Just a Few Things…

Just a few things that are on my mind this week before Christmas.

First off, have you entered to win the $100 giveaway yet?  Learn about all the Bakken Invitation honorees and how they survived life threatening conditions and now use their second lives to give back. You can win a $100 Visa gift card so that you can help out your community too. Read the post for details.

Bakken

On Saturday it will be 11 years since my little sister died from cancer at the age of 43. The pain has dulled, but I always like to take some time to remember Susan on December 20. If I could, I’d tell her that her daughter is doing well now. I’ll be seeing Brynne in a few days, and I know that she’s happy, involved with a nice man, and finally working at a job that she really likes. Take a few moments today to give your sister a call, especially if you haven’t spoken for a while. I’m going to call my baby sister Lisa.

Christensen Girls

I got some new shoes the other day! Amazon had such a good deal that I couldn’t resist buying a second pair of my favorite running shoes, Mizuno Wave Rider 18. Here’s my review if you missed it. Now I’m pretty well fixed for my SLO Marathon training.

Wave Rider 18

Speaking of shoes, I trade out my shoes, using different models for different kinds of workouts. The Wave Riders will be perfect for my medium and longer distance runs, while my slightly older but still usable Wave Rider 17 will be perfect for any off-road running that I do (I don’t like to get my new shoes dirty for at least a few weeks!). The trails I run on are hard-packed and pretty even for the most part, so I don’t really need special trail shoes. For faster runs, like my tempo or interval workouts, I have a pair of Asics Gel Electro 33 (review here), that I can’t wait to use. I haven’t been doing any speed work, so I haven’t been wearing them.

Electro33

I have all my Christmas shopping done! That is really rare for me. I do have a couple gift cards to pick up, but other than that I’m done, done, done! I got my sister and brother-in-law’s gifts sent off on Tuesday, plus I have most of my wrapping done (just need to decorate the presents). I’m usually a lazy package decorator, but sitting at work today I watched one of my co-workers creating a bow, and she made it look so easy and look so good that I was inspired to buy some wide ribbon to try it myself. I also bought a bag of bows, though, just in case.

Bows

I did a lot of shopping online this year. I always threaten to do so, but I usually procrastinate so long that there isn’t any shipping time left. As much as I hate getting marketing emails, some of them really inspired me to get going early. In addition to the Amazon deal (30% off!), Asics had some amazing 12 days of Christmas specials. I also did a lot of my at-home shopping at Kohls. The day I went, everything was 25% off! And this was on a quiet Monday evening, so I avoided any crazy Black Friday kind of experience.

Stay tuned on Monday for a special Tofu post! Seriously. To go along with Meatless Monday I want to talk about tofu, and how it doesn’t have to be bland or boring, and how easy it is to prepare delicously. I received some coupons for Nasoya tofu, so I’ve been working on a few things to share with you.

Tofu

I received the nicest package from Prana! Remember I wrote about how I felt inspired by their clothing to return to yoga? Well, I guess they liked it and sent me this package which included two beautiful scarves, a purse, a couple caps, a top, a belt, Coola sunscreen and post-sun lotion, and two headbands. I. Love. It! Thanks Prana!

Prana1Have a wonderful weekend! Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? Do you alternate running shoes?  What’s your favorite tofu recipe? Now, go call your sister (or brother, parent, or any loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while).

On Running: Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

The above is called a disclosure and it’s required to let you know about sponsored relationships. Now let me give you another, personal disclosure: I made the switch to the Mizuno Wave Rider several years ago (circa version 15) and I’ve never looked back. I am a true fan. I even recommend them to my cross country runners and clients. So when I had the opportunity to review the new Wave Rider 18 running shoes, I eagerly stepped up to the plate.

Wave Rider 18

Yes, I keep all my retired favorite running shoes. Don’t you?

My running has been a little lackluster lately. It may be autumn for the rest of the country, but here it the desert the highs remain in the 90s and I’m just tired of the heat. The mornings have cooled off a little, but I still feel sluggish and tired. I finally decided that, instead of feeling sorry for myself I need to find a new running goal. I haven’t raced since the Rock and Roll marathon in June, so it’s time to lace up my running shoes and get training again.

