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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 By The Numbers

I always love reading these types of post. I will do my month end review of December which will have my running yearly stats also, but I wanted to do this expanded post about everything I've been up to!

  • Miles run: 733.3 miles
  • Time spent Running: 159 hours, 7 minutes
  • Days where I ran: 126
  • Average run length: 5.8 miles
  • New personal records: 2 (8K and Marathon)
  • Races run: 7
  • Distance Swam: 17,350 meters (10.72 miles) - not including scuba and I only joined my gym in November!
  • Time spent swimming: 8 hours, 41 minutes 
  • Distance biked: 110 miles (my bike trainer doesn't record distance)
  • Time spent biking: 10 hours, 7 minutes
  • Total scuba dives: 66
  • Longest scuba Dive: 85 minutes (Seraya Secrets, Bali)
  • Books Read: 28
  • Longest Book Read: The Pillars of the Earth, 983 pages
  • Jars canned: 84, various sizes 1/2 pint to quart
  • Countries visited: 3 (Hong Kong, Indonesia & Cayman Islands)

... Ok, I couldn't think of any more.

Happy New Year, and have a safe & Happy 2012!

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tentative 2012 Race Schedule

What am I doing in the fall? I have no idea. I've been trying to figure it out. It's a half marathon year for me, and I have a few picked out that I like:
  • September: Harrisburg Half Marathon  It's about an hour away from my house, and I was impressed when I spectated at the Harrisburg Marathon in 2009. Seems like a nice enough size, and relatively flat.
  • September: Bachman Valley Half Marathon This is a notoriously hilly and difficult course consisting of running the same loop twice. But, it is just around the corner from my house and I've always wanted to do it. Is this the year?
  • September 30: Wineglass Half Marathon The Wineglass marathon was my backup race last year if I didn't get into New York. It just seems right up my alley. It's about a 4 hour drive and seems like a really nice course and race.
  • October: Hershey Half Marathon About an hour to an hour and a half from my house, race fees include HersheyPark tickets! Seems like a nice race, better than the Hot Chocolate 15K if we're looking for a race in the "chocolate" genre.
  • October: Florida Halloween Halfathon This one just happens to be around the time that my mom is always pressuring me to go visit my sister in Tampa, so that seems like a good one.

I've also been considering being the captain for a Ragnar Relay team in DC. But I just don't know if I'm up for the amount of work that it seems like it would take to do it. So, I just don't know. Still considering.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top Posts of 2011

Here are the top posts from this blog for this year! (in order from most blog hits to least)

  1. Hot Chocolate 15K 2011 (December) -- over 4500 hits in less than a month! 
  2. Dozer Runs a Half Marathon (May)
  3. Indonesia Part Two: Jakarta to Raja Ampat (February)
  4. Indonesia Part Three: The Raja Ampat Explorer (February)
  5. Indonesia Part Four: The Best Diving in the World (March)
  6. ING New York City Marathon 2011 (November)
  7. Indonesia Part One: Maryland to Jakarta (February)
  8. Indonesia Part Five: Sorong to Bali (March)
  9. The Indonesia Saga (February)
  10. Indonesia Part Six: Diving in Tulamben, Bali (March)
And during 2011, the following posts from previous years received the most hits. Again, this is the most blog hits to the least.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

2011: Fitness Year in Review


So much has changed since I started blogging fitness goals back in 2004. This year was a huge change for me because back in April I made a decision to stop dieting forever. I mean, probably forever. Who knows. I don't think that I even blogged about it. I just suddenly one day decided that I'd been writing my food down since 1998 and I was tired of it and I wasn't going to do it anymore. I thought I would try a bit of intuitive eating like Charlotte does, and it worked. I lost 6 pounds, and then managed to stay within a 4 pound range of weight ever since.  That's right, for 8 months I've been just eating what my body wants and needs and I haven't written a thing down and I haven't turned into a fat, disgusting pig. Do I weigh what I would ideally like to weigh? No. But then again, I never have. Even when I was at my Weight Watchers goal weight (circa 2000), I was not happy with my body. So, why would I expect that I would be happy 11 years later, 20 pounds heavier?

I'm working on it.

So, with all of that in mind, let's look at my goals from last year and what I expect to see from myself in 2012.

Goals for 2011:
Diet and Weight Loss - Ugh.  I hate to say it, but I am going to have to lose weight again, and actually put effort into it.  Back to journaling and what not.  I'd like to be down 15-20 pounds before I run my full marathon in the fall.  I still don't want to sacrifice happiness, but I have my best chance of meeting my time goal for my marathon if I get some of my weight off.  Maybe I'll read Racing Weight.
I think it was all of this that started me on this no dieting thing. I found that I stay within this four-pound range no matter what (if you want to know, it's 168-171 pounds). If I find myself above it (maybe after a vacation, or I'm guessing after the holidays), I can easily watch what I eat for a few days and find myself back in the range again. I can also easily go from 171 down to 168, no worries or trouble at all. However, I can diet and exercise my ass off and the scale will finally say 167, maybe even 166, and then if I mess up even just a little, BAM it's back at 168 or 169 again. Enough. I'd had enough. It was too much work, it was making me too unhappy. I like cooking too much.

There's still always that whole time goal/speed thing, but I don't even care about that at this point. So, I didn't meet this goal, but I think I'm better off without it.
Running - Complete a full marathon in the fall, either Chicago or New York.  I'm not certain what to set as my goal, but I think for now my shoot for goal will be 5:30.  I'm going to settle for 5:45, though.  Either time is still a PR.  If I don't do it because of weather or other circumstances, that is fine and certainly not a failure.
Yay! I mostly did this. I was unable to register for Chicago because registration opened and closed way too early, but it didn't matter because shocker of shockers - I made it into the New York City Marathon on my first entry into the lottery! My final time: 5:46. So, I pretty much made my goal that I set at the beginning of the year. Oh New York, I love you.
Workouts - Biking!  I want to get more into the bike, and hopefully do a short bike race for fun in the spring.  Keep on weight training, and do the hardest part of cross training - find time to fit it in.
Yeah, I didn't do that bike race. I was not ready. I didn't do enough indoors during the winter, because I've found that riding your bike on the indoor trainer is about 10,000 times more boring than running on a treadmill. I also stopped cross training in the spring, although I did keep up with it pretty well before that. I got out on the bike in 2011 about the same amount of time as I did in 2010, so at least I'm not falling behind. And, I started swimming in November, which I didn't see coming when I wrote out my goals a year ago.
Diving - I see no reason why I will not be able to do 45-50 dives in 2011.  This year, I would like to see my lifetime dive total surpass 300.  Potentially get a Cavern Diving certification.
I didn't get the cavern certification, and I have my doubts that I will do it in 2012, but you never know. I did 66 total dives in 2011, an incredible amount. Most of those were in January/February in Indonesia, but I also did quite a few here in the states. Total lifetime dives - 317.

Lessons from 2011
  • When your doctor says you should walk as much as you want, she doesn't expect you to come in and tell her that you walked 12 miles on a treadmill.
  • Running in Bali? Yeah, not going to happen.
  • If your marathon starts at almost 11 am, you should just go ahead and bring your lunch with you for the run.
  • If you feel sick, check to see if it's hunger first.
    Successes for 2011
    • Continued running for another straight year!
    • Lots of weight training, March-May.
    • Jeff Galloway Training Program, including my fourth year as a group leader, and my first year training a real full marathon group.
    • Three 5k Races - Shamrock 5k in March, Pikesville 5k in July, St. George's Dragon 5K in October.
    • One 8K Race - Hadassah 8K in July. 
    • One 15K Race - Hot Chocolate 15K in December.
    • One Half Marathon - Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in May.
    • One Full Marathon - ING New York City Marathon in November.
    • Dive Con for one Open Water Diver Class in July.
    • Completed 66 scuba dives, for a total of 317 since becoming certified in 2006.
    • New Personal  Records set in 2011:  8K (58:03 at Hadassah 8K, 7/31/2011);  Marathon (5:46:40 at New York, 11/6/2011).
    Goals for 2012
    • Diet and Weight Loss - Maintain my weight as best as I can. Be happy with my body and the way I look. Eat what makes me feel good, even if eating what feels good means eating something not-so-good for me. Don't track calories or points. Eat lots of veggies and whole foods, avoid processed. Bake Todd at least one apple pie. Drink wine. As Michael Pollan says: Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants. There you have it - BEST DIET AND WEIGHT LOSS GOALS EVER!
    • Running - Oh gosh, I'm so conflicted about what I want to do next fall. There's just a lot up in the air. I know I am running a marathon relay in January, and a half marathon in April, possibly one in March. I know I'm probably not doing a full marathon in the fall. But, I might try and captain a Ragnar team. I might do something else, so I guess my goal is to do something awesome in the fall of 2012.  
    • Workouts - Get back on the bike and continue to be more comfortable with it. Possibly do a sprint triathlon or a aquathon in June. Keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Get better and faster at swimming. Become more comfortable with the breast stroke. Do a pull up.
    • Diving - I would like to do 35-40 dives in 2012. We do already have a couple of dive trips planned, but we are not planning to do as much diving during these trips as we have been doing. I'm sure that I will get out to the quarry some, though.
    I don't feel like I've really hammered down what I expect 2012 to be, but hopefully you get the idea.

