Weekend Update: Could It Be Any Busier?

Hey, y’all!

It’s Monday and–for the first time in a while–I was excited and ready to go when I woke up this morning. “Why,” you ask? I applied to register for the Boston Marathon this morning! Woohoo! One step closer. Now the waiting begins. Hopefully I’ll find out if my application is accepted on Thursday. You, dear readers, will be among the first to hear if I’m in.

For now, though, I’m all about recapping my crazy-busy weekend. I’m linking up with Tara (aka the Link-Up Hostess with the Mostess) at Running ‘n’ Reading again for this weekend update. IMG_0154Please check out her blog!

As indicated by the title of this post, this weekend was one for the record books. Friday night was the only quiet period for the weekend, when we met up with friends at the pool for the last pool dinner of the summer. Our pool closed yesterday and it’s finally sinking in that the summer is almost over.

Saturday started out with my long run for the week, an 8-miler, the longest I’ve run since the SeaWheeze last month. I took it easier to start because my left hip flexor has been talking to me again, and I don’t want to push it and cause it to become painful again.

My first few miles were pretty slow and I tried to avoid steeper hills to avoid aggravating my hip. I ran by the University of Puget Sound and wanted to run in the track for a lap or 2, but it was closed to the public, so all I could do was take a photo.Photo Sep 13, 8 29 03 AM

I also took this photo, because I can never get enough of this view:Photo Sep 13, 8 55 52 AM

I ended up running close to the last 2 miles of my run at my marathon pace (about 8:30/mile) or close to it. Man alive was it rough! My hip flexor felt fine but I could definitely feel my body working harder than it has in a long time. I can’t believe I ran my marathon just a few months ago at roughly that pace.Photo Sep 13, 9 23 09 AM

In the end, I ended up running the 8.23 miles at an average 9:39/mile pace, which isn’t too shabby.

After running, it was a whirlwind of activity as I took the kids shopping for a friend’s birthday present at Target, which of course ended up being a much more expensive venture than originally anticipated, and resulted in at least one argument with my son, who of course wanted a toy. After that, we hurried home to get my son ready for his soccer game and my daughter ready for her ballet rehearsal, and then we were off to my son’s first soccer game of the season and I hadn’t even yet had a chance to shower and was still wearing my running clothes. Ewww.

After the game it was hurry-scurry to pick up my daughter after her rehearsal, then to the grocery store to purchase to buy tape to wrap the friend’s birthday present, then back home to get ready for the piece de résistance of the weekend: the Katy Perry concert.

My daughter of course was excited as all get-out because she’s a huge Katy Perry fan and she’d been waiting for the concert since her springtime birthday, when we gave her the tickets as her present. She and her friend made some adorable fan-girl t-shirts for the concert.Photo Sep 13, 7 26 06 PM

I was less enthused about the concert and approached it with a cynical, “I’m the mom so I have to be here”-attitude, which wasn’t necessarily fair. We had a nice sushi dinner before with our friends and having a couple glasses of white wine helped break down my resistance a tad.

Before we knew it, though (OMG OMG OMG), it was time to go to the concert (OMG OMG OMG). We arrived at the Tacoma Dome while the opening act, Tegan and Sarah, was playing. And I honestly can’t get over the fact that they’re a pop band and not an indie band anymore.

Our seats were great–on the floor about 20 feet from the catwalk extended out from the stage. My daughter was extremely happy.Photo Sep 13, 8 32 21 PM

When Katy Perry came on stage my daughter was totally awestruck. It was adorable. Photo Sep 13, 10 39 30 PMAnd I have to admit–Katy Perry won me over with the fact that she sang and danced her ass off for 2+ hours. No lip syncing whatsoever. That lady works for her money!

And she’s somewhat clairvoyant, because she knew what I was up to before the concert:

The evening ended with her singing one of my favorite motivational running songs:
So basically Katy Perry won me over.

Sunday was not a day of rest for us, either. Per our family tradition, we went to the huge Washington State Fair in Puyallup (pronounced “Pew-AL-up”) on a day the Seahawks were playing in an effort to avoid crowds. We arrived later than usual and ended up battling masses of people for the next few hours.

