Find Your Happy and the Whole30

Now that my resolution of Focus, Purpose & Gratitude in 2015 is out there on the interweb, I decided I needed to take a few steps to achieve these in the year that lies ahead. To start my “resolution” off on the right foot, I am reading Find Your Happy.

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I found the book through Juls, who recently read it and posted about it on Instagram. Since my resolutions have been brewing since early fall 2014, I decided to check it out and take it as an opportunity to reflect and start the year off on a positive foot. I’m only about half way into the book, but so far it is full of simple insights how to approach every facet of your life. I am finding it hard to relate to some of her experiences, as they are about certain demons I have luckily never had issues with before. Despite that, I am enjoying this quick read and a chance to make some lists to love life to its fullest to ensure I achieve all of my goals for the year.

Another “new year’s initiative” (so much better than a resolution, right?) is that I am taking the entire month of January off from drinking alcohol. I have a friend who does a January holiday detox every year and I decided to copy his approach. Eight days in and I am still thankful for the break. While I was giving up the sauce for a month, I figured this was the perfect time to attempt the Whole30 since you can’t consume alcohol during the 30 days.

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I’m a bit skeptical of a diet that does not include my precious diet staple, quinoa, but I figured I might as well give it a try. The program boasts that it will “change your life in 30 days”. As I researched the program I noticed that aside from quinoa, bread, the occasional shameful cheese binge and alcohol this program doesn’t differ too much from my current diet. Thankfully, they allow coffee (in moderation), meat, fish, all vegetables, fruit (also in moderation) and nuts; it excludes all dairy, sugar, legumes, grain products of any kind. The program follows largely a paleo and clean diet, so it’s pretty easy to guess if something is off limits (side note: what do you mean I can’t have a cupcake?!) I have suspected a few different food allergies for some time, so why not take a chance to recalibrate? Check out the Whole30 for yourself here.

So far I have made some delicious salads, flank steak and some health-ifying of my favorite prosciutto wrapped cod. I’ve relied upon plain almonds (one of my favorite snacks), kale chips, berries and apples in-between my protein dense meals to help control any unhealthy, non-Whole30 approved cravings. As the 30 days continue and I will share more of my recipe discoveries and thoughts on this process.

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I’m not sure if this will be “life changing” for me as they claim, but I am keeping an open mind and embracing the opportunity to hit the reset button.

The first week of my participation in the Whole30 challenge wasn’t exactly pretty. I have felt exhausted from the craziness of the past few months, so Foxy and I decided to have a low key weekend and try to cross a few things off our to do list. 

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We cranked through a majority of our to do list, but somehow in the middle of doing some vacation research (more on that to come another day), I felt my back lock up. I immediately knew I was in trouble and laid down on my couch, clutched my ice pack and tried to remain calm. As the day turned to night the pain only increased and on Sunday I literally could not move. Miss go, go, go has received a wake up call: chill out! I have been through this a few times before, so I knew the program: ICE, anti-inflamatories and light stretching. I also made an appointment with my amazing chiropractor for the first appointment I could get.

I am feel incredibly lucky that I have never herniated or slipped a disc in my back. Yet, I do have an abnormality with my L5 disc that gets angry every once in awhile. I try to maintain my back health with regular stretching, core strengthening exercises, anti-inflamatories, and icing when needed. External factors, such as stress, are harder to control and when it creeps in it wreaks havoc on my lower back. When I have a flare up the ligaments surrounding my spine become so inflamed that I can’t cough, bend down or roll over in bed without screaming out in pain. In short, it’s several days of misery but it is temporary.

Luckily my chiropractor, Dr. Pete is a miracle worker. After a great ART session and 20 minutes of stim therapy, I felt like a changed woman but still nowhere close to 100%. Until I can pass a simple flexibility test given to me by my chiro, I can’t engage in any physical activity. Sad face.