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    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    Merry Christmas!!

    Wishing you the merriest Christmas ever!!

    Kim and Todd, Little Cayman, July 2011

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    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Our Christmas Tree

    I love this idea from Lindsay, so I thought I would share our Christmas Tree. This is only the second year that we've put up a Christmas tree. We've always put lights up outside, just never a tree on the inside. Even now, our inside decorations are lacking because no one will likely see them except for us.

    Let's start with the ornament that I made this year. It was an impulse buy at Michael's Crafts a few weeks ago (bargain price of $1 for the kit). Last weekend, I was in Florida visiting Todd's parents and I spent the weekend working on the cross stitch for this ornament. It turned out nice, and it's the first needlepoint project I've done in years. And, one of the very few that I've actually finished!

    Pretty Wreath!

    This one is an "our first Christmas together" ornament, except that it doesn't actually say that because I waited too long to buy one in 2009, and they were all sold out. So, this ornament is both a celebration of our marriage and our tendency to procrastinate.

    Our First Christmas Together: 2009
    This one came from my friends Nick and Mary's wedding. They were married in January, 2002.

    Merry Wedding! Wait, no, MARY Wedding!
    Of course, we have to have a Nemo ornament. This one was not cooperating when I was trying to get a photo.

    Mr. Ray and the gang
    This one is for donating to the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

    Adopt a turtle this Christmas!
    This one came from my trip to London in 2005. With Mary and Nick! Clearly, they are very important on our tree.

    It's a Beefeater!

    I have not one single running themed ornament. I only just realized this. So, if anyone wants to get me a running themed ornament, that would be great! :)

    Here is our tree.  I realize it's not the traditional Christmas tree.

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    HBBC Update

    The Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge is in full effect!

    Here's my oh-so-long update (recorded in Log Your Run).

    12/3: 9.3 mile run, 9.3 points
    12/4: off day
    12/5: off day
    12/6: 3.6 mile run, 3.6 points
    12/7: 40 min lap swimming, 4 points
    12/8: 3.4 mile run, 3.4 points
    12/9: 40 min lap swimming, 4 points
    WEEK THREE TOTAL: 24.2 points

    12/10: 11 mile run, 11 points
    12/11: off day
    12/12: 40 min lap swimming, 4 points
    12/13: 3.6 mile run, 3.6 points
    12/14: 40 min lap swimming, 4 points
    12/15: 3.6 mile run, 3.6 points
    12/16: off day (traveling to FL)
    WEEK FOUR TOTAL: 26.2 points (ooo, great total)

    12/17: off day
    12/18: 6.9 mile run, 6.9 points
    12/19: off day
    12/20: 3.6 mile run, 3.6 points
    12/21: 40 min lap swimming, 4 points
    12/22: 3.6 mile run, 3.6 points 
    12/23: 30 min lap swimming, 4 points and 20 min weight training, 1 point
    WEEK FIVE TOTAL: 23.1 points

    NOTE: I'm not really doing the "7 servings of veggies" thing because I don't log my food and have no plan to.

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    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Stuff I Love: Philips Wake Up Light

    "Stuff I Love" is a new feature for my blog! It's basically a total rip-off of Jezebel's "Worth It" feature. I'm going to feature products and services that I am totally in love with as a consumer, in the hopes of guiding my readers to new and better things that can solve all of the world's problems. Or something. Anything mentioned in "Stuff I Love" are products/services that I've purchased with my own money, and have never been asked to review them or paid to do so.

    An ongoing problem that I have is that I am unable to wake up on mornings where it's still dark when I need to get up. Ideally, I prefer to wake up with the sun. Isn't that the way nature intended it to be? Another problem - I despise the sound of alarm clocks. There is nothing worse than being woken up by a horrible buzzing sound.

    The Solution? The Wake-up Light from Philips. I ordered this back in September, and our lives have been so much happier ever since. How it works is that you set your alarm like with any other clock. The light starts gently getting brighter starting 30 minutes before your alarm time. Then, at your alarm time, the light plays the sounds of birds tweeting, which gradually get louder for 90 seconds.

    It's such a nice way to wake up. Plus, as soon as I bought it, I started getting to work on time! Incredible! I feel better and happier, and life is awesome.

    Now, I'm just going to go ahead and admit that there are days where this thing doesn't wake me up. I'm going through a period of a couple of weeks right now where I have been struggling to get enough sleep. I've been tired and barely making it through my days. As a result, on Monday, Todd had to slap at me in order to get me to turn the birds off. But, for the most part, if you are getting enough sleep, this thing works.

    Also, when the birds start gradually getting louder, it makes it sound like they are having an argument that is slowly escalating. And something about that amuses me.

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    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    End of the Year Polls 2011

    First, from Miss Zippy:

    • Best race experience?  Running the New York City Marathon in November.
    • Best run? October 1, 25 miles on the NCR trail. This was my longest training run ever and I finished feeling great and with a smile on my face.
    • Best new piece of gear?  That's a tough question because I bought basically nothing this year. I guess I have to go with my Mizuno Breath Thermo Arm Warmers, which I bought to get me through any cold weather in New York. I only wore them for 3 miles, but they are awesome.
    • Best piece of running advice you received? Hmmm... "Don't run inaugural races." 
    • Most inspirational runner? My friend Lori, who runs and runs and doesn't stop!
    • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? An exciting and wonderful year!!
    And from Kandi:

    1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? Ran the New York City Marathon. Traveled to Asia.
    2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I sort of didn't really meet my goals this year. Like, any of them except that I wanted to surpass 300 lifetime scuba dives. I'll write more on this later. For the most part, I just changed my mind on most of them...
    3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes! My friend and co-worker, Michelle, who had a boy. My friends Chris & Theresa, who had a boy, and my friends Chris & Erika, also a boy. It was a big year for boys!
    4. Did anyone close to you die? Not this year, thank goodness.
    5. What countries did you visit? Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Cayman Islands.
    6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you didn’t have in 2011? Gosh, I don't know. A fully remodeled kitchen, I suppose (since that is the house project we're working on now)
    7. What dates from 2011 will be etched upon your memory, and why? I don't know if I have any exact dates from this year that will really be etched in my mind forever, but obviously my two biggest events this year were our trip to Indonesia and the New York City Marathon...
    8. What was your biggest achievement of this year? Running the New York City Marathon. Like Kandi before me, I feel like this is getting redundant...
    9. What was your biggest failure? Hm, I don't know. I guess I was pretty disappointed that I didn't get a new PR in Indianapolis for the half marathon in May.
    10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Just a cold right after the marathon. I did have surgery on my varicose veins in the spring. Oh wait, I was bitten by a monkey.
    11. What was the best thing you bought? This year, I got a new fridge, new granite countertops, a Kindle Fire. But, I'm going to go with my new gym membership. I love it!
    12. Whose behavior merited celebration? How can I not say Todd? He's the best! 
    13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I hate this type of question because it would kind of be a dick move for me to write about it here. So, I'm going to go with Rick Perry - I don't like to get political on my blog, but when he said in his debate that he didn't lose one bit of sleep over any of the 200+ people that were put to death in his state, I suddenly became against the death penalty. I was always for the death penalty, but then I realized that if people like him were in charge, I didn't want him being allowed to make a decision to put someone to death. I mean, even the guiltiest person in the world should still make you feel a little bit sad inside to have to put them to death. Am I right???
    14. Where did most of your money go? Taxes, healthcare, house payments. Plus, we're spending a bunch of our savings on home improvements.
    15. What did you get really excited about? My new kitchen!
    16.  What song will always remind you of 2011? All These Things That I've Done - The Killers
    17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer? Just about the same level of happy, but maybe a little happier. The same weight as last year, probably richer, only because we've been saving and what not.
    18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Sleeping, to be honest with you. I've been going, going, going and I am SO tired.
    19.  What do you wish you’d done less of? Driving.
    20. How will you spend Christmas? Last year, we spent Christmas with Todd's family in Florida, so this year it's my family's turn. We're going to my moms for Christmas Eve and my sister's house for Christmas day. I can't wait!
    21. Did you fall in love in 2011? I fall in love with Todd a little more every day. :) 
    22. What was your favorite TV program? Mad Men, which we just started watching for the first time, The Walking Dead (LOVE it!), Modern Family, The Office.
    23. What was the best book you read? The Hunger Games Trilogy.
    24. What was your greatest musical discovery? Have you heard Toby Keith's Red Solo Cup? LOL
    25. What did you want and get? A new kitchen! Although, it's not done yet. 
    26. What did you want and not get? A new car, maybe?
    27. What was your favorite film of 2011? The last Harry Potter Movie.
    28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 33 this year. Todd ran with me in the morning, and then I went to work and my co-workers made me a cake. Then, Todd picked me up and we went to Woodberry Kitchen. Yum!!
    29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Gosh, I don't know. If the cat would stop being sick, that would be nice.
    30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2011 ? Clothes: Wear them.
    31. What kept you sane? Running.
    32. What political issue stirred you the most? Well, you saw my thing about the death penalty above, but health care remains a big thing for me as well.
    33. Who did you miss? I miss a lot of running friends whom I haven't seen in a while. Come back, guys! 
    34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Sometimes, happiness is all about attitude.

