Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year In Review

Well, I don't want to start this post on a negative vibe but:  2010 can kiss my ass. 

This year has been a year of suck in a lot of ways.  Getting engaged was amazing and happy and I had a few good running moments but other than that, not so much.  Jumping almost straight from the craziness of a work/school double-life into a ramping up of my father's illness in February, his death, my mother's really bad illness and almost inability to function for a month prior to and after Dad's death making an already stressful situation almost unbearable, the defection of my sister at the same time Dad was dying leading to the family being chopped in half and dealing with the aftermath of it all really took a toll.  I didn't really realize all of that until just recently when I am starting to get some more distance and perspective of it all.  It's funny how you can still experience grief and anger when you don't even really miss the people.  Oh, and there's a little guilt for not really missing the people.  It is one of those things I didn't really understand until I had been through it.  Unfortunately it is something we all will know someday.  However, things feel thawed again and I feel like a lot of that turmoil and sadness is over.  I just want a drama free 2011.

But on to happier things, the goals from 2010.  I didn't hit as many as I wanted but I am glad they were out there because they kept me more focused than if they weren't.

The recap:
Running Goals
5K PR - Done!  At the Top Pot Doughnut Dash in April I ran a 29:14
Half-Marathon PR - Done!  The following week at Eugene I ran a 2:21:56 which killed my previous PR.
Run at least 650 miles - Fail!  This is the only one I am beating myself up about.  There is no good excuse for not hitting this.  None.  I ended the year on 511.65 miles.  Pathetic.

Lost a minimum of 40 pounds - I knew this was a stretch goal and would be challenging.  I did lose 20 but some have crept back on.  I haven't been to WW in awhile so I don't know how many (I can't remember what the home scale said at my lowest weight) but I think put on at least six so I am guessing my total yearly loss is 14 pounds.  Once I head in for a weigh-in next week I will post the real number.

Visit one new place in state - Probably the easiest on the list and it was a fail.  Never got anywhere new this year.
Visit one new place out of state - This was a success.  We hit McMinnville, OR and also saw huge swaths of Colorado I hadn't seen before.
Travel outside the country (offer excludes Canada) - Success!  Big tickets purchases are hard for me to pull the trigger on and if I didn't set this goal I would still be waffling on where exactly was the perfect place to go. 
Drink more -  We drank more wine than we purchased (I think) but we definitely hit our yearly 52 bottle total.  We consumed 58 bottles. Thanks to two friends we had over in January for some over-imbibing for helping us reach for the stars.
Complete 40 hours of volunteer time - Only completed 14 hours.  Does time spent helping your parents out count?
Take four different classes - I took two:  a 10 week yoga program and East Coast Swing.
Really learn 10 new entrees or side dishes - Yeah, I kind of gave up on this right away last year.  I need to break my toast or sandwich for dinner habit.  I get home so late that I don't much feel like cooking dinner and we are frequently gone or superbusy on the weekends which doesn't leave much time for cooking.

So there it is, the goals that were.  I have been mentally compiling my 2011 list and am eager to post it once I get it all sorted out.

Here's to a new year!  And a huge "thank you" to my friends and loved ones for putting up with crabbiness and general out-of-sortness this year.  2011 will be a better, brighter year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And So It Begins

Yesterday marked day one of my 18 week odyssey to run a marathon.  Nothing spectacular; just an easy three-miler followed by a five-miler today at race pace.  I feel much better running with a goal in mind.  I need that race to motivate me or I don't perform at 100%. 

While the looming distances on the training calendar aren't freaking me out too much (yet) there are two things that are:  legs and feet.  I am having neuroma problems in the left foot at even low mileage and tonight the bunion on my right foot hurts. Yes, I am aware that last phrase is lifted straight from the halls of my dear nursing home but dang it, it's true!  The legs are doing something unusual also.  Towards the end of the run they feel like two entirely different legs.  One feels springy and tight and shorter and the other feels loose and weird.  This can probably be eliminated with some concentrated stretching but the feeling is bizarre.  I think I am going to have to come up with some sort of stretching related goal for 2011.

This weekend I am taking a page from wedding planning and making an inspiration board of sorts for my marathon and marathon training.  Anything to keep me focused and ready for Eugene.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Eve Run

I went for a run today.  It was the first in two weeks because of illness and the holiday.  While it was only three miles it was one of the best runs I have had in quite awhile.  Runs like this one remind me why I drag myself out there time and time again.  Feeling your pulse quicken, the lungs starting to work harder, the muscles warm up and your body finding a familiar rhythm.  Feeling the rain hit you in the face and the sweat rising on your skin.  Feeling the cobwebs and confusion clear your mind with each footfall.  There truly is no feeling like it.

There are many people and things I am grateful for but today I am most grateful that I am a runner.

Merry Christmas

I have to admit that I am totally phoning Christmas in this year.  But even with the lack of enthusiasm I think our living room looks pretty festive, cozy and warm.  I love walking down the stairs and seeing this image complete with curled up happy cat on the sofa (cat two is on her rocking chair on the other side of the fireplace).  Please also note the Mistletoad hanging in the corner of the photo.  Not Christmas without a Mistletoad.

