(Blog) check – 1, 2, 3 … Is this thing on?

What can I say, I’ve been so busy not running that I haven’t had time to write!

Let me provide an update on those new year resolutions I talked about last month.

  1. Do at least 20 minutes of strength and core each day – I’ve altered this goal. Because, see below.
  2. Join the YMCA before February – YES! I am now an official member which has become so convenient because I live right in the middle between two Y locations so I feel like I have a lot of options. I’ve become a slave to the elliptical and have gone to quite a few yoga classes. Today I went to my first Pilates class and hopefully I will make my way back to the pool again. (The pool has been so crowded so I haven’t quite figured out an ideal time to workout there). So, on days when I go to the gym, I do not adhere to my “20 minutes of strength/core” rule. If I don’t go to the gym, I definitely do a workout at home for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Continue journaling – Check!
  4. Read one book a month – Shocking but (so far) I am on top of this goal. What am I reading? January’s book was Lauren Graham’s Talking as Fast as I can and currently I am reading Hidden Figures. Yes, so far I am only reading books that have been a movie or has been written by someone who stars in movies and TV … but, books are books are books, right??

So, a month-and-a-half into the year and things are going well! (Or, as well as they can be while you are sidelined from running).

Hello, 2016

Hey there, 2016.

You sure surprised us with some amazing weather and sunsets and frost/snow to kick off the year!

After a day-and-a-half of spending time with friends on Camano Island, I am tucked in the corner of a coffee shop (with Bryce sitting next to me doing work), and thinking about this brand new year.

It’s a clean slate.

I haven’t made any mistakes. I haven’t failed at anything. I haven’t hurt any feelings. I haven’t stepped on any toes. I mean, that I know of …

But, instead of thinking about what I haven’t done, let’s look at what I have planned to do.

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My main goals of 2016 are running-related.

  1. Break 4 hours in a marathon.
  2. Complete my first 50K.

How will I go about achieving these goals?

  1. Train my heart out for the Anchorage Marathon. This will include focused strength and core training and foam rolling every day that I run. I will cross that finish line with at least a time of 3:59:59. Joanna will be doing the race in June with me so I’m thankful to have a training partner (and racing buddy, hopefully!) along the way.
  2. Once registration opens for the Chuckanut 50K trail race, I will register. Then, I will train and race run my first 50K ever in March. Scary! Phyllis and I will be running the Orcas Island 25K (as volunteer sweepers) at the end of this month, so I hope to have a good base going and can ease right into 50K training.

Why I am scared:

  1. I don’t want to fail at breaking 4 hours — again. I have failed twice already. (Once horribly at Portland two years ago, and a second time not-so-horribly at Eugene last year. I guess Oregon state just won’t give me a break!) I’ll be having a pretty long training cycle for Anchorage (I’ll explain why in another post,) so it would be devastating to put so much time and effort and to not reach my ultimate goal.
  2. I’ve never done a 50K before. It will be the longest distance I have run on trail or road! The unknown is pretty scary. But, I’m still more scared about sub-4’ing than I am completing a 50K!!

Don’t you have any non-running related goals?

Yes, I do. Thanks for asking. Here are a few that I will share with you:

  1. Learn Ruby on Rails (type of coding). I work on the web team in my marketing department and while I do not need to know coding for my job, my boss felt it would be good for the two of us to have some background knowledge on it. And, I agree! Plus, it’s fun to learn new things and to have another skill up your sleeve, right?
  2. Get serious about my finances. I keep putting this one off. And, by no means am I neglectful with my money. But, after having four other jobs before my current one that have had 401K or 4013b options, I have little pockets of money everywhere and need to sort out what is what and combine some things or not. Basically, get organized with my finances!
  3. Read one book a month. I love reading but most people probably think that I hate it. (Rare for a writer, I know). But, the thing is, I am always so busy running or writing, that reading gets bumped down to the bottom of my list. I end up re-reading the same chapter of a book three times because I forget what is happening each time I pick the book up after a 2-3 week hiatus. This gets exhausting. So then, I move onto a new book, or rather, a new first chapter of another book. I honestly think that last year I read 1 to 2 books in their entirety … I plan to change that this year.

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Of course, I have a few other goals/resolutions but I don’t want to bore you with how I am going to be the ultimate version of myself this year.

What are your goals running or otherwise? What are you looking forward to this year? What challenges will you face? Whom or what will you pull strength from?

