Monday, June 17, 2013

"Here I Go Agaiiin!"

As if excitement over the Garry Bjorklund, our anniversary, and our first camping trip of the year this weekend wasn't enough, I added a bit more fun and excitement:


Marathon #2. After hemming and hawing over plans after this weekend, talking with my coworkers today (and a tweet informing me the race was 90% full and filling fast) pushed me over the edge.
After this weekend, the party continues right through the summer. I might back off for a week or two and let all the "two 13.1's in a month" aches and pains work themselves out, and then it's time to roll.

Let the games begin!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

"And So, It Goes..."

Half Marathon #7 is in the books.

This was one of the smarter races I have ever ran. I didn't go out too fast, I didn't get sucked in to anything, I just ran my race. 
Saturday morning was cold. I think it was colder than Thunder Bay, though having the sun helped. Being the dorky loser that I am, as it is my first race not on a "racing team" since 2010, and in honor of it being 10 years since I graduated from TC West, I borrowed an old singlet from high school and wore that. I got a lot of funny looks at the start line, but after 2 years of showing up in the DRC get up I'm pretty used to that. Some of the funny looks probably were because of the socks I had on my arms as well. I don't own armwarmers, and I thought I wouldn't want sleeves the entire time, so we sacrificed a mis-matched pair of knee socks from my sister's drawer for the cause. In the end, I probably should have thrown on a long sleeve anyway because I never felt warm enough to lose the socks. Between that and the obnoxiousness that are my pink-checkerboard Elixirs, I had quite the look going on.

I had the 1:45 until about 10. Then, I started feeling horribly nauseated. I even threw up a couple times, which was really fun. However, I didn't stop running at any point (though I did slow down enough to fall pretty off pace.) The only thing that I can come up with that caused it would be my old friend, Gu. Of late, I have been bringing 3 gels with me to a half--one for before, one at roughly 4-5, then one for 9 and beyond. However, due to poor packing and trying to ration my existing stash of such product, I only brought 2. This meant I picked up a Gu from an aid station when I knew I was going to need something more. It perplexes me, because I trained for my first two halves almost exclusively on Gu, and while it upset my stomach a little it never bothered me to the point of vomiting. So, why all of a sudden did that change?
Either way, I still came through the line at 1:46:58. That is a PR by 1 minute and 43 seconds. Nothing to shake a stick at, and I am proud of it. Frustrated because I had the 1:45 and it was my own gaffe that lost it for me, but improvement is improvement.

Now, with 3 weeks and change until Grandma's, time to keep working on refining speed. Also, I'd like to get another 10+ miler in, depending on how the calendar shakes out. I know I'm past a point of being able to really build up a mileage base, but I think it would be good for my confidence to do it. Also, there's a little pressure in that a lot of my (incredibly, holy cow, WTF Fast) new coworkers will be there as well, so I'd do well to not embarrass myself there. While I'm keeping my pipe dream of sub 1:40 in the back of my mind, I'm going to be realistic about my goal, too:

The "I know I can do this" goal: beat my Bayshore time
The "If I work for it, I'd like to" goal: 1:44:anything
The "If the stars align and everything is perfect that day, I'd like to" goal: 1:42

Here goes...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Take a Deep Breath and Walk Through the Doors, It's the Morning of Your Very First Day"

I know, I lose about 50 adult points for my T.Swift quoting there. Oh well. That line was stuck in my head all of yesterday, so it seemed to be the most fitting for my title.


So, yesterday, the adventure began once again, as it was my first day at my new job here in Minneapolis. That was probably the least nervous I had ever been for a "first day", probably because I knew most of what I was getting in to this time. Not to say I wasn't, but compared to a lot of other first days, this was nothing.

I will say this: I have a very good feeling about this place. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I just do.

This week there will be all about just getting me in the swing of things at the store--working the sales floor, learning their computer system, figuring out the basic day to day of how they operate. I was able to jump right back in on the whole "selling someone shoes" game, just 15 short minutes in to day 1. (I did have to quickly learn about some new shoes that DRC didn't carry, and on others I thanked myself for reading catalogs during slow times up there.) We had someone call in yesterday, too, so the fact that the new girl already knew shoes and just needed help on the first few register moments was really appreciated, and they let me know that.
What was also a huge, "Hey, you've got this" boost was having a sales rep friend of mine that I knew from the DRC days be one of the first people through the door yesterday. As I stood there devolving in to a "This is all new, what do I do?" pile of derp, he reminded me of where I was coming from and what I did there, and encouraged the new GM to just let me jump right in. Plus, just having a familiar face around for the first hour was super, super helpful, even if it was just a coincidence that he happened to stop by the shop that day. (So, Joey--if you happen to stumble upon this--thanks!)

