Tuesday, December 16, 2014

30th Half Marathon Race Recap!

On Sunday, I ran my 30th Half Marathon!

I was looking for somewhere to celebrate the 30 milestone and I decided on the Dallas MetroPCS Half Marathon. I had a LOT of Texas friends and I had never been to Texas (well, except for the airports in Dallas & Houston). It would be the perfect place to celebrate.

I flew out to Dallas on Friday after I dropped Jenks off at the Kitty Hotel. Sadly, the plane left an hour late but it was a direct flight so I didn't have to worry about missing my connection. We landed in Dallas about 6 and then I made my way over to the DART station. I hadn't rented a car but my research said I could take the DART downtown and use it to get around if I needed to. I got there just as it seemed the train was going to take off so I got a ticket and ran for the train, along with another guy. We made it! After the doors closed and we were moving I asked him if I was on the right train! Doh! Luckily, there is only one train line that leaves DFW so I was okay. :) I got off the train at my station and then walked the couple blocks to the hotel and checked in. I'd made it! Woo!

SATURDAY
On Saturday morning, I woke up and decided to go for a run. If you read my last post then you know I'd twisted my ankle at the Christmas Run. I hadn't run on it since but it was feeling pretty good even with all the airport running around. I also knew from looking at maps that Dealey Plaza was really close to my hotel. So I laced up my Clifton's and headed out. It was a cloudy morning and a little windy but pretty nice.

I found Dealey Plaza and explored it for a bit. There was another runner from Canada there who'd had the same idea and we introduced ourselves and then talked about JFK and all that had occurred. Since we were the only ones there, it gave us a chance to quietly reflect on the what had happened there. Having seen all the movies and documentaries and listening to my mom talk about that day, it felt like I could hear the echoes of that day as I stood there.

Then, I continued on my run to do a little more exploring.



My ankle did pretty well on the run so I decided the race was a go! I would have been okay with not racing and just cheering on my friends...but I really wanted to race so I was pretty happy. After eating breakfast and relaxing for a bit, I headed over to the expo. I didn't buy much (just some compression socks and a shirt) but I did listen to one of the speakers and got my ankle taped. Here's my shirt and bib:
Then I looked for a message that Alex B (@alexb214) had left for me on the Dallas Marathon sign...and added a note of my own - Coyotes fun Dallas! It took me a while to find the message from Alex but since I am stubborn and couldn't let Alex "win", I finally found it.
Whew. Then I could leave. :) I went to eat and then walked back over to Dealey Plaza to go to the 6th Floor Museum. The tour took about 90 minutes and was interesting and helped bring that day to life, even more so than the documentaries did. I was really glad I was able to visit it.

After that, I went back to the hotel and rested, then got some Jimmy Johns for dinner, and rested some more. Then it was time to sleep. I actually slept pretty well.

PRE-RACE
I hadn't been able to meet up with any of my friends at the expo so I was supposed to meet Alex and Christy B (both Run It Fasters) at the Longhorns. Which it turns out is a lot of Longhorn and Cowboy statues in Pioneer Square. A lot. You can't miss it.
 But apparently, I can miss people! I was there for about 15 minutes and didn't see either one so I sent Alex a text and then he called me back and we were trying to figure out where each other of us was when I turned around and he was right behind me! Ha!
I got to meet his wife and couple others from his running group. I never did find Christy before. :( Then I went to find my corral and get situated. I was in the B corral for a few minutes when I looked up and saw my friends Teal & Beth (@LifeisaRun) walking toward me! I was so shocked. I hadn't realized how many people were running and I thought I wasn't going to find them til afer. It was so fun to hang out with them before the race.
 The last time we had raced together was the Disneyland Half in 2012. And now they are moms! :)

Then it was race time!

THE RACE
So...my ankle was good but it wasn't 100%. I had talked to my coach Justin about racing vs. not racing and he reminded me that I had bigger goals than this race we were working toward and that it would be better to not jeopardize additional weeks of training. I had decided to run it but not race it. I would just enjoy the run and see the sights along the course. And that's what I did. Although I spent a lot of time looking down to make sure I didn't step on any bumps, land reflectors, in pot holes, etc!

