The Extreme Update I have Been Putting off for About 2 Weeks

Here goes nothin.

I went to Costa Rica for ten days with my husband. It was our 1 year anniversary and since we didn’t take a honeymoon, we decided to take a big trip for our 1 year anniversary. We left for the airport at 4am. Starbucks wasn’t even open and the security line didnt open until 4:30am, but we were first in line for that!!!

We flew from DC to Miami and then on to San Jose, Costa Rica. From San Jose, we had arranged transport to our first of 2 stops on our ten day trip. We headed to Monteverde. It was BEAUTIFUL there. Green, 70+ each day and amazing. The roads were not as awesome. Half of the ride to Monteverde was extremely turbulent because the road was not paved. We got to Monteverde and our hotel and realized it was a slight hike from the hotel to town to get any kind of supplies or eat (somewhere other than the hotel).  We spent 4 days in Monteverde where we spent our time hiking, wandering around cloud forests, ziplining, horseback riding and doing many other outdoorsy things. We had a great time but when it came time to head to Arenal, we were ready to move on.

The ride to Arenal was much better than the ride to Monteverde. Getting out was bumpy, but once we got out of Monteverde and Santa Elena, we got on some paved roads and headed on out and over to Arenal. We had to go around their large man made lake that was there. Arenal is one of the last active volcanoes in Costa Rica. This was super neat because 1) I had never seen a volcano and 2) holy crap it’s ACTIVE?!

When we got to Arenal we were informed that there the volcano hasn’t been that active the past two years but that it is still considered active. In Arenal, we had some real treats! Our hotel had some hot springs! How cool is that?! Our first full day in Arenal, we went on a volcano hike and then went to Tabacon where there were more hot springs. I just want to take a moment and describe how AMAZING tabacon was! It put our hotel’s hot springs to shame! This place was so nice. With our evening entrance, we got dinner also, which was EXQUISITE! Anyway, if you ever go to Arenal, you must spend an afternoon at Tabacon!

Aside from the hot springs and hiking, we went on a safari, looking for monkeys and tucans; white water rafting and had a generally good time! Coming home was bitter sweet. Life there is so relaxed and just different. It isnt all money motivated or materialistic like here, but they don’t have internet everywhere like they do here either. hehe. I enjoyed my time, but was happy to be headed home.

My husband’s and my trip home was not as smooth as the rest of our trip. Our flight was late leaving Costa Rica (because it was late arriving from Miami) so we got to Miami late and had to get through customs and immigration and recheck all of our bags in an hour. We were checking our bags as our flight was boarding… no good. So we went on the next flight. Found out at the gate we were flying standby as opposed to the guaranteed seats that were implied… but we got home. My pop picked us up and everything was fine!

Overall, Costa Rica was amazing and I would definitely go back and do it all again! I was happy my husband and  I brought rain coats (as it rained a lot in the cloud forest areas) and that we prepped by getting quick drying clothing so that we could do our own laundry and didn’t have to take as big of bags because more clothes could fit in with the quick drying clothing. For some reason it folds up smaller…?

Anyway, after Costa Rica, we have been trying to chillax and such. I got back into my training. Last week, I ran 4 times and this week I will be hitting 4 runs also. Two of my friends and myself have signed up for the Jingle All the Way 8k on December 9th. I do not expect a PR at all, but I do expect to finish strong! hahah possibly contradicting. who knows.

Other than that, not much to report. I am the featured blogger over at fitblogger today!  I am honored to be the featured blogger on this wonderful Friday as I go into this weekend with a 6 mile run planned for tomorrow. I haven’t run over 5 miles since I started my training two weeks ago, but I don’t expect a lot of problems. Meeting with Michelle tomorrow morning to embark on the journey together! Excited to be running with her again as it has been some time since we have ran together!

Anyway, thanks for the continued support and I hope y’all have a good Friday and a happy weekend!

 

Race of Awesomeness Recap

So race recap time. I was pretty nervous the night before and the morning of, but butterflies aside, I think everything went really well. I averaged less than 11 minutes a mile, which for my training times is a significant improvement as I was averaging about 12-12.30 a mile… First pic taken morning of… there were lots of thoughts going through my head… mostly the thoughts of dont make a fool of yourself, dont trip, dont bust your ass, dont make a fool of yourself. after I got that outta my system, it switched over to thoughts of run your race, run your race, run your race. Then on to thoughts of what is your race? AHHHHHHHHHH and freak out moments occurred.

