going to make this my game plan for accomplishing my summer reading. Reading in the morning and the evening and hiding out inside my dark apartment during the peak sunlight hours?

I really need to buckle down and start researching and working on my list of things to accomplish this summer. I figure that if I work really diligently for the next month, I won’t feel so bad for going to Florida for a week or having A come visit me. Wahhh – I just don’t wanna work. I had such a great time with my family. I just want to go to Florida and hang out with my friends and drink iced lattes on the beach!

The Rock n Roll Marathon Race Recap – June 26, 2010

The Expo


The best part of the race is always the expo. Kidding… sort of. The expo was big, elaborate, flashy, full of free food, and awesome. As H and I walked in we were directed to finish filling out our confirmation sheets and pick up our bib numbers. Once we had our bibs, we picked up our shirts. They are St. Pete High green! I really like the shirts. The color is nice, the design is simple and the shirts aren’t covered in advertisements. After the shirts, we picked up goody bags, which were quite lame. Oh well. The expo freebies made up for the lame goody bags.

H and I wandered around the merchandise area for a while. The official race gear didn’t meet the Nike Women’s Marathon standards, but that didn’t stop us from buying a couple shirts and jackets. I ended up with a new sweatshirt. It’ll come in handy here in Washington since even in the summer it gets cold! I also bought a tech shirt that will work for both running and as everyday attire.

The rest of the expo had all sorts of vendor booths offering food samples and selling clothes, running gear – the usual. H and I filled up on granola parfaits, fage greek yogurt, gels samples, etc. I found an organic, vegan, low glycemic index gel that tastes like chocolate! I took one before the race and it was delish. I do think it helped, but I didn’t feel a radical difference in energy. I’m hoping to buy some when I check out the running stores in Seattle. I also bought a new running belt. The one I bought for Nike was more fannypack-like and H ran with a spibelt during part of her training and it didn’t move around. I found a water resistant belt, very similar to a spibelt, but with two pouches. I think the double pouches will be overkill on a regular long run, but for the marathon we needed it to hold a camera, phone, and many gels.

All in all, the expo lived up to my expectations and I was in a runner’s heaven for a couple hours.

Pre-race Jitters

After the expo, the parents picked H and I up. We ate lunch in downtown Seattle and headed to Fremont. Fremont is the artsy, funky area of Seattle. We wandered around there for a while, but I was worried about tiring out my legs being walking around the city before the race. So we found a place to sit and eat dinner, Kylie’s Chicago Pizza, and carbo-loaded on awesome pizza.

Post-dinner the family headed back to the hotel to get settled in for the night. Except as soon as we dropped off our luggage, we decided that we had to have cupcakes and pick up some nutritious food for breakfast. We got back to the hotel, laid out our running clothes, gear, race numbers, garmins, camera, etc. and went to bed about 9:30pm.

When the alarm went off at 5am I was filled with this feeling of dread and regret. At what point had running 26.2 miles seemed like a good idea? Suddenly I was not excited about the race. Instead I wanted to back out. WHY WAS I DOING THIS? I had no idea. Had I trained enough? Would my shoes give me blisters? What if the SAG wagon and Sweepers picked us up? What if I ended up dragging H down because I couldn’t do it? Would adrenaline really get me through the last 6.2 miles? I had so many questions, doubts, and fears.

As far as getting to the start line, we opted to have the parents drop us off and they’d figure out how to get to the finish area. When we were about two miles from our supposed destination, there was a long line of cars waiting to get to wherever. We sat in the line for about 30 minutes before finally decided to just jump out and walk to the start line. I think we probably walked over a mile to the start, eating a pack of GU chomps along the way. When we finally got to the start, we found corral 26, a bag of salt packets and positioned ourselves in the corral. The race had great music blaring on the speakers, which really helped pump me up.

Also H and I made the decision to twitter every mile of the race. H did it during Gasparilla and we liked the idea. We had a lot of people back home wanting updates on our progress, along with our parents who were aiming to meet up with us on the course. So we figured it’d be a good way to remember the race and keep people updated on our status.