Wave Rider 18

That made the timing of the release of the new Mizuno Wave Rider 18 all the more perfect. New race, new goals, new shoes to start training in. I’m not sure what race I will choose, but it will probably be something close to home. The Palm Springs Half Marathon comes to mind. It’s in mid February, and even though that sounds like a long way off, it’s only a little over four months, perfect for someone who has been more busy coaching than doing her own running lately.

Wave Rider 18_4

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

So with that in mind I was excited when I laced up the Wave Riders for their first run. So excited that without thinking I managed to dress to match my shoes! I took them on a short run and I wasn’t disappointed. That same lightweight ride, with just a little bit of support that I appreciate from previous models, the comfortable fit with plenty of room in the toe box, and, let’s face it, the good looks, all contribute to my overall opinion of these shoes.

Wave Rider 18_7

The new Wave Rider 18 incorporates several key Mizuno technologies:

  • U4ic Midsole delivers optimal shock attenuation, resilience, responsiveness, and superior ride that is 30% lighter than AP+
  • Dynamotion Fit relieves the stress that the foot naturally places on footwear eliminating distortion.
  • Mizuno Wave Technology provides runners with a stable ride from landing to toe-off. Features a Double Fan Wave with articled forefoot Wave Plate for the optimal blend of shock attenuation guidance and lightweight flexibility.

It weighs 7.8 ounces (9.2 ounces for men) and has a 12mm drop. The MSRP is $119.

Wave Rider 18_8

Mizuno incorporated the inspirational influence of the Japanese concept of “Hado,” the intrinsic vibrational life force energy that promotes powerful transformations. Hado is executed in the Wave Rider’s sleek dynamic design relaying the power and kinetic energy of running, harnessing the transformative possibilities of every run.

To me Hado means that sense that you have when you know without asking or speaking, what is going on around you. You feel the energy of other people, nature, animals, even your home or office.  Hado circulates around us, allowing us to pick up the mood of others, sense impending trouble or relief, even that prickly feeling of possible danger. The Hado of running means becoming one with your body, the ground that you run on, the air around you, and using that energy to transform your running experience.

Wave Rider 18_2

Picking up on the happy, energetic Hado of my dogs (especially Lily).

Now that I have a purpose to go along with my new shoes, I can already feel a difference in my running. It feels more…joyful is a good word. This morning I ran along the local trails just enjoying the lightness of my feet and my soul. I listened to the sound of my breathing and the crunch of my feet on the trail. I’m not very fast anymore, but I felt fast and sleek. Ready to get back to training. Ready to run.

The Wave Rider 18 is a great everyday, all purpose shoe, that can go from the road, to light trail running, to racing.  Which makes them perfect for me, because that is my running life. I plan to use them for my half marathon training (and probably treat myself to a new pair for the race).

If you are looking for a great neutral shoe, that is lightweight, with just a touch of support, the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 may just be perfect for you too. It has my stamp approval!

Have you tried the Wave Rider? What do you look for in a running shoe? Light weight? Support? Minimalist? Good looks?

It’s Time to Rock and Roll!

Are We Ready to Rock and Roll?

I say this way too often, but damn! Time flies. When I first decided, back in January, to sign up to run my first marathon in over eight years, this date seemed so far away. Yet now, in two more days, I’ll be standing at the start line of my 36th marathon, Rock and Roll San Diego. I am excited, scared, anxious, and uncertain, basically feeling what every first time marathoner feels, can I do this?

Honolulu-Marathon

I’m feeling a lot of the emotions that I felt for this race, my first marathon, in 1996.

Actually, I am quite sure that I can do it, but I would like to finish strong and with dignity (unlike the time in the San Diego Marathon (now Carlsbad Marathon) when my finish line photo showed me holding my hand over my mouth, trying not to throw up!). I’ve set a goal of 4:15, which I’m not sure that I can accomplish, but I’m certainly going to try. To that end, Pacebands was kind enough to send me one of their 4:15 wristbands to use during my race. I’ll have a giveaway coming up next week, so stay tuned. I know that my Paceband will be a great tool to keep me on target for my goal time.

pacebands

 Getting to the Start Line

While Pacebands will help to get me to the finish line, I’ve also had a lot of help along the way getting to the start line. A lot of things have to happen during marathon training in order to stay healthy, strong, and uninjured. In addition to following a four month training plan, which includes building your endurance and stamina, you need to taper properly, and have a plan for race day.

