The One Where I Took the Summer Off

In case you couldn’t tell, I took a break this summer. I haven’t blogged in MONTHS, literally. I had some stuff going on, physically, mentally, work-wise…there were many days where I completely lacked time, willpower, or the actual physical capacity to shuffle my feet out the door for a run. The last few weeks, it’s been ridiculously hot and the air quality sucks because of the horrible fire season the Northwest is having. It wasn’t the best. But I’m trying to get back on track as I start to figure out some health stuff. I tried to make the best of summer and still managed to have some adventures. Here’s the random overview:

Shayne and I got in two races. Race #1 was the Starlight Run, my second and Shayne’s first. It’s an untimed 5K in Portland that is directly before the Starlight Parade, part of the Rose Festival. Think Disneyland’s Electric Parade, but local and without Mickey Mouse. The parade starts at dusk, because it’s all glow sticks and lights, so the race starts around 7. I got Shayne hooked – the route is run almost entirely on the parade route, and the race website claims that there’s close to a QUARTER OF A MILLION spectators, so you’re high fiving kids the whole time and people cheer and it’s just a lot of fun. It’s also a big costume race…I don’t personally run in costume, but it’s always fun to see people dressed up.
Shayne had also never seen the parade, so we stuck around for a bit. This is my absolute favorite parade, and it didn’t disappoint. I finally got to see the Unipiper in real life, and he played the Star Wars theme on flaming bagpipes, which was pretty much everything I’ve always wanted out of life.And, since I love a good pre-parade run, we also did the C.A.T Walk 5k before my hometown’s 4th of July parade. This one goes right past my parents’ house, so we always walk back and watch the parade after. This is our third or fourth year in a row running this one together (I was going for a red, white, & blue theme below…white shoes are cropped out).
I went to running club and won a Patagonia windbreaker. Pretty stoked about it because my last running windbreaker is one that my mom literally found by the side of the road. I floated five miles in this insanity for my cousin’s bachelorette party in Missouri. It was awesome and nothing else needs to be said.We celebrated the Eclipse in 99.7% totality in our backyard. I worked from home that day, and we sat in the backyard as the moon slowly moved in front of the sun. It was super eerie. I’m determined to get into the path of totality for 2024.
Mourned the season finale of Game of Thrones. My mom gave me some Game of Thrones licensed wine and I hung out with my wooden sword that I bought for $15 at a highland games this summer and my dog’s little dragon toy.And here’s a delightful photo I found on Twitter of Jon Snow enjoying Oregon beer.We spent four days up in Seattle celebrating the wedding festivities of one of my very best friends. I’ve only been up there sporadically since graduation, so it was nice to have more than one night exploring my old stomping grounds.
The whole fam came up for a few days so we explored Fremont and Wallingford together.And took in a Mariner’s game.And I ate this DELICIOUS bulgogi rice bowl at Elysian Brewing. I was hungover and it was the perfect cure. Gimme all the kimchi.And this is what Oregon looks like now: on fire. We drove through one of the most heavily hit areas on our way to a wedding in central Oregon the other day. Apparently this section was part of a controlled burn to help tamp the burning of the actual wildfire, but driving through and hearing the crackling and feeling the heat of the flames was scary. So thankful for the firefighters that are working to get these blazes under control. There was another fire started in the gorge this weekend by some idiot teenagers with fireworks. It’s absolutely horrific. Ash is falling all throughout the area and there’s not really an end in sight.So, that’s what I’ve been up to. Maybe I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled sporadic blogging, maybe I’ll just let this page crumble up in the wind. Most likely, I will forget to take off my payment information and my domain name will auto renew and I’ll try and make something of it. We’ll see. I have a few races coming up that I’ll be loosely training for (including my first trail race) so…there’s stuff to talk about!

Race Recap – Hippie Chick Half

I’ve had this post half-written for a long time. My busy time at work snuck up on me (or I wasn’t expecting it…because I’ve never experienced it before) and I’ve been crashing early almost every night, or going tech free and reading. I’m going to keep this one pretty short and sweet, because mostly it was rainy and I didn’t take many photos at this race. 