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Pre race photo. Nervy but excited!

Because this was a Geek Run, I was excited to see some compatriots from NASA Goddard and HQ there. They were moving toward mile 4 as I was moving toward mile 3, but as we passed, we rose fists in the air and cheered for each other.

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Geek trophies!

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Everyone gettin ready for the race

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the start and finish line.

This is where we started and finished. I was pretty jazzed when I saw the finish line. My friend that was running with me was a few feet in front of me and we just both busted ass over the line! it was an awe-inspiring moment for me.

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post race, no sunglasses! sweaty styley

This is me all squinty after the race. I was going to wear a hat but nothing new on race day and the fact that I have only worn it once and didnt like it then made me opt not to and I dont have running glasses. But I am all sweaty and ready to get a bagel here (above).

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me and Sheena, my buddy who ran the race with me.

So this (above) picture is prolly one of my favorites (aside from the action shots my husband got which I will post in the next week or so) because my friends Sheena and Aaron ( husband and wife) came out and ran the 5 miler with me. While Aaron took off and managed an 8 min a mile pace on average, Sheena ran the 5 miles with me. I know she prolly coulda picked it up and done it about 10-30 seconds faster a mile (or more), but she stayed with me and pushed me on my pace. And I forced her to maintain a pace. Once you set one for me, I can generally maintain it. I dragged a couple of steps behind her occasionally but was able to keep up fairly well. I normally run at about 12-13 minutes a mile in easy long runs and only completed one 5 mile run under an hour in all training… normally all runs of that length were about an hour. I set my goal conservatively and made it. My goal was a time under 55 minutes. We talked for the majority of the run down Ohio dr but when we hit mile 4 I could tell Sheena wanted to push harder and if I was going to pick it up for the last 0.2-0.4 miles, I couldnt move faster before then or I would run out of steam. I told her to go ahead and do what she needed to do and silently told myself I would not let her get more than ten steps in front of me. And I stuck to that! I maintained about 5-7 strides behind her. Her foot had been rubbing so when I was starting to speed up for strong finish, she was starting to slow a little and I wasn’t letting her go out like that. She didn’t leave me behind for a solid 4.5 miles, I was not going to leave her behind for the end. So I yelled at her. Told her ten seconds and to pick it up as I was sprinting to the finish. She did as well and I think we finished at the same time or within one second of each other. Either way, I am SO grateful for her companionship and encouragement on this race. Wouldn’t have made my goal without her!

My husband came out for my race (as did my mommy and my aunt who happened to be in town visiting). The three of them provided comic relief and helped me relax a little before the start. My husband took pictures of Aaron, Sheena and I running (I will post within the week). Action shots if you will. We looked at em Saturday afternoon, they looked good! I was so happy that he made the effort to get up and trek over there with me to support me. I think it might have inspired him to start exercising more. He was talking about getting more into cycling or running and I have been encouraging him to do it. My thoughts are that I may be slow, but I still finish and exercise makes me happier than any of the other activities I have the option to do. I want him to feel that happy with me so we decided that this coming weekend we are going to be taking a ride to Mt Vernon this weekend (either saturday or sunday morn). Side note: I also have my first swim lesson for my tri this weekend with my friend Cass. Considering I haven’t swam since I was 13 and I never swam competitively, my friends are all gearing up to help me move my ass in water!

Anywho, my husband saw how passionate I was about running on Saturday morn (I mean he knew I was but SAW it Saturday morn) and wanted to do something really nice for me and had been planning to surprise me with new running shoes, but instead took me and we went looking together after the race :-)!!!! He got me the best birthday gift ever of Mizuno Nirvanas! I am stoked to get out there and run in them! (I have soccer mondays, so I don’t run in the am)

<PLUG FOR PACERS RUNNING STORE IN ALEXANDRIA> No lie, the girl who helped me find shoes here was amazing! She took the time to make sure I had a shoe I wanted that would work for me! If you are in the DC metro area and need new running shoes, go to pacers! AH-MAZING! Super friendly, really knowledgeable and not going to brush you off. She musta pulled every stability shoe they had! (i have bad arches)</END PLUG>

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My birthday shoes! My husband got me new running shoes for my bday!

