Tag Archive | Hot Chocolate 15K

Farewell to a Decade!

2019 is almost over, and with it we are leaving behind another decade.  Like every year, it has had its ups and downs, but sadly this year they were overshadowed by losing my Dad.  There were other joys and experiences, but between working through my grief and starting my new job, the happy times were just more subdued this year, and that’s okay.

  1. Dad died suddenly in February.  It has been hard without him; never having had the opportunity to say goodbye or tell him I love him one more time.  He left behind a lot of estate and probate stuff for my mom to work through, which is difficult to face when you are grieving.  All the milestones are new ones in our life without him.
  2. I did a 15K this year in March with my friends.  I didn’t train, as it was less than a month after dad died, but I finished.  My time with my friends is dear to me; they are a lifeline when I need them most. 
  3. Mom and I took a few days away in March and flew down to Tucson.  It was a nice mother-daughter trip, with some laughter, and definitely some tears, with both of us grieving. 
  4. I started a new job in March.  There’s a learning curve, and there was some drama in the beginning (not my drama!), but things there are good; the people are kind and reasonable and I feel valued.
  5. I visited Astoria in May; I met Jeff and the kids there for a Memorial Day long weekend of fun.  It was nice to check the place out and see some familiar places and some new ones.  Making new memories is always good! 
  6. I visited Westport, on the coast of Washington, in June with friends.  I had never been there.  The weather was cool and sort of rainy, which made for less than ideal camping weather, but we had fun checking out the lighthouse, grilling some delicious food, and walking the beach. I added a ton of sand dollars to my collection! 
  7. In July, Jeff and the kids and I took a whirlwind trip down to Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California. It was so much fun camping and hiking and checking out the waterfalls! Lassen is definitely a place I want to get back to soon.

    Lassen Volcanic National Park

  8. I didn’t do much hiking this summer because I was experiencing a lot of pain in my belly, but I did go on a couple of hikes.  My hike to Watson Lakