Sunday, December 23, 2012

Crossroads Dreaming

So I had a dream last night.  I think it was really, really literal.  But also full of imagery from some of my recent experiences.

I was running and biking (alternately, possible because it was a dream - also ironically, I don't suck at biking in my dreams) on this path through this greenspace to visit a friend.  It was a dirt path, single track.  I get to this crossroads and there are 3 paths before me.  I take the right one, almost without thinking, but when I get a little ways down it, I second guess myself and turn back and go back to the crossroads.  When there, I get out my phone and turn on the GPS and try to figure out where I'm going, but can't.  Am so confused.  Come upon this nice family that convinces me that none of the paths are correct, so I end up heading back to the head of the trail to go a different way.

Then suddenly I'm in a tall building.  I'm in an upper floor, with a friend from childhood.  The building is supposed to be closed and we aren't supposed to be there, so we're running around looking for the correct bank of elevators to get us to the lobby where we'll be able to blend with people.  There's lots of running and looking, but finally we get on the elevator and are headed down.  When we get to the lobby, we blend and meet up with more people.  This friend and I have a mutual friend, the same one I was trying to visit in the part above, and she looks right at me and gives me a warning to be careful with the emotions of our mutual friend.  And I'm stunned.

And then I wake up.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Foto Friday - Goal Weight

Or rather: goooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllll weight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(In case you can't read it, that says 129.8. And it is the first time since 2009 that I've been below 130!)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Not Blogging Much

I've hit one of those points in my life where I feel like I'm at a crossroads.  I don't know which way to go, so I'm just freaking standing still, paralyzed in the face of things that seem so huge.

And when I'm like this, well, it is one of the few times that I don't feel the urge to broadcast myself on the internet.  Crazy, I know.

I will say that running is one of the things that comforts me and keeps me sane when the whole world seems like it is shifting on its axis.  So I think I will be in this space.  I want to keep talking about running.  And reading.  And goals.  And races.  I just may not be quite as frequent for a bit.  But the world will keep on spinning, and I'll be back!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Looking Back

Something prompted me to look back at my old blog, the one I had before this.  I haven't looked at it in, well, years, I think.

I started blogging over there in 2002, and moved here in 2007.  The feel over there is very different.  I began blogging in the midst of a depression, and looking back, trying to remember - I think I just really used that blog to externalize the feelings that were too big for me.  Some fun and easy stuff, some rants, some deep thoughts.  I didn't have a purpose like I originally did (and still do to an extent) here.  Or on my Bell's Palsy blog, where I really had a definite purpose.  I treated it just like a straight up journal, largely unfiltered, just writing.

I miss introspective, deep thoughts Amber (but not depressed Amber).  I haven't seen that girl in a long time.  I think I'd like to work on getting that aspect of my brain back.  

But what struck me when I went back and looked at it was how *similar* I am.  I mean, obviously I was that girl, and she is a part of who I am today, but some of the thoughts and feelings I've been having lately I found EXACTLY mirrored over there, 10 years in my past.

This one particularly struck me:
"There are times in my life that I come into disharmony within myself and everything seems wrong. I must remember that no one can take the joy in my life from me, except for me. Allowing my worry, my fear, my own inadequacies to leach the life from me is no way to live. Here I resolve, as I have in the past, and certainly will again in the future, to enjoy what I have, live in the now, and banish worry from my mind and my heart, because it is not me."
I need to tattoo that on my arm or something.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

November Book Reviews

Frost on His Shoulders by Lorenzo Mediano: BLAH.

Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: I enjoyed this one, but felt like I'd need to read the rest of the series to really love it.  It was an interesting and well written story, but I wasn't *gripped* by it.

Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson: Love!  Short novella, written in Elantris world, but you do NOT need to have read Elantris at all.  Fascinating study in writing - almost the entire setting of the story took place in one room.  Neat magic concept.  Love Sanderson!!

Started but not yet finished: Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin  Enjoying, so far.  More next month!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

La Porte By the Bay Half Marathon Race Report

I signed up for this race as a long supported training run, really.  And it was to be my longest run since February 14, 2010.  Wow!

So I really had no idea what to expect.  Scratch that.  I was hard core nervous!  My longest run this training cycle was the 10 for Texas back in early October, eek!  And I just ran the 8 mile Turkey Trot, but that was a little rough, in all honesty.  So my confidence was a little low.  I was trying to console myself with the idea that I knew I could do 8, I could probably do 10, and after that if I had to walk home, I could.  But even that sounded pretty rough!

View near the start.
But then something kind of wonderful happened.  I was telling a friend about my nerves, and was warned about the cheese that was about to get laid on me, but was then advised to go into my belly with the butterflies, become one, mentally, then fly away with them.  And I did, and it WORKED.  I felt so... connected with the world in that moment.  Then they started playing the national anthem and the lady next to me was signing it for her companion and it was beautiful, I was captivated, it looked like a dance with her hands.  And then we were running and it was quiet except the pounding of a thousand feet with a single purpose.  And I was reminded about *why* I do this.  Why it is special.  Why it is wonderful.

