Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wedding Talk

I was about to apologize about the crazy wedding talk but then realized that I haven't really said a word about wedding planning on here which makes me realize my friends have probably gotten an earful.  Maybe I should start talking about it here more than to my friends so I don't bore them with the same conversations over and over.  But basically this is what's happened and this is how it's affected my life forever: 

- We got engaged and we set a date

- We celebrated for a week in Hawaii (life was good)

- Got back to reality: work, training for a 50-miler and planning a wedding.  I'd say this is one too many things. I plan on setting my priorities straight and I feel like the job should be dropped. Just saying
- We researched a million venues. We found a venue and STILL had opinionated people trying to recommend places. I was overwhelmed
- We researched caterers and we found one. This was easy
- My mom decided our wedding would be green. I said orange. It will be orange
- People constantly ask: "Do you have a dress yet?" I constantly reply: "No, not yet..."
- Time flies and we are busy this summer, but are we throwing an engagement party? Yes we are. So we did, with a week notice. It was lovely. 
- Wedding party? How many, when do we tell them. We made decisions and let them know. 
- Wedding website... it's constantly being updated. 
- Guest list... it's constantly being updated.  Sigh.  This is the most stressful item as we are up to 400 people 
- Save the dates: "Hopefully will go out by the end of this week" is what we said 3 weeks ago.  We have not sent them. Mostly because the guest list doesn't seem to be finalized. 
- My wedding planner: says I have completed 27 to-do's and I have 152 still outstanding. Most of which I'd rather not think about. 
- I've decided on bridesmaids dresses today. It's final, and they all seem to like them. Good... not like I care. It is MY wedding. (ok, I do care). 
- Hotels for guests: I have negotiated rates for 2 hotels, would like a couple more. 
- Welcome dinner: Yes, I'm planning that too. 
- Ceremony: I haven't thought of it.  I guess I'll have to get to that eventually
- Music and lights: no clue
- Flowers: no clue
- Photographer: In the works
- Bachelorette Party: My wonderful Maid of Honor is on it. 

- Registry: Haven't started it
- Honeymoon: no clue
- Our hotel room for our wedding night: In the works

...and the other 140 things I still gotta do will just have to wait until I have the patience to read that far down the list.  

How does this change me for life?  I've become a pinterest user and spend way too many hours "pinning" crap that most likely I won't use, do or buy. 

That is all for now. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

2.5 miles of uphill running!

While nothing overly exciting has happened in the past week or so (apart from insane wedding planning, but I'll get to that some other time, if that), I have been trying to focus on training.  Lots of training.  My Mt. Hood 50 mile race is coming up in just under 7 weeks and I gotta make sure I'm ready.  I'm not too worried about elevation gain given that it's 5,000ft over 50 miles on what seems to be a pretty rolling course (vs all up and then all down).  The biggest climb seems to be 600ft over 2 miles (again, not too intimidating when you train where I do).  

Mt. Hood Profile
My attempt to focus on training came after a very relaxing week in Hawaii where I did everything but run.  Then I got back and got a reality check that my race was creeping up on me and I needed to start REALLY training.  It started with a lame 2 mile run where I about died, followed by a windy Dash and Dine and an ugly 45min trail run.  But Saturday was my day.  I connected with a running buddy: Laurie, who used to be my neighbor.  And she introduced me to Sam.  They invited me for a long trail run on Saturday last week and that was the start of a GOOD training week.  So here it goes: 

Bear and Green Peaks
In a week, I got a ton of trail running, good track workout and a decent 5K.  I summitted Bear Peak once, Green Peak twice, Pikes Peak once and a random 13er.  My run with the ladies was long, yet mellow.  We focused on running all the flats and downhills and power-hiked the uphills. We went up to Bear Peak via Fern Canyon which is quite steep but pretty good for a legit hike. The weather cooperated nicely and we had a successful run.  My run that day was followed by our engagement party and I don't want to even describe the pain in my feet later that night.  I did a mellow 1 hour run on Sunday which involved part of the trails we ran the day before but was able to jog the whole way, even parts that we had walked the day before.  My approach was different though... considering I was going on Saturday and shorter on Sunday.  When I run shorter distances, I'm able to push it harder.  Weather was great again Sunday afternoon. 