A few minutes before the race we took the organic gel, a couple pre-race pictures, and tweeted. The gun went off at 7:00am, but we didn’t actually cross the start line till 7:40am. Yikes.

The RACE
[twitters are in italics]

We are at the start line, 5 mins till the gun! Taking our chocolate Gus!


Mile 1. 52 minutes later we make the one mile mark….

Mile 2. Leaving tukwila!

Mile 3. I think we are slowly running up hill, and we passed a train!

Overall, I barely noticed the hills. At least, they didn’t stand out in my memory and just running 26.2 miles was enough to put me in pain. It’d be interesting to run a flat course in the future.

Mile 4. There are so many people behind you is such a comforting thing to hear!

Mile 5. 21 more miles to go, about to cross the lake !

Running the stretch of miles along Lake Washington was probably the best and most beautiful section of the course. It reminded me of parts of the Nike course as well.

Mile 6. Lake Washington and beautifully manicured lawns!


Mile 7. Where are the Gus?

Mile 8. Lost each other for a second at the salt station!

They were giving out GUs at mile 8 and I veered off to grab one, followed by some cytomax and I lost H. I panicked for a bit. I had her phone and no way to find her. Thankfully, I kept running past the water station and saw her off to the side. Crisis averted!

Mile 9. First SPlit off !

At mile 9 we came across the first split off for the course. The full marathoners went over the Lake Washington bridge towards Mercer Island. The crowd suddenly thinned out and things became much more desolate.

Mile 10. Officially in the double digits 16.2 to go!

This was a very scary thought. We were only at mile 10 and we had already been running for about two hours.

Mile 11. How could this possibly be summer?!

The weather was in the low 60s, overcast, and nothing like a Florida summer. H was definitely confused by the lack of summer in Seattle. I ended up wearing my sweatshirt and long-sleeve Gasparilla shirt the entire race. While there were moments when I was pretty hot, it seemed like a few minutes later I ended up cold again and appreciated the double-layers. I did end up with a weird tan on the back of my legs from my faux running tights. I sort of wish I had worn less clothes, but being warm was more important than a possible tan.

Mile 12. We want a port o potty! The tunnel is tripoy!

After the bridge we went through a tunnel, which I loved. There was a music station IN the tunnel so the entire tunnel was vibrating with sound. By this point, both of us were also in desperate need of a bathroom!

Mile 13. Ohh were halfway there! Livin on a prayer!

Mile 14. Where is the next water stop?

Despite the tweet, I was really impressed with the water stations. There was a station with both cytomax and water for nearly every mile.

Mile 15. Would it help if I told you that you were almost there? No!

This was my biggest pet peeve. Quit telling me that I’m almost there when I have 11 more miles to run! The only time I want to hear that I’m almost there is when I have less than a mile to go.

Mile 16. We got interviewed by the Seattle PI as we were on a stretch break!

During one of our stretch breaks (H was getting really tight) a reporter came up to us and asked us for our names and some questions. It was exciting, but I don’t think we were interesting enough to merit making it into the paper. Oh well.

Mile 17. I think this is the big hill! you think the cheer teams are getting tired?

The cheer teams, bands, and water stations volunteers definitely need a big THANK YOU. I was so thankful that they were there and constantly encouraging us. I also ended up with a monstrous headache around mile 17. H told me to just go over to the medic table and see if they could do anything. I usually take ibuprofen, which is a big no-no during a race, but they were willing to give me Tylenol. I think it helped, but the last 9 miles were definitely miserable.

Mile 18. We are having some serious cravings for mint hot chocolate, chocolate milk, Chinese food, and breakfast!!

Mile 19. Watch out for that wall!

I asked H to take a picture. Then I asked her to show me how she really felt.

Mile 20. Legs hurt? Try running backwards! It really helps! They werent kidding!

