Oct 22

EuroBikeTrip 2014 Day 5: The Prettiest Day. Germany

I believe that this may have been our prettiest day of riding. We rode from Friedrichshafen to Lindau. We could see the Swiss Alps for much of the ride, and rode past vineyards, orchards, and of course Lake Constance. The weather was lovely.

Friedrichshafen has a tower that you can climb for views of the town, the lake, and the alps on the other side.

Friedrichshafen has a tower that you can climb for views of the town, the lake, and the alps on the other side.

I love when Europeans put love locks on things!

I love when Europeans put love locks on things!

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View of the alps through the love locks.

View of the alps through the love locks.

 

View of the town through the love locks.

View of the town through the love locks.

IMG_0534 IMG_0622

I wanted to desperately to get a good bike-riding selfie. It never happened.

I wanted to desperately to get a good bike-riding selfie. It never happened.

IMG_0557

We stopped at a rural park along the lake shore for lunch, which was very nice.

Lunch time view

Lunch time view

My love on the bench where we at lunch.

My love on the bench where we at lunch.

We made it to Lindau before noon. We were surprised that our hotel allowed us to check-in right away!

Lindau

Lindau

Lindau is a small island in Germany, just a few kilometers from Austria.

Cute Lindau

Cute Lindau

Lindau

Lindau

I was so in love with this cool vine-tree-thing!

I was so in love with this cool vine-tree-thing!

I was worried that we would get bored with such a tiny island to explore, but it was lovely! We shopped at a farmer’s market that was set up just outside our hotel.

Seriously. I can't even imagine being as cute as this little lady heading to the farmer's market!

Seriously. I can’t even imagine being as cute as this little lady heading to the farmer’s market!

We climbed to the top of the lighthouse, where we had great views of the city and lake. IMG_1248

View from the tower

View from the tower

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Husband Saign and I

Husband Saign and I

Alps and sailboats as seen from the tower.

Alps and sailboats as seen from the tower.

We then enjoyed snacks and wine at a waterfront bar, while looking towards the Alps over the lake. (We still haven’t figured out how to politely request our bill). IMG_0731 IMG_0728

I enjoyed reading while the city moved around me (occasionally with street performers singing in the background).

This street performer serenaded me while I read.

This street performer serenaded me while I read.

We tried desperately to find live German music, but failed miserably.

We wandered around Lindau at night, but never found any life music.

We wandered around Lindau at night, but never found any life music.

Countries Visited Today: 1, Full-day in Germany!

Kilometers Biked Today: 30

Total Kilometers Biked for the Trip: 162

Have you ever put a love lock on anything? (I never have).

Oct 17

EuroBikeTrip 2014 Day 4: The Most Embarrassing Travel Moment of My Life. Germany

Today was the first day of this trip in which we spent the entire day in this same country. We stayed in Germany for the entire time. Today’s ride was not as nice as yesterday’s. We rode past quite a few vineyards, which was nice, but we also spent quite a bit of time on a bike path that ran right next to a highway.

vineyard

vineyard

 

Saign wanted to go to a museum of a rebuilt water town, and I agreed. The museum required us to go with a tour guide who completed a tour in German. Our large tour group squeezed into a little hut. I was at the back, which made sense to me since I couldn’t understand the lecture anyways. Well , the tour guide felt badly that I couldn’t really see or hear anything, so I heard her say “England,” and the point at me. The entire tour group turned to look at me. Then she spoke in English and asked me to come forward. I told her that I was fine, but she continued to gesture me forward, while the crowd of people parted to let me through. I was mortified, but not knowing the language or the culture, I felt that I had no choice but to simply comply. I walked to the front, where she motioned me to stand where I would block several people. I was so embarrassed! I crouched down and spent the remainder of the lecture squatting so as to avoid blocking the view of others. This was definitely my most embarrassing travel moment of my life.IMG_1233

The water village museum

The water village museum

IMG_0334We stopped in another cute coastal village called Meersburg, where we finally found some bratwurst! I was so excited! I love American bratwurst, so I was sure that I was in for a treat! Saign brought me my plate with sausage and potato wedges. I cute into the sausage and took a bite…to find that it tastes just like an Ameican hotdog. No, not a delicious American bratwurst, but a boring unappetizing hotdog. So…. No more wurst for me!

Blech. Terrible.