Take some time to think and reflect on some of this. I’m sure most of you already have. And, let’s all rock 2016 together.

I’m ready.

Donating blood: Fulfilling a resolution two years later

I’m not sure if Sarah asked, “Do you want to go donate blood with me?” or if it was more of a statement like, “You should donate blood with me!”

Either way, I was somehow convinced to donate blood Friday.

If you have read this blog long enough, you will recall that I made it my New Year’s Resolution two years ago to donate blood. And, I failed.

Well, folks, I can now officially say that I achieved that resolution. (With the thanks to Sarah and Ragan).

The three of us took the elevator down six floors to the room that the Puget Sound Blood Center was set up in at our work. I told the two of them that I was nervous. They smiled and said something along the lines of everything would be great.

We checked in, showed our IDs. As I filled out the electronic form asking questions like whether or not I had traveled outside the U.S. or used needles or whatnot, a part of me thought I could just lie so that I wouldn’t be eligible to donate.

Of course, I didn’t do that.

There was the small inclining of “hope” that my iron level would be too low to donate, just as it was last time.

The phlebotomist did the finger prick to get a sample of my blood to do the iron test. I passed. I was at 44, which she said was “very good” for a female my size. (Guess the iron supplements are doing their job!)

Ragan ironically couldn’t donate because her iron level wasn’t high enough. She had never been rejected for low iron and was surprised. So, instead of donating, she got to be my cheerleader.

Sarah was across the room from me on a cot already getting her blood drawn/taken. As the phlebotomist gathered her supplies and prepared to stick me, she asked me how I was doing.

“I’m really nervous,” I said.

She told me to just breathe. As some Elton John song played from the radio in the corner, I started to feel sweaty. She stuck me and the prick wasn’t as bad as I expected. It felt just like a prick from a “normal doctor visit blood draw.”

She again asked me how I was doing.

“Good. I just don’t want to see ANY of my own blood,” I said.

She chuckled and covered my arm with a sheet. Once it was covered, I turned my head to look over at Sarah. I was doing it!

I’m not sure how long it took for them to gather all the blood they needed but it seemed like “a while.” Ragan sat next to me but now I honestly don’t remember what we talked about.

I was worried that I would feel weak or light-headed after the draw since it was my first time AND I hadn’t had a particularly big lunch. OK, OK, all I ate was a granola bar and a pear … what, I wasn’t planning on donating that day!

I stood up and felt fine. Sarah, Ragan and I sat at the table with all the snacks and drinks and consumed some juice and cookies. I of course got my “first time donor” sticker and Ragan added a zero to Sarah’s sticker to turn it into a “10th time donor” one.

About 30 minutes later, it was back to work and I went down to our lab to process blood from a study visit earlier in the afternoon. I have no problem looking at other people’s blood. I don’t get queasy drawing other people’s blood. But for some reason when the needle is pointing at me, I freak out.

But, I did it, with no major freak outs. And, that blood of mine will save three adults (or six babies!)

It wasn’t a bad experience. I definitely am glad I got a phlebotomist who knew what she was doing — I wasn’t left with a bruise or anything!

However, I would advise others to eat a proper meal before donating blood.

Later that evening, I nearly fainted while walking on the streets of downtown Seattle. Bryce and I ate dinner at South Lake Union and afterwards I suddenly got the worst pain I had ever experienced in my stomach. It felt like a cramp that was going to explode.

“If this is the end, at least I ended by doing something good for others,” I dramatically thought to myself.

We got on the trolley to take it into Westlake. While riding, I started to “not feel well.” I was getting warm and began perspiring. At a stop, prior to the one we intended to get off at, I told Bryce that we needed to get off immediately.

As soon as I stepped onto the sidewalk, I felt weak. My vision was getting dark and blotchy. I grabbed onto Bryce and managed to make my way to a nearby outdoor chair and table. (Gotta love Seattle and its appropriately placed public furniture). I sat and put my head on the table and closed my eyes. Bryce went — and I assume dramatically ran — to a nearby drugstore to get me a Vitamin water.

By the time he came back, I could see normally again. My body felt like it was at its normal temperature as well. I took some sips of the water but really didn’t feel like drinking a lot since the cramp in my stomach was making me feel like I really had to pee (although I really did not).

We slowly made our way to Safeco Field. I made a big stink beforehand for us to not be late to the game and here I was causing our tardiness. Whoops.

