Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Celtic Solstice 5 Miler

This past Saturday hubby and I headed to Baltimore {really early} to run the 15th Celtic Solstice 5 Miler at Druid Hill Park. We ran this race several years ago and for some unknown reason {alright...the reason is I love the design on the swag} I have been wanting to run this race ever since. It just hasn't worked out that we could run it again...until this year!

So, we were up at 5:30 Saturday morning to get ready and head down to Baltimore. We arrived at Druid Hill Park and parked the car as we had to do packet pick-up day-of.
The view from the car

We headed over to the start line to grab our jackets and bibs. Falls Running Store puts the race on, but they are just a tad bit far for us to hit up during the week. The walk from the car to the start area took about 15 minutes, which was a hike when you had to go back to the car, then back to the start again! But, we got there, collected our bib and jackets, hit the port-a-potties, and headed back to the car. We put our bibs on and headed back to the race at 8:00 a.m.

Back at the start area it was packed! There were so many people this year! We totally missed the dogs and the bagpipers. Last time they walked right past me. It was pretty awesome.
Before the race
The race was scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m., but... The gun didn't go off until 8:37 and we didn't hit the start line until 8:44 a.m. Yes, it took us about 6 minutes to go from where we stood to the start. That was a bit crazy.

The race starts on a complete uphill. I was pretty happy I ran the whole thing. I was a tad surprised considering the last race I ran was very hilly and I could barely do the hills. I'm chalking that up to psyching myself out because I was by myself and so much of it was trail hills. Then it was a bunch of small rolling hills that took you towards the zoo.

What was neat about the race was while I was at the back of the pack {like always}, you could see the other racers as you weaved up and down the hills. It really was cool. While running I saw hubby much further ahead of me. I saw him first and waved. It's always nice seeing each other on the course, even though he's way ahead of me. It was also around this time I ran into a friend I met at the KidsPeace Trick-or-Trot on the course. She was just ahead of me, before the turn around. She was rocking it!

After the turn around and grabbing some water, we headed downhill to the lake. You ran around the whole thing before going down the big hill you ran up to start. As I was running to the lake, hubby saw me as he was running around the lake and we got to wave again. Yea!

Once on the flats of the lake I had a hard time determining how fast I was running - was I going too fast, too slow, just right? The hills kinda messed with my flow. LOL! I passed my friend along the lake, which surprised me. But, she was kind enough to say I was looking good when I felt like I was dying. Gotta love running friends!

I came around the lake and to the complete downhill to the finish. Yea! I had hoped to finish in 1:10:00 or below, but it was not to be. I crossed the line at 1:12:27 according to the chip. Bah! I had a really good 1.5 and 2 mile time. Guess the hills overall just did me in.

Hubby waited for me at the finish and cheered me in. I knew my friend wasn't too far behind so I headed back to the finish to cheer her in. She was just a few minutes behind, so we cheered her in, then after a hug headed to the finisher's tent.

We grabbed a warm cup of mulled wine, which was yummy!

We listened to the band for a little bit while enjoying our warm wine.

And took the obligatory post-race selfie.
We don't look too bad for having just run 5 miles.

After we finished our wine, we headed back to the car. I was disappointed though because there were supposed to be cookies, but there weren't any left by the time I finished. :(

We got one more photo before we headed home.
Don't ask about the hair. It was windy and cold Saturday! LOL!

Overall, this is one of my favorite races even if I can't touch the winning times of the overall winner or age groups. The swag is awesome, the course is challenging, and the post-race snacks are pretty cool. I'd recommend this to you if you're in the area. Hope to see you there!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Motivational Monday

The last few weeks I have been focused on one thing - reading. I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read 100 books. Yes, 100 books. Just a few. Recently, I heard a reader will read an average of eight books a year, so to set a goal of 100 is kinda crazy. But I did.

And for the last few weeks I've been reading my bootie off! I am this close to my goal. I reached 96 books last night, which ties me for how many books I read last year {2013}. Four more books to reach my goal.

But, how is this motivational? Well, I suppose the fact that I set a goal in January and I'm almost there is motivational. I had months where I did really well {19 books in January}, but also had months where it didn't go so well {one in April...if I had only read a few more books that month!}. Now we're 12 months into the goal and I am almost there...I kept at it even when I had months that didn't go so well. I made up the lack of April in other months.

What I'm trying to say is this, while I love to read {your goal might be something else}, it is motivational staying the course, finishing a goal. Reading may not seem like a goal to some, but to me being able to say I read 100 books in one year is incredible. I was able to do something I love and feel accomplished. I read some amazing books {and some not so much}, but I followed through. I did what I said I would.

That's what motivation is all about. Setting a goal, following through to the end through the highs and lows of it. Some days you feel like you'll never reach your goal; other days you can't believe how easy it is. But, day after day you slog on in the hopes that at the end, you will accomplish what it was you set out to do.

So, by December 31 I will be able to say I read 100 books. That is my goal and that is what I will accomplish. And by doing so, I prove to myself I can do what I set out to do, no matter what obstacles {internal or external} come my way.

There are 16 days left in 2014, what goal will you accomplish before then?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Motivational Monday

Let's just say this week I found out someone feels I am a bad person. They intentionally stopped interacting with me a year ago, but recently blocked me from all social media. While I was hurt by their actions before, this just makes me angry. Especially, as I know this is their M.O., but never thought it would happen to me {never say never}.

What does this have to do with Motivational Monday? It is to realize who your true friends are. The people who care about you and want you to succeed. As we get older it is harder to find people who truly have your back. Those who need to be held ever close to our hearts. They are people we need to be our best selves for. They deserve our love and support.

