Dec 31, 2012

Recap of My 2012 Goals and My Goals for 2013

I can't believe another year has past! It was not the best year because I lost my Grandpa and my Dad is still battling cancer. I may not have accomplished all of my Running Goals but I did accomplish other important things in my life like finally earning my Master's Degree. 

I battled two injuries this year with my hamstring and then with my shin which really set me back on reaching my goals. When I look back at my Running Goals for 2012, I started out with 3 major goals for 2012:

1) Run 3 marathons in 90 days and become a Bronze level Marathon Maniac.  

Status: Goal not met. Why? That damn hamstring injury that had me sidelined for a few months!

2) Run the remaining two half marathons/marathons needed to earn the Beach Cities Challenge Medal in the OC.  
Status: In Process.  Once again injury stopped me from running and I broke the series which has to be ran consecutively or you must start over! I restarted the series with the OC Half Marathon in May, then broke the series again by not being able to run the Long Beach Half in October due to shin issues. If everything goes as planned, it looks like I will be starting the series for the third time by running the Surf City Marathon on February 3, 2013! 

3) Run a Marathon in under 4 hours.

Status: Goal not met. The plan is to continue to strive for this and February 3, 2013 will be another attempt for me while I run the Surf City Marathon in honor of my Dad.

4) Run 1200 miles in 2012.

Status: Goal not met. I only ran 993 miles. I was shooting for 1000 miles but missed a run. 

Races: I completed 7 races in 2012: 4 Half Marathons, 2-10K's and 1-5K. The only distance that I PR'd was the half marathon with a time of 1:46:58.

 So what are my Running Goals for 2013?
I have to say that my injuries certainly changed things for me in 2012! Slowly working my way back into running has been a challenge because I was coming off of a year where I PR'd in three distances (5K, 10K and 13.1) and I I was so eager to keep that streak going to into the marathon. As I slowly worked my way back from my injury, I had to accept things that I really didn't want to.  I went from running a 1:47 half marathon to an almost 2 hour half marathon. My ultimate goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon so in order to accomplish this goal I have to become a stronger and faster runner. There is just no other way to get to Boston!

 Running Goals for 2013:

1)  Accomplish Goals 2 (Beach Cities Challenge) and Goal 3 (Sub Four Marathon) from 2012.  Goal #1 (Marathon Maniac) will be put on hold until I feel that I am strong enough to take it on and not risk another injury. Three marathons in 90 days is a lot of stress on the body and one needs to be in top shape to take on this challenge.

2) Stay Injury Free and be a smarter runner!  This should be Goal #1! I now know the warning signs of an injury and I need to be smart enough to back off when my body is sending me a message. I am also better at icing, foam rolling, stretching, using my Stick and knowing when a rest day is needed.

3) Continue to work towards that BQ.  I am not sure when it will happen or if it will ever become a reality but I am not giving up yet. 

4) Focus on the marathon!  I have yet to figure out this distance. I struggle the last 6.2 miles and I am not in love with the distance by any means. If only a marathon was just 20 miles!

5)  Earn a PR or 2!  I would love to improve my time in the shorter distances such as the 5K and 10K. I would also like to try a new distance. The 15K or 10 Mile race in 2013 interest me since I have been ran a race of these distances.

6) Run 1200 miles in 2013!

Races: So far I have five races on the Race Schedule including the Ragnar Relay which I am most excited about! I am also wanting to take on the Dumbo Double Dare but I am not sure yet.

I think that's it for 2013! I think these goals that are reasonable and achievable for me.

Did you meet your Goals for 2012? 

What are your Goals for 2013?  
I want to hear about them!

Dec 29, 2012

Our Visit to The Happiest Place on Earth!