St. George

Even though I had to train through the desert summer (or possibly because of it), I did my best training ever in preparation for the St. George Marathon in 1999. And it resulted in my PR.

Then there are the small things that help you through training. Those little things that motivate you, nourish you, restore you.

Taper Time 4

A Great Training Partner

The best thing of all was that Alan decided to run (and therefore train) for the marathon too. His last full marathon was done as part of Ironman Arizona a few years ago, so it’s been a while for him too. While not all of our training days aligned, we did our long runs together most of the time, which was awesome. We plan to run the race together, something we do for the “important” races: my first marathon in 1996, and both times we ran the Paris Marathon. Some things are meant to be enjoyed as a couple.

Paris Marathon

We wouldn’t have pictures like this if we didn’t run together for the Paris Marathon.

A Nutritional Boost

I was very fortunate that I was able to partner with Fit Approach and Vega Sport, who gave me the opportunity to try out the Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator. As I mentioned in my review, it is the first all natural, plant based recovery drink mix designed to address all six key elements of post-workout recovery, including muscle glycogen replenishment, muscle tissue repair and protein synthesis, hormonal support, soft tissue repair, immune system support, inflammation reduction and rehydration. It has been a wonderful addition to my recovery plan. If you feel that you may not be achieving to your potential, check out the Fuel Your Better website.

Vega Sport

I plan to have a bottle of Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator waiting for me at the finish line.

Great Shoes

While I tend to wear a variety of shoe styles and brands during training depending on the type of workout, Mizuno Wave Riders have been my go-to shoe for everyday base training and long runs for a while now. I took a leap a couple years ago in my never ending search for the perfect shoe. I came pretty close, and I’ll be running Rock and Roll in a bright and shiny new pair of Wave Riders.

mizuno wave rider

Wave Rider 16 (last year’s model but I love the color)

A Cute Functional Outfit

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of this skirt from RunningSkirts.com. It’s on it’s way, but I hope I didn’t order too late because it will go perfectly with the top I’m going to wear, which I bought at Lorna Jane. It’s not really a running top, but it fits so well, no chafing, and it’s so pretty that I plan to wear it for the race. If by chance the skirt doesn’t arrive, I have a white one that I bought last year for the Costume Party Run (from which I’ve removed the Dalmatian spots), which will work just fine.

Vega Sport 4

Love, love, love this top from Lorna Jane.

The Rock and Roll Marathon starts at 6:15 Pacific Time on Sunday. If you’d like to track my progress, my race number is 56310. We’ll be at the expo around 10:00 on Saturday morning if anyone wants to meet up. We don’t have a shake out run planned (though if you’re looking for one you can join Meb, Pavement Runner, or Stuft Mama), just packet pickup, a little shopping (which should serve to shake out those legs a little bit), then lunch with the family. Then hopefully a nice relaxing afternoon, an early bedtime, and some good sleep. Ooh, and dinner here!

Anybody doing the Rock and Roll Marathon or Half Marathon? Or shopping at the expo? I’d love to “tweet up!”

Inspired by Boston! Marathon Training and Other Stuff

It’s Boston Marathon Day! As a runner, it is always an exciting day, made even more special by the events of last year, as runners, spectators, and everyone involved come together to prove that we are too strong to be scared away by a few crazy monsters.

I’d like to send my best to all participants, in particular my “in real life” friends as well as my social media and blogging friends as they take up the challenge of the Boston Marathon. Those friends include Dottie, who, at 49 is an accomplished Ironman, with an 11:22 at Canada a few years ago, and who will be running her first Boston. There is also Marina, who at age 48 was the second oldest woman ever to qualify and run in the Olympic Trials in 2000. In Boston in 1994, she ran what was then her personal best 2:48:06. At age 62, she recently finished the Palm Springs Half Marathon in 1:40:58.

Good luck to Dottie, Marina, and to everyone who will be attacking Heartbreak Hill today!

Boston Inspired

Alan was wearing his Boston colors on our run today. He ran the marathon in 1992 as well as the 100th in 1996 (one week after we met for the first time!).