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My Aunt MaryAnne and Uncle Pat after dinner

My uncle, aunt, brother and brother’s gf (whom I adore) were at Sunday night dinner with my parents this week! We don’t always get together for dinner on sunday nights, but when we can, we do. This Sunday night was great! I laughed my ass off to the point of tears!

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My brother and his girlfriend after dinner

Anyway, family is important. Friends are important. And both my family and friends are top notch, can’t be beat awesome people! Even if they do rag on me occasionally… it is out of love!

Next race up is the MCM 10k! I am stoked! A little inspiration on my way out:

Official Registration, Tri Tri Tri and Compression that Impression?

I must have writer’s block. Every day I get things I want to add to this post and when I sit down in front of the post that I have saved each day since Saturday, I go blank. What is wrong with me?

I GOT ACCEPTED TO BE A SWEAT PINK AMBASSADOR!!! you may have (or may not… but you should have) noticed the new badge/button on my right hand sidebar! BOOM! It’s cause I am awesome! Totally stoked. So stoked and impressed with the community after a short week of acceptance that I told my friend, Michelle, about the program and that she should sign up!

I am officially registered for like a whole bangload of amaze-ah-balls in the next nine months! I am registered for the 8k Run! Geek! Run! on Sept 15 (saturday!!!!), the Marine Corps Marathon 10K (10/28), the Disney Princess Half marathon (feb 2013) and the Rocketman Triathlon at KSC in Cape Canaveral FL!!!

I am pretty jazzed. I can’t believe I have actually registered for both a half marathon and a triathlon! I never imagined I would ever ever EVER try a triathlon. I haven’t swam in since I was approx 13… but my friends are gonna unite together, force me to go to a pool and then teach me/make sure I swim in an efficient manner. The reason I was convinced to even sign up for this tri is because it is at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The bike portion goes around both launchpads! It is going to be super awesome! Can’t wait to see that! (super space nerd alert!)

As far as the half marathon goes, I cannot wait! In theory, I am running it with a couple of buddies. I am hoping they come with but either way, I am signed up and raring to go! I just have to sort out a costume. I am thinking Snow White or Mulan or Mrs. Incredible! There are a variety of options i have found all over the web, and quite a few on this site alone!

Just a couple of samples. Havent seen a Mulan one.

 

on another note, i have  been wearing compression socks when I run these days. Helps with my shins, but by mile 5 my knees are screaming because I have bad knees which normally dont act up until mile 7 without compression socks… but with, the tightness right below my knees… it just has some kind of weird effect.

also, if any of you have recommendations on half marathon programs that are worth the money, please let me know. I have been looking at the $24.99 Runner’s World one…

Happy Tuesday!

Happy Friday Y’all!

It’s Friday ya’ll! With a three day weekend coming up, I cannot lie to ya, I am pretty excited! I was a little too emotional/vulnerable with the last post, so we will keep this one light and fluffy.  (side note, havent been that open in the past decade, ever)

I am sad because my friend and coworker Todd is leaving us here at NASA and headed on to bigger and better things.

Hey y’all, meet Todd:

Now wave at Todd and say goodbye w a sad face and some tears and remember the neat stuff you did with him….

Todd and I with Alex Trebek!

Anyway, Todd has been awesome. I am sad to see him go but happy he is moving forward.

I dont really have much else on this beautiful Friday! It gets more and more beautiful as we creep closer to the amazing three day weekend….

I can tell ya one thing for sure. I won’t be doing any labor, come Monday.

College throwback to remember the best human being I ever met…

this post will prolly go back and forth between third person, reminiscing, and speaking in a sort of open letter toa dear dear friend of mine who has passed.

I went to Purdue from August 2001-May 2005. I met some amazing and wonderful people while I was there. One of the best people I met was a guy I was introduced to through an ex boyfriend. This guy I was introduced to was named Donovan. He was awesome and we became pretty fast friends. We spent hours playing PS2 (specifically soul calibur 2), watching Alice in Wonderland, goofing off in Spanish Lit class and generally hanging out. We watched a lot of family guy and drank a fair amount of beer while listening to a variety of different types of music.

Donovan and me at a Hookah bar in Georgetown, summer of 2006.

