Monday, December 31, 2012

Nailed it! While the dog broke her own barrier...

Despite a winter storm, blowing snow and having a hard time seeing where I was going, I got a new PR!

And then came home to broken glass and blood. Oh, Prudence, if only you could talk and tell me what happened. At least her brother must have helped lick her face to stop the bleeding.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Medicine for the soul

That's what trail running is to me. Heck, running in general is therapy, but trails, especially snow-covered trails, have a magic that can't be found anywhere else, and that can heal any hole.

I've been stressed out about stuff lately, so today's Huff 10 mile fun run was just the antidote I needed.
 Warning! If you ever run any event with me, I'm one of those ANNOYINGLY PERKY MORNING PEOPLE! To clarify, I love sleeping in. I typically get up around 8 in winter, 7 in summer just by my body's clock. But race day? That alarm goes off and BAM! Hello, world, let's all have the most amazing, fantabulous day starting RIGHT NOW! Hence the crazy gleam in my eyes this morning.
 And still smiling after it was done. I forgot my iPod. I almost threw up my banana at mile 8 (when will I learn that bananas are NOT my friend mid-run- they always threaten to make a second appearance!). But the run was awesome. Peaceful. Magical. Snow-covered trails, complete with grueling hills. Perfect. Exactly what I needed to put myself at ease, and remember, "It is what it is." Que sera, sera, Kasera!

After I ran, I went and spent 4 hours at the aid station set up by 3 Rivers Running Company. I now feel like a professional cup filler, gatorade passer-outer, and traffic stopper. My favorite part was stopping traffic to clear the way for runners. I can't lie, it was awesome to stop the cars so RUNNERS could pass. I held the power! And only almost got hit once- that stupid lady on her cell phone would have been paying off my student loans if she hadn't finally realized my glare meant stop now or pay my remaining bills! Seriously, though, get off your phone and drive, people. Especially when you're in an area that have lots of foot traffic.... you know, like a running event? Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now.
Where I stopped traffic, so the runners could cross. It was mile 4 for the one loopers, and about 14.5 for the first lap and 29 for the second lap for the ultra runners.

 Isn't Chain O' Lakes beautiful? How could you not come away with a healed heart and soul after running around here?
Plus, I saw Ringo, the dog who is on the medal! Such a pretty Husky. I also got passed by a German shorthair pointer, who was quite possibly the most well-behaved dog on the planet, and a much better runner than I'll ever dream of being. I think they finished the ultra under 5 hours. Might have been closer to 4. They were truckin'!

(EDIT: results have been posted. The GSP and her owner finished in 4:59:33! Holy cow, that's amazing!)

I finished the 10 mile loop almost 10 minutes faster than last year, too. YAY!

Now, if only I could get one more PR at Monday's 5k- guess I better do some serious resting tomorrow. I've done everything I can to help my body recover today. I'll even share my secret weapon- Moroccan mint green tea. I swear, that stuff is its own kind of magic.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone! Only a couple days left in the year- make them count!

Anyone else running on NYE? 
Sunday plans? I'm going to work on taking down Christmas decorations. It's always a little sad to pack them away.
Favorite beverage after being in the cold? Tea, glorious tea! Green if it's before 5pm, something totally decaf if it's later.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Last week of 2012 (full of randomness, like the rest of the year!)

Normally, I'd still be sleeping. But my brain is a little OCD, so even though the alarm I set for 5:30 am isn't until tomorrow, it woke me up today. At 5:30 AM. Grrr....

Thank the Lord and all things amazing, we got a Keurig for Christmas! So convenient. So easy. And it takes less than 15 minutes to brew! Since we tend to kill coffee makers around here, we're babying this thing and buying distilled water by the gallon for it, in hopes of making it last.

