Monday, December 19, 2011
I have been really, really bad about updating my WMS pictures, but I finally took time and did new pictures last night. Here we go--from the start and the (few) updates that I posted before through yesterday, first from the front:
And then from the side:
I was pleasantly surprised at the difference I can see from the last pictures (October, oops!) to yesterday. Even though the scale hasn't moved a lot, there is a difference, and even more from the start (September) to now.
If you are not taking pictures regularly, you need to; it helps when you can see the changes taking place even if the scale is uncooperative. Take measurements, too; at the beginning of the year I started taking measurements on the first of the month and writing them in a little notebook. When I start thinking I haven't done much this year, I've gone back to that and can see yes, I have made progress, even if it has been much slower than last year.
I hope you are taking some time out during this busy time of year to enjoy the season (and I don't mean just the food!). It's easy to get so caught up in frenetic activity that we forget to stop, breathe, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays. Go for a walk in the cold air; look at the Christmas lights; listen to the carols being sung and played everywhere; watch a Christmas movie with the people you love. That's the stuff that memories are made from, more than anything else. I had a chance yesterday to bake cookies with my daughter while my husband, son-in-law, and grandson watched Veggie Tales' "Little Drummer Boy" together; that is worth more to me than any gift under the tree or all the cookies(!) we baked.
If I don't get a chance to stop by your page and leave a note or goodie before Christmas, thank you for your encouragement and support this year. It has made a difference in my life, and I hope I have been able to give back at least a little to you. Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas, from our house to yours!
Saturday, December 17, 2011
I broke the cardinal rule of races today: I tried something NEW for race day--I wore a knit cap and reindeer antlers!
Today was my 17th race of the year, the Santa Runs Tacoma 5K. Our friend, Shannon, ran it as well, only this time her whole family was involved; the three of us running has apparently given her husband the running bug as well, so the two of them with their two children, Kayleigh and Brogan, did the 5K together.
This was a very family friendly event, with a costume contest beforehand and instead of shirts, they gave out knit hats and gloves--very appropriate for this time of year. Shannon, Pat, and their kids wore costumes (Mrs. Claus for the gals and elves for the guys); they were so cute! They didn't win, but they surely got some votes and were asked to pose for pictures. Here's the six of us together:
And here is one of my husband and me:
My husband and I had somewhere to go after the race, so we stayed all together until the start, then the two of us took off to run at our pace, knowing the kids would slow Shannon and Pat quite a bit. This race runs on part of the same course as the You Go Girl! half marathon Shannon and I did in September, so I knew what we were in for, just a couple of hills, nothing too bad. I couldn't help thinking how different it was doing a 5K this year as compared to last year. Last year about this time was when we ran the entire way of a 5K for the first time; it seemed so hard to keep going for three whole miles then! Now three miles seems like such a short distance.
It was fun to just run and not worry too much about time. We just ran at a pace that seemed comfortable, between 11 and 12 minutes per mile. Not long after the turnaround, we saw our friends making their way there and waved madly; they saw and waved back. By then my head was hot from the knit cap I was wearing, so that came off and the reindeer antlers went back on without it. Unfortunately because we were heading into a little bit of wind, the antlers wouldn't stay on, so I had to carry them until we got close to the end. I wanted to have them on for the photos I knew would come at the finish, though, so back on they went in time for those.
I looked up at the clock as we finished and was pleased to see the time, because it was a new PR for both of us: official chip time for me was 36:43, for an average pace of 11:51. That's two full minutes faster than my last 5K, WOO HOO!
So that's the last 5K for the year for us, but not the last race. We are planning to do one more race, the Yukon Do It! Half Marathon on December 31st; what better way to finish the year than with one last half marathon, right?
I'm still working on plans for 2012 races as well as other goals, and I need to post new Watch Me Shrink pictures, I'm way overdue for that. Those will have to wait for a couple of future blogs; now it's time to get ready to go to yet another Christmas potluck along with a square dance!
Monday, December 12, 2011
Saturday was indeed my 16th race of the year (18th if you count the two unofficial ones we did, but who's counting, right?). This was the second year we did the local Christmas run in Kent. Last year we did the 5K, and it was the first time my husband and I ran an entire 5K race--hard to believe that was just a year ago!
We decided this year that we would do the 10K race; 5K doesn't seem quite long enough any more. I remember last year's race quite well; it was cold and damp, although the rain did not set in fully until the race was done. This year, I think it was even colder, but no rain was in the forecast until later in the day. There were a couple of things that made this race really nice for us. First, it's very close to home, only about 15-20 minutes away; no long drives or need to stay overnight somewhere. Second, it starts relatively late--9:50 a.m. for the 10K, 10 a.m. for the 5K. That means no 4 a.m. alarm, WOO HOO!