So we finally made it to Disneyland AKA "The Happiest Place on Earth." The weather was perfect and we survived without our jackets until the evening. BEWARE! I am about to overload you with tons of pictures from our Disneyland trip!! We had a great time and I want to share our experience with all of you!
Both parks were super busy but we expected it due to the holidays. This was the wait just to get through the security check before you can even enter the parks. Don't forget that I am Black Friday shopper so I can handle the crowds! If you are familiar with the parks and know your way around, that also makes life easier on busy days. The parks are decorated so beautifully during Christmas time and there is just so much to take in. There is just no way that you can see it all in just one day. Some of my favorite things to see at Disneyland are the huge Christmas tree, Sleeping Beauty's Castle and the Firework Show and the falling snow on Main Street.
We bought 4-Day Hopper tickets from Costco so we still have three visits left to see everything that missed. We had not been to Disneyland for almost two years and so many new and exciting changes have taken place since then. The main purpose of our visit was to visit Cars Land which opened about six months ago. My son has been wanting to go since June and I promised him that we would go before the end of the year. My son doesn't like taking pictures all that much but I bargain with him to take pictures with us before he can get on the rides. No trip to Disneyland would be complete without a picture with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck right?
We were only able to get on four rides at California Adventure because all of the waits were at least an hour long. By the time we arrived at the park at 10:00 am, all of the Fast Passes to many of the rides were already gone. Our favorite ride at California Adventure was by far the Radiator Springs Racers! The wait was about three hours long but so worth it! This ride is a must do if you go to the California Adventure Park. My hair was flying all over the place as you can see in the picture and we had a blast! I wish we could have experienced it a second time.
My son also convinced me to buy him this souvenir cup that he so desperately needed! I have to admit that it was pretty cute but pricey. Everything is so expensive at Disneyland but you have no choice! 
We also went on the Luigi's Flying Tires, California Screamin' and Toy Story Mania.
I passed on California Screamin' but these two tackled it on their own and had a blast!
We headed over to Disneyland about 3:00 p.m and stayed in the park until the end of the evening. We ate dinner and rode just a few rides to pass the time before the firework show started at 9:30 pm. We were able to get on It's a Small World, The Matterhorn Bobsleds and Indiana Jones. 
The plan was to stay until the fireworks show and then return on another day that was less busy. After the fireworks, we rushed out of the park to beat the long tram lines and the rush to get out of the parking structure. SUCCESS! We had a great time and cannot wait to go back and experience some of the other attractions that the crowds did not allow for.
We are even considering upgrading our tickets to annual passes since I am planning on running the Disneyland Half Marathon again this year. It would be nice to have the annual passes so we can visit the park while we are there taking care of other important business, like running races!

Have you ever been to Disneyland/California Adventure? What is your favorite ride or thing to do when you visit the parks?

I think my new favorite ride is the Radiator Springs Racers! I love the end of the ride when you get to race against another car full of people! We actually lost the race but it was a ton of fun!! If you have never been to Disneyland you have to add it to your Bucket List.

Dec 27, 2012

Double Dare Me and 28 Miles to Go!

I am a huge fan of Disney races! I have ran the Disneyland Half Marathon for the past three years and it has become my annual PR race so naturally I love it! I also love Disney medals since they are so fancy and beautiful! Today I saw a post on Facebook from Run Disney which mentioned a new challenge for 2013 known as the the Dumbo Double Dare. In 2013 they are adding a 10K, known as the Disneyland 10K, as well as a new challenge to run 19.3 miles in two days. Participants who take on the challenge would run the Disneyland 10K on Saturday followed by the Disneyland Half Marathon on Sunday and will be awarded the all-new Dumbo Double Dare medal in addition to the Half Marathon and 10K finisher medals. This is very tempting to me but I am not sure if I will sign up for it since the cost is $280.00! Disney races come with a hefty price but I have until January 22nd to think about it which is when registration opens.
In other news, I am 28 miles away from reaching my goal of 1000 miles for 2012! I have two more runs scheduled for 2012 and one of them is a 20 miler! I haven't ran 2o miles in quite some time so I am nervous and excited all at the same time. The weather has been perfect so I am looking forward to tackling 20 miles in cool and crisp temperatures!

Tomorrow is going to be a fun day! We are finally heading to Disneyland!

Dec 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to All!