Blech. Terrible.

I had a wonderful time exploring charming Meersburg!IMG_1234 IMG_1240 IMG_1238 IMG_0425 IMG_1237 IMG_0415 IMG_0409 IMG_0403Our hotel was in a town called Friedrichshafen. As we got into the town, we stopped on the bike path to examine the map. A kind older lady stopped her bike to help us. We showed her where we wanted to go on the map, and she knew the way. Of course, she spoke German, and we spoke English, so she tried to give us verbal directions, but of course we couldn’t understand. After a few minutes of trying to communicate, she finally gestured to us that we should follow her. We did so, and she went out of her way, biking us right up to the entrance of our hotel. It ended up being very helpful that she directed us, because the bike path had a strange clover-pattern (like a freeway entrance), under the streets, so I think we would have had a hard time figuring out how to get to the right road just by looking at the map. I was very grateful for her kindness.

Saign following our German friend on bike!

Saign following our German friend on bike!

We ended our evening in Friedrichshafen. We went to a restaurant, where we ordered traditional German food followed by a plate called “Dessert for Two.” I wasn’t sure what to expect, and was shocked when our waitress returned with a huge plate with a variety of desserts. (In the end, my favorite dessert was a chocolate-drizzled banana). When we were finished, we sat and sat and sat. We still haven’t figured out how to pay our bill and leave! In the end, Saign had to flag our waitress down to ask for the “rechnung.” I’m pleased that we now know how to ask for the bill, but I’m still confused about how we are supposed to ask for it if the waitress doesn’t return to us so that we can ask! Is flagging her down the appropriate thing to do??? I feel so rude!

Bodensee

Bodensee

Our insane dessert!

Our insane dessert!

Countries Visited Today: 1, Full-day in Germany!

Kilometers Biked Today: 32

Total Kilometers Biked for the Trip: 132

Is waiter/waitress flagging the rudest thing ever????

Oct 14

My Versa-faux

Guys, I think I’m in love…with a garment.

I’m pretty sure that it’s really, really bad to be in love with a piece of clothing.

But this is no ordinary clothing! It’s clever clothing!

How do you make clothing clever??

1) Simple design

2) Multifunctional

I think that’s all you really need to make clever clothing.

Anyway, I’ve becomes obsessed with convertible clothing ever since I started planning my Africa trip. I’ll be there for about a month, but don’t want to be lugging around a ton of clothes, so I’ve been looking at clothes that can serve more than one purpose. During my search, I discovered the Versalette.

Love.

I’ve seen convertible dresses before, but a lot of convertible dresses have loooooong strappy things that can be wrapped in any number of ways to create a new “style.” But the truth is that I don’t want long strappy complicated clothing. I want simple clothing. And for this reason, I’ve never been particularly interested in convertible dresses. But the Versalette is unlike any other convertible dress that I’ve ever seen before. First of all, it can be more garments than most convertible dresses. While most convertible dresses can make a dress or a skirt, the Versalette can be a dress, skirt, poncho, t-shirt, tank top, and even a purse. Secondly, it’s actually super simple, which I love.

The Versalette retails for $110. Now, I like a lot of things about Seamly, the brand behind the Versalette. They are concerned about sustainability, and for that reason, they use surplus fabrics. The garments are made in the USA in an ethical manner. Super awesome. But would I EVER pay $110 for a dress? Uh…no. Outside of the torture of being a bridesmaid, I have never even spent HALF that amount on a dress.

So, of course, I decided to try my hand at making my own. I call it the Versa-faux.

long skirt

long skirt

short skirt

short skirt

strapless dress

strapless dress

sleeveless dress

sleeveless dress

dress with sleeves

dress with sleeves

tank

tank

t-shirt

t-shirt

poncho

poncho

hood

hood

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I’m not crazy enough to think that my version is as good as the real thing. I couldn’t quite figure out how to get the sleeves right. But all-in-all, I got a convertible garment that I can pack and wear in a ton of different ways so that I don’t feel monotonous while I’m traveling.

Husband Saign told me that it looks like a potato sack, but I’m still in love with my Versa-faux.

Do you have any convertible clothes? What’s the best type of convertible clothing in your opinion?

Oct 07

My First Time Placing! Burien Brat Trot 5k 2014

You. Guys. I PLACED FIRST IN MY AGE GROUP AT A 5K!