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H-O-T-T-N-E-S-S is selfies in your Chiro’s office

It seems as though my timing of starting to read Find Your Happy and the Whole30 program was almost serendipitous: I was on the cusp of a physical set back while I was taking time to reset my mind and diet. I never would have picked this as the start of 2015, but I’m dealing with this minor set back as a small bump in the road and maintaing a positive outlook for what the year has in store. 

Have you read Find Your Happy? Have you done the Whole30? If you have, tell me your thoughts on both!

What I’m Thankful For

It seems as though the past 6 months have been a total blur. Full of moments that run the gamut of nearly every human emotion:

The thrill of racing and finishing a difficult race
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pressure (and anxiety caused by said pressure) in a period of great transition at work.

Feelings of loss and sadness. The feeling when you cry so much that you can’t breathe and your face hurts because you’ve used so many tissues.

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Joy from spending even the quickest, simplest moments with my nieces and nephew. 

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The camaraderie of training with others, and the sense of accomplishment once it is over. 

IMG_3009  and my favorite: laughter from being silly with my oh-so-understanding and patient husband.

IMG_2796 There have been a lot of things in the news and in my personal life over the past few months that have made me step back and realize how unbelievably lucky I am. As cliched as it sounds, these feelings of gratitude are most intense when I am in my favorite place, the water.

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As a middle schooler who didn’t quite fit in with the cool crowd, swim practice was a place to work out my social frustrations and provided an oasis of new friends who weren’t privy to my school issues. It helped my self esteem and confidence levels and I formed long lasting friendships. In college, the pool provided a respite from a tumultuous family crisis. Again, it was a place where I turned to “swim the $@%^ out of it” vs other, negative decisions. I had friends from that same pool that let me cry and got me laughing hysterically when I didn’t think a smile was possible.

There were multiple Walden Pond swims this summer where the water provided the exact outlet that I have always turned to for relief. I would lift my head up to site and see the sun rising above the mist, trees and beautiful Walden pond. If you haven’t experienced it, I demand that you go for an open water swim there next summer. It is such a quiet, pure and zen moment in time. Those moments, though they are so quick, bring me back to the present moment and think: Wow, this whole living thing is great.

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So then stroke after stroke, breath after breath I would start thinking about exactly how lucky I am: I have a roof over my head. Clean water to drink. A heating system that works. I have my health. I am very busy, but I also have the time to do things that make me happy: like go on long runs/bike rides, get up ridiculously early in order to make swim practice. My husband and I both have stable jobs. Jobs that we actually like and where we feel appreciated and valued. We have friends and family who we love very much. I wish we could see everyone a bit more often, but such is life. 

Life may be short, but I would like to think that we are filling each moment with incredibly important people, beautiful moments and I’m making a point to be incredibly thankful for what we have.  So, today I am thankful for not only the water for providing perspective and an outlet to work out stress, but I cannot think about this existence without all of the friends who make my life so full. 

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?

 

I Mustache You Some Questions

Linking up today with Erin @ sweet sweat life to complete “I Mustache you some questions” I thought this might be a fun exercise!

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Four names other people call me other than my real name.

  1. Chambers – My maiden name 🙂
  2. Swimmykimy – Obvs
  3. Kimmy – This one speaks for itself
  4. KC – Initials from my maiden name

Four jobs I’ve had:
Lifeguard, best job ever – On the ocean in Cape Cod. Truly “the good life”!
Media Buyer/Advertising slave – I would say, the complete opposite of the previous job 🙂
Development Professional – Very hard, but gratifying work. I love my job!

Four movies I’ve watched more than once.
Empire Records – This movie is responsible for a friendship with one of my best friends and many laughs 🙂 If you have never watched this movie I highly recommend watching this and this
Swingers – Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau at their best
Without Limits – Ultimate pump up movie about Steve Prefontaine 

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Four books I recommend:
A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington (Just a tiny bit of a pattern here :))
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld – Great engaging and easy read. Loved reading this while I had a long commute via public transit.
Gold in the Water P.H. Mullen – Young swimmers chasing the Olympic dream, the absolute best kind of reading!
Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger – I can’t say exactly why, but I have found the character of Holden Caulfield to be incredibly interesting and complex. 