I didn't really get into the Christmas spirit this year because so many things have been going on. With my Grandpa's passing it was tough to celebrate because I felt a little bit guilty. I barely managed to get Christmas cards out this week. Thank God for one hour photo or I would not have been able to get my Christmas cards out this year! With all of the sadness in my heart I never got around to decorating the Christmas tree. The tree is up but there are no decorations on it this year.
My sister and my nephew just boarded a plane back to South Carolina this morning and we are going to miss them. They were supposed to spend Christmas and the New Year with us but the funeral brought them out sooner than expected and they had to head back home. My nephew is a handful but is he is as cute as a button! He keeps my sister very busy to say the least!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each and every one of you. I hope that 2013 brings you all much happiness and many PR's!

Do you have big plans for the holidays?
I think we are going to stay close to home and relax. We are also planning a trip to Disneyland. My son has been wanting to visit Cars Land since it opened. 

I am also determined to hit 1000 miles this year and I am about 41 miles away from hitting my goal! I will be busy working on this goal as well!

Dec 21, 2012

12/9/12: Holiday Half Marathon

I wasn't planning on running this half due to my Grandpa's declining condition but I kind of got talked into it and it's not really that hard to talk me into anything that involves running! My friend Maura sent me a text in the beginning of the week and asked me if I wanted to pace our friend Tami to run a sub two half. How could I say no to that even though I wasn't feeling two confident about running at that pace? I decided to run it for fun and I threw on my Christmas colors and my new Pro Compression socks.
I stayed up until 2:30 am watching over my Grandpa and woke up at 6:30 am and had mixed feelings about running. I felt kind of selfish leaving to go run knowing that my Grandpa could die at any moment. My other half told me to go and run and that he would watch over Grandpa for me. I told him to call me if anything changed so I could head home if need be. This is a local race for me and is about 15 minutes away from my Grandma's house which was a good thing in case I need to leave. I was going to ride in with the girls that I was running with but told them to head on without me since I needed to drive my own car in case I needed to leave. The traffic was kind of crazy getting into the Pomona Fair Grounds but I arrived about 20 minutes early and found my friends within a few minutes.
I also ran into this wonderful lady who runs all of the local races and just happened to be running race number 16 of 2012! We talked for a little bit since the race started about ten minutes later than scheduled due to some kind of issue with the directions that were posted on their website. I think one of the streets that the participants were told to use, was closed. 
I told Caroline to have a great race and we were off. The plan was to take the first half easy and then pick it up in the second half. I told the girls that I would probably have to drop back in the second half since I was not !00% and didn't want to push myself too much. We stayed together for the first 7 miles of the race and then they went ahead of me. I could see them in front of me the entire time but just stayed back and ran a pressure free race. I kept checking my phone every few minutes to make sure that I did not miss any phone calls about my Grandpa. 
Tami finished in 1:55:03 and got her sub two half marathon! I am so happy for her! My other friend finished in 1:55:58 and I finished right behind her in 1:56:24.  

As soon as I finished, I congratulated Tami, took a few pictures, and then headed back to be with my Grandpa. He hung in there for me and waited for me to get back.
I really needed this run. I released a lot of stress and it also gave me some time away to think. The course is full of hills so it is not an easy one. The last two miles are flat and I was pretty darn happy to be done with the rolling hills.
I love the cute snow flake medal from this race. This will also be my very last race of 2012 which kind of makes me sad. I am pretty sure I will run this race again next year and continue to run it as my fun race of the year.

Dec 16, 2012

Warm Candy Canes Please!

I am not going to teach you how to make candy canes in this post but I had the chance to watch the candy cane making process and it was pretty neat. There is a local candy store that was featured on the news the other morning and ever since then I was kind of curious about it. I had never been there before and did not even know where the store was located.Yesterday I just happened to drive past the store by chance.  There was a huge crowd outside of the store peering into the window and I immediately knew what was going on. Once I saw the name of the store I knew that they were making candy canes and had to stop to see it. We parked the car and hurried over to watch!
We watched the first part through the window from the outside of the store since it was pretty crowded inside. We didn't get to see the process from the very beginning but walked up right when they he was preparing the gooey stuff. 
It was amazing to watch the process and man is it a lot of work! The candy turns white just from being stretched by a hook on the wall. You could actually see the candy turning from yellow to white within a few minutes time.
The red part is obviously from food coloring but still took a lot of work to mix it all in and get it to the right shade of red.
A very small amount of the flavoring is added since it costs $600.00 per gallon! Once the flavoring was added, you could smell it throughout the shop and outside of the shop too!
The shop is family owned and operated and they work an amazing little assembly line to get the candy canes made. These people have the process down perfectly!
Once the candy canes were made, everyone received a sample. They used this machine that cut the candy into little sample sized pieces. The candy cane samples were still warm and I have to tell you that warm candy canes taste so good!
For a $1.35, you can also bend your own candy cane but you have about 15 seconds to bend it before the candy hardens. My son decided to bend his own but I am not quite sure what the shape of his was. He said it was just a circle :)
It a really fun experience for kids and adults too. It did not cost a thing to watch so that was also  a plus. I think I was more WOW'd by it than my son was.