Okay, sorry for yelling. I’m just so very excited!

I’ve dreamed of entering a small race just to see if I might be able to place, but 1) I didn’t know if it would ever happen, and 2) I never thought about getting FIRST in my age group!

If you recall, my previous 5k PR was obtained while running without a Garmin, while wearing a lampshade, and without really trying. However, I was more in shape during that race than I am now (I haven’t been cross-training), so I didn’t want to get too crazy with my goal for this race. My goal was to finish in 23:59, or less, which would be a whopping 9 seconds faster than my previous 5k race.

I decided to try to keep my pace around 7:40. I figured that any faster would be too fast for me.IMG_3276

On race day, the gun went off, and I took off running. When I looked at my Garmin, it initially said that I was running an 8:30. No good. I sped up. I checked my Garmin a few seconds later, and it said “5:30.” Um. Yeah, so I knew my Garmin wasn’t really accurate. However, I don’t have any other way to make sure that I maintain a goal pace, so I decided to just try to keep it at a 7:40 according to my inaccurate Garmin.

The race started off going up a hill, which was kind of funny to me, because I hadn’t even thought to worry about hills for a 5k. The race also started a 1pm, and we’ve had an abnormally warm year, so it was actually warmer than ideal for running.

Anyway, my watched beeped to signal 1 mile, and I looked: 7:35. Perfect! Or, I mean, if it was accurate, it would have been perfect. About 15 seconds later, I passed a volunteer who said I was at the 1 mile point, and said I had been running for 7:55. I knew that he was also off by a few seconds, but still, I knew my first mile hadn’t been as “perfect” as I hoped.

As I ran on, my pace became increasingly difficult. I started to doubt myself. “I haven’t been cross-training.” “I haven’t been speed-training.” “I’m out of shape.” I can’t do it.” Etc. Simultaneously, I argued with myself, “You can do it.” “Mind over matter.” “Just 10 minutes left, you can keep this up for 10 minutes.”

My second mile beeped in a 7:44. On the one hand, since my first was at 7:35, it would even out to the 7:40 pace that I was aiming for. But on the other hand, I knew my Garmin was wrong, and I still had more than 1.1 miles left. I was tired. I was hot. I didn’t feel strong. I actually thought about walking. But I just kept using the time-technique. “One mile left. That’s less than 8 minutes, if you keep up this pace.” And then it was 7. And then 6. And then 5. Soon enough, I had rounded the corner, and there was the finish! I sped up, but I was hurting. I passed a few people. I looked at my watch. I would get a sub 24 minutes! Oh yay! Or would I??? I didn’t know. I was trying hard, but I might be off by just a tiny bit.

The clock said 24:05 when I crossed the finish line. Dang it! This was such as small race that I knew I likely hadn’t waited 5 seconds before crossing the start line.

I was exhausted. I almost fell over when the volunteer tried to cut off my timing chip. I heard someone say my name. Husband Saign surprised me at the finish! I found some shade and laid down for a few minutes.

Once I felt coherent again, I stopped at the booth to check my actual finish time. 24:02. ARG! I missed my goal by 3 seconds. But…wait…what did that say…first in my age group??? Whaaa??? I was so excited!

Post-race celebratory beer!

Post-race celebratory beer!

I made Husband Saign stick around for the awards ceremony…90 minutes later… But it was my first time to win an award, so I wanted to stay! They ended up just announcing the first place winners for each age group. They didn’t ask us to come forward, or give us anything. I didn’t get a ribbon, but I did scream and clap when the announcer said my name!

I can’t believe that I finally won something at a race. I mean, of course, I won nothing since there were no ribbons, but I still felt like a winner! Yay!

Is it okay to be excited about placing in your age group, even if you only placed because it was a super small race????

 

 

Sep 30

Free Floors!

I have to tell you about an amazing, beautiful home improvement project that is free-ish!

When we bought our house, we knew that there were hardwood floors under the carpet in the living room, hallway, and guest room. We planned to pull up the carpet in those rooms, and to refinish the floors underneath.

We were ecstatic when we found that the floors were in beautiful condition in the living room!

But then we pulled up the carpet in the hallway, and found that there were chunks of floor missing. Uh oh. We had to replace the missing oak flooring with salvaged flooring.