So, 2 more days there this week. Then, right after we're both off work tomorrow, Brandon and I will make part 1 of the journey back to TC for Bayshore. It has me a bit nervous because the sleep you get 2 nights before a race is supposed to be the most important, and it's going to be a late night and early morning. It is, however, the better of our options, which would be to knock it all out in one go Thursday night and get in at about 6AM Friday, or wait and knock it all out on Friday, getting in who knows when and being stiff as a board from all that sitting. No, even with the short night, this is the best option. Plus, it gives me more time in TC with the family. That has me so excited--this whole "waiting 5 months between seeing my family" game I have to keep playing is getting so old. I miss them and it's hard being this far away. Maybe the move and closer access to the MSP airport will mean more flight trips back? I can only hope...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Whoa, Look What I Found...

Well--hi, there!

Once again, I have left writing in this thing to the back burner and set it aside for an extended stretch of time. Now, it is 5 months after my last entry, and to say things have changed is, well, a large understatement.

Let's get caught up then, shall we?

Part 1: "Frustrated, Inc"
The latter part of this winter was kind of an exercise in dealing with large amounts of frustration. While I liked my job, there were a lot of small things that were growing in to bigger things, and I was becoming pretty unhappy there.
Also, remember that lofty mileage goal I had set? I wasn't even close to hitting any of those numbers. It was plain and simple lack of motivation. The work unhappiness was spilling over in to that part of my life, and even though I tried really, really hard to keep the fact I worked in running specialty from spilling over in to my own personal running, it was starting to happen.
That said, I was biking a lot, and starting to do other strength training, so I wasn't losing a ton of fitness, but I knew I needed something else. So, I put my name in the hat again for the Garry Bjorklund in hopes that a second half on the docket might help, even if a part of me was hoping I wouldn't get in. Just like the year before, I couldn't fall asleep that night. I tried to lay there and just rest, but knowing the email was already in my inbox was causing my head to spin and spin. At 3AM, I gave in and went to check.
Well, there it was. I was in, and staring down the barrel of another crazy Grandma's weekend. Little did I know...

Part 2: "Impossible Things are Happening Every Day..."
The next day at work, my boss wanted to talk to me. He looked a little rattled, and immediately I was concerned it was bad news. It was, kind of, but for him. It was great news for me: One of our shoe companies was looking for a new tech rep, and they were interested in me.
Me. What? Since when am I qualified for something like that? I'm a small shop manager and a barely-average runner. Since when are people like me up for jobs like that?
Once my head stopped spinning, I talked to Brandon and my family, and we all agreed it was something I should pursue, especially considering my bosses were on my side and promised me either way I'd still have a job. After speaking with the sales rep, who I had already befriended, we got the ball rolling, and a week later I was headed to Minneapolis (in a blizzard, no less) to have the first interview with two company higher ups. The interview went well, and I was very, very hopeful.
However, the job would mean one thing: relocation. Specifically, to the Twin Cities. We knew we wanted to get there eventually, but we were still a few years out from heading that way. Were we up to moving sooner than we planned?
After talking it out, Brandon decided to put out feelers for a job. He, too, was approached by a company out of the Cities. Within a week, he contacted them, interviewed, and was hired. During that time, I had a second interview, and found out I got a third. Yes, now I was at three interviews in a month's time with no direct yes or no, and I now had the pressure of a spouse with an offer. Suddenly, the roles had shifted back to the usual "He has a job and she's along for the ride", rather than the opposite situation we had been expecting. What was going to happen, and what was I going to do?

