Monday, October 11, 2010

Anyone still there?

If you haven't already completely written me off as a blogger, I would just like to say thank you. Since my last post life has been..... well, life. I don't like talking about my job online for obvious reasons, but it has kept me EXTREMELY busy, which is actually pretty great because not many people have been able to say that for a long time. Besides that, I have really amped up my running/training. Physical activity has become an even bigger part of my life and I am a better person for it. The last few weeks I've hit some major milestones, and they are because a year and a half ago I decided to start running.

Which leads me to the future of this blog. Honestly, I had such a blast creating it, but the content of it is not what I want to share anymore. I've put myself "out there" quite a bit and while I only regret a few things I have posted, I do feel like I need to be a little more private about more of my personal life in the future. I know what most of you are thinking, but no, nothing happened to me to make me feel this way, but I know other people that have been burned by putting themselves out there online and I don't want that to happen to me.

But more than all of that, life is really just very different now and I no longer want to write about recipes, my dogs, and random weekends (although all those things are still awesome). All I honestly want to write about is running, races, tri stuff, etc. and I kind of pledged that I wouldn't turn this blog into completely running, so I'm thinking starting a new blog is in order. It will still share a lot of personal stuff but all related to my journey of trying to become an athlete. I feel like while I still have a ways to go with my personal goals, I have picked up quite a bit of knowledge that I should be sharing.

I'll keep you all updated.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Unfinished business

While I feel like my last post about the New Town tri was a great account of the race, by the time I got finished writing it I just felt drained. It took FOREVER to upload all the photos, recall all the details, etc. But when I got finished writing it I just felt like it really lacked a lot as far as how I was feeling afterwards.


As I said, while I feel like it is impossible to put into words exactly what I was feeling, I really want to try my best to express it. The sense of accomplishment after the tri was overwhelming. I was (and still am) to a point in awe of what I had just done. Now, I know I didn't break any major records or anything, but the tri was a really big deal for me.

I had a fear of biking which I put aside to complete the tri. I had never had swim lessons or swam a lap before May and I managed to finish the swim portion with what I consider to be a very respectable time on a somewhat intimidating open water course. I dedicated myself to working out 5 days a week doing 6-7 workouts for 6 weeks.

But even more than all that, I had a lot to overcome mentally. I made a mention of this in the last post, but after the marathon going far from how I had planned it, I felt like part of my heart was, just, well....dead, for a lack of a better term. Yes, I know finishing the marathon was a big deal, but I didn't finish it the way I wanted to finish it and it has weighed on me ever since.

While I know that I know enjoy triathlons way more than just running, I can't help but feel like I have unfinished business in the marathon department and I need to resolve it so that I can move on. So I have a winter marathon picked (and hotel booked!) and have started easing into training. I will spend the fall running with swimming and biking for fun, and plan on going strong into triathlons next year.

I think my biggest challenge will be more mental than physical and I've already been very aware of that. I know it's not going to be easy this time around, but this is just something I NEED to do for me.

As always, the support from everyone on this blog and in my life has been amazing. I appreciate everyone sticking around even as my posts become less frequent and consumed by running and triathlons.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New Town Triathlon!

It's hard for me to believe that the triathlon is over. I don't mind spoiling the ending of this blog post for you. IT. WAS. AMAZING!!! I really can't even describe how amazing it was, but I'm going to try in this blog post which I'm sure is going to quickly change into a novel. I want to apologize about the length, but it was such an amazing experience that I really want to have this post to look back and remember all the details. So this post in particular is more for me than all of you.

The day before the triathlon I drove solo to New Town to pick up my packet and check out the swim course one more time. One of the many awesome things about the race was that the organizers marked all three legs of the course the day before so that any participant that wanted to could preview the course. I didn't want to over do it the day before but I also didn't want to miss the opportunity to swim open water one more time before the race. For those of you that don't know, swimming in a pool (which I do 99% of the time) and swimming in a lake are two TOTALLY different animals.

I was so proud of myself for remembering my old watch so I could actual see how long it would take me to do the swim. I had swam the same course once before during a sponsored open water swim but I hadn't timed myself that day, so I really had no clue how long it took me. Once I arrived in New Town I pretty much just jumped out of the car, set down my towel, and jumped in setting my watch as I went. There were a few other people in the water, but no lifeguards or really anyone watching. At about 200 yards I thought to myself, "Wow this is kind of bad ass" No one knew I was in the water so really if I had any kind of problems or freaked out I was on my own. At that moment it kind of struck me as crazy, but also kind of awesome. At this point, I glanced at my watch and realized it had stopped. I guess it wasn't water proof after all!

I finished the swim feeling good and went to pick up my packet. At this point, I ran into a volunteer that I had met when I swam the course originally. I never caught her name, but she was a very sweet person that encouraged me to sign up for the tri (I was still on the fence at the first swim). I was happy and a little surprised she recognized me, but seeing her was great. She wished me luck and I headed towards home.

The rest of the day I hung out around the house, ate pasta, and tried not to get too nervous. I got everything together that I needed using a mega checklist that included everything I needed. The list even had "bike" on it.

I surprisingly got a lot of sleep that night and when I woke up the next day I felt ready to go! Well, kind of......



My half peanut butter sandwich that I ate in the car tasted awful (breakfast always does on race day), but I choked it down as I drove to the tri. As I pulled into New Town it was a few minutes before 7. Nathan had left a few minutes after me with my bike. Unfortunately, he couldn't stay to see me cross the finish because of a work commitment so we had to drive separately. We unloaded the bike, did a final tire check and I headed to get my timing chip and go into transition.

It was only a few minutes after 7, but volunteers and the guy on the loud speaker made me feel like I was super late even though I had a good 30 minutes before the transition area was closed and I had to line up to swim. I was instructed to go drop off my bike and gear and then get my timing chip. I quickly went into transition and tried to double check that I had everything I needed but I felt super rushed and was nervous I was forgetting something. I got a little frustrated, but decided that I should just step away and go get my timing chip.

Nathan walked over with me, we got the chip and then I decided I should go back into transition and double check my stuff. Nathan said, "Um, don't you need to get marked?" Me, "YES!!! OMG, I almost forgot!!" He grabbed a volunteer with a marker, and they wrote my race number on one arm and my age on the back of my leg. At this point, I realized I had forgotten to do something in transition which was to put water in the bucket I had brought. I opted not to worry about it though, because it was just to wash off my feet. I double checked everything and went towards the start.