The temperature at start time was right around freezing, so we bundled up and tried to find the right balance of clothing to stay warm enough before starting but not too warm after we got going. That's something I still have trouble doing; it was COLD waiting around to start, though not miserable, and then I got too warm halfway through. Someday maybe I'll get it right!
We got a bit of a late start (9:55 instead of 9:50), and it was a little confusing since the 10K runners started first and 5K runners/walkers followed. I saw some people with bibs indicating they were doing the 5K take off with the 10K runners, and as usual it was congested at the beginning. Fortunately since we were doing the 10K, there were far fewer people with strollers and walking in the group, so it wasn't as much of an obstacle course as it sometimes at these fun runs.
I didn't really have a goal for this race other than to get out and have fun during it. I'd thought about aiming to run the entire 10K, but I decided that I'd rather just see how I felt. The first mile flew by, and before we knew it we were passing the turnaround point for the 5K; did we really get there already? Last year it felt like f-o-r-e-v-e-r before we had gone halfway! I decided that I wanted to at least run the first half without taking any walk breaks, and that was easy enough to do. As we approached the turnaround for the 10K, I saw they had one water stop just past that on the way back--filling cups with bottled water. I was thirsty since we opted to not carry water for such a 'short' run, so I walked through the water stop and enjoyed a cup of water. I have yet to master the art of continuing to run while drinking from a cup, one of the reasons I love my hydration pack--easy to use walking OR running!
I picked up the pace again and ran awhile more before deciding that my light jacket was just too hot; that required a walk break while I tried to take the sleeves off (they unzip, but not as easily as I'd prefer), then tied it around my waist. That didn't last long as the sleeves DO come unzipped when the jacket is tied on, so another walk break and put the jacket back on. I ran most of the rest of the way with one or two more short walk breaks to cool off a little.
We were far from the fastest but also far from the last ones to finish with a time of 1 hour, 20 minutes and a few odd seconds, average pace of 12:50. My only complaint about the race was the few vendors who were there were packing up when we got done, and the only thing left for finishers was water--the snacks and goodie bags were all gone. It was not a big deal, but it was a little annoying; if you're offering a 10K, make sure you have enough of everything to go around until the last people come in. I felt bad for the people who were last coming in; there couldn't have been much of anything left for them.
Overall, it was a fun race; it's one we will likely do every year, even if they don't have much to offer the late finishers. We have two more races we're planning on doing before the end of the year. Next Saturday we're doing a 5K (Santa Runs Tacoma), then on New Year's Eve we hope to do the Yukon Do It Half Marathon. Yes, one more half marathon to finish out 2011; I don't know yet how many we'll do next year, but the idea of 12 HMs in 2012 has been rolling around in the back of my mind a little . . . though there is one full marathon on the schedule already. We'll see!
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
I haven't said anything here because I didn't want to focus on it, but I had a little health scare recently. I had a pimple on my cheek a couple of months ago that decided to turn into a growth that looked like a wart; I've never had that happen before, so it was a little worrisome. When I went to my doctor for my physical, she asked me about it and sent me to the dermatologist right away to look at it and at my psoriasis.
I went to the dermatologist and, as expected, she gave me new prescriptions for a topical steroid for the psoriasis; mine is considered mild and is more annoying than anything else since it's on my forearms and visible when I wear short sleeves. She looked at the growth, said she didn't think it was anything to worry about but wanted to remove it and have a biopsy done. Okay, fine; some local anesthesia, a few minutes on a table, the lovely smell of burning flesh as she cauterized it, a bandage and instructions for 'post-surgery care' and I was on my way. This was the week before Thanksgiving, so she didn't expect to get results back until after the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, though, I got a voicemail asking me to call her office. Ugh; I don't like those kind of messages. They usually are not good news from my experience. I called back and talked to the nurse. It seems the biopsy was too much of a surface scraping and so the results were 'inclusive.' The doctor wanted me to go back in for another biopsy to be safe. Lovely; just when the spot was healing up nicely, she'd need to dig into my face again. Since I've lost most all my immediate family members to one form of cancer or another, however, I don't take chances--I get things checked out.
So back in I went last Thursday; this time it was just a quick procedure in her office rather than 'surgery' (and hopefully a smaller bill as a result). More waiting, probably a week; no point in dwelling on it or fretting over the 'what if,' so I tried to put it out of my mind.
Today I got the call, and as you might guess from the title, the news was 'clear, no sign of cancer.' I am ENORMOUSLY relieved and thankful to get that report and to get it so quickly. As I told the dermatologist the last time, I like her but I'd just as soon not need to see her again! I'm glad I went ahead and did the second biopsy, even though it's $$$ out of my pocket (we have a high deductible HSA plan, so most everything is out of pocket). I know there's nothing going on there and can relax about it. It sure makes the holiday season a little sweeter having that report!
Now I can go on to more important things, like the three races we have planned this month (10K, 5K, and half marathon), finishing putting up decorations, wrapping presents, baking cookies (danger! danger!), and enjoying the season!
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