Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What a Year

I ran 11 races in 2009, all building up to my first Ironman Triathlon. It was the most challenging athletic feat I've ever taken on and I'm very proud that I finished. I'm very glad it is over and I'm looking forward to a change of pace in 2010. I'll get to that, but for now, a recap.

January 25 Vancouver Lake Half Marathon
1:49:02 - 8:19 pace (3/20 in AG)
Very "off-season" (out of shape!) race in the snow/slush with Emily.

March 15 Shamrock Run 15k
1:15:56 - 8:09 pace
A tough race- hilly, rainy, windy.

April 5 Race for the Roses Half Marathon
1:45:12 - 8:01 pace
Really wanted a PR on this race but missed it, even with Zach pacing me.

April 19 Bridge to Brews 10k
47:04 - 7:34 pace (8/169 in AG)
A PR! First one in a while. Great race.

May 3 Eugene Half Marathon
1:45:51 - 8:05 pace
Once again, was going for a PR but missed it! Still a fun race though.

June 12 Blue Lake Sprint Triathlon
1:25:27 (9/47 AG)
First tri of the season

July 11 Hagg Lake Olympic Triathlon
2:56:27 (5/8 AG)
This race was tough but I was very happy with my pace on everything.

August 16 Lake Stevens 70.3
Awesome Half Ironman race with Zach. Finished just seconds faster than my first Half Ironman time on a much tougher course.

September 12 Aluminum Man Olympic Triathlon
3:07:19 (2/3 AG)
This race was tough- I was at a point of burn out in my training and really had to force this.

September 20 Timberline Trail Half Marathon (technically 14+ miles)
2:06:28 - 8:54 pace (1/35 AG!)
Tough, beautiful, fun race. Awesome to win my AG!!

November 22 Ironman Arizona

I am going to leave my recap at that. Of course I did a lot of other stuff this year, but it was really all about the Ironman. It had to be. Last year I faced many personal challenges and I got through it, but everything was secondary to my Ironman training.

This year, I need balance. I need to go back and deal with a lot of things -things I neglected or took for granted. I was so focused, but I was also very distracted. Now that the big race is behind me, a lot of things are resurfacing and I have to face them. I want to reconnect with my family in friends, I want to make peace with myself, I need to learn to deal with stress and anxiety. I want to live in the moment. I want to be healthy, happy, and free.

Thank you all so much for all the love and support through this very exciting year. I hope you'll stick with me this coming year, even if it isn't as exciting! Thanks for providing me with so much inspiration and motivation through all of your challenges and accomplishments. Happy New Year everyone!!

I'll leave you with some pictures from the holidays:

Christmas Morning:

My favorite gift: Norah Jones concert tickets!!

Christmas night at the Oliva's:

The gang (minus Anne, who is taking the picture)

Cannon Beach, December 27:

Zach searching for seashells:

Snow today, Dec 29:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Just wanted to check in and wish everyone a very merry Christmas! Also I wanted to update because I've actually been working out just about every day. I've been running a few times and everything seems to be pretty well recovered. I feel so out of shape but I'm taking it easy and having fun. I've been to lots of classes at the gym and have also been lifting weights with Zach regularly.

Here is the summary of all my workouts for the last 10 days or so:

Sunday Dec 12 - run
3 miles (no watch)
Forest Park

Monday Dec 14 - run
3 miles (no watch)
Plus weights

Tuesday Dec 15 - Pilates class

Wednesday Dec 16- 30 min elliptical
Plus weights

Thursday Dec 17 - run
3 miles/26:06/8:42 ave
Plus Zumba! with Alisa. SO fun.

Friday Dec 18- 25 min elliptical
Plus weights

Saturday Dec 19, - run
4.5 miles/37:47/8:24 ave
Forest Park

Monday Dec 21 -run
3 miles/26:32/8:51 ave
Plus weights

Tuesday Dec 22 - yoga class

Wednesday Dec 23 - spin class with Emily

Thursday Dec 24 - run
4.9 miles/41:22/8:27 ave
Waterfront with Zach in all our holiday glory. Behold our Christmas Eve running outfits:

Yay! We got lots of smiles and one "Merry Christmas" and on lady honked and waved. Fun stuff.

