Friday, August 26, 2011

Earthquakes and hurricanes and plane rides, oh my!

I wrote a big long cranky blog this week about how I don't like being adult (responsibilities are overrated. Having a disposable income is not). But then I never posted it because it sounded whiny and I have to suck it up and be an adult anyhow, so why complain about it?

I'm in our DC office (still complaining, but about the humidity, which is valid) and trying to get the heck out of dodge before the second natural disaster of the week hits the East Coast. Although MSNBC told me that there was an earthquake in Colorado this week, too, so maybe I'm just doomed no matter where I end up. I told my mom that God was clearly trying to smite me, but was having a bit of trouble tracking me down. I mean, he's God, isn't he all knowing? Sending hurricane seems a bit over the top.

So, as it turns out, not being able to go to Pittsburgh has been a blessing in disguise, as I surely would have been stuck in DC at least an extra day and would have been stressed about packing. Now, I have been stressed about packing but it was stress I knew about well in advance. Much better than surprise stress!

I also find it amusing that east coasters are so unconditioned for earthquakes. While some people did stand in doorways or jump under a desk, for the most part it seems we all looked at each other thinking, hmm, I think this is an earthquake! In my meeting in Shenandoah, we didn't even get up from our seats and we were a mere 50-60 miles from the center of it. I'm not even sure if they ever checked the building for cracks. We just looked around, waited for it to end, and kept along with our meeting. Brilliant.

So, after a week of travel, disaster excitement, and humidity, I'm happy to be returning to Denver where its always sunny and dry. I've got a big to do list for tomorrow, but I'm filled with a lot of nervous excitement and am eager to get on my way!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.) I finally feel ready for all my impending travel, which is good because it starts tomorrow with a quick overnight up in the mountains. Most of the things I need to buy or do before Europe are done and I even put together a budget for how much money I'll be spending while there (and then promptly had heart attack and decided I didn't reeeeeally need to eat three meals a day while there, right?).

2.) I've worn a dress or skirt to work twice this week. TWICE. And I bought a dress this weekend. That is fairly unheard of in my world. This morning I woke up and thought "what can I wear that will feel like pajamas" - empire waist dress with a cardigan for the win! This does, however, make biking to work more of an adventure. I have opted to just wear my Terps shorts under my skirt/dress and let the old men I pass on my way in think they are about to get a thrill (or are about to lose their beer breakfast. Either/or).

3.) My company won another project this morning! Looks like I'll be heading to Oregon Caves towards the end of October/beginning of November. My fall is quickly booking up with lots more work travel!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Flight from MSP to SFO via DEN + storms in DEN and MSP = missed connection and surprise sister sleepover!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Fun Fact - Sisters Edition

Two sisters, so very alike but also, so very very different. Today I read Allison's Friday Insomnia post and couldn't help put think how different my answers would be - so here they are! Al's text is in Red, mine in Black!

So it's almost 6 am on Friday and I cannot sleep. I'm not sure why I can't sleep, I just know that by planning to see a 9:20 movie this morning, I will most likely sleep right through it later...I slept like a champ, til 7:36, as per usual. I've stopped blow drying my hair in the morning so that I can sleep in later.

1. My kitchen is the first room that's officially all packed up. Looks like I'll be eating out from now until August 28th, but that really is no different than my real life. I almost never eat out on weekdays. I slowly packed my kitchen over the course of a week. Books are the first thing I pack.

2. I'm obsessive about checking email and Facebook. They are always open on my computer. Some days I don't check FB at all. Mostly I check email/FB on my phone when I'm bored. My computer is almost never open when I'm home.

3. Does Comcast install on Sundays? I really want to have internet/cable ready to go BEFORE I move in. Like, a week before. I am anal retentive about this too. I planned everything before I moved, and nothing worked out as planned.

4. I have a ton of fabulous friends who have already volunteered to help me move. A BIG thank you to: Josh, Jody, Jodi, Jen B., Jen L., Paula, Molly, Matt, and possibly Barbie & Rhys. You guys ROCK! My friends helped too, yay! And more importantly, most of them were also Eagles fans.

5. I'm becoming increasingly nervous/vomitational about going back to school. I never have to go back to school again - HOORAY!

6. This summer has had its ups and downs, but overall, it's been a super awesome summer. I feel like it's really lasted a long time and I'm not quite ready for it to be over. I feel like my summer has flown by. I have one more week in Denver before I'm gone for a month. I feel like it will be October before I know it.