I lined up with my numbers and stood there for a good 15 minutes, but it was a good chance for me to calm down and realize that I didn't need to rush around anymore. I was where I needed to be. I also got a chance to chat with some of the people around me who were super nice and we all exchanged a few tips. As the first set of swimmers started entering the water, I heard my mom call out to me. She and Nathan were practically standing on the dock where I was starting.
As I got closer to the officials I realized it was game time. When they told me to go I would have 5 seconds to run onto the dock and jump in before they released the person behind me so I was going to book it.







(I was so focused on quickly getting in I don't even remember that person sitting on the dock)

Once I was in the water, I just went. The lake was choppy, but I expected it to be worse. I didn't feel too crowded either, which I was fully expecting. After the first turn I did get bumped into by a few swimmers passing me, but no kicks in the face or anything. I didn't really feel like I was going super fast, but I was passing a few other swimmers as I made the second turn.

I was in the last 50 yards and saw swimmers getting help out of the water. At this point there were a few hardcore people coming in as well, so I slowed down a bit so they could easily pass me and get out first. After all, I was just doing this for fun, on reason to screw up someone that was trying to place.

At this point, a "lifeguard" on the sidelines called out to me with someone along the lines of, "You can came to the shore for a minute if you need to". Um, what!? I had less than 50 yards to go and you think I should come to the shore?? I had a few choice words in mind, but instead I just politely yelled back, "No, that's ok! I'm just slow!"


Once I got closer to the swim out I realized that the sweet volunteer was there! She saw me, smiled and said, "You got this!"




(Sweet volunteer is the one in the middle, coaching me in.)

I replied, "You are my guardian angel on this tri!"



As I exited the water I heard Nathan yell out, "30 minutes!" I kind of shrugged it off though, because no way I did that in 30 minutes, it was probably 32 or longer and he was just saying that to be nice.

I made my way into transition and started drying off, drinking water and pulling on my shoes. My mom, friends, and Nathan cheered the entire time.





After jamming some sport beans in my mouth, I was off.



Not even a mile in I realized I had forgotten my iPhone. There were no headphone rules, but I had planned on getting around them by just playing the music through the little speaker on the phone, and I also wanted to have it just in case something happened with the bike and I needed rescue. But at that point, there was nothing I could do but just keep going.

The first 10 miles were great, I was pushing hard and maintaining speeds that I usually didn't maintain even on short rides. I was moving at a great pace, passed about a half a dozen people, and even though I went slow going around turns I was having a great ride. At mile 11 I hit killer wind that really slowed me down. I got the chance to chat with some of the other riders as they were passing me everyone was so nice and encouraging, it made the ride really enjoyable. I was still pushing hard, but had definitely started backing off a bit.
I felt good as I finished up the last couple of miles and by my bike computer I could tell the ride had taken me about an hour and twenty minutes. And as I got closer to the transition area I could hear my friends and mother cheering me on. While I was getting off the bike and drinking some more water I heard them ask how I was doing and I said, "Good! I got this!"
I left transition with my bike water bottle and my iPhone this time and felt a sting of pain in my upper thigh.

I realized that the pain was from the bike seat. I had probably been sitting slightly off center and my thigh had been pushing down on it resulting in the pain. It wasn't unbearable but definitely uncomfortable. In the midst of thinking about the pain I had forgotten to start my garmin, so I was already a good quarter of a mile in.
I ran a little ways, but ended up walking a decent amount of the first two mile loop.


At mile 2 I came around the corner and got some much needed water and was happy to see my friends and Mom cheering me on. I tossed them my now empty water bottle and continued on.


I continued to alternate running and walking in no set pattern. I was starting to get hot and was really missing having my water bottle. (I always run with water and I drink it constantly) I got to the mile 3 aid station and couldn't wait to get my hands on some cold water...of course, they were out and only had this awful sports drink. I normally love sports drink, but whatever was in that cup was GROSS.
A few residents of New Town had sprinklers up and I paused at each one trying to cool off and get a little water in my mouth. When I realized I had about a half a mile left I jogged a steady pace to the finish. My mom jumped in within the last couple of moments.




As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was greeted yet again by the sweet volunteer aka "my guardian angel"! I was soaking wet and extremely gross but I grabbed her and hugged her anyway. It was just so nice to getting to see her one last time.
As I got out of the finish corral and found my mom and my friends I was out of breathe and so thirsty. I can't even begin to tell you how much I needed water.

The day before I had asked one of my friends to bring me a big (cold!) lemon lime Gatorade to the finish and thank God she did because I really needed it.

At this point, besides being tired and thirsty, I was just in awe and trying to wrap my mind around what just happened. I was so happy to see my mom and friends, but I had such a combination of exhaustion and awe, that I didn't speak for a good few minutes.

When I did finally start to form complete sentences and felt ok my mom and I grabbed a quick Kodak moment.


After a few more big gulps of Gatorade I walked over to the Results booth. The timing company there (Ultramax) gave you instant results. As I waited in line I was preparing myself to be a tad disappointed in my finish time. I had originally said that I would be happy with anything under 3.5 hours, but I really wanted to be right at 3. With all the walking I had to do during the run, I figured there was no way I was going to hit 3 hours. When the official handed me my print out I screamed.

I had finished in 2:48:33!!! I screamed ran over to my friends and jumped up and down a couple times with excitement.



Once I calmed down we snapped a few more pictures.....



Of course, we had to get a group shot of my amazing support team!

(Ali, Lauren, my mom, Jamie, Me, Sarah, some random dude, Kristal, and Ikey Joe)
I'm so happy that I decided to do the New Town Triathlon. My 6 weeks of intense training really paid off. I officially love the sport and wish I would have discovered it sooner. At this point, I don't have another triathlon set in stone, but I can't wait to do another one. I wish I could put into words the feeling I have after completing this one, but it's impossible. I do have a lot of work to do though, because I have to learn how to bike on hills (the New Town tri had a very flat bike course) because I've never done that before.
This past week I have been on a roller coaster of emotion. I was on cloud 9 for awhile, then got a tad depressed that it was all over. I also have spent a lot of time this past week thinking about the marathon. It's hard to describe but after the marathon I felt like part of my heart was just dead. It's no real mystery that I was disappointed in my results. After the tri, I feel like part of me is back. I'm still upset about the marathon, but doing well at the tri gave me confidence that I can be happy doing distance races again. I may write more about this later, but I'm just having trouble coming up with the words at the moment.
Also, I plan on writing another post in the near future with triathlon tips that really helped me but I need to wrap this up as it has taken me almost all day to upload all the photos and write it.
Thank you to all of you that cheered me on during the process!



























Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another ambitous decision

If you keep up with my DailyMile page you may have noticed that I've been quite busy lately running, swimming, and even doing a little biking. Well, right after the mini tri didn't go so well, I was a little bummed. Sure, not completing it had a lot to do with my brake issue, but another part of me felt like maybe I let the fear/under training on the bike get the best of me.