I ran the Hippie Chick Half in Hillsboro, OR on May 14th. Though not technically an all women’s race, about 98% of participants are women and it’s held Mother’s Day weekend. And you get a necklace instead of a medal. There’s also 15k and Quarter Marathon options. Most of the route is along semi-quiet roads on the outskirts of town, next to farms and fields. And occasionally highway. 

I woke up that Saturday and it was pouring. Coupled with the fact that I had ran Eugene six days prior, it was soooooooo tempting to bag it. But I was running with two friends (and picking up one of them) so I didn’t entertain thoughts of DNS-ing for long! The race advised getting to the parking lot by 6:30…so I picked Rachel up at 6:30 and we were at the parking lot by 6:45. It was virtually empty, so we sat in the car and out of the rain for a good 45 minutes, as the race didn’t start until 8 and we already had our bibs. 

We finally got out of the car to use the real bathrooms (the race started at the local minor league stadium) and wait in line 20 minutes to answer a survey to get a free poncho from American Family Insurance. Worth it. The start line was kind of hidden away from the rest of the excitement, so we just followed the crowd when everyone started moving that direction. 

After the national anthem, we were off! There was intermittent (sometimes heavy) rain for the first five or six miles before We saw some clearing. I wore my freebie poncho until Mile 9. Look at me having so much fun and not able to feel my feet!

Rachel wanted to hit 2:30 which we did! We both put our power songs on at Mile 12 and kicked it into high gear for the last mile (thanks Castle on the Hill). The race finished on the turf baseball field and you’re shown in the final stretch on the Jumbotron. I had secret hopes of hitting 2:25…I came in at 2:25:24. So close, but another PR, six days after my PR at Eugene! I’ll take it. I’m definitely happy with these splits and feel like we ran a smart race. Our self-assembled training plan served us well! We got our finisher necklaces, but I know my friends like some hardware. So the day before the race, I bought a wood burner on sale at Craft Warehouse and made us some medals, which I presented at the finish. Because I love medals. Mine was experimental; the flowers surrounding 2017 looked a little better on the other two. The ladies appreciated them, so I was happy I got them together in time!

And that’s all she wrote about Hippie Chick!

The Good: flat, scenic course, lots of booths on race day, easy to get to and problem free start. Also loved the women’s cut race shirt – I don’t always love women’s cut but this one isn’t super clingy and actually looks good. 

The Bad: nothing bad, per se, but lets be real, unless it’s a REALLY good necklace, I’d rather have a medal. Volunteers didn’t know what kind of hydration they were serving. That’s about it. 

Race Recap – Eugene Half-Marathon

I’ll preface this recap with two things:

  1. I was given a race entry to the Eugene Half from the group I’m running with this year, Portland Women’s Run Club. They had a few bibs up for grabs and I was lucky enough to snag one.
  2. Eugene was, hands down, the BEST overall race experience I’ve ever had.

So, Eugene is about a two hour drive for us. Since the race started at 7 AM on Sunday morning, we decided to stay the night down there on Saturday (because I was not about to drive down at 4 AM the day of, AND they charged extra for day of packet pick-up). I nabbed a last minute hotel room at Valley River Inn, which was actually one of the preferred hotels, meaning there was a shuttle directly from the hotel to the start line on Sunday morning. Perfect! We were able to check in early when we arrived at 1, and then we immediately headed to the race expo held outside Hayward Field.Packet pick took about five seconds, the expo was, well, an expo (but look I found my name on this big wall of names!), and we were hungry. So we went in search of food, but not before I made Shayne do a loop around the outskirts of Hayward (the actual track was not open for the expo).I’ll save our Eugene eats and drinks and adventures for a subsequent post, but we had  a tasty lunch and spent the afternoon walking around downtown before heading back to the hotel to watch the Kentucky Derby. Shayne took a little nap, I kicked back for a bit, and eventually we went out for a little urban hike and dinner. Then it was time to set out Flat Marge.I ended up scrapping the hat and wearing sunglasses instead. The Portland Marathon shirt was to wear on the bus ride to the starting line. I snoozed once after my 5 AM alarm, then popped out of bed to use the bathroom and take my time getting ready. I grabbed my Larabar (as I didn’t have a toaster to make my regular avocado toast, I had to improvise) and my gear check bag and was on the bus by 6:10 AM.  I ditched my long sleeve a little too early, hit the port-potty line, and then headed to the start. The marathon and half-marathon start at the same time, so I found the 4:45 pace group and asked what they were planning to run, as the race goes 10 miles before the marathoners split off. Apparently, the slower pace groups were all utilizing a run/walk strategy, so the pacer told me she was planning to average 10:30 minute miles and then walk a minute at the end of each mile, as well as through each water station. I started with them, but was hoping to not walk (with the exception of water stations, because I’m not coordinated), so I didn’t plan on sticking with them for long. Shortly after 7, we were off! Even with the seeded corrals, I still spent the first mile or so bobbing and weaving around walkers. Though the streets were closed, there were still parked cars, so the first few streets were a little bit of a bottle neck. The first three miles wind through residential streets around University of Oregon, before heading south on Amazon Drive. I had driven this section of the course the day before and thought it was and out-and-back, however it turns out that the out was on one side of a thin park/trail system, and the back was on the other side, so we got some variety. I was cruising at 10:45-11:15 per mile, right on par with my training runs or even a titch faster, but I felt good. I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Ali on the Run Show, the weather was gorgeous, and it was a perfect running morning. I grabbed water at every water stop, which were positioned about two miles apart, because I knew I was a bit dehydrated. I started taking Margarita Shot Bloks at mile 4 and proceeded to eat one every two miles.

