Monday, December 31, 2012

A Look Back at 2012

2012 was a pretty awesome year.  I finished 6 classes towards my MLIS, ran a few races, race a few miles, traveled a few times, and spent a lot of time and love on my pug child.  Here's a look back through the year since I really left this blog neglected this year.

In January I rang in the new year with Kyle and some of his close friends.

February Kyle and I went to Minneapolis for a belated anniversary trip and Valentine's Day celebration.  Apparently zero photos were taken.  That's cool.

In March I decided to throw in the towel on training for the Brookings Marathon.  MLIS spring semester I, you win.  Decision had nothing to do with a 20 miler being scheduled on St. Patty's Day (yes it did).

May brought back to back race weekends and lots of runner BFF time with Megan and Jenn.  I ran the Brookings half marathon

followed shortly by the Green Bay half marathon.  Oh hai Laura.


The end of May I said goodbye to my lovely (tiny) one bedroom, and hello to a decent sized two bedroom, and cohabitation with Kyle.  And then came the addition of the love of my life, Ollie girl.

June, July and most of August saw me fall off the running wagon HARD as I sweated just thinking about putting on my running shoes.  And I learned the brutalness that is summer MLIS courses--one month long, 2 nights a week, 4 hours and 15 minutes a night.  Enter fastest summer of my life.

The end of June I rode my first ever half century.  It was fun slash hard slash super hot and humid.  Also, there was beer.

July brought back my favorite Jenn and some much needed sun and fun.  And sadly no adorable pictures.



July also took me to Mpls to celebrate Amanda's bachelorette party.


In August, I gave my notice at my job as a credit counselor and accepted a position as a library assistant at my alma mater.  Goooooooo VIKES!




And then I helped my old roomie celebrate her wedding.



 My eighth consecutive Sioux Falls Half Marathon happened in September.


And I met Scott Jurek.  Squeeeeeeeee!


Ollie attended her first ever Pug-O-Ween and took 3rd place in the costume contest as a ChiaPug.




And Megan and I traveled to San Francisco for the Nike Women's Marathon.  Thank goodness we had the best time ever, because the race was so not fun.



December reunited me with my favorite nephew, Harrison, and I also got to meet his beautiful little sister Harper.

While I was in Dallas, I toed the line of the Dallas Half Marathon (already sweating before the gun shot) with Dominique (long time blog buddy, first weekend meeting), my sister in law Toni (who ran her first half marathon!), and Shannon (Wild West Relay buddy who dominated the full!).



And then Kyle and I packed up the car and headed south to Kansas City to spend the weekend with his BFF and fiance.  Too much fun was had.


We celebrated Christmas with our families, and Ollie got spoiled rotten, just as it should be.




The end of the month saw me entering the last year in my 20s, but I have to say that 28 was one of the best years yet, and I can't wait to see what 29 will bring.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2013 Plan

As I've mentioned on here before, I'm VERY type A, plan in advance, hyper-in-control, Jerbear.  Turns out the amount of time required for grad school success + lingering injuries = suuuuuuuuuuuuckiness.  I love to plan races eons in advance, but that's not something I can do until I'm completely healthy and am able to devote the amount of time I find necessary to race at a quality level (aka somewhere near a PR).

I've been thinking a lot about what's next for my little legs, but it's hard to plan with these unknown (or I guess in some case, known) variables.  For spring 2013 I have decided that I won't be training for a marathon.  For the first time since 2009.  Whoa.  Granted, I didn't run a marathon in spring 2012, but I did spend a good 8 weeks training for one.  Hah, oops.


As mentioned in my previous post, I'm amped that I finally figured out what's wrong with me.  To shed more light on the subject--uber tight hip flexors and weak as shiz glutes.  My plan for much of January to May is to gradually build up my mileage, work on my speed (<--speed, what's that?  I currently haz none), and stretch and strengthen.  Until I'm done with school, training for a marathon is not feasible.  I was able to luck out with Philly last fall, because I had an incredible base going in to marathon training, and only had to actually TRAIN for 6 weeks before I tapered.  Will I run a marathon in 2013?  Meh.. I don't know.  Maybe.  I wouldn't put it past me.  But I sure as heck won't be training for it until I'm done with school.  August 3rd.  Who's counting?