7. I've worked out maybe three times in the last two weeks and it's only been playing tennis. I have a 5k on Sunday, Aug 28 at the State Fair and I'm starting to get worried. Not quite worried enough to actually get my butt out there and do some jogging, but worried none the less. Hmm, about the same on this one. Some light running and elliptical with one half-effort lifting session. I haven't even been back to yoga.

8. I have three overflowing bins of laundry to wash before I move. I do my laundry regularly or it stresses me out.

9. I took seven bags of clothes to Goodwill this week. SEVEN. This is just impressive. I donated a lot before I moved, but probably need to go through and make another sweep.

10. I like ridiculously large undies. They're comfy. I find one style that fit and only wear that. Currently its VS boy-short type undies. I have at least 12 pairs.

11. There are 16 days until I move. I'll be in California for four of those days. Which brings me down to 12 days, three of which I'll be in new teacher workshops/tennis practice. So I have a total 9 days in which to pack everything, change all of my addresses, do a bazillion loads of laundry, and conquer my fear of creepy crawlies in the basement. I don't ever want to move again. I have 19 days until I leave for Europe. 6 of those days I'll be in DC, 3 of those days I'll be in Moab. 2 of those days I'll be somewhere in the mountains at a friends cabin. That leaves me very few days to get my act together.

12. I'm worried that I won't be able to re-connect all of the cords and stuff to my electronics and that I'll have some mysterious cord leftover and my internet won't work. My computer only has one cord - the powercord. No TiVo or paid cable, leaves me very cordless!

13. If my internet will not work, you will be able to find me at The Muddy Pig. Wallowing. I don't pay for the internets. I steal from a neighbor. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt. Most of the time I don't notice.

14. My new neighborhood is the Selby-Dale section of St. Paul. It even has its own Facebook page. I lived very close to here from 2006-2008. I'm neighbors with the Governor of CO. I live just below the ultra-hipster neighborhood, which doesn't hold a candle to the "trendier than thou" hipsterness of San Francisco.

15. I will miss my West Side neighborhood and my West Side neighbors, but I'm excited to be back on the Hill. Cathedral Hill, that is. I live just below the Hill - Cap Hill!

16. F. Scott Fitzgerald spent a good chunk of his childhood in this area of St. Paul. He even went to school near my new place - at the intersection of Summit and Dale. There is a bronze statue of him sitting on the stairs leading up to the school. Here's a fun walking tour of F. Scott's haunts. I'm near the Molly Brown House, but I've never been. Its still on my list.

17. I'm still planning on seeing The Help in three hours...I'm still planning on seeing The Help next week. My inner monologue is still that of a 50 year old southern black woman in the 1960s.

18. I'm currently reading My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock. I'm increasingly apathetic about the author, but am finding that I'm very taken with Eleanor Roosevelt. What a neat lady! Will have to read more about her. I recommended this to Al and am reading it myself. It wasn't exactly what I thought it would be, but I'm really enjoying it too. I especially liked the part where Noelle went up to Hyde Park, NY to visit Springwood and Val-Kill, the homes of Franklin and Eleanor. This fall I managed a project to add Visitor Access Improvements to the restored path (Roosevelt Farm Lane) that connects the two properties.

19. I never travel without my blankies. They have been to Australia, Spain, Hawaii, and all across the US. They are very well-traveled blankies. I never travel with Cholly Dolly (although while Al and I are well-adjusted adults, I wonder what happened to us in our childhoods to make us latch onto these objects for well into adulthood...). Mainly I'm afraid that I would a.) lose her (its happened - she once spent a year in Ocean City, NJ lost in friend's condo) or b.) security would ask to look in my bag and I'd be thoroughly embarrassed to be the 27 year old traveling for work with a pink rattle doll. After expressing this fear to my mom, she now calls her "IED Cholly". I bring her home for Christmas, though.

20. I think I'm ready to go back to bed now. Have a great Friday! I think I'm ready to go back to work now. Happy Fridays all around!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.) Yesterday the Echo got some good ol' TLC at the jiffy lube and autozone in preparation to drive for 6 hours (her longest journey since driving to Denver last year). I am ready to make some extra $$ on the drive there - I get 50 cents/mile and it's about 700 miles round trip. Woot!