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    Friday, December 16, 2011

    On This Day: December 16th!!

    This day is a big day for so many reasons!!!

    On this day in 2006, I became a certified scuba diver! Now, 5 years later, I have over 300 dives (I think I'm at 314?).

    Here's a terrible photo of me on the surface descending for my very first dive ever, in Key Largo, FL:
    I'm on the left, the instructor is on the right, waiting for me to descend.

    Me (left) and the instructor later in the dive. 
    Those are still my fins. I've replaced all of the rest of my equipment, but not my fins.

    Also, on this day in 2008, I started working at my current job! Hooray, third anniversary!
    I went looking for work-related photos, but they all generally suck.

    The other big thing about December 16 is that it's my half birthday! So, happy 33 1/2 birthday to me!! It's also Ludwig van Beethoven's birthday, which I somehow took to mean (when I was a kid) that I was going to become some sort of awesome piano player. This turned out to not be the case.

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    Monday, December 12, 2011

    New York City Marathon Photos


    At the runners village before heading over to the start
    No idea where this is, I generally look scowly in all of my photos except the start and the finish.
    Central Park, whew looking tired. Or determined, I guess.
    Approaching the finish line
    Crossing the finish line
    Hooray, done!

    Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a 2012 Underwater Photography Calendar!

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Hot Chocolate Fiasco

    You may have read my summary of the Hot Chocolate 15K, and the things that I felt that RAM Racing (the organizers of the event) did wrong.  Well, it's really blown up. It started with some comments on the Hot Chocolate Race's Facebook Page, starting as early as the morning of the race. You see, RAM posted on the page that it was accidents that led to the traffic snarl getting to National Harbor, even though there weren't any. The Washingtonian actually checked this out and found it not to be true.

    That's right, the race and the whole fiasco of it has gone to the press, including a radio interview (skip to 34:50), an article on WTOP and a Washington Post article. On another Facebook page, runners continue to complain and are asking for refunds. They're even disputing charges for the race on their credit cards and making Zazzle T-shirts about the race.

    So, yeah, this race was bad. It was the worst organized race that I've ever run. That being said, I don't expect my money back. I did run the race. I did get a jacket (even if it sucked). I did eat chocolate. I guess, if the contract that RAM racing had with me was to hold a 15K race, and to give me a jacket and some chocolate, they fulfilled that. If I think they did a bad job of providing those things (which I do), then it's for me to not do business with RAM racing again (which I will not).

    The thing is, never expect your money back for a race. Never. That money is spent soon after you've paid your registration fee - on water, food, premiums, police, etc. Those types of things are not refundable, which is why has a no refunds policy. I didn't get to run the Annapolis Ten Mile Run this year, either, since it was canceled. I didn't expect my money back at that race either. I understand how these things work.

    I understand the frustration that this race caused, and like I said, it was the worst race I've ever run (organization-wise). However, I am surprised whenever I see on Facebook that people are still going on about it with such vigor. Given that I don't see next years race being held at National Harbor, especially since PG County has  now banned RAM racing from putting on a race there, and given that no one needs to sign up for another RAM racing event if they don't want to, don't you think our time might be better spent training for our next race?

    Just a thought.

    UPDATE: The race has made Dallas news as well, since RAM is planning a Hot Chocolate Race in Dallas in February.

    One more update: I just wanted to say that I think the REAL losers in all of this were the folks working for MarathonFoto, who came out to the race, stood outside in the cold for an hour or longer than anticipated, and then probably won't sell that many of them because people won't want to remember this race. MarathonFoto, I feel for you. Totally a sucky situation.

    Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a free 2012 Underwater Photography Calendar!

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Giveaway: 2012 Underwater Photography Calendar

    It's getting to be pretty wintery out there, so I know you are probably dreaming about escaping to somewhere warm and tropical? How about being reminded of warm, tropical waters every day of the year? You can do that with this 2012 Calendar of photography by my husband, Todd Krebs (aka Above and Below Photo).

    Month after month, you'll see spectacular photographs taken in Florida, Little Cayman and Indonesia. Photos include Manta Rays, Clownfish, Sea Turtles and more.

    Would you like to win this calendar? To do so, just comment here for each entry below:

    1. (Required) Go to Todd's portfolio at RedBubble and leave me a comment on this post about a photo that you like on the site.
    2. (Optional) Make a purchase from Todd's RedBubble portfolio - there are lots of photography gifts to purchase - notecards, postcards, calendars, posters and prints. Leave TWO comments  - you'll get two entries!
    3. (Optional) Become a follower of my blog by clicking on the "Follow" button on the right hand menu and leave me a comment. If you're already a follower, let me know!
    4. (Optional) Become a follower of my blog on Facebook and leave me a comment. If you're already a Facebook follower, leave a comment and let me know!
    5. (Optional) Spread the word about this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook or your own Blog and leave me a comment to let me know about it!

    Act soon, this giveaway ends Wednesday, December 14 and I'll announce the winner on the 15th.

    Good luck!

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    HBBC Update

    The Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge has been going on since November 19, and I'm just finally getting around to updating my status. Some of you may have gotten comments on your blogs today from where I'm finally catching up. My Google Reader is filled with posts from BEFORE THANKSGIVING. Yikes!

    Here's my oh-so-long update (recorded in Log Your Run).

    11/19: 5 mile run, 5 points
    11/20:  Rest day
    11/21: 40 minutes lap swimming, 4 points
    11/22: 3.7 mile run, 3.7 points
    11/23: 41 minutes lap swimming, 4.1 points
    11/24: 3.3 mile run, 3.3 points
    11/25: Rest day, but I should get points for escorting my mom to Tampa ;)
    WEEK ONE Total: 20.1 points

    11/26: 6.1 mile run, 6.1 points
    11/27: Rest day
    11/28: Rest day
    11/29: 4 mile run, 4 points
    11/30: 40 minutes lap swimming, 4 points
    12/1: 3.3 mile run, 3.3 points
    12/2: 40 minutes lap swimming, 4 points
    WEEK TWO Total: 21.4 points

    12/3: 9.3 mile run, 9.3 points

    NOTE: I'm not really doing the "7 servings of veggies" thing because I don't log my food and have no plan to.