Part 3: "What Hurts The Most, Was Being So Close..."
Interview number 3 came and went, and after I had a fourth, I learned that was it. The next time I'd hear from them, it would either be the offer or the "Thanks for playing" notice. I had two weeks to chew on it, imagining every possible outcome, good or bad.
During that 2 weeks, after much talking it out and thought, Brandon and I decided that the offer he was getting from his new company was too good to not accept. Whether or not I got the gig, we were going. We found a place, put in notices, and started getting things going for the move, all the while having our fingers crossed.
With just over a week to go before we left Duluth, and just about to head to Kansas City for a trip we had planned last winter, I finally got the answer. It wasn't the one I had hoped for. After 2 months, 4 interviews, and a lot of hoping, I was informed via e-mail that I did not get the job. How would I describe how I felt? Crushed. Terrified. Humiliated. Devastated. I just felt like a failure. Even now, a month later, writing about it again is bringing back that chest tightness and choked up feeling. Adding insult to injury, I was greeted at the door when I got home by Brandon with news on how I could file for unemployment. Yes, I know he was just trying to help. I'm not even going to touch the politics of benefits. A lot of that played in to the NMU/Tech dynamic of our relationship--The Tech grad had his job, and once again I was the unemployed NMU grad who didn't get her job. Having the first thing out of his mouth be about filing for unemployment just felt like a combination kick in the chest and knife in the ribs. It hurt.
I gave myself the evening to mope, mourn, and cry. I knew if I didn't just let myself feel it right away, it would end up being worse when it happened later.
Part 4: "I'm Moving On..."
On May 1, I finished my final shift at the store. My co-workers and friends were great, and sent me off with a lot of love, support, and celebration. It was hard to be surrounded by all that happiness when I was so torn up inside. I would love to tell you I handled all this with grace and positivity, but I struggled. I cried a lot, including at my exit interview. Walking away from my first "real" job, from a city that finally felt like home, from my first sense of security since I left home in 2003 and in to the unknown wrecked me inside. Even if I hadn't always been happy there, even if just as recently as 2 months prior I was wondering if I could take much more at work, and even with the constant reminder that I was heading to somewhere that offered more opportunity, leaving the security of the known and leaving a situation in which I was finally secure and contributing was terrifying.  I was constantly teetering on the verge of a meltdown, and I was really, really depressed. All I could do, though, was keep on keeping on, start looking for another job, and just move forward.
Part 5: "A New Day Has Come..."
May 4, we arrived in Minneapolis, and began getting settled. Naturally, one of the first things I did was find a running group, and I found one near our new place. Brandon and I went to a Tuesday night run, where I met another former DRC staff member and his wife. He told me that the store hosting the run was hiring and that I would stand a pretty good shot with my experience. I was hesitant about being at another store--maybe not getting the Tech rep gig was a sign that I needed to be done with the industry? I had put out applications for various secretary and receptionist jobs, but all it took was going to the Twin Cities 1 Mile to show me where I needed to be. It was the first time in years I was at a race in which I was neither running, volunteering, coordinating, or sponsoring. It felt weird and wrong. I wanted to be involved. I wanted to be a part of it again.
The next day, I sent them and another running store my resume. By the end of the weekend, I had interviews at both. By the end of the week, I also had offers from both. I accepted the offer from the store where I went to the group run, and tomorrow will be my first day. While the details aren't finalized yet, it will be very similar to what I was doing in Duluth.
It's funny. This chapter of uncertainty is coming to an end, but a new chapter is just beginning. So far, financial and employment worries aside, our first two weeks in Minneapolis have been great. We are in a wonderful neighborhood, right near a lot of parks and paths. Everyone has been friendly and welcoming. Even though I cursed the whole circumstance in moments of unhappiness, I think coming here was a very, very good thing for us.

So, that's what has been happening. Now, we have one big thing on the immediate horizon:
Here's hoping half marathon #7 is indeed lucky.
Here's also hoping I will also consistently write here. 
Here's hoping and here goes...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"You Change, Just Like the Weather..."

Side note: I just got done power cleaning our apartment. It was getting to the point of needing it, especially after the Techie was camped out sick for two days earlier this week. I was about to tweet something, all proud of myself, when I saw this gem I had saved on my desktop.

Well played, some eCards. Well played.

Anyway, t-minus 1.5 days until the Duluth Renegades re-invade International Falls.

I'm excited--if it's anything like last year it will be a great weekend trip with some great friends. In terms of the race itself, I have some mixed feelings. I'd love to repeat or build upon last year's success, but I don't know how that will shake out. The field is going to be stronger (a few from our group are significantly faster than I am), and I think if I go in with any kind of expectation I'll psych myself out. Oh, and then there's that small detail of running both the 5K and 10K, which means an entirely different strategy. What that is, I haven't quite figured out yet. So, until then, I am going in with the mindset that I am having fun and logging some great miles with even greater friends. Sounds good, right?

Another thing I'm trying to figure out is just what to take and wear for this event. Cold weather running poses enough challenges in and of itself, but throw in that I'm running two races less than an hour apart, and I don't know exactly what weather I'll be dealing with, and I find myself thinking I should just pack all of my running clothes and make it a game-time decisions. Practical? Not in the least. So, scratch that idea and back to square one. 
Here is the latest version of the forecast: 
This is the warmest I have seen this forecast. Earlier this week, we were looking at a high of 0, with -36 degree wind chills. So, 14 sounds absolutely manageable, if not downright warm. I am thinking that the outfit I wore last year should be a good starting point, and bringing a complete dry change so I'm not standing around getting chilled. I'm sure in that abyss of a dresser, I have another set I could use...