I've found local-ish half marathons for January, March, April and May and am tentatively planning to have the March and May races be "goal" races depending on how quickly I'm able to get back on track.    I won't pull the trigger on a 26.2 race registration fee unless I'm soooo jealous of all of your 3 hour long runs (not likely), even if Jenn and Megan plan a BFFF race weekend and beg me to come (ok, I would have to think very hard about passing this up, let's be honest.  Someone just remind me of limping through NWM, k?).

I also want to get back in to yoga.  I can attend a free yoga class weekly at work, and I'd like to continue to keep that in my schedule.  Megan and I are planning a 30 day yoga challenge post-Dallas which includes some at home classes and meditation, and some meet ups at local yoga studios.


Hip flexor stretches, glute strengthening and ab work (apparently it helps keep your hips in alignment, so maybe I should focus on that instead of wanting Jessica Alba Abs, harumph) will be high on my priority list.

Falling back in love with running is priority one, but I realize that being able to run uninjured is at the root of my frustration.  Some goal-less, watch-less, runs are definitely in the cards as are lots of buddy runs.  Running buddies... hit me up!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Race Report: Dallas Half Marathon

The week leading up to the Dallas half I was a little nervous.  My long run the weekend before left me limping my way through the last 6 miles of 14.  Not exactly "peak" training.  I erred on the side of caution and ran zero the week of the race.

Toni and I woke up super early and made our way downtown to the race start.  When we left the house at 5:15 it was already 70 degrees.  Gulp.  That's about 40 degrees warmer than I've been running in the last few months.  And it was humid.  Eew.  We made our way to the start without a hitch and found Dominique.  We had planned to try to run together since we were both shooting for a 2:05 finish.


I said goodbye and good luck to my sister in law, and Dom and I made our way to the elite corral.  Jk, but we were in corral A which made us feel faaaaaaaaast.  While we were waiting in our corral, I heard a guy say my city and my head whipped around and I demanded to know if he was from here too.  Craziness and super small world.

The race started and we ran through the confetti to the start line.  I mega heart love the Dallas race start. Confetti is sweet.  I tried to snag a piece of the confetti to save (it was in the shape of Texas, how cool!) but they quickly realized it would disintegrate as it was paper mache.

We started and the first couple of miles were really congested.  And somewhat hilly (super hilly compared to what I'm used to, but I knew there'd be some rollers).  Within about a mile and a half I made Dominique ditch me, as my heart rate was sky high and we were only running 9:40s (her goal pace was 9:30, 6 months after having a baby.  NBD.)  She asked me a trillion times if I was okay with her leaving, and I was.  She was looking so bouncy and full of energy, and I looked like I was at the end of a race, soaked with sweat.  Hawt.

Soon after she left, my SF buddy came running up behind me.  He was running the full and was originally planning to break 4 hours.  He said he knew already that was out of the picture.  And then it was time for him to leave too.  Bai friends.

The first 3-4 miles I was REALLY nervous that my hip flexor was going to lock up again.  Because of the rolling hills, I was really freaking out.  Uphills tighten my hip flexor, downhills aggravate my IT band, and 95% of the course were rolling hills.  However, it was the perfect amount of variety for a "normal" runner, and I'd definitely recommend it.

Once I got past the first 45 minutes or so, I realized that my hip was going to cooperate, and I got really excited.  I knew I wasn't going to run a fast time by any means, but I was beyond thankful that I wasn't going to be running in the horrendous pain from the weekend before.  I soaked up the energy, chatted up random strangers, yelled and screamed for Dominique and Toni when I saw them on the out and back portions, and just enjoyed myself.

I finished half marathon #17 in my 17th slowest time.

But my first time making an appearance on television coming up on the finish line, so I guess that's a win?


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Welp It's December Already

Well hello there dearly neglected blog.  It has been 4 months since I have written words.  Well, words that relate to running in a published bloggy format.  I've done PLENTY of writing for school.

I just wrapped up my last class of the semester, turned in my final project, a portfolio, and gave a presentation.  One small 2 page final essay paper stands between me and Christmas vacation.  But before I give that essay a minute of thought, I will be jetting off to Dallas to MEET my baby niece Harper, and snuggle with my nephew Harrison on Friday.  Yes, my niece and nephew are cuter than yours, deal with it.

While there I will be running the Dallas half marathon (previously the Dallas White Rock) and yes I said half instead of the full.  That would be marathon #2 of the year that turned in to a half marathon.