Thankfully, Husband Saign is clever and decided that rather than going to a salvage store, we should look for salvaged oak flooring on the Craigslist. Sure enough, he was able to find some free oak flooring!

We now have patched oak flooring in our hallway and we replaced the laminate that was in our dining room with free salvaged oak. We also have enough oak flooring to complete the office, which has dingy old carpet in it right now.

One day, I came home from work, and found that Husband Saign had put in this gorgeous (free) oak floor in the dining room!

One day, I came home from work, and found that Husband Saign had put in this gorgeous (free) oak floor in the dining room!

Now, I’m not going to pretend that it was an easy job. It was a lot of work. We had to go to 3 different sources to get enough free flooring to complete our projects. Then we had to go through the flooring and find the pieces that were salvageable. Then we had to pull the nails out of the flooring. Then Husband Saign decided to plane the wood down by just 1 millimeter-or-so, as he thought that would be easier than sanding off the old finish. Then Husband Saign had to nail all the wood in.

Now, it definitely would have been way easier to just buy new wood, but there are two reasons that we chose to do things this way:

  1. We’re saving money. I love being able to say that we got our wood floors for free!
  2. We’re saving the environment. By using salvaged wood instead of buying new, we’re able to re-use old materials rather than chopping down new trees. Pretty great stuff! I love it when the most economical choice is also the most ethical choice!

Now, we did have to spend $20 on a big roll of paper that we put on top of the subfloor and under the oak flooring. Husband Saign also bought a used flooring nailer on craigslist for $75, but we’ll be able to sell it when we’re done, most likely for a profit. Once all our floors are in, we’ll have to rent equipment to sand them down, and then we’ll have to spend money on stain/finish. But all-in-all, it will be an inexpensive home improvement project that will improve the value of our home AND make it more liveable for us now!

If you’re looking to replace flooring, consider using salvaged wood! If you’re pulling flooring or other materials out, try to be careful as you do so, so that others might be able to reuse your materials! We’ve been giving away the carpet that we pulled up. i have no idea why people want old carpet, but we’ve gotten people to take it, and it’s great knowing that we’re not filling a landfill up unnecessarily.

Would you put salvaged items in your home?

 

 

 

Sep 24

The Most Exciting News of the Century!

I have an important announcement to make:

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba!

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba!

I see a llama eatin’ his pajamas, I see a llama eatin’ his pajamas…

That’s right guys, I’m going to AFRICA!

(In case there was any confusion, those 3 lines are lyrics from “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King. But, I’m pretty sure that you already knew that from my very clear typing of “I see a llama eatin’ his pajamas…”)

So, I’m crazy excited. Like, thinking about the trip every day, reading, planning, and dreaming, even though the trip isn’t for 5 months. I’m like a little kid looking forward to Christmas!

I’m also a little apprehensive because…I’m going by myself.

That’s right, married girl on a solo vacation.

One of my best friends presented the idea of solo-vacations-while-married to me years and years before I got married. I remember that I felt confused when she said that she and her boyfriend had discussed how they would still sometimes take separate vacations if they got married. “Why?” I wondered. “Why would you want to take separate vacations?” But she was in a committed relationship, and they were both convinced that it was a great idea. The more I thought about it, the more I realized, “Why not? Just because you married someone doesn’t mean that you have to spend every second together.”

So, the idea of taking a vacation without Husband Saign has been with me for years…longer than I’ve even known Husband Saign. The reality is coming about in 2015 for one very important reason: We want different vacations. I think many of our friends are shocked, and maybe even a bit worried. But here’s the reality: Husband Saign wants to have a Heli-boarding vacation. Guys. HELI-BOARDING. For those of you not in the know, this means that he’ll be dropped by a helicopter onto a mountain in Alaska, and will be snowboarding amongst the wolves and the avalanches. Hopefully that last sentence made it absolutely clear to you that I would be TERRIFIED to do such a crazy thing. Nope, I can’t go along with him for this adventure, because I’d like to remain alive for now.

And meanwhile, I’ve wanted to go to South Africa since I was 19-years-old, and never had an opportunity that really fit.

So…we’re both taking our dream vacations this year! Separately. And it’s going to be amazing.