So, here's hoping I don't freeze my gizzard off, and we have just enough fun that they'll allow us back in 2014!

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013, Week 2 recap

This week was an exercise in setting high expectations, and not exactly following through. I'm a little (OK, more than a little) disappointed in myself. However, if I look at 2013 as a full year project and not just nailing the tiny details week-in-and-week-out, I think I'll be far more successful.

Here's how it shook out:
(Once again, screen capped from my Athleticore log).

5 running days, 2 off days.

Running days: OK, so I didn't hit the 25/week I should to hit 100 miles/month. However, the running days in themselves were quite solid. Monday was a negative split run. Wednesday was 2-4-6-4-2 intervals with  equal recovery. Thursday, I ran with two guys from my winter running group (Renegades!), and while it was pushed maybe a little harder than I had originally planned I was surprised that I could still do it. Maybe I'm not as bad off for next week as I think...? Saturday was supposed to be an 8-10, but I just plain wimped out. It was icy, and I had people staying with me, so I cut it short so I could say I still did something. I'm still conflicted on this one.
Off days: Nothing to report. Just 2 days I straight up rested. The jump in mileage left me a little more sore than I was expecting, so stick/roller/soaking was done.

This week, I also decided to check back in with my eating and make sure I was behaving. I know that in training, what you do in the kitchen is often just as important as what you do in the gym/trail/workout area of choice. Sunday-Wednesday, I was doing really, really solid. I was coming in right around or just under my calorie goal*, eating lots of fresh fruit and veggies, keeping everything really balanced. I did feel kind of persistently hungry, despite the high fiber and solid amount of protein, though, which may have contributed significantly to Thursday and Friday. Those days... not so much.
Thursday marked 4 years in which my husband and I have been together. As per tradition, I made a pretty simple yet nice meal, and followed the only stipulation: we eat at the table with no added distraction. (One might argue that we should do that all the time, but I digress). We also had Key Lime pie for dessert, which is our favorite (and the pie we shared at our wedding). That slice alone tipped it over for the day, big time.
Friday was just my mind going, "well, you already messed up yesterday, and now it's the weekend. So, why not?". I stopped tracking after lunch, but if it was under 3000, I'd be shocked. It was, however, the first time all week I felt full. The weekend was a wash, as well, with hockey friends in town and many a beverage consumed. But, it's a new week, and another chance.

So, where that leads me going in to this week: well, I am "racing" this weekend. The same running group I mentioned before is headed north to International Falls, MN for the "Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run." Last year, the temp outside was a balmy -11 degrees F when we started, but it was my best race and highest finish to this point:
This year, I bit the bullet and paid the extra $10 to run both the 5K and 10K, and it looks to be just as cold if not more so. I am still unsure whether or not that was my most brilliant decision, but carpe diem, eh? So, with 9.3 racing miles down the chute, I think my weekday runs may be a bit on the short side this week, with one more interval/speed thing thrown in to get things moving. Also, I am going to start tracking again, but perhaps up the calorie goal and see how that works.

In closing news, you are also looking at Northland's newest blog contributor! I haven't posted over there, yet, but it will be different content than this one. I'm excited for another project!
Have a great day, everyone!

*for a woman of my size, stature, and activity level who is looking to maintain her weight, not lose. Funny, everyone I talked to this week about tracking looked at me in horror when I said I was, but relaxed when I said I was just maintaining.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2013 Week 1 recap

One down, fifty-one to go.

Here's how this week went down:

(Screen-capped from my Athleticore log.)
5 running days, 1 "cross training" day, 1 off day.

Running days: Something about being home makes me put in some bigger-than-I'm-used-to mileage. It's nothing spectacular this time around, but it was bigger than what I did in the weeks leading up to this one. Monday, the clear exception, was an easy, short one as it was all we had time to fit in and it was my sister's test run after taking time off for a shin problem.

Cross training days: Goss family rule. It is "bad juju" to run on New Year's Day. The year one of us did ended in pretty bad injury, so we reserve that day to recovery, relaxing, and a walk if weather conditions/our conditions permit. It felt good to get out and move after all the junk consumed the night before. And, it felt good to also feel well enough to get out and move, unlike some years in the past. Am I growing up and learning some self control? I wouldn't take it that far, but I made some more mature decisions this New Year's Eve, and I'm proud of that.

Off day: I wouldn't quite call it that, but I didn't exactly get out and run, therefore "off". Instead, I unpacked, put away Christmas, and deep cleaned my kitchen and bathroom.

