Happy Birthday Thai Phi!

Happy 30th Birthday to an Amazing Friend!

TP's 29th Birthday
Jazz in the Garden
Avenue Q
Jazz in the Garden again
Tyranena Half Marathon
Half Marathon Celebration = Lots of Wine

Running Excuses

I seem to have fallen into a pattern of not running. It’s cold out. It’s dark. I’m tired. I raced a lot this year. I can run tomorrow. I need to get out of this mentality before it becomes a running funk. I do not want that. It is not that I don’t want to run. It’s not that I am not running. I am just barely running. And coming up with new excuses and procrastination methods by the day.

Let’s look at last week. I ran with Sara one day and I ran a Turkey Trot. A whopping 8.5 miles. Come on Renee, you can run that in one run, but I didn’t. I used travel and family as excuses.

To motivate my ass out the door I am meeting people this evening and then running with Sara Thursday morning, which will be really nice.

And because I am me I have another race this weekend. I’m not very excited because I am ready to be done racing for the season. I am running the Hot Chocolate 15K in DC since I will be in town for TP‘s 30th birthday extravaganza. It will be an automatic PR since I have never run a 15K so I have that going for me. And it means I will run 9.3 miles before gorging on brunch followed by dinner and drinks.

Somehow in all of this I have to obsess over the Badgers who are playing in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game. The bar that was chosen for the birthday extravaganza does not have TVs. Bets on how quickly I kill my phone battery?

And this happened yesterday:

2011-12 Wisconsin Bowl Ticket Request Confirmation

Yep, I put my name and credit card number in for Rose Bowl tickets. There is no guarantee the Badgers are going and there is no guarantee that I will get tickets if they do, but I could not pass it up for a second year in a row.

Walnut Creek Turkey Trot

Mom, dad, Levi and I all ran a 5k on Thanksgiving. All 4 of us. I never imagined my whole family running a race. This was so awesome to me. I think it was last week sometime I was sitting around my parents’ house and said something to my dad about running a turkey trot if I could find one near my uncle’s house. I found one, about 10 miles away, which seemed good to me. I sent it to my dad, then my brother said, “a 5k, I can run that”. Moments later my mom decided that even with her feet problems she could run/walk a 5k. Probably 20 minutes later, thanks to a not user friendly online registration, we were all registered. Cue my excitement.

Thanksgiving morning my parents came over from the hotel to pick Levi and me up from my uncle’s house at 6:45. The race started at 8, but we didn’t know where we were going and needed to do race day packet pick-up. We woke up to cold rain. Yuck. Packet pickup was painless. I do have a mini rant though. If a race advertises women’s specific sizing they need to have it. A mens small does not fit. A mens small is not small. I was expecting a shirt that fit me. It does not. And I like the shirt. This makes me mad.

I had a few goals for the race, but didn’t know what to expect. Um, holy crowded course. And rant #2: If you run a 10 minute mile get the hell out of the 8:00 mile corral. Seriously, go back. I wish I had started up by the 6:00 minute pace group just to get past the crowds. It was terrible. Dad, Levi and I started together. In all honesty I have no idea how fast Levi runs. He is a cyclist. He could go bike 100K tomorrow and be fine. We stayed together for a bit, but then Dad and I lost Levi as we were dodging people, strollers, cones, and puddles. Dad and I stayed together. Our first mile was slow, 9:10 slow. That is not a good pace for a 5K. I wanted to run faster, but literally could not. It opened up a bit and mile 2 was 8:07 (yay!), mile 3 was 7:48 (awesome!) with a final time of 25:54. Not even close to PR, but that would have been impossible with mile 1.

Levi 24:49.91 (19/51)
Dad 25:53.26 (10/58)
Renee 25:54.41 (16/211)
Mom 32:23.02 (15/92)

Mom and Levi were first time 5k finishers. My mom hasn’t run more than 1.5 miles in years. Her feet held up and she kicked ass! Way to go mom! Everyone did great in their age groups. And everyone had fun.

I think I have even convinced my parents to run a New Year’s 5k with me!