2.) The Byrons are officially spending Thanksgiving in Breckenridge. I'm super excited! We rented an amazing 3 bedroom townhouse with a good sized kitchen and private hot tub! If we stand in the middle of the parking lot, we can see the mountain, too! We're just a short walk from town and we're going to possibly go skiing and snowshoeing and just relax in the splendor the mountain town. I can't remember the last time all four of us were together for Thanksgiving, so I'm pretty excited. Dad hasn't been to visit Denver yet, so they'll fly in a little early and stay a little later so they can check out the town. They'll stay with me - I hope they don't mind that I don't turn my heat on!

3.) Look! This is my friend! She's pretty much famous! And I've known her since I was thiiiiiiis big!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stressville: Population 1

Yesterday I found out that my company won a contract for a pretty neat alternative transportation planning project at Arches National Park. When we bid the project, we put me in as Project Manager to managed Berger's part of the project (public involvement, light facilitation, and a greenhouse gas analysis) as well as two subs (subcontractors - specializing in transportation planning and landscape architecture). I am super excited. Most of the projects I was managing ended recently and I have missed it.

The project has a short timeline, though, and will be kicking off the week of August 29th with a four day workshop. I will be leaving for Europe on the 31st. yeeps! I will be in DC the entire week before and had planned on going to Pittsburgh with friends for that weekend. I'm really sad, but I've had to change my flight to come back into town on Friday. Saturday will be spent packing for both the Arches trip and for Europe (thankfully the clothing choices won't overlap!) and then Sunday I'll drive the 6 hours to the park. I'll stay for two days, introduce myself to the planning team, then my boss will take over for the final two days and I'll drive back to Denver. I get to turn around in probably 8 hours and then head to the airport again.

These schedules aren't unfamiliar to me. Back in February I did something quite similar with back to back to back trips from New Orleans to Seattle to Philly. At least this time I won't be changing as many time zones. And essentially the first full day of Europe travel is spent on a plane and I can sleep. I'm glad to know all this with a few weeks notice so now I can start pulling together lists and buying anything I might need in advance. Including my awesome walking shoes that no one seems to like but me :)

I'm a little apprehensive about being away from work for so long. By the time I'm back in the office, I will have been gone for a solid month. The control freak in me is doing my best to set people up with assignment while I'm gone and let my clients know who will be handling any issues with my projects while I am out. I'm also a bit proud that my company thinks I have enough experience to actually propose me as project manager on bigger proposals, but also that they think it is important that the client meet me and will spend the extra money to send both me and my boss to this workshop when they could have just sent her and saved the expense. Also the trip will score me extra hours that week which means I can use less vacation time. Its a win all around!!

I will be required to drive to Arches two more times before February and I'm hoping to get to see a bit more of the park with the remaining trips. Hopefully I can drive down to Canyonlands and get to put another pushpin in my National Park map!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Race Report: Tri for the Cure

Waaay back in May, two co-workers and I had signed up for Tri for the Cure, a women's only triathlon similar to race for the cure. We signed up as a relay and I was pegged to do the swim leg.

I had the best intentions of using swimming as a way to cross train during my final month of half marathon training, but I ended up only swimming twice. Whoops! I then planned to swim twice last week, but was swamped with work and ended up not doing that either. Thankfully, it was just a race for fun and we weren't worried about being all that competitive.

It was a huge triathlon - around 3,000 women signed up. It was nervous about plodding around, looking all chubby and squiggy around the edges in my swimsuit, but I was happy to see there was a wide range of ages and body types. Since the relay wave was nearly the last one to get into the water, we stood around and watched the elite, competitive, and survivor waves exit the water and transition to the bike. Watching the survivors was pretty emotional, and a bit scary since some of them were easily my age. Some of the elites ran with their bike shoes already clipped to their bikes and then would jump on and slide their feet in. I giggled imagining me trying to do that, inevitably tipping over and losing any time gained by having the shoes pre-clipped.

As I waited in the corral for my wave to start, I heard all the other girls anxiously talking about how much they hated the swim. I smiled to myself, excited that this is the one leg that I'm really good at. There were about 100 people per wave with an in-water start, but I managed to elbow my way towards the front of the pack. Still, when the wave was set loose, there was a lot of kicking and flailing and people on top of each other. I pretty much just swam breaststroke until the chaos subsided.