By the time the game was over around 10 p.m., I was spent. I was done.

But, you know what, I FINALLY did something I have been oh-so-scared to do so I am pretty darn proud of that. And, it is something that can actually save lives.

Will I do it again?

I won’t say never but I’m also not going to be knocking at the blood bank’s door in eight weeks either.

Year End’s resolutions

We’re all encouraged (or pressured by others) to make New Year’s resolutions.


Every New Year’s Eve we think of something that will better ourselves … The classic, “I will go on a diet” or “I’m going to go to the gym” to more thoughtful ones like starting to volunteer at an organization you support.


I don’t remember what I was thinking about at the end of last year.


It probably had something to do with focusing on my running. At the time, I was on a “running streak” where I ran at least 20 minutes a day for as many days in a row as I could. I accomplished 39 days until sickness had me down (literally). And by sickness, I mean a common cold, nothing serious.


The nice thing about resolutions is that they can be as big or small as you want them to be. No one even has to know about them if you don’t want them to.


But, instead of focusing on New Year’s resolutions, why not Year End’s resolutions, too?


In what way do you want to finish off the year? How do you want to feel when the clock strikes midnight?


I made a decision in November to take the stairs every day at work rather than the elevator. This may seem like a small feat for some but my office is on the 8th floor and eight flights of stairs at 7 in the morning isn’t fun. By the time I get to the top, I am perspiring because I get too lazy to take off my down-jacket because I don’t want to carry it along with my lunch and work-out clothes bag. (OK, OK, I’ll stop complaining).


Maybe when January rolls around I’ll be like, “Pshhh, eight flights of stairs! Bahh. That’s nothing!” And speed-walk up them faster than the two minutes it takes me to drag my feet up it now.


Maybe my Year End’s resolution isn’t something big that is “making me a better person,” but it’s making me less lazy.


Every morning when I walk through the doors of the building and see people walking into an elevator, I want to join them. But, then I remember that I don’t like elevator small talk. And, I get impatient when I have to stop at every floor on my way up to the 8th. Plus, I have that resolution.


Can choosing to take the stairs actually be a resolution? I mean, maybe it’s more of a goal.


But, the whole point is that the 2013 is quickly coming to a close. Do you want to be getting into that work elevator that will probably break down (again) or do you want to be using your own two feet by taking the stairs — and coincidentally run into former colleagues who you actually enjoy talking to?


It’s up to you. Enjoy 2013 while it’s still here.

The downfall of the female (vegetarian) distance runner

The downfall of the female (vegetarian) distance runner: She cannot donate blood.

I had been talking myself up and backing out of giving a blood donation for most of the entire year. Remember back in January when I resolved to donate blood and do a triathlon. These were two “activities” that I had never shown any interest in. They terrified me. But, I wanted to do something that would challenge me, that would make me uncomfortable. And hey, the blood donating bit would actually help someone else. (It would be a “win-win” as those public relations flacks would say!)

I surprised myself with the triathlon. I did it and didn’t drown! That was back in August. In August, the end of the year seemed very far away. I’ll do the blood donating later, I kept telling myself.

With my last race for the year (Seattle half marathon Thanksgiving weekend) in the books and the end of 2012 — and the world! — drawing near, I had to just bite the bullet so to speak and get my second resolution over and done with.

My work was scheduled to have a blood donation day this Friday so I marked it in my calendar. If I’m at work, there’s no way I can freak out. I’m in public. I can’t let my coworkers or patients see that I am weak and scared!

But then upon finding out that Joanna’s work was also having a drive Tuesday — today — I decided to go with her and do it. Leah (another first-time donor) also participated.

I was nervous when we arrived but after filling out all those medical history questionnaires and waiting for my turn, it sank in that I was doing it. In a few minutes, I would be donating blood!

The technician took my vitals and temperature. Looked good. Then she pricked my finger. And, that’s where it ended.

“So, you’re not going to be able to donate today,” she said to me. The woman continued by saying something about hemoglobin count and it wasn’t until she said “low iron” that I understood.

My downfall with being a female (vegetarian) distance runner: I cannot donate blood. I couldn’t donate blood today.

