Monday, April 25, 2016

ASH Dash Bunny Run Recap

This year was the second year for me running the ASH Dash Bunny Run 5k.  This race is put on by the Volunteer Services Council at the Austin State Hospital.  The race is a fundraising event for the Council and all proceeds will assist them in continuing to provide important programs and services to supplement treatment at the Austin State Hospital.  And yes, the Austin State Hospital provides services to mental health and developmentally disabled patients.  As a lot of you know, I have a lifelong battle with my own mental illnesses of a dysthymic disorder that causes chronic major depression that may or may not get triggered by an actual life event (sometimes it just happens and that makes it so much harder to deal with), general anxiety disorder, OCD, and an eating disorder.  I have also had moments in my life where I thought of the most drastic actions as a potential solution to the pain I endure.  Thankfully, caring doctors noticed the direction I was heading and helped me out of that deep, dark pit of hopelessness.  Anything that I can do to help others with their own struggles and to help them find their own way out of the darkness, I will do what I can to help.  Running this race is one of the small things that is within my power and financial ability to do to help. 

Last year, a LOT of super fast people ran this race and I came in 7th in my age group with a time of 28:24.  It was super windy last year and I know I compromised my running economy because I was using one hand to hold my bunny ears on almost the entire run.  If you’re interesting you can read about last year’s race here

They had packet pickup the day before the race from 3-7pm.  Well, I work from 2-10pm and my lunch break isn’t long enough for me to make the drive to fetch my packet, even though the ASH campus is fairly close to where I work.  Thankfully, they offered race morning packet pickup!  I seem to be doing a lot of race day packet pickup this year.  I’m just glad enough of these races are offering it.  I do wish more races did, but I completely understand why larger races don’t offer it.  It would be ridiculous.  I got my packet super fast and super easy.  The race shirt this year is an Easter lime green with a purple bunny paw print on the front.
I ran into my running friend, Rob, on my way back to my car and we chatted for a bit.  I sat in my car and ate my bagel and drank my coffee.  I slathered the Body Glide on my inner thighs since I was wearing a running skirt.  I put my ears on my head and then strapped them down real good with my visor.  Thankfully, this year, it wasn’t windy at all!  And the temperature was perfect as well, since I wanted to wear a tank top for this race.  I was also trying out a new running belt that is the same brand as the one I reviewed a few weeks ago (the SLS3 double pocket waterproof belt).  This one is a single pocket with 2 compartments, one for your phone that has a clear plastic cover to it so you can use your touchscreen phone without taking it out!  Let’s just say I loved it!  Anyway, I also pinned on my floral ball for a bunny tail.  Then I walked back to race start area. 

Then I saw my friend Ben walking toward the start area with his wife and daughter (this was his wife’s first 5k!  Last year she just spectated.  She didn’t run it, but walked it with their daughter in her stroller, but still, it was her first 5k so hooray!).  Then it was time to head to the start line and Rob popped up again.  They’re both pretty fast so we were at the very front and I was thinking that I shouldn’t be that far in the front and kept saying I hoped no one literally ran me over when they started us. 

The course is 2 loops around the hospital campus.  As we set out for our first lap, I was trying to go fast yet not too fast.  I wanted to find a groove and settle in.  You know, that slightly uncomfortably hard place.  Breathing is labored but not gasping.  The first mile chimed and I had run it in 8:26.  I was trying desperately to remember what my current PR finish time was (it was either 27:08 or 27:14) and was also trying to remember what my mile splits were.  I figured 8:26 was right on target for a new PR for me, so I just tried to hold that pace.  However, it was a little too fast because my pace slipped a little on the second mile.  I finished the second mile in 8:53.  Dang it.  I was thinking that wasn’t going to get me a new PR, so I tried to really push it in the third mile but was failing.  For the majority of mile 3 I was actually over a 9:00 pace.  At 2.9, I really kicked it and managed to squeak that mile in at 8:58.  I did the final .1 mile at a 7:57 pace.  My final Garmin time was 27:12. 