Here’s my plan:

  1. Fly into Cape Town, South Africa, spend a few days there.
  2. Take an “overland tour” through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. (An “overland tour” is basically a road trip. It’s a term that people use outside the U.S., as far as I can tell.) My tour will involve me spending my days in a huge monster tour-truck thing with 20-or-so strangers-who-will-become-best-friends. We’ll see amazing terrain: sand dunes, rivers, deserts, jungles, and Victoria Falls. We’ll see lots of amazing animals, including lions, tigers, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, and pumbas! We’ll eat meals together around the campfire each evening and morning, and sleep in tents most nights. I.cannot.wait!Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 8.01.32 PM
  3. Visit an amazing friend who is a missionary in a village in South Africa. I’m really looking forward to doing life with this girl even if just for  a few days! I don’t know what to expect, but I think I’ll get to play with kids and hopefully help my friend out!
  4. Have the BEST TIME EVER!

So that’s the plan. I just want to jump out of my own skin, I’m so excited!

Would you go on a vacation without your significant other?

 

Sep 21

EuroBikeTrip 2014 Day 3: Stadtgardens are wunderschön! Germany to Switzerland and Back to Germany

Today was a beautiful day! The sun was shining, we rode past lots of flowers, fields, cows, sheep, and horses. We had to ride in the road quite a bit, which was scary.

Husband Saign riding on a highway. This was terrifying.

Husband Saign riding on a highway. This was terrifying.

We heard lots of cowbells today, and I felt super bad that the cows had to have that loud ringing near their furry ears all day, every day! They are loud!

We heard lots of cowbells today, and I felt super bad that the cows had to have that loud ringing near their furry ears all day, every day! They are loud!

I'm not sure I've ever seen a baby donkey before. Cutest thing ever.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a baby donkey before. Cutest thing ever.

At one point, we weren’t quite sure if we were in the right place. We stopped in front of the sign with the arrows pointing in various directions, and were consulting a map, when a German lady pulled up and started giving us directions in German. We responded in English, but with gestures and saying the town name that we were aiming for, we were able to gather that we were on the right track. We were very appreciative of her kind help!

The sign that we were examining, in hopes of getting on the correct route.

The sign that we were examining, in hopes of getting on the correct route.

We got to stop and have lunch in Konstanz, Germany, and it was nice to be back someplace familiar! Being back in Konstanz meant going to Gelato di Toni, the BEST gelato ever!

We got to stop and have lunch in Konstanz, Germany, and it was nice to be back someplace familiar! Being back in Konstanz meant going to Gelato di Toni, the BEST gelato ever!

The gorgeous bike bath near Konstanz

The gorgeous bike bath near Konstanz

Konstanz

Konstanz

I loved Stein am Rhein so much yesterday, that I was worried that it would be my favorite village of the trip, and nothing else would live up to it. Thankfully I was wrong. Today, after a great deal of cycling, we took a ferry ride to Uberlingen, a beautiful coast town on a hill. I love it! We wandered the town, exploring the cathedral (Munster), the town hall, and the old town area. We then went to the stadtgarden, which was a beautiful park overlooking the city and the water. It was so special!

View at the waterfront in Uberlingen

View at the waterfront in Uberlingen

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View from the Stadtgarden

View from the Stadtgarden

The view from the top of the Stadtgarten

The view from the top of the Stadtgarten

Uberlingen

Uberlingen

Uberlingen

Uberlingen

I love the bright colors and the purple flower vines!

I love the bright colors and the purple flower vines!

Inside the Munster

Inside the Munster

Munster in Uberlingen

Munster in Uberlingen

We still have not successfully had any wurst (sausage). Saign chose a bar this evening that he was convinced would have wurst. There was no wurst to be found…only smoke. Blech. We’ve given up on ordering tap water, and now just order beer, since it’s less expensive than the sparkling water they keep bringing us!

Dinner was a cheesy greasy pressed sandwich and a wheat beer!

Dinner was a cheesy greasy pressed sandwich and a wheat beer!

The smokey pub that we at our dinner at.

The smokey pub that we at our dinner at.

Countries Visited Today: 2, We biked from Germany to Switzerland, and then back to Germany again.

Kilometers Biked Today: 65.5

Total Kilometers Biked for the Trip: 100

When you have a great experience while traveling, do you worry that nothing for the rest of the trip will live up to that great experience? Or is that the strangest thing you’ve ever heard?

Sep 18

Snohomish River Run DISCOUNT!