He quickly became one of my best friends and we were inseparable for a couple of years. He got me through a lot and meant quite a bit to me. I didnt grieve his death properly until the third year after he had passed when I went on this day in 2009 to a tattoo shop where I got two nautical stars on the backs of my legs with his initials and birth and death years underneath and then proceeded to watch the Chappelle Show (the entire second season). I took the day off work and dedicated it to DD.

The following year in Aug of 2010, I got the robot he drew and a Kurt Vonnegut quote on my leg:

The heart is bleeding a little. And the Kurt quote is to represent that life goes on. In literature, and in Slaughterhouse five, the phrase “And so it goes…” was mentioned every time death was mentioned. Sometimes it was in sorrow, sometimes absurdly or in a comedic fashion… it was repeated 116 times in the book. The phrase was used to demonstrate and represent the randomness of death — how death can come to anyone at any time. When I thought of Donovan, this is what phrase came to mind.

Donovan,

You were there for me when I needed a friend, a shoulder to cry on, when I needed anything really. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend or someone more awesome to have been in my life. You did so much for me and I am sure you don’t even know it. I have so much I want to tell you; so many things have happened in the last 6 years that I wish I could have shared with you and told you about and been with you for. I went through a lot. You passed, then Chaz and then things got dark for a while and then they seemed to get light again and then I met an amazing person. And I married him. I wish you had been able to be there with me on that day. You would have been calming, I am sure.

When you passed, I disconnected from pretty much all of our friends. I went into hiding. I stopped speaking to the majority of people I would have called my family mere years earlier, just like I normally go into hiding every year on August 29th. This year, I didn’t. I am determined to change. I celebrate your life everyday. You impacted me in ways that I wasnt even aware of until recently. You will always be a part of me and my life. You were an amazing person. Up for anything. You changed me. And I am determined to change for the better. Today is the beginning. With your passing, and my not hiding, I will reach out to those that I used to know ( that you used to know) and hopefully rekinlde the friendships we once had, outside of facebook.

DD, know that I miss you and that I will always miss you. You left a hole in my heart. But I know you are watching over me. And I hope there is some kick ass beer and music up you are experiencing wherever you are right now.

Love ya mang.

So I says to mable, I says… I’ll finish this story later.

 

Can’t end this with anything less than Gigolo by Nick Cannon ft R Kelly.

Randomity at it’s finest.

I’ve been reading a lot of random stuff lately… trying to catch up on politics I missed over the summer during my 6 week intense class…so between reading to catch up on all of the public events I have missed and I have also been contemplating lots of different things.

I have been doing web design and development for close to a decade (8 years and some change) and it is awesome. I like it. It allows me to explore both creative and problem solving sides of me, but I want more. I have a thirst to do more, be more, see more, live more, everything… just MORE. More, more and more. Can I have another helping of interesting, and another dose of inspiration? Please? NOW! If you are truly passionate about something, then you should go get it. Don’t lie down. Don’t let someone tell you that you cannot achieve something. Chances are they are in their own rut and they are speaking about themselves. My mother, one of the most amazing women I know, has been watching me over the past couple of weeks. When I told her I wanted to run a half marathon, her initial reaction was “start with something smaller, shorter, less” and my response to that was why? I kept pushing. She is now thinking and has voiced that she believes I can do this half marathon thing. She believed in me before I believed in myself as far as grad school goes. She is truly an amazing woman. Extraordinary if you will. During a time when most would be crumbling, she persevered and achieved her doctorate at the ripe age of 62. She is an inspiration who didn’t listen when people told her no or cant or wont.

She gave me the ability to tune out those words as well. You say I can’t code something because I don’t know how? Would you tell Steve Jobs he couldn’t innovate or tell Bill Gates he couldn’t code or Mark Zuckerburg that facebook WONT work…. all of these people started with someone telling them they couldnt.

Ignore the negative, embrace the positive. I was recently talking to a good friend of mine (past coworker, turned amazing friend, turned neighbor) and she was having some life dilemmas. We have been talking a lot lately about the future and what there is to it. She is a unique being who is a total trooper. I asked her a question about whether she thought people could make a life out of being inspirational speaking and life coaching? She said yes and that I had inspired her. This got me thinking. We continued the discussion, ending with me in all caps stating NO MAN LEFT BEHIND!

