January 6, 2011

2010 Wrap Up

warning: this became much longer than planned! whoops!

And just like that, one year ends and another begins. I went into this year with a list of goals and an even longer list of races. Not everything went according to plan, but I accomplished much more than I expected and learned a lot along the way. Looking back is kind of strange - there's a lot that I did that seems like it was so long ago and yet is was still in 2010! Besides running, I experienced some other major changes in my life, like graduating college and moving back home to Sacramento! I also scored an amazing job working at Fleet Fleet and completed my first triathlon this past summer. Amazing how much can happen in just a year : ) Looking back, I've decided to christen 2010 "the year of the marathon". In the beginning I never intended to run as many as I did (6!), but one thing just lead to another. And so without further ado, here's my 2010 running wrap up!

At the beginning of this year I was still trying to shake my bitter disappointment at the outcome of my second marathon, SBIM, which I'd trained hard for only to fall sick the day before and being forced to run/walk it. I wasn't going to let it go that easily and so I decided to get my revenge by signing up for the LA Marathon in March. I was technically training by myself this time around, although I had also signed up to be a mentor for Team in Training so I did many of my long runs with a group which was great! I also was able to incorporate the midweek Team track workouts which were a fun change of pace and really helped with my speed! It was such a rewarding experience to come back for a season in a whole new capacity, no longer a beginner but instead advising and mentoring others. I had talked 8 girls in my sorority into signing up for TNT, too, so I got to spend a lot of time running with girls I loved and watch them grow and persevere. Beautiful runs, inspiring people. I'm so grateful for all the wonderful people I met through this wonderful organization!

My first race of the year was the Valentine's themed Romeo's 4 Miler put on by UCSB. I talked my roommate into running it with me since she had just signed up for TNT. We donned purple and green tutus to represent the Team and took off for 2 loops around the campus lagoon! We ran the whole race together and had a blast, getting tons of comments on our tutus along the way. We even won "most creative team" for dressing up!
Romeo's 4 Miler (38:53)

Around this time I also started taking advantage of the pool at the campus rec center. I totally sucked at swimming, but it was a fun and challenging workout that was great for cross-training and recovery. The soak in the jacuzzi at the end of a swim certainly made swimming more appealing, too : ) it was here that I first thought about doing a triathlon, and hence the seed was planted! Other highlights from the month: I began battling shin splints and I burned my legs with an ice pack (trying to ice those shins!).

February kicked off with my first long distance race of the year, the Surf City Half Marathon down in Huntington Beach. My running buddy Stacey joined me and we had a blast! After a Saturday of pouring rain (followed by a breathtaking rainbow!) we were greeted with near-perfect running weather race day. Because of my shin splints I had planned on taking it easy but ended up being within a couple minutes of my PR! I got my sweet surfboard medal and kicked off the CA Dreamin' Race Series.
Surf City Half Marathon (2:18:58)

This month also brought me closer to the LA Marathon, meaning longer long runs. Since TNT wasn't up to that kind of mileage yet I would run their "long" run as a short run for me on Saturday and then do my long run on Sunday. I ended up doing my two longest runs, a 16 miler and a 20 miler, completely solo which was a first for me and felt like such a huge accomplishment! Of course, there was plenty of beautiful scenery to distract me : )

Mid-February I completed another race, the Roses en la Playa 5k. I met up with the Team that morning and got in a quick 40 minutes before heading downtown to the beach for the race. I had no idea how I would feel since I'd already run that morning, plus the first half of the race is a gradual uphill, but I actually ended up with a PR! This was a distance I hadn't raced much (and still haven't) but it was a nice change of pace from longer, slower running.
Roses en la Playa 5k (26:57)