Have you ever watched how candy canes are made? Have you ever experienced a warm candy cane? 

Dec 14, 2012

I Gotta Get to 1000 in 2012!

My goal for 2012 was to run 1200 miles but due to my injuries this year, I know that is not going to happen. I just realized on Wednesday that I am 90 miles short of hitting 1000 for the year so I readjusted my goal. Based on the plan that I am kind of following, I think I will slide in right around 1000 miles! I really want to make it happen so if I can stick with it, I will be happy :)
I am still hoping to run the Surf City Marathon in February if I can stay injury free and feel that it is safe to proceed. I am not sure if I will meet my sub-four goal but I am going to go for it anyway. This weekend I am planning on a 15 miler so we will see how it goes. I think it is safe to go for it since I ran a half marathon last Sunday and felt fine afterward. I have another half marathon coming up on 1/13/13 so the 15 miler will be a good training run for this race.

I have to get going on the race recap for the Holiday Half Marathon but haven't been doing  much blogging or reading your blogs. I am behind and need to get caught up. My time has been consumed with funeral arrangements, phone calls, and just keeping a close eye on my Grandma to make sure that she is hanging in there.

 What is your goal mileage for 2012? Are you on track to meeting or exceeding your goal?

Dec 11, 2012

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

Last night we said goodbye to Grandpa. He passed away peacefully with all of us by his side. My Grandpa was a very proud man and was really unhappy with his life once the Parkinson's disease became so progressive. He was unable to do all of things that he wanted to do physically but mentally he was longing to do so much.
Grandma honored all of his wishes and was relieved to see him released from all of the pain and suffering that she had seen him going through for the past year. We knew it was his time when his breathing became very shallow and his breaths were far apart. When it was time, I called my Grandma to be by his side. She told him that she loved him and wanted him to go rest and she would be there to meet him one day.  It was at that moment that Grandpa took his very last breath. We will always love him and always remember him. He had a heart of gold and was always there for me and my family. I am so lucky to have had such a wonderful Grandpa in my life.
My son is taking it very hard. It is his, as well as my own, first experience with the death of a close relative. My son thinks that we made a mistake and that Grandpa is still alive.  He wants to go to the funeral home to check on him to make sure that he is not still breathing. It is hard to see my son like this but we continue to remind him of how much Grandpa loved him and how he will always be with us and we will see him again someday. We also remind him that Grandpa is now resting and is happy and pain free. He finds some comfort in knowing this.
We are waiting for some families member to arrive from out of state and will lay him to rest early next week. Please pray for my family as we say goodbye to him. It will be one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do but I know that I have to stay strong for my Grandma.

I love you Grandpa and I miss you so much! 

Dec 8, 2012

Update on Grandpa and maybe a Holiday Run...

I mentioned in my last post that my grandpa was pretty sick. Thank you to everyone who sent me well wishes and kept us in your prayers. I really appreciate it since life has been pretty difficult for the past week since most of my time has been dedicated to helping my Grandma take care of him. My son, who is 10, is a mess. He is worried that Grandpa is going to die and doesn't really want to let go.

Just a little update on Grandpa: Grandpa entered hospice care last week and told my Grandma said that he wanted to be at home when his time came so she is honoring those wishes. He is not expected to live much longer but is slowly declining. I think he is holding on for Grandma but I have already told him not to worry about her and that I will take good care of her for him. For the past week, my schedule had been to get off of work and head over to her house and stay as last as I possibly can. After work, I head back over there again. Grandma calls me numerous times during the middle of the night to ask me questions or to fill me in on something new that may be going on with him and sometimes I have to head back over to her house. Thank God she lives 10 minutes away from me. It has been hard for me to get up at my normal time and I am pretty used to getting up at 4:30 a.m for work.

