Friday, July 29, 2011

365 Days to Change a Life

It's been exactly one year.

One year since I decided I had had enough of being depressed, out of shape, and miserable.

Today I find myself reflecting on the accomplishments of the last year and reflecting on how much my life has truly changed for the better.  While I have encountered set backs and disappointments along the way, I have no regrets for embarking on such an adventure and succeeding at so many goals I thought were unattainable.  What began as just a simple way to log my workouts and thoughts about losing weight has developed into so much more.  My blog has become a place for me to celebrate my successes, share my trials, and foster amazing friendships with people all across the country.  It has grown into so much more than I thought possible.  It has also made this journey possible for me! One year later and I'm still going strong working out and continuing to make healthy decisions.

A year ago I was miserable and defeated.

Today I am strong and genuinely happy.

Tomorrow I run my second half marathon when a year ago I couldn't even run for one minute.  A 5k seemed like a mountain and a 10k seemed impossible.  Within 8 weeks I will have ran a marathon.


Sometimes it is easy to forget how far we have come.  Today has given me the opportunity to look over the past year and really examine all the amazing things that my new found health has my possible for me.  Here are some of my favorite highlights:
I've also officially defeated my asthma in the process.  I don't even take my inhaler with me anymore; I simply don't need it.  To be able to say that I can run for two hours straight without a need for an inhaler is just beyond comprehension for me.  

For those of you that have been with me from the beginning--THANK YOU for your support.  You kept me going when the going got tough.  For those of you that are just joining me--I can't wait to show you what else I'm capable of!  If the last year has taught me anything, it is that we can be so much more than we even dare to dream.
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Florida Keys Ragnar 171
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

110 Pounds

Hey everybody!

I was lucky enough to get to do a guest post over at Lisa's blog 110 Pounds about training for a half marathon.  If you get a chance, check it out!  Also, be sure to check out the rest of her posts--she is a phenomenal writer and quite the success story!

Butt = Handed to Me

Yeah...I totally got my butt handed to me on my run this morning.  7 miles of hill running and let's just say my legs wanted NOTHING to do with it.  It probably didn't help that I biked 14 miles last night and that my legs are still sore from my hike.

It was a nasty run.  Oh well, I was due for one!

I'm glad I did it, and I'm glad I finished.  I think that your body progresses so much more from these difficult runs than any of the good runs.  At least that's what I tell myself as my legs feel like they are going to explode from the burn.  :)

How's your training going?  What has you excited these days?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bells Canyon = Leg Killer

I went on a hike last night.  It tried to kill me.  More specifically, it tried to destroy my  legs.

And it was awesome.

I LOVE hiking and I've wanted to do the Bells Canyon hike for a while now.  It climbs up the mountain and passes two huge and beautiful waterfalls.  I'm a big fan of waterfalls--who isn't?  Anyway, because my weekends are full for pretty much the rest of the summer we decided to hike it after work yesterday which meant that we were going to have to go full speed ahead to beat the setting sun.  It is typically a 4+ hour hike and we only had 3 1/2 hours to do it in.

Hubster and I left work and started driving to the trailhead at the mouth of the canyon. We were a bit nervous; it was pouring rain. We didn't want to become a story in the paper the next day about hikers getting stranded!
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That is a troubling amount of precipitation...
Luckily, the storm passed us quickly (though not the SLC valley--lots of flooding there!) and we were able to hike in cool (but very wet) conditions. All the plant life was soaking wet and as we passed through the foliage our clothes soaked up all the water. Good thing I had tech gear on!
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The reservoir at the start of the hike--pretty!
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Before getting completely soaked
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Love this man!
The trail is steep--it is 6.3 miles roundtrip and climbs 2,987 feet. It was like being on a giant stair stepper! Feel the burn!
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Gorgeous overlook before the second waterall
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50% of us are wearing Ragnar shirts...
The waterfalls were GORGEOUS! We've had an unusual amount of snow this winter and it is still melting off the mountains which made for a much higher flow than normal. My cousin who hiked with us said that the waterfalls had double the water he's seen on them in the past. Crazy! They were absolutely ROARING. We were completely soaked within just a few seconds of being at the bottom of them!
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Camera HATES the water
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Soaking wet!
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Can you find us in this photo? Hint--top right.
They were well worth the hike! I'd love to go back. I used to hike at least 2-3 times per week but that hasn't been the case this summer. I hope I get a few more hikes in before the season is over with.