When March rolled around I was gearing up for the LA Marathon. I also made the decision to run the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon with my TNT girls as my 4th marathon, just a few months after LA. Before I knew it is was race weekend. My parents came down to Santa Barbara and we drove down to LA for the weekend. Standout memory: actually getting out of my car in the middle of the freeway because of a traffic jam, along with hundreds of other runners, and walking 1.5 miles to get to the start. Typical LA, right? Although I'm not a huge fan of the city of Los Angeles, the brand new "Stadium to Sea" course was fantastic - full of energy, well-organized, and packed with lots of sights to see! Running through Hollywood and Beverly Hills and on famous streets like Sunset Blvd., Rodeo Drive, and Santa Monica Blvd. was pretty sweet, too. Despite some warm weather I managed to come in under my goal time for my first sub-5 hour finish.
LA Marathon (4:55:17)

Some other highlights from March: making my first green monster, running with my dad along my favorite SB route, and going for a bike ride on my beach cruiser, only to realize that these are not really bikes and are meant more for fashion than for riding for exercise.

April rolled around bringing with it some wet weather. My first race of the month was the SB Chardonnay 10 Miler, run along a beautiful course right next to the Pacific. I had ran this race the year before as my first official race during my season with TNT so I was hoping to PR this year. The whole Team ran it instead of our usual long run so I was able to run with my roommate for her longest run to date. I beat my time by several minutes and followed the race with a dip in the ocean with my girls : )
SB Chardonnay 10 Miler (1:42:11)

Later that month I found out that I didn't make it into the NY Marathon via the lottery, so on a whim I signed up for another huge, out-of-state marathon: the Marine Corps Marathon in October. This would add another state to my 50 states goal plus I planned to make the trip to Washington, DC a mini-vacation. At the end of the month my sorority sisters and I ran our 15 miles on schedule only to rush home to get ready for the infamous Greek volleyball tournament, ASVT, for which I had designed bikinis for my entire house. They turned out great and we had a blast but I was glad to have that stress behind me.

I headed home to Sacramento at the end of April both for a visit and to run the American River Parkway Half Marathon. I was still having some shin splint issues, but I decided to see how things go and aim for a PR if I felt good. The race was run on the bike trail by my house so my folks could easily spectate, plus I was familiar with the course. I felt surprisingly good in the beginning, and despite tiring toward the end I managed a PR by 4 minutes : )
American River Parkway Half Marathon (2:13:23)

Just a week later I was back in Santa Barbara gearing up for the SB Wine Country Half Marathon. Despite the name, the race is actually held up in the quaint old Danish town of Solvang. I ran the race with my roommate, Jackie, and since it was her first half I let her set the pace and just went along for the ride. While no PR was set it was easily the most beautiful course I've ever run. Between the vineyards, tree-specked fields, and golden meadows I hardly noticed I was running! I took about a million pictures and even some videos along the way and looking back makes me want to run it again : )
 SB Wine Country Half Marathon (2:21:14)

Mid-May the Team did our final long run - 20 miles - before the marathon in June. My plan was to run with my roommate Jordan and get her through in one piece. It ended up going slightly less than according to plan, but I will always remember when, at mile 18, I forced Jordan to climb a fence after we discovered we were going the wrong way : ) While beginning to taper for marathon #4, I decided to register for marathon #5, the San Francisco Marathon, in July. My plan was to run 3 fulls in 3 months to qualify for the Marathon Maniacs: SD in June, SF in July, and E.T. in August.

June finally arrived and with it came a big wave of events. I traveled down to sunny San Diego and, along with 8 of my sorority sisters and most of my Team, ran the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. I stuck with my roommate who was suffering from ITB pain early on, and eventually we ran into (literally, ha!) the rest of my girls around mile 20, all of whom were struggling. In total contrast I was extremely upbeat and managed to give them enough pep talks and encouragement to keep going and we all crossed the finish line, holding hands. Not my best time, but certainly a meaningful and rewarding time.
 San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon (5:45:01)

The following weekend saw the end of one big chapter of my life with graduation from UCSB. It was a great weekend filled with friends and family, smiles and tears. Immediately following my graduation my parents and I drove up to San Luis Obispo for my brother's graduation that afternoon. Yes, we graduated on the same day. No, we are not twins. The next day we were back in Santa Barbara starting the process of moving out. Let me just say I accumulated a lot of stuff over 4 years!

