“Did you win?” – 2020 Foothills Dash Half

For once, I can say YES!

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Today’s half marathon.

So, let me back up a bit.

I signed up for this half a few weeks ago, as I was looking for something local-ish to run to change up my long-run routine. Since late November, I’ve been working off neighborhood loops of 8-14 mile range, and while I appreciate the hilly routes, and the many options for trail or pavement in my “backyard,” I was excited to return to the Foothills Trail for what I planned to be, essentially, a supported long run.

I had run the trail twice before – once for the Summerfest Half back in August, and another time with my Fleet Feet gals. It’s a nice place to run – wide, paved, and pretty flat, with some small elevation changes (it’s a gradual downhill if you run from Buckley to Orting), or a slight up/down with an out and back from Orting; perfect for nailing a negative split (spoiler alert!)

Back to the race!

Race Swag + Notes

Registration was just $40, so I knew it’d be a low-key event, which was all I needed from it. There was early packet pick-up offered, but it was in Lakewood, about ~30 minutes away, so that wasn’t super convenient. I opted to pick up that morning, and since the race had what I think of as a late start (8:30 AM), I planned to arrive about an hour early to pick up, and relax in the car before starting the race.

The pick-up was flawless – no lines, and very quick. The bib came with the pins, and a nice cinch bag with the “Pierce County Parks” logo, and filled with some snacks (candy, fruit snacks). The staging area was well-marked, and there were four porta-potties in the close vicinity of the Orting City Park.

Race Recap

I headed to the start at 8:20 AM, since it was a super short walk from my princess parking spot. It was a little chilly, 39 degrees, and I was dressed in a long sleeve top and shorts. The start area wasn’t crowded, but the announcer kept prompting us to move up closer to the first timing mat, as the race would soon be starting. I did a few butt kicks and leg swings, switched on a fun Spotify playlist and before long, the race was underway!

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My splits

For the first few minutes of the race, I noticed that due to the small field size, I was alone pretty much right away. I didn’t look at my watch, just worked on coasting with easy effort – I could see the runner ahead of me (a guy about my age) in my field of vision.

When my Garmin beeped that first mile, I was frankly a bit shocked. I was going WAY too fast for my original plan of Miles 1-10 @ 9:00-10:00 pace, and a fast finish (11-13 @ sub-9:00). I made a concerted effort to slow it down, but my legs were just so fresh, I decided I’d allow the pace as long as it continued to feel easy.

Around Mile 4, I was still very much alone. Depending on the section of the course (as we moved from straightaway sections to twisty/turn areas), I could still see the guy ahead of me.

Around Mile 6, I realized we’d be hitting the turnaround point soon, and I still felt great. I popped open a gel (Hammer Nocciola – tastes like Nutella!) and swigged down some water (I carried a handheld since we had received an email about the water stations being just water bottles instead of cups, due to virus protocol). The lead three men all smiled and waved at me as they hit the turnaround, and as I headed back to hit the second half of the race, I realized that the next female was at least a mile behind me.

This…was a surreal feel. Sure, we were not breaking any landspeed records, but to be the first female? Wow.

So, that’s when I shift the pace for the back half, and aim to complete the remaining miles sub-8, which would be a “workout” type speed for me, but not to the point of being strenuous. Everything still felt great (other than me feeling a bit warm at this time, and I had awkwardly rolled my sleeves), and I chugged along to the epic songs on my playlist.

At Mile 10, I was closing in on the guy I’d been trailing the entire race. Little by little, our gap narrowed, and at the 5K turnaround point (there were three races going on that morning – 5K, 10K, and half), I took the chance, and passed him.

My mantra by that point was simple, “one step at a time.” My legs were still feeling springy, and though I ideally would have removed a layer to cool off a bit, I decided to embrace the slight discomfort; after all, I was less than 5K away from crossing as finish line as first female! I wondered if I’d be breaking tape, then laughed, as that was a bit overkill for the event.

The last few miles clicked off, until I closed in on the last quarter mile – the path, I remembered from my last race experience there – turned a bit of a corner, and the finish was a bit obscured by fence line and trees. This time, however, was much less stressful, because there were only a few walkers on the path, whereas the last time I had to dodge several stroller runners who had been running two-abreast, and erratically.

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I powered up, stride-style, as I saw the clock tick closer to 1:48. I just wanted to go under that, so I was very pleased with the official 1:47:14, three minutes slower than my half PR, but just right for sweeping first female AND third overall!