We had a race against the setting sun as we left the waterfalls.  We had to book it!  Mother nature left us with a beautiful sunset as we got to the bottom of the trailhead. Perfect ending to a perfect hike!
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Love my Utah mountains!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy Haircut

Whenever anyone gets a haircut, Hubster just says to them "Happy haircut" because he doesn't know what else to say.  He knows they cut their hair, so he doesn't wanna say the standard "didja get yer hair cut?" so instead I get happy haircuts.  That's really all I have to say about this.

Anyway...I got my hair cut today!  I had mentioned in the past that I had had enough of my hair acting as a super awesome absorber of sweat off my back and that it desperately needed cut.  I've been anxiously anticipating my haircut appointment since that post, and I am happy to say my hair is now officially 8 inches shorter than it was approximately 2 hours ago.  I am sure my running pace will improve my a minute per mile and that I will weigh at least 2 lbs less tomorrow.  Okay, so a girl can dream...

(I apologize in advance for the crappy cell phone photos...it'll just have to work because it's all I have!)

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Awkward bathroom photo--yay!
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The Sweat Absorber
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Goodbye hair!
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Finished product--much lighter!
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No longer a threat...
It feels amazing to have the hair out of my way, and I haven't even put it to the real test of activity yet!  Tonight I go hiking and will report back.  Tomorrow's run should also see if it was worth the lost hair!

Ugh

Totally pigged out yesterday.  It was a Category 4 Binge.  Seriously.  I consumed 1000+ calories within a half hour period.  And they weren't even good calories.  I was just STARVVVVING.  Big time.  And so I stuffed my face.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  And even worse, I came home from work and decided that even though I had already way over eaten for the day I would still make dinner AND have some ice cream.  Yeah.  I'm not sure what happened yesterday, but it was no good.

And today I slept in and didn't go biking.  I am hiking tonight so I'll still get a great burn in, but still.  I should've gotten up.  My morning logic was telling me that since my bike was somewhat broken (my seat doesn't stay put--it rotates while I bike) that I should just sleep in.  Nope.  Sleepy logic is lame.

Anyway, since this blog is supposed to include all good and bad things I had to let you know because it keeps me honest!  The rest of today will be better!

How are you doing this week?  Have you struggled with being healthy?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Two great runs in one weekend = happy Becky

Yep.

Two great runs in one weekend.  I feel like I'm cheating the system somehow.  Typically, I have one great run for every 4 mediocre to awful runs.  But two good runs right in a row?  Huh...not sure what I think about that!  (That's a lie; I think it is AWESOME!)

Anyway, I ran 10 miles in Idaho on Saturday.  It's my first double-digit run since being sidelined with my IT band issue.  I was very nervous because I felt like this would be the real test for my knee.  I started out nice and easy with a gradual declined, and then looped back to conquer the hill at my dad's place around mile 5.  I felt good the whole way!

You can definitely tell where the turnaround point was on my hill climb!  Gotta love those downhill sections.  They make me excited for my Half Marathon this weekend!  In case I hadn't mentioned it, I recently signed up to run the Timpanogos Half Marathon.  I can't wait!  I'm hoping to smash my previous time.  I would love anything under 2:30, but I am secretly (I guess not so secretly anymore) hoping for somewhere in the 2:15-2:20 range.  It's a downhill course, so maybe it is possible?  We shall see!  Let's hope that Saturday doesn't decide to be the day where I have a bad run (that I am so due for).  Fingers crossed!