The kinda-out-and-back along Amazon Park lasted through Mile 7, before we hit the neighborhoods of central Eugene again. The only significant hill was at Mile 8.5, but thankfully there was a church group at the top that had turned it into “High-Five Hill” and were very peppy. I passed quite a few people on the hill, as I was sticking to my no-walking run. At Mile 9, you pass the finish line at Hayward, which is borderline painful because you can see the faster runners coming in to the finish, but the course immediately sends you out along the Willamette River for Miles 10-12.

The only other time I stopped was to quickly snap this shot on the first of two foot bridges we crossed.

We ran along a foot path through Alton Baker Park. At one point, we passed Pre’s Trail (where I silently paid homage to Steve Prefontaine).By Mile 12.5, we were crossing the river again and I was ready to be DONE. Thank you, U of O pep band, for being stationed in exactly the right spot. There were spectators the whole last half mile, and then it was time for a partial lap in Hayward! I look like I’m crying in this picture because I think I was. This was seriously the BEST finish line feeling ever. Did you guys watch the US Olympic Trials for track and field last year? Yeah, that was Hayward. This is the closest I will ever be to Olympic glory. Spectators fill the main grandstand to cheer on their loved ones. It helps that I was coming in about the same time as one of the top marathoners. There was lots of cheering. I pretended it was for me.Shayne got this shot of me coming down the final stretch. There’s a timing mat right at the entrance of the field, so the announcer did a great job of highlighting all the finishers.Just like that, I had a new PR by over two minutes – 2:27:07! I’m working on my own little Breaking2 project here…half-marathon edition. Though I know I could have had more focused training this spring, I feel like I’m in better shape than ever and I’ve seen gains in my speed and endurance.

Shayne met me on the other side of the finish chute and I hobbled off to the U of O Rec Center for a free shower. The locker room was the nicest I had ever been in. Plus I was one of the first people in the building, so a nice hot clean shower felt AMAZING.

So, how does the Eugene Marathon (and Half) stack up?

Pros: This race is incredibly well organized. Packet pick up was a breeze. But I think people mostly run this race because it’s EUGENE. It’s Track Town USA. Home of Pre, original birth place of Nike, etc etc. You really feel that in this race. Everyone is excited to be there. I was also impressed with the level of community support. Lots of people lined the streets outside their homes to cheer, and I saw some great posters (my favorite being “Did someone remember to wake Jean-Paul?!”). The fact that there is also a full marathon helps I’m sure. Speaking of, I WANT TO DO THE EUGENE FULL. I liked the scenery and the relatively flat course, and I think the second half is more of the same. The finish line is UNREAL. I heard that they are going to do some remodeling in Hayward so that they can host the IAAF World Championships in 2021, so I hope it doesn’t lose its magic.

Cons: I can only think of one – I don’t care for the race shirt. It’s a great quality Nike dri-fit, but I hate clingy women’s cut shirts, and this is the CLINGIEST, plus it’s white. I don’t own a single white sports bra and don’t feel like showing off every sports bra pattern I own, so I probably won’t be wearing it much. Literally everything else was amazing.