Only a few days after the mini tri, I decided that I NEEDED to do another tri and one that would help me get over my fear of the bike and push me to get better at swimming. I spent some time looking at tris in Missouri, and decided that the one I really wanted to do was the New Town Triathlon. The distance of New Town was a little further than I was looking for (over double the mini, and more than a traditional sprint) but what really appealed to me was the flatness of the bike course and that it was pretty close to home.


The catch? It was the end of May and New Town was July 11. That meant that I had about 6 weeks to train. I looked over lots of free training plans, but ultimately ended up making one of my own because I hated all of the ones that I had found. So since June 1st I have secretly been training for New Town doing a 2x a week plan for each area, making a grand total of 6 workouts a week.


I didn't sign up until last night because I wanted to see if I could handle the training. Four weeks of training, one open water swim of the course, and a ride of almost the exact bike route, I feel pretty good about it. I still have reservations of course, but not enough to make me not want to attempt it.

So in a mere two weeks I will be doing a .62 mile swim, 20 mile bike, and a 4 mile run. I'm scared and excited, but mostly excited. I will hopefully have time and energy to write another blog between now and then, but regardless of what good, bad, or amazing things happen during the triathlon, I will be sure to write about it afterwards.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I am one proud lady. :)

The day after my big ole' failed tri, I accompanied my fabulous husband, Nathan, to my hometown to watch him compete in a 35 mile bike ride. I was certainly more nervous than he was, especially after seeing what he was up against.





Before we arrived, we both knew that most of the cyclists would be on some kind of team, but when we showed up 98% of the participants were on teams and looked super serious. The combination of that and the race disorganization completely added to my nerves. When Nathan finally started (5o minutes later!) it was HOT. Nathan had never trained in this kind of heat, and I was practically dripping with sweat just standing waiting for him to start.





About 8 miles into the 35, he called me. He was super discouraged because he was riding by himself at that point. The group he started with had taken off and the group that started after him had passed him as well. I told him that it was really up to him what he wanted to do, but he should just think of it as a nice bike ride by himself and try and enjoy it.





At this point, I was pretty sure he would be turning around shortly and going back. I mean, getting wayyyy behind that early in the race is pretty discouraging. Personally, I don't think I would have kept going knowing I was pretty out of my league.





I didn't hear from him for another hour, and I was going a little nuts. About two hours after he started I tried calling him and got no answer. A lot of the cyclists were starting to return, and I just hoped that he hadn't gotten too hot or dehydrated.





30 minutes later Nathan called me and the convo went something like this:





Me: (no hello) You ok!?!?


Nathan: I'm close to finishing.


Me: Finishing!?!? Like you did it?


Nathan: Yeah, I did it!


Me: HONEY!!!! You want so fast! It hasn't even been 2 and a half hours!


Nathan: I know. Bye!



Just a few minutes later, Nathan flew by!

(Thanks, sis, for the great pic!)

At this point, I had tears in my eyes. He had done it. He trained for this race while working 6 days a week, braved the heat, and didn't let being last get him down. He did amazing, and I could not be more happy and proud.

Unfortunately, Nathan doesn't think he is going to do another bike race. A big part of that is because he said he didn't feel welcomed at all by the other race participants. I think he and I were both expecting the atmosphere of the race to be one similar to those that we are used to with running.

In general, I've always dealt with runners that have been very welcoming and encouraging. The runners I've been around have always cheered me on, offered support, etc. And Nathan accompanies me to many of my races so he saw this too. The participants at this race were QUITE different. Nathan said that when he put his number on wrong, a group of bikers proceeded to make fun of him for it. And then they continued on by talking about his bike and how it wouldn't make it on the course. All in all, they were pretty much pricks.

And while I could write PARAGRAPHS on how terribly disorganized and poorly run this race was, I won't because obviously I'm not an expert on bike races, but seriously, you don't have water at the start or finish? And three bathrooms for hundreds? I don't think so.

Luckily, Nathan plans on doing some fun rides and helping me getting over my bike fear. I'm just so proud of him so I had to share!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

First tri FAIL!

While training for my first tri in 12 days was fun, it ultimately ended up with me getting a DNF (did not finish). I had a GREAT swim and I was a smiling, happy person as I got out of the pool. The bike portion was a different story though. About two miles in I felt like something was wrong. I didn't know if it was just because I was going up hills, but I felt like the bike wasn't moving the way it should.

I got off the bike and shortly after a race official came up and asked me if I was having problems. I told him yes and he offered to look at the bike. He said it looked like the front brake wasn't releasing from the wheel completely. The course was hilly so I felt super scared to continue on not knowing if my front brakes were ok. Because of that, I decided to pull myself out of the race.

Obviously, this race did NOT help my fear of the bike. It's clear to me that I don't know enough about my bike or how to troubleshoot problems. But even with that, I'm not going to write off doing a triathlon in the future. I feel like the bike won today, and I don't like that. Plus, I REALLY enjoy swimming and I really want to keep doing it.

Getting a DNF for any reason sucks, but I keep telling myself that in my active life, races aren't always going to be awesome, but the benefits of doing these races are worth it regardless of the results.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 7 of I'm Running my First Tri in 12 days and I feel a little "out there"

When I got out of bed today I slowly started getting ready to go to the pool to get a swim in. "Slowly" being a key word in that sentence. Yesterday I had done a 20 mile walk with a friend and was certainly feeling it. But I knew ultimately doing some laps in the pool would make my legs feel better. And hello!! the tri is less than a week away, it's time to get in some major activity!

I get to the pool about 15 minutes after it opens and two of the three lanes are already occupied. I start my laps in the empty lane and it's tough today, maybe even tougher than the first day. I push really hard one lap and stop at the end of the lap to catch my breathe. The guy using the lane next to me is doing the same, and I'm debating about striking up a conversation with him. You know, since I'm a swimming newbie and can use all the help I can get. I kind of glance his way and he has kind of a strange look on his face as he glances my direction. I decide maybe he isn't a talker and I adjust my goggles, catch my breathe, etc.

He starts swimming again and just as he does I glance down to see that my boobs have almost completely came out of my swimsuit. I mean, we are talking nipples and all.

I bought a new swimsuit a few hours later.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm Running my First Triathlon in 12 days.

Does anyone recall a mention in my last post about eventually wanting to start triathlon training? Well, that desire hasn't really left me, in fact it only has gotten stronger in the weeks since the marathon.