Four places I’ve lived:
Acton, MA
South Yarmouth, MA 
Wooster, OH
Boston, MA

IMG_1125Lucky to call this my back yard on Cape Cod!

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Wooster 🙂

Boston

Beantown 🙂 🙂

Four places I’ve been:
So hard to choose!
England – So fun to visit one of my best friends in my first trip abroad
Bermuda – Honeymoon 🙂
Panama – Visited my best friend from HS while she was in Panama in the Peace Corps. An amazing, once in a lifetime experience. Visiting her site and meeting the members of the community she lived in was the highlight of the trip. 
San Francisco, CA – By far my favorite city (other than Boston!), great views, surrounded by water, highly walkable, a great deal of history, great food – the list goes on!

Four places I’d rather be right now:
Machu Picchu, Peru – Bucket list!
Vieques, Puerto Rico – Love how this place is off the beaten path, So Warm and wonderful!
CO – Skiing/friends
Charleston, SC – I’ve always wanted to check this city out!

Four of my favorite foods:
Carrots!
Avocado
Seared Tuna steak
Raw Almonds

Four things I don’t eat(and drink):
Soda
Fast food
Frozen lunches from a box (have to agree with Erin on this one!)
Olives

Four TV shows I watch:
Modern Family
Property Brothers
Live sports/30 for 30
Jimmy Fallon (DVR’ed!)

Four things I’m looking forward to this year.
2 week vacation this March – Visiting Hannah and Nick in London and then onto South Africa!
The Summer 2015 Triathlon Race season
Long weekends on Cape Cod in the spring/summer
Finding some work/life balance

Four things I always say:
“biggest pet peeve”
Thank you
Mind over matter
The intensity never stops!

Not going to tag anyone, feel free to play!

Foodie Friday: Moroccan Chickpea Soup

There are some recipes that sometimes just warm your soul and bring you back to a warm and safe place. For me, Moroccan Chickpea Soup fits that short list. Over the past few years I have really come to enjoy the process of making soups: chopping the vegetables, watching ingredients come together in the pot and create the most delightful aromas that fill my apartment. Best of all, I love being able to make a large quantity and have a healthy and filling meal to bring for lunch throughout a busy work week. Come to think of it, this was probably one of the first soups that I made from scratch! Rob’s sister sent it to us about five years ago, but it’s been a staple ever since the first day we made it. The spices and the depth of flavor really makes this soup special. The other important reason why this recipe is on my short list of staples is that it is extremely healthy and loaded with nutrients. Enjoy!

Rob and KTRob & his sister, Katie!

Moroccan Chickpea Soup
Chickpeas seem to call out for Moroccan spices, so that's what they get here. I make this soup really chunky and hearty.
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2402 calories
324 g
0 g
90 g
98 g
11 g
3008 g
7337 g
24 g
0 g
64 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
3008g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 2402
Calories from Fat 783
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 90g
139%
Saturated Fat 11g
53%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 18g
Monounsaturated Fat 46g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 7337mg
306%
Total Carbohydrates 324g
108%
Dietary Fiber 14g
56%
Sugars 24g
Protein 98g
Vitamin A
308%
Vitamin C
287%
Calcium
100%
Iron
140%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  2. 1 large onion, medium diced
  3. 6 to 8 cloves garlic, pressed
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  6. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  7. 1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
  8. 2 (14.5-ounce each ) cans chopped tomatoes
  9. 4 (15-ounce each) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  10. 1 quart vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  11. 1 teaspoon sugar
  12. Kosher salt
  13. Freshly ground black pepper
  14. 1 (5-ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent; lower heat if browning starts to occur.
  3. Add spices and saute a minute or so.
  4. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth, and sugar.
  5. Season with a couple pinches of salt and 10 grinds fresh pepper. Stir well.
  6. Chickpeas should be just covered with liquid. If level is shy, add some water so the chickpeas are just covered.
  7. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes.
  8. Remove soup from heat. Use a potato masher to mash up some of the chickpeas right in the pot. Stir in the spinach and let heat through until wilted, just a couple minutes.
  9. Season again, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  10. Serve soup, drizzled lightly with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.
Notes
  1. Instead of using a potato masher, if you have an immersion blender, I recommend trying this once the chickpeas are cooked and soft for a creamy and smoother consistency. It also saves a bit of time when in a pinch!
beta
calories
2402
fat
90g
protein
98g
carbs
324g
more
Swimmykimy http://swimmykimy.com/
*Note: I’m not sure exactly where this recipe originated, so I apoligize if the author/creator is not properly credited!*