Laps and laps and laps...
Mondays are always my days off... and I LOVE THEM.  I try to run errands, rest and go to bed early.  The rest of the week I ran the Dash and Dine as fast as I could, but my legs were obviously tired.  I warmed up for a mile and gave it my best.  Surprisingly, I ran the exact time as my first Dash and Dine, which has been my 2nd fastest 5K yet, which was good enough for a 3rd place in my Age Group.  I was content.  Wednesday I ran a recovery run and Thursday I did some speedwork at the track.  The weekend came by and I again went after Green Peak with my man and had one of the nastiest falls I've ever had while trail running. I embraced it and continued on, I like to get dirty on the trails!  :)

Bruises... a real trail runner's leg! 
I also got a good run in with my running buddy Lindsay.  We didn't quite run the trail we meant to (we got lost) but still got a really good run in with lots of sun exposure on an 80 degree day.  I was THIRSTY.  Apart from the heat and feeling tired, there were lots of good things I got out of this run. For starters, quality time with my Maid of Honor (yep, she's the one... she's my go-to girl for basically everything), some additional weekly miles and some heat training on some cool single track.  It encouraged me to look up what the weather will be like in Oregon, which hadn't been a concern since my training season has been accompanied by amazing mellow weather.  

As for elevation training, which is what we Coloradans do and then go out-of-state and brag about... I was talked into running/power hiking Pikes Peak.  I was planning on a more mellow run for the end of the long weekend, BUT since I've committed to supporting my man and he wanted to go after that peak, I went with him.  It was hard to run after we got to 11,000ft since it was all covered in snow, but I managed to get some hill repeats (on snow and at elevation) and some jogging where the grade was mellow and the trail was not covered in snow.  We passed many groups that had been hiking for many more hours than we had and we summitted in 3.5 hours.  Seems like average time for this is 6 to 7 hours.  We went up and down (counting breaks) in 6.5 hours, the average roundtrip time is closer to 12 hours. I felt good and feasted on amazing not-so-healthy, yet, like I said: AMZING Hooters food. Had a stomach ache and then I slept 11 hours.  

Summit!!!  :)
I meant to finish off with a mellow run on Monday, but I couldn't get myself out of the house (or even out of my pajamas), so I slept, and watched movies and napped and ate.  After all, that's what holiday Mondays are for, right?  

All in all I ran: 57 miles in 8 days with a total elevation gain of 13,450ft which equals 2.5 miles.  Not too shabby.  I'm content.. and my new running shoes finally got dirty!  

Have had these shoes for less than a week and they already have 34 miles on them! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dashing and Dining 2013

Yesterday was the last of the six 5k races of the Boulder Dash and Dine series.  I saved my race report from last week to go together with this one since nothing special happened last time.  Like for example, no, my man was not at the finish line waiting for me with yet another diamond ring.  

Anyway, last week seemed to be the one race that would have the best weather yet, and while it was nice temperature, the wind picked up before we could realize.  Christina (mu co-worker) and I went for a mile jog before start time to warm up as usual.  We could tell we'd have a head-wind on the way back to the finish. My pre-race thoughts were: Head out ALL OUT and take it easy on the way back since it'll be hard.  My actual race: Went out ALL OUT for a 7:40 min/mile for the first mile, slowed down for the second mile to an 8:05 until the turn around and then the massive wall hit me.  Damn wall of wind.  IT WAS HORRIBLE.  My second mile ended up being an 8:50 and my third was a slow 9:50 to finish in a crappy time of 27:37.  Worst 5k in the history of 5ks.  

Yesterday was a whole other story.  I got there early, it seemed to be really nice out and when I warmed up with Christina, it seemed like we had a head-wind on the way out but it felt nice and hot on the way back.  My strategy this time was to pace myself on the way out and then push it on the way back.  When the race started, I went all out, as usual.  My first mile was again under 8 minutes.  I kept the pace steady just over 8 for the second mile but noticed the turn around point was again a little farther than it should've been.  The second mile was long since they just can't seen to figure out exactly where the turn around point should be.  Once I started the third mile, I felt like I was going to die and slowed down, but once I caught my breathe I was able to pick it up again.  The last push is always the hardest. 

Gorgeous evening at Boulder Rez for a 5K
I ended up finishing in 25:50 which is my second fastest time ever for a 5k.  Surprisingly, exactly the same time as the first Dash and Dine when the course was slightly longer just like this time.  I still scored a 3rd place in my age group and in the end, I finished 6th place overall for the series.  I must say, I'm pretty happy with the results for a couple of reasons: 1) I never place Top 3 in races in Boulder, much less in "fast" events.  This year, I placed twice out of the 4 races.  2) NO WAY I can place Top 10 in a series of fast races in Boulder, so 6th is quite respectable... I'll take it.  3) I got engaged during this specific series, after my fastest 5K in the series and my fastest 5K yet. Glad to walk away with nothing but good memories.  