Around mile 2 we saw a poster that said the above. We thought it was the most ridiculous suggestion. Then during mile 20, we saw a woman power walking backwards. H got curious and tried it… then I did. It actually felt good. Although I’m pretty sure anything would have felt good at that point. We also saw a woman carrying her shoes and running barefoot. She said it felt great. Hah.

Mile 21. Why are you going so fast? Because I wanna finish!

H kept yelling at me for running too fast, but I just wanted to finish!

Mile 22. Every single thing hurts.

No offense to half-marathoners, because I’ve definitely been there, but running a full marathon is totally different than a half. I came to the conclusion that half-marathons are for wimps. Running 26.2 miles is such a different, more grueling experience from running 13.1. I had no idea.

Mile 23. Are we there yet?!

We reached a certain point where stopping to walk seemed like the worst idea ever… if we had any hope of finishing we just had to keep running, no walking, no stopping. This made our decision to tweet each mile rough, since a walk break was required to tweet. Ugh.

Mile 24. Nothing about this seems like a good idea right now!

I think I hit the wall at this point. I was miserable, unhappy, and had no idea why we were doing this. If there was any point when I was going to throw in the towel, it would have been right about here. We actually ran past the finish line and had to do another out and back loop and I seriously considered cutting the course to get to the finish line early. … Okay not really, but it was a really tempting idea.

Mile 25. Yes we did just walk this past mile, but we are going to run the rest of it and our next tweet will be after the finish line!

H decided that we should walk the last mile, so that we would have enough energy to run the entire last 1.2 miles. I think the idea worked. Although when we started running again, she yelled at me for running too fast… but I JUST WANTED TO FINISH!

Mile 26.2!!!!!!!!!!!! We freaking finished a freaking marathon! We did it!!! We are gonna cry!


Finished. Done. We did it. I wanted to cry so badly. My eyes were filled with tears and I was overcome with so many strange emotions. It was such as weird feeling. As we crossed the finish line, we finally saw our parents. That made the emotional rush even more intense.

Post-race

At the finish line H and I reunited with the parents, grabbed water and cytomax, a bland bagel, and a space blanket. The finishing village was kind of lame. The parents bought each of us a t-shirt and then we headed home.

Driving home from Seattle to Ellensburg probably wasn’t the best idea, but we really had no other option. After we got home H and I laid around for the rest of the day. We requested cupcakes and chocolate milk and the parents happy obliged.

As far as pain – today, Tuesday, is the first day I’ve been relatively pain-free. We went for a 4 mile walk on Sunday and then yesterday the family hiked around Mt. Rainier in thick snow. I’m not sure either of those decisions were wise, but I think staying active post-race has helped. I want to get THE STICK. I would have loved to massaged my legs after the race.

Thoughts

I still can’t believe I ran 26.2 miles. It blows my mind. It felt surreal almost as soon as it was over. People have already asked me if I’ll do it again and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t already looking at potential future races. I’d really like to do Disney or maybe the 26.2 with Donna in Jax beach… Although I decided that I’m not sure I could do a race without H. We really kept each other going. When she was at her low points, I was feeling okay and when I was at my low moments, she was keeping me going.

The race experience is so exhilarating. It’s such a high. Since I’m not sure when I’ll get to do another race I want to work on my 5k time for the moment. Our chip time was about 6:10 (ugh!), but my garmin said 5:37. I think our walk/twitter breaks hurt us a lot . Also the couple stretch breaks we took didn’t help. I’d love to do a marathon finishing between 5:00 and 5:20. One other thing, since we didn’t cross the start line till 7:40, I think next time I’d lie and say I was going to finish slightly faster than my predicted time to get into a lower corral.

In the meantime I’ve decided to focus on my 5k/overall running time, adding in speed, tempo, and hill workouts. I also want to add strength training to my regime and some yoga. I desperately need to strengthen my core. My back hurt so much during and after the race that it became very apparent my core is WEAK.

All in all, I am so glad that I ran a marathon. It seems like such an accomplishment to say that I actually ran a full marathon. Now I just need to run some other marathons, so I can keep the title. 🙂