I did see a lot though and we ran through some interesting stuff. Especially the HUGE, gorgeous mansions. Decorated for Christmas. Wow. And then I saw Heidi (@HeidiRuns) and Brian (@BLuebTris)! I heard Brian yell my name so I turned back and so I could say Hi and give them hugs (sorry for the sweaty hugs!). Yay! I was so happy to see them. So bummed I didn't take a picture though. :(

Then at mile 9, I zigzagged back to make sure I gave a high 5 to a little boy who was trying to go for the world record. Then at mile 11 I saw Heidi and Brian again! Another great pick me up! Then Alex's wife ran by (rocking her first half) and we talked for a little bit.

Then I was done! My 30th Half was in the books. Here's my medal:
POST RACE
Then I wound my way through the finisher's chute for food, water, and our bag. I stopped at one point to reorganize the stuff I was carrying and when I looked up, I saw Christy (@Run2Bake)! Woo!
Then I found Teal & Beth again! Seriously, I don't know how I found any of them! LOL. Sadly, there were a couple of TX peeps and others from Instagram that I knew were there but did not find.

I made plans with Teal & Beth to go to lunch with them so I went back to the hotel and changed and got my stuff and they picked me up. We went to a great little Mexican place for lunch and I got to meet their husbands and their very cute sons. Then sadly, it was over and Beth and her family took me to the airport so I didn't have to take the DART back.

I am pretty lucky that things worked out so I could run on Sunday. And extremely lucky to have met so many fun and amazing people who helped make it a fun race/trip.

THIS is why I love running. Not just because it keeps me healthy. Not just because racing fast is fun. But because it feeds my soul with friends and adventures. :)

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Christmas PR - Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run Recap

On Saturday, I ran the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run Double 10K & 5K. I've done the double before and it's a lot of fun. A lot of people dress up in costumes, even the dogs. The last time I ran it, I was passed by a woman dressed as a corn on the cob. I didn't really get that costume. Mostly though, you see a lot of Santas, elves, reindeer, and people dressed as presents.

Anyway, I was going into the Double feeling really, really strong. My coach, Justin (@gilletterunning), had planned for me to run the 5K hard and try and hit an 8:40 pace. But since I did that at the Claremont Turkey Trot (actually better! 8:34! Score!), I was thinking of racing the 10K hard instead. Or maybe both. Actually, I was kind of leaning toward both. :)

Race dawned and I got up, ate, and drove over to Santa Monica. The weather guy had talked about the possibility of rain and I'd dressed for that. Except that it was clear when I got down there. I got my bib and went to use the restroom and then hung out. The views did not suck.
 

That's the moon setting on the left and the Santa Monica Pier on the right. It was a beautiful morning for a race!

Then it was go time! I got into a good position in the starting corral and decided I would run the 10K as hard as I could. I had run 59:20 at the San Dimas Turkey Trot and I was hoping to maybe shave a minute or so off that. I also decided not to look at my watch during the run.

They sounded the horn and I took off! Miles 1 and 2 flew by and I was feeling good. Miles 3 and 4 included some out and back sections and I feel like I ran them well too. After mile 4, I think I may have slowed down a little but I was still running hard. Miles 5 and 6 were along the beach and I tried not to do any sightseeing and stay focused. I think I did pretty well with that. Then at the end of mile 6 we had one small hill and then it was a downhill to the finish. We came around the curve and I saw the finish and turned on the after burners. Then I saw the clock and saw it was about to turn over to the next minute and I pushed even harder to try and get there before that happened. But I didn't. I saw the clock say :01. And then I was like wait a minute. That said 55:01! WHAT?!?! Was that right? I looked at my garmin and it said 54:55. Woo! But what would my official time be? And wait a minute...that's my 10K PR time. WHAT?!?!

So I waited around (not so patiently) for the times to be posted and then there it was: 54:54 official! Woo! I could not freaking believe it! I did not expect to be close to my PR range until the spring.
Can you tell I was happy? A PR! Okay, only a 1 second PR but it felt great! I did not know I had that time in me right now. It felt so good to know I am really, really back.

But there was still more racing to do so I couldn't party too much. I had a gel and then started heading back over the Start/Finish line to get ready for the 5K. I was feeling pretty good and thought I might be able to pull a good time out for the 5K too.

And then the horn sounded and we were off for the 5K! And I took off! And then just a couple of minutes into it, I almost ran into someone and the curb was right there and there must have been an uneven part (or just my natural klutziness) and disaster struck. I twisted my ankle. :( Argh! I kept running but slowed down. It was sore but there wasn't any sharp pains so I kept going but decided to take it easy the rest of the way. I was worried about it but it didn't seem to get any worse. I finished the 5K in 31:24. And got my medal. Not how I had wanted to run the 5K but I was satisfied enough with the 10K that I wasn't too heartbroken. And the worry about my ankle with the Dallas Half in 1 week was more of a focus.