I know this has been a jumble of thoughts, but I want to take this time to encourage all of you to do one thing today or over the next couple of weeks that you thought you could never do. Sign up for a race, write an article for a local blog or paper, make a music video, start a movement…. do what makes you feel awesome. DO SOMETHING THAT SCARES (or surprises) YOU!.

GET SOME

Stay tuned. More to come.

fitfluential, attempts at athleticism and possible running costumes

fitfluential is a site i stumbled across, first while on fit2flex.com and then again while on thewannabeathlete.com — and this was pretty neat so I thought I would check it out which caused me to sign up for their blogging dealy. They seem to have some pretty good tips. And I am not one to turn down tips on running and improving and doing things better. I like doing things better.

I am a natural athlete as far as contact sports go. Soccer, field hockey, rugby, etc… but my body is not what you would call “built for running” nor is it built for doing it well. My torso is longer than my legs. I carry a fair amount of weight on me, some muscle, some fat — this by no means is me calling myself fat, but it is just a fact I have to face. I cannot get my index, or even my middle finger and thumb to wrap around and meet at my wrist, I have thick soccer player legs and what some might call canckles, but the muscular kind… if that makes sense.

The day Jerid proposed to me in front of my favorite memorial, the Lincoln memorial, also one of the only full length pics I have

See? Soccer player legs. Not fat, just got the muscle.

So with running a lot more than ever before, my joints that have caused me problems before (like my right knee and ankle) have been causing me some problems in addition to the lower back, shooting pain down my leg issue which will hopefully get somewhat helped today during my ortho appt.  My knee starts hurting on the longer runs, after I have been pounding pavement for some time. <shrugs> not sure why yet, but I have some speculation. Anywho. neither here nor there. I have made many attempts to improve on my running athleticism and I am guessing that this will come with a lot more practice.  I have been working on this. I was running shorter distances every day for weeks, but then switched to a combo of shorter and longer distances and I think this psyched my shins out cause I started getting the beginning of shin splints, so i had to cut back to every other day, which is a little frustrating but I am thinking that once I get insoles for my arches, things will get better (speculation). I think things will get better either way. Cause this isnt gonna get me down! IN IT TO WIN IT!

I have been thinking a lot about possible running costumes for the Disney Princess half marathon. Then in the bathroom this morning, it all popped back into my head, dunno why it happened when I was in the bathroom and it certainly sounded very weird when I told Leah, one of my buddies who is going to be running with me, that I was thinking about the half marathon and her while in the bathroom……. yes, it did sound that awkward. haha. sweet. So yea, I started discussing possibilities and then asked if Mulan counted as a Disney Princess. My friend said hell yes. I have to say, I think Mulan is seriously underrated and often times forgotten as a disney princess. Other than her, I would consider tink or Mrs. Incredible (even though she might not count as a Disney Princess) or some others… still pondering. Saw some great possibilities online. Also, saw a neat one for the evil witch in snow white. THAT one was pretty awesome.

Also, IT’S OFFICIAL! I HAVE REGISTERED FOR MY VERY FIRST RACE (since my epic fail in high school as part of the cross country team)!!! I brought many a-person onto the high school cross country team, including my brother Ben and my best friend Rachel. I also SUCKED at cross country, avoided the races at all costs. made up excuses for everything… wasn’t really into it for running but more for soccer and didn’t care to race at all. Didn’t like not being the best at something. Didn’t like failing at something as my life always felt like a constant competition between my brother and I, even though my folks were never comparing. It took 27 years, many trials and tribulations, one failed attempt at grad school and a heart felt surprise letter from my dad to tell me that my parents (and specifically, my father) were not comparing my brother and I and that I had made them proud. Weird how life works, huh?

Anyway, so I have registered for my first official race! An 8K along the Potomac on September 15th called Run! Geek! Run! I am pretty nervous and excited. A little afraid… mostly because I know how I used to think of races and I know how things used to be and how I used to feel on the CC team… BUT things are different now! I am doing this for me! FOR NO ONE ELSE! This is my statement, my run, my race. I don’t expect to win, but crossing the finish line will be trophy enough. To finish and know that I did it… defeating my own fear. I tried to convince some buddies to run the race too because I am terrified, but some had prior engagements. One friend is still a maybe. Anyway, either way… I can do this!

Here’s to trying and NOT failing at something. Only took me a decade to get there, but at least I got there.

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