The rest of June was sort of a transition period for me. I moved back home to Sacramento, went to Vegas with my girlfriends to celebrate graduation, discovered the ass-kicking ways of Jillian Michaels, and even got my mom into running by creating a beginner's 5k training plan for her. All this while adjusting to running in a new, very hot, place. I had San Francisco in a few weeks so I quickly cranked up the miles again, topping out at 18 miles. I added in hill workouts, which I did on a freeway overpass for lack of anything better nearby. It didn't take long for me to miss the beautiful routes I had run in Santa Barbara. A measly river cannot make up for an ocean : ( Despite the change I still had races to train for, and so for the first time I put together a multiple-marathon training plan, ending with MCM in October.

The San Francisco Marathon came and went, and with it came a new, unexpected marathon PR! The course was beautiful, hilly, and challenging but I had a blast. It was like taking a tour of the city on foot, running along the Embarcadero, past Pier 39 and Fisherman's Warf, up and over the foggy Golden Gate, then winding through the hilly and green Golden Gate park, through Haight-Ashbury, and finishing back by the water and the Bay Bridge. The much cooler weather played a huge role in my performance, but more than that I think it was just a "good" day : )
 San Francisco Marathon (4:49:15)

July also brought some other new, exciting things for me. I was hired by my amazing local running store, Fleet Feet, where I get paid to talk about running all day, I registered for my first triathlon, and I finalized my plans for my midnight marathon in August.

August kicked off with a family vacation in Santa Cruz where I fit in a gorgeous 16 mile run on brand new territory. Back home, I realized my triathlon was in one month so I headed to my local public pool for a swim to see just how f*&#!ed I was. I also made a big investment so I could finally start really tri training - I bought a road bike!

A couple weeks later my mom and I hopped on a plane for Vegas. We spent a couple days on the sweltering strip, saw a show, then headed out into the Nevada desert for the alien-themed E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon. To date, this was by far the most unusual race I've ever run. The start time (12am, obviously) meant we were running through the night, making for strange logistics to deal with. When do you eat the day before? How about sleeping? The race was at elevation on an open highway in the middle of nowhere. The first half is a steady climb to a pass in the hills where you then descend back down for the second half. It was so weird to run in the middle of the night, and time seemed to go by strangely fast, finishing just as the sun began to rise. All the runners wore headlamps and reflective clothing which made for quite the sight! The race wasn't easy but it was certainly a unique experience. My mom even came along and volunteered at an aid station! After the race there was breakfast served at the Little A'le' Inn (get it?) in Rachel, NV (no joke) and then I was in full zombie mode the rest of the day.
E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon (5:28:18)

After recovering a bit from E.T. I quickly switched to triathlon mode and went on my first bike ride! Not long after that I went on my first "long" bike ride of 22.5 miles, much longer than the leg of my tri would be. It went well and I totally fell in love with my bike and cycling (although the sore tush took some getting used to). Later in the month I tackled a couple other new triathlon-specific things: my first brick workout and my first open water swim. Both went relatively well and gave me some confidence for my upcoming race. Before race weekend arrived I put together everything I would need and came up with a transition plan and checklist. It's amazing how much more gear there is for triathlon!

Finally the day had come for the Aflac Iron Girl Lake Tahoe Triathlon. My parents and I drove to Tahoe for the weekend and scoped out the expo and swim course the day before. That night I laid everything out and said a little prayer that I didn't drown, crash, or trip. I headed to transition bright and early, met up with my coworker who was volunteering and cheering on her roommate. I won't try and cover it all in this recap, but it was an absolutely epic experience and I can't wait to do it all again soon!
 swim (400m): 9:26
  bike (24k): 52:41
 run (5k): 28:00
Aflac Iron Girl Lake Tahoe Triathlon (1:42:12)