As we waited for them to start posting the results on the table, I uploaded my Garmin data to my phone (hooray for the ANT+ app I downloaded a while back!) and discovered that my previous PR was 27:14 so I had PR’ed by 2 seconds!  WOOHOO!!!  They finally started posting the official race results so Rob, Ben and I wandered over and stood in line.  I found my name and saw that my official chip time was 27:09 (so I PR’ed by 5 seconds…even better!) and then was completely shocked to see a “1” next to my age group designation of 35-39.  I asked if I what I was seeing was that I took first in my age group and like 3 people responded that that was exactly what I was seeing!  OMG OMG OMG OMG!  Last year all the women in my age group were so FAST!  This year, every time a woman passed me, I looked her up and down and tried to determine if she was in my age group or not.  Apparently NONE of them were in my age group!  WOOHOO!!!!

They wait until the final race participants cross the finish line before handing out the awards.  Most races that hand out age group awards issue medals.  The ASH Dash does it a little differently and hands out TROPHIES!!!  So, I am now the proud owner of a golden bunny!!!

I’m so beyond happy that I was able to not only get a new PR but I won first place in my age group!!!  Also, even though I said I felt like I was pushing as hard as I could while I was running that last mile, when I finished, I recovered quickly and I’m pretty sure I can push myself more and that sub-27 minute 5k is in my future this year!

Friend Making Monday - Have You Ever?

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

HA!  I'm doing this one on time!

Have You Ever?

Fired a Gun? Yes
Gone on a blind date? Yes
Skipped school? Yes
Watched someone give birth? No
Watched someone die? No
Visited Hawaii? No (I have plans, tho)
Visited Europe? No
Visited Las Vegas? Yes
Visited Washington? Yes
Visited Amsterdam? No
Visited Florida? Yes
Visited Mexico? Yes
Visited Australia? No
Seen the Grand Canyon in person? Yes, on my roadtrip 2 years ago, I stopped there
Been on a cruise? No, but I’m hoping to change that in 2-3 years
Been in a movie? No
Visited LAX? Yes
Been to New York City? No, and the sad part is that I lived just a 5 hour drive away for over a year and never went.
Cried yourself to sleep? Yes
Played in a band? Yes (school band...hey, that counts, right?)
Used an adult coloring book? No...not yet, anyway
Sung karaoke? Yes
Gone swimming in the ocean? Yes
Paid for a meal with coins only? I don’t think so...unless it was a dollar menu meal, then probably yes
Made prank phone calls? Yes, when I was a kid, we would pick random phone numbers out of the phone book, call them and then hang up when they answered
Laughed so much you cried? Yes
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Yes
Had children? No
Had a pet? Yes
Been skinny dipping? No
Repelled down a building/tower? No
Gone zip lining? No
Been water skiing? Yes
Been camping in a tent? Yes.  I grew up camping and I try to find occasions to do it as an adult
Driven a motorcycle? Yes...dirtbikes
Jumped out of a plane? No
Gone to a drive-in movie? Yes
Done something that could have killed you? Yes
Done something that you will regret for the rest of your life? No, I don't hold onto regrets  
Ridden on an elephant? Not that I remember
Ridden on a camel? Not that I remember
Eaten just cookies, cake or ice cream for dinner? Uh, yes…
Been on TV? Yes
Been in a newspaper? Yes
Stolen any traffic signs? Yes...while on an outing with my girl scouts troop...ha!
Been in a car accident? Yes
Stayed in a hospital? Yes
Donated blood? Yes
Had to pay a fine of some kind in the past 12 months? No
Eaten snails? No
Gotten a piercing? Yes
Gotten a tattoo? Yes, a few
Driven a standard car? Yes, my first few vehicles were standard transmissions
Ever owned your dream car? No
Been married? No
Been divorced? No
Fallen in love? Yeah…
Paid for a strangers meal? No...not yet.  I will someday, tho
Driven over 100mph? Yes
Worked in a pub? No
Found a dead body? No
Lived on your own? Yes
Ridden in the back of a police car? Yes, but not because I got arrested
Written or published a book/story/poem/song? Yes

Now it’s your turn to answer next week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!
Happy Monday!