Now we are getting some food going for the Christmas Eve gathering here in a little while- Deana and Dana are coming over with glad tidings of comfort and joy. Zach is making an apple pie! Tomorrow we're just spending the day at home opening gifts, watching The Christmas Story, eating french toast souffle, and drinking mimosas. Then we still have the whole weekend ahead of us which is very nice. We're going running and possibly heading up to the mountains to do some snowshoeing. It's going to be a great holiday weekend!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! :)

One last picture- our wee little Christmas Tree:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Holiday Randomness

It's been three weeks exactly since Ironman Arizona! It's all still so fresh in my mind. (It helps that I've watched that video about ten times!)

The first couple of weeks after the race were busy with our trip to San Diego, then Zach's parents visiting us from Montana. I was still recovering/healing up from the race too. But things have finally settled down around here and I'm feeling back to normal. And it is amazing. This weekend has been so fun and relaxing. It is so nice to be able to do whatever I want! It's been a bit of a transition, but I'm really happy with where I'm at right now. Life is good.

I wish I could get my thoughts together and write a really succinct and eloquent reflection of where my head is at these days but that ain't gonna happen. Instead I'm just going to say random stuff in bullet point form.

- I finally ran yesterday! 3 miles up in Forest Park. I waited 2-3 weeks as planned to let my legs recover and I''m glad I did. Last weekend I did some jogging while out on walks/hikes with Zach and his parents, but my right knee was still kind of sore. Yesterday it all felt good and I was really relieved. I'm going to keep the running short and easy for a couple more weeks before I try to ramp it up. I'm playing it super safe since in the past I've had injuries pop up in those first few post-race runs.

- I've gained about 4 pounds since the Ironman which I consider to be very acceptable. I really thought I'd gain 20. I mean, I went from working out at least 2 hours a day and eating really healthy to not exercising at all and eating and drinking whatever I want. I am going to try to clean the diet up a little bit though, because I feel kind of yucky when I eat too much fatty/fried stuff and that's no fun. And then after the holidays I am going to really make an effort to lose the post-race/holiday weight.

- Zach and I have been talking about future plans, and have a rough outline of what we want to do. One of our big goals this year is to have some non-racing plans, so we've been thinking about some trips and stuff we want to do. The only thing that is 100% decided is that we are taking our first trip to Europe for my 30th birthday next September! We are planning on spending a week in Paris. yay! We also will be going to Montana and California to visit our family and friends there.

- The other big focus for the coming year is to spend time outdoors- so we are definitely going to do at least one outdoor adventure in Montana this summer with Zach's mom and stepdad. We also want to do some backpacking and hiking around Oregon. I know there are some really cool new challenges to be discovered and I want to start exploring that. It could be fun to have a hobby that is physically challenging but not as directly competitive as "racing." Maybe I'll get into climbing or fast packing or mountain biking or ???

- But I'm not giving up racing. :) I am definitely going to do some running races this year. I think this whole Ironman experience has made me realize how much I love running. Swimming and biking are fun, but I don't have the strong desire to do those things. I don't love it. I really love running, and I think I will focus on that this year. I don't plan on doing any triathlons. It just doesn't appeal to me right now at all. I will definitely keep swimming, it's a great workout and it's pretty fun. And I'm planning on doing some biking for fun this summer, especially riding with Alisa since she is training for her first Half Ironman! But no triathlon plans. I don't have any definite running plans either, but I have a lot of ideas. I want to run another marathon or two and I want to do a couple of the shorter races around here. I'll leave it at that for now because I'm sure that will be the only thing I talk about in future blogs. Yay running!

- Besides my run yesterday, I barely exercised this week. I really need to get moving because I can tell my mood and attitude is going to start to suffer. Next week, in addition to going running 2-3 times, I'm planning on going to a bunch of classes at the gym. Thursday night Alisa and I are going to Zumba! I lifted weights with Zach once this week and we're going to do that again for sure. I'm also thinking of re-starting the push up challenge. It was kind of fun and I want to see if I can break my record of 60 pushups! Mostly I just want to get moving and start rebuilding my fitness.