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    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Hot Chocolate 15K 2011

    Kim's Mistake #1: Hasty Signup with NO Research at All

    I signed up for this race on a whim. Someone mentioned it on Facebook, and I was upset because I had accidentally scheduled some travel so that I can't run the Celtic Solstice 5 Mile Run in Baltimore this year. Celtic Solstice is a great race that I LOVE. My other option was the Jingle Bell 5K in Columbia, which I've always kind of wanted to run but never have. It was today also, and I was close to signing up for it when I heard about the Hot Chocolate. I was excited to hear that there was a race in December that was longer than a 5K but shorter than a half marathon. I signed up quickly and on a whim within maybe an hour of hearing about it. I never thought about the logistics, I never investigated that this was an inaugural race (I've never run an inaugural race before), I didn't realize that they weren't going to close the race until 20,000 (!!!!) people signed up.

    Mistake? Well, yeah, kinda.

    Once I signed up, I forgot about it for the most part, since I was getting ready for New York and that was all I could think about. 9.3 miles? Whatever, I'd worry about it later. Then, a couple of weeks ago I realized that this race was going to be on a Saturday and that it was 2 hours from my house with NO race day packet pickup. Ugh, I would have to get a hotel. There was going to be no way to get down to National Harbor to get my packet after work on Friday and then get back up to my house, eat dinner and still get to bed early enough to feel good to get up for the race in the morning. I figured I'd TRY to get down on Wednesday or Thursday for packet pickup, and if I managed that I would cancel the hotel. I didn't get down there on Wednesday or Thursday, so we kept the hotel reservation.

    RAM Racing Mistake #1: No Signage to the Expo

    I left work a little early on Friday in order to get a head start, since I knew I'd be fighting both DC and Baltimore traffic getting down to National Harbor. We made it down at around 6:15 or so. We sat in traffic trying to get into National Harbor, then couldn't figure out where packet pickup even was. No signs, no instructions, and everyone we saw seemed to be in National Harbor for a night out, not a race expo. We asked a few different people and finally found it. I'll go ahead and admit - the race expo wasn't bad. It was small, nothing much to say about it. It didn't compare to any other race expo I've been to this year - especially not one with 20k people showing up. Still, I can't really say that much about it that's negative, besides the jackets.

    RAM Racing Mistake #2: The Jackets (Poor sizing, CHEAP, giving out Chicago Jackets and passing them off as DC jackets)

    Oh, the jackets. The jacket was so nice that it was the reason that I had signed up for the race. The photo on the race page made it look really great, and I expected a race premium on the level of Celtic Solstice and the Annapolis 10 Mile Run. But, I should have known better. Both of those races are run by local organizations who care about the image that the show for their races. This Hot Chocolate race was run more by a corporate machine and the quality of the jacket wasn't much better than those white jackets that they sell at marathon expos for you to wear at the starting line and throw away. And - they were sized very small, so that even though I followed the measurements chart and ordered a Womens Large, I had to trade it for a Mens Small to find one that fit. That's two sizes bigger, and I hate wearing mens stuff. I thought it was odd that people had been exchanging jackets all week and I was there in the last 3 hours of the expo and was still able to find one that fit. Then, I looked at my jacket and put it all together - there was an ad on it for a charity in Illinois. These are leftover jackets from the Chicago Hot Chocolate race. Nice.

    Kim Mistake #2: Deviating from the Plan and Eating Out

    We had been planning to get pizzas and eat them in our hotel room, but National Harbor was so nice that we chose to eat there. We ended up eating at Rosa Mexicano, which was delicious, but we had to wait an hour for a table and it was stupid expensive. I don't want to say that I regret it because Todd and I haven't had a lot of time together lately, but we probably should have just stuck with the plan.

    RAM Racing Mistake #3: Delayed Start (Traffic Issues, Really poor course planning)

    And so, it was race day. We got up this morning at about 5:30. My friend Sarah was meeting us to carpool at 6, so we went down and met her. While we were meeting up with her, another lady approached us. Her name was Kathy and she had signed up for the race with a family member, only to have him bail an hour earlier. The parking requirements required that you have at least 2 people in each car, and she had paid for the National Harbor Parking pass that we hadn't paid for. We agreed to give her a lift to the race in exchange for using her parking pass. So, we were four!

    We were about 10 minutes from National Harbor, and we had left the hotel two hours before the race start. We were staying in Alexandria, Virginia and only had to cross the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to get there. Well, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge was a parking lot. We sat and sat and sat, with people finally getting out and walking, and then we finally made it there and parked. It was about a mile walk to the starting line (something people complained about, but isn't that unusual for a race of this size), and we made it to the starting line at about 7:55, nearly two hours after leaving the hotel. The 5K people were corralled, but not moving. The 5K was supposed to start at 7:30, the 15K was supposed to start at 8. Race organizers had chosen to delay the start of the 5K, not only because of the traffic, but also because they had laid the course out so that the people walking to the starting line from the parking had to walk on the course.  So, there was simply no way to start the race. They finally started the 5K at about 8:30, an hour late, and my understanding is that people were still walking from the parking to the start at that point. Can you imagine starting a 5K with people walking towards you on the course?

    They ended up delaying the 15K even more in order to clear the entire 5K course before we started. We finally started the 15K at about 9am, an hour late. At that point, my feet were hurting and frozen and everyone was shivering, miserable and angry.

    RAM Racing Mistake #4: Corral MESS

    The way the corrals were supposed to work was that we were supposed to loop around. So, the front of the packers at the beginning were going to cross and we were lined up next to them and were supposed to walk in the opposite direction and then around the corner and down their whole chute to the starting line. Well, the people all the way in the back - the WALKERS - 15 min, 14 min, etc, broke the gate down - presumably because they were cold - and cut into the start of the race. Not realizing what we were supposed to do and with virtually no course officials directing traffic, we followed them. So, suddenly we were on the race course at the start of a CROWDED race with people trying to run about a 7 minute pace. Can you say NIGHTMARE for someone who was trying to run an 11-12 minute pace and runs Galloway???? Can you imagine the anger of the fast people up in front suddenly having to weave around 14 minute people after they waited an hour longer than necessary to start the race?

    RAM Racing Mistake #5: Overcrowded course - GREED

    I wanted to believe that they could handle this many runners. They could not. The course was PACKED and it NEVER let up. They oversold this race, big time. Oh, let's start a new race, and let's just go ahead and go with 20,000 runners for the first time. Stupid, stupid, stupid, and it's nothing other than greed. So, not only was I totally in the wrong pack, I was also trying to take walk breaks on a packed course. People at my pace are USED to Galloway runners. These people were not. I had people cussing at me. I had two separate people yell at me, "when you walk, you HAVE to be on the RIGHT!"  Ok, I've got to be honest, I've never heard that before. I've run something like 50 races and I've never had anyone tell me that I needed to stay right. I've always been told that when you walk, you should get to the SIDE, right or left doesn't matter. I was doing that, but I was preferring the left because the right was a shoulder with a guardrail. I moved right, but it was miserable over there. Anyway, I'm sincerely sorry, fast runners, I wasn't on that part of the course on purpose. The starting line was a mess. I felt stressed out the entire race, and I skipped a whole bunch of walk breaks in order to try and not cause any problems with these fast runners, but the hills kicked in and I had to walk. I'm sorry!

    RAM Racing Mistake #6: Bad course in general (highway, construction site, gravel, dangerous path, narrow path)

    The course sucked. Todd said it was one of the worst courses he's ever ran. Ok, it was hilly, but I don't complain about hills. You can't help hills. But, the 5K course was scenic and they made the 15K course by basically adding 6 miles of out and back on a highway to the 5K course. And, the highway wasn't even closed. One lane was open, and the course was so crowded that runners kept getting into the travel lanes. Then, they opened up a second lane while we were still out there. I'm not kidding, suddenly, they pushed us all farther left. Then, we ran through what looked like a construction site with dirt and mud and big rocks that people were tripping over. On to the scenic part of the course, until we got to the last few miles where a portion was on this crushed shell path right on the waterfront - and when I say right on the waterfront, I mean that there was no barrier between the overcrowded path and the water. WTF? Then, it narrowed into a tunnel, where I understand that people faster than me were forced to walk.

    RAM Racing Mistake #7: Poor water stop planning (Pour your own!)

    Pour your own water, I'm not kidding. I guess the water stop volunteers couldn't keep up, because at every single water stop, there was no water. They had it, but they didn't have it ready, so water stops really meant STOP. The first four miles, I couldn't even GET to the water stop because the course was so crowded, and when I finally HAD to stop because I was so thirsty, I had to wait for someone to pour me Gatorade and then it was only about a centimeter of Gatorade and it was full strength and GROSS. At another water stop, I had to FIND the cups (they were on the ground) and then pour my own water. The Gatorade didn't have enough water in it, and it was undrinkable. Only the final water stop actually had people standing handing out water.