Then I went to put my head in the water. I didn't like it. I've done open water swims before, in far grosser conditions (Schuylkill River, anyone?), so I have no idea where the discomfort came from. I swam freestyle with my head out of the water for a bit, but I didn't care for that either and it was hurting my neck. We were also swimming straight into the sun for the first two buoys, and I couldn't see a darn thing, including the buoys. I started to have a hard time breathing and my goggles were fogging (I later realized the foam had detached from one of the eyepieces just before the race started), so I flipped onto my back and started backstroking.

I worked on calming my breathing and yelled at myself for a little bit. Once my goggles were clear and my heartrate down, I flipped back over and put my head in the water. I was able to sight myself every few strokes and made it around the first two buoys and out of the sun. Then I took off, fueled by anger at my lost time. I started passing people left and right, mostly left, because I stay on the inside lane and out of the way of the "noodlers" - people who aren't strong enough to complete the swim portion and are given noodles to kick around on. They drove me nuts. As I cleared the third buoy and was headed back towards the shore, I started sighting not only buoys, but also green caps - the other girls from my heat. I picked up a lot of speed, thinking, heck I don't have to do anything after this, I had better leave it all in the water.

I know I picked off at least 3 or 4 girls from my heat and was closing in on another one when I got to the end. Since the boat ramp was slippery, they had volunteers holding your hand and pulling you/holding you up as you exited the water. It was a bit of a bottleneck and only one person could go at a time. I saw 4 green caps ahead of me.

Overall, my time was 14:29. I was aiming for closer to 12 minutes and wonder how much time I could have shaved off if I hadn't had issues with the start. Our relay, Berger Babes, came in 9th out of the 75 relay teams. Out of the 2411 competitors that finished the swimming portion, I came in 166th.

It was a fun day and great atmosphere, but I dont think I would choose this event as a tri to attempt to race. There were just too many lallygaggers and the transition area was pretty terribly organized. People didn't understand race etiquette and weren't concerned with times. Which is fine, but it would frustrating as someone who would want to do well. But it made me realize I really miss racing, especially a sport that I'm good at, like swimming. I've been toying with the idea of doing the Olympic Tri in Key West, and this only made me want to do it that much more.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Gratitude

As my plane came in over the San Francisco Bay last Thursday, I thought to myself, boy am I lucky. Not only do I get paid to travel to amazing parks and cities for my job, but I also am fortunate enough to be able to afford traveling a lot on my own as well. While I haven't been out of the country all that much, I've gotten to see a whole heck of a lot of this one.

That gratitude extends back to all the family vacations we did growing up. It's funny that sometimes appreciation isn't in the moment, but once you're old enough to really see how fortunate you were. We had a two week family vacation each year. Numerous years at the Outer Banks and Hilton Head, a month-long foray to the west and to Jackson Hole twice. Ironically, probably my least favorite was our trip to Disney World - a more 'typical' family adventure. Its not that I didn't have fun or enjoy it, but I enjoyed the other trips just that much more.

I'd have to say my favorite trips, though, were the ones we took to Maine. We'd set our alarms for some unGodly hour of the morning, pack up the car and schlep the 11 or so hours it would take to get up there with a trunk full of suitcases and our bikes strapped to the bike rack. We would always stop in Freeport, however, to visit the flagship L.L. Bean store and, if we were lucky, eat at the "fancy" McDonald's there that served lobster (not that Allison or I would eat it, of course).

Then we'd head off to Southwest Harbor. I know we stayed a few places, including one that felt like it was in the middle of the woods with a woodburning stove and no TV, but my favorite was the one on the main street just past town. There was a tiny room in the loft with a bright blue fishy comforter, slanted roof, and no dressers. It had a sky light and I loved it. We also had our own dock there, with a little boat I could sometimes convince my family to go out rowing with me on. One time we went out on someone's real boat, although I can't quite remember who it was or why we were there.

More importantly, the place had air conditioning and cable. Two things our house was very much lacking. Allison and I were like pigs in slop, watching MTv and Nickelodeon to our hearts content. Salute Your Shorts was an annual favorite.