I have quite a few people who I do not deserve to call friends, but love me anyway. To them I say thank you. You make my life better in ways that can't even be explained.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Spring Valley 4 Miler

This year I signed up to run the York Road Runners Club Winter Series. There are eight races for one {very low} price that I figured would keep me out on the roads for training. The first race I had to miss due to a wedding we attended, but this past Sunday I was able to attend the Spring Valley 4 Miler.

This race had me a tiny bit worried because it was the first one I attended on my own. Every race I have run, hubby and I attended together, whether he ran it or not. He's run a few without me, but this was the first one I went to alone. It's against my introvert/perfectionist {to make hubby happy - he says I'm Type A} nature.

So, I headed off to Spring Valley to run a distance I know I can run....just slowly. I got to the park and picked up my bib. The interesting this about the bib is in order to run all the races, you need to wear the same bib every time.

I don't know if I've ever had a number this low for a race. LOL! In order to keep the bib in good shape, I needed to wear it on my leg because I always mess up the ones on my stomach. So far, so good. The bib stayed in good condition to the end.

I had plenty of time to wait for the race to start. I didn't know anyone, so I wandered around. Nerves were hitting pretty heavy. I found the course map, but since I didn't know the area, it didn't help much. LOL!
I also took the obligatory pre-race selfie. It's not the best, but at least I tried.
The location for the race was pretty. Though driving in and seeing where we were had me nervous. I had a feeling this was going to be a bad race. It was hilly in the area and I started to think the race was going to be rough.
Pretty isn't it? The problem is those are hills. I'm not great at hills and I haven't been training on hills lately. Also, my hip flexor doesn't like hills. It always gives me trouble when I run them.

The race started a little later than I thought. Each race of the series has a one mile run as well as the longer race. I thought the one mile race was after the start of the longer race, but it was before. So we started later than I anticipated, which put me more on edge. Yes, this is not good for me.

We finally did get started and off we went! Down a small little hill, then up a ridiculous uphill. And that's when I knew it was going to be a horrible race for me. Not that I wasn't giving it my all, but I was out of my {running} league. Initially, I was in front of a few people, but I was at the back of the pack...not surprising.

And shortly after that, I went to the back of the pack. Before we hit mile 1, I was last. I was running my best, but still at the back of the pack...literally. I ran the downhills and flats, walked the hills. I started to see the person in front of my further and further away. A couple times I lost sight of him and wasn't sure I was following the right path. I admit this is always my complaint in races, not making race courses clear enough for all runners. If the back of the pack people lose sight of each other, how do they know they are still on the right track...especially when the course is hilly and windy.

Anyway... I finally reached the turn that led me back to the finish line and watched all the cars leaving the race. Oh it was disheartening. It was also a little dangerous as it was a downhill for them, an uphill for me on a very narrow road. I made it, with a high five from someone I knew from racing in the area. She is such a sweetheart!

I finished the race just under 60 minutes {I believe 57:--}. I don't know. Honestly, I don't care either. The goal had been under 55 minutes based on my 4 mile time at the Rocky Run a few weeks ago and had it not been for the horrible hills, I might have made it. Of course, I still would have been one of the back of the pack racers.

Post-race selfie. Don't let that smile fool you, I was pretty upset over this race. Not only did I finish last, but again having no idea on the course in terms of where I was going. I've only had that happen one other time and I DNF a duathlon because of it.

This race made me think of a few things as I was out there alone.

* About mile two I wanted to quit, but since it was a 4 mile race if I turned back I had to go the same distance as if I kept going forward. I went forward.
* The running people of York County are fast.
* For all the cheers I received when I crossed the line, I didn't feel like they were necessary.
* I know if I lost weight I would run faster. I kept thinking how much faster as I was walking up the hills.
* I need to get better at consistent training. Sure, I can run 4 miles, but not at a good speed. Sometimes races like this make me realize what a "bad" runner I am. {You don't have to tell me just going out there is the important thing, when you are last, it hurts.}

The next Winter Series race is a 10k. I have a feeling I will be last for that one too...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Motivational Monday

Welcome to December! I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that we have hit the 12th month of the year. It seems like yesterday it was spring and I was prepping for deck dinning, a trip to TX, and pulling out the t-shirts/capri's.

But, it is the last month of the year and while today's image is running related, I think it pertains to anything. Especially since we're in the home stretch before 2015. The first of the month is like a clean slate where we can see our failures/slip-ups from the previous month and find ways to change them. What did you wish to accomplish in November that didn't happen? Well, hey look, it's December and we can set new goals and meet them.

Sure, I know it's December and the holidays. It isn't always easy to read that book, practice the piano, get that run in, eat the salad. December is the month that we can make excuses for. They say you gain about 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's. It's an easy time of year to let the tide of the holidays sway you, but do you want to be out to sea when January hits?

So, let's start making some goals for the month. They don't have to be insane or too challenging, but having them in place means you are thinking about staying on track. Maybe just keeping your goals in the forefront may help you accomplish them in this crazy month.

What goals will you set this month? What do you want to accomplish before the end of the year?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!
I hope your Thanksgiving day is spent with people you love, whether that is family or friends. There is so much to be thankful for. In no particular order....
My hubby Brian
My family - near and far
My friends - old and new 
My pets
Being an American
Having a job
My health
Having a home
Being able to run
Having all my senses
The ability to travel
Having a car
Being able to indulge my hobbies/interests
Being able to read

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday

December 29, 2011 ~ Negril, Jamiaca

With the temperatures below freezing here lately, I wanted to share a warm photo. This was hubby and my 10 year wedding anniversary trip to Couples Swept Away in Negril, Jamaica. We did a vow renewal on the beach and it was such a perfect day. I can't wait to go back!