Back in Action…

Hello, it’s me again! Yes, inconsistent, “I always make a comeback and promise to blog all the time” Kim. After some technical difficulties and an unrelenting schedule, I seem to be on the other side. I look forward to catching up on all things sweaty and getting back into a regular rhythm!

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Happy Fall!

 

The concept of “rest”

I have approached that time of year where I have to utter that dreaded four letter word:

REST.

For those who know me well, and quite frankly those who know me via the inter web know that I don’t sit or rest well. My mom said this about me when I was a baby, and I guess it’s a skill that I simply never learned.

The thing about participating in endurance sports is that you push your body to the limit, sometimes it gets angry with you. That happened in March when my hip began to hurt so much that I physically could not run, never mind sit for long periods in the car or at a desk.

After months and months of rehabbing and a misdiagnosis, I found the cause of my problem: my lower back. I won’t bore you will specifics (if you are curious feel free to ask!), but the pain I was feeling in my back was caused by an issue with a disc in my lower back, so I started treatment for that with the help of my miracle worker chiropractor and magically things started feeling better. Finally, I was able to run pain free, for the first time in months and even though it wasn’t advisable during my treatment, I was able to keep up half ironman training and successfully complete the race pain free with a smile on my face.

Once I bid adieu to triathlon season (tear), I made a promise to myself that I would slow down and rest. Even though it is eating a bit of my soul, I know that this is a good thing for my body and future athletic pursuits.

Mentally, I know it’s good to take a break from the grind of constantly peeling out high mileage.

When I say “rest”, I’m not completely checking out from the gym, swimming or running; I’m just doing workouts at a much lower intensity. I’ve been enjoying my quick 3.5 mile runs around my beautiful neighborhood in this delicious time of year.

I’ve reacquainted myself with a contraption known as the elliptical or one of my favorite calorie burners, the “big step.” I’m still finding joy in the pool and sweating it out in spin class, the only difference being, these activities max out at 30-45 minutes and include a fierce menu of stretching and icing afterwards.

So what am I doing with all of my free time?

Making delicious dinners with Foxy:

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Has anyone tried Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash pasta sauce? It is UN-REAL! Pricey, but definitely worth it.

Spending time with my adorable nieces and nephew, though I would like to do more of this!

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Enjoying fall in my neighborhood on beautiful days like this one:

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Enjoying delicious beverages (who am I kidding, I did that during training too :))

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Icing other sore and tired body parts with interesting compression devices. Pashmina anyone?

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and lastly, I’m still keeping my athletic goals in my mind by catching up on blogs and watching some favorite motivational movies

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In addition to all of this fun, I’ve been scheming a really fun adventure and a few exciting side projects I hope to share in the next few weeks. 

What are your favorite “off-season” activities? Do you have any suggestions for me? 

Pretending to be a cyclist

2013 has certainly been an interesting and very busy year – I could bore you with all of the ups and the downs, but right now my eyes are on the prize: Successfully finishing the Timberman Half Ironman with a smile on my face on August 18th! 