Eugene, I’ll be back FOR SURE!

Monday Morning Happy Thoughts

First and foremost, it seems like spring is finally here (in the Upper Left Coast anyways, I know some of you states have had spring for a long while). This means shorts running! And I was reminded yesterday that shorts running + thunder thighs = ALL THE CHAFING. 

Chafe just peeping out…

But seriously, I made a poor clothing choice for my 11-miler yesterday and I’m paying the price today. Rookie mistake and I should have known better. Use your Body Glide, folks. And if, like me, you are blessed in the thigh department, I highly recommend compression shorts versus anything loose. I waddled to the store yesterday to pick up another pair. 

Other than my now scabby, painful thighs, this weekend’s long run was a smashing success. Rachel and I have somehow been increasing our distance every weekend AND getting faster. We did our run along the PDX waterfront and when we got back to the car we realized we were conveniently located next to coffee and delicious breakfast sandwiches Other happy thoughts for the week? While I was at a conference on Tuesday, my coworker kidnapped my Jamie Fraser PopFunko and started sending me pictures of him in danger. It cracked me up. We kicked off Panera Monday, aka a weekly excuse to leave the office for lunch and eat my favorite “Choose 2” combo, tomato soup and the Thai peanut chicken salad (with baugette of course).I hopped on an opportunity to run the Eugene Half-Marathon NEXT WEEKEND. Back to back half-marathon weekends is probably a terrible idea but I’m not planning on breaking any speed records and I figured I’ve been wanting to get and stay in “half shape,” as it were, so here’s my chance. So stoked about this race; I’ve wanted to run it for a while and can’t wait to finish on the track at Hayward Field!We went to a great midday Timbers match and they won!That’s all I’ve got for you right now. I am doing more happy, healthy things but just haven’t felt compelled to blog and don’t have my thoughts together. Lots of self-care happening, and also lots of laziness. Apologies! I’ll get on track sooner or later, but for now I’m enjoying my runs (except the bloody scabs), trying to keep my stomach happy, and desperately attempting to maintain cleanliness in my house. 

Your turn-what are your happy thoughts to start this week?

Monday Morning Happy Thoughts 

The happiest thought? IT’S MARATHON MONDAY! I will be keeping tabs on my favorite runners from my cubicle via the interwebs. Every year, the Boston Marathon excitement makes me want to run another marathon and also shave 2.5 hours off my time and get after that BQ. But seriously. Someday…

Other happy thoughts for the week? The Leftovers is back!I. Love. This. Show. Shayne and I have been watching since the beginning (I initially read the book, which basically covered Season 1 and we’ve been in uncharted waters ever since). It’s about the end-times (or the idea of the end-times) and Justin Theroux is a supreme actor and he takes his shirt off a lot. That’s it in a nutshell, but there are some really poignant themes explored each season and it’s really well produced. 10/10, would recommend. I have been running in my Ghost 8s for a year and a half and it was time for an upgrade. Checking out the Launch 4s. They were delivered after my Saturday long run, so I broke them in on the patio of our favorite taproom in the sun. My initial thought is that they run a little narrow…hoping to inaugurate them on a run tomorrow and see how I fare. 

I only have four work days this week (taking PTO on Friday). That’s a happy thought! 

It took me too long, but I’m FINALLY catching up with the Ali on the Run podcast! Running podcasts have been hit or miss for me, but this is kinda like having a BFF talk to you about running and other stuff with guests. Super conversational, her lineup of guests is great, and she just seems so friendly. I’m a huge fan of Ali’s blog (and have a total internet friend crush on her) and it was super motivating to listen to her first episode while I ran up and down a big hill the other day. 

Also I’m still happy thinking about this dinner we had at The Hairy Lobster a few weeks ago that I meant to blog about sooner. We popped in for Portland Dining Month and LOVED EVERYTHING. Of course everything I ate doesn’t photograph super well but whatever. The highlight was this mushroom bisque…I LOVE mushrooms and order mushroom soup wherever I go but this one took the cake. Note Shayne’s dill pickle inspired cocktail in the background. I’m realizing now that mushroom soup is not super photogenic but it was so good I don’t even care. I just want to stare at it now. 