We went on some rides, including the ones I like best: The ones the kids ride independently.Photo Sep 14, 12 01 59 PM

My daughter suckered me into riding the Spider with her and I swear there was a moment I thought it would never end.Photo Sep 14, 12 27 06 PM

We ate a TON of fried food, including my annual Krusty Pup (a hand-dipped corn dog) and elephant ear.Photo Sep 14, 1 18 04 PM

And my kids played some midway games and actually won prizes! Photo Sep 14, 1 39 50 PMI think the house lost this year.

After the Fair, we went to my in-laws’ house for an Italian dinner made by my mother-in-law, who recently came home from a European tour (in the classic sense–she’s not Diana Ross or anything). It was the perfect wrap-up for an active weekend.

And now I’m out of breath. As fun as it was I hope next weekend passes with a more relaxed pace.

How was your weekend? Do you prefer staying busy or keeping it mellow? Did you have an easy or difficult time easing into Monday?

Squeaking into the Boston Marathon

I’m a Boston squeaker. If you’re interested at all in the Boston Marathon, you probably know that a “squeaker” is someone whose Boston qualifying time is less than 5 minutes faster than the standards set by the Boston Athletic Association for his or her age and gender group. You may have read this great article in Runners World about squeakers. I had never heard the term until I became one myself.

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That’s me in the bright green shorts on the left, scraping every last bit of energy together to finish with a BQ. Not pretty, but it got the job done.

At the Newport Marathon last May, I qualified with only 28 seconds to spare. I’m definitely a squeaker. In fact, I’m about as squeaky as they come.

What does that mean right now? That I’m a kinda’ stressed out.

Registration opened last Monday, September 8, 2014, for the 2015 Boston Marathon. Registration for the first two days is reserved for runners whose qualifying times are 20 minutes or faster than the cut-off times set by the Boston Athletic Association.

On September 10, registration opened for those runners who qualifying times are 10 minutes or faster than the cut-offs.

This morning (September 12), registration opened for runners who qualified with at least a 5-minute cushion. This group includes my rock-star running coach, Kris, who will be at Boston next April.

There are 30,000 registration spots available for the 2015 Boston Marathon, which will take place April 20, 2015. The BAA has indicated its goal is to apportion 80% of those spots to qualifiers, and 20% to non-qualifiers.

Boston’s rolling-admissions registration during the 1st 2 weeks of the registration period is a merit-based system. The BAA rewards the fastest runners by giving them the best chance of registering for the race. A runner belonging to any 1 of the 3 speedy groups described above are basically assured 1 of the 30,000 available spots.

Because their qualifying times are slower, and there are a finite number of available registrations, squeakers have a lower chance of actually getting into Boston. Registration for squeakers opens on Monday, September 15, and closes late in the day on Wednesday, September 17. Once that registration window closes on September 17, the BAA will assign remaining spots starting with the fastest squeakers. If there are enough spots available, all squeakers who try to register during this 3-day period will snag a spot. I’m hopeful that I will find out by Thursday, September 18, whether I have a space in the 2015 Boston Marathon.

And, if there are spots left over after that 3-day window closes, registration will reopen on September 22 for all qualifiers with a first-come-first-served system.  The likelihood of this occurring? If registration proceeds like last year’s, it won’t happen because the spots will have already been filled during the previous week.

If the registration process sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Fortunately, BAA has tried to simplify it as much as possible, making an instructional video about how to register even a calculator that tells runners when to register based on their date of birth, gender, and qualifying time.

Last September, when registration occurred for the highly popular 2014 Boston Marathon, about 3,000 qualifiers–squeakers–were turned away during the 2nd week of registration. In order to register with a qualifying time, runners had to run 1 minute and 38 seconds faster than their designated qualifying standard. In other words, if I had tried to get into the 2014 Boston Marathon with my time, I would have received a big, fat denial email. Brutal.

I’ve worried about registering for Boston within about 20 minutes of finishing (and qualifying) at Newport, thanks to my tiny time cushion and a toxic comment made by a fellow runner I chatted with post-race. That worry has developed into low-level anxiety this week as I’ve searched the internet for any clues about how many spots are left and what the likelihood is of being able to register as a squeaker.

I’ve combed the Runners World Boston Marathon forum, including this optimistic-yet-anxiety-inducing thread about sell-out date predictions. And I read this article yesterday about how registration is proceeding so far.  The Registration Updates page from the Boston Marathon website is also somewhat helpful.

But if it’s mostly conjecture, and none of it really helps, why do I bother?