So after I got my medal, I headed home. When I got out of the car after the drive, that's when I knew my ankle was worse than I thought. It was really stiff and very sore and swollen. :( I iced it that night and did a lot of praying but when I woke up on Sunday, it was still swollen and sore so I skipped my planned 12 Miler. Sigh.

I am actually pretty proud of myself for 2 things this weekend. 1 - that I ran hard and didn't hold back or think about limitations. And 2 - that I didn't try and run on Sunday and let my ankle start healing instead.

I got one Christmas miracle for the 10K and now I need another for the Dallas Half! Cross your fingers for me!

Hey, did I mentioned I PRd on Saturday. Yeah, baby! Woo! :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five For Friday - 11/28/14

I hope you all had a fun Thanksgiving! Mine was quiet but nice. It's just me, my mom, and grandpa here is So Cal so we usually go out to lunch instead of cooking. I like it because my grandpa doesn't like turkey so he usually gets fish and I don't have to worry about leftovers tempting me for days on end. I LOVE turkey, dressing, and mashed potato sandwiches so it's best if I don't have that stuff around to tempt me.

I did enjoy my lunch yesterday, for sure. I ran 8.1 miles yesterday (2.2 mile warm up, the Claremont Turkey Trot 5K, and then a 2.8 mile cool down) so I didn't feel too guilty about enjoying the dressing and mashed potatoes. Actually, I didn't feel guilty at all!

My mom said grace for us and she talked about how thankful she was that I was healthy. It reminded me that last year, I didn't get to enjoy Thanksgiving so much because I'd just had my 1st round of chemo and food was issuey. It also reminded me how much I have to be thankful for right now.

So here's this week of 5 things I'm thankful for:

1. I'm thankful I got to spend Thanksgiving with my mom and grandpa. We had a nice lunch and then watched Million Dollar Arm after. It was a good day. :) I missed my AZ family but at least got to talk to them.

2. I'm thankful that I am strong and healthy and almost back to my normal weight. I weighed myself on Tuesday and was down to 166.4 pounds. I actually thought I might have gained because didn't really focus on food the past 2 weeks so I was a little nervous. I was so happy to see it had gone down. I'd hoped to lose 50 lbs by the Dallas Half and I'm at 48 lbs lost right now!

3. I'm thankful I was strong enough to rock the Turkey Trot yesterday! 26:37! I didn't have a set goal going into it other than I wanted to run it hard and beat my last 5K time of 27:57. The race is a big square with the 1st mile being uphill and then flatish and then the last mile downhill. I gave everything in that last mile though I really wanted to slow down! So I have 2 shiny new post cancer PRs for the Mile and the 5K!

I didn't realize this race would be so big and I was pretty happy to see I was 8th in my age group. So fun to see my pace too. I have a 5K next Saturday and Justin, my coach @gilletterunning,  wanted me to go 8:40 pace for it. Now, I'm a little scared to see what he's going to ask me to go now! But also excited!

4. I'm thankful my company gives us Thursday and Friday off so I could spend a little time on the trails today. It was a beautiful, warm day here in So Cal.

5. I'm thankful one of my staff is a baker and brings us cupcakes & cake pops to test!

Not all the time (for which I'm also thankful) but it's fun to get a treat every now and then and Renee is very talented. It also reminds me that I need to be diligent about my nutrition and weight loss most of the time but it's okay to relax once in a while to just enjoy what life brings you. I have, in the past, been obsessive about food going from extremes - being obese and binge eating to borderline anorexic. I have had to work really hard to get to a place where I realize that food is not the enemy but something to help fuel my running & riding. You can get away with eating crap on the bike but not on the run so I credit running with helping eat well! Running has given me a better life in many, many ways.

Thanks for reading! I hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, November 24, 2014

San Dimas Turkey Trot 10K Race Recap

On Saturday, I ran my 5th San Dimas Turkey Trot 10K. It's usually held the Saturday after Thanksgiving but this year was the weekend before. I love this race because it's in one of my favorite places to run - Bonelli and I've run the course many times on my own. I know what to expect and it's a pretty place to run.