We really toned it down this year and there are quite a few things we didn't get around to putting up.  We did hang a swag of cedar all down the bannister and the entryway is decorated and there are a few decorations in the dining area but basically.... not so into it. 

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the peace, warmth and of the season.  Oh, and eggnog...enjoy that too!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Twelve Days of Wholesome Language

After a few comments from Kevin over the years about my language and its tendency to veer towards longshoreman I have decided to meet the challenge head-on.  For the last twelve days of this year I am going to abstain from swearing.  Just quit cold-turkey.  Cold, f-ing, turkey.

Now this isn't about to become a permanent change.  I am a beliver that a vocabulary peppered with the occasional obscenity is a necessary and beautiful thing.  But I do agree that I can lean on it a little too much especially when I am worn-out which seems to be the norm these past weeks. 

Wish me luck!

Oh, and by the way I don't think either "hell" or references to "Jesus Christ" are swear words.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Costa Rica Trip Report (sort of)

I've been back from Costa Rica for a week and haven't been able to muster the energy to log in and post anything yet.  Saturday night while watching Roger Water's The Wall , unexpectedly amazing by the way, I started to get a bad sore throat.  I chalked it up to the amount of pot smoke wafting through the Tacoma Dome but by Sunday I had become full-on sick.  In between this and trying to get the house decorated for Christmas and go to work (I finally took today off) I haven't had the energy for much.  We set up the tree Sunday night and it still isn't complete.  Our tree takes hours and hours of work because I am an ornament whore and I am starting to feel like it will never get done.  But I digress...

Costa Rica was fun.  See the above mentioned illness?  That is about the energy I have to describe it.  There are pictures that I took and 90% of them suck (Look, it's a ........blob in a tree!  Maybe bird, monkey, sloth?  No clue!)  Others from the tour part of the trip have uploaded photos to Picassa but I am too lazy right now to log-in and look at their photos and find nice ones for you.  Yeah, even creating a Picassa log-in seems daunting right now, it's that bad.  Maybe when Kevin goes back home for the holidays I might find some time to post a few. 

Here's the trip in a nutshell:  There was a jungle yurt with howler monkeys above.  Many birds and interesting insects including:  mot mots, toucans, parrots, macaws, hummingbirds, leaf cutter ants, tarantula, bullet ants, and stick insects.  We saw sloths, howler monkeys, porcupines, coati mundis, caiman, and crocodiles.  A few of us spent a few hours at an animal sanctuary where I got to hold a kinkajou and have a racoon try to climb up my arm and I got to tickle his feet while questioning my decision not to get the rabies vaccine. 

Tours included a pineapple plantation, coffee plantation and cocoa plantation all of which were fascinating.  Also, it seems even countries we consider "poor" have immigrant agricultural workers.  Most of the food you get from Costa Rica?  Probably picked by Nicaraguans.  Best pineapple I ever ate was picked right from the field where the workers were harvesting it.  It makes you think again about the importance of organics when you see those workers surrounded up to their armpits in pineapple plants about the toxins they must encounter regularly.  This particular plantation was part organic and part conventional and they were picking organic at the time.  Pineapples are done by hand by the way.  We also took a night hike to spot noctural critters and a hike through a deluge that ended in the dark where a view of the elusive Arenal Volcano should be.  Most of us went ziplining through and above the cloud forest one day.  If you ever get the chance to do this you must, must, must.  Exhilirating to say the least.  Just don't think about how if the cable snapped while you are 300 feet above the ground and 1km between trees you would be a little stain on the forest floor. 

There were exploding glass tables at our authentic home cooked Costa Rican lunch, torrential rains that caused washouts and flooding and a general dampness that pervaded everything, a windstorm that caused a power outage and gave us a memorable meal in the dark and a walk through the pitch dark town up the huge hill back to our hotel.  No cabs to be had because it was the night of the, ironically named, Festival of Lights in town.  The bus that skid backwards trying to get up the same gigantic hill and ended up with  its back tires stuck behind a concrete barrier and hanging over a drop-off.  Luckily no one but the driver was on the bus at the time and he was fine.  The boat across the estuary to get to the town that had the ATM that involved boarding in the mud not 100 yards from where I saw the biggest crocodile earlier that morning.  Those were some of the little adventure parts of the trip.

I also spent a few lazy days at the beach by myself just sleeping, reading and walking around.  I did run three times while I was there and I am pretty sure I will never see anything cooler on any of my runs than the howler monkeys I saw on my run through the beach "town" I was staying in. 

So there it is in a nutshell.  Costa Rica was good but I was sure glad to be back home.  I am glad I went ahead and did the trip by myself because I always would have had that goal in the back of my mind if I didn't but I can tell you that being alone doesn't hold the charms it used to.  I missed Kevin horribly and kept thinking how much he would have enjoyed all of the trip especially the night hike, chocolate plantation (he's the biggest chocolate lover I know) and ziplining.  I don't ever want to take a trip like that without him again.  He has kind of ruined being alone in a good way.