I really, really, really want to get in to Boston because I don’t know if I’ll be able to qualify again. And I’m also Type A. Searching for information and reading anything on the subject–regardless of its utility–makes me feel like I have some control over the situation.

Which, of course, I don’t.Photo Sep 11, 1 37 04 PM

For now, I’ll just hope and try not to freak out anymore about my chances. But, honestly, September 18 (“Boston Judgment Day,” as I’ve coined it) cannot come soon enough!

Have you run the Boston Marathon? Do you plan to run the 2015 race? 

Friday 5: 5 Blogs I’m Loving Right Now

Happy Friday!

Today’s a first for me because I’m posting twice in one day. Kind of crazy, I know, but I had my post about the Boston Marathon all ready to go when I remembered today is the Friday 5 link-up with Courtney at Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar at Mar on the Run, and Cynthia at You Signed up for What?!  Today’s subject is too good to miss.IMG_0139I’ve been challenged to name 5 of my favorite blogs right now, which is way harder than I thought it would be because I read so many great ones for so many different reasons.

1.  The Bloggess.  I found Jenny Lawson’s blog, The Bloggess, through listening to the audiobook of Let’s Pretend this Never Happened while training for the New York City Marathon last year. Listening to her read her own memoir, I would alternate between laughing my ass off and wanting to cry, all while running through the streets of my city, looking like a crazy person. After finishing the audiobook, I started following her blog, which is a glimpse into the life of her eccentric genius. She is wickedly funny, has a penchant for taxidermy, and is totally honest about her struggles in life.

2.  It’s a Marathon AND a Sprint. This running blog is written by two women, Colby and Tina, two self-described “forty-somethings,” which instantly endeared them to me because they’re in my age range and they kick so much ass at races and triathlons. They’re hilarious, finding humor in the most mundane things: Um, the pumpkin spice phenomenon, anyone? They can be serious, too. It’s a perfect mix, basically.

3.  Lily Runs the World.  Lily is a running and travel blogger who is currently wrapping up a several-month stay in Europe. She writes really interesting posts about her experiences and her photos are gorgeous. I love Paris and she loves Paris, so any blog with a shit-ton of photos of Paris is an automatic 4-star in my book. Lily’s voice and eye, though, bumps her blog up to a 5.

4.  Eat, Pray, Run DC. This blog is newer to me but I have already started reading it religiously. Courtney runs for Oiselle and writes about her life, which is a happy maelstrom of running, being newly wed, blogging, and running her own business. I particularly like and appreciate her posts about how to be a better blogger, and have already implemented several of her tips.

5.  Born & Raced in Chicago. Andrea is also a Oiselle runner and, like me, lives in the Pacific Northwest. I enjoy reading her blog because she’s a regular runner like myself, is close to my age range, and–most importantly–has amazing weekly menus! I wish I was that organized. I have found some great recipes through her blog. As a mom with a full-time job out of the house and 2 picky kids, I need all the inspiration I can get.

I hope you’re inspired to check out these blogs. I wouldn’t steer you wrong!

What are some of your favorite blogs?

The Post that Wasn’t.

flagI was planning to post about my effort to register for the Boston Marathon today, until I checked Twitter before going to bed last night and saw this:

Photo Sep 11, 10 05 24 AM

The triviality of my intended post for today is inappropriate for 9/11. It can wait till tomorrow.

Until then, please read this story of love, heroism, and sacrifice from the February 11, 2002, issue of the New Yorker. Sadly, this man’s incredible story is only of the thousands of stories of lives lost on that terrible day.

Never forget.

Two Weeks in One Post

If this was a song, it would sound like the really fast parts of REM’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” You know, readers who are aged 30 and older–the part where Michael Stipe is doing that rapid-fire delivery? That’s kind of how this post will go.

Lots of things happened over the last 2 weeks while I was not really blogging. Trying to cram all that info into one post? Kind of impossible without doing it in hyper-speed.

So let’s go.

IMG_4558.JPGI flew down to San Francisco to spend time with my best friend, T. She lives at the top of a hill that is steep on all sides. Even walking up that hill kicked my ass–and I thought I was in decent shape! Ha! Good Tacoma-shape, but not good SF-shape.

We watched a lot of “Inside Amy Schumer,” my new favorite show created by and starring my new favorite person and imaginary BFF, Amy Schumer. And when we weren’t watching episodes of her show on Amazon Prime, we did stuff like:

IMG_4563-0.JPGRunning.