Here's the elevation profile from my 10-miler this weekend.  I'm trying to be a more balanced runner and incorporate all types of running environments into my training.  Since I seem to be running better than I have in the past, perhaps there is something to it?
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Views from the run--gorgeous!
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This is the view directly out my dad's window.  So pretty!
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I wasn't the only one enjoying the nice temps! 46 degrees at 7 am--perfect for running!
Anyway, my weekend was awesome.  Not only did I get a good run in, but I was able to spend a huge chunk of time outside with my family.  And because Idaho somehow managed to escape the massive heatwave engulfing the country, it was a perfect 80 degrees outside.  Perfect weather for BBQs and fireworks!  (Side note--it is a state holiday here in Utah/Idaho on the 24th of July.  We light off more fireworks than we do on the 4th!)  I went to the new water park in my hometown (and wore a swimsuit.  in public.  around people who actually know me...) and then took family photos.  And then lit off a crap ton of fireworks because they AWESOME.  It was pretty much a perfect day.  The only thing missing was Hubster who was in Seattle running the Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage race.  I missed him!  He ROCKED that race though--they were blazin' fast!

Now I am back in Utah and had to get back to my training schedule.  I have been 18 for 18 on my workouts for the last three weeks.  I haven't missed one yet!  So, this morning called for 5 miles and although I was definitely short on sleep I got up and did the darn thing.  I started out slow (legs felt heavy) but quickly warmed up and ended up running the whole thing with an average pace of under 10 minute miles.  Fastest time for me yet.   I am super excited about the progress I've made in just the last three weeks alone.  Apparently complete dedication to a training schedule will actually yield results.  Who knew?  :)

How was your weekend?  Is anyone training for anything at the moment?  How is it going for you?

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Quick View

 I tend to do my runs/bikes on the Legacy trail by my house.  It's a well maintained path that has a steady stream of people getting their fitness on, which I like because I don't worry about getting stolen off the pathway that much.  People stealers--don't try to steal me.  I like being non-stolen.

Anyway, one of the things I really like about the trail is how tranquil it is.  It has beautiful views of the Great Salt Lake as well as the Wasatch Mountains.  It is super close to my house, but the trail itself feels like there is no civilization around.  Love that!

Last night I decided to ride my bike to a nearby lake that is just off the trail.  I hit the lake right at sunset and was able to watch the sun disappear into the water.  It was gorgeous!  I love riding my bike, but it is even better when you get such a wonderful view:
What are your favorite views along the pathways you visit?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Q&A Answer Time!

It's time to answer some great questions you had for me!

Julia asked: 

Favorite place to run?
My go-to place to run is the Legacy Parkway near my house.  It's convenient, safe, and has decent views.  However, my favorite place I have ever ran is through Zion canyon.  It was a GORGEOUS run.

Favorite vacation?
Can't choose!  I'll have to settle for my top three favorites.  In no particular order, I loved Italy, Hawaii, and Australia.  Italy was full of so much history, and the food (and gelato!) was amazing.  Hawaii had the gorgeous beaches, awesome snorkeling, and beautiful hikes.  Australia also had amazing scenery.  I'd go back to all of them again!

Favorite summer time activity?
I LOVE to hike.  Love it, love it, love it.  Before I got into running, I spent my summers up in the mountains doing awesome hikes.  It's a great workout, and the reward is always worth the effort you put into it.  Sadly, I've only been on ONE HIKE this entire summer because my weekends have been filled with long runs and other activities.  Sad story!

Bob asked:

Obligatory dinosaur question. In your opinion, which dinosaur is the coolest?
Love it!  This is a tough decision.  I'll choose Spinosaurus because it combines two things I like about dinosaurs--awesome size and awesome details.  Love the spine on this thing!

Caroline asked:

Who would you like to meet?
Oh my.  I have no idea.  I would want to waste my opportunity on meeting just a random celebrity who isn't actually making an impact in this world.  I'd like to meet someone who literally is changing the world for the better.  The sad thing is that I can't think of anyone who is really doing that right now.  Yikes!  Give me some suggestions in the comments! 

Favorite movie?
So many good ones out there!  I love all the old Disney classics, Pixar is a must, and I love some good action flicks like Iron Man and the first Pirates and first Transformers.  I can't pick just one because it totally depends on my mood.  BUT!  I just remembered one I could call my favorite--Stardust!  LOVE this movie.  You should check it out!