I've had a good week to round out 2012. 
 I made my own granola on Sunday. So many store bought varieties contain coconut, peanuts, other nuts, or the gums to which I'm allergic. This was they easiest way for me to get granola I could eat. The Husbeast says it's too burnt, but I think it still tastes fine. I read a bunch of recipes and modified them to a generic granola, but I think our oven must cook hotter, because next time, I'll only cook it for 20 minutes instead of 35.
 Christmas morning, I couldn't sleep. I never sleep well away from my own bed, even when I'm at my mom's (which is technically my old bed!). I am a creature of habit when it comes to sleep, and any changes throws me off. That's why I brought my running clothes! I ran 3.2 miles between 6:45 and 7:15, which meant I was done running and showered 2 hours before my husband or brother and SIL woke up. The Christmas lights made it a magical run. The deer and "pond" were my favorite, and their across the street neighbor's style contrasted so much, I had to get a photo of it, too.
 Then, Mom had me make the monkey bread. YUM!!!
 Because of the Husbeast's work, we couldn't stay beyond Christmas Day. Good thing for these two- they were worn out!
 Wednesday, we got hit by the snow- only about 4 inches or so, but enough it took me an hour to shovel the drive. And enough that I put off shopping until yesterday.
 But, check out the sweet deals I found at TJ Maxx- a wrist wallet and a new handheld water bottle. I love how they randomly have awesome running gear (though I wish it weren't so random).
 I rounded out yesterday with more crafting- finished her new jacket (I woke her up to put it on, hence the grumpy pose)
and then made a bed bug. It's from the same book as the knit pig in a wig- Knitting Mochimochi. Check your local JoAnn's if you're a knitter; they've got some sweet clearance books.

Since I'm up, I might as well go for a short run today. Zumba this afternoon, and then tomorrow is the Huff 10 miler, followed by a shift at the aid station for the ultra runners. Should be tons of fun!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Christmas Ham

By now, you know I run (a lot) and make stuff (quilts, purses, knit hats, crocheted ornaments, whatever strikes my fancy or whatever I'm being paid to make). So, how I spent my Christmas shouldn't surprise you. If you are wondering why, we clearly would not be friends in real life, since I rarely have a reason for silliness (and feel one is not needed!). I made this:

Monday, December 24, 2012

2012- the (running) year in pictures

From mud runs to 5Ks...
 to half marathons...
 more mud,
 and more mud,

our first full marathon (with a hand-in-hand finish)...

 another hometown podium finish,
 a 5k farewell to my gallbladder...
 followed by more health issues, and the determination to PR in a half marathon despite pain...
 a new 10K PR...
It's been a great year. Through the highs and lows, I've had the best support from my husband, my family, my friends, and you, my lovely readers.

I've got 2 race2 left- First, the Huff 10 miler in 9 days. I'm excited about this one because I'm volunteering at the ultra aid station afterwards, since one of my goals for 2013 will be to run the Huff 50K as my first ultra. EEK!
And then, I have one last chance to PR in a 5k on New Year's Eve. Which would be extra fabulous because it would mean a PR in every standard race distance from 5k to marathon distance (since the first is an automatic PR!).

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Surely, an aneurism would be less painful...

...than dealing with medical billing offices and insurance companies. Yep, I had planned to run for 2 hours before Zumba, despite the cold and wind. I hydrated and fueled this morning so I could get started shortly after noon... then the mail came.... which had a surprise bill...

Long story short, more medical bills I shouldn't have to pay, and this one in particular shouldn't have been billed at all. But, clearly, it takes crying to 4 different individuals from frustration (one poor lady heard it twice) before a resolution can be found. At least the one is done. But I'm waiting to find out about the others.

By the time I was off the phone, I had THE WORST HEADACHE ever, and there was less than an hour before I needed to leave for Zumba (which meant if I went to the base to run, I'd have about 25 minutes before I'd need to call it and change so I didn't stink them out). If only I had known that no one would show up for Zumba today... :(

What did I do, after a failed long run? 1.5 miles on the treadmill. 1.5 measly miles, but it's better than nothing. The stress of the day wore me out so badly that was all I could manage before I started thudding along, landing too heavily on my feet. At least I ran. I *may* have almost fallen off the treadmill, which *might* have contributed to the decision to call it quits.

At least I have the last Christmas presents all done now:

 For my grandpa, an expletive golf club cover for those days more in the rough than the fairway!
And for my godson, a Kindle case to try to protect it from the inevitable abuse 9 year old boys put their belongings through.

I can end my day on a positive note, since I sucked it up and ran, even just a little, and Christmas presents are DONE. YAY!!!!!!

Anyone still shopping? Anyone super crazy who hasn't even started yet?

Thursday, December 20, 2012


These are supposed to be those pretty Oreo truffles. I feel like they've been haunting me, showing up everywhere on the internet, so I thought I'd try to make some.
 But rather than looking worthy of a Martha Stewart magazine, they look like I sneezed white chocolate onto dirt balls.
The second tray has peppermint and candy cane bits.  Still not pretty, but I think the candy bits make them a little more appealing.