IMG_4570.JPGDay-drinking (that’s a carafe of grapefruit mimosa, y’all!!!).

IMG_4589.JPGUrrr… And more day-drinking.

And eating! We ate, too. I think we ate burrata about 5 times over the course of the weekend, so that alone made the trip stellar.

IMG_4610.JPGI also managed to take this slightly deranged selfie in a restaurant bathroom. A first for me, and probably the last. I did it only because I was wearing green and the entire restroom was green and I thought, “Wow. I need to take a selfie because of all this green.” It seemed inspired at the time but about 3 minutes later it seemed dumb/weird.

Upon returning home, it was time for the kids to go back to school. Where the heck did the summer go? It flew by especially fast this year, maybe because the weather was unusually fantastic. At any rate, the kids were still excited to return to school.

IMG_4725.JPGThey even pretended to like each other while I took this first-day photo.

Hmm… What else happened?

Oh!

IMG_4727.PNGMy son hijacked my Instagram account and decided to post random photos of our cat (as well as photos of him with his friends) along with nonsensical, misspelled captions. Please don’t judge me, Instagram followers/friends.

Last weekend we escaped town for a work retreat in the Bavaria of Washington:

IMG_4706.JPGLeavenworth!

Even though it was a work thing, I took the family and we had a great weekend of yodeling, schnitzel-eating, and stein-raising. I managed to squeeze in a short run, and the whole family got a workout…

IMG_4712.JPG…playing mini-golf. Hey–when in Rome, right? Sometimes it’s fun doing silly touristy things, especially when kids are involved.

So those are the last 2 weeks summarized as quickly as I could manage. I left out some of the downer things (e.g., backed-up sewer line, broken-down car) because I don’t want to waste more energy and time on events that have already taken a lot of out me. And, really, does anyone want to see a picture of what a backed-up sewer line looks like? No.

Hope you have a happy week, friends. It’s good to be back.

Friday 5: Race-Day Rituals

Hi there. Remember me? I’m back for the Friday 5 link-up with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia. Check out their great blogs and consider joining the link-up yourself!

IMG_4694.JPGThis week’s link-up theme? Race-day rituals! Everyone has them; these are mine:

5. Laying out my clothes the night before a race.Technically not a race-day ritual, but it’s a key component leading up to race-day, and sometimes
I go to bed so late the night before, I end up doing this after midnight mere hours before the race. I always set out my race outfit the night preceding a race so I don’t have to think about what to wear when I wake up in the wee hours of race-day. Laying out my race togs includes pinning on my bib.

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4. Oiselle Distance Shorts. Always always always.
I fear I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but foregoing my tried-and-true shorts would leave me totally anxious on race-day. My Distance Shorts don’t ride up, keep me chafe-free, and easily store all my gels, emergency cash, and ID. I can’t imagine running a race without them.

3. Apples and cinnamon oatmeal and a banana. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. The secret weapon of this mid-pack runner? Pre-race fueling with a packet of instant flavored oatmeal and a banana. It keeps me amply fueled for a race (even a marathon) without weighing me down or leaving me with GI issues.

2. Repeated, pre-race porta-potty stops. I have a nervous bladder so I tend to pee about five times every race morning before the race starts. Usually a few times at home (or in the hotel, if the race is out of town), once when I arrive at the race start, and usually one more time within about 15 minutes of the actual start. The last porta-potty stop is the most crucial. I don’t want to have to stop at an aid station on the course to use the loo!

1. Post-race chow-down.Sometimes it’s a traditional breakfast, other times it’s a messy, drive-in cheeseburger, but I eat like a boss after races that are 10K or longer.

IMG_4691.JPGUnless I’ve just run a marathon, I usually eliminate any sort of calorie-deficit I may have earned in the race by the meal gorge-fest that follows.

What are your pre-race rituals?

When Life Trumps the Blog

Hi, guys.

Life became pretty damn complicated last week, and I’m trying to sort through some things before returning to blogging. Right now it feels inauthentic and weird to write my posts as I usually do. I don’t want my blog to be fake, so I’m taking a couple more days off before blogging again. I promise I’ll be back with a vengeance.

I do apologize if I’m not very prompt with my responses to your comments (a problem the last few days), and that things on here will soon resume a good semblance of normalcy.

For now, enjoy this sneak peek of my trip last weekend:

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Talk soon!