Where did you meet your husband? Did you know right away it was the "one"?
I met my husband up at college.  We had a class together and he thought I was cute so he convinced his cousin to come sit down by me.  If you ask Hubster, he will tell you that I proceeded to grab his shirt, give it a big sniff, and say "You smell amazing!"  If you ask me, I will just tell you that he was wearing Aqua Di Gio which is my favorite cologne and I told him he smelled nice.  :)

I did NOT know right away he was the one.  After that class, we didn't talk for another year until an accounting class brought us back together.  I had gotten an A in the first class we had together so he thought I was smart and decided that I should be his study partner.  After studying together for a couple of months, we decided we liked each other for more than the cumulative brain power!  We dated for another 2 1/2 years before finally settling down.

What is your favorite part of your job?
I love that opportunity I have to travel and see all the different cultures this world has to offer.  I've been blessed to see many places that I wouldn't have been able to afford to see because work has sent me there.  Italy and Australia were both work trips. 

What's your goal weight?
If I have to pick a number, I would say right around 130 would make me really happy.  But, I am mostly going off how I look in the mirror.  I would like my abs to be toned and my thighs/butt to be firm.  If that happens at 135, then great!  If it doesn't happen at 130, then time to reevaluate the number!

If you could, what would you change from your past?
Most of the bad things in my past have changed and defined my character, so I wouldn't really part with them.  Instead, I'll go with something a bit more trivial.  I wish I wouldn't have been so serious with boyfriends in high school.  I had two serious relationships lasting around a year, and that was just a waste of time looking back at things.  I should've been out and about having the time of my life!  


What is your dream race to run?
Good question.  There are so many races that appeal to me.  However, I'd have to say that Boston is my dream race to run simply because it would take pretty much a miracle for me to be able to qualify.  It isn't the race itself that makes me want to run it (there are far more beautiful runs out there), but it is the fact that it is such a badge of honor to qualify for the dang thing.  I would LOVE to be able to run fast enough to qualify. 

I'd also really like to run one of the Rock-n-Roll races.  Those look super fun!  Same with the Disney races.

That's about it for the questions!  Any questions that got missed that you'd love to see answered?  Add them to the comments and I will answer them next time I post!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Oh look! A volcano!

I had a good run this morning.  The kind of run that just feels good, and when you are finished you want to do your own victory dance because you've totally earned it.  I may have done just that thing this morning.

There wasn't any particular reason this was a good run.  I ran up a hill in my neighborhood that has a nice gradual incline.  I don't particularly like hills, but I know that they are critical to being a well-rounded runner (and a less-round individual!) so I've added them into my routine as of late.  I powered up the 3 miles of hill and felt pretty darn good.  I had to walk a few times but wasn't down on myself for that, which is a rare occurrence.  Usually I beat myself up for walking breaks, but I didn't this time.  I think I must have been in a good mood this morning!
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This is my intimidating "drinking face." Suuuuper scary, I know.

The real fun started when I turned around and looked down at the valley waiting for me.  Nothing but smooth sailing from then on.  I felt like I was running so fast!  It felt good to get a nice stride going and just cruise down the hillside.  Here's a quick snapshot from the run:
6 with hills


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I made a volcano!
You can definitely see the pace difference from when I was going uphill to when I was going downhill!

Also, the ever so lovely Julia from Pain, Pride and Perseverance tagged me in the super awesome Q&A game going around bloggerland.
So, get excited.  You get to ask me any series of questions and I have to answer!  Oh boy, this ought to be interesting.  If you're a reader that doesn't typically comment, now is your time to join the fun and ask me something you want to know--could be anything!  I look forward to seeing what you all come up with.  Or maybe I don't...this could be scary!  :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Skivvy Dipping

I have a confession.

I did something this weekend that I have never done before, and wouldn't have DARED to do a few months ago.

Yes, that's right.  I went skivvy dipping.  

I say skivvy because I had was stripped down to just my sports bra and my unders, rather than butt nekkid.  That was for everyone's benefit.