Even before the marathon, I had thought about signing up for this Mini Triathlon my sister had told me about. Deep down I really wanted to do it, but between the training burn out and not knowing anything about swimming I had kind of talked myself out of it. That all changed this past weekend. A short phone conversation with a friend that decided to do it got me thinking that yes in fact I should go ahead and sign up. Only thing was, the Triathlon was a mere 12 days away. But I didn't doubt that I could do it. After training for the marathon I do feel like anything is possible. And I did really want to start Triathlon training. The main thing holding me back to jumping into is the cost. I don't have access to a free pool, some of the tri equipment can get expensive, etc. But at this point I thought I could just get by with just buying some goggles and paying some admission charges at a local pool.

So "I'm Running my First Triathlon in 12 days" was on. Day 1 of 12 was in the pool. I had never same a lap in my life, so I really didn't know what to expect out of my first swim. I decided to start with the distance of the actual race of the swim which was 200 yards. I ended up doing 250 yards and my biggest problem was breathing. I felt like I couldn't catch my breathe at all after the first 25 yards. I feel like this will get better though as I just get used to being in the pool. Right after I decided to run the race distance of 2 miles on the indoor track. I pushed hard, and ended up being really happy with my run post swim.

Day 2 of 12 wasn't so positive. I decided to try and bike the race distance of 9 miles on Grants Trail. As you may recall, I had just bought my first bike last month. And if you follow me on DailyMile, you know I had been putting in some good miles on my bike trainer. I was REALLY enjoying the bike trainer and it was good because I was getting used to the bike. I hadn't ridden a bike of any kind in 10 years and I had never ridden a bike with gears. I know that's crazy, but when I did ride a bike as a kid it was always a simple bike that just had pedal brakes.

I was nervous on the bike due to my inexperience, but I really thought it wouldn't be too bad because I was super comfortable on the bike trainer. Oh, was I wrong. I jumped on Grants Trail and was instantly terrified. I felt COMPLETELY out of control. I was on a slight incline and felt completely unsteady and like I could fall off any minute. About a half mile in I had to stop at an intersection and almost fell off the bike because I hit the brakes too hard. YIKES.

I spent the next 4 or so miles terrified. If I went over 13 miles an hour I was completely freaked. I was squeezing the handle bars so hard that my hands were in pain. I did end up riding 10 miles, but I was bummed when I realized I was doing half the speed that I did on the trainer. I thought the bike portion of the tri would be fairly easy, but yesterday made it obvious that is not the case. I am really hoping that a few more rides will get me more comfortable with the bike. ::Fingers crossed:: Tomorrow I'm going to give the bike ride another go and hopefully more swimming on Friday.

The next 10 days are going to be a real test of my physical and mental capabilities but I feel ready for the challenge. I'm excited to push myself a little more! I'll keep you all posted as to how it goes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Marathon

Settle in, this is going to be a long one.

The race started late and it took forever to get across the start line. I was already anxious about the 6 hour time cutoff so taking so long to get across the start was nerve racking.

Once I finally did cross the next few miles went by quickly I was going fast, but figured it was okay because the first several miles of the course were pretty flat and I should make good time where I could. My heart rate was also pretty high but I was still feeling good. I was having a great race, I had put a ton of time between myself and the 6 hour marathon pacer. At mile 5.5 I was joined by my friend Sarah, and it was so great to see her. I was enjoying myself, we were chatting up a storm, and just enjoying ourselves. Not to shortly after another friend, Jamie, jumped out of nowhere. I was shocked. Jamie was supposed to meet me around mile 20 or so, and her she was at mile 6.5!

The three of us continued on. I was so distracted by the two of them that I didn't noticed I had skipped a couple of my walking intervals. My heart rate was still high, but I still felt good, so I wasn't too concerned. In the back of my mind I thought, "Well, maybe I should be pacing myself better, but you know it's probably okay." I also ended up seeing my awesome husband Nathan on his bike and my good friend Emma at this point.


Sarah had to leave at about mile 8.5 and Jamie continued on with me until about mile 9.

Right before mile 10 the marathoners and the half marathoners separated. I felt adrenaline at this point because I knew that it was about to get serious and to a no turning back point. As I'm following the arrows to continue on the course and not turn back towards the finish an official abruptly stops myself and another marathoner and informs us that we didn't make the time cutoff and we have to complete the half marathon course.

I was livid. And the conversation went something like this:

Me- "NO!!!! NO!!!!!You can't do that!! The race started late! I'm MINUTES ahead of the 6 hour pacer."

Race official- "I'm sorry, I can't let you continue."
Me- "NO!!! NO! You !&*#$ ?%7*?!?^!? !?$$&&7!? ! How can you do that!?! I'm ahead of the pacer!?!?! I'm going, please let me go!!!"

Race official- sighs "OK, I didn't see you....go."

Now, I have to digress her for a second. In my 27 years on earth I have never really screamed at someone. Harsh words, possible elevating tone, but not like a full out scream. All that changed on Sunday. I REALLY ripped into that Race Official, and I honestly felt bad about it later. He was just trying to do his job, and I screamed at him and said things that were, um..... pretty freaking bad.

But anyway, I kept going but I was totally on edge after that. I was worried I was going to end up getting pulled from the course now because I screamed at the official (because yeah, it was bad). But I was also angry, that it was completely unfair. Then I quickly thought that for some reason Nathan and my friends that were supposed to meet up with me at later points in the race would hear that they started turning runners around at the 10 mile and would assume that I got turned around too. I grabbed my phone and called Jamie because I knew she probably had her headset in and would hear the phone. I quickly told her they tried to turn me around, but I kept going and to let Nathan know to continue.
The race quickly got very, very lonely. This particular event had 12,500 half marathon runners, 3,000 marathon runners, and 400 marathon relay teams, so once I broke away from the half marathon runners the course was pretty empty. At this point, I was running through Forest Park. I was still making incredible time and realized that I was close to hitting the halfway point and that I was going to easily going to beat my last half marathon time by a couple minutes.

Right before mile 14 things started going downhill though. I was starting to feel the heat that I wasn't used to running in and then I started feeling nauseous. At this point Nathan was with me and I told him I was feeling rough. I then started to panic a bit. I was drinking water but by now what was in my bottle and what was at the aid stations was warm. Nathan offered to ride ahead of me and go to a gas station to buy cold water, but I told him I didn't want him to leave me.

At mile 15 I was so relieved to see, Jordan, another friend that offered to run with me. I told him things were going kind of rough. Jordan told me I looked like I was doing good. The next few miles were all kind of a blur. We hit lots of hills. LOTS.