Now, I’m not a doctor or anything but for those of you who do not follow, this is basically what is happening: Runners can lose blood cells often times faster than they can replenish them, especially if they are running longer distances. Vegetarians tend to sway on the anemic side (low iron) because foods that have a lot of iron such as chicken or turkey (aka meat) are foods that vegetarians do not eat. Being female entails, um, you know, that thing that happens once a month where one loses blood. Put all of that together and you get someone like me who wants to donate blood, but is denied from being able to do so.

Anyway, I feel like a big failure that I couldn’t donate blood. At least Leah was able to! (Go, Leah!)

This New Years resolution would have been so much easier fulfill if I were a male carnivore who didn’t run. I guess I just need to change my diet and perhaps take some iron supplements so that someday I can donate.

I may have failed at completing all of my resolutions but, hey, at least I tri(ed)! (See what I did there??)

The story of a runner’s first triathlon

[Note to reader: This was originally written a few hours after finishing the race. This entry was posted three days later.]

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I’m pretty darn excited right now.

It could be the adrenaline rushing through my veins — three hours after I crossed the finish line.

It could also be because I just did something I thought I could never do. 

(Moral of the story is we all need to listen to more Justin Bieber — and never say never).

I completed my first triathlon this morning.

I swam, biked and ran consecutively — and with no mishaps! I didn’t have to stop during the swim and hold onto a nearby paddle boarder or man-in-a-kayak that they had scattered all over the lake for our safety. I didn’t crash my bike during the second leg or have to walk my bike up the hill connecting to I-90. I didn’t get a flat tire. I didn’t mess up my transitions too horribly. I didn’t have to walk during the run.

I did cramp — a bit.

The open water swim was what I was fearful of the most. But, all those horror stories we hear about other participants swimming on top of you or kicking your goggles off … I didn’t experience. The water was pretty calm. It was overcast out. The water was warm. After I passed the last buoy and was on my way back to shore, my right foot however started to cramp. I was slightly alarmed and didn’t know what to do.

I hopped onto my back and backstroked the rest of the way. I even passed a number of people doing this! (But, that didn’t matter. I didn’t care about beating other women, I just wanted to get back to sweet land).

This is what I look like about eight seconds after swimming 1/2 mile.

Once I did, my heart was pounding extremely fast. I was worried about my foot. I yelled at Bryce that my foot had cramped. He said something back — what exactly, I can’t recall. My family was there cheering for me. My mom ran along side me with her iPad — trying to take photos (yes, she is one of those people) — as I walk-jogged over to the transition area.

Getting out of the wetsuit wasn’t as bad of an operation as I thought it would be, too! But, having seven family members – yeah, I had people fly in to watch me 🙂 — and Bryce on the other side of the fence cheering directly at me can be a bit intimidating. It was really nice to have all the support though.

Finally I was on my bike and had 12 miles ahead of me. And let me disclose that prior to the race, I had never biked a consecutive 12 miles. I always did an out-and-back ride during my training where I would stop and take a water break. What would 12 miles continuously feel like? It was fine.

Until the last two miles came and that darn right foot started cramping again.

This time it was worse than when it cramped in the water. And, since I was on a bike it wasn’t like I could just go on my back and let my arms do all the work …

I started applying less pressure with my right foot and pedaled vigorously with my left foot.

“I may not be able to run if this doesn’t stop,” I thought to myself, slightly defeated.

Everything was fine though.

Smiling because I am approaching the transition area — and see my family.

I was out of the transition area in a minute and it was game time. My body was ready for this leg of the race. Once a runner, always a runner.

A quick wave to my admirers as I start the 5K.

The three miles were a cake walk. (I did cramp — not in my foot but just above the knee on my right leg. Cramping seemed to be the theme for the morning).

No matter. I was passing everyone! OK, I’ll be honest. I passed everyone (mainly because a majority of the participants were either walking or jogging) with the exception of one woman. A few meters before the finish line another woman sprinted by me. (I’m not bitter).

Just like Bryce had said earlier in the morning, I was doing a running race — I just had to swim and bike first to get to it. And, I did.

Mad dash to the finish — can’t remember if this is before or after that woman passed me!

Many people are too scared of doing things not because they will fail at it, but because they tell themselves that they just cannot do it. Once I decided to do a triathlon, I knew that I wasn’t going to fail at it. I knew I would finish. I even surprised myself by finishing in under two hours! I can do a triathlon faster than I can run a half-marathon. My total time with transitions: 1:44:42.