The race isn't a very big one...there were only 238 people in the 10K and 237 in the 5K...so it isn't crowded. My 10K PR was set there in 2011 - 54:55. I am not even close to that shape right now but I really wanted to go sub 1 hour there. I THOUGHT I could. I was pretty sure. Mostly.

On race morning, I woke up and got ready and drove over to Bonelli. I got there about 6:45 and got my shirt and bib and went back to the car to relax a little. About 7:20, I started my warm up and ran backwards along the route. About half way, I stopped and used the restroom and then ran back for a 2 mile warmup. I finished about 7:45 and had a gel and then did some leg swings until it was time to get in the corral.

The race started a few minutes past 8 and I was ready! Let's do this!

The RD sent us out and I took off. The 5K & 10K started together but the 5Kers split off almost immediately so it thinned out right away. The race starts out uphill and I looked down at my garmin and I was going like 8:20 so I forced myself to slow down! I knew that there would be more hills, dirt, and a stream crossing ahead so didn't want to blow up too early. This is what the course and my paces looked like:
 
 

These are my splits for each mile
1 - 9:16
2 - 9:28
3 - 10:03
4 - 9:36
5 - 9:30
6 - 9:27
.2 - 1:59 (8:40 pace)
 
I didn't know exactly what pace I could hold but I knew it had to be 9:39 per mile to beat 60 minutes. I think I did pretty well in holding back my pace for that first mile. There was a short, steep hill and a little bit of dirt in mile 2 but managed not to lose too much time there. I think around 9:30s was where I was most "comfortable" in that I was working hard but not gasping for air.
 
The only mile I messed up was mile 3. When we got to the stream, it was muddy going down into it and then up out of it. I slipped a little as we ran down but didn't lose it. There was a slight bottleneck there as we crossed and you can see my pace really dropped (about half way between 2&3). We were on dirt for the next 1/3 mile or so and I never made up that time I lost. Darn it! Mile 4 had a little bit of an out and back and the out is a slight uphill. Once we hit the turnaround, I always feel like that's the half way point because I can smell the barn. Ha! But 5 and 6 had some hills so I knew I had to pace myself. I pushed on the hills so I wouldn't lose too much time and then flew down the other side. Then I ran as hard as I could at the end.

I actually thought I might not be under an hour because I didn't keep track of all my splits as I ran and when I looked at a mile to go, I thought it said I needed a 8:30 ish mile to be under an hour. I was like, "oh no!" but then told myself "I'm gong to make it!" but I thought it would be really close. I must have been mistaken/miscalculated though because when I ran into the finish chute and saw the clock, I was so happy! 59:20 official! I'd beat my goal! With time to spare! Woo!

We even got medals for this 10K! Can you tell I was happy?

Yep, I was. I felt like I gave this everything I had. I maybe could have run the stream section a little better but I am ecstatic that I didn't lose time on the hills at the end. I think I did pretty darn well. I was really nervous before the race. More so than for the last couple of Halfs I've done. I'm not sure why. I knew that I would have to run hard and stay focused and I think that scared me a little because I haven't run like that in a long time. I am proud of this race and myself for getting it done and not giving up when I got tired.

If I could change anything it would be nutrition. I didn't have anything for breakfast and just had the gel. I might have had a little more energy if I'd eaten. But it is what it is. And like I said, I'm happy with it!

My next race is another Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. I'll be running the Claremont Turkey Trot 5K for the first time and I'm hoping to make this race a new Thanksgiving Tradition. A lot of runners from Fleet Feet Rancho will be there so it should be a lot of fun.

Happy Thanksgiving! And good luck if you are running a Turkey Trot!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five For Friday - 11/21/14

I had a pretty great week! It was full of fun and running!

Here's what I'm thankful for this week:

1. I'm so thankful my mom came to see me at the Avengers Half on Sunday. It is so fun to have someone there cheering you on. Being single and traveling to races means I don't always have someone there for me at the end. I love that my mom is proud of me and one of my biggest cheerleaders. And that she lets me go on endlessly about my races! ;)
My mom & my niece Morgan

2. I am thankful for all of the Disney employees who cheered us on for the Avengers Half. Especially all of the ones wearing Mickey hands and giving high fives! They totally rock in how cheerful and fun they are.