So, marathon #2 is in the books. What’s next for me? It’s half marathon time! Since I’ve decided that I’m done with marathons, I think I’ll be spending the rest of my racing “career” focused on enjoying half marathons. Which shouldn’t be too hard, because half marathons are super super fun!!!

First up on my half marathon agenda is the Snohomish River Run.

Event photo for Snohomish River Run

Here’s what I’m excited about with this race:

1) Great people. So, I had an embarrassing incident with the Snohomish River Run People. They offered me a free race entry for the Snohomish Women’s Run in exchange for blogging about the race. I turned them down because the race conflicted with my schedule. A little bit later, I got an email from them asking me why I gave the race a bad rating, and politely asking what they could do to improve the race. I had no idea what they were talking about! I hadn’t run the race! Why would I rate a race poorly that I hadn’t even run? I then logged into my facebook account and tried to solve the mystery: I discovered that I had, indeed, given the race 1 out of 5 stars on their facebook page. Now, this was totally unintentional, and my guess is that I must have been on facebook on my phone, and accidentally bumped the one star with my massive thumb. I was completely embarrassed and felt very guilty about the whole situation, even though it was an accident. I apologized and explained the mistake. Their reply to my email was great, and along the lines of, “Oh good, that’s funny, now would you like to run the Snohomish River Run in the fall for free?” Yes, they are nice people. Now, I suppose that many runners don’t care about running races with nice people in charge, but I personally think that their cheery attitudes may have a trickle-down effect, and having good people in charge creates a nice, warm atmosphere for race day, which is wonderful!

2) Perfect Weather. I love doing my absolute best at every race that I run. Having temps between 40-60 degrees sets me up to be able to perform my very best. As the Snohomish River Run’s website states, “…late October historically enjoys perfect running weather with an average high of 56 degrees and a low of 41.” Wonderful. I’m in!

3) Soup at the End. I LOVE hot broth at the end of a cool race. I am telling you, I am convinced that it is absolutely the perfect post-race food. I’ve had soup or broth available at the end of two races in my life, and thought it was so great that I’ve considered heating up soup before races and putting it in a thermos to have post-race. Unfortunately, I don’t own a thermos, so at most races, I have to go without hot soup. Thankfully, at the Snohomish River Run, I won’t need a thermos, because they plan to provide soup for all runners. Give it a try guys…it is the most wonderful food following a tough, cool race!

4) Two race distances to choose from. 10k or half marathon. Now, I think the half marathon is always the best choice (I’ve never run a 10k, but I hate running fast, which I feel inclined to do for shorter distances like a 10k), but if you think a shorter distance would be better, the option is available.

5) Beautiful race course. It’s Washington State in the fall. The leaves will be oranges, yellows, and reds. We’ll be running along a beautiful river. It will be amazing!

Use code RUNFUNDONE2014 for 10% of the Snohomish River Run. Good till October 21. Join me! It will be fun!

 

Sep 10

What Just Happened??!! Lake Chelan Shore to Shore Marathon 2014

Whelp, I ran my 2nd (and most likely last) marathon this past weekend. I’m using the word “ran” rather loosely. There was a lot of walking involved.

Things didn’t go as planned.

I thought that I could probably get a 4:10, and I thought at very worst I’d at least get a PR, beating my first marathon time of 4:18. I had trained well for the race. I felt confident. I even mentally prepared myself, reminding myself that it was all a mind game, that I’d be in pain, but I’d have to keep going, telling myself that I was strong, etc, etc, etc. Despite all my training and planning, I sauntered in at a 4:40.

So what happened?

I have absolutely no idea. Things just fell apart.

I started out strong, though in hindsight, faster than what I should have. The first half of the course was pretty hilly, so I had a hard time pacing myself, as I’d want to create a “cushion” in my pace so that I could slow down when going uphill. I loved seeing those low numbers flash across my Garmin. I was feeling good! I was feeling strong! Until…I was feeling the exact opposite.