So far, training has been great. I’ve been nursing my hip injury from Boston training and the running portion of my training plan is definitely behind, but I’m not nervous. Strengthening and avoiding future issues is definitely my #1 goal. 

To compensate, I have been swimming at higher volume than in my prescribed training plan.  Swimming is my strongest leg and where I feel the most confident. I am extremely grateful that I started the sport at such a young age and my swim club had such heavy emphasis on stroke and technique. I listen to fellow triathletes complain about the swim portion of the race constantly. As they talk, I nod my head and usually insert a quip about what a novice I am in the sport of cycling, but silently I am thanking all of my swim coaches over the years. Imagine if I had anxiety about swimming AND cycling? I think this whole Half Ironman game would most certainly be over if that was the case. I’ve adjusted my training plan as follows: when my plan calls for 1,000-1,500 I am traditionally swimming anywhere from 1,650-3,000. Part of this is to try to over compensate for lack of running, and the other part is: 1,000 yards swimming is a joke for me! In order to feel like I have done anything at all, I really need to swim at least a mile. 

The other part, is aggressively trying to wrap my head around the sport of cycling. I have been slow to get started with my new “hobby”, but luckily I have some really patient cycling friends. They are willing to give me parking lot tutorials on how to clip in and out, proper technique for starting and stopping and generally avoiding getting killed by crazy Boston motorists. They will even wait for me at the top of a hill when I’m too nervous to go up clipped in and half to walk my bike up to the top (this has happened on multiple occasions) and of course they are always willing to smile for a photo as I constantly need to document every single aspect of training. 

Here are such a few of my cycling sensi’s & myself in Lexington a few weeks ago – Proof I can do this!

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And, cycling is VERY hard, especially on Boston’s first warm weekend of the year. #unattractiveselfies

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All in all, I know this will pay off in a big way at Timberman, but I’m TERRIFIED. I looked at the elevation chart and HOT DAMN, there are some crazy, crazy elevation grades. If you don’t believe me, just check out this course map here. I just feel like there is so much to learn, and so much strategy behind it! Luckily the internet has a breadth of cycling and triathlon tips, tricks, videos and articles. Thank you, internet!

The other source of cycling anxiety is my general “fraidy cat” ways when driving a car with an engine, let alone a road bike with tiny wheels sharing the road with crazy Boston motorists. I’m hoping this pays off since I am overly cautious, but I definitely have a tendency to psyche myself out in a big way. I just need to repeat to myself “keep calm and pedal on.” (Side note, I need this shirt!)

I know in order to succeed, I need to stay calm and focus, so here are my goals over this next month of training:

  • Get increasingly more comfortable on the bike
  • Tackle as many challenging hills as humanly possible (without having a total mental breakdown)
  • Amp up running mileage once I get the OK that my hip is cleared to run longer than 3-4 miles (hopefully this news will come very soon)
  • Practice transitions. Luckily I have a triple brick work out planned on Cape Cod with friends on June 15th followed by the Oh My Goddard Olympic Triathlon June 23rd and the Cohasset Sprint Triathlon June 30th

So there we have it friends, someday soon perhaps I can remove “pretending” and instead shout from the roof tops about how much I love cycling. Something tells me it will be awhile before I get to that point, but I am certainly in it for the long haul to give this new sport the good old college try. It also wouldn’t hurt if I took a step back and reminded myself of this…

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Do you have fears of cycling? What steps have you taken to help ease your fears and build up confidence?

 

Coming out of the dark

Hi there, nice to see you again. Kim here, from the “not so” endless runner. It’s been awhile since I posted on here, so much has happened since my last post from mid-June 2011. It’s been a crazy 18 months since my last post and I hope the blogging world welcomes me back. 

Until then, here is a quick sneak peek at one of the most exciting things to happen in 2012…Image

 

I’m looking forward to a new set of challenges and experiences in 2013, along side my favorite partner in crime 😉 More to come!