I couldn't run up most of them, so while I tried to stick to my planned walking breaks, it didn't always happen. I tried to get some speed on the downhills as much as I could, but it was tough. I was still nauseous and hot. At some point in the next few miles, the 6 hour pacer caught up to us. I tried to stay with him but it just wasn't happening. My legs were getting cramped and I was pretty sure I had a toe bleeding because my feet were in pain.

At this point, I felt pretty defeated. The cutoff team was ahead of me and even with Jordan doing awesome to keep me going I knew I couldn't catch them and maintain that pace for the rest of the race. We were hitting more and more hills and they just didn't' seem to end. The "sag" wagon pulled up beside us and asked me if I planned on completing the race. I thought, Oh God, this is it, they are pulling me off the course. I said, "Yeah, I want to complete it if that is OK." Yeah, I don't know where that girl was that screamed at that race official two hours earlier, cause at this point I was a totally different person. Sag wagon nodded and proceeded to hang out behind us for about a half a mile more. He then pulled up and told me he had a few runners that he needed to drop off and he would come find me in about 30 minutes in case I couldn't continue.

Even with the defeated feeling lingering, I was still in a pretty good head space. I had ran an amazing 13+ miles and was so happy about how I had done thus far. At around mile 20 Jamie met up with us again and I was still nauseous, hot, and cramped but by now the cramping was happening from my shoulders to my feet. My heart rate was still high considering how much I had been walking. I really wanted to throw up and thought I was going to a couple times but it wasn't happening.

Another van pulled up and Race Director/Official (Mike) jumped out I because I had read the rules 1000 times I know exactly what he was going to say. He told me that I could finish the race but I wasn't going to get a medal, finish time, and I would have to take a detour because they had to open back up Forest Park Parkway and their weren't sidewalks I could go on. When he said the part about not getting the medal my heart hurt just a little. It sucked to go through everything I was going through and not get a medal. But I told him that I was aware of the rules and I did want to continue. I thanked Jordan for everything (he had already been with me a lot longer than we had planned) and he went ahead and left since Jamie and Nathan were both with me. Jamie ran to get me a bagel thinking it may help the nauseous feeling and Nathan continued on with me. The bagel did help with the nausea, but the cramps were still there and getting worse.

The last few miles were the worst, my whole body was tense and the heat was just awful at this point. Nathan left Jamie and I at around 24 to ride ahead and let the people waiting at the finish line know that yes, in fact, I was still coming. When Jamie and I finally got to the last block and we could see the finish line, Jamie convinced me to run the last part in. As I was getting a few hundred yards away Race Official Mike pulled up in his van and told me he was happy that I finished. I thanked him best I could and continued on over the finish line as my mom ran up to greet me.

(Even though it's super shaky....Nathan apologizes, he told me he was excited....here is the finish line video. That white van on the right is Race Official Mike)


video

I tried to get happy and excited, but I was soooo exhausted. (as you can see from the video) It was so good to see my mom though. She was just beaming with pride and was very happy to give me (drumroll please) A FINISHER MEDAL!!!



From what my mother told me, she had been waiting at the finish for me and the volunteers had thought the last runner had finished so they were going to start packing up. When she informed them that I was still out there and I WOULD be finishing. Not only did a volunteer offer her a medal to give me, but the guy doing the timing left the mat up, and the volunteers said they were happy to leave the finish line up. An EMT even stuck around to make sure I wasn't dehydrated or collapsing. I was shocked and so happy about this, and it certainly made my day.

Also cheering me on at the finish and taking pictures were Kristal, Chad, and baby Isaac, who had been patiently waiting awhile for me to finish. Kristal managed to get this picture of my mom and I and even though I have total ugly cry face, it's still one of those amazing moments I am really glad was captured.
My Garmin time was 6:40:14..... yep, way past my goal time of 6 hours because of all the walking I had to do. At this point, I'm going to get brutally honest with you about how I feel about the marathon. I am so proud of myself for completing it. I truly did give this race everything that I had, but it still didn't turn out the way I wanted it to and I see three major reasons why this is the case:

1. The heat. I don't care what anyone says, with the combination of full sun and the temp it was HOT on Sunday. And because none of my training had ever been done in that kind of weather, it killed me.
2. The hills. If you are a long time reader of this blog you know that hills scare me. For the first 14 miles of the course I feel like I rocked the hills. I was especially proud of myself for not giving up on the ever scary Forest Park hills. But when I hit Clayton and the hills just kept coming and coming and coming, it killed me. I knew hills would be a challenge, but I wasn't at all prepared for the challenge of this course... I admit it.
3. I had really been burnt out on running for a good month. Don't get me wrong, I do love running, but it became painfully obvious that I wasn't in love with marathon training. Even when I switched to what I thought would be a better plan for me, it still seems like I lost a lot of my running love. I think mentally I wasn't prepared for the race and a lot of it had to due with the burn out. But that isn't to say if #1 and 2 didn't happen that this would have been my demise, but I think the combination of the 3 really hurt me.

What it all comes down to though, is that I did complete it. Again, being brutally honest, part of me feels like I was a bit of a let down (to others, not really myself) for walking so much at the end, and I know I am not beaming with pride and calling myself a marathoner because of this, but I still feel like a completed an honest race and I didn't have much more or anything left of myself to give. I am just going to have to learn to deal with the fact that to the running community may not think my marathon was as much of an accomplishment because I walked so much. But, I just need to get over that. In 18 weeks I accomplished great things, and I need to focus on that and not what others have accomplished.

So many people have asked me if I would do another marathon. At this point, I can't really imagine going through the training again, but I'm still in a place of being really burnt out. The plan now is just to get my running love back, because at this point, it's gone. I'm going back to basics and going to try and get out of run/walk intervals and into more running with a fluent pace. I'm planning on a couple half marathons in the Fall and then I'll just go from there. I also REALLY want to start triathlon training, but it's an expensive sport and I know jumping into it too quick will just cause more burnout. However, I did just purchase a nice bike and plan on doing more cycling.

Now, I know this post is already a novel, but there is no way I could have made it through today without some amazing people helping me, so I'm gonna take this chance to say thank you.

I have some great dailymile friends that have been not only helpful but inspiring in my training. All of them are awesome, but a special thank you to Ann B., Christopher B., Doug M., Ali W., Samantha, and Jason E. You guys have all at one point or another kept me going.
To all my friends that recorded messages for during the race. I laughed, cried, and enjoyed them during race and I still am. They were all so awesome, thank you for recording them.

To Sarah, you have been such a good friend the last few weeks and you truly helped me keep my sanity and I was overjoyed that you were able to run with me on some of my "good" miles. I can't wait to do the 20 mile walk with you. And of course, Sunday couldn't have worked without your amazing husband. :)

To Lauren, if I ever had any doubts about myself or my abilities I just had to think that you were one of my biggest fans. It kept me going more than you know, and I can't wait to be at the starting line with you of a half marathon, because you are doing one! :)

To Kristal, thanks for doing Couch to 5k, because if you hadn't I probably never would have started. You have made me feel like I could do anything, your confidence in me has been a blessing.