This goobus always makes me happy. Total derp face below. Last happy thought: the trailer for The Last Jedi. IS IT DECEMBER 15TH YET OR CAN I JUST MOVE TO THE STAR WARS UNIVERSE PLEASE?!

Your turn: happy thought for the week?

Race Recap – Bridge to Brews 10K

I needed an emotional outlet this week and a race was just the ticket! Bridge to Brews is one of the bigger Portland races that I hadn’t done yet. And one of my regular Sunday running partners was running it. So I signed the husband and I up!

The big selling point for B2B is that it’s the only race that goes over the Fremont Bridge. A quick google search informs me that it’s the second longest tiered-arch bridge in the world, and has the longest main span of any bridge in Oregon. Mostly it has good views. This is what it looks like:I’ve run over a lot of Portland bridges but not this one (because it’s a freeway) so I wanted to check it off the list. Shayne was on board and we met up with my friend Rachel and her family at Waterfront Park. Bag drop was easy peasy and before we knew it, people were lining up at the start. There wasn’t really a fanfare or anything, we just kind of went. Thankfully, the main hill comes early in this race, between miles 1 and 2 with the on-ramp to the freeway and the bridge. Rachel and I started out fast as we bobbed and weaved our way through people. We paused for a few pics at the middle of the bridge. It was overcast and not too cold – check out Mt. Hood playing hide and seek!After the Fremont Bridge, there’s a split off for the 8k and the 10k does some out and back weaving through an industrial neighborhood. Again, I’ve run these streets before in various races; it’s not the best place to run but not the worst either. Rachel and I continued to surprise ourselves with each mile (we had been aiming for an 11:20 average and kept banking significantly faster) but we both felt good and we were staying conversational! By mile 4, both of us were fairly certain that PRs were on tap for the morning. 

I snapped this shot coming over the final, less scenic Steel Bridge that I feel like I’ve run over a million times (including during the marathon). After a quick downhill off the bridge, it was an all out “horse to the barn” 0.2 miles along Naito to the finish. 

And just like that, I broke a 2 year old PR (formerly 1:11:08) and it felt amazing. Rachel PR-ed as well! It was a good confidence boost going into our upcoming half-marathon (more on other recent training in a subsequent post). My runs have been feeling great lately, which is welcome after being in a running rut for what feels like the last year. I don’t ever get to snap finishing line shots of Shayne (because he’s literally beat me in every other race we’ve done together including half-marathons he wasn’t trained for) so I was excited to get a few action pics of him coming in strong to the finish. Then it was time to celebrate! I opted out of the race medal (and saved myself $10) which was a big step for me. But I was all in for the two free beers that came with my entry! I haven’t been drinking much lately so after two beers I was feeling goooood. I enjoyed celebrating our PRs with my friend (and Shayne who had to shuttle my butt home while I loudly did some carpool kareoke). The verdict? Bridge to Brews will definitely be a repeat race for us. The beer lines were a little insane, but it’s a great medium-sized race that was efficiently organized and had some great views. 

Pros: The bridge views, race size, laid back after party. 

Cons: Literally none I can think of. I didn’t even mind running in the grittier bits of the east side because they mixed it up with some twists and turns. 

Monday Morning Happy Thoughts

Remember when I used to have to commute by public transit and I would write up these little posts on the train? Well…I’m pre-scheduling this one but I’m about to start a stressful week so I’m channeling happy thoughts once again! Here’s some random happies from recent weeks:Finally checked out Maplewood Coffee & Tea after hearing so many good things. It was a drizzly Saturday and a sudden downpour put a kink in our nursery browsing plans (Shayne is the green thumb, I am most certainly not) so we popped over to this cute little coffee shop tucked away in SW Portland. My chai was incredible and so was the orange sweet roll I had. After watching so much “Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City,” I finally bought a package of Golden Curry and followed the questionably translated recipe on the side. It was everything I dreamed of and more. How adorable is this sweatshirt from Sarah Marie Design Studio? I think it needs to live in my closet. Our kitchen sink is dinky and our faucet was leaky. We fixed one of those two problems and now we have this nice big faucet that works! Thanks Shayne!Also introduced the man to my new favorite taproom close to my office. It had been a week. We shared a taster and had a pint each. This place always has a really unique selection and I found a tasty cucumber sour on tap. Does anyone else like sours or am I singlehandedly keeping them in production? I don’t know anyone else who is a fan. 