Even though they're nowhere near photo quality, the point is to eat them. I'm I bet the guys working with my husband tomorrow won't care what they look like. Frankly, the way some of them each, I doubt they'll even taste them!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Jingle Bell Hell!

 While enjoying my unexpected day off yesterday (Services had their wing Christmas party from 2-4, which meant the gym was closed and I didn't teach Zumba), I finished my grandma's present. She's the one who taught me to crochet, which gives a little more meaning to this shawl.

I hoped that by taking it easy, I'd be able to tackle Jingle Bell Hell today.
Breakfast of champions.

2nd breakfast of champions. This is how I fuel, people. Sugar and dairy. 
 The plan was to do a double digit treadmill run, since it's rainy and gross outside, and I needed to do a long run. Ideally 12 miles, but I would be happy with 2 hours, since I read somewhere that it's more about time on your feet than distance for those of us who run more like trudging pack mules than elegant gazelles.
 I had an overly optimistic goal of tackling the "10K Fun Run" program on our treadmill twice.

I put in "A Christmas Story" to set the mood. And soon, I felt like Ralphie trying to climb back up the slide when he was visiting Santa.

What the heck was I thinking? Before today, I had never made it past a mile, let alone even finished it!!!! This so-called "fun run" has hills where the incline is 6.5, 8.5, and 10.5, all for 2 minutes each before it lowers again. To those of you who live in mountains, this probably would be a fun run. To this little Hoosier, though, you might as well call it the Devil's run.
 Precor= 1

I made it halfway. In 40 minutes. My heart felt like it was going to explode, even with walking those darn 10.5 incline.
 So, I switched to flat running. It was more important to finish the run than kill myself on the 'fun run" setting.
 This flat run by itself would have qualified for longest treadmill run ever (previously, it had been 6.5 miles. I prefer the outdoors 100 to 1 over the treadmill, even in the cold). So, my combined total of 10.3 miles still left me happy!
And sweaty. Very, very sweaty.

I survived my personal Jingle Bell Hell!

How's your weekend going? 
For you runners, what's your least-favorite kind of run? 
And for the crafters, are you done with your hand-made Christmas presents?
Anyone else done shopping? I finished Wednesday, but my husband hasn't even started. Unless you count the compression socks he had me order for myself using his card. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mezamashii! (Mizuno Wave Ronin 4 Review)

All summer long, I kept hoping I'd get an invite to Mizuno's Mezamashii Project. Rather than spending $$$ on advertising, they were doing something BRILLIANT: putting their shoes on the feet of real people with real opinions. I applied, and waited, and waited, and finally! The Monday before Thanksgiving, I got my invite! 

I chose the Mizuno Wave Ronin as my shoe, and since I now have over 30 miles on them in runs of varying lengths, I feel like I can review honestly them.

Appearance: Awesome. The red/white isn't necessarily a color combo I would gravitate towards, but in person, the look pretty cool. They actually match a lot of my running gear (which usually only happens by accident when I train, yet is methodically planned on race days). I don't know if it shows in the picture, but the laces have a little sparkle woven in them, too! 

Initial feel: Like putting on a shoe made for my foot. They felt great. Very light.

First run: (Monday) Here's where my brutal honesty comes in. These shoes felt TERRIBLE! I took our giant dog for a 2 mile run, and I felt way too aware of the wave-plate technology Mizuno uses. It was like there was a sheet of concrete in the sole, especially in the left. They felt like they were sliding on my feet, and overall, it was like having a loose slipper with a concrete sole and trying to run in them. I was really sad, for I had high hopes.  In full disclosure, the dog weighs 107 lbs, and the initial half mile has a steep downhill curve, then a gradual downhill (which means the last half mile is the reverse). I can home making a face akin to McKayla Maroney.

Second run: Because I'm not a quitter, I wore them to our running group on Tuesday. It coincided with the day I started teaching Zumba at a second location, so I only had time to run the 5K course. It started out on the road, then is mostly a trail made of crushed asphalt that winds around the base. 