I got my 3rd place AG candle!
Now on to the next challenge: I'm thinking registering for the 5K's of the Stroke and Stride (I just wouldn't be stroking!)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My fastest 5K- Quite the commitment!

It was Tuesday, April 30th. Dash and Dine #3.  It was really the second for me, but third of the series.  I skipped the second one because it was too cold and snowy (just like the previous week).  I had invited my man to come out that morning before I went to work but he'd decided to stay home.  After all, he'd just gotten back from Alaska and was still dealing with tingling frostbitten toes and exhaustion.  The day wasn't great either.  It was overcast and chilly as we were expecting yet another snow storm that would start that evening.  Anyway, I didn't think too much about it, packed my running gear and went to work. 

Close to the end of the day, the man-friend changed his mind and asked if I could come get him at home so we could go together.  He said he wanted to cheer me on and walk Levi around there... we also had plans to have dinner with a couple of friends so it was just better logistics to drive together from Boulder Rez after the race.  I picked him up and we drove up to the Rez.  Now that I think about it, he even said he'd drive but I told him I was gonna drive anyway so we took my car.  Ok, that may be too detailed, but you'll see why little things mattered this day (it all comes together, I promise). 

We get to Boulder Rez shortly before 6pm, I pick up my packet and head out for a warm up run, it's weird to run 1 mile when you're running a 3-miler, but whatever.  It was one of those days that I felt pretty good, but wasn't sure the outcome would be the best.  Those little 5k's are hard and painful.  Anyway, I hung out with Chuck, got ready and at 6:25pm started walking towards the start line... except that it was an awkward walk.  Chuck and I were hugging, and he sorta kept on holding me back a little.  "What's going on?! I guess he's not in a rush".  He eventually asked: "Hey, what's your fastest 5k?" So I said: "25:50, why?". He replied "well, you have to run your fastest, if you do, I have a question to ask."  Hmmm, OKAAAY. Nothing made much sense to  me.  "It's not like I don't try EVERY TIME to run my fastest", I thought. But whatever, I sorta nodded and was distracted since I just really wanted to get to the start line.  

The race starts and I just go ALL OUT.  I look down at my watch and I was running 6:23 min/mile to be exact.  That was WAY too fast for me.  I try to get in a rhythm and just go.  I realize I'm in the first group with only one girl ahead of me.  "This is SO not me... I'm NEVER in the front." Oh well, I was content and settled into a slower than 6:23 min/mile pace, but steady and fast for me.  Once I was on the first dam and settled, one girl passed me and I just let it be.  I was running my own race.  But that was when the random thinking began: "What does he want to ask? How I train to get faster? I mean, well, he always tells me to go faster... he thinks I'm a sandbagger, but really last week, I gave it my all and it was my fastest 5k, not sure I can PR two weeks in a row... althoughhhh, it WAS a longer course last week which added roughly 50 seconds to my time, so I'm sure I can actually go faster this time... wait, what?? A second chick just passed me!!"  My random thinking got distracted by that second girl that passed me and now I was in fourth place, yet my pace was still so perfect and consistent.  "Hmmm...should I push it?  I still have a whole 1.1 mile to go. Is that the hill where Chuck told me he'd be at? Is he there now? Hmmm it's too far, I can't see, but is Levi there? He'd be with Levi FOR SURE. Oh check out that chick, she's getting farther and farther away".  I'm not lying, this is how my mind wonders when I'm running.  

Anyway, I focused during the last mile of the run on the actual running and not the thinking.  I got closer to that last girl that passed me and on the last 10th of a mile I was able to pick up a good sprint, catch her and pass her to claim the 3rd place for women.  Chuck was standing right there at the finish line and my friend Laura said I ran an amazing race.  Looked at the time and well, I ran a 24:37.  Indeed my fastest yet.  Once I barely caught my breath, Chuck held my hand and he walked me to a small hill slightly away from the finish line but with pretty cool views of the lake.  He mentioned how many memories we have there (which we do), and he added that I now had a PR as well. While I started to notice something was weird, I was still working on catching my breath... and while it was all happening really fast and I was distracted by a great race, all of a sudden it all stopped.  And there he was.  Down on one knee holding a gorgeous diamond ring.  I'm gonna say this again: everything stopped. And then he asked: "Will you marry me?". I can't even remember if I even said yes, or just smiled and showed him my left hand. I'm ALMOST sure, I did, but all I can remember of that moment is his face, I remember looking at him and thinking: "He's perfect and I love him"

Don't focus on the teary eyes... but on my new shiny ring! 
We hugged and kissed and at that moment, I felt the first rain drop of what would soon become a historic May snow storm.  I'm so excited to start a family and this new adventure alongside my best friend, partner in crime and the love of my life.  I am so happy, I can't even express it in words.  