But one of my favorite memories was stopping by the Welcome Center. No matter where we ever went, if there was a Welcome Center, we knew mom would make us stop. She would gather pamphlets and maps and come back to the car armed with all sorts of adventures. At one point in Yellowstone, years later, when we were all tired from a full day and stayed in the car while Mom and Dad went for a quick 1 mile hike - Al, Kristin Horrocks, and I stole the collection of maps and wrote "Leave or the maps get it" in the dust on the exterior of the car. She was not amused. But this Welcome Center was different.

At this Welcome Center we'd pick up the NPS schedule for Acadia National Park. I've been a Junior Ranger at most parks, but I LOVED picking out which programs I wanted to do in Acadia. My favorite we did each year - a morning walk along rocks that were only exposed at low tide. I just looked on the park website and they still provide it - Tidepool School. I loved it. After a few years, I knew all the answers to the questions the Rangers would ask along the way. Each year I would lay down on my stomach on the rocks and dip my arms into the tidepools, lifting up seaweed and finding all sorts of creatures. We'd also always go to Stars over Sand Beach (armed with lots of bugspray) and the Beech Mountain Hike (which I always thought was Beach Mountain).

We'd also go up Cadillac Mountain, which my dad would crazily bike up. There were so many things we'd do each year that I loved. There was popovers at Jordon Pond and visiting Janet and Pearl in their cabin. For several Thanksgivings in a row now, my dad and I have tried to make our own popovers (or more accurately, he makes them while I look in the oven while they are baking and say, nope, not popped yet!). After several years and a variety of recipes, we finally have succeeded.

There was also this little old wooden theater that Mom and I would go to. The only play I really remember was "Ten Little Indians", based off of the book "And then there were none" by Agatha Christie. After that, I bought my first Christie novel and was hooked on Miss Marple through most of high school. And we'd always go to Bar Harbor for at least a day, although the traffic was always terrible. I much preferred staying across the island. There was one store I loved to go to. I forget the name of it, but it was a blue sign with white lettering and had a whale on it. It sold seashells and dried starfish and all that kind of stuff that I kept in empty fish tanks back home. I still have them, but they are occupied by spiders and dust out in the barn.

There was also this dinky little aquarium we could walk to from our rental. I'm not sure if it was free or if I just went there a lot, but it had this please touch tank full of sea creatures and I would stick my hands in and always play with the sea cucumber - my favorite marine animal. I could usually convince my dad to come along - there was a neat old Victorian hotel nearby that would host games of regulation croquette and we would always stand nearby and watch. It was a much more intense game than was ever played in the Byron backyard. From the deck of our rental, we could see fisherman down in the harbor hauling up lobsters from the docks. Dad would walk down and buy some straight out of the water and I'd play with them on the kitchen floor until the water was boiling.

Then there was the year the QE2 pulled into Bar Harbor. Along with the Fabers, we all got up super early and drove down to watch it pull in. Mostly Emily, Russell and I played on the rocks until it showed up, but I remember thinking how weird everyone on board was dressed - all skinny jeans and stripes before hipsters had even come into existence.

All of these memories were triggered somehow by flying in over that bay and just sitting back and being appreciative. I have little doubt that these vacations played no small part to my current career and are most likely the reason I am in the field I'm in. I don't quite know if my parents realize how much these trips shaped my life. I certainly didn't understand that not every family had these opportunities. Or that not every family ate dinner together every night and had parents who came to all of their sporting events to cheer them on. I had no idea that wasn't standard issue. These things I took for granted, and sometimes complained about, I have come to understand how fortunate I was and continue to be. And for that, I will always be grateful.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Pictures from the weekend!

First thing Friday I took myself out for a very Parisian breakfast - a Latte and Chocolate Croissant

Then I walked along Haight Street until I stumbled upon Ashbury

Then I picked up my race packet and was thoroughly tired, so I looked out Jess' window for a bit
The next day I drug Jess all over the city doing touristy things like seeing Lombard Street

the view from Lombard was pretty cool too

and saw Alcatraz (from afar - all of the boats were booked)

Then I went to run my race

And took a few pictures along the way

Then I won the half marathon (obviously)
Finally, I forced my tired legs to walk around a bit and saw the Painted Ladies along Alamo Square, made famous by the opening sequence to Full House

Monday, August 1, 2011

Race Report: San Francisco Half Marathon

In the days leading up to my first Half, I felt pretty confident, almost overly so. Two days before the race, when my Dad asked on a scale of one to ten how confident I felt, I said an 8 or 9. That confidence faltered just a little when I got to the race expo and found out the motto for the run was "Worth the Hurt." Still feeling pretty good, I walked around SF, sight seeing and dragging my cousin around to all the tourist places. I mean, I am a tourist, right? It wasn't until around 8:30 the night before the race that I had an overwhelming sense of nerves and dread.