The biggest challenge for me was to override the “I-can’t-do-this” thought. Because as cheesy as it sounds (and I sure know it does,) we can all do anything if we just decide to actually do it.

This runner, is now a triathlete. 

Danskin Triathlon Seattle 2012

(And, hey, I knocked off one of my New Years Resolutions!)

Resolutions 2012: It’s time for some resolving

If you know me well, you know that I am a pretty tolerable person. And by that, I mean that I can tolerate a lot. Not that people tolerate me — they just don’t have to!

I tolerate a lot but there are some things I just do not like. The short list is needles and bodily fluids. My resolutions for the year are going to be real fun.

Donate blood and do a triathlon — don’t worry, not simultaneously.

Why give blood?

Ever since the blood bank people would come to high school lunch to persuade students to donate blood, I never thought once about it. Needles and blood? Nope, not interested. I hate needles and blood. In college when I would walk to class and see the little signs propped next to trash cans reading “Donate blood today!” I thought about it. I thought about how it’s great that some people are able and willing to donate blood to help a stranger out.

I spent the summer of 2009 in Cambodia. I had to get many shots before this summer in Cambodia. I had multiple visits to the health clinic so let’s say by the last time I went before my trip, I had gotten sort of tolerant to needles. (Don’t worry, I swear to Buddha you will never find me shooting up in a dark alleyway). It just made me think that maybe — sometime in the very far far future — I could muster up the courage to attempt to  donate blood.

Last year I covered a story on the top blood donors in the county. Along with it I visited the local blood donation center and met a few other folks who were donating that day. One person included a young woman — about my age — who said she was donating for the first time ever. She said she had always avoided it before because she was scared of needles. If she can do it, so can I, right?

The least I can do is try. Because I am a vegetarian don’t eat meat except for bacon, if they tell me I don’t have a high enough iron count to donate blood, I will go home and eat a large steak amount of spinach, and be back the next day. I know I will definitely meet the minimum weight requirement — I’m pretty sure I have a good 20 pound buffer that won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Nothing will stop me this year from donating. I may not even know what blood type I am — mom, what am I? — but somebody who really needs it is going to be getting some gosh darn good blood. (OK, now I’m starting to gross myself out. I don’t like bodily fluids, remember?)

Why a tri?

Once again, if you know me well — or have read more than one blog entry here — you will know that I am a runner. I’ve done a marathon here and there. I ran my first half marathon in 2006 and (I think) as of last November the count is at 11. I can run for days but I cannot bike or swim to save my life. Actually, that is not completely accurate. I never did swim team or anything like that growing up but my family had membership to the local pool club and I took lessons. I had several birthday parties at that pool. I think if someone were to push me off of a boat, I’d have sufficient skills to save my own life (so long as the shore is not hours and hours away. I don’t think I could swim for hours and hours).

[Proof that I can swim]

Yes, I understand that my younger brother is at the forefront of this photo, but look at me to the left! I may have my eyes closed but at least I do not have a flotation device like my brother (and cousins behind me)!

What I am trying to say is I am not a strong biker or swimmer but I can do them both. Someonemay try to tell you that I cannot ride a bike because he has never seen me do it, but he is wrong.

 [Proof that I can ride a bike]

Yes, this photo was taken when I was 6 years old but they say one never forgets, right? And look, no training wheels!

I’m going to do a triathlon this year because the thought of one scares me. Doing things that scare you, help you grow or mature or something, right?

People make resolutions like “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to eat healthy” but those are really hard to accomplish if concrete goals are not made. At the end of the year, I can come back here and say “Yes! I donated. Yes! I did a triathlon!” (Or, if I am a big fat failure I will say “I failed, I did not donate blood or do a triathlon because I am loser!”) I will either do them, or not. But, I will!

I don’t normally do resolutions. Last year it was something like “read more.” Yeah, that turned out real well. I probably watched more TV than I ever have in my entire life — that’s what living alone does to you — while finishing maybe a mere five books.

For some reason I can tell that this is going to be a good year. And, with good years come good resolutions. Here’s to doing things I don’t want to (but that I secretly do want to!)

And, if you’d like to come with me and hold my hand while blood is taken from me OR have cookies and juice boxes waiting for me after I donate  OR do a tri with me OR be part of my cheer squad on race day, there’s a sign up sheet at the bottom of this post. (You’re more than welcome to sign up for more than one task).

Oh, and I’m not self-centered or anything … what are you resolving to do this year?