    RAM Racing Mistake #8: Uphill finish + uphill to chocolate = unhappy runners

    You had to walk up this giant hill to get to the chocolate, and people were PISSED. I will say this though - the actual chocolate pickup was well organized and the Ghiradelli was delicious. It was a tray of fondue with half of a banana, a rice krispie treat, apple slices and a marshmallow. Yum! Plus, hot chocolate, which Todd liked but I couldn't drink because it would have made me sick.

    ... and we got stuck in traffic leaving and barely made it to our late checkout at our hotel.

    The Good Stuff
    Like I said, the chocolate part was awesome. But, I can make that at home on my own. It was a challenging course, and I had a great time running with Todd, Sarah and our new friend Kathy that we met this morning. She had never done Galloway before, and I had to explain that it's usually so much easier. It was nice to meet a new friend. I had a great time with the three of them, and I hope that they did, too. Despite the fact that I kind of regret it, the dinner was probably the best part of the race.

    I have a pain in my foot now, which I hope is my arthritis and not a stress fracture. It bothered me during the last half mile of the race. I didn't eat before the race (BIG mistake - Kim Mistake #3) and so I was so HUNGRY during the race. It didn't help my energy, I'm sure.

    This is a one and done for me, and I should know better than to do a race with this many people. I HATE large races.

    Final time: 1:48:49, an 11:41 pace (a new PR, but only because I've never done a 15K before)

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    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Stats as of 30 November 2011

    November 2010
    55.7 miles
    11 hours, 27 minutes
    Avg Pace: 12:21/mile
    Cold Turkey 10K 2010: 1:07:14 (10:51/mile)

    November 2011
    60.5 miles -- 4.8 miles more than in 2010
    13 hours, 4 minutes -- 1 hours, 37 minutes longer than in 2010
    Avg Pace:  12:58/mile -- 37 seconds slower than in 2010
    ING New York City Marathon 2011: 5:46:40 (13:14/mile)

    Year Totals:
    654 miles at 13:05 per mile

    I ran more miles this month than I did in November last year, even though I didn't miss any runs last November and this month I skipped four runs. I took off the two runs right after the marathon because it's the smart thing to do, and I took off the two weekday runs the following week because I had a cold.  I'm all better now, and I've started up my weekday running again.

    Last week, it was POURING on Tuesday when I would normally run, but I needed to go to the shopping mall where my running store is because I wanted to go to Trader Joe's and Pier One Imports to get some last minute Thanksgiving things. I ended up being the ONLY runner who showed up at the running store, and I went instead over to my gym and ran on the treadmill there. Nice treadmills!!

    I've been swimming this month as well. I've been going to my new gym (the expensive gym #2 if you remember the post where I was trying to make a decision). I've been trying to make it there twice per week, and I've really enjoyed it. I didn't include it my stats, but I've gone about 5300 meters this month. I had to skip two pool sessions due to my cold. Since I'm trying to justify the cost of the new gym, I will have to make up those two pool sessions later. I haven't done it quite yet.

    I came down to Tampa to visit my sister right after Thanksgiving. We left on Friday and I got home last night. Todd stayed home, and I worked from my sisters house on Monday and Tuesday. My mom wanted to visit my sister and my niece and nephew, so I went down with her to help her on the airplane and in the airport. I've missed Todd, and I'm glad to be home, although it was nice to be out in the sunshine for a few days. My sister and I ran two runs together around her neighborhood, and I had to giggle when she dressed in a thick jacket to run in 65 degree weather. I was wearing shorts!

    This month, I've been mostly running easy slow miles, but this was actually my fastest month since May. I'm looking forward to running some faster miles now that marathon training is over, although I'm kind of mourning losing my super long distance endurance.  Oh well. Coming up, I have my last race of the year, a 15K near Washington, DC. Then, I'll be running the Walt Disney World marathon relay in January (and yes, Kitzzy, I would love to meet you, I just have been so busy that I haven't had a chance to get back to you!)

    I've also got HBBC, which I need to check in for.  I'll do that soon.

    And marathon photos!!  I have them, I will post them soon.

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    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    I've been so crazy busy this week! I've talked a little about how my work process goes, basically we work in 3 week "sprints" where each of us has an assignment for those three weeks and then we release our software at the end of the 3rd week. Last week was "release week," which is always somewhat busy, but then when this sprint started, I'm the "disturbed," which means that I'm in charge of our day to day production support so that the other developers can work in peace. It's been busy, so I haven't been able to catch up on reading blogs and the other things that I usually do during downtime. Plus, Todd and I are in the midst of remodeling our kitchen (yay!)

    So, what I am thankful for this year.

    So much has happened this year! Gosh, how can I not be thankful for my trip of a lifetime to Indonesia? Three weeks in the South Pacific, I think about it pretty much every day, and I would love to go back someday. Todd and I get to go to so many amazing places, and I am forever thankful for that. This year, we were also able to make our annual trek to Little Cayman for our second anniversary. Awesome.

    Of course, there's Todd. We've had more than five years together and two years married, and he is the most awesome, incredible, terrific thing in my life. I mean, think about any adjectives that mean "wonderful" and they'll describe Todd :)  He's always there for me, being an amazing husband and I am thankful every single day that he's a part of my life.

    And of course, I am thankful for The Bug. He's doing much better and is hopefully recovered. We still haven't heard back on test results, but hopefully Friday.

    My health, my family's heath, it's all so important. I'm thankful that I have a job that I enjoy with co-workers that make me smile. I'm thankful that I get to run with terrific people, and of course that I'm able to run. And I got into the New York City Marathon this year and ran a terrific race! How cool is that?

    And I have to add the more "materialistic" stuff... :)

    We're getting new countertops! Yay! And we just bought a new fridge, it was delivered on Tuesday. We're slowly making our house a home, and this year we've pretty much finished our dining room and for Thanksgiving we'll be using our new dining room furniture for the first time! YAY! YAY YAY!

    Here's a weird one - I am thankful for my 9 year old car that is still running strong after more than 150,000 miles.

    In all, what a terrific year and I have so much to be thankful for.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I'm hosting a lovely turkey dinner with my family. Here's to health and happiness!

    (I'm thankful for someecardds, which always makes me laugh)

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    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Quick Update

    If you were wondering about The Bug, he is back at home. The internist found nothing. The good news is that he didn't swallow an object such as fake plants or plastic, which are his favorite things to gnaw on. The bad news is, we still don't know what is wrong. The internist took some cultures and samples and whatnot from his inflamed stomach and we'll have the results in 3-5 business days.

    Friday night, he was feeling to too good, and his meow was still strange and he was still lethargic. Saturday, he was doing things like trying to run down the stairs and then missing the last two stairs and falling over himself (he would normally jump those last two). Once, he tried to jump up on the table and he didn't make it and kind of hit his stomach and fell onto the floor into his water bowl.  It was depressing.

    The doctors gave him a bunch of medicine, including some appetite enhancing ones (although I discovered on Wednesday that catnip encouraged him to eat a little). I think they worked too well, because now when we give him food he scarfs it down and then throws it back up again. He does keep most of it down, but like I said, some comes up.

    He's clearly not totally out of the woods, but is better. I've just had to get him off the counter 4 times while I was cooking dinner, and he is meowing for food in a mostly normal kind of way (aka, annoying).  So, that's great news.

    Here he is on Saturday, with his little marks on his paws from where the IVs were:

    In other news, I DO have my NYC marathon photos, I just have to find the time to upload them. Between work, the cat and trying to get my house ready for Thanksgiving (which I'm hosting), I've been quite busy.  Here's a photo of the whole berry cranberry sauce that I canned yesterday:

    Store bought cranberry sauce sucks.
    Very exciting.

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    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Update on The Bug

    In case you were wondering about our cat, he is currently at a feline internist and is undergoing testing - an endoscopy and/or an ultrasound to determine what is wrong. Yesterday, he was eating some but was weird about it and his meow sounds different. I know that's weird, but his meow sounds older. Not as strong. He's still lethargic, but then at times he'll play and act normal. So, we're really  not sure, but wanted to have the tests done before it's the weekend.  I'll update when we know more.