The shoes felt a lot better. I didn't feel the wave plate, and the shoes felt more at home on my feet (no slipping, no sliding). I don't know that it was quite a mezamashii (brilliant) run yet, but it was a good run. I was happy with the shoe. I told my husband I thought they'd be great for 5Ks and 10Ks, but I didn't know about anything longer. 

Third and Fourth runs: I wore them again the following Tuesday and Thursday, and each time, they felt a little bit better. If these shoes had a brain, I would say they were learning my foot strike, learning my speed, and adjusting. How else can you explain a shoe feeling better with each run?

Fifth run: 10 miles. The distance test. Saturday was the most magical run I've had in a very long time. Running at dusk, on a quite trail, in chilly but not freezing temperatures, and with shoes that I never even though about? Magical. I did my long run on the base so I'd be near my husband in case of emergency. Everything, from the sparkle on the laces to the fit on my foot, everything was perfect. There are no words to capture how perfect everything was. But, I do believe Mezamashii is as close as it gets.

So thank you, Mizuno, for granting me these shoes. I am in love. I hope to put many more miles on them.

Sometimes, a girl just needs a new pair of shoes to get through trying times. These shoes are sure helping!

I'll keep rotating these with my other shoes during training, and can't wait to wear them at my last attempt at a PR for 2012- New Year's Eve. 5K is the only standard race distance that I haven't PR'd in this year, so we'll see if I can change that!

DISCLAIMER: I was given these shoes as a part of Mizuno Running's Mezamashii Project. The opinions expressed are my own, and I was not compensated in any manner beyond the shoes.

If you are newer to running, or used to running in a more cushioned shoe, proceed slowly and with caution before logging too many miles in what Mizuno calls a racing flat.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Week wrap up

Wow, what a week. A roller coaster of emotions, but also a phenomenal start to marathon training round 2! 6.3 mile run Sunday, Zumba and Strength training Monday, 5.4 mile run Tuesday and Zumba, (Wednesdays are my sacred rest day), 3.2 mile run Thursday with more Zumba, and Zumba again today and another round of Sheila's strength training class.

Tomorrow, I tackle 10 miles- first long run of the new training schedule!

Teaching Zumba at 2 locations now is awesome, but I can honestly say I have fallen asleep on the couch every night this week. That might explain why my craft projects at the end of the couch seem to be making no progress!

These 2 have been keeping things crazy around here:

She loves her fleece jacket that I bought on Black Friday.

Watching a dog show. Yes, my dogs watch TV. A lot of TV. Their brains are probably rotten by now.
My husband leaves his shoes out. Matt makes a nest out of them.

I'm not sure what was going on, other than he was licking her head. But look at her back feet- that can't be comfortable!
Right now, the dogs are doing what I call "monster mutting." They run, and whirl, and chase each other, and go at each other like battling goats, and basically cause a ruckus. It's incredibly entertaining.

I hope to finish crocheting a shawl for my grandmother this weekend, and make more progress on my cross-stitch. After that 10 miler, of course. I'll have earned an afternoon and evening on the couch!

What do you have planned this weekend?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cross stitch cuteness overload!

The Frosted Pumpkin has the cutest xstitch designs ever.

Today is a rest day, so you'll find me curled up on the couch and working on this!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It is what it is.

I got a phone call from my Lady Dr this morning. Not how I wanted to start the day.

She had gone over the pathology from my biopsy, and it's not great. I heard a lot of big medical terms, some I understood, some I didn't, but it comes down to that lovely C-word.  Technically, Stage 0 cancer.

I'll be honest, I didn't know there was such a thing as stage 0, but as far as I understand, it means the bad cells were localized and (hopefully) completely removed. The margins were NOT clear, but my Dr feels confident that the cauterization would have gotten the layer of invasive cells. I'm willing to bet on her confidence at this point.

I was given the option of what to do next: wait and retest in April, or go ahead with a full hysterectomy.

That's a pretty big decision to make before noon.

I'm choosing to wait. I want to enjoy the holidays. I want to feel healthy and normal for a few months. I've been reassured that waiting is safe, and so I will. I want to run the Circular Logic marathon in March. And then we'll deal with this.

As soon as I hung up, my crazy-runner brain thought of an upside: if it comes to worst-case scenario and parts get yanked, the timing is as perfect as it could get- April to May is my lull between marathon training! And, if need be, I don't really need to worry about training for the Air Force Marathon this fall until the 1st week of June since it's later this year than in the past!!