After collecting my medal (which I was excited to receive, as I didn’t expect one!), I was delighted to see that the timing company offered results stickers to adhere to the back with our finish times.

Before heading over to the refreshment tent, I walked over to congratulate the overall winner and the second OA (two gentlemen in their 60’s! Badasses!!) and then changed out of my sweaty clothes in the car, and headed back home. I had briefly considered staying for awards, but it had just started sprinkling and it was almost 10:30 AM at that point, so I was ready to get home and eat and shower.

Screen Shot 2020-03-07 at 7.50.27 PMMy Garmin data implies I ran 13.5 miles, which equates a 8 even pace, though the gun recording was a little different. No matter, I was just ecstatic at the result, and could not believe what had just happened!

I ran a smart, and smooth race, which served as a great confidence booster as I head into the next 16 week lead up to my goal marathon!

Have you ever surprised yourself in a race?

2020 Running Goals ‘n Stuff

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Pic credit: Jess Greene

We’re officially three days into 2020, and I must admit, it is crazy to think that this year…is HERE. I mean, just the sound of it sounds…well, futuristic. But, here we are, sans flying cars and such, but I digress.

It’s a new year, and as we round the corner of eight months (!!) of living in Washington, I’m thinking about some goals to guide my year.

GOALS

1. Run my Boston Qualifying time – my current PR is 3:40, and with the “new” standards, my time to hit is sub 3:35, so I am training for a 3:29:xx to cinch my best shot at Boston 2021. My goal race is in June, and I hit the ground running (haha) in late November to get started. WHEN (not IF) I nab my time AND register for the 125th running, I will be IN for what would be my 5th Star in the World Marathon Majors after I…

2. Earn my 4th Star at the New York City Marathon – as I mentioned recently on the blog, I finally was bitten by the NYCM bug, and I am working on gaining entry.

3. Run 1,000 miles – 2019 started slowish (relatively) with the majority of my miles in two marathons (Walt Disney World and London), then I slowed down until the summer after we moved, but I still got in ~883 miles for the year, which I am stoked about.

I have some other random life bucket list things, and ideas that are boppin’ around my head, but these are the ones that have been brewing and I *KNOW* are within my reach.

What are your goals for 2020, running or otherwise?

 

2019 London Marathon Recap (~7 month delay) and other marathoning thoughts

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London, April 2019.

Today was the 49th running of the New York City Marathon. As I type this from my kitchen counter in Bonney Lake, Washington, it is obvious that I did not race the Big Apple today…however, watching large portions of it live on TV made me realize that yes, I am very interested in doing so.

But, let’s backtrack a bit.

I first learned of the World Marathon Majors around 2013, and even wrote a blog post about it. So, I started on my way, running Chicago via time-qualifier in 2014, Tokyo in by lottery in 2015, and of course, London this past April. Considering I took 2016 off completely for the 26.2 distance, and ran just one full marathon in 2017, I am pretty proud of my progress so far.

For some reason – unbeknownst to me – I’ve had this strange ambivalence toward the New York City Marathon (additionally, I’ve harbored an intense pet peeve reaction toward anyone referring to the race as the New York Marathon, but that’s for another day). I mean, I’ve been to New York City before and enjoyed it, but just didn’t GET it. I also blogged about this weird feeling two years ago. So, I mean, it’s a thing. But all of a sudden…

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Pic courtesy of my PHAB-ulous team!

I was watching the streams of marathoners via overhead footage, running in/around Central Park, and it struck me. What has overwhelmed me about this race, I think, is the fact that it’s just SO BIG. Not only in participant numbers, of course, but moreso, a BIG FREAKING DEAL. Complicated transportation logistics, crowded course, overwhelming corral details, etc. – and I realized, I had felt similarly about London before I ran it. And you know what? I not only survived that, but I enjoyed it greatly!

In my 8+ years of marathoning (November 2011 was my first – Richmond, VA!), I’ve learned and changed so much. While I often still feel like such a newbie in this world of running and marathoning, I have to step back sometimes and realize that yes, in fact, my experience has been earned as well – and I love to share it.

When I first started training for the marathon, I thought checking off boxes, hitting exact mileage, and having a very strict regimen was the key to success. And for the first two marathons that may have worked! But then, I fell into the trap of feeling confident in my abilities, thusly “winging it” a bit too much, which cost valuable minutes off my finish times. So, I buckled back in, and trusted my training, and reaped that success on race day…only to fall back into that dreaded cycle again.