    I'm still sick and I'm super busy at work. I've finally gotten Brightroom to send my NYC marathon pics, so I will be posting those soon.

    Have a great weekend, and watch my Twitter feed for more updates on The bug (see left hand column on my blog page).

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    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Random Update

    On Sunday, I started getting sick, so I'm just going through this week with a cold that is strong enough to be annoying and make me feel wiped out, but weak enough that I've still been going to work. So, while I have some updates - mostly that last week I had an awesome time swimming at my new gym, I'm too tired to write out much detail. It was kind of expected that I might get sick after the marathon - I seem to frequently catch a cold immediately after a big race.

    We're also in the process of redecorating / remodeling our house. This has actually been going on for quite a while, but work kept us from really getting into some of it until just recently. We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year for  my family, and my dining room is looking awesome. So excited. We're getting close to being finished, but we're also starting on doing some major changes to the kitchen (new countertops - yay!). I'll post some pictures soon.

    Saturday, our cat Bugsy (aka "The Bug") stopped eating. He was acting moody and unhappy, and we realized that he hadn't been eating his food. He went to the vet yesterday and was given some medicine, but today he was no better and Todd brought him in again. He's still there under observation and we're still not sure what is wrong with him. We're missing him quite a bit.

    So, this was kind of a non-update about lots of things but nothing specific. Once I'm feeling better, I'll write some more!

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    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    So, Now What?

    As tempting as it (surprisingly) is to go straight into training for another marathon, I am pretty adamant about the policy that I have of only doing a marathon every other year. I think it gives me time to rest up and do other things with my life, so it's for the best.

    I do not, however, have any policies about half marathons. I try not to run too many races, though, because I think that the more races you run, the more prone you are to injury. So, I try to only do 2-3 half marathons per year.

    In 2012, I'm already signed up for both the Walt Disney World Marathon Relay (2 person, so a half marathon) in January and the Ocean City (Maryland) Half Marathon on April 29. I'm planning to run a half marathon in the fall as well.

    The dilemma is that my high school friends are getting together to run the Rock & Roll USA Marathon/Half Marathon in DC on March 17. The group that is running is mostly members of my high school's cross country team, and I feel flattered that they've invited me to run with them. I was not on the cross country team in high school - far from it. (side note: I gave some thought to posting a high school picture of myself here, but I chickened out)

    So, should I run the race? It's 10 weeks after Disney and 6 weeks before Ocean City, so they are spaced out enough, but something just makes me nervous about doing 3 half marathons in 4 months -- even though I know people do it all the time. There's also the cost factor. I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15K in December without realizing that I probably will need to book a hotel room. We're obviously spending money to go to Florida for Disney, and I'll probably need a hotel room for Rock & Roll USA.

    I admit, if it weren't for my friends running it, I wouldn't even be considering this race. I am not a huge fan of the Rock & Rolls because they're just so big. For half marathons especially, I love a smaller, low key event and after running both the largest half marathon in the US and the largest full marathon in the US in the same year, I can use a little "low key." My friends are all faster than me, so running the race slowly with my friends isn't really an option.

    Anyway, there's an 11-11-11 coupon for the Rock & Roll races, so I feel like I need to make a decision. What to do, what to do.

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    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    More Thoughts on NYC

    Only because I can't stop talking about it, and because I have stuff I didn't mention in my ultra-long post about the race, here's some more!

    The Weather
    The weather was "perfect" and believe me, I'm not complaining. I will take the weather that we had in NYC on Sunday over just about any race weather. That being said, it was a little bit warm and sunny. The sun was so warm that I was a little too warm in the sun, a little too cold in the shade. On some streets, it went sun-shade-sun-shade in rapid succession making me go through weird hot/cold bursts.  Still, it was great weather and I'm not complaining.

    The Course
    The course is awesome, and the people are awesome. The strange thing about the course is that you don't go through what I would consider "landmarks" of New York - Times Square, The Met, the Brooklyn Bridge, etc (well, except Central Park). It was more difficult than you'd expect, or more difficult than I expected, although I can't say that the hills were really that rough. My legs weren't tired from the hills, my legs were tired from running 26 miles. The hills just meant that I was running them slower. That being said, I never really was cursing any of the hills and I felt ready for them and trained.

    The Crowds
    Here's the real thing - the course didn't showcase "landmarks." The course showcased New Yorkers! The real gem of the course for you to see while you were out there were the incredible people of New York City cheering you on. It was such a win/win, they were making my day, and I was apparently making theirs! I saw some clever and funny signs (my favorite being "Worst Parade Ever"), but it was the "New York Loves You" or "Brooklyn Loves You" signs that really got me. Spectators saying "Thank you for running"? Awesome. I mean, if there is one thing I can't say enough, it's that New York, the Road Runners and the race made you feel like you were special. Even if you weren't elite, even if you weren't a movie star, even if you were one runner of 47,000 runners. THIS is why you run New York. I never really understood that until the last week or so.

    Watching the Elites
    I did see the elites start the race. I was sitting on the ground at the village and to be honest, I didn't know if I'd hear the race start or see the race start or what. I thought maybe the bridge was obscuring my view. But, then there was a gunshot and that freaked me out until I saw the truck on the bridge and the heads bobbing up and down, and then the crowd still in the runners village started cheering. Very cool. I saw some of the race on television from the village, but not much.

    The Wall
    I never hit the wall. Even though I didn't run a perfect race, the wall was not my problem. I was struggling at the end, but to be honest, if I hadn't had a goal time and had slowed to a comfortable (non-walking) pace, I would have been fine. I could have even continued with 1:1s, I just would have been slow. All of that being said, I'm glad I wrote my race report already because even 3 days out, I have almost totally forgotten the pain of those last few miles and have given thoughts to what my next race will be.

    The Bridges
    There are two that were worries for me before the race: The Verrazano Narrows (at the starting line) and the Queensboro. Like I said in my race report, the Verrazano was no sweat because the crowd kept you so slow that you didn't even really notice it. The weird part about the Verrazano is that it moves while you're running on it. It bounces with the runners, and you can feel it either come up and meet your foot and you step, or disappear out from under your foot. It was freaky, and it made me want to be off of the bridge, despite the beautiful view.

    I do wish that I had been on the top level. No, I didn't get peed on (thank goodness), but all of the really great photos are from the top level. I couldn't see as much because looking around would have made me more likely to crash into somebody. I wish I'd had more of an ability to see out of the bridge.

    As for the Queensboro - for me it was no sweat. I know other runners had issues with it, but I was feeling ok at the time, and the bridge really didn't kill me. I was expecting it. It was quiet, yes, but for me it was a welcome break from spectators (yes, I love them, but I feel like when they cheer for me I should acknowledge them and that gets exhausting, especially when you're not feeling so great). It is an ugly bridge, and I know others were feeling bad because about 90% of the people around me were walking at that point.

    The Pictures
    I take horrible race photos, and this race was no exception. That being said, I'm going to purchase them and post them within the next day or two. I just can't decide if I should get the videos or not. There are two - one of me at the 10K mark and one of me at the finish. In the 10K one, you clearly see me cut some guy off (Sorry, guy, I had no idea that I did that). The videos are $10 extra, and I don't know if I'd ever find a use for them.

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    Monday, November 7, 2011

    ING New York City Marathon 2011

    TLDR (Too Long, Didn't Read) Version:
    I had a mixed up kind of race. I went in with three goals: 1) Set a new PR, 2) Make that new PR under 5:40 and 3) Have a great/happy/fun race. I made a new PR - 5:46:40 (previous PR was 5:52). And that's great, but I obviously didn't do #2 and I'm not so sure about #3. I had some stomach issues, and that made me dreadfully uncomfortable for the majority of the race. And, by the time I resolved the problem, my legs and body were too tired to make #2 happen. I was so determined to get a time under 5:40, and I fought and fought and fought as hard as I possibly could to get that time. It was incredible, and in the end, I am really proud of how I toughed it out. It was a more difficult race than I expected, that's for sure. Here are all of the gruesome details:

    Yummy shake!
    Friday, November 4
    Todd and I both took off of work on Friday, so we left as early as possible (about 7:30am) to get up to NYC with plenty of time to do our thing. We made it into the city (via the Secaucus NJ Transit station) by about 1pm, and headed straight for lunch, where we had delicious toasted marshmallow shakes and burgers from Stand 4 in Union Square. I had seen this place on the Food Network quite some time ago, and I had to try it! It was worth the extra time and subway fare to get there and get the shake!! You can see more about it in the video from The Best Thing I Ever Ate. (Note: There are 3 desserts featured in that video, and I've had two of them - the CMP from Woodberry Kitchen is the other - yummm).