To Ali, you are the greatest cheerleader a runner could ever ask for. I could always depend on you to give amazing running advice and do whatever I needed to feel confident in my abilities. I'll never forget the first time I ran outside was with you in South City (that was only 11 months ago, that's CRAZY!!!), you were a huge help then and a huge help now. Thanks for calming me down and keeping me sane.

To Jordan, thank you for your company, stories, and laughter as you ran beside me on Sunday. I would of had a very scary several miles had you not been there, and I truly mean that I have no idea how I can ever repay you for the support that you gave me for those 5 miles.

To Jamie, I don't even know where to begin.....in the last year of marathon training you have truly seen me at my best and my worst. Sunday you were the most patient friend anyone could ever ask for. Thanks for getting me a bagel, putting up with that annoying chick, and keeping me calm those last few miles. I have no idea where I would be without your friendship and support.

And finally to my amazing husband, Nathan. You probably won't read this, but I love you so much and after Sunday, you definitely get husband of the year. I would have been lost without you and certainly would have died of thirst. I'm sorry you only got two hours of sleep on Saturday night, but if you hadn't been there Sunday, I don't think I would have finished the race. I can't wait to cheer you on in your bike race next month.
If you are still with me at this point, thanks for reading and the support. :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Quick update from a Marathon finisher!

I plan on writing a much bigger, longer post with pics and perhaps some video. But here's the quick cliff notes version I posted on my dailymile page:


I COMPLETED THE MARATHON!!! Wow, what a race. I did amazing the first half (went too fast though), PRing by a couple minutes, but around mile 15 I started declining quickly. It was wayyy hotter than I had trained in which kept making me feel like I was going to vomit. And I wasn't prepared for all the hills in Clayton and U city. By mile 20 my entire body from my feet to my shoulders were cramped, but I was determined to finish even if I had to crawl across the finish.

Because Go! has a 13:44 per mile time cutoff, I had to move to the sidewalks at mile 20 and take a detour off the course at one point (because of not being able to get on FP parkway), but I have to give huge props to the race director that coached me back to the finish line. He was so supportive and met up with me at least 6 different times on the course. Right before I finished he pulled up in his van and told me he was really happy that I stuck it out.

I crossed the finish line with a great group of people waiting for me. I don't know how she did it, but my mom managed to talk the crew into keeping up the finish line and saving out a medal for me.

Even though I didn't finish when I wanted to or how I wanted to, I still finished. Do I wish the race had gone better? Of course. But am I still proud of what I accomplished? Absolutely.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Time to get a little more positive!

You know what instantly makes me feel better? Surrounding myself with friends that love and believe in me. Genius, right?

Last night I was fortunate enough to have a bunch of really great people in my house for dinner and to help me with a small "project". Near the beginning of my training, my awesome husband, Nathan, came up with the idea to record my family and friends saying messages that he would convert into mp3s and put on my iPod for during the race. I LOVED the idea. So last night I cooked a massive amount of lasagna and a bunch of my really good friends came over to help me carb load and do some recording.

I am not listening to any of the messages before Sunday, but everyone got super creative and really into the whole thing. I had a friend bring a banjo, one wrote out a speech and another recorded a message that was well over 6 minutes long. I am so excited to hear them and I think it will be a great distraction and awesome motivation for the race.

Even though I didn't hear the messages, everyone that was in my home was just so encouraging. I lost count on the number of times I heard them say they were proud of me, they thought it was awesome, etc. I cannot even begin to express how much I needed last night. I have always had an amazing support system in my friends and family, but last night just opened my eyes to how many people are behind me completing the race. Am I still nervous? Absolutely. But I feel so, so good about the race now and I know I wouldn't have gotten that attitude change without last night.

So if you were at my house last night. Thank you...you all are the greatest and I feel so much better about the race.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Marathon is Sunday

I expected to write this post later in the week, but what the heck, no time like the present. I apologize as I know it is going to be a little all over the place, but that is kind of how my mind is working right now.

If you couldn't tell from my last post, I am pretty burnt out on running. In all honesty, I have been for the last few weeks and it's finally hitting me super hard. Not much of me is excited for this Marathon on Sunday and that really upsets me. I really want my running joy back. Even getting personal bests on my short routes doesn't excite me, and that used to make my day (or week).

In order to get in a better head space I have been trying to remind myself of why I decided to do the Marathon in the first place. More than anything I wanted to do the Marathon because I thought if I could do it, then I could do anything. After running a Marathon it seemed like nothing would be impossible for me.

This Marathon isn't impossible. Just because the last few weeks haven't been great doesn't mean that I can't do it. I just need to keep reminding myself of that and beat it into my brain. I need to think over and over that 15 months ago that running 3 minutes seemed impossible and that I kept going. I need to think about those completely humbling times that someone told me I was an inspiration to them.

The last week has been a roller coaster of emotion. I have completely flipped out and considered unofficially dropping down to the half Marathon because of the last few weeks. But if I do that, I know I would never forgive myself for not at least trying. For my sanity, I need to give everything I have on Sunday, and if for some reason it isn't good enough, I just need to know that I gave everything I could and I can move on with no regrets. In fact, I think No Regrets is the new motto for my Marathon. I may write it on my arm or pin something on the back of my shirt that says, "Please cheer at me and say, No Regrets!" so that random Marathon watchers can remind me of my pledge.

Thank you to all of you for sticking around during this crazy time in my life. Those of you that have taken the time out to say something encouraging have meant the world to me. I certainly I hope I make you proud and cross the finish line fist pumping and having ran with No Regrets.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I don't care what you say...Marathon training SUCKS!

Seriously.

Sure, I'm confident that once I make it to the finish line I will have an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, but right now all I can think about is the fact that I have one more week and a 20 mile run to make it to when I start to taper.

THANK GOD.

Yesterday I ran 18 miles in the park. That was over four hours in the wind, rain, and cold. (Ok... it wasn't that cold...but cold for March!) The first 10 miles I felt great. Then around 13 my mind started taking over. My legs started to hurt and my ever present foot pain started making itself more apparent. Yesterday would have been one of those great days to curl up with a blanket, watch a movie, and maybe even take a nap. But instead I was outside being super sweaty and battling a headache in the midst of running. Fun times right??