3. I am thankful for the fun, little details that runDisney races do. Like this finisher's certificate for Sunday's race...signed by Captain America. I totally think it was the real one. Don't you think? ;)

4. I am thankful for Eva and Dave at Fleet Feet in Rancho Cucamonga. They do a lot for the running community. I see them on quite a few of my runs during the week and they always say hello. They also hold a few group runs every week so I've gotten to know some of the local runners through them. Last night, they had a New Balance Pub Run where we could try on NB shoes for the run. I tried a pair of 880s and they were fun. Not as fun as my Clifton's but I am glad I got to experience them.

5. Finally, this week I am thankful I saw this view the other morning.

I am so blessed to see so many beautiful sunrises/sunsets because of my runs & bike commutes.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Ms Marvel Runs The Avengers Half Marathon - A Race Recap

Yesterday, I ran the Avengers Half Marathon, my 29th Half, at Disneyland, the happiest place on earth!

I wanted to run this because I am a geek and I love the Avengers. Actually, I love Loki/Tom Hiddleston…

Um, what was I saying? Oh yeah, right…the Avengers Half. ;)

So, I was pretty excited to run it and had been thinking about what costume to wear for it for quite a while. Sadly, there aren’t many strong women characters in the Avengers movie universe right now and I figured there would be a ton of Black Widows so that was out. I thought about maybe being a female version of Hulk or Hawkeye or Falcon but that didn’t feel right. Finally, I decided to be Ms Marvel. I just needed a few key pieces and I would be all set. It also felt like it would be an easy costume to run in. Because though I planned to treat this like a training run, I was hoping for 2:20.

PRE-RACE
I went to the expo on Saturday morning to pick up my bib and shirt. I tried not to spend too much time there but did do a little shopping there and then in Downtown Disney. Oops.

I didn’t buy a skirt but 2 very cute shirts (Tinkerbell & Brave inspired - 2 of my fave Disney characters!), some headbands, and magnets to add to my collection. I ate lunch in Downtown Disney too and then drove back home went to Michaels to pick up the red ribbon for my costume. I finished putting together the outfit that afternoon. I was ready!

I hardly slept at all Saturday night. I was too nervous about missing my 2:30 alarm. Getting up that early sucks but I actually love that the race starts at 5:30. I got up with my alarm and had 2 breakfast crisps. Then I got ready, packed everything I needed to take and hit the road by 3:20. I got to Disneyland by 4:05, changed into my Cliftons, hit the restrooms at the parking structure (so much nicer than having to use the port-a-potty) and then headed to the start. I was in Corral B and I went up to the front since some runners I knew would be in Corral A. I saw my friend Ryan and we talked while we waited for the race to start. I had one gel about 5:15 and stuffed one into my arm sleeve. Who knew they could be a convenient place to store gels!

One thing I love about Disney is they go all out with everything they do. We had entertainment while we waited and the start was pretty darn cool. This is during the singing of the National Anthem.

Then it was go time! They were actually sending corrals A & B at the same time so there was no extra wait.

THE HALF
We were off! It was a little crowded at the start but not too bad. We ran into California Adventure first and it was all lit up with Christmas lights and there were characters out and about. They had stations where you could take your picture with each of the Avengers and there were quite a few Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. on the course “recruiting” as well. We left California Adventure and ran into Disneyland by Splash Mountain and then the Haunted Mansion (which looked amazing with its Christmas decorations). Next was Pirates, around the lake for Tom Sawyer’s Island to Big Thunder Mountain and then into Fantasy Land. I saw Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs riding the carousel and then we ran thru Cinderella’s Castle. Next it was down Main Street to the huge, beautiful Christmas tree in the square. I did a lot of sightseeing while in the park but I kept up a pretty good clip. My 5K split was 32:54, a 10:37 pace.

Once we left the park, we ran on city streets. As we were running down Harbor Blvd, we got a taste of what was to come. We could see the area ahead of us was really dusty and there was a cross wind kicking up. After mile 4 we made a left turn...into a headwind! It was blowing pretty strong. I tucked in behind this big, tall guy but then had to pass him because I was going faster than he was. We made a right turn at mile 5 so had a crosswind again but then a left run after mile 6 back into the wind. My 10K split was 1:05:12, a 10:31 pace. Which looking back on I think is interesting because I wasn't trying to go faster and thought I had slowed down with the wind.