 

2011 Race list (Thus Far)

I have a lot of races coming up, so I thought it might be fun to put them all in one place!

Doyle’s Pub Emerald Necklace 5 Miler

5 Miles Jamaica Plain, MA 4/10/11

From what I’ve heard this is a great 5 mile course along the Emerald Necklace in Jamaica Plain. It’s complete with a great free race T-Shirt & free beer, how can you beat that?

BAA 5k

5k Boston, MA 4/17/11

A fun & popular 5k that takes place the day before the marathon. It’s officially the most expensive 5k I have ever registered for, but the awesome t-shirt, medal, fast field & finishing under the official Boston Marathon finish line makes it worth it.

Jamestown Bridge 10k

10k Jamestown, RI 4/23/11

This race is apparently very hilly and challenging and weaves throughout scenic Jamestown and Newport, RI. I definitely need the hill race experience so this is a no-brainer in my book. Plus Katy & I will be running this one together!

Boston Marine Corps Honor Run

5k South Boston, MA 5/7/11

Walking distance from my apartment and a fun way to kick off an old fashioned day drinking party, the Kentucky Derby. I’m looking forward to getting a lot of friends involved in this fun and flat 5k.

Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon

Half Marathon Newton, MA 5/15/11

Oh Heartbreak, we meet again. Remember that time I vowed to never run you again? Well, those emotions were fleeting and I’m hungry and ready for more! I’m looking forward to improving upon last year’s time which given my awful race, won’t be terribly difficult

JP Morgan Corporate Challenge

3.5 Miles Boston, MA 6/2/11

One of my favorite spring/summer events in Boston! It starts and ends at Boston Common, and it’s a great chance to get out of the office with coworkers and get your sweat on followed by a few celebratory brews afterwards.

Yarmouth Run for the Arts 5k

5k Bass River, MA 6/18/11

This race is in the neighborhood of my family’s house on the cape, and it also happens to be on my Birthday! Plus, I can convince Foxy to run with me 🙂

Nantucket Triathlon

Sprint Tri Nantucket Island, MA 7/23/11

I’m pretty excited for this one, it’s a great excuse to get to Nantucket during the peak summer months and spend time with friends! This is the weekend before SF so I will be keeping this fun and avoiding ruining my taper.

San Francisco Marathon

Full Marathon San Francisco, CA 7/31/11

This is the biggie. I absolutely CAN’T WAIT. I have a good feeling about this one.

Hyannis Sprint II Triathlon

Sprint Triathlon Hyannis, MA 9/10/11

I’m excited to have another sprint triathlon on the schedule that I can go full bore and actually race. It’s helpful that this is close to my family’s house and it’s a great chance to see my mom 🙂

That’s it for now. I’m considering a few fall Half Marathons, hoping to get a spot on a Reach the Beach Relay team, the Tufts 10k and numerous other races. Decisions, decisions!

What does your race schedule look like? Do you have any suggestions of races I should add?

Worth the Hurt!

Remember that time I swore I wouldn’t run a Marathon in 2011? Or that time I said I was doing everything in my power to resist running a marathon? I was doing a great job, until Aron over at Runner’s Rambles posted a San Francisco Marathon Entry Give Away. I hesitated for a moment, and the cupid on my shoulder was telling me “No, no! Don’t do it” and the endorphin loving masochist in me said “go, go! Sign up!” So I guess it’s no shocker who won that battle, because I entered. Not once, but twice. I guess I really can’t help myself!

I’ve never been to San Francisco, let alone any part of California, so visions of a wonderful race weekend danced through my head. I’ve always wanted to go, and have SF built up as my “dream stateside vacation”.  I never really win anything, but I had a sneaky feeling that my luck might just turn around and I would win this give away.

This morning I received an email from Aron telling me to check out her blog and my heart started racing “could it be?!” I read her post on the changes to the Boston registration and qualifying standards and then I noticed at the bottom of her post that she said I HAD WON!! AHHH!

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