At the time, I felt like those races were failures, but looking back – they were clear signs of simple inexperience. I was simply racing too much and being much too impatient.

Here’s a breakdown of my marathons, by the year:

2012 – 4

2013 – 3

2014 – 3

2015 – 3

2016 – none (Abby was born in Dec 2015)

2017 – 2

2018 – none (Ellie was born in Feb 2018)

2019 – 2

So, I finally made my first marathon breakthrough in January 2017, 13-months postpartum, at the Celebration Marathon, where I ran a 3:40. Seeing it all broken down here, I have to imagine that the rest helped, as well as adapting lessons from my ups and downs through the years.

Now, if you’ve read this far, you may be screaming, “OKAY, great, but this post is supposed to be about LONDON, right? And yes, it is, but all of that preface I think puts things in proper context 🙂

This past April, I set forth to London, England – my very first trip to Europe, and my THIRD STAR on my journey to the World Marathon Majors. I was undertrained (longest run was marathon distance, at my similarly undertrained WDW Marathon), but energetic, optimistic about the experience, and nervous about every last detail that I thought I was underprepared for – transportation logistics, crowded course, overwhelming corral details – wha, wait!! Sound familiar? 😉  Yes! I was nervous about those things, but once I actually step foot on British soil, the joy and energy washed all negativity away, and I rode that wave through the entire marathon.

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Do you see me? ^^

If you quizzed me now about the course, and about what exactly we saw along those kilometers, I’d VERY likely fail, but I can tell you this – I heard jubilant cheering, saw colorful charity banners, entertaining costumes, and experienced beautiful, cool weather the whole race through. I felt truly grateful for each step, and not once did I feel stress, pressure or pain – physically, or emotionally. I ran into a fellow charity runner on my fundraising team on the tube so I was never lost, followed the flow of people to the corrals and found my way, ran my own race, and celebrated in jolly style with my sister and friend Sarah!

Yes, this post is “about” London – but not just about that day. It’s about the many races along the way, and the many races yet to come. I used to think “having fun” or “staying healthy” were cop-out goals for the marathon, but I’ve come to realize that they have their place along the way, too. London taught me that celebrating is part of growing, and that each step we take will in fact bring us closer to finding what’s next.

 

 

 

 

My Experience Training with Fleet Feet (and what’s next)

After sharing my Portland Half Marathon recap last week, I received a few messages asking about the training program I used for the lead-up into the race. Now, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but I am always happy to share my experience, so here we go!

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This training cycle was unique (to me) in the fact that it was the first time I had actually trained for a half marathon. No, you read that right. Yeah, it was my (counts on fingers) 30th half marathon, but the 13.1 distance has never been a central focus of mine, more like a benchmark sort of race (or in the case of my first half marathon, something I was totally unprepared for, but jumped into anyway). HOWEVER, when I learned about the opportunity to train with my local Fleet Feet for a goal Fall race, I thought it would be a good way to get back into a routine after our cross-country move, and turns out, it was a great choice!

The Fleet Feet set up was pretty ideal – for a set fee ($145), you were guaranteed a 12- week training plan on TrainingPeaks, two structured workouts a week (one speed, one long run), access to mentors (in person and online, via e-mail and a closed Facebook group) AND registration to the Portland Half Marathon (and race day perks such as a tent, private bag drop and portapotties).

Anyway – the training plan was pretty generic, but provided the guidance I needed to set up, what I believe was the key to the success of my training this cycle: CONSISTENCY.

For 12 weeks, I ran five days a week (M, T, W, F and Sat), with a majority of the miles being easy, one speed/tempo/hill day (Wednesday, group run), and Saturday long. Mileage was low-ish, starting at 15 miles a week, topping out at 32 miles.

One HUGE adjustment I had to make since moving here (other than adjusting to the cooler weather, which I love, of course) was the elevation change(s). Florida running was flat as a pancake, and I had to SEEK “hills” in the form of bridges/ramps. Here, it’s quite the opposite, and it can be a challenge to not gain/lose a lot of elevation even in a short run. However, just running hills at comfortable pace has definitely helped my legs, and has worked to my advantage both on race day, and on the speed days where we hit hill repeats.