My plan for my long run on Sunday was to use Boston, the experience, the runners, the history, to inspire me to run a strong 18 miles. Did it work? Well…keep reading and find out.

Life Update

Life update sounds a little dramatic, especially considering nothing exceptionally exciting happened in my life during the week. Work, in spite of being on the downside of our busy season is still a little crazy.  I had a committee meeting on Tuesday, my direct boss, who’s the Western Regional Director for my company WTS International, came out on Friday, and Saturday was our member appreciation party, so I was kept pretty busy.

On the home front, you may have noticed that in the last couple weeks I’ve cut back my blogging to three days a week. It is hard, but I feel that with my crazy busy life posting on three days only (with an occasional fourth day thrown in) ensures that I can keep up the quality of my writing and not just throw things together to make sure that I have a daily post. When things calm down a bit, I may post more often, but for now it just feels really good not to have the pressure to keep up.

So, a few things from the week.

When I ran the Ragnar Relay, I made one purchase, a necklace. I may have bought more, but the lines were so long that I just didn’t want to wait. One thing caught my eye though, and I ordered it last week for $5. It arrived a couple days ago and I think it was the best thing I could buy to remember my experience.

Boston Inspired 8

I also had a well deserved pedicure. I discovered after he took off my old polish, that the nail on my middle tow is pretty black and looks like it isn’t going to make it too much longer (no pictures, sorry). In fact, the color I had picked was to light to cover it up, so I asked my nail tech to pick a similar but darker color. I like it a lot because it matches my new car.

Boston Inspired 3

Also during the week I made one of my favorite spicy seitan dishes ever. The recipe will be coming soon, but in the meantime, doesn’t this make your mouth water? Chipotle-spiced seitan, with avocado. So delicious.

Boston Inspired 11

In other important news, Buddy and Coco both got a much needed haircut. They were both given a “poodle cut,” and now really look like brother and sister.

Boston Inspired 7

 

Training Update

As for my other training, I managed two strength workouts (teaching my class) and four runs. I am still having a hard time increasing the distance on my midweek runs, and I had to work on Saturday, so that run was a bust too. So basically, I ran one mile on Tuesday, three miles on Wednesday, and two miles on Saturday. Not exactly marathon training gold.

Boston Inspired - Training

From my Wednesday run: Moon on a Mountain

Boston Inspired -Training

New Shoes! Love my Mizuno Wave Riders!

I also managed only the minimum on the Spring into Yoga Challenge. Again, I’m doing it, but with my schedule and the feeling of “squeezing it in,” I find myself only able to manage 10-15 minutes of relaxing/restorative yoga. Yes, it is better than no yoga at all, but I’d hoped by this time to be back in the swing of things.

Boston Inspired 12Finally, that Boston-Inspired long run? Well, I got it done. It wasn’t pretty though. Alan and I got a late start, about 7:00, which is just too late when the weather is going to warm up to the mid-90s.

Everything was fine for the first 10 miles. I really did think of the Boston Marathon, and tried to use those thoughts to keep me on track. After all, I had only 18 miles to run, not 26.2.

When we hit our turn around point at mile 10, it was starting to get a little warm. Almost immediately after our turn, I started to feel a little lightheaded, which either means I need to eat something or might be the onset of my exercise induced asthma. I ate my second Reload gel, and I did start to feel a little better. I was almost out of water though, so I stopped by one of the country club guardhouses, and they let me fill up my bottle.

Boston Inspired 2I was getting slower and slower, and Alan was gradually getting farther and farther ahead of me, even after I tried a tip I learned at my RRCA Coaching Certification class: When you feel really tired, instead of running slower, try running faster instead. It felt pretty good. For about one minute. Then I fell back into my slow trot.

When we got to our last stop, where we had a chance to refill our bottles, use the bathroom, and generally freshen up, the asthma kicked in for real. I got so dizzy I had to sit down, use my inhaler, and basically wish I was just around the corner from home. No luck with that one though, we were still four and a half miles away.

As I stood up, I was still so dizzy that I knew I couldn’t run quite yet. I urged Alan to go ahead, even though he didn’t want to leave me, figuring that at least he could get home and come back with the car. He finally agreed, and he headed off with me slowly walking behind.

Boston Inspired - Training

On Instagram, I called this the 3 stages of a long run: Happy, Fierce, and Zombie. All within one quick photo op!