After NWM, which I failed to do a race recap for because a) it blew and b) see a, I was battling continued injuries.  I ended up tweaking my knee the week before NWM, causing me to limp around work and home until Thursday when icing and rolling seemed to finally cause some relief.  Needless to say, when an injury appears in MILE TWO of a 26.2 race, it's going to be a rough one.  Should I have dropped out?  100%.  Did I?  No, because I'm stubborn as heck and couldn't fathom spending all the money that I did on the San Fran trip to not come home with that Tiffany's necklace.  So I shuffle/jog/walked/cried my way through the race, and snagged my Tiffany's necklace with a 66 minute PW.  Woof.

Fun fact:  I called Kyle while walking around mile 21 or 22, because I wanted him to tell me to quit the race.  He answered and I was all sniffly, and he asked how it went.  I told him I was at mile 21.  His response, "YOU'RE NOT FINISHED YET?!?!"  <---Not helping.

It should be no surprise, then, that I was in quite a bit of lingering pain after NWM.  I gave myself about a week and a half off, and still hurt on little casual runs.  I could suck it up during 5-6 milers, but would hurt the whole next day.  I spent all weekend putting off and dreading my long runs, only to put them off sooooo long that, POOF it was Monday.  No long run for this girl.  I finally emailed the race director about the change and was delighted when I got the a-ok.  Insert most expensive half marathon here with the original race fee $100 plus a race transfer fee of $15.  Blech.

My goals for Sunday.....

Finish.  Don't be in too much pain.  Run as hard as I can.  Celebrate my SIL's first half marathon.

The good news, is that I have finally FINALLY pinpointed my injury woes, so after Dallas I will be 100% committed to stretching, strengthening and getting back on track.  Running in pain is no fun, and I'm ready to be done with that.  I miss being fast (my version of fast, obvs not anywhere near fast, but compared to my current speed, call my has-been-self Kara Goucher!).  I miss finishing hard tempo runs hitting paces I never thought I'd be able to do for 5-8 consecutive miles.  I miss working hard for a PR and basking in its awesomeness when I nail it.

Can 2013 be the year of the Jerbear??

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

All About Ollie

I just found this adorable post about Ollie that I wrote way back in July, but never shared.  Enjoy.  :)
Written July 3rd

What?  Another post about Ollie girl?  Ok...twist my arm.  It's been approximately 24 days since my baby girl came home with me, and I love her to pieces.  If I were to get married tomorrow, she'd be a bridesmaid.... #nojoke.

As we've gotten to know each other better, I've noticed some fun and interesting quirks about her that I'd like to share.

She is the most mellow dog.  She'll just lay next to you on the couch and snooze away while you're reading/watching tv.  But when you get her all riled up for play time she goes cookoo.  When Megan came to meet, they started a little "kissing/licking" game.  Ever since then, whenever she is really excited during play time, she does this weird side eye look thing at you, pretending like she doesn't even know you're there, and then goes in for the kill (=kiss)!  It's the most hilarious thing ever.

When it's time to go for a walk, as soon as the harness is on her, she's spinning around the apartment like a top.  "MOM MOM MOM!  HURRY GRAB YOUR KEYS!  I'M READY TO GO NOOOOOOOOOOW!  OMGI'MSOEXCITEDCAN'TWAITASECONDLONGER!!!"  And this is approximately 7 seconds after she was snoozing away on the couch with no interest in a potty break.

Sidenote:  She just looked at me with a look like she *knows* that I'm writing about her right now.  Smart girl.

She begs like crazy whenever Kyle is eating, but doesn't bother me at all.  Kyle is under strict orders to feed her zero people food (pugs have crazy sensitive stomachs, and she seems to have a lot of allergies, per the vet, better to be safe than sorry), however, I have given her a couple of small pieces of watermelon, and a lick of melted pineapple dairy free froyo, so really if anything she should be begging from me.

When out on our walks, Ollie will randomly walk on the curb that surrounds the grass, like it's her personal sidewalk.  It's only about 5 inches across and just happens to be the perfect size for her.  It's HILARIOUS.  The first time she did it, I almost died laughing.  Unfortunately, her eyesight isn't the best, so in the evenings she has tumbled a couple of times.  Of course, I panic and coddle her to make sure she's ok, and she just wants to get back up and keep walking.