So there’s a quick overview of some happy times (and things) from the last week. Kind of like a Friday Favorites post, but on a Monday to get your week started off right! Thanks for indulging me! I’ve got another race recap headed your way this week too!

Your turn: what happiness are you keeping in mind as we start the week?

Race Recap – Luckython 2017

One word to describe this race – SOGGY.

The Luckython was a repeat race for me; I also ran it back in 2015. I would like to think I’m in better shape now than I was in 2015, but it’s debatable. This year’s race was on March 11th, meaning if I was really motivated I could have run both this race and big Portland St. Patrick’s Day race, the Shamrock Run. I wasn’t that motivated. Luckython, organized by Uberthons (which is one of my favorite local race organizations), offers 5k, 10k, 15k, and 15k relay options for the race, and the 10k start time of 9 AM let me sleep in a bit. And by sleep in I mean listen to the pouring rain on the roof and dread running 6 miles.

I drove the 15 minutes to the start line and was directed right into a primo princess parking spot. The rain had slowed to a steady drizzle, but I still wore a hat on top of ear warmers, and a jacket. This race made me realize that I need better rain gear for running.

I only had to wait five minutes before the start of the race. Just enough time to do some stretching. Uberthons always lets you go in waves, but it’s self-seeding into paces (and as this wasn’t a half-marathon, they didn’t have pacers) so it’s always a lot of bobbing and weaving at the start. Luckython is on a golf course path, which is narrow, so I did a lot of grass scampering to get ahead of a elementary school girls running club and a few walkers before I hit a decent stride. 17310148_1283815175033048_8302866719525433532_oThis quickly turned into a mud run. Even if I hadn’t passed people in the grass, parts of the path were straight up flooded. I tried to dodge the bigger puddles but eventually just gave up. The 10k is two loops of the golf course, so at least the second lap I knew what I was in for?

I walked through the water stations, but otherwise stayed pretty consistent at my 11:20ish pace (though the first three miles don’t show it…whoops). I listened to some true crime podcasts to keep myself distracted from the fact that I was pretty soggy and miserable, which worked for the most part. I ended up with a course PR!Last time I ran this race, I was using Nike to track my runs. After crossing the finish line, I was given a GIGANTIC spinning medal to add to my collection, and immediately walked myself over to the baked potato bar for a spud with all the fixins. Butter, shredded cheddar, broccoli, bacon bits…I grabbed my official time and took my potato to go, since I wanted to get to my parents’ house before the start of the town’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. 

One thing I noticed later, which was weird, is that my watch time was two minutes faster than my chip time. Considering I started my watch before crossing the start line AND hit “finish” after I crossed, I’m not quite sure how that happened. My chip time was a course PR, but my watch time would have been a distance PR. I’ll stick with the course PR and hope for a distance PR in the near future. I borrowed less soggy shoes and socks from my mom, and enjoyed the St. Patrick’s Day parade (they don’t live in a small town, but if you watched the parades…you’d think it was) with my friends and their little one and my parents and a warm cup of coffee. 

I’ll definitely be back for another Luckython in the future…though if I would have done Shamrock this year I would have had perfect weather!

Your turn: any St. Patrick’s races for you this year?

One Short Day (At Emerald City Comicon)

This post is more on the “happy” side of Happy Healthy PDX, so if that’s not your thing, I won’t be offended if you skip this one and come back later (though my fitness endeavors have been pretty lackluster as of late). I’m running a 10K tomorrow that I’ll recap soon!

Last Saturday was a total YOLO day. I love the Outlander books and TV show. They inspired our trip to Scotland last summer. Every once in a while, I get REALLY into something (like Star Wars and Harry Potter) and Outlander has become one of those things. I love me some literary escapism, and after devoting about a year of my life to reading all 8 Outlander series novels currently available, it’s my JAM. Back when I tried to time travel in real life at Clava Cairns standing stones which were part of the inspiration for the series. 

So when I found out that the Outlander stars would be at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, I considered buying tickets. Then I didn’t buy tickets. Then, the night before, FOMO set in. So last Friday, I bought a last minute one-day badge off Craigslist and hit the road at 6 am on Saturday to meet the human embodiment of my favorite fictional man, Jamie Fraser. It was the best, most expensive five seconds of my life. The only words I remember saying were “OHMYGODCANIHUGYOU?” And it was really loud in there but obviously he said yes and I’m pretty sure he called me “darlin,” and then I blacked out from happiness and walked away with a 8×10 glossy of the above photo. 