Friend Making Monday (a week late)

This is last week's FMM because I completely spaced on doing it since I had just arrived in Oregon and had a lot of other things on my mind, so here you go!  And I think this topic is perfect since I'm currently spending lots of time with family and friends that I consider family!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

All About Family

1. How many siblings do you have? Tell us about them. I have 2 brothers.  First there's David.  In the past he made some bad decisions, but he's since turned his life around completely and used those bad life choices to make the best choices ever.  He now has his master's degree in social work and works for a University.  He's also working to get custody of his son.  My other brother is Alan.  He has pretty much always made the right decisions in his life.  He watched me and David and did not follow our examples, thank goodness.  He's a dental hygienist and is married with 2 wonderful children.

2. Do you have kids? If so, how many? not unless you consider cats as children, in which case I have 2.

3. Share one thing you love about each of your parents. my dad is my rock and my role model.  I've always wanted to be like my dad, even to the point of adopting some of his eating the tails of shrimp, much to the dismay of most of my friends when we go out to eat seafood and I'm stealing their uneaten shrimp tails off their plates.  my mom is my mom.  I love everything about her.  I am basically a younger (albeit more cynical) version of her.

4. How close do you live to your nearest relative?  Technically, I live about an hour and a half from my mom's brother, my uncle, but I haven't seen him since I was 6 months old and he's got some prejudices that would keep us from having a relationship (he doesn't like tattoos and I have a LOT of them, for starters).  So, I live about 2300 miles away from my nearest family that I have a relationship with.

5. Does your family have any particular traditions that you’d hate to miss? If so, what are they?  My family doesn't really have any hardset traditions.  They do like to get as many people as possible together at some point NEAR thanksgiving, but since I left shortly after high school I haven't been able to make it at thanksgiving.  So, really, the only family gatherings I am able to attend are the family BBQs we do at my brother Alan's house when I'm in town for my visits.  And I love the family BBQs.

6. Share an odd fact about your childhood.  I don't know.  I was what was called a "latchkey" kid for most of my childhood.  Also, I just found out last week that my mom was a stay at home mom until my youngest brother started school.  I don't remember this.  Where the heck was I during my first 8 years of life?  Geez.

7. Did you have pets when you were growing up? Do you have any now? If so, tell us about them.  we had parakeets and gerbils.  I talked my mom into letting me have a pet rat in high school.  she did not like rats because of their hairless tails, but she fell in love with Quigley because he had such a sweet disposition and personality.  we also had a dog named Peanut who was pretty much a doofus.  I currently have 2 cats: Vladimir and Oliver who are total mama's boys and I seriously can't love them any more than I love them.  They're my babies.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and leave your link in the comments!
Happy Monday!

Oregon Vacation - Week 1

Friday night, my supervisor let me leave work 2 hours early so I could get on the road earlier and make better progress before stopping for a nap.  I left my apartment and was on my way out of Austin by 9:30pm.  I drove until 5:30am and ended up at a truck stop and parked in the “darkest” part of the parking lot I could find.  Still had to adjust the front seat to block a lot light that was shining straight into my eyes.

I woke up about an hour after tucking myself into the backseat of my car thanks to my bladder.  So I ran into the truck stop to use the facilities only to find that their bathrooms were closed for cleaning.  Seriously?!?!  So I had to drive to the other truck stop across the street to go potty.  By then, the sun was pretty much up and so was I so I said forget it and got back on the road.