After walking for a couple minutes, I could feel the dizziness subside, so I started running again. I kept up a mostly running, some walking cycle for the rest of the run. Alan did beat me home, but not by much, and he didn’t have to pick me up.

Boston Inspired - Training

It was 80 degrees when we finished (though I swear it felt hotter!). Also, it was fun to get over 40,000 steps before 11 in the morning (I ended with about 45,000 for the day, so you can imagine I’ve done a lot of sitting (and lying) since then).

It truly was one of the hardest training runs I’ve ever completed. When I got home (after sitting for a while), I drank two bottles of coconut water, but still didn’t even have the energy to make a smoothie. Instead, I lay down for about a half hour, then dragged myself back to the kitchen and made that smoothie. Then I went back to bed for a while.

Boston Inspired 4.

So that was my week. Not exactly Boston inspired as I’d hoped. Oh, while I was looking up the links for this post I “just happened” to check out the qualifying times for the Boston Marathon. I have never run it, though I used to qualify frequently. Then I hurt my knee, and I just couldn’t seem to make it anymore. Anyway, I found that Alan and I have the same qualifying time, 4:10. I think it is a little out of my reach right now, but we’ll see.

How was your week? Will you (or did you, depending on when you read this post) watch the Boston Marathon? Have you run it yourself?

Mizuno Wave Rider 17 Review and a Brilliant Run

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

I’ve been running a long time. A really long time. And throughout that time I have been on the lookout for the perfect running shoe. I tried heavy, “motion control” shoes because I was told that I over-pronated. I ran for years in a “supportive” shoe that weighed a ton, but seem to keep me from injury. Except when it didn’t.

Mizuno Wave Rider 17 Review

Recently, I decided to make a switch in my running shoes. I did my research, spoke to friends, and finally decided to try the Mizuno Wave Rider. It was the first time in years that I had stepped away from a heavy, protective shoe. Instead I was treated to a lightweight, neutral shoe that still provided cushioning and support.

Continue Reading

Race Report: The Costume Party Run. Mission Accomplished (almost)

costume party run

What if you planned a race that would take place in the summertime. It would be a half marathon (with a 5k alongside) that would start at 6:00 in the morning. The course would be a huge loop through a parking lot, then out on a boring street for several miles, a turnaround to head back along that same bland route. The last three miles or so of the half marathon would again be through the parking lot. Instead of a t-shirt or tech shirt, you gave out trucker’s hats. You’d hand out no other swag, you’d offer only water and green Gatorade on the course. Oh, and no age group prizes, just over all trophies for each race.

But let’s say you have a concept. Two really. The first is to call your race the Costume Party Run and encourage everyone to dress up. The second is to offer what may be the world’s largest, blingiest finishers’ medal. Ever.

Having experienced this I can tell you. You would have the MOST AMAZING RACE EVER! Or close, anyway. You would have about 2,000 runners, the majority in costume, out there mainly to have a good time, celebrate running, and to get their picture taken.

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have already seen the costume that I chose. I know I’ve been teasing you with it for weeks. I decided on the Shoe Dog, the mascot from Road Runner Sports, both because he is a Dalmatian, and you all know how much I love my spotted running partner, and because as a sponsor and host of the race expo, Road Runner Sports and the Shoe Dog seemed appropriate and fun.

After stopping by the expo on Saturday to pick up my race bib (and trucker’s hat), I found the Shoe Dog and threw down the gauntlet.

costume party run

costume party run

He didn’t seem too concerned.

After the expo, we headed to Encinitas to check into our hotel. We almost always stay in North San Diego County no matter where our event takes place. The race was at Qualcomm Stadium, very close to my son’s house, but about a 20 minute drive from Encinitas (that’s at 5:00 in the morning, probably twice as long any other time of the day). It’s just our favorite place to be.

We walked to lunch (full vegan food report coming in a day or so…we ate at some of our favorites, including Native Foods, the Roxy, and the Lotus Cafe), then down to the beach to see the renovations that Encinitas has made at Moonlight Beach. This sounds like a lot of walking, but it was probably about a mile. Not too bad for the day before a half marathon.

