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"Happiness does not come from having much, but from being attached to little." ~Cheng Yen

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Archive for the ‘2015 Races’ Category

PostHeaderIcon June 2011, meet June 2015

Happy surprise to celebrate! Turns out I ran my fastest time in years yesterday. For real. I waited to get the “official” time since my watch died and yup, there it is. Fastest half marathon since June of *2011*. Four years ago! Coincidentally, it was also San Diego. And I’m still in a bit of shock. I didn’t set out to run this fast, this race. (see below for some reasons why) And I felt really good, great even and not overdone most of the race. I even got to stop at mile 8.3 to say hello and thank you to some friends who came out to cheer.

I just ran faster than ALL of my 2012, 2013 and 2014 races. Even the second half of my 11 in ’11. Nowhere near my overall PR, but certainly A PR, in a way. And unofficially, sans the worth-it time with friends, I did in fact break 1:50 again, by a lot. Been a long time. And it feels SO dang GOOD. ‪#‎stillhaveit‬ ‪#‎nevergiveup‬ ‪#‎believe‬

When you do something you didn’t think you could, the feeling is POW: exhilarating.

Half marathon #38 observations aka story collecting:

*cab ride over with three other female runners; one was running her very first half, based on a bet from her mom at Christmas. We shared the nerves and it was SO inspiring to talk to her and her excitement about her first one. One woman paid for all four of our ride to the start line, in honor of the other’s first and my 38th. Awesome. Hope you all enjoyed amazing races!

*I believed the two race official guys as I was turning in my gear bag and confessed I was nervous when they said “you’ll be fine!” Thank you.

*while waiting in the pre-race portapotty line, behind me some girlfriends are talking. One says, as they’re observing another woman runner “oh, SHE has runner legs!” And I thought, don’t we all? And so I turned to her (I saw who she was speaking about) and said “sister, if you’re waiting to run any race, you have runner legs!” And she paused and started to nod. “Yes, I hear you. Thank you!” Hope you had a great race too!

*San Diego is still warm even when cloudy. A wee warm mugginess to start the race, but overall good.

*mile 2: a young woman turns to similarly dressed older woman and exclaims “you’re running! WE are running!” and they lock arms for a second. Glad I witnessed that.

*Mile 3: a young couple comes tearing out of their house to (nearly) tackle an older man named Victor, with a sign and she starts running alongside him for 40 steps. They’re talking excitedly. Then she stops and yells “I’m so proud of you, Victor!” Gulp. Beautiful. He keeps going and quickly pulls off to get some water and wipe some tears away. He too was affected by her support and pride. Isn’t that what most of us want or enjoy? Someone proud of us? Right on Victor, hope your race experience continued to be incredible!

*Wearing a fitbit is a fun good time on race morning, when your step goal is met by 7:30am! Hee hee.

*Mile 5: guy wearing a Seahawks t-shirt. I almost didn’t but then I did give him an enthusiastic “GO HAWKS!” & fist pump. He returned it happily. ‪#‎sorrynotsorryChargersfans‬

*spectators helping their dogs cheer for runners are awesome. Including the “chiweewee” waving from his owners lap. 

*I swear I saw a Beagle/Whippet mix on the route. Whipple? Someone make more. I want one.

*As I ate up miles, I enjoyed thinking about this being my last race as a resident of Seattle. I’ve run 20 of 38 races since living there (plus multiple 5, 10 and 12ks.)

*Mile 7: suddenly there are G signs everywhere – G-endurance, G-great (ok, for Gatorade and Geico but still!)

*mile 8, Koryn Hawthorne’s “Bright Fire” by Pharrell Williams comes on my playlist for the first time. Goosebumps.

*The giant Meb Keflezighi faces throughout the course are awesome. And weird. And funny. And awesome.

*Knowing I would be meeting up (hopefully) with friends at mile 8.3, it was nice to, in a way, split up the race so at mile 6 I thought “only two more miles to go!” till I could start looking for them.

*Mile 8: NOTHING quite like looking for, hearing from and finding your spectator friends. I was giddy upon seeing them. And they seemed so delighted too! And those around us were happy for us. And then they all cheered me on, get going! Thank you for the effort!

*mile 9. Sign after sign after sign lined up on the grass for those fighting various cancers. Lump in throat. “Someday is today.” Let’s get that cure!

*Mile 10: drums. Big taiko drum troupe and about 25 people banging on them in a trance like song. It. Is. Awesome. Nothing quite like it. Usually only hear/see at Phoenix RnR but now Portland and San Diego too. Keep it up!

*Spectator on the right side holding a sign saying “thank you team in training, from a leukemia survivor” and a runner bolts over to her and the strangers engage in a long hug. Glad I witnessed that. Lump in throat.

*Love the couple coaches with megaphones at mile 11 and 12 shouting “push!” “Shoulders down!” “chin up” “kick it up a notch, you’re about to go downhill!” “finish strong!” Great reminders and motivation. Thank you!