I drove thru Santa Rosa, NM looking for somewhere to stop for breakfast but the one place that looked good (the Route 66 Restaurant)
But it wasn’t open yet.  So I continued on.  Next city was Albuquerque.  I searched for American style restaurants and ended up at one that looked good and apparently it was because it seemed like EVERYONE was there.  So I looked up another restaurant and started making my way to it and let me tell you, the part of Albuquerque I drove through was extremely ghetto.  So I just kept driving.  At the north side of the city I discovered a Cracker Barrel!  By this time, I had a stabbing headache, was super nauseated and you know that feeling when you’re drunk and everything is spinning?  Yea.  There was that too.  All I could think was altitude sickness.  Which is weird because I’ve made this trip many times before without an issue.  Also, I was only at about 5500 feet above sea level.  So at breakfast, I chugged as much water as I could and ate my pancakes with blackberries and whip cream!  I felt a little better after that.  Then, back on the road.  While I was there, I bought a mermaid!
At some point driving through New México, I stopped at a couple of the famous Clines Corner 66.  Before that, I had stopped at the Exxon on I-40 in Moriarty, NM.  I found a copper bracelet that I just had to have!  It was only $20 and it was the style of bracelet I had before but managed to lose.  So I was super happy to find this bracelet!
I also bought a little sand tile magnet for a friend at work that wanted a pretty magnet.  I think she’ll really like it.
As I made my way north, toward Colorado, the temperature dropped.  And kept dropping.  It got all the way down to 34°.  There were intermittent light snow flurries.  Then there was a mix of snow and rain.

I stopped at a gas station somewhere in SW Colorado and got me an ice cream sandwich.  I’m thinking because of my lack of sleep that my body was having a little trouble regulating my body temperature and so I was feeling really warm despite it being only 34° outside.
After Colorado was Utah!  Just before Moab there is Wilson Arch.  It’s right there roadside and they have a pull off area where you can park and then hike up to the arch.  I stopped and decided to “run” up the hill to get to a better spot for my pictures, and then I ran back down the hill.  That felt GREAT!!! 
So then, I was super hot to find a trail to run a quick out-and-back on.  But I was having a problem finding anything with public access.  I got into Moab and googled “hiking trail” and got a few responses, but because I have no clue how to understand Utah’s grid system for how they label their streets, I couldn’t find them.  I was about to give up when I got to the north side of town and noticed there was a paved trail just off the side of the road.  Hmmm.  So then I was looking for a place to park.  And then Lions Park appeared!  So I swooped in and parked.  I hit the potty real quick, came back to the car and suited up with my hydration pack.  First thing on this trail was a pedestrian bridge crossing the Colorado river!  Then, it made a left and ran along between the highway and the cliff of red rock!  I decided not to care about my pace and just ran hard because that’s what I felt like doing.  I didn’t wear music for this run because I just wanted to fully enjoy my surroundings and because, well, I didn’t feel like fishing out my headphones.  Ha!

As I came off the bridge, my FitBit buzzed that I was at 2 miles.  I was breathing pretty heavy but felt amazing.  A guy was walking toward the bridge and asked “you’re breathing heavy already?”  I replied that I had just run 2 miles and he said “ooooh!”  I checked my pace post-run and discovered I was running my average pace of 10:34.  It seriously felt like I was trying to PR a 5K while I was running!  Hooray altitude!  Haha.  Now, I need to buy a “run” Utah magnet to go with my Oregon and Texas ones!

Back on the road I went.  I stopped for dinner at another Cracker Barrel in Provo and then continued on my way.  My goal was to make it to the rest stop just east of Santa Rosa, Idaho.  I just barely made it.  I was soooo tired that I seriously considered pulling off to the side of the interstate to sleep for a little bit.  Thankfully I made it safely.  I got there and was curled up in the backseat by 1:30am and set the alarm for 5:30.  Woke up around 4:10 to potty.  Alarm went off and I reset it for 6.  Got up, started driving again.  Made it to Boise, Idaho and stopped at a Shari’s for breakfast.  About an hour later, I was just so over driving and just wanted to be at my parents’ house already.