- I want to check out some Yoga classes too, but that effort is kind of stalled. I need to talk to Inga and see if she can motivated me since she is my personal yogi the bear. Emily is also a devoted yoga-er so I should strt following her to class and get her advice. Everyone I know who does yoga is completely commited and I know it would do me a lot of good both physically and mentally. Must get going on this goal!!

- As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my new non-training life is going great. This weekend specifically has been fantastic. There was a winter storm warning that never really materialized, so our plans all worked out. Friday night we went out for drinks with Sarah and her friends, and then we all went to see Spoon at the Crystal Ballroom. Saturday we went for a run in Forest Park, had bagels in Northwest, and then walked over to a little tree lot and got a Christmas tree. Then we walked downtown and did some shopping and watched a Tuba Christmas Concert in Pioneer Square and stopped for lunch at Kenny and Zuke's. When we got home we took a long soak in the hot tub in the cold rain, and then I took a long nap. I spent the evening wrapping presents while Zach baked cookies. I slept for like 11 hours last night. So far today all I've done is watch hockey, sit on the couch, and eat German Pancakes (family recipe that involves a stick of butter per serving). My cat and husband are cuddled up next to me and I am snug as a bug in a rug. This weekend is everything I fantasized about when I was out on long training days all summer and fall.

- Will I do another Ironman? I don't know. I won't say "No" but I have zero interest in it at this point. I think it might be fun to do a different course someday, and it would be cool if Zach and I could do the same race (although I think logistically that would be tough). Maybe in a couple years, or maybe not. I am really happy with my experience in Arizona and I know it will be hard to beat. If that was my only Ironman experience, I'd be happy with that. Right now, I'd rather run Boston again or climb Mt. Hood or watch Zach do an Ironman.

- Random sentences about my Ironman experience:

The training was harder than the actual race.
Immediately after it was over, I felt that the race was a little anticlimactic, but as time goes on I realize it really was everything I dreamed it would be.
I nailed my race strategy and made a lot of smart decisions out there.
Every leg of the race was pretty opposite from what I expected- what I thought would be easy was hard, and vice versa.
The support of my family and friends was a huge part of my success.
I am really proud of myself.
I am stronger than I thought I was.
I'm glad it is over.

Allright, I think that is all for now. I'm sure I'll think of things I meant to say as soon as I hit "Publish." No pictures today but I'll post some next time of our tiny Christmas tree and other fun holiday stuff. Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cookie Time Pictures

I have so many things to say and I don't even know where to begin. It's been a wild couple of weeks since the Ironman and my feelings about my experience and about the future have been all over the place. I can't even get into it right now. I'll get my thoughts together soon and get it written down.

For now, here are a ton of pictures from the rest of our trip and a few from the last few days here in Portland. They start right after the race- I will probably spare you the whole story but basically I was a wreck. I was cut up pretty bad, like I mentioned in the last post. Plus, I got really sick right after the race and took maybe an hour to recover. That night was pretty awful too- I couldn't shower because of the wounds and so Zach had to help me clean up, it was pitiful. I also didn't sleep much at all the next couple of nights. In fact, my whole body was pretty thrown off the whole trip, especially my sleep schedule and appetite. Thankfully, besides the road rash I wasn't very sore. I think a huge reason for that was the long stretching and yoga session Inga led us through on Monday night. I was hardly sore the next day! I'll talk more about that because I'm definitely going to incorporate yoga into my life.

Now that I'm home, I think everything is sinking in and I'm feeling more relaxed and happy than I have in a long time. I'm so glad it's all over. It was amazing experience! But I'm glad it's over. I'm really excited for Christmas and my house is all decorated. I have a lot of plans with friends this week and can't wait to do all this fun stuff. :) Life is good!

I wish I had a more thoughtful post but I will get to it! But for now, enjoy these pictures. Hopefully I've captioned them enough for them to make sense.

Be warned, the last five or so are of my road rash in various stages of gore. So gross!

After the race:

This is the last pic I posted from the race report. Heading off to the medical tent. I got my scrapes bandaged up but I felt really sick, so I stayed for 20-30 minutes until I was feel well enough to walk.

Here I'm about to throw up/pass out again. Inga's husband Josh (an EMT in training) checking on me.