So, the week ends at 25.8. Only 23.8 of those fall within the new year, but I decided a 10 today wasn't in my best interests and opted to go off of the complete week. This is not a bad start to 2013's goals. Not in the least.
In the next few weeks I need to get a training program for Bayshore hammered together, and start finalizing what other long races I'll do this year.

Side note: I just realized that it is 4:55 CST, and here in Duluth it is still daylight! I am SO happy the days are starting to get longer again. I wasn't sure how much more I could take of it being pitch black by 4:45.
On to week 2!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Brushing off some dust

Why, hello there.

As usual with any kind of blogging hiatus, I had about 10 different points in which I was going to come back here and post and something got in the way. So, here I sit, 6 months since my last post, coming back to this.

I am not going to completely recap the last 6 months. For one, it's too much time to properly fit in to one post. Secondly, most of the people who would read this either follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or in real life, so you know most of the details. In case there are a few who stumble here who would like the blank filled in, here are the major points:

~I officially finished my first marathon. It wasn't the race I had originally signed up for, the Walker North Country Marathon, but rather the Thunder Bay "Miles With the Giant" Marathon. I just had fun with it, dropping any notions of a time goal after training wasn't anywhere near solid or consistent. Official finish time was 3:58:21. I had fun, and the bug bit hard, I am gunning to find marathon #2.

~Went back to Marquette and ran the half there again. 1:54:10, ran it as my last double digit before what I thought would be Walker. Not thrilled, but it was a solid training run if you look at it from that angle.

~I hit my mileage goal for 2012 on 12/20. 1000 miles. At a few points, it looked like it was not going to happen without some monster runs in the later months. What I discovered was that even just getting out for a half hour consistently helped me get there more than anything.

~I ran my first official, non-NMTC, trail race. It was the Harder'n'He!! Half Marathon, and it truly lived up to its name. Killer hills, rocky single track, lots of falling. So much pain, but it was pretty great, too.

~My store helped produce the Superior Man Tri this summer. Craziness. Pandemonium. Chaos. But, I learned so much. And, when I got to put the finisher medal on the final finisher--a 74 year old man--it made the whole thing worth it for me. I can't see a 70.3 on my schedule any time soon, but it was really neat to see all the behind-the-scenes of a Triathlon.

~Honeymoon out west. I fell in love with Portland, OR. Head over heels. What a fantastic city. I also got to see the city in which my mother was born (Port Angeles, WA), and run along both the Willamette River and the Puget Sound, as well as see an MLS (Go, Timbers!) and a CFL (Go, BC Lions!) game. Such a great adventure out there.

~ (Obligatory mention of married life). So far, so good. We still like each other, we're still having fun. It hasn't been without a few bumps, but it wasn't anything different than we experienced as a dating couple or an engaged couple. I'll tell you what, though--it is nice to have that wedding in the rearview mirror. The event was awesome, but I was so over the planning portion. It's nice to just be able to enjoy being together and going about our life. My new name seems to be a bit hard to wrap minds around. Mispronunciations, forgetting about the fact I hyphenated, not being sure how to address envelopes to both of us... oh well. It is my name, and I like that I represent two pretty cool families with it.

So, now that 2013 is here, what is on the docket?
~Two mileage goals. First, I'd like to consistently put in a minimum of 100 miles a month. I know if I knuckle down, focus, and make sure I get out consistently this will be easy to attain. I just can't slack. Secondly, I would like to hit 1500 miles on the year. I almost feel as if I'm shooting a bit high on that, but I'd rather aim high and miss than aim low and not feel satisfied. Besides, if I'm shooting for 1500, which is 125 miles/month, then it makes hitting 100 miles/month almost a given. So, either or.
~Crack 1:45 for the half marathon. I'm going back to Bayshore and may or may not be going back to Marquette. That goal has been taunting me since Bayshore in 2011, and I'd like to finally check that one off my list.
~Marathon #2. For a while, I thought I'd be heading west for this and running the Columbia Gorge Marathon.  However, a long look at the finances and a chat with Brandon resulted in me shelving that idea until 2014. I'm currently researching fall marathons in Michigan, so I can have my family at the finish line of this one. (Running my first in Canada meant that I didn't get a chance to talk to my family until a few hours after I ran, which I was not OK with.)

And, so this post isn't entirely me talking at you, I leave you with a picture. Me crossing the finish line at Thunder Bay, officially adding my name to the ranks of those who completed 26.2:
And, I promise--somewhat more consistent posting in 2013.
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