Thursday, March 14, 2013

A love/hate relationship

You know, I was thinking about the time I yelled at my man-friend the most. I was so mad. No, he didn't cheat on me. He didn't cancel a romantic date to watch basketball. He ate my leftover Pad Thai. And I want to bet no one had ever yelled at him the way I did that day.

Today, I wanted to scream. Not at him, not at anyone. I just had a tough day at work. I've been keeping this a secret for a few days now and it was killing me. I have not been myself lately, but it's over now. Unfortunately, some people lost their jobs today and it's been horrible to know. But at this moment I feel relief. Downsizing sucks but things will just get better now.

What does the Pad Thai have to do with anything? Well, let me explain... And this may be a weird analogy, but it's weirder that you (yes, you random reader) try to get into the ins and outs of my brain. I told my man today: remember when I yelled at you for eating my Pad Thai? Yes, he said. Well, it's because I care (I could see the "huh?!?" in his face). I didn't care THAT much about the Pad Thai, but I care when he doesn't care. The more I love him, the more I hate that he eats my Pad Thai (or any of my leftovers for that matter). You see, if a random person eats my Pad Thai, I wouldn't be pleased, but I'd let go of it, because in the end, I don't know this person... I don't care that much.

The company I work for has been growing strong since I started working there almost 3 year ago. We went from 5 people to 10, to 25 and to 40. Only to go back to 30, 27 and now 22. I am stressed and sad. And I realize I care. The more I care, the more stressed I am and the more sad I am. And it's ok to be sad. But just one day. Tomorrow will be another day and I'll work hard to start moving in the opposite direction. It's time to start heading uphill again.

All in all... After days like today, I'm just happy I have someone to come home to. Someone that will most likely steal a bite or two from my dinner plate tonight. But tonight is different. Tonight I may just surprise him with a big smile while he eats my food. Yep, I am loved.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I wish

I could be a pro ultra-runner and would get paid to run. My job would consist of exploring all the trails around me and get away to the mountains on a daily basis. And my lunch breaks would consist of a picnic at the very top of a mountain. Yes... Today was one of those days.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Crossing the line...

At some point, you have to make a decision.  Boundaries don't keep other people out, they fence you in.  Life is messy, that's how we're made.  So you can waste your life drawing lines or you can live your life crossing them.  There are some lines that are way too dangerous to cross, but here's what I know:  If you're willing to throw caution to the wind and take a chance, the view from the other side... is spectacular.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Changing Plans

"You can always amend a big plan, but you can never expand a little one.  I don't believe in little plans.  I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can't possibly foresee now." - Harry S. Truman

 A few weeks ago, I posted a little something about making decisions.  And how some of those decisions suck so much.  I have been so upset about not going to Alaska, I feel I've lost track of the other amazing things going on.  Have I mentioned I'm going to Hawaii in May?  For free?  See?  Life doesn't suck.

Alaska was a big deal for me.  It was the very first time my man and I were planning something that big.  I mean, a trip to Alaska!  Alaska is far, it takes time to get there and it seems very remote.  Not only that, but we were taking a bus to drop us off in a small town where we'd take a little plane that would drop us off in a remote glacier in Denali National Park.  It doesn't get more adventurous than that.  In the end, I just cannot make it happen... so he's going with some other friends.  In all honesty (and he knows), I was sort of hurt that he was going without me instead of waiting for me... but he's changed the actual destination of the trip, so he's saving our trip for when I can actually go.

That said, I'm moving past my hurt feelings and trying to focus on all the other big things I have going on.  Instead of going to Alaska (and main reason why I decided it wasn't a good time), I am going to Hawaii the first week of May with my love.  He "won" a free trip to Hawaii for two, so it just made more sense for me right now.  Neither one of us has been to Hawaii, and that is even farther than Alaska.  This will actually be a relaxing vacation, which I need (work has been insanely crazy).  We've gotten some recommendations on what to do out there so I'm sure I'll get to hike a ton, run and enjoy paradise.