Now, in fairness to Mr. Marathon, I can't be all negative. Training for the marathon has been a great way to get in shape. Even though not many people have noticed (or at least not said anything) I am totally getting smaller. I can see my stomach shrinking and seeing lines I never thought I would see. And I've gotten little victories here and there that have helped my self-esteem.

I think it is going to be nice to get a little free time back. Even with switching to a lower intensity training plan, I still spent a good 8 or more hours a week running or doing cross training. Not to mention the hours upon hours agonizing about where I am going to run, the weather, my foot pain, and what I am eating. Does anyone know how many rules there are for eating while in training for a marathon!? I mean it's insane. I can't even begin to tell you how confusing meal planning has been. And after this marathon I don't think I will want to see any sport beans for a very, very long time.

I am pretty confident that after April 11th I won't be doing any more full marathons for a long time. I really enjoy doing half marathons, so I think I may stick to those for awhile and try and get some of my sanity back.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I haven't given up yet....

I haven't given up on the fact that one day I will have the time and energy to get back into a regular blogging schedule. I also haven't given up on the marathon.

I've had some ups and downs with training, and have definitely missed a few of my runs during the week. I've even had serious thoughts of stopping training completely, but I haven't. Last week I made the decision to change training plans to one that was specifically made for runners that are doing planned run/walk intervals. The plan is by Coach Jenny Hadfield and strangely enough when I was training for the half with one of Hal Higdon's plans (as I am now) I ended up switching to one by Coach Jenny as well. For the rest of this training, I will be following a plan similar to this one. I will be using the intervals I use currently (which are longer), switching up some days, and probably cutting out one of the days of cross training. It is a lot lower in intensity and mileage during the week, which make me a little nervous about being fully prepared for the marathon, but at this point, I'm willing to take the risk for what seems like a training plan that fits me a lot better.

The first week of the new training plan has gone great! I had a disaster 15 mile run a week ago, so I spent a good part of the week psyching myself up for my 16 mile run on Saturday and trying to find a new route to run that would help me not be so bored. Because doing anything for 3+ hours can get pretty boring, and I really think that was most of the reason my 15 mile run was a diaster. Nathan suggested we travel across the river to Grafton, IL and utilize the bike trail that runs along the Great River Road. What started out as a casual idea turned into a small weekend getaway for us, which proved to be just what we both needed.

Even though I wasn't as fast as I would have liked, the 16 mile run went great. I had great weather and an awesome husband that met up with me on his bike and filled up my water bottle. A woman stopped me at mile 15.5 and told me she saw me 3 hours ago and wondered how long I had been running. When I told her I was marathon training she told me she thought it was just awesome. It was a quick moment, but made me feel great.

I spent the remainder of the weekend eating, drinking, and being marry with my fabulous husband. I got to eat at one of my favorite restaurants and soak in a jacuzzi tub while drinking wine. Not a bad way to top off a great run!

The next few weeks are going to be a challenge, but I keep telling myself that if I can do 16 miles then I can do 18. And if I can do 18 I can do 20, and according to all the experts, if you can run 20 miles at the end of training you can run 26.2.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mish Mash

Oh, lots to update....

I ran my second half marathon yesterday. For some reason, I was super nervous. Even more nervous than when I ran my first half. I think the main reason was because I went into this one with pretty high expectations. I felt like I had to beat my previous time. Correction.... I felt like I had to smash my last time of 3:01:20. Well, I don't quite feel like I smashed it, but I am happy with my 2:54:31. The hills on the course were INSANE, and I had no idea they would be that bad. Good practice for the full marathon for sure, since I have always been concerned about the hills.

The last couple of weeks, I had been having some foot and leg pain. The side of my foot had been on and off uncomfortable ever since my 10 mile run on the treadmill. And my legs had felt tired and heavy for a week. I was really worried that I was in the midst of a something serious. But I was equally as nervous to back off of training to try and take care of the issue. Luckily neither were an issue this weekend. My legs are a bit sore today, but my foot pain is almost nonexistent.

I also didn't feel like I was mentally prepared for this one. I have talked before about how I don't like to talk about work on my blog, but now it seems almost unavoidable. I found out this week that my position is going to be eliminated in somewhere between 45 to 90 days. While I am upset about the news, having the heads up is a big relief. Also, my company is going to be looking for a different place to put me (of course, no guarantees), but they were kind enough to let me know that if I wanted to start pursuing other positions outside the company they understood.

So I am now actively looking for a new job in what is probably one of the worst times to be looking for one. I am a tad freaked, but again the heads up is nice. I am just going to take it one day at a time and stay positive.

Just so I don't end this on a sad note, I had the absolute best Sunday. Slept in, did some major cleaning, and enjoyed a couple beers and a Sybergs Famous Salad. I sat back and realized I ran another half marathon yesterday. How cool is that!?!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Another week done!

I am so happy to report that another week of Marathon training is done! This week was definitely the hardest thus far with my total mileage being 21 miles! 21!!!

I can easily say this week had the most difficult long run I've ever done. Because of a negative wind chill on Saturday I chose to do my long run at the gym on the treadmill. I can deal with the treadmill for short runs or kinda long runs of 5-6 miles, but 10 miles is a completely different story. Besides, from Tuesday on I wasn't feeling 100% and I was feeling really nauseous on my runs. Not an ideal combo for sure.

I started the run and managed to keep the first 5 miles at my goal long run pace (13 minute mile) I didn't break intervals once...after that I started feeling not so fab. The gym was on the warm side and I was having some cold sweats while I was burning up. Miles 6 and 7 were a tad slower, but after mile 7 I felt like a train wreck. I had to break intervals and slow my pace, which is a bad combo. I picked up a bit towards the end and did a few sprints like I always try to do, but I didn't have near the energy I normally do.

(This next paragraph is a tad TMI...skip on if needed)

I got off the treadmill and I was soaked. Easily more soaked then when I ran the Half Marathon outside in mid September, and I was wearing the exact same outfit! I had so much sweat dripping down my legs it looked like I had peed all over myself. This has totally happened to me before but I don't think it has ever been so heavy.

But I was done...THANK GOD. I was devastated at my performance. I met up with Nathan just as he was completing his 26 miles on the bike (go Nathan!!!) and I started explaining to him my run. I went from a not devastated place to a mixed feeling place which I am still experiencing.

Here's the deal, for some reason, in my mind I feel like I need to do the marathon in as close to a 13 minute mile pace that I possibly can. Now, I know what all you runners are going to say, that the goal of the first Marathon is to finish. Yes, I get that. But unfortunately, when the race you are running has a 13:45 cut off pace, you have to be concerned about when you are going to finish. Plus, I think that regardless, 99% of Marathon runners give themselves a time goal. I came up with mine because doing a 13 minute mile has enough of a buffer that if something does go wrong like a side stitch or something, I have enough time to pace through it. So if I can't manage the 13 minute mile pace for a 10 mile run, I see a problem. Plus, I didn't even run any hills!