There's a pug in our apartment complex named Rasputin.  Ollie is in love, and he only has eyes for some other tall skinny dog.  I hope it doesn't give Ollie an eating disorder, or a complex about her weight.  ;)  She loves all dogs.  Anytime someone is out walking their dog, she has to make a beeline to them to sniff and say hello with her huge smile.  I'd say she'd be a front runner for dog prom queen by next spring.

I think she's becoming nocturnal.  We're still kenneling her during bedtime, because she snores too much to sleep with us, and she just cries outside our door if we leave her out of the kennel.  Yet whenever I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night (like... 2-3 times, it's ridiculous) I no longer hear her snoring.  She used to be sawing logs the first week we had her.  I always put her in the bed with Kyle while I'm hogging the bathroom first thing in the a.m. and within minutes she's light's out.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

San Francisco RUN NWM

The weekend in San Francisco more than made up for a terrible marathon.  Megan and I got in super duper late on Thursday night.  Like 3am CST late/early.  We crawled in to bed in a mega shady hotel and crashed.  We woke up, showered up, packed up and called a cab to take us to our hotel for the weekend.

An hour wait and a $50 cab ride later, we arrived at this adorable victorian 3 story home.  We were able to ditch our luggage to explore the city, despite not being able to check in for another 6 hours (and our bags were delivered to our room later that day, win).

A pic from our 'hood.


We walked down to the expo to pick up our race packets.



There was a Nike "styling" at the expo which was pretty cool.  Ignoring the fact that my outfit I'm wearing (shoes included) was probably $400-500.  But I do love the orange jackety thing.


After spending some time at the expo and then headed to our main Friday treat:  Bay Area brewery tours!  Someone *cough* Megan *cough* was somehow still on Mountain time (which is weird because we live in the central time zone) and thought we were going to miss our brewery tour, but in actuality, we were over an hour early.  Luckily there was a super cute coffee/bistro, Creamery, for us to hang out at. 

We got lattes and the most amazing strawberry crepe of my life.  I may or may not have debated licking my plate (definitely may).


After creating a nice base for our booze, we hopped in a van with a bearded dude and another couple, ready to embark on our brewery tours!

First stop:  The Thirsty Bear Brewery

Our first stop included 2 beers and lunch.  The food was amazing and so were the beers.


Second stop:  Southern Pacific Brewery


This brewery was in a huge warehouse looking place, and I was shocked how many people our age were hanging out drinking at 2ish in the afternoon on a Friday.  How do I get your jobs?!?!?  kthx  We got a flight of beers to sample.  Mmmm.

Third stop:  Speakeasy Ales & Lagers



The final stop of the tour was truly in a giant warehouse.  The serving area was a little window with beer, and 98% of the space was taken up by the giant brewing vats (vats? is that the correct terminology?  at this point I had too many "samples" to remember much, apologies).  We got 2 sweet poker chips to use for any 2 beers we wanted on the menu.

When all was said and done, we hopped back in the van and were dropped off at home.  Totally worth the money, and it was great to get to see a few different places and have a sober driver during the process.  :)

We did some shopping and finished the night with late night sushi.  Essentially past midnight as far as our stomachs were concerned.  Ooops.

Saturday morning we decided to get in to "runner" mode and do a shake out run.  Yay for us and being productive!  And responsible!  Also yay for my Saturday morning class being cancelled, because sitting in your hotel room with a mic'd headset on for 3 1/2 hours while on vacation is not so awesome.

As always, shake out run is code for running to stores to shop, and we ended up at a giant mall.  We did some brief shopping (ok we were there for hours, in our sweaty clothes, oops), until we finally decided to head back, shower up, and come back looking more presentable.

And presentable we did.
Had to look nice to meet our BFFs Allyson Felix, Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, and Joan Benoit Samuelson.  Duh.  Insert runnergirl geek out here.


More expo, more shopping, MORE TIME ON OUR FEET (what was that about being smart responsible marathoners??  DOES NOT COMPUTE.)


We ended up back at our hotel room around 9-10pm, which made it a full 12-13 hours on our feet before race morning.  We're awesome.

You got to see how Sunday went, and then Sunday afternoon we headed to a corner bar that was close to our hotel to gorge on delicious foods and await the Packers Sunday night game.

Except "Sunday night" in San Fran is like 5pm.  It was awesome.  And still daylight.  And thus concludes our awesome time in San Fran.  Until next time!

And hint, it won't be to run.  Eff you hills.