When we finally settled in for the night, I laid out my costume (for the photo op of course). Since I couldn’t stand the idea of wearing an actual collar, I had decided to wear a bandana around my neck. I did want the tag though, so I took it off of the collar and tied it into my shoelaces. It is an old one of Sydney’s (my Cattledog), that has the wrong phone number.

costume party run

With the race starting at 6:00 am, we set the alarm for 3:30. That gave us an hour to drink coffee, have a bite, get the bodily functions out of the way before heading south. I am saying “we” even though I was the only one running the race. For the first time that we could remember, Alan was the official spectator, cheerleader, and cameraman. In the past, he has either run the race or announced it. I kind of liked it!

As I set about putting on my costume, I dug through my suitcase for my sports bra. Uh oh. I’m not sure exactly how I managed to do this, but I forgot to pack one! Not a lot of choice here, I ended up running the race in a lightly padded sweater bra. If you look closely at the pictures, you can probably see my bra straps. Um, if you really wanted to.

We arrived at Qualcomm about 5:10 to see a long snake of car taillights streaming into the stadium parking lot. Fortunately, it moved quickly and it was easy to find parking. I added the finishing touches to my costume, grabbed my bottle of InRefresh, my inhaler, and my Huma gel, and we headed toward the sound of the music. It was pretty easy to see we were in the right place.

costume party run

costume party run

costume party run

costume party runcostume party run

costume party run

It wasn’t long before they called us to the start line, though I noticed the deejay had a few folks still moving on the dance floor (yes, there was a deejay and a dance floor). As I got into the chute, they were just taping down the timing mats, which kind of worried me since it was about 10 minutes before race time, but I needn’t have worried. The race started exactly on time, after instructions that the half marathoners were to follow the cop on the motorcycle, and the 5k-ers to follow Michael “Blackson” on a bike.

As I mentioned, the first two or so miles were around the stadium parking lot, but I didn’t mention that there were two bands and a music station out there. That helped a lot. Since it was a big loop, you passed them twice on the way out and twice on the way home.

As for me, I was a little concerned during the first mile. I felt like my heart rate was too high, and I felt a little shaky. Fortunately, I settled down, pretty close to my goal of about nine minute miles. I drank a little bit at each water station throughout the race. They were available every mile, stocked with water and Gatorade, so lack of fluids was never an issue.

I did notice one little mix up (that didn’t matter to my race). At the point where the 5k was to split off, there wasn’t a sign, just Michael “Blackson” standing there telling the 5k runners to head right. The problem was that a few got by, I heard one ask a photographer as we headed out of the parking lot where was the 5k supposed to run. Oops! I set him straight, but I’m afraid he got an extra 1/2 mile in his race.

The weather was perfect. Starting at 6:00 is a great idea, it stayed cool (around 70 degrees) and cloudy the whole race. Heading out onto Friar’s Road, which fronts the stadium, there is a slight uphill. I should point out that this course is really, really flat. Basically the only hills were when we’d run over a freeway, or the slight undulations of the road. In fact, it was so flat it was pretty boring. It is on the outskirts of San Diego, not downtown, not walker friendly, so there was nobody on the sidelines. There were a couple bands, which helped.

I hit the turn-around at about mile 6.5 and that is when the race started to get fun. Not because I was feeling so wonderful. I had to use my inhaler shortly after the turn-around, but because now I could see all the runners, in costume, coming behind me. It was great! So many people had really taken the time to be creative and have some fun with their costumes. I would estimate at least 75-80% of the runners were in some sort of costume, and as you can see, some went all out.

Right about that time I took my first Huma gel (review coming soon), and I began to feel better. I was on pace for my goal time of two hours, my asthma seemed under control, and I was having a good time. What more can you ask from a half marathon?  Doesn’t the timing seem ripe for a “but then…?”

Meanwhile, Alan had taken a short run, then placed himself at the finish line both to support me and to take pictures of the crowd (blogger’s spouse duty). He got some good ones.

costume party run

Okay, here it comes. But then…I got to mile 10 and I could feel the asthma. As I’ve said before, it’s not a full-on asthma attack. I can just feel it coming. I feel like my extremities aren’t getting enough oxygen, I start to slow down, and I know if I keep going my airway will close. So before that happened I started walking, took a puff on the inhaler and, after about 20 seconds, got started again.