I wasn't planning on running a holiday race once my grandpa became so ill but my Ragnar buddies convinced me to run the Holiday Half Marathon with them so get my mind off of things.
I ran this same race for fun last year with my friend Shawna and considered it my fun run for the year. If my Grandpa is not in a bad state in the morning, I will be there. If I think that he may pass or needs me, I will not. I think it will be good for me mentally but physically not so much. I am very tired and the longest distance I have ran to lately is 11 miles. 
This will be a fun race and I don't care about the time to be 110% honest. One of the girls that I will be running with is shooting for a sub-two half marathon. My friend Maura and I will attempt to pace her to that PR. I am not sure if I have that in me, so I will drop behind if I cannot keep up. I honestly don't need another ounce of stress in my life right now and any kind of goal just stresses me out.

Anybody else running a holiday race tomorrow? If you are, good luck!
So I will be out there tomorrow if it Grandpa lets me, if not I will be by his side.

Dec 4, 2012

Life Has Been A Little Overwhelming Lately!

Life has been a little overwhelming lately to say the least. Family matters have kind of put lots of things on the back burner and I have been feeling really tired lately. My grandpa's health has taken a turn for the worst this past week and we have been dealing with one problem after another since Thursday night. He has Parkinson's disease and his mobility is gone and he pretty much has to spend all of his time in bed and he hates it! My grandma is 85 years old and has been trying to provide care to him but now that he is unable to walk or move very much, she can no longer do it. Please say a prayer for my grandpa as I am not sure how much longer he will be here with us. 

Running seemed to be getting back on track this week but with all of the sleepless nights and  helping out my grandpa, I was out of energy by the end of the week and did not get my long run done on Sunday as I thought I would. I ended up hitting the gym at the end of the day and could only get 6.5 miles out. I ended my week with 20.5 miles but family comes first and will always be my priority even though I love running. I was really close to hitting a 100 mile month but a combo of the rain and low energy levels were a bad mix! I can't really complain though because I was pain free this past week!
My tree is still sitting bare in the corner of my living room. My son keeps asking when we are going to decorate the tree but I have to remind him that taking care of grandpa has been tiring and I am out of energy. I am going to try to get the tree decorated this week since my living room is full of boxes of Christmas ornaments and all of the other decorations.

In other news, I had to buy these super cute Marathon Holiday socks from Pro Compression. I could not resist their cuteness and now I really want to run a holiday race but have yet to sign up for one.....

Are you all ready for Christmas? The tree is decorated and the shopping is done?

I plan to get all of that done this weekend if I can!

Dec 1, 2012

November Rewind and December Plans

November was a great month for me! I didn't achieve anything great per say but I am running again! The last few months have been less than pretty with very few miles and uncomfortable feelings in my shin.  I was kind of giving up and just getting used to not running. I think I even started getting a little bit lazy!
Look what I did in November! I ran 90 miles! It should have been 100 but due to the rain I missed my last long run of November.  Ninety is a good number for me and I am usually happy if I can get to 90-100 miles.;125 miles is better but 90 works! I have been increasing my long runs very slowly and I am up to about 13 miles right now. My pace is slowly getting better and I am taking it one day at a time and only running about 3-4 days a week. I will keep going until I feel like I need to slow things down.

Pile on the Miles was a success as well and it kept me motivated! My original goal for the month was 50 miles since I wasn't sure what I would be able to do but I ended up almost doubling my goal!

If I can continue to increase my long runs and remain pain free, I may still be able to run the Surf City Marathon in February. I may have to adjust my goal but it would be great to run that marathon in honor of my Dad no matter what time I cross the finish line!
December is looking very promising for me. I will be participating in a virtual race, Race for Recovery 10K, on December 8th to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy. There are some great prizes and NYC Running Mama did a great job putting this together. There is still time to sign up and donate if you haven't already. I am also very tempted to sign up for a Christmas fun run so don't be surprised if I do!

How was your November?

Any holiday themed runs on the agenda for December?