Shamrock 5k Scramble Report

I don’t mean to keep putting off this post. Quite a few things happened this weekend that are worth mentioning, the first of which, I completed my first 5k of the year, the Shamrock 5k in Anchorage. It was outside, it was snowy, and I rocked it. I walked the there-and-back course, on the trails groomed for cross-country skiing, in 43:15. This is a new PR for me, though I haven’t really been keeping score. The day before I had walked one mile in 17 minutes and thought that was pretty bragworthy, so imagine my surprise when I saw that I had managed a 14:33 pace! I had no idea I had it in me to walk so fast. All my time at the gym and Zumba’ing has really paid off!

I had never done this race before (I had no idea what the course was going to be like either!) and I had a hell of a time trying to get someone to join me. I eventually went by myself, though I had to call a cab (which was the one thing I was trying to avoid).  Half way to Alaska Pacific University where it was being held, I realized I left my bib at home. I couldn’t ask the cabbie to turn around and cost me even more dollars, so I just went with it. It was very uncomfortable for me to be there by myself, and I wasn’t sure how to dress because, well, its Alaska.

Then, just to make everything a bit more interesting, when I got there, I realized that one of my ear bud jellies had gone missing. What was I gonna do? What else could I do? I couldn’t just… go home. I couldn’t just give up. When I realized that basically everyone around would be running, I wanted to shake myself and ask why I had even gone in the first place. But I did it anyway.

The trail was pretty. The beginning was pretty hilly, and I was kind of scared that the whole thing was going to be like that. But it evened out pretty quickly, and as the runners all broke off, I settled into a walking pace not to far behind those in front of me. It didn’t take very long for me to start passing them. The trail was clearly marked, and with every bend there were a handful of people, and at two occasions, EMT’s,  cheering us all on. Part of me wanted to be rude everytime I walked by and they were cheering me on. It was very difficult to accept their enthusasm as something that wasn’t… contrived. I of course was the perfect picture of grattitude, saying thanks along the way to every one that was cheering. One lady said, “You’re almost there!” and made me believe for a moment, that the turn around point was just over the next bend.

It wasn’t.

I found it very difficult to not stop and take pictures at every turn, yet at the same time, found my pace increasing more and more and wasn’t sure how I’d make my legs stop, even if I wanted. (Thus, I apologize for the crappy photos.) Finally reaching the half way point was less thrilling than I had hoped. It was just a circle marked off, and you wound your way around it. There was one woman, sitting in a chair, and ringing a cow bell.

I kept going, and going and going, I passed all the other walkers, and although all the runners had finished, I was certain I was at the head of the walker’s group. Finally I made it back up the hill, then back down the hill, and suddenly there was a small group of people, a ticker and a pink line with two safety cones on either side, in the snow. I finished. I looked up at the ticker, and nearly paused. 43 minutes, you say? Surely I’ve been out here huffing and puffing for an hour! No? I did pull out my phone, which confirmed I had been walking for less than an hour. My mind was blown. So blown in fact, that it took 4 days to write this blog post about it. Anyway, as I was crossing the finish line, they asked me where my bib was. I felt a wave of shame try to wash over me as I explained as earnestly as possible that I left it at home. They called me a bandit, the first one of the race, and had a laugh. You see, I couldn’t feel too much shame, because I already felt freakin’ awesome.

Actually, Saturday was a very eventful day for me. That evening I went to see No Strings Attached with my friend Rachel. It was my second time seeing it, and I loved it both times. I love how awkward and skinny Natalie Portman is.

However, before I went and saw that movie, I attended my very first, and hopefully only,  Military Funeral. One of my very good friends committed suicide after returning from her deployment in Afghanistan. I didn’t know what to say or do. I still don’t. I just hope she can finally find the peace that has evaded her for so long.

So again, if you have any military people in your life, make sure they’re talking about their experiences, not holding it in. That they’re seeking proper medical assistance if they need it, and make sure they know you love them. I had no idea the last time I saw her would truly be the last time I saw her. I’m very grateful that I was able to see her one last time.

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When Change Rains, it Pours

On Wednesday last week, I tweeted about not having any real defined goals. So, over this weekend, I decided to define them. But first, a weekend recap.

Friday I was supposed to go to a concert a local bar, but I just felt horrible all day, so I stayed home and tried to get some rest. Saturday, my friend who recently came home from Afghanistan via the Army came into town and I took her to see Avenue Q. Avenue Q, for those who don’t know, is a wonderfully subversive musical with Jim Henson like puppets, and Gary Coleman as played by a woman. It is fantastic. I was really happy to be able to take her to something that was so hilariously upbeat considering some of the subjects they hit upon. And I worried that being in the middle of the row, and having a full audience might cause her some panic but she handled the whole thing pretty well.

Afterward, we went to Spenard Roadhouse for dinner, which is one of my favorite restaurants in town. Its very eclectic, casual, and trendy. Family oriented, but serves all your favorite alcoholic drinks. I don’t eat out often, but when I do, I try to come here. I love it. For dinner I had a veggie sandwich (apparently I am not a fan of fontina cheese- who knew) and split pea and ham soup (cause I’m a flexitarian now and I can eat meat when I eat out). Oh yes, and an order of super tots, which are possibly deadly. Tater tots topped with chives, green onions, cheddar cheese, bacon and sour cream.  We talked about all sorts of things, caught up on everything she’d missed while she was gone. She told me she started running while overseas, and I mentioned to her my goal of running a 5k by the end of the summer. She’s being stationed in Hawaii, and so, plans started forming in my head.

Because we had gone to the early show, when dinner was over, it was still kinda early, so we headed off to the movies and watched No Strings Attached. Did I love it? Of course I did. I love Natalie Portman and most romantic comedies. My friend dropped me off afterwards, and I comptemplated cleaning my kitchen. I think I watched How I Met Your Mother and went to bed instead.

It was a great day, but I couldn’t help but notice how much of the day I spent sitting. I didn’t particularly want to sit, but I couldn’t think of anything that sounded remotely fun that didn’t involves lots of sitting.

Sunday was my day of rest. Of course by day of rest, I mean it was my day of cleaning and school work, and watching Sarah Marshall twice- once with commentary and once without. For brunch I had easy mac and a fiber plus bar. I wanted to cook something, but my kitchen is half destroyed right now cause I can’t seem to wash all my dishes in one go, so I ordered an extra large pizza instead. Why? I don’t know. It seemed easier, I guess. I ordered a garlic veggie supreme and mozzarella sticks. (THIS IS HOW PEOPLE STAY FAT, JSYK). I ate half of it before forcing myself to go to bed.

The good news though. After my conversation with my friend, I started looking at races happening in Hawaii around my birthday. The closest one I could find is the Maui Marathon on Sept. 18th this year. I am going. My mother is going. My friend is going. Its going to be great.

Now, if you are actually viewing my blog, you might notice a new widget on the right side of the screen. Its to raise money for the Warmth Walk sponsored by United Way Anchorage on Feburary 19th. I will be walking. Its only a mile, and should go pretty quickly, but I thought it would be a nice way to get excited for Break Up (known in other parts of the country as “Spring”) and the Summer to come! So if anyone would like to donate some dollars, your help is much appreciated.

So to recap. Short term and long term goals have been defined:

Short term: Walk for Warmth; getting as physically ready for c25k as possible
Medium term: Womens Walk for Cure (or some such thing in May); start/complete c25k; other races as applicable
Long term: Flying my mother and myself to Maui for the 41st Maui Marathon in Sept (I’m going to walk/run the 1/2).; maintaining flexitarianism, make healthy food choices; see consistent weight loss.

This is going to be a great summer.