Speaking of speed days – these were often short-ish/social runs, but I’ve enjoyed them more than I’ve ever thought I would. Sure, running fast, or even thinking of running fast makes me nervous, but knowing I had a great group to joke with, and push myself with – that’s been an incredible gift. Some of these runs are more structured than others, but they always involve a warm up, some space of time where we have to run faster than we’re used to, then a cool down and stretch/chat time.

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Example week (I swapped the LR for a race that week)

Long Runs were varied as well. Due to scheduling, some of these I did solo, and two weekends I swapped out for races (Orting and Iron Horse in August), but sometimes I switched it up and ran with teammates who ran intervals, or split my run up into a long warmup followed by some paced miles, but I never ran past 13 miles.

Another asset in the cycle was the purchase of a new running watch! I upgraded to the Garmin 645 and couldn’t be happier – seeing the analytics in both Garmin Connect and Strava has given me a lot of perspective on my progress and has guided my goal setting/next step decisions.

So, that leads up to now – a week post-race, and FINALLY getting over that cold that hit me before Portland! I took the week off from running, and did a little stroller jaunt yesterday (to/from Abby’s 1K race, actually!) but plan on officially JOINING the Fleet Feet run club so I can have the structure of group runs when they work out, and keeping myself in running shape before returning to my love of 26.2 for a new marathon training cycle kicking off in February for a Summer (yes, SUMMER) race – oh, I love Washington state!

 

RECAP: 2019 Portland Half Marathon

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Awesome free pics!

Yesterday, I ran the Portland Half Marathon. Back in July, I had registered for it as part of the Fleet Feet Bonney Lake training program with a goal of PRing my 13.1 time. Well, as fate would have it, I bested that 1:45 time at the Iron Horse Half (~1:44:xx), so when it came to setting a goal for this race, I was torn as to trying to take the time down another notch, or to run conservatively. My training since that last half had been going by the book, and I was feeling strong, and ready to see where my feet would take me!

Once again, as fate would have it (not so fortunately this time), I ended up with a cold about three days prior to race day. It was all the good stuff…congestion, bloody nose, coughing…fun! Although the trip was already planned (me, the kids, and my sister), I contemplated cancelling it, on account of how I felt on the Friday prior to the race. So, I decided to see how I felt on a shake out run, and unsurprisingly, I felt fine for those two miles I was running. Of course, after analyzing my run, I noticed a pretty significant rise in my heart rate for an easy run, so I decided that Sunday would be run all on feel.

The trip to Portland was as smooth as a road trip with a toddler and preschooler could be, and we made time to make a stop at Burgerville (yum!) and about an hour and a half at the small, but organized Expo at the Oregon Convention Center. After that, we ventured to our downtown hotel (AC Hotel Portland), then took a walk to check out the distance to the start/finish (only like a block!), then set out to have dinner (Il Solito).

Race morning came early, as you might imagine with two littles in a hotel room (lots of giggling, not a lot of ZZs!) but that was to be expected! I changed into my race outfit (+ throwaway sweatshirt), had a few sips of water, then headed down the elevator to walk over to the starting area .On the way over, I chatted with a fellow runner (he walked up to me and said, “I noticed your shoes, and you look like you know where you’re going!” haha) before saying goodbye and good luck.

I hung out in the Fleet Feet tent (which had its separate bag check area, a jug of water, and two “private” portapotties!) until we were about half an hour out, then walked to the staging area. That all went very smoothly, then before I knew it, it was time to RUN!

So, this is where I have to share a really weird observation about this race…since I was going to go by feel (but still wear my watch), I didn’t look at it that much. But when I did, I was a little surprised:

1 -7:53, 2- 7:09, 3- 7:36, 4-7:40

Now, yes, I was pleased by the splits, but I was SO confused because the mile markers didn’t seem right. For one, Mile 2 came up before we even hit Mile 1. And then the next ones were always weirdly late. But, I didn’t have the time to worry about that, hah.

The first few miles felt hard, but just in my throat/nose. Ugh! My legs felt great. But, I wanted to make sure that I could at least maintain that level of discomfort, while staying adequately hydrated, so I stopped at each aid station, walked, and drank a cup of water.

Of course, since it wasn’t hot (the weather was actually pretty perfect, beside it being a little windy), I wasn’t sweating a ton, so before long, I realized I had to pee.

5 – 8:03 (includes pee stop)

I was back on the course, and feeling…okay.