    Next, it was off to the Expo. I had (of course) forgotten my registration card in the car back at the train station. I have never, ever to this day EVER remembered to bring my registration card to the expo of any race that I have ever been signed up for.  New York made it more difficult than the usual races for me to register, but I did finally find a helpful person willing to give me clearance to pick up my bib. I got myself a shirt, and then wahoo the best part of any race (well, ok, second to finishing) - buying merchandise! Since I figure this was my one and only NYC, I loaded up on logo items. I was quite pleased. Then, we roamed around the expo looking at various booths. As it became closer to about 5pm, it became more and more crowded, until we finally decided it was time to go.
    Bart Yasso talks marathon strategy at the Expo

    We headed back to Jersey, where we were spending the night with our friend Bill. You might remember Bill and his sister Terry from our 2010 trip to Belize and our 2008 trip to Turks & Caicos. We enjoyed a quiet evening with Bill and I headed to bed early.

    Saturday, November 5
    We kind of just chilled out in New Jersey all day Saturday. We had initially thought we'd go see a Broadway show, but the timing just wasn't going to work out. I was nervous about getting to bed on time and getting dinner on time, etc, so we kept Bill company, and then headed over to our hotel to check in. We had initially planned to stay with Bill, but I ultimately decided that the hotel made more practical sense, given my sleep needs, etc. Plus, the hotel was literally right next to the Meadowlands, where I was catching the bus to the starting line. I had everything laid out and ready, and then we went back to Bill's house. Terry had flown in from Arizona, and I cooked spaghetti for all of us to enjoy. Nice, quiet, relaxing evening. Then, it was back to the hotel where I settled in for a nice rest.

    This handy door sign was in my
    marathon bag
    RACE DAY - Sunday, November 6
    I was up at 5am, and I got dressed and ready. I normally don't eat much before a long run, but because I had such a long wait before my start time, I thought I'd have a good sized breakfast at the hotel. I had a full kitchen, so I made two scrambled eggs and two pieces of wheat toast. I kept worrying that I was eating too much, but I ate anyway.

    Todd dropped me off at the Meadowlands, where a line of NJ Transit buses awaited the runners. I was all the way in the back of the bus, and I expected a 30 minute or so trip to Staten Island. However, I chose poorly and our bus driver didn't take us on the route to drop us directly at the runners village with the other offical buses. Instead, we were in line with all of the other traffic - the non-official race transport and cars dropping off runners. We sat and sat and sat in traffic, and it was 8:30am before we were off the bus - and we were almost a mile away from where we should have been dropped off. That was TWO HOURS on the race bus. At least I was warm, but it was frustrating and the people on the bus in the first wave missed their bag drop off time.

    The runners village was clearing out as I headed to my corral
    After a walk, I was finally at the runners village. I had been drinking water on the bus, so I decided to stop in the first potty that I found, which was right outside. I don't know why this is important, but I'm including it in my race report. Security was tight around the starting line, so after the gauntlet of security check points and a bit more of a walk, I finally made it into the green starting area. I had packed enough stuff to camp for several days, but the sun was warm, so I just sat on my garbage bag that I'd brought. I kept moving - once because the speakers were giving me a headache, and then again because the sun was giving me a headache. I turned in my bag around 9:15 (never having used the gloves, headband, fleece blanket, and hand warmers that I'd packed), and then found myself a delicious soft Dunkin Donuts bagel. I had also eaten my cereal bar, which was what I always eat before a long run. I was nervous that I was going to eat too much and get a stomach cramp, so I ate about 3/4 of the giant bagel and threw the rest away. Hindsight is 20/20, so I should have eaten the rest of the bagel and probably another bagel or two. Another potty break, and then at 10:15 or so, I headed into the loading area for the corrals.

    The corrals had potties also, and at the last second, I dodged into one and went again. I was nervous about having to stop during the race and about waiting in line like I'd done at the 2006 Marine Corps, and I was very very glad that I'd gone a third time before the race started. We moved on to the bridge, and suddenly they were playing "New York New York" and we were moving! I'd been told to move as far up as possible, so I started before the 5:15 pace group.

    Miles 1-4
    It was surreal starting this race. I felt like It was almost 11am by the time I crossed the starting line, a whopping 6 hours since I'd woken up. I didn't feel like I was really doing it, it was like I was outside my body watching something else going on. The course was CROWDED. I was on the bottom of the bridge, so the view wasn't as good (and for the record, there was no sign of any urine raining down). It was impossible to maintain any real pace, but I did manage to start my 1:1 intervals right away. I was determined to not waste energy weaving around people like I'd done at the Indy Half Marathon earlier this year, so I just kept with the flow of everyone else. It was such an international crowd, so I enjoyed hearing other languages and seeing so many flags around. The first mile is a pretty big uphill - the Verazzano Narrows Bridge. I had worried about it, but to be completely honest, it was NOTHING. The crowd kept me so slow, I didn't feel the hill at all. My mile 1 time was slow, though - about 13:40, when I was trying to keep between 12:35 and 12:58. I knew I had to pick it up.
    At the starting line

    Suddenly, though, I realized we were headed down. The biggest hill of the race was OVER! A big downhill for mile 2, and when I reached the mile 2 marker, I had done the second mile in 11:40. I'd made up the time from mile 1, but that was too fast, so I slowed down some. At this point, I was getting hot and I took off my arm warmers in mile 3 and tied them to my belt. There were spectators everywhere, but I didn't want to use too much energy cheering. Some would yell "Go Fleet Feet!" and others would yell "Go Baltimore!"  Sometime early in the race, someone seeing my "Fleet Feet Baltimore" shirt yelled "It's ok, I have flat feet, too. Don't be ashamed, Sweetie!" LOL, I got a good laugh out of that one. My average pace at the 5K mark was 12:48, right on pace. I was so pleased and feeling great.

    Miles 5-9
    Brooklyn was nice. There were tons of spectators, and the road was divided. The green corrals (my side) were on the right side of the road, and the blue and orange corrals were on the left. The blue and orange runners were faster though, so the left side had cleared out. I took the first opportunity that I could to cross over to that side of the street, and then I didn't have to worry about weaving through crowds or that someone would crash into me when I took a walk break. I was basically on my own on that side of the street. I was still feeling good. There were so many bands and spectators that I had to leave my watch on the intervals screen rather than chrono so that I could tell when it was time to take a walk break. I certainly couldn't hear it beep.
    It was at mile 6 where the trouble started. I started to notice that my stomach was just aching. Not a good sign. I was so early in the race, I didn't know what to do. I just kept following the plan, keeping up my pace and doing my thing. I was eager to see Todd and my friend Davida at mile 9. At the one hour mark, I had eaten half of  my bag of Power Bar Energy blasts, and I was taking water at every water stop. The stomach though, just kept hurting more and more. I thought it was gas, so I tried to make myself burp (Maybe TMI, sorry). It didn't work. I'd pass a CVS or Walgreens and think, "I have $40. What can I buy in there to make myself feel better?" I tried talking to my stomach in my head What do you want, stomach? What can I give you to make you feel better? It kept right on aching. At the 10K mark, though, I was at a 12:36 per mile pace, so I was still on track, and doing AWESOME.

    At the 15K mark, I passed the first Jumbotron where we were supposed to see messages from friends & family, and sure enough, a message from Karen and Bobby showed up! Awesome! This would be the only one of the jumbotrons that was working, so this was the ONLY message that I got to see. That was disappointing, because I was really looking forward to those. Mile 8: 13:13. A little slow, but that's ok. Mile 9: 12:42. GREAT.

    Miles 10-20

    Immediately after the 15K, there were Todd & Davida! I gave them both a hug and stopped for a photo, and then headed on. I was happy and cheerful, and didn't let on that my stomach was hurting and that it was really starting be uncomfortable and worry me. Instead, I found myself at the 2 hour mark and ate the rest of my energy blasts. Mile 10: 12:44.