Also, the Mt. Hood trip is coming up in just 4 months.  No, I'm not climbing Mt. Hood, but I'm attempting to run 50 miles.  It's going to be super epic.  I will be out there with my friend Courtney and her boyfriend Kevin.  Kevin and Chuck will be attempting to climb Mt. Hood that same day and aim to meet us at the finish. We will all be crippled drinking beer in beautiful Portland the day after.  They've never climbed Hood, I've never ran a 50.  So epic and special indeed.

Last but not least, Courtney, Kevin and I along with 3 other crazies will be attempting to run 200 miles from Logan, UT to Jackson Hole, WY.  This is the Grand Teton Epic Relay.  I'm not lying, the actual name of the race includes the word EPIC.  We are entering as an "ultra" team with 6 runners instead of the normal 12.  My man will be planning to do some crazy climb in Teton National Park before meeting us at the finish.

That said... I am so looking forward to the summer.  And I'm overly excited since it's starting to feel like spring, especially cause we have a big snow-storm coming our way.  :)

Happy running!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Where are y'all going?

My man and I ventured to the South on February 22nd.  Neither one of us had been in Louisiana before.  People there are nice and their food is amazing.  We had signed up for the New Orleans marathon a few months ago and sometime around Thanksgiving, it's like I closed my eyes and when I opened them again, it was the time to head South and run.

Sometime between Thanksgiving in Albuquerque, Christmas in Jackson Hole, New Year's in Vail and President's Day in Park City, I got sick.  Very sick.  And it was hard to train.  My coach said I wouldn't be running the full marathon- and while I was pissed and sad about it, I knew deep down that it was the right thing to do.  "Think about your long-term goals", he said.  And he was right.  In the month of January I was only able to log 50 miles while I should've logged at least twice that to run a respectable marathon without injury.  I gave in.  I knew I could only run a half.

I arrived in NoLa on Friday the 22nd well past midnight after a horrific flight.  I was ready to go to bed.  Saturday was a mellow day.  We left the hotel early to pick up our race packets.  We then toured St. Charles St. aboard the street cars of NoLa.  Quite the touristy scene.

Cute NoLa post-Mardi Gras
We hit the French Quarter and had amazing food followed by delicious beignets.  Later that night, Chuck and I had delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant and despite my ginormous desire of going out and having some:

Yes, this is the name of an actual bar on Bourbon St. 
.... I went back to the hotel, got ready for my race and went to bed early.

Race morning was perfect.  Our hotel was only 2 short blocks away from the start line, so we woke up at 6am, had breakfast, changed and headed to the start line.  We were ready to go at 6:45am, the streets were packed and the weather was PERFECT.

I started in corral 11 since I had originally estimated a marathon time of 4:30.  While I was planning on running the half, I didn't want to rush into an earlier corral since well, I hadn't trained as hard.  Off I go... and well, running below sea level is nice.  All was running smoothly.  Miles 1, 2 and 3 flew by.  By mile 4 I felt like I could run forever.  "What if I run the full?", "Should I slow down?".  No, just keep going.  I was in my happy place.  By mile 9 I was making up my mind (I think).  Given the fact that I had been running pretty steady, I want to say that my heart got in the way of my brain's thinking because if I had been going for a half, I should've gone faster... But by mile 9, I slowed down (or kept it steadier).  I was going to go for the full.  I crossed the half marathon mark at 2:04.  My PR for the half is officially 2:02 so I was not too far off.  If I had actually gone for the half by mile 9, I'm sure I would've PR'ed as well.

Off I go, the course continued to be flat.  Flat, flat, flat... but to make it interesting, once we got to the lake, we got hit with a nice head wind.  All the way from mile 15 through 20 there was a nice steady head wind.  BLEH.  "Just focus", I continued to tell myself. "Think about how awesome it'll be when you get to the turn around point.".  Yeah, the turn around point was glorious.  I was right on track to PR with only 6 miles to go and feeling great. Oh, and with a tail wind.