6- 7:39, 7-7:40, 8-8:26, 9-8:05, 10-8:20

In this portion of the race, we encountered a few hills. I walked up each one, and ran down. I didn’t see the point in overexerting myself, as I was able to catch up a bit on those downhills.

It was then that I realized I could maintain a pretty good average (my watch screen had current lap pace, and average displayed) if I could just bump it up a little. I still continued walking through aid stations, then picking it back up after drinking either water or the on-course hydration (around halfway through I started drinking the nuun).

11- 7:58, 12-7:44, 13-6:55 (BEST MILE ALL RACE!)

I was feeling home free around Mile 12, and thought I could PR if I hit a good last split. I was in no mental condition to actually calculate what that PR would be, but I figured it’d be pretty good! In Mile 13, the song “Bullet for your Sweetheart” by Make Out Monday came on and the lyric “She’s taken em’ down one by one” seemed to perfectly synchronize with runners I started to overtake!

I was feeling pumped! Until my watch beeped at Mile 13, and the finish was NOWHERE in sight. Sure, I was feeling good, but not to the point I could keep that pace up…for another half mile! Wow, did I overrun that or what?

But it was all worth it, because right near the finish line (which seemed impossibly far away, since the last bit of the race was a long straightaway on Naito), was seeing my kiddos!

Last .5 – 7:04

Phew! I hit end on my Garmin, and it said 1:44:45, which would be a 4 second PR from Iron Horse, but…official results posted later said 1:45:46? And technically, if I ran 13.5, my new Strava PR was recorded, at 1:42:41 (for 13.1).

So, although the times are to be debated (LOL), I can say that I was happy about my results, especially since I’m here, a day later, and still sniffling and sneezing. This race gave me the confident to realize I can push a stronger pace, and even run a speedy mile late in an endurance event!

Post-race was great, we got some great freebies, including Salt&Straw ice cream, Voodoo donuts, Franz grilled cheese, and pizza! Nevermind the fact that Abby and Ellie munched most of that (LOL) but it was great to be finished, and with a result I could be proud of.

I look forward to a few days of rest, then getting back in with a new strength routine, and mileage maintenance before my next big goal…June MARATHON!

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECAP: Iron Horse Half

Finally.

Today, I ran half marathon #29, and, spoiler alert, I accidentally-ish ran a PR (finally bested my ZOOMA time from 2014).

I still owe this blog a post on my updated running goals, but that’ll have to come later, as I am going to attempt a shot at writing a recap (which I haven’t done since January, yikes!), while the details are still fresh in my head.

So, here we go…

I signed up for this race nine days ago, after contemplating it for about two weeks. I had heard about it from a member of the running group I’d become involved in here, and was instantly intrigued.

I had just completed another half marathon (the August 3 Orting Summerfest Half), which I had registered for that day, and was feeling like I wanted to gauge my fitness after a few strong weeks of training. All of the reviews and race reports I had read about the Iron Horse Half called it a gradual downhill and very fast race.

While I still didn’t feel 100% confident that I was ready to race a half (I started training in July with the goal of a PR at the Portland Half Marathon), I decided that Iron Horse was my opportunity to not only get in a great long run, but “preview” part of the course that’s used in the famous North Bend “tunnel” marathons (fast courses known for high percentages of Boston Qualifying (BQ) times).

So, I pulled the trigger, and counted down the days!

Fast forward to this morning, 4 AM. Yes, 4 AM. 😛 My alarm was set for 4:45 so I could hit the road by 5:30ish (Google maps said it was an hour drive), but apparently I was ready to go early, because I was on my way by 5 AM. I listened to a podcast, and there was no traffic, so the drive went by super fast.

I arrived to the finish staging area early enough to grab great street parking, right across from the finish line and port-a-potties, which had no lines long enough for me to go twice before meeting my friend Emily who had picked up our bibs the day before. (Side note: there is race day pickup, but I was happy to see her, so it worked out great).

We got on the shuttle to the start at around 6:50 AM, and had a nice chat, I didn’t even notice how long it took. Once we disembarked, we walked up a steep incline, where she dropped her bag, and we proceeded up to the start line.

I was in Wave 2, which started at 7:40 – and we got moving right on time.

From the first five minutes, I repeated to myself, “keep it comfortable, don’t go too fast,” which wasn’t too much of a challenge, since there was a bit of crowding on the trail.