Of course, I do always try to focus on the positive and I certainly see the upside. 10 miles on the treadmill is some tough stuff. And not every run is going to be perfect, so I need to cut myself some freaking slack. My average pace was about 13:30, so I guess you could say it wasn't terrible considering I felt "off" all week.

I guess the jury is still out on this one....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How could I forget?

I can't believe that in my Week 4 summary I so carelessly brushed over one very important event. While running my midweek "kinda long" run I was doing some wardrobe adjusting and then, "BAM!" I fell on the treadmill. Luckily I had been walking an interval at the time and was able to catch myself before doing a full out body slam on the belt. The gym wasn't very crowded but I am sure at least a couple people noticed. I just kind of shook it off and did my final 1.25 miles.

When I was done I walked up to Nathan on the other side of the gym and told him what had happened. He was quite concerned and said, "Are you okay?"
Me: "Yeah, I'm fine, I caught myself...
Nathan: "Did anyone see you?"
Me: "Well, yeah, I'm sure someone did, but no one ran up to me or anything."
Nathan: "Oh, honey, I'm sorry, you must have been so embarrassed!"
Me: (without skipping a beat) "Embarrassed no, but I'm pissed because I was doing a fast pace and the treadmill reset when I fell!"
Nathan: (laughs) "Only you wouldn't get upset about public humiliation like that and be more concerned about your time."

Hmmm....maybe that's dedication?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Week 4 is done!

I am so happy to write the title of this post. I knew this week would be a bit of a challenge, particularly with the 9 mile long run.


I pretty much stalk the weather forecast now and all week it seemed like Saturday was going to be pretty cold. As in a high of 20 and a low of 7. Those temperatures scared the bejesus out of me, but I knew that doing 9 miles on the treadmill was doing to be really tough and I knew deep down I needed to get outside and start braving the cold.


All day Friday I was psyching myself up for the run. Nathan was helping and convincing me that it really wouldn't be THAT bad and he would be experiencing it right there with me. Remember in a previous post I mentioned that Nathan was doing a training activity? Well, Nathan decided to take up cycling. When he told me that he was thinking about it I was overjoyed. We have a few friends that love cycling, so I figured that would be one good motivation to continue. The only downside, bikes are EXPENSIVE. My frugal self died a little inside when Nathan went with one of our friends to look at bikes and the one he loved was $500. Of course, I couldn't in good conscience I couldn't object to him getting it. Not only have I easily spent that much on my running habit, but Nathan is working as a DJ so he was been contributing more to our finances lately.

Anyway, after a quick stop to get some cold weather accessories, we set out to put in our mileage. I was running 9 and Nathan planned on biking 25. As I started I was cold, but not miserable. The only part of me that was really freezing was my lips and nose. After a couple of miles I was cold, but managed to stay comfortable. The only really tough part is that for the entire run my legs felt heavy due to the cold. I did my full 9 miles, and Nathan made it 15 (25 was a little ambitious IMO).

Yesterday was definitely a challenge, but I feel really good about the run overall. My average pace was 12:48, which is great because I try to keep my long runs at about 13 minutes per mile. And I ran 19 miles this week, which is exciting in itself.

Week 5 is two 3 mile runs, a 5 mile run, a 10 mile run, and cross training. Like Week 4 I am a bit scared (and sore!) going into it, but I am ready. BRING IT ON WEEK 5!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Remember 29 in 09?

Last year I came up with the idea of 29 in 09. A list of things I wanted to do in 2009. I didn't pass with flying colors....let's review shall we?

1. Make/start at least 4 cheeses besides mozzarella.
I tried to start batches of cream cheese and goat cheese but neither was successful. Cheese making is pretty time consuming and I just never found enough downtime to do as much as I wanted to do with it.

2. Plant a veggie garden.
DONE!

3. Host at least one gathering a month can be big or small just must involve good friends.
DONE! I am pretty sure we surpassed the once a month rule. ;)

4. Develop an accurate budget tracking system.
Yep, I did this, but I don't keep up with it, so I don't really count it as an accomplishment.

5. Workout at least 3 days a week at the gym or doing some kind of physical activity.
BIG TIME DONE! When I made these I had no idea I would start running, doing 3 days a week became very easy once I started half marathon training.

6. Start taking classes either towards my Masters or to learn something new.
I didn't really get to take any classes of any kind in 09 :(

7. Install a fence.
DONE! It's great and the dogs love it!

8. Get another dog.
DONE! Lila has been a great addition to our lives.

9. Teach a friend how to cook.
DONE! I gave a few lessons including bread and cheese. I think my friends enjoyed them.

10. Reorganize and deep clean the kitchen.
DONE! By now it needs another good clean, but the reorganization has been working out great!

11. Write at least 3 blogs a week.
Ah, FAIL!

12. Organize all closets.
Another fail...although Nathan is working on this project because he had some vacation time at the end of the year.

13. Buy a digital camera.
DONE! A friend gave me an old one and then my in laws bought my husband and I a great little Nikon for Christmas this year.

14. Cancel our cable.
FAIL! I don't see this one happening in the near future like I had hoped.

15. Visit family more.
I did better this year, but not near what I was hoping for when I wrote this post originally, FAIL!

16. Use more natural cleaning methods.

DONE!

17. Make homemade produce bags.
FAIL!

18. Do a blog makeover.
FAIL!

19. Get more then just a basic knowledge of Excel.
FAIL, it's better but still not where it should be.

20. Start composting.
DONE!

21. Finish the Twilight series.
DONE!

22. Find a good church and actually go.
FAIL!

23. Try at least one new wine a month.

DONE!

24. Organize recipes into binder.
DONE!

25. Go camping at least 4 times this year.
FAIL!

26. Take a long weekend trip with Nathan besides camping.
FAIL!

27. Comment more on blogs
FAIL!

28. Keep my home office more organized.
At one point it was awesome, but now it is a disaster again.

29. Make a successful sourdough bread and stop buying sandwich bread from the store
FAIL!

That final score ends up being 13 completed with the rest being complete failures or partial failures. Yikes....

I will say that regardless this year was fabulous. I don't love admitting defeat on these things, but my year changed dramatically and my priorities changed on many things. When I look back on 2009 I smile and feel very lucky to have some many good people and things in my life.

What does 2010 hold? It's just hard to say. If this past year has proved anything to me it's that how I think the year will go in January is rarely the case. I hope that my year is filled with my personal triumphs and continued blessings.

Happy New Year!!!