So, body of mine, if I must go under the knife, at least it will fall during a training lull. My health is my number one priority, but running is how I deal with stress and anxiety, so knowing that I won't be side-lined from my bigger goals is very reassuring. Makes the C-word comparable to shin splints. Or a strained ligament. You know, just another obstacle to overcome.

As my dad would say if he were still living, it is what it is. I hope I haven't horrified anyone by sharing; my hope is that those who also need strength, no matter the reason, can find theirs.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A finish!

I finished a new holiday wall quilt! It's from a free pattern from Jillily Studio called Holiday Lane. The pattern is for a pillow, but I wanted a wallhanging.

Like the runner? I had to. After all, it's MY Holiday Lane!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

12 Days of a Runner's Christmas

(because this is what I was singing during my shoer this morning)

On the 1st day of Christmas.... oh heck, let's skip to the good part!

On the 12th day of Christmas, my husband gave to me:
12 issues of Runner's World
11 Bondi Bands
10 pretty toenails
9 flavors of Gu
8 water bottles
7 Running Skirts
6 new sports bras
5 Race entries!!!!!
4 compression socks
3 tubes of Nuun
2 running shoes
and a Garmin Forerunner 10!

(The best part is he actually has given me some of these things over the last year)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Goals for 2013 and the roller coaster I'm riding

This year, I have completed several goals:

We ran our first marathon!
New half marathon PR! (2:01:49, an improvement over 2:13:15)
New 10K PR! (52:41, an improvement from 54:00)

So, on the running end, I did great. Quilting? Not so much. I don't think I made much of a dent in my work-in-progress "collection" (it keeps growing!). I got my Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll mystery quilt top put together finally, but it will probably have to wait a long time to get quilted... as in, until I can pay to send it off, or have a larger set up to do it myself. I still haven't made us a new bedspread, nor have I finished much beyond wall-hanging sized projects. But I don't care. I quilt for my own fun (most of the time), so the only deadline is my own.

TMI warning!
This past month has been a roller coaster- the whole fall has. to be frank, I've been waiting to find out if I had cancer or not. 12 days before the Freedom half marathon, I had a 3 cm biopsy taken from a "sensitive" part. Luckily, the Dr said I could still run, even though she flat out said I was crazy. So that PR means a helluva lot more. Yesterday, I finally had the check up and was told yes, the chunk they took was cancer-in-situ (cancerous cells that haven't yet invaded), with "suspicious" areas. The good news is they don't need to to anything else for now. The frustrating part is that I go back in April for another check, and if it grows back bad again, the best option will be to yank out another body part.

All of this made me so thankful on November 11 just to be able to run, even though I was in that nebulous waiting zone. On Thanksgiving, I felt at peace, chanting my late father's mantra of If it's meant to be, it will happen, combined with my aunt's mantra of Que sera, sera (which always makes me smile, since she sometimes calls me Kasera-sera). I have to take the news as best I can, and just assume it will all be fine. And in the meantime, I will run my little heart out, grateful for every mile these legs carry me.

I've been thinking of my 2013 running goals. I want to run 13 half marathons, but for financial reasons, I'm making my own rules:

I will run 13 half marathons through a combination of halves and fulls. So, there are 2 fulls on the schedule, which will count as 4 half marathons (because it's my dang challenge and I do what I want). Assuming all goes well all year, I'll end it with (EEEK) the Huff 50K ultra, which will also count as 2 half marathons. So, I just need to run 7 other half marathons.
And I am not above running a shorter race and tacking on mileage at the end for myself. Again, this is my own personal challenge, and I do what I want. I've also learned this year that sometimes you have to wing it (like only running 25 miles TOTAL the 5 weeks before a half!).

With all of this, I hope to hit 1000 miles. Wouldn't that be bad@$$?

As far as my quilting goes, I want to finish my Christmas quilt. And make 2 baby quilts for a couple we know who are having surprise twins (oh, the quilting possibilities of making 2 similar quilts!). But more important than finishing projects, I want to ORGANIZE my craft room.

So there you have it. October/November in a nutshell, where I've been, where I'm going.

It's been rougher than usual, but hey, I'm a Tough Chik.

And it never hurts to get home and find out you won a fun giveaway from Running Diva Mom !!! Seriously, go check out her blog- she's pretty inspiring, and often has awesome giveaways. I'm thrilled to have won one!