The last mile was brutal.  Just as you get to the 25 mile marker, you enter the park.  You start seeing more spectators and you sorta, kinda want to pick up the pace, but gotta keep in mind you still have 1.2 miles to go.  A quarter of a mile past the 25 mile marker, you actually see the 26 mile marker, but you make a sharp turn to the right. Ugh, bummer... but I KNOW it's there.  It ciiiirrrrcleeess around and then, there it is... and my man.  It was nice to see him and learn  that he PR'd and finished under 4 hours.  WOW!  I was impressed.

My goal time was 4:18, but I finished in 4:15:09.  I must confess I attempted to break 4:15 for the last minute.  I barely missed the mark, but my real goal had been 4:18 all along, so I'm happy. Yes, I've updated my PR on the right side of my page.  Yaay!

I earned my beads in NoLa!!!!!

The rest of the day continued to be mellow.  More delicious food.  Some alcohol and some live music.  Last but not least, we had dinner at Chophouse New Orleans and walked back to our hotel after a very successful trip.  The flight back at 6am on Monday was brutal.  But it was perfect.  The weekend was nothing short of perfect.

Live music at the Spotted Cat.  My favorite NoLa spot.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Going Up... Hill!

Just like last year, early February means only one thing: Winter Mountain Games.  This time around, my man was pushing so hard for me to race on Saturday on the Ski Mountaineering race.  Nope, I said.  It's too hard.  While I didn't mind all the uphill skinning, I did mind not skiing down the fun stuff I like to ski in Vail and then you gotta boot-pack and put skins on and off and such. Seemed too hard and I wanted to have fun.

Alright, there's the other thing: I wanted to go claim the first place since I had placed second last year.  If you know me, you know I am competitive.  So off we go.  Left home early on Saturday and arrived in Vail in time for Chuck to start his competition.

Handsome man getting ready for race
There were three categories: Beginner, Advanced and Elite.  He wanted me to do the beginner, he wanted to do advanced.  He started and I went back to the car to get ready to snowboard.  Ahhh... how I missed my snowboard.  First time this season on my board and it was pretty awesome.  Half way to Blue Sky Basin, I get a text from my man saying he decided to do the beginner course because it was damn hard as is so I worked my way back to the base to see him finish.  He finished 3 minutes after I got there... PERFECT timing.

I spent the rest of the day riding and enjoying pretty good snow.  We then had dinner and drinks together followed by some big air shows, concert and a good night sleep.

In the morning, it was my turn.  I got ready and was sure I could do much better than the previous year.

Lady ready to go
I knew the course, and just as the previous year, everyone just took off super fast.  But I felt like I stuck to the group much better than I did last year.  I won't talk much about the actual course since it's well described in last year's post, but I was able to keep a steady pace the whole way up.  This time around I was not last and the sweeper did not catch up to me.  Not only that, but I started passing people in snowshoes... NICE!

On the last steep hill I was starting to get close to a girl in AT setup, just like me and since I saw her struggling with the climb, I wanted to catch up and help her if she needed.  When I reached her, I saw she had the same skis I did but with Tele bindings and blue boots.  Wait, that's the girl who beat me last year: same skis, tele bindings, blue boots.  Umm, I will not offer help, I will say hi and continue on. I have to beat her.  So I did.

In the end, she took her skis off and boot-packed up (which yes, is faster than with skis).  I was trying to fly to the finish... and yep, I beat her by a few minutes.  Again, it was only the two of us in our category, but this time, I walked away with the gold medal.

Yes, I'm awesome!
My legs were tired, I couldn't even ski down considering I had to traverse towards Vail Village to get to our hotel, so I just took the Gondola down with Chuckles.  We took it easy the rest of the day.  Now on to next year... when I'll be in a different category, so I legitimately need to get better.