At about 6.5 miles, we turned onto the Santa Ana River path. We had a headwind again here all the way til mile 8. I had planned on running the first 7 miles at a 10:40-10:50 pace and then dropping to a 10:20 pace for the last 6.1 miles. I changed my plans with the wind though. I didn't want to tire myself out by going too hard into the wind so kept at my same effort. I almost got hit by a huge tumbleweed in this stretch but luckily a volunteer stopped it just in time. I was really glad I was wearing sunglasses because the dust was horrible and we felt like we were sandblasted. During this stretch there was a huge Marvel cosplay group with all the characters which was a lot of fun, especially because there were a few Ms Marvels in it. I got a bit of an energy surge from all of their high fives!

After mile 8, we turned into Angel Stadium. We got to run around home plate and see ourselves on the jumbo tron and there were bands playing in there. It was a lot of fun. As we left the stadium, there was another Captain America WWII cosplay group. Mixed with true veterans, I think. I high fived all of them too. Once we left the stadium, it was time to turn up the pace! My 15K split was 1:39:02, a 10:40 pace. I evaluated how I felt and decided to drop to a 10 min pace and see how close I could get to 2:15.

My last 4 miles were 9:59, 9:58, 10:08, and then after mile 12, I picked up even more...9:26! I felt great all the way to the end. Finally, we hit the 13 mile marker and it was just a little bit more. I could hear the crowd and the announcer and I was looking for my mom but mostly I was smiling at how much fun I'd had. I crossed the line in 2:16:29! Yeah baby! Woo! I was so, so happy with that time. That was better than I'd expected or even hoped! Woo! Can you tell I'm still just a tiny bit excited?

I heard my mom yell my name just after I crossed the finish line and waved to her. Then I got my sweet medal.


A very cool spinner medal for the Inaugural Mission, wouldn't you say?

POST RACE
After getting my medal, I went thru the chute to get my water and snacks and head to the reunion area. When I got there though, they were kicking us out because they were worried the wind would knock over the stage and the tents. I found my mom though and she took a finisher's photo for me.

Then we went to Downtown Disney to find someplace to eat. We had breakfast at the Rainforest Café and then headed back to the car. I was a little sad it was over but I was one, happy Ms Marvel!

I think that I could have started my push earlier but I ran it smart and I finished with a time I'm very, very happy with. I love runDisney races. I know they are expensive but they are so much fun, especially if you enter into the spirit of the event. I can't wait for the Star Wars Half in January!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Five For Friday - 11/14/14

Happy Friday everyone!

This has been a very strange week for me. The beginning of the week started off great with my run but quickly went down hill with 2 terrible phone calls. :( I wish the news in both cases had been better but they weren't unexpected so I was prepared. Though there has been a somberness to the week, it has been a good week and I still have a lot to be thankful for.

Here's this week's list of 5 things I'm grateful for this Friday:

1. On Sunday, I went to visit my grandpa and his dog, Rocky. It was my last visit with Rocky and I knew this because he's been having trouble the past week and had stopped eating. My mom called to let me know that my grandpa was putting him to sleep on Monday so I could go say goodbye.

Rocky was such a funny, smart, and loving little guy. He made my grandpa very happy and kept him company and active. Rocky was sometimes too smart for his own good and could find trouble quite easily but he made us smile and laugh. I am thankful for the years of fun and love we had with him and that I got to say goodbye one last time.

RIP sweet Rocky.

2. The other phone call I got was from my dad to let me know that a family friend was at the end stages of her battle with pancreatic cancer. Her family brought her home on Monday and she passed away on Tuesday. Rest in peace, Kim.

Kim helped me at a time when I was completely lost. She gave me a job as the nanny for her 2 kids when I didn't have any other options. At a time when I didn't feel like I was worth anything, she put her trust in me and made me realize I was a good person. I wish more than anything that she hadn't suffered the past couple of months and that she was still here to see her grandkids grow up but I am thankful I knew her.

3. I am thankful I didn't screw up my left calf last night! I knew...KNEW I shouldn't do any leg work last night with the Avenger's Half on Sunday but decided burpees didn't count and would be fine. They are just burpees, right? Well I had only done a few when my left calf twinged. It didn't hurt exactly but I definitely felt something and had a little bit of a limp after. Needless to say, I stopped and just did upper body after that. I went home and iced it and this morning it was okay. It feels like it needs to be stretched really well but I was able to run on it and it didn't bother me at all. I was very lucky!

4. I am thankful for obnoxious bike lights and reflective clothing so cars can see me now that my bike commute home is in the dark! I look like a rolling Christmas tree/disco ball and I love it. :)

5. I am thankful for a supportive and loving family and great friends!