True Confession Thursday: Go To Your Happy Place

40 Minutes on the Elliptical
Swishy Swishy Strides

After Tuesday’s ankle fiasco, I opted to take it easy and hit the elliptical on Wednesday.

Have I ever mentioned what bad luck I have choosing machines at the gym?  I step onto one and it’s making a ca-thunk, ca-thunk sound.  Annoyed, I choose another machine.

Squeeeeaakk, Squeeeeakk with every step.

By this point I’m chuckling because everyone probably thinks I’m crazy (half true) and I find a 3rd machine.  Like Goldilocks, the third one was just right.

I hate the elliptical.  So I kept trying to channel my inner Happy Gilmore and go to my happy place.

Which got me thinking…what is my happy place?  I mean, I can often think of my little buttheads…

How can these faces not make anyone happy?

Honestly, the happiest place I found today came from this little note Vanilla colored and snuck up on the bulletin board in my room this morning.  He never told me about it, I just happened to find it when I printed something off for work and I know for certain it wasn’t there last night.  (Why yes I don’t know what day of the week it is, but I do know what is on my bulletin board.  This is normal, yes?)

Yes he can write his name, and no I cannot gracefully edit it out with my less than stellar paintbrush skills.

No matter how your slice or dice it, someone must have spiked my pre-race banana with happy pills on Sunday.  After last year’s bad picture debacle at Long Beach, there was nothing but smiles for miles on Sunday.

Who is that chick? I don’t seem to recognize her….
Photos from Brightroom.

In typical runnerd fashion, I actually noticed my near heel strike in the first photo before I realized I was actually smiling as I crossed the finish line.  And yes, photo #3 was at mile 8ish or so, and I was smiling then too.  But that’s probably because I was doing my best flamingo impression mid-race. I knew I should have worn my green shirt instead of pink.

What’s your happy place?


Clarified Expectations

Stretchy Strides

About a year ago, Chocolate and I had the following conversation:

Not even kidding, he walked up to me at school, dropped his glasses like this and says, “Heeeeyyyy ladies….” and walked away.

On The Way To School
Chocolate:  Mom, guess what?
Me:  No idea.  Spill it.
Chocolate:  I have 4 girlfriends.
Me:  [Leerily] Ohhhh really.
Chocolate:  Yep.  [He lists their names]
Me:  You know that you are far too young to have girlfriends, but if you do, you have to ask them first, you can’t just assume.

At the end of the day I picked him up and he sluggishly plopped into his seat.  “Mom,” he lamented, “I only have 2 girlfriends”.

Ahhh, behold the power of expectations.

It’s funny, I went into Sunday’s race with ZERO expectations.  My long hair don’t care attitude let me do something I don’t do very well – relax.  Since I have a slight  the innate and incessant tendency to be totally Type A – I usually go into every race with some sort of goal, a fixed mindset and put it all out there.

Even my bib was relaxed. I picked the name my niece and nephew call me. People probably thought I had the literacy of a kindergartner.

This time was different.  I still felt like throwing up when we pulled up to Long Beach, but I pinned on that bib number not really knowing what would/could happen.  What happened was super fabulous.

#RunChat  Around mile 4 I noticed I was pretty step by step with a guy and he was shooting to run a 1:45 so I decided to stick it out with him.  For about 4 miles we talked about goals, races, etc. until he realized his slump was more of a tank and he told me to take off, so I did.

I caught up with this lady for about a mile or so.

And then at mile 12 I stumbled upon a guy who was starting to walk.  I came up beside him and said, “You didn’t make it this far to walk, let’s go.  You’re going to beat me.”  We ran side by side until about 1/4 mile out.  I told him when we hit the last turn he had to run and sprint it out.  Sprint he did and we finished a few seconds apart (he won).

Course Support (Better than a good sports bra)  I was that obnoxious runner yelling at the crowd support.  I cheered super creative things like, “Yay course support!”.  And when people were standing Starbucks in hand around looking uber bored waiting for someone I would just yell “Yay coffee!” as I ran by.  Usually they laughed, perked up and then remembered it could be worse- they could be running – and started cheering other runners.

Julie & Heather had the bestest hostess table set up with quite the runner friendly spread!

Source I totally stole this from Heather, but she and Julie were out there hostessing with the mostessing. They were fab and I loved seeing them out there!

Skippy Jones  You know how the announcer at larger races stands reading everyone’s name?  Well when he got to mine I decided to start fist pumping and might have even done some awkward hop-skip thing.  So he kept egging me on, I bit and had the most super fun finish ever.  Take that awful finish pictures from last year!

Why?  Because I was having the most fun I’ve ever had racing…and probably a fabulous runner’s high.

Given I haven’t run more than 4 consecutive sub-8 minute miles in over 6 months, I’m surprised I didn’t wake up wanting to cut off my legs.  Monday morning I woke up a little tight, but did not feel post-race crappiness, and I honestly think it’s because I dove in sans expectations and just let my body relax and do it’s thing instead of fighting against itself.

This is a huge lesson for my Type A self.  Time to let go a bit.  That is, until I set my next goal, right?!

Tell me about one of your recent life “ah ha” moments (fitness or not).
Have you ever made a scene at the finish line?
What’s the best course support you’ve ever seen?

Pretty Not Required

4.25 Miles
Speedy, Hilly Strides

On Sunday I’m running my favorite local half marathon course:  Long Beach.

The course runs along the beach and through Long Beach harbor and is just stunning.  Plus when your day starts out looking like this and you get cush parking, you know it’s just going to be a great race day.

Walking to the start line on race day last year.

Last year I finally broke the 1:50 barrier I had been stuck at for what felt like forever and pulled a 1:45 out of my behind.

Honestly, it was a life goal to run a 1:45…ever.

Naturally I thought I looked like a total badass killing my PR, but it turns out…notsomuch.

Did I just pee myself?  Whew!  Good thing I’m wearing black pants.  Hopefully no one will see.

Notice the 9-year old casually checking his watch behind me as he crosses the finish line without breaking a sweat while I, by the looks of it, appear to be 9 cm dilated and ready to start pushing.

Plus, I think the Long Beach Marathon has the best hardware.  It’s my second favorite medal of all time.

This year, I’m going in with absolutely ZERO expectations.  My foot’s been a little angry with me since the Disney incident and I haven’t done any legit speedwork in about 6 months which means that I’m pretty much expecting to cruise in at my old pace.

I will literally run what feels right which is so very hard for me since I like to pass people.  A LOT.  But with Boston 6 months out, I’m just happy to be running and it’s not worth pushing it unless my body says yes.

Anyone else running Long Beach?
What’s your favorite race course you’ve ever run?