I felt pretty good. With about 2.5 miles to go I was running close to race pace. A lady bug pulled up alongside me and recognized me as the Shoe Dog. I ran with her for a bit, the she slowed down at a water station. I kept plugging along, trying to do the math in my head. If I could hold this pace, I could make it. Could I hold this pace?

About a mile from the finish (I could actually see the finish line because of the looping parking lot course), I saw Alan cheering me on (and taking pictures, of course). He said he’s see me at the finish line and I went on. I again could feel my body starting to slow, wanting to slow. Right at that time three young men came running from behind and encouraged me to keep going. Which is all fine and good, and I really tried, but, you know you have to breathe to be able to keep going. Another short walking break, inhaler use, then back at it. Now I was worried that I would miss my goal.

When I finally got to the last third mile or so, I was able to pick up the pace (I looked at my Garmin and saw 7:38! Kind of scared me!). I wasn’t sure if my lungs or my legs would last, but I was going to give it everything I got. I could see the finish clock ahead of me. Would I make it?

costume party run

costume party run

I told Alan to “get my tail” in the picture!

After I crossed the finish line, it took me a few moments to pull myself together, catch my breath, and walk it off. Then I looked at my Garmin: 2:00:10. So. Freaking. Close. Less than a second a mile. The time I spent walking. (My official time is 2:00:11). More on my feelings about that later, but first:

costume party run

Bah-ling!!! Seriously this baby is six inches in diameter, and weighs a ton! The disco ball is suspended in the middle, and the outside looks like a vinyl record. They kept their promise. This is the biggest, coolest finisher’s medal I’ve ever earned!

costume party run

costume party run

I met a couple other Dalmatians:

costume party run

I also got to meet Melissa, a fellow Fitfluential and Sweat Pink Ambassador! Fortunately she “spotted” me and asked it I was Debbie. She had seen other Dalmatians, so it wasn’t as easy as it sounds (I think I saw about a half dozen other ones). As you can see, she is proudly sporting that Disco Ball Medal too! I’m looking forward to reading her race report.

costume party run

I came prepared to hand out some information about KindRunner, but the opportunity just didn’t arise. As you know, I’m a KindRunner Ambassador. I thought it would be a great idea to bring some little flyers or a card to give to runners who expressed interest in KindRunner. I mean, free 3-way shipping, a custom fitting process, a huge selection, personal service, plus the chance to give back by returning your old shoes (and receiving $10 Kindness Cash Rewards when you do), what’s not to love? I still think it is a good idea, and I’m going to hand out some of the flyers to my cross country team at our first practice this morning.

costume party run

After we got back to the hotel, I fixed up another bottle of InRefresh Electrolytes, took a short nap, showered (tried to dry my bra over the air conditioner), then we checked out and met my son and family for lunch (more on that later). I wore compression socks, keeping them on all night, so my legs felt pretty good the next morning. Actually I felt good all over except:

costume party run

My second toe is sore and swollen, and, I’m pretty sure, black under that polish. I haven’t lost a nail in years, so I’m kind of considering this a badge of honor! In the meantime, though, it just hurts.

What’s Beautiful, Goals, and Accomplishments

As you know, the Costume Party Run was my goal race in the Under Armour What’s Beautiful program. My goal was to run a 2:00 half marathon for the first time since I turned 50. I trained very hard to achieve that goal, and in the end missed it by 11 seconds. Less than a second per mile.

You know what? It doesn’t bother me at all. Not a bit. I did the training, I worked hard, I accomplished what I wanted to do. I ran the very best that I could. As my friend Jody would say, I am Enough. I am completely happy and satisfied with my race.

costume party run

A little disclosure here. I am an ambassador for the Costume Party Race. I received a free entry, and in exchange I wrote about the event in my training recaps and race report. My opinion is my own.  I also chose to dress as the Shoe Dog on a whim, I have no relationship with Road Runner Sports (except as a customer). Although, I think they approved:

And I impressed them with my time:

Oh, and while they had no age group awards, and many people were there just for fun, they did keep track of the finishing places, and, this Dalmatian just happened to WIN HER AGE GROUP!

Whew! Sorry for the long post. I hope I kept you amused! How was your weekend? It was a long one, wasn’t it? I hope you had great summer fun! Tell me about it!