The plan was to start out at 9/1's plus water stops, and switch to 4/1's when I needed to.  In the beginning, I was trying to tuck in behind people who I felt were going a little slow so that I didn't go out too fast, as I can on long runs.  But I'd look down at my watch and be pushing 9's!  I don't know if it was my spiritual moment or what, but that is crazy fast for me right now for distance running.  But I couldn't seem to slow it down, even when I was really trying, so I decided to go with it and hope the walk breaks kept me out of trouble.  And honestly, I was completely floored by how well it was going.

After about 4 miles, we took a turn and the bridge positively LOOMED in front of us.  I didn't want to blow out on it, so no being a hero and running up the whole thing for me.  I was just going to stick with my plan and 9/1.  That resulted in only one walk break on the upside, and one near the bottom on the downside.  We hit the mile 5 marker on the upside, and that's where the race leaders passed me at their 10 mile marker, almost home, wow!

Long way up.
I love downhill running, and got a good chant going:
Lift through core, relax, swing free,
Minimize contact with the ground, don't brake, gravity.

There were times where I was so in the zone that my eyes were just barely open.

After we got down the other side of the bridge we did this out and back, and this was the view from the turnaround.  Look how tiny the bridge looks!!  I just came from there and I'm going back there, wowzers!

I was just there!
Oh, and I distinctly remember that when I flipped over 8 miles, I had done it FASTER than the Turkey Trot last week!  In a longer race!

At 90 minutes in, I switched to 4/1's.  I didn't need to yet, but I did it pre-emptively, hoping to stave off the crash I knew was coming.

Heading back up the other side.
Oh, I should mention that I had a gel at 2 and 6, and gatorade at every other stop, and water to pour all over me because it was over 70 degrees.  On DECEMBER 2nd!!!!!  Insane!

Anyways, I was on 4/1's, made it up the bridge again, and then I was going so well on the way down I decided to skip the walk break!  Unheard of!

View near the top.
That turned me over 10 miles, and from there it started to get a little rough.  Just kept focusing on moving forward.  At just over 11 miles, a 9 year old and her Dad blazed past me, him encouraging her all the way, her looking really pretty great.  Inspiring.  At 12 miles, I was running in lock step with a man who was on the opposite side of the road and just behind me.  I was in the zone, eyes almost closed, just motoring through it.  He really pushed me until my next walk break, just hovering behind me like a metronome.

Shortly after that, we turned onto the home stretch and one of the leaders came by and told us we were almost there, the finish was at the flashing lights.  Everyone at that point kind of started talking to each other and supporting each other, really pretty cool.

And I crossed the line in 2:26:21.  Only 12 minutes off my PR and my 3rd best half mary time ever.  Considering that I wasn't sure I could finish: SOLD!!!!

Also got 2, count them 2, medals at the finish line.  One for the race, and one for completing the Texas Bridge Series, which I'd highly recommend to anyone.  Great hill training, great swag, cleanest porta-pots EVER, well run, good stuff!

2 medals, baby!
And finally feeling confident heading into my A raceS: The End of the World Half and the Day After the End of the World Half. :-)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Monthly Goal Reviews

Goals for the Year:
Lose 12 pounds in 2012.  Weight on 1/1 was 138.8.  Weight on 11/1 was 133.2.  Weight on 12/1 was 130.8, and I got as low as 130.2 several times this month.  I'm pleased!  Very pleased!!
Read at least 12 books (other than to my child) in 2012.  Got my 4 required books read, but barely.  Got my total to 95.  Did manage to ditch the romance novels, but ironically am just reading much less now.  Not the point, Amber!
Race 12 times in 2012. Just the Turkey Trot this month.  Have a big month coming up in December: 3 half marathons!
And I have one other secret 12 goal. Still lost count, we'll guesstimate the total bumped up to 50.

Goals for November:
Continued progress towards 2012 goals.
Keep up the consistency on the run!  Done!
Complete 1, maybe 2 scheduled races.  Done.
Start core work again. Fail. :-(
Start reading for my committee again.  I don't have to stop with the fluff, but I need to find a better balance.  Quickly.  Let's say... at least 4 books completed for the committee.  At least.  Done, barely and with much teeth gnashing.
Financial goals: liquidate SMH and reallocate to J.  Get direct deposit for N.  Fail.
House goals:  get another quote on the floors, pick a company, and get started!  Finish cleaning out AD's house AND get the maids in there AND get a quote on the work we need done there. And another Fail.

Goals for December:
Continued progress towards 2012 goals.  It may be unreasonable, but I'd really like to go sub 130 on my weight for the first time this year.
Complete 3 half marathons, and don't lose my mojo after.
Start core work again. And maybe P90X after the races.
Pick back up the committee reading, hard core.
Financial goals: liquidate SMH and reallocate to J. Get direct deposit for N.
House goals: get another quote on the floors, pick a company, and get started! Finish cleaning out AD's house AND get the maids in there AND get a quote on the work we need done there.
Other: enjoy the holidays. :-)

Last month of the year!  Last chance to get it done!  Let's DO THIS!!!