(Speaking of the trail – I loved that part! Crushed gravel, and wide enough to not feel squashed around other runners; and on an obvious decline, but not painfully so – gradual, just as the description had promised).

After my first mile ticked off (8:29), I settled into a groove, tucked in eyeshot, but not too close, behind the 1:50 pacer. Those next few miles rolled along nicely, (8:02, 8:02, 8:02), and I was surprised how good it felt to be hitting that pace with relative ease.

I was thinking ahead to Mile 5ish since I knew my sister would be cheering there, and sure enough, I saw her! It was awesome, she caught us right before a flat out and back section, so I was able to see her twice!

It was then that I realized I had not only caught up to the 1:50 pacer, but I had somehow been sucked into the pack. The pacers were encouraging and positive, but I wasn’t really in the headspace to run with the large group, and so kept the pace, while searching around to find my way around and past them (8:18).

After I broke free from the group, the course was pretty widely spaced out. I was feeling my playlist and about to jam out to Goldfinger when suddenly, the music stopped.

Now, I had a conundrum. Should I stop and see what was going on with my music? Or just deal? I mean…ugh. I wasn’t even halfway through. I let the decision marinate for almost a mile before pulling over and deciding it would be worth the extra seconds – after all, I wasn’t racing, right? (8:26)

Apparently, that pit stop was the right choice, as the next miles checked off with the same ease, but, as I glanced down at my watch, to my surprise, some sub-8’s (7:37, 7:42, 7:41, 7:37, 7:44). I was flying down the path, and passed several people I had seen at the start – always a pretty awesome feeling.

I was enjoying the scenery, loving my playlist, and just zoning (in a good way) when I realized, “hey, I passed that 1:50 pacer a long time ago…” and then, “holy crap, wait a minute, I could run something in the 1:40’s,” then “OMG, I could run a PR today!”

Of course, math while running is NOT my strong suit, and adding and subtracting, plus a small out and back right near the end had me all mixed up! After Mile 12 (8:00 flat), I finally came to the conclusion that if I could muster some strength to pick up that last mile, I’d slide in right under 1:45.

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Bling!

So, that last mile…it hurt a little! But I pushed through. I imagined the feeling of seeing a sweet finish time on the screen (thankfully my mind’s image was better – as the clock was ticking way ahead for some reason when I got there?), of seeing what PR’s my Garmin might share with me once I crossed the finish…and honestly, I was excited to see the medal in person because the images I had seen of it had impressed me so. (7:42)

And so, with the Bay City Rollers blaring in my aftershokz headset (“Don’t Worry Baby” is a jam, fight me, haha), I crossed that finish line and earned my half marathon PR! (1:44:49)

After collecting the medal (which was even more awesome in person than I imagined), I strolled over to the Chayen Coffee Trailer and picked up a Thai Iced coffee (I had won an instagram giveaway the day before for a free drink!) which was a totally delicious way to celebrate.

Hours later, as I write this recap, I am still giddy about the way this race turned out, and feel confident about some thoughts I had brewing about future running goals. It was a great running day, and I’m excited about what’s next…

 

 

The Quarterly Update

Hello there! It’s AUGUST (what) and I thought it was as good a time as any to share some updates while I had them on my mind!

IMG_5043Today marks two months of living in Washington! How? What? It’s been a lot of work setting up everyday life stuff, and there’s still a significant “to-do” list, but all in all, it’s been a very positive experience, and we’re loving it here.

Highlight Reel:

  • Toured three preschools, and chose the one Abby will be attended this fall.
  • Registered for the Portland Half Marathon (and training program) with my local Fleet Feet store, which will be my goal race in October.
  • Visited the Zoo, Northwest Trek, Remlinger Farms, Rainier National Park, Crystal Mountain Ski Resort (to ride the Gondola), and Seattle (went with my sister to see Ali Wong).
  • Watched two movies in the theater (Toy Story 4 – loved, Lion King – eh).
  • Booked an early anniversary getaway to Alaska (last sailing of the season) on the Disney Cruise Line!

On top of those big things, we’re 95% unpacked (I am finding random boxes of things tucked away), and I’ve taken steps to work on establishing some semblance of routine (some days are better than others).

In this last month before Abby heads to preschool, we’ve got a list of places we’d like to check off, as well as tasks to complete, but I am proud to say that I am now a fan of summer again, so I am happy to soak up the sun until my favorite (and most anticipated) season of Fall arrives!