Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekend of Nature and a 10-Mile Race

This weekend was absolutely gorgeous.  It was an abnormally warm weekend for March (usually it's raining).  I wanted to take it easy on the lifting Friday and Saturday because I had the race coming up today, so Friday the boy and I took the dogs for a nice hike through the woods in the town just north of us.  We got ourselves a little lost when we strayed off the beaten path, but it was nice that we saw literally no one for an hour.  The dogs were having a blast and it was nice to breathe in the fresh air and take in the beauty that we live in.  I am so lucky to live in the Redwoods.  I am constantly taking them for granted, but every once in awhile, I look up and remember their beauty.  After the hike, we met up with my mom for a delicious dinner of Thai food.  We came home, cuddled up in bed, and watched the Lorax.  I fell asleep within the first 20 minutes and slept for 12 hours!  I was exhausted.  It was the perfect Friday date.

Gorgeous woods.

Little Moe, big forest.

Looking lost in the Redwoods.

Milo got super muddy and all we had was paper towels to wipe him off.

And these aren't even the biggest.

Saturday was our amazing friend's birthday.  She had invited us to go about 45 minutes north with her to hike, so we headed to her place around 11:30.  There was a gigantic group going and it took 3 cars to get us all there.  It was yet another absolutely gorgeous day outside, not a cloud in the sky.  We got there and began our trek.  I love the people she surrounds herself with almost as much as I love her, so it was a great, loving, energetic bunch.  My mom is always a ways behind while hiking because she takes tons of photos, so I thought nothing of it when she wasn't behind us at a stopping point.  Two of the ladies were from Alaska and never leave someone behind while hiking, so they ran back to find her.  Turns out she had turned around to go hang out in the beautiful sunshine.  I wanted to make sure she was okay and that her feelings weren't hurt or anything, so boy and I diverted from the group to find her.  She was perfectly content when we found her, so we ventured back into the woods to find our group.  We never found them.  So it ended up just being us again for about 40 minutes, which was really nice.  We don't always get alone time and when we do, we don't always spend it together talking and laughing.  We headed back to the trailhead and ate nuts right next to the elk until our group found their way back.  All in all, it was an awesome hike, even if we did disperse from the birthday girl.  

We found out Milo can be a purse dog too!

Moe wanted to drive to go hiking.

Elk greeting us at the trail head.

My little family.  I wore rain boots because I haven't invested in some good Gortex hiking shoes.

Our group making the river crossing.

So many ferns.

Trying to take a serene picture.

He loves me for some reason.

So much pretty.

The cutest sisters in the world.

Stream crossing

That's us.

Pretty bridge.

Having a snack with the elk way too close for comfort. 

I adore this woman.  So good to celebrate another year in her life.

After the hike, we stopped at Mongolian BBQ for a late lunch/early dinner.  It was so delicious.  We got home, I changed to head back to birthday girl's house where she was having a party.  We ended up going to a restaurant for her to get a free dessert and to get sung to then went back to her place where we all hung out and talked.  I had to leave early so that I could get a good night's sleep before my race in the morning.  

Birthday candles.

A Moe hat.

The time change always makes me super tired, but I woke up energized and ready to kick 10 miles in the butt.  As time went on, though, I started getting really nervous.  I don't know what the nerves were about.  I might have been scared to run 10 whole miles because I never had before or I might have been scared that this was a race instead of just us running our usual Sunday run.  My mom decided to do the 4 miler, which was super awesome of her.  So, we headed out and the gun went off and we began.



At about the 2 mile marker, my hip flexor started killing me.  My entire right leg really hurt for the rest of the race, but I kept telling myself to think about other things.  I let my mind drift and I kept thinking, "Don't think about how long you have, think about how far you've gone."  Having my partner next to me really, really helped.  She kept a good pace and every once in awhile I would have to slow down to keep up at her pace because I wear myself out early on by going too fast.  Nothing felt better than when we passed the 5 mile marker and we high-fived.  The next best feeling was passing the ex's best friend after we had turned around and he still hadn't turned around yet.  This guy is seriously good at EVERYTHING he does.  Better than good.  He's amazing.  So I felt like kind of a badass when we passed him and he was about 5 minutes behind me.  There wasn't much talking, but having her next to me made all of the difference.  Mile 7 was the absolute worst.  It was just kind of the middle of the road, not the last part of the race, not the beginning.  We also had to run through a flooded part of the street, so my feet were wet and heavy for that mile.  I even asked her if we should slow down during mile 8 so that we could rock mile 9, but she kept me in check and we stayed at our pace.  Our goal was 85 minutes.  Well, she sped ahead of me, as she always does at the end, and came in at 1:23:06!  I came in at 1:23:14.  We were minutes under our goal.  And she was way, way under her time from last year. I think I am still on cloud 9 from the endorphins and the fact that I finished in a decent time.  I just looked up the results and found that I cam in FOURTH out of 21 in my age division and 59th out 174 overall.  I honestly could not believe that I was in the top 5 in my age group.  It was all thanks to her keeping me going.  I could have stopped and walked at mile 7, but because she was still running, I kept running.  I am more than blessed to have her in my life and to be able to have completed this race without walking.  I am learning to love my body more and more for the things it can do instead of hating it for not looking the way I want it to.  Here's to being strong and doing things I never thought I would ever do just a few years ago.


Post-race omelette.

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