But I managed to get a great nights sleep, woke up at 5:10 and caught my 5:42 bus downtown. I found $20 at the bus stop and made a friend (Nikolay, originally from Bulgaria. It was his first half too. I checked his stats after the race and he killed it - 66th in his age group, he finished almost a full hour before me.)

The first few waves had already started by the time I got there, so it wasn't overly crowded. I walked down to the Wave 7 corral, then worked my way back up to the start line with the throngs. It was a beautiful morning - overcast but no wind. I started out cognizant of my pace, making sure I didn't go out too fast. I giggled when, within a quarter mile of the start, runners were already waiting in line for a nearby bathroom.

I couldn't help but smile for the first few miles. I had been planning, training, working towards this run for 3 - 6 months and it was finally here and I felt great. I knew the first hill was well before the bridge (which still looked a tad far away from me, I thought disconcertingly)... I destroyed the hill. People around me stopped to walk and I plowed right up it - pumping my arms and singing "Hills are for Heroes!" in my head. Denver altitude was paying off.

Around miles 5-7, across the bridge, I was picking up a serious pace. Or so I thought. No matter how fast I felt like I was pushing, I always seemed to be passing the mile markers at just over 11 minute miles. At 7.44 miles, just over the bridge at a major turn around point, my average pace was 11:12. Overall I ended at 11:25 minute miles.

After crossing back over the bridge, I knew I had about 3.5 miles of the hilliest portion of the race. I felt really good up until 11.5 miles. At that point, the arches of my feet started to really ache, my hips were hurting and I still had three solid uphills. With under 1.5 miles left, I just pushed through. While people passed me on the downhill, I plodded past them as they walked the uphills. I didn't walk once, mostly because I was afraid that if I stopped, I wouldn't get going again. Even during my long runs in training, I had always stopped halfway.

The last 0.5 mile was fairly brutal. A final uphill through a park. Thank goodness there were onlookers to cheer us all on. Somewhere in the 11th mile a guy was holding a sign that on one side said "Last Hill!" and on the flip side "...Until the next one" which made me laugh. By the time I saw the finish line I was able to muster up a sprint to the finish. I watched the marathoners run right past (they had to pass our finish line along with the corral with all of the food for the half finishers, which seemed cruel to me) but I thought to myself, I can't imagine running another 13.1.

Unlike most of the other, shorter races I've done, I thankfully didn't feel the need to boot at the finish. I just tried to keep walking so I wouldn't tense up. I wandered around the finish area, onto to the shuttle busses back to the Embarcadero then made my way back to my cousin's. Since I was happily wearing my finishers medal, a few people on the street congratulated me on running and one asked if I had won first place. I should have said yes - yes, the slightly chubby girl limping through the Muni system won first in the half marathon. Since our first names were on our running bibs, someone in Muni said "Congratulations Rebecca!" which was equal parts creepy and appreciated.

After brunch I promptly laid down on my blow up mattress for a few hours and every joint hurt once I finally moved. I did my best to stretch throughout the day and force myself to go for a few walks around the block. Changing from sitting to movement hurt for about the first three blocks, but then I was fine. This morning I was delightfully surprised to find out that most of those aches were gone - just a bit of knee pain, no doubt from a lot of those steep downhills, which I've been remedying with ice and ibu. Overall I feel surprisingly great!

For my next half marathon (and there will definitely be a next - my mind is already made up to run the National Half in March), I will be a bit more diligent on my training. I didn't skip an overwhelming amount of runs, but enough that I think would help with those last two miles. During this plan, I only focused on the miles, not necessarily the speed of them. For now, I'm going to back down my long runs to about 6 miles and then include speedwork during the week to try to speed up these clydesdale legs of mine.

I'm glad that I pushed my body to do this. I like to challenge myself but never would have previously thought that doing a half marathon would ever be something I could accomplish, much less something that I'd WANT to do. I 100% credit Katie for fueling this crazy idea that my body can do whatever my mind thinks is a good idea. Starting with that first 10k back in December 2008. What a far way I've come.