I can’t tell you exactly what went wrong. In fact, I think it was really just that a whole bunch of things all went a little wrong, and that resulted in me just totally falling apart. The worst part for me was that before I had even hit the halfway point, I experienced something that I had never experienced before: As I was running, my vision went kind of blurry around the edges. At first I tried to rationalize this strange experience, and I thought, “I probably just got sweat into my contacts and that’s making things seem blurry.” But the blurriness seemed to get worse and better at odd intervals that seemed unlikely to be related to sweat. And then I saw a big black spot in front of me. I don’t know how else to explain it, but it just kinda reminded me of what people describe happens before they faint. I’ve never fainted before, and I really didn’t want to try it for the first time in the middle of a marathon. I walked for a little bit and the spot and the blurriness went away, and didn’t reappear…but I remained cautious for the rest of the raise!

Here are the things that happened that slowed me down:

  1. Hills. Yep. I should have known that those were going to be there. But I didn’t. This marathon had 2x the amount of elevation gain as my first marathon. Is twice as many hills a lot? It is to me!
  2. Heat. The first hour of this marathon occurred before the sun was over the horizon, and felt amazing. But then the sun came out, and while it wasn’t Florida hot, It was hotter than I’m accustomed to.
  3. Loneliness. In some ways this was nice, because I didn’t have anyone out there bothering me with their hacking, strange gait, or obnoxious conversation. However, for my first marathon, I had a bestie along supporting me the whole way, and I’m sure that my performance this year would have improved if I had someone by my side encouraging me along.
  4. Terrifying Black Spot in my Vision. This scared the crap out of me! I already hydrate more than the average runner, but I started hydrating like a fish after this happened. I drank the 40oz of Nuun that I had planned to drink, but also started walking at water stops so that I could drink the whole cup (rather than gulping down a few sips while most of it ends up on my face and on the pavement like I usually do), and stopped to fill my Nuun bottle back up at one of the stations. I also started walking quite a bit more after the black-spot-incident. I’d rather be walking than unconscious!
  5. Hip and knee pain. I knew that I’d have normal marathon pains, but I wasn’t prepared for the shooting pain that I experienced in my knee and hip during the last 8 miles of the race. It made it hard to keep up my goal pace.
  6. Elevation? The elevation ranged from 1100 feet to 1300 feet. I typically train at sea level. is 1000 feet enough to affect one’s athletic performance? I would have thought the answer was “no,” but maybe it did contribute to the problem.

So? It happened. Things didn’t go as planned. I really can’t point to one thing as the true problem, but I kind of think that it was all of the above that made for a tough race for me.10668971_10100481600670829_8847867389952368693_o

Here’s what went well:

  1. Gorgeous views. We ran around beautiful Lake Chelan. It was a spectacular marathon course.
  2. Husband Saign and Ada the Dog cheered me on! For the first time in my life, I had a sign that was made just for me saying, “Go, Becky, Go!”
  3. I got it done. There’s just no way around it. Completing a marathon is a great accomplishment. I’m proud I did it!

 

 

 

Sep 04

Marathon Week! GOAL!

Oh dang! I’ve got a marathon in two days! Let’s talk about the important things: Fears, Training, and Goals.

Fears

Um…I’m not sure if having one marathon under my belt makes me more or less scared for marathon #2. On the one hand I think, “Hey, I’ve done it before, I can do it again!” On the other hand I think, “Ow. Marathons hurt. Ow. Ow. Ow. And it’s going to be hotter at this one!”

Yeah. I chose the Lake Chelan Shore to Shore Marathon for 3 reasons:

1) Small = cheap. I love saving money.

2) Scenic. I want pretty scenery while I run. Lake Chelan offers amazing views.

3) Fall in Washington is the best time to run! Yay! Oh. Wait. Fall in WESTERN Washington is the best time to run. But Lake Chelan is in Central Washington, where the sun beats down like it’s the desert. Or at least it feels like a desert heat to those of us who live in Western Washington where it rarely get’s into the 80s.

So yeah, I’m really, really worried about the weather and how the heat (upper 70s) will affect my pace. I’m definitely at my peak performance between 40-60 degrees, and this weather has me scared!

Training

Of course, I didn’t actually follow my training plan. I don’t ever properly follow a training plan. How do people do that??? However, I trained better than last year! For my first marathon, I ran 1-2x per week (and usually it was closer to 1 than 2). For this marathon, I ran 2-3x per week, and it was 3x/week more often than not. I also kept my gooditude on, just like I promised myself I would. Good job, Becky! You are a winner!

Goal

I think a 4:10 is a reasonable goal when considering my training and the anticipated heat.

Does heat scare you off???

 

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