    I started skipping water stops because I started to wonder if the stomach ache was being caused by me having to go pee. I'd been going like crazy all morning before the race, so I thought maybe that was the issue. It was NOT the other bathroom issue, I didn't have to go like that. But, I just didn't know. I was starting to be worried about eating, so even when people were giving out candy, I didn't take it for fear of hurting my stomach more. I was teetering on the edge of complete misery. I was watching for a bank of potties with no line, but was not finding one. And frankly, I was getting tired of being in Brooklyn and was ready for something new.

    At a glance, I don't think that the elevation profile of this course looks too bad, so I was not worried about it. That being said, what I had heard was correct - the constant upward gentle grades were irksome and irritating. They were really making my life difficult, and I was longing for some solid flat parts. To be honest, there weren't many, and I was just constantly feeling like were going up, down, up, down, up, down. UGH. My stomach was REALLY hurting, and my mile 11 time showed it: 13:21. Mile 12: 13:03. Around this point, I saw my running friend Keely, whom I was really shocked to see. I was sure I'd miss her since I didn't know where she'd be.

    Just before mile 13 (at the Pulaski Bridge) were a bunch of potties with NO LINE, so I jumped in one and took a quick potty break. Mile 13: 13:34, and I was in Queens.

    The potty break did make me feel a tiny bit better, but to be honest, it didn't seem like I really had to go. At least I could drink freely again. I took my last photo at that point, because I couldn't focus on anything else except my stomach, wondering where I'd see Todd next, and trying to get my pace back into my goal range. At 3 hours, I ate a pack of Sour Patch Kids, worrying that I would upset my stomach even more. I thought it made my stomach feel better for just a little while. Mile 14: 13:15.

    Then came the Queensboro Bridge. I was still feeling a tiny bit better (at least manageable) at this point, but it is a pretty big hill. Nearly everyone was walking, but I was faithfully doing my 1:1s, focused on getting my pace faster. Mile 15: 13:38, Mile 16: 13:14, which I think is pretty respectable given that this is the second biggest hill on the course. I was still not quite over my goal pace overall, so I thought I could make up some time in Manhattan.

    First Avenue in Manhattan was a madhouse. A madhouse. There were people everywhere, spilling onto the street, crowded in the doorways of bars, up in the balconies of buildings, EVERYWHERE. I was starting to feel miserable and horrible, and I wasn't going to see Todd until 102nd street. All I could focus on was getting there, but the course was deceptively hilly through there. Just constant upward grades. Mile 17: 13:08, Mile 18: 13:20.

    I saw Todd at 102, which was about halfway through mile 19. I told him that my stomach was hurting, but I still felt like my legs were ok, so if I could just figure it out... The whole race had been such a fight against my stomach and it was really dampening my spirits. I really couldn't even enjoy the crowds and the city. Todd wished me well and I carried on. Mile 19: 13:32.

    At this point, we crossed the Willis Ave Bridge into the Bronx. My overall time had climbed above my 5:40 goal, so I was really getting frustrated. I KNEW that I could do better than this. Around this time, I passed the 4 hour mark and ate a packet of Sour Patch Kids. This time I was sure of it - I was feeling better after the candy. That was it, I was HUNGRY. UGH UGH UGH. And I started getting hungry around 12:30 or 1:00pm, right when I normally eat lunch!!!!!!!! I was so mad that I hadn't caught on to this earlier. So... at this point, I downed all of the rest of the food that I was carrying, which consisted of two more packets of Sour Patch Kids and four Starbursts. I was annoyed at myself for not taking the food offered by spectators earlier in the race. I have to be honest - I immediately felt better, and my stomach was fine. Overjoyed, I tried to enjoy the Bronx.

    Miles 21-26
    Mile 20: 14:16. WTF? Didn't I just say I felt better??? I was so pissed when I saw that mile time. I had been thinking about switching my intervals since getting onto First Avenue, and that did it. I switched to 30:30 intervals. I became angry and determined Kim, and I forced myself to go faster.

    I had been really doing some negative talking to myself for much of the race at that point. I was mad that I was feeling so terrible. I needed to turn that around. For every single interval from that point forward in the race, I would start running while saying to myself It's just 30 seconds, just run a little bit faster than you feel comfortable running. Just a little bit faster. Just a little bit. I'm not kidding, it was the same mantra on every run interval for the next 6 miles.

    Mile 21: 13:53. NOT good enough. It was weird, I would pass every mile marker thinking "Yeah, that was awesome. I was really pushing, this was a good mile." and then I would look at my watch to see myself STILL above my goal pace. I was back in Manhattan at this point, and there were some reasonably flat parts, but there were some brutal hills ahead in Central Park.

    Mile 22: 13:45. Ok, I was feeling like if I could just pull out a couple of faster miles, I could get my time as close to 5:40 as I could, maybe even under 5:40 (I was hopeful, and I couldn't really handle math at that point). Around this time, I saw Todd again, and I told him how bad I was hurting. My body just wouldn't go faster. My legs were tired, and I was tired. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't go faster.

    Mile 23-24: 13:40 average. Todd had said, "Is there anything I can do for you?" my response: "Yes, make this end." He told me I was almost done. Almost. The hills were starting to be pretty brutal.

    And then it was like, holy crap, can Central Park take any longer? It was being a tease. From the course video, it sure did look like we were in it for a long time, but really we were just running around the outside. I wanted to be inside the park!

    Then, I was inside the park, and I was just trying so hard to get myself faster. I can't even tell you about this, words cannot communicate how hard I was pushing myself during these last few miles. I was repeating my mantra, thinking about FAST, just trying to GO FASTER. I so wanted that 5:40, but I knew I wouldn't get it at this point, so I was just trying to stay as close to it as I could. Mile 25: 13:23.

    Woa, the last mile smelled like crap. It was right were the horses usually line up in Central Park and EW! I was so close to the end, I could feel it. I was so ready to be done. Mile 26: 13:30

    I tried to run it in, and in fact, I turned off my intervals at about 25 1/2. I kept having to walk. At one point, I bumped a French lady, and I told her sorry, and she said, "Sorry? What are you doing? Come on!!" because I was starting to walk again. I was probably running for around 40 seconds and then walking for 15-20 seconds at a time. I was doing my best to run non-stop, but I had to walk here and there.

    At last, the finish. I HAD MADE IT. Final time: 5:46:40. A new PR. Not quite my goal.

    I crossed the finish line and heard an announcer say "Someone will give you your medals ahead!" and I was like, hey, that's right, I get a medal! Awesome! I was so emotional that I don't think I was thinking clearly. I got my medal and started to cry (because I was happy to be done, and because I wanted to see Todd, but I had to wait to see him), and then had to get myself together so that I could get my photo taken. Then, I got  my space blanket and goodie bag (Yum, food), and then got in with the hoards of people trying to get our bags and get out of Central Park. I was totally prepared for how long this would take, but apparently no one else was, because they were all bitching at each other. I was just happy to be eating something, although I was eager to sit.

    I found Todd at 77th street, and we caught the Subway (stupid people don't give marathoners their seats) and headed back to Jersey on the train. I washed up at the hotel and then we went back to Bill's where Terry had prepared an awesome surf & turf meal. It was delicious, and I enjoyed a glass of wine and we all watched "The Walking Dead" together.

    Not much to say, we headed back to Maryland, and I took advantage of the nice weather to give my bike a bath. Tonight, Todd and I had a celebratory dinner out (since his huge 3 month work project is over also, yay!).

    At first, my TLDR version at the beginning of this post was a lot more negative, and I've been a little negative on my race performance until I wrote all of this out and really stepped back and looked at how I'd worked through my issues. I mean, I was feeling MISERABLE and still toughed it out. I maintained a PR pace through a rough course and feeling bad. How awesome is that? I think I can be really proud of this race, especially given that I earned myself a new PR. That being said, I don't think I'd want to do New York again. I'm glad I did it, don't get me wrong. It's a bucket list race that's for sure. I am so happy to have done it and been involved in such an awesome race, but my next race will have an earlier start time.

    So, another end to another marathon year. I am not set to do a marathon again until 2013. New York, I love ya. Thanks for welcoming me to your town.

    And a thanks
    Thank you to Davida and Keely for being out there, and thank you to everyone who wrote on my facebook wall or commented on my blog posts wishing me good luck! Most of all, thanks to Todd for doing everything possible to help me have a wonderful race weekend. I've got an awesome husband. I love you!

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