Running with my Family

I am beyond ecstatic. My whole family, mom,dad, and brother, signed up for a Turkey Trot with me. We are running the 2011 Walnut Creek Turkey Trot!

I come from a pretty active family, but we have never done a race together. The rest of them do a lot of biking and other activities, not really runners. My dad and I did one triathlon together 4 years ago. I have done a few fun rides with my parents. When my dad ran a marathon I never even considered that I would be able to do something like that. I thought his running years were behind him.

My dad has just started running again. We did a nice 3 miler together on Sunday. I am trying to convince him to run the Wisconsin Half Marathon with me and Sara in May. I know he can build up to a half by then. I am also fairly certain that he will end up kicking our asses.

The best family vacations for us over the last I don’t even know how many years are ski vacations in Colorado. We all love to be outside. We like to be active. Then we like to sit around and drink hot chocolate with Rumplemintz or beer from the Dam Brewery. If we are in Colorado in the summer it is hiking and mountain biking (for the rest of them. I don’t want to kill myself biking down a mountain).

I am grateful that I come from an active and supportive family. I am grateful that they don’t think I am crazy for wanting to run a race Thanksgiving morning. And even more grateful that they are doing it with me.

Plus I haven’t run a 5k since last January when it was 10 degrees out. I bet I run in better conditions on Thursday.

Three Things Thursday

1. I am NOT racing this weekend. In fact I only have one race left this year. I am pretty sure my body will be grateful that I am not racing this weekend. This also means I get to sleep in. Other than my one total bonk I think my fall racing has gone well. And I have learned to read a calendar before signing up for races.

2. My brother is at my place again. I am trying to spend as much time with him as I can. After Thanksgiving I don’t know when I will see him again. I hate his stupid awesome job that I am totally jealous of. I want to live in Europe. I still can’t believe he won’t be here for Christmas.

3. I need someone to make my New Year’s Eve plans for me. I have crossed off a bowl game because I will not spend an exorbitant amount of money to watch the Badgers get trounced by Oregon (Rose Bowl). My DC friends are renting a place in Virginia Beach and I know that would be lots of fun. Plus I could get there for free. I could stay home and actually spend time in the city I live in. The thing about all of this is I think New Year’s Eve is a pretty overrated holiday. I don’t want to go to some big party. I don’t want to got to a crowded bar. I just want to hang out with friends. Is it crazy to fly back to DC  (Really Norfolk) again? Yeah, I know, not a real problem, but I’d rather be concerned with this than real things.

Christmas Ornaments

I tweeted something somewhat vague last night and got several questions about it. I thought I would clarify. And I knew it would take a lot more than 140 characters.

My family doesn’t have a lot of Christmas traditions. Up until this year my dad worked every other Christmas. We made it work. Some years Santa came early. Other years everything was done before 2:00pm so dad could go to work. This is normal to me at this point. The important part was we were together. Usually just the four of us, sometimes extra family from either side.

One of the things that is a big tradition in our family is Christmas ornaments. My ornaments were some of the most meaningful things I owned. My mom takes pride in picking out ornaments for everyone in the family. She made my first ornament. It was red, stuffed, and said 1985 on it. I remember these beautiful carousel ornaments that had to be from when I was very young because mine had a little girl riding the horse and Levi’s was just a horse. They didn’t know if he was going to be a girl or a boy. We had fish ornaments from the year we spent Christmas in the Caribbean. I had a snowboarding Santa. I had a sparkly shoe. At the 2009 Philly Marathon Expo I bought a 26.2 ornament. It was the first one I put on my little tree that year. I had more cat ornaments than I should admit. There is a memory attached to each and every ornament that went on my tree.

As many of you know I moved from Washington, DC to Wisconsin this year. I won’t go into the details of the move, but I ended up hiring movers. It was with one of those companies that will share trucks. My stuff ended up going in a truck with 2 other loads. My worst nightmare happened, although I don’t even think that is the right wording because this isn’t even something you can imagine happening. The moving truck caught on fire. I lost everything I owned. While I was extremely upset for quite sometime (and still want that company to go to hell) I have moved forward and replace most everything. But there are things that are irreplaceable and my ornaments fall into that category. I want them back. But I can’t replace them. It wouldn’t matter if I had all the insurance money in the world.