PS- I made him drive back so I could text my mom and friends!  See?  I told you it mattered, I should've let him drive his car all along.  :)

It's perfect!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Too many miles... too little time

Sorry. I'm late.  I've meant to post this WEEKS ago, but I got a little busy.  Alright, so let's talk about my weekend in Fruita on April 19th through the 21st. I had planned on going out to good old Fruita, Colorado with some friends for nothing but pain and fun.  What is painful and fun, you ask?  Running.  Yes.  We all set some big goals and headed out that way.  Fruita is way the heck out there. It's as far west as you can go in Colorado.  You may as well be in Utah at that point.  Honestly, I didn't even know it'd be pretty or what.  I know people usually go mountain biking there but I guess it was a good opportunity to go explore. 

I left work at 1:30pm on Friday and started driving west.  Picked up Lindsay in Vail and we continued on.  Met up with Kevin and Courtney in Fruita at our hotel and picked up my race packet.  We walked a whole damn mile to the Hot Tomato... a pretty sweet spot to have dinner where I ate an endless salad.  We went to bed fairly early since our race started at 6:30am. 

I woke up on Saturday morning and showered, we left the hotel room at 6 and were at the start area at 6:10am.  It was overcast and chilly, but not cold enough to bring a jacket.  Off we go.  Both Kevin and I were running the marathon and Courtney was running the double marathon (ouch).  Lindsay was there to make sure I got a hug at the finish and she'd be mountain biking and exploring.  We would run together on Sunday the 5-mile race. So race starts, it starts with a small downhill, flat, then up. Up, up, up.  But a mellow up.  Then we get off the main road, onto the trails and up we go, now SERIOUSLY up. for 2 miles straight (or more). A bit of walking for me, but I was told that it was ok. Once at the summit, you go down. Down, down, down... for 3 more miles. And you get to the first aid station.  I ate a GU.  

Before running, when life was good

Off I go, tromping along.  Uh oh... tummy ache.  Wait, no. NASTY stomach ache! I'm pushing through.  Get to mile 9. GORGEOUS view.  Attempt to eat a GU and can only get a half.  I try to settle my stomach with ginger ale, but nothing.  Should I stop? HECK NO!  Just go, see how you feel.  Downhills and flats for 3 miles.  Mile 12.  Life is miserable.  I grab some napkins, no water, no food, no GU, just go.  My stomach was feeling horrible.  I keep going.  No aid stations for a good 7 miles, the next one was at mile 19.  I kept moving walking the climbs, jogging the flats and downhills.  I still don't eat at all. I get to mile 19, drink some water, keep moving.  Now up AGAIN. UP, UP UP.  I'm tired of going up.  I walk. I hit the ridge.  Amazing views, time to jog.  Then hit mile 23, down I go. Steep and technical downhills and I see the road.  Get to the road, pick up the speed, I'm ready to be done.. NO! uphill, AGAIN.  DAMN! Ok, take it easy, now... 1/4 mile after, I get to the top and NOW it's all down to the finish.  I finished roughly 10mins off of my goal time. It was a bummer, BUT I didn't eat anything since my stomach was so angry.  So I'm content.  We go get some food while waiting for Courtney to be done.  I start to feel better.

Gaby struggles (yeah, we started all the way down there, we eventually run by the river and THEN go all the way back up... IT SUCKED!)

Later that night I am exhausted and ready for bed.  I was bummed since we wanted BADLY to explore DTF (downtown Fuita), but I was so tired I didn't care THAT much.  The next morning we wake up and back to the start line.  Lindsay and I were running the 5-miler.  It was her race and I was there to keep her company.  We had estimated 1h5m (I think) since it seemed to be technical.  We finished just under 1:06 which was good enough for us, since the course was ACTUALLY 6 miles.  We both felt pretty good and the best part was that Lindsay was super happy with her performance and got her all excited for more races! 
5-miler day.  I look and feel better!!  :)
Needless to say: Running 32 miles in 2 days means you'll be VERY sore for the following days.  In the meantime, Lindsay slept through her run.  She's a natural.  She can literally do it with her eyes closed (please click to enlarge... it's worth it).