While that experience alone was worth the six hours in the car and a few hundos, I tried to absorb as much ‘Con as I could get in that day. The expo was overwhelming, both because there were SO MANY PEOPLE and also because I wanted to buy all the things (I settled with Explodif Kittens, a new piece of Outlander jewelry, and some Millenium Falcon decals for my husband’s car).

I spent most of my time people watching/cosplay-ogling. Look at this sweet tauntaun costume!Carrie Fisher was also supposed to be a guest this year **insert sobs here.** In the spot where she would have been signing autographs, they placed a memorial wall which I obviously signed. Princess Leia was one of my favorite Halloween costumes. I also got up there early enough that I was able to brunch with some of my besties. And I drank so much coffee that I was a jittery, sweaty mess for a while. 

I totally get it now. I get why Cons are a thing. I’ve always loved fantasy stories/movies/fandoms, but reading and watching still leaves you feeling “outside” of it all. The comicon experience really lets you go all in with other people who also embrace fantasy. No one is judging, and lots of friendly people are more than happy to talk to you about their experiences. I’m already planning on Rose City Comicon in September. Will I dress up? Doubtful, but I’m not ruling it out. Mostly I love the camaraderie of like minded people. And it was so wonderful to hear stories of people who were able to go to other Outlander events last weekend and know that Sam and Cait are just as delightful in real life as they are on my TV. 

So here’s to the authors and actors and actresses that create fantastical worlds. Worlds to which I can escape when my real life is feeling too mundane. Thanks for creating characters and places that are constant and timeless. I’ve always loved you, but never celebrated you as much as you deserve. That changes now. 

Sunday Runday & A New Hobby?

Slowly but surely, I’m getting back in the swing of things. After ruminating early last week (because I had been using every excuse in the book to NOT workout), I realized I was worried that after so much time off, hopping back on the training wagon would SUCK. Surely I wouldn’t hit the paces I wanted, I would have to walk, I would get frustrated.

BUT, and my dear husband can attest, my attitude has absolutely stunk this winter. Despite the lack of work stress, I’ve been super irritable, tired, and lazy. Last Thursday, I finally said “NO MORE” and hit the track for a workout. I have a half-marathon on the calendar in May, and I want it to feel GOOD. I PR-ed my half last year, but didn’t feel like I raced it particularly smart, so I’m using some of the principles and workouts from “Run Less, Run Faster” to develop a training plan from now until race day. Last week, I started with 8×400 on a drizzly evening. Lessons learned? Well, I kind of stink at pacing. I’ve done casual track workouts before but never with a time goal; I was aiming for 2:20 400s and, as you can see, I was all over the place. 

But also, I came home feeling AWESOME. And I had zero guilt going to town on some Parmesan garlic wings at Buffalo Wild Wings afterward (that’s what happens when I get to pick date night).

I rode that running high on Friday and Saturday. Then, I had six miles on the schedule for the weekend, and a friend that agreed to partner up with me for said six miles at a women’s running meet up downtown Portland yesterday. I wanted to keep it at a 11:20ish pace but it’s been AGES since I’ve done six consecutive miles without significant walk breaks. 

You guys, it was like a dream. Aside from that first mile where I’m not quite sure what was happening. I forgot to grab my watch on the way out the door, so I started up a run on the Fitbit app, put my phone back in my belt, and then didn’t pay attention at all. I had no idea what pace we were going (my friend was kind of paying attention to her watch but mostly we were chatting). I felt awesome the whole time, no walk breaks, and didn’t even get lead legs until the last mile. 

I don’t want to say I’m completely out of my running funk, but I’m definitely feeling much better about things than I have the last few weeks. 

In other news, I went snowshoeing for the first time and loved it! It was a PERFECT day on the mountain; it snowed a little bit and then there was crazy gorgeous blue sky and now I just want to snowshoe all the time. So I guess that’s my story for the week. I’m no longer scared of running and I love the snow. 

Your turn: any snowshoeing fans? Any snowshoe racers?! I can’t even imagine!