I stopped for lunch at another Shari’s in Hood River, Oregon.  A much needed mental break.  I continued along the Columbia River until Portland. 

As I was driving through the Columbia Gorge, I stopped at a truck stop to use the bathroom and found this shirt! 
I made it to my parents’ house right at 4pm on Sunday.  We unloaded my car, exchanged hugs!  Then I was in the shower.  The glorious, glorious shower!  After that, we headed over to my brother Alan’s house for a family BBQ!  I loved getting to see everyone!

Monday morning, I just let myself sleep until I woke up naturally.  Which was just before 9am.  FitBit said I got over 8 hours of solid sleep!  Daaaaaang!  I slept so hard for so long I was what I like to call “sleep drunk.”  It took me almost 2 hours to feel better.  I got dressed and headed out the door for a 10K run.  Happy Marathon Monday!  Congrats to everyone that ran Boston this year!  One day I will be one of you!  Every year, I run one of the Boston virtual races that benefits the survivors of the bombing.  This year’s medal was pretty neat too.

I love running around my hometown.  So many old houses in many wonderful colors.  So many flowers.  So much green.  So many trees.  

After my run, I loaded up my car and started toward my friend Patricia's house.  Before leaving town, I stopped at the Dutch Bros coffee and got a carmelizer iced coffee.
And then I was on the road!

I arrived at Patricia’s house just before dinner time.  Got up around 8am Tuesday morning.  Around 10:30, Patricia and I left for the Oregon Zoo!  We had a great time walking around and admiring the animals.  The temp was a little warm, got up to 90°!!!  Dude, this is OREGON…in APRIL!  What the heck?  Anyway, I won’t overload you with zoo pictures.  Just a few of my favorites will do.

Wednesday morning I woke up and went for my annual run on the beach.  I did the same 4 miles as last year.  Honestly, I would have done more, but I was having a potty emergency.  Booo!  It was still a really great run.
A few years ago while visiting Patricia, there was a hoodie at one of the stores in their souvenir aisle that I really wanted, but I wanted it in a t-shirt as I don't like pullover style hoodie sweaters.  This year, they had a wider variety of pullover hoodies, zipfront hoodies and t-shirts with this particular design on it.  And, even though orange isn't my first choice, I couldn't say no to it.  Isn't it cute?

Thursday I left Patricia’s house to head back to my parents’ house.  Before getting on the road, Patricia and I walked back downtown to the Carousel Mall so I could buy some seashells.  On the way to my parents’ house, I stopped in Tillamook at the Pelican Brewery & Taproom and got an elk burger.  It was good, but the meat, like bison, is somewhat bland.  Elk, like bison, is very lean so there you go.  It was good, though.  After that, I went to the Tillamook Cheese & Ice Cream Factory.  I was going to do the self-guided tour, but decided against it.  I hit the cheese sample bar and had a sample of all the cheeses, including the squeaky cheese!  However, I guess I was eating it wrong because mine didn’t squeak.  I then went into their store and picked up some chocolate covered espresso beans, some marionberry honey (and this isn’t honey that’s collected from the flowers of marionberry bushes, nope, this has marionberry juice added to it!), an Oregon 101 shirt, a “greetings from Oregon” postcard (because I can’t remember if I have one or not), and then I hit up the ice cream bar and got 1 scoop of their coffee almond fudge on a sugar cone. 

While in Tillamook, I also stopped at the Pelican Brewery & Taproom to get an elk burger.  I'm guessing elk, like bison, is somewhat bland since it's such a lean meat.  I couldn't really taste the meat because they had this chipotle aioli on it that just kind of overpowered any other flavor.

After that, I stopped at the Otis Café to buy some molasses bread just to discover that they had already closed for the day.  Oh well.

Friday, after an oil change for the car, I headed to Bend in eastern Oregon to pickup race packets for the 2 half marathons I’d be running over the weekend and then check into my hotel.

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