I finally recovered and my supporters gathered around me. I love all of these people (plus Dana, who is taking the picture!):

Pretty low-key after-party:

Saying goodbye to my bestie (she left before dawn the next morning):

After everyone left, we suddenly remembered that the race was still going on! I remembered that someone once told me that watching the last finishers come through is something you have to do. So since we were right there, we walked over. It was amazing! There weren't many spectators left but Mike Riley had the crowd really yelling and dancing and having a blast. Race winners Sam McGlone and Jordan Rapp were there to present the medals to the final finishers which was neat. I'm really glad we saw this! The last official finisher came through about 3 minutes before midnight and then we took off. I didn't want to see anyone miss the cutoff.

Mike Riley:
Race winners:

The Next Day

Gathering my Special Needs and Morning Clothes bags the day after the race:

The race site, all cleared out. Good bye Ironman Arizona!

And finally, we celebrate:

The gang enjoying delicious Mexican food in the sunshine:

Spending time with my two bestest friends that I've known almost my whole life:

Desert outside of Phoenix. Goodbye Arizona!

San Diego

We spent Thanksgiving week in San Diego eating, drinking, soaking up sunshine, and visiting with family and friends.

Mission Blvd:

Best breakfast in San Diego (The Mission, on Mission Blvd in Mission Beach. Easy to remember! Go there!):

Blackberry pancakes at the Mission (the most photogenic of many dishes ordered)

Zach and Boomer:

My gorgeous husband:
One of many naps taken in the days following the race:

Thanksgiving Day 5k- This is hilarious. The starting line contains: Serious runner with Breath Right strip on his nose, a woman dressed as Santa's sexy helper, a 7 year old girl, and a BLIND PERSON. Amazingly, none were killed.

Zach on his way to a 21:00 5k finish. Not bad considering he's ran maybe 20 miles in the last 2 months:

The whole fam in the beer garden after the 5k (yes, I had beer even though I didn't race!):

Thanksgiving nap. Really unflattering but hilarious. Zach likes to take pictures of me sleeping (weird, I know):

Thanksgiving table:


Me and our friend Jonathan at Thanksgiving. I want to show this pic because not only is Jonathan awesome (one of many triathletes at the dinner table!), but because I'm wearing the necklace Alisa got me. It has three little round charms that say "IMAZ" "140.3" and "11.22.09" I love it!! Thanks Alisa. :)

This is cool- Melanie and her dog Dillon do sport sheep herding. It's so cool! This is a place in Northern San Diego county where they practice. The dog is a Kelpie and comes from a cattle ranch on Montana. It's very good at it. So is Melanie!


The whole fam wine tasting in San Diego county. If we look a little rough, it's because we've been herding sheep (or watching sheep get herded, also a dirty job):

Back in Portland!
Ironman celebration party with the whole Portland gang! I only got some random photos- there were lots more people that we didn't get pics of. It was so fun!

Me, Dana, and Deana:

Sarah and Emily:

Anne and Shawn:

Neat photo album:

The framed photo collage everyone in chipped on. I believe Emily did the actual artwork. I should post a close up- it's the IronJen logo (ha!) and a collage of pics from the day. The lower spot is for my race bib. Awesome!!!!

Mother's! Yummy:

A little running in Forest Park 2 weeks post-race. VERY cold out - about 30 degrees!

I separated this section out because it is pretty gross. I don't know why I think people might want to see this but I have pictures and am going to share. It's been fascinating to watch my wounds heal. They are really close to being healed- just some scabs hanging on in the middle of the deepest scrapes (knee and right hand). Those last pictures I just took a few minutes ago.

So you've been warned! There is nothing after this so if you don't want to see some gross wounds, just stop here!


You may remember this is how my knee looked right after the race. I didn't get any good hand pictures that night:

The morning after. I had showered and Melanie cut off some excess skin that was hanging off my left hand. This picture makes me feel sick:

Oozing knee (2 days post race):

Trying to scab up (5 days post race):

Knee is getting there. Just a little scab left (2 weeks and 2 days post race):

Right hand almost healed:

Left hand healed:

And since you put up with that grossness, here is a nice palate cleanser to take with you.

Merry Christmas.