*Not too surprised but noticed nonetheless that Portland had more inked runners than San Diego, even though more people ran SD.

*I like that RnR races let you put your name on your bib now (or personalize it however you want) – at the finish line, in the finish chute as I’m slowly making my way out, a teen girl yells out “Congratulations Gretchen!” and I double take and thank her as we smile at the delight of the quick connection.

*There is nothing quite like that bottle of cold chocolate milk right after the race. I’m starting to think it might be why I run.

*yes, I know the 11 seconds are running, ha, around in my head as to how I could get them to break 1:50 but I have renewed motivation.

*I admit it: I like when the salt dries on my face and am always pleasantly surprised to find it on my eyelashes and eyebrows.

*Yay for no food poisoning this time! I did have prom night shenanigans (I say that lightly, it was raucous) above me but overall, good rest for a fantastic race.

*Asphalt should be spelled with two s’s because I just kicked some.

*What is it about high fives along the race route? I swear they have special powers.

*Awesome to see my friend Steve at the finish again. It’s getting to be a wonderful regular occurrence these last two years.

*I so enjoyed getting really excited about a whole lot of little things I can’t even recall right now. ‪#‎inthemoment‬

*I did a half two weeks ago. And a 10k one week before that. And I move in one week. I thought for these reasons this race might be rough. Seems to have had the opposite affect. And I’m SO thrilled by that.

*this might be my first half marathon that not only did I not take a nap post race, moreover I didn’t need one. What’s up with that?

*Renewed, rejuvenated, refreshed – excited to get after breaking, officially, 1:50. I didn’t think I could do it after the last few years. Thought maybe I was in a rut or hit a plateau and wasn’t sure how to get up over it. But my hip is happy, my feet feel good, knees and ankles strong, core zippering up to support it all. Now I’m just curious and happy, excited to try. I can definitely crush 11 more seconds.

*just shows I can prepare and think it will go one way, but if I brace against what may come up in a race, I won’t allow for breakthroughs to occur unexpectedly. I instead focus on being in the moment, staying grateful too, and am able to read my body when I can dig deep and keep going and really dig deep and step it up no matter at what mile. Training isn’t just prep for me, training is getting to know my body and myself well enough to know what I need when as the race unfolds.

*”Oh my God, I’m doing this! I’m still running! I’m running well! I’m running in the midst of a big life event, gratefully and happily and with awareness! YAY ME!”

*ALL of this is why I am still running and why I still enjoy the experience. It continues to teach, I continue to be curious, I continue to learn.

*I am love. Nothing without love.

PostHeaderIcon Number 3336 for Race number 36

Took me a few days to process the last race. I mean, half marathon number 36 was just completed! Isn’t that enough? And crazy enough, finishing 50 halfs seems very in the realm of possibility all of a sudden. And it was sweet, nearly five years ago I did one half marathon in San Francisco with no real intention of doing another, finished by relaxing at Ocean Beach (which coincidentally happened again!)

Having made some thoughtful changes to my training since 2015 started, I had a few (high) expectations for how this race would go. I brought yoga consistently back for the first time in three years, regular acupuncture for the right hip, cross training and even intentional rest. And am learning to breathe, for real. And from a health and nutrition standpoint, made some big shifts as well including finally dealing with some iron, sugar and gut issues and making a commitment to heal from the inside out. So I thought this race was really going to see those shifts bear out, including running like a bada$$. Heck, I rarely post my finish times anymore.

But not so much. And I was initially a bit hard on myself about it. Despite a number of awesome friends saying “you crossed another finish line, you ran another one, you did it!” And recognizing that my body isn’t actually supposed to be doing this.

Oh, and I pushed myself to do it, that’s for sure. I’d not run for two weeks just two weeks ago because of that nasty flu. And I was on a plane Thursday, another on Friday and another on Saturday. And four inch heels? I wore those working all day on Saturday, the day before the race. But I initially saw those as “excuses” for why the run wasn’t my best. (didn’t feel that bad until a half mile in mile one, when I fully felt the fatigue in my legs!) But c’mon, I told myself! “Should’ve” done better! It’s not even that long, it’s “only” 13 miles. I mean, it’s not like you’ve ever done a full! Yikes. No race has any guarantees. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Expectation management. (note to self, don’t fly three days in a row and work in heels all day the day before and expect zero effect on the run…def slowed my roll)

But in the few days post-race, post half marathon number 36, I’ve course-corrected back to appreciating not only what my body is capable of, but how special each race is to me. It’s the experience and this the mind/body/spirit connection. And how amazing it is to be a part of the whole running community, regardless of your preferred distance, regardless of it being your first or 100th race, regardless of how fast or even how you get to the, your, finish line. It’s not about comparing yourself to anyone else, it’s about honoring what your body can do and appreciating it for all it gives back. Running whole-heartedly. Running compassionately. Running because you can. Progress, not perfection.

And celebrating every momentum-inspiring Finish Line Moment alone the way…

I am a runner. Half marathon #36 just taught me a whole lot more than how to pace up and down a hill. And I am so grateful.