Perhaps I should back up a little bit.  I went on a beautiful hike this weekend.  It is short (less than 3 miles round trip) but climbs nearly 1000 feet.  And it was about 90 degrees on Saturday so it was a warm hike.  Before leaving the valley to drive up to the mountains, we stopped by my Grandma's house.  Something you should know about my Grandma--I am convinced there is not a better woman in the world than her.  Truly.  She is amazing, and truly someone that has improved the world in her life.  Anyway, I digress.  Grandma told me that I absolutely positively HAD to go swimming in Dry Lake if it was still there.  See, dry lake (like the name givese away) is typically not so much a "lake" as a "dry lake bed."  So, I wasn't too worried about having to swim at all during this hike.

Except when we got to the top lake, not only was it not dry, but it was quite full.
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Uh oh.  I'm going swimming.
I would like to send out the reminder that this is pure snow runoff water.  No chance for this lake to warm up.  Nope.  It is freezing.  Super pretty, but super duper cold.  

Great!

So, the boys went first.  Rather than take the safe method and wade slowly in, they decided to just jump in.  Let's just say they nearly drowned.  They were gasping for breath and it is a dang good thing it was shallow where they were.  I wasn't about to jump in to rescue them!

Now, I was considering just soaking my feet but then I remembered how adamant my Grandma was about jumping in.  So, I stripped down to my skivvies and slowly wandered into the lake.  It was SO. VERY. COLD.  The boys (having spent approximately 5 seconds in the water before calling it) were badgering me from the sidelines telling me I had to go all the way in.  BRRRR!
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I REALLY do not want to walk any further into this lake.
I would like to state that for the record that there is no way I would've posted this photo a few months ago.  No way, no how.  But now, thanks to months and months of running, I am finally brave enough to post my pasty whiteness for all you strangers out there.  Feast your eyes on the whiteness!  Do not fear blindness!  

Perhaps this weight loss thing of mine isn't the best thing for the world...

Anyway, I finally succumbed to the tormenting and decided to finish carrying out Operation: Freeze to Death.
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Yay peer pressure!!
It was surprisingly awful and refreshing at the same time.  But I was glad I had done it; it was like taking an ice bath without the ice!  My knee appreciated it.
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I even stayed in long enough that Hubster could walk over and get this photo!
I braved the icy cold water a LOT longer than my counterparts.  I stayed in a good 2 minutes.  I know, right? Skillzzzz--I have them.

Anyway, after I got out we dried off and headed back down to our car.  All in all, it was a fun little adventure.  Here is a photo I took on the way down to prove that I am nice and normal:
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Yeah...that didn't last long...

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Everyday I'm Shufflin...

How can you not want to get up and dance when you watch this video?  Trust me--EVERY TIME it comes on, this girl breaks out into some seriously unfortunate (but so awesome) dance moves.



Virtual Dance Party!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Legacy Midnight 10k - Race Recap!!

I bet you guys didn't even know I had a race this weekend...

Somehow it slipped my mind to mention it, but indeed, I had a 10k race this past weekend.  Since it is darn hot in Utah during the summer, we have a fair amount of midnight races to choose from.  Running Roommate picked this one out last year and I've been looking forward to it since then.  What's not to love?  Midnight runs = cooler temperatures, crazy costumes, and tons of glowing items.

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How can you not get excited?
There were three different races going on on the same trail--a 5k, 10k, and a half marathon.  We had opted for the 10k which started at 11 pm.  Originally, we had planned on running the race together.  However, because I am not skilled enough to run at 180 bpm without music, I opted to just run the race at my own pace and blast my music the whole time.  Running Roommate opted to run with her sister for most of the race.

At 10:55, they had us line up at the starting line.  There was a guy on a megaphone shouting some last minute information that sounded REALLY important, but we certainly couldn't hear it.  Something to the effect of "RUNNERS--please be sure that you absolutely DO NOT asldjfiu asdf *mumble mumble mumble*.  I repeat - DO NOT asuoidufojlj." 

Yep.  That was not very good.