And that is the long reason I almost cried at some lame-ass Christmas commercial while watching TV last night.

Chicago’s Perfect 10

Another great race with another running friend. I signed up for this race when Mo sent me a link about it. I figured $23 for a 10 miler, why not? By the time the race came around I was thinking why on earth did I sign up for this?

I made a ridiculous list of goals for the race, packed in a hurry Friday morning, sat in a never ending Friday afternoon meeting, and finally got on the road to Mo’s house. Thankfully it was an uneventful drive. Upon arrival went out for pizza and beer. Mo and I ordered 22 oz Fat Tires, her BF settled for a normal size beer. What? We were carb loading.

Race morning was an EARLY morning. We got up at 4:30 and went on our way to Navy Pier. Mind you, a whole 3 days before the race the race director sent out and email and told us the race was starting an hour earlier. This was supposed to be an 8:00am start. Nope, 7:00am. Fortunately Mo knows all the ins and outs of races in Chicago so knew that parking at Navy Pier could be a mess if we didn’t get there early. Packet pickup was ridiculously easy. We had to get Mo’s cousin’s bag too. She got sick so couldn’t run the 10K, but still wanted her shirt.

We went back to the car and both of us went back and forth on layers. I ended up running in crops and a long sleeve Nike layer with gloves. I kept the gloves on for about half the race. As we were waiting inside Mo asked me how fast I was going to run, which I had only kind of thought about. She decided to run with me so for the second race in a row I got to run with a friend. This is awesome. We were pretty darn consistent.

Mile 1 8:42
Mile 2 8:38
Mile 3 8:34
Mile 4 8:51
Mile 5 8:38
Mile 6 8:37
Mile 7 8:59 (Two water stops within the mile)
Mile 8 8:43
Mile 9 8:48
Mile 10 7:53
Last 0.06 came in at a 6:55 pace!

Overall average pace: 8:38!

And I just realized I am missing a mile in there. I will need to go back and see what I am missing. I found my missing mile. I did run all 10 miles, 10.06 according the the Garmin. And I have my official overall time of 1:26:54. Mo came in at 1:26:52 and some other woman in our age group managed to finish at 1:26:53.

This was faster than the Army Ten Miler (barely, but it was).  I went into it with way less pressure on myself. It was a simple course that started and ended at Navy Pier and ran south on the Lakefront. Thankfully the wind didn’t kick in until later in the day. The wind that we had was at our back on the return, which was fantastic.

10 Miles goes by really quickly when you have an awesome friend to chat with. I couldn’t really tell you everything we talked about, but it was so much fun. When we hit one mile to go Mo asked me if I wanted to push it. Um, yes. Certainly looks like we did. The medals were cool and the ribbon has the date on it. In addition to the medals we received coupons for free McGriddles. I honestly didn’t know what makes up a McGriddle, but we were hungry. We paid for parking so it was easy to get out of the Navy Pier parking lot.

Once back at Mo’s house we showered and turned on GameDay. What else would we do? We waited until her BF got home and then went to eat and watch football and drink beer. i was a happy Badger fan long before they even took the field. Penn State and Ohio State lost, which was exactly what the Badgers needed. The Badger game was so exciting I fell asleep during the second quarter and didn’t wake up until after half time. Another friend of theirs joined us for football watching and dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. I shared the awesomeness of Untapped with Mo, which meant we had to look up what badges we could earn. I may have been the first to pass out on the couch. This is what happens when you do that:

It gets posted on twitter of course

At some later point I was told to go up to bed. Apparently 3 of the 4 of us had fallen asleep on the couches. What can I say? I was up at 4:30 and there were no good football games on at that point.

My body apparently hates me and woke my up at 7:00am. Thanks Twitter for amusing me while everyone else was still sleeping. The big plans for Sunday were pancakes and then more football. They have the RedZone channel. I miss it. NFL TV contracts suck. On Saturday I can flip between as many games as I want and on Sunday they are so limited.

Basically this was a perfect weekend. I ran a great race, I got to hang out with Mo all weekend, I got to relax and the drive both directions was uneventful.

Thank you Mo!