The month closed out with some family drama when my 94-year old grandmother became extremely ill. Running was such a great outlet during this time and I was reminded once again how grateful I am to be able to run. I also had the chance to see a race from the perspective of a spectator when my mom ran her first 5k! She did great and it was so fun to share this hobby with her : )

October rolled around and brought with it a few more races. I ran the local Urban Cow Half Marathon  and set a huge PR! I got to see a ton of familiar faces along the course including coworkers, friends, and my parents, which made the miles fly by. I hung on to the 2:05 pacer which took a lot of the stress off me and I just tried to hold on! I gave it a final kick at the end and came in a minute before the pace group. It felt good to really challenge myself and see how much faster I'd become. Overall it was a great day : )
Urban Cow Half Marathon (2:04:06)

Next up was another half, this time down in southern California. I had registered for the Long Beach Half Marathon for the sole purpose of completing the CA Dreamin' Race Series. It was a whirlwind of a weekend: I flew down and stayed with a college friend, ran the race the following morning (2nd fastest half time), then immediately hopped on a plane, stinky clothes and all. The course was fun and beautiful and the race was well organized. In the end I took home not one medal but two, thanks to the huge CA Dreamin' one I'd earned!
 Long Beach Half Marathon (2:07:59)
CA Dreamin' Racing Series

Between the two halfs I'd started to have some hip pain that forced me to take things a little easier with the Marine Corps Marathon coming up. I started going to yoga again to see if that might help and once again became hooked. I almost forgot what a fantastic workout it can be! My hips continued to give me problems, but I set my goals for MCM regardless...

Halloween weekend my mom and I flew out to Washington, DC and spent our first couple days sightseeing. The Marine Corps Marathon was my goal marathon this year and I was aiming for a big PR. The course was utterly amazing! It was basically a tour of DC on foot, taking us past the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Capitol, and so much more. The race was huge with tons of runners and spectators. Lots of marines out there made it quite inspiring, too. I was on pace for my goal til mile 15 then had to slow because of hip pain, but still managed a pretty big PR. Definitely one of my favorite races!
Marine Corps Marathon (4:34:52)

After MCM I took some time to recover and I made some big plans for 2011. Next up was the Clarksburg Country 20 Miler in preparation for CIM, which I affectionately refer to as my death march. I'm not even going to discuss it here. It sucked.
Clarksburg Country 20 Miler (3:53:13)

I closed out the month and kicked off the holiday season with our local turkey trot, the Run to Feed the Hungry. My dad and I ran it together, upgrading from the 5k we did last year to the 10k this year. It was a beautiful day and I was really impressed with how well my dad did! Great way to start off Thanksgiving : )
Run to Feed the Hungry 10k (59:36)

Just a couple weeks later I had my final race of the year, the California International Marathon. I was excited to run my local marathon, but I was definitely feeling a little burnt out at this point so I had no idea how it would go. I ran it easy, lost some steam 3/4 through but met up with my dad who rode his bike along side me the rest of the race and kept me moving. Saw a lot of familiar faces and got to run on my home turf. I even finished with my second fastest marathon time!
CIM (4:43:15)

After CIM I took a much needed break for the rest of December. I ran a handful of times but did a lot more yoga and strength training. I celebrated my 23rd birthday, got into the Way Too Cool 50k, and spent a wonderful Christmas with my family. It was a wonderful end to an even more wonderful year.

As I wrote this and looked back at all my posts from this past year it was amazing to think of just how much can happen in a year. I ran 6 marathons, 4 half marathons, my first triathlon, and a smattering of shorter races. I grew not only as a runner but as a person, closing out one chapter of my life and beginning the next. I accomplished many goals while simultaneously setting new ones. Thank you to all of you who have followed along on this journey.

Here's to an even better 2011!


  1. I'm new to your blog so I loved this recap - what a year! :-)

  2. Your recap was awesome, awesome, awesome! One of my highlights in 2010 was finally getting to meet you, my sweet friend! I loved this post. So awesome to see what you accomplished! Here's to an awesome 2011!

  3. I loved this post. So awesome to see what you accomplished! Here's to an awesome 2011!
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