I think the jist of it was that we should stick to the right lane of the trail because the half marathoners were going to be passing us going the opposite direction and we wouldn't want to get creamed by them.  Good advice for the few that could hear it.  Luckily, I knew that the runners would be passing us so I stayed on the correct side the entire time (unless I was passing someone).

As we were standing around waiting for the gun to sound, I was checking out the sheer number of runners doing the 10k.  The Legacy Parkway trail is one of my favorite places to run, but it is not meant for hundreds of runners.  I'd been concerned that the start of the race would be a giant bottleneck, and my fears proved true as the gun start went off.  It was chaos.  It was hard not to trip over all the runners.  Some were trying to go way faster than me, others were trying to walk right off the bat, and it resulted in a whole lot of stopping and starting.  It was like that for the first mile because there really wasn't anywhere for the runners to go to allow them to spread out and find the appropriate pace.  

However, once I got settled into the pack and found a comfortable place to run I started having a lot of fun.  I was decked out in glow stuff (and because I'm 12 it made me super happy), and the temperature was a nice cool(ish) 73 degrees.  The moon was out, and I could just settle into the running.  I looked down to see what my pace was and realized that I couldn't see the time on my watch because it was so dark outside.  I opted to just run on feeling rather than relying on my Garmin for this race.  I paid attention to my body and tried to run at a speed that I knew I could maintain for the 6+ miles.  I was feeling good!

Before I knew it, a half marathoner came blasting past me as I reached the first water exchange.  He was going SO FAST!  You could barely see him in the dark.  Luckily he had a flashing baton thing.  Otherwise, I am sure that he would've taken out several runners.  I definitely don't think this was the safest race!  I saw a lot of "near-misses" during this run.  

I did have a small hiccup where I thought I had seen a sign signifying I was at mile 2, and then a half a mile later I saw another sign that said mile 2, so that was confusing.  Like I said--it was dark and hard to see!  When I reached the turnaround just after mile 3, I was feeling good.  I knew that I was having a good race (especially compared to my last 10k) and I was looking forward to seeing my time.  I was hoping for a 1:10 time or less.

At this point in the race, I was starting to pass some people that had started out too quickly.  This is the first race I've had where I actually got to pass more people than passed me!  I was super excited about that.  At my last 10k I finished 5 from the bottom.  I knew that there was absolutely no way that would happen to me this time.  The happiness that brought kept me going strong.  

With 1.5 miles left, we encountered the turnaround point for the 5k.  What a mess!!  There were hundreds of runners turning around RIGHT in the path of the 10k-ers and half marathoners.  It was a cluster, and kinda dangerous.  I went from having about 10 people within my area to suddenly having about 50 people.  It slowed everyone down.  I definitely think they should rethink this portion of the race next year.

Once again, I got situated within the pack at the correct pace and continued on for the last mile or so.  By this time, I was starting to feel tired.  I knew that I was going to have nothing left once I hit the finish line.  I could see the bright lights from the finish line, but knew I still had about half a mile to go.  I tried to pick up my pace, but it just wasn't happening.  

Finally, I could see the finish line and decided to give it my all.  Admittedly, there really wasn't much left.  But as I crossed that finish line and looked down at my Garmin and saw that I had finished a 10k in 1:02:55, I couldn't have been happier.  I couldn't believe how fast (for me!) I had ran those 6.2 miles.  I had shaved nearly 14 minutes off from my previous 10k time.  Now THAT is a cause for celebration!

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Pre-Race Dancing
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Love this girl!  She's my partner in (running) crime!
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I think it was the fancy glowing shoes that made me run so fast...
My official time from the chip was 1:03:17.  I'm not sure where the extra 22 seconds came from, but I'm not too worried about it.  Either way, I had an awesome race!  I finished 15th in my age group (out of 41) which is WAY better than I did last time.  I finished 134 out of the total 780 racers, which puts me in the top 18% of racers.  For me, that was huge.  I'm normally at the back of the pack!

Overall, I loved the race.  It definitely had some technical issues that it needs to work through for next year, but it was fun enough that I can totally ignore those little hiccups.  The race had a great vibe, and I look forward to doing another midnight race sometime in my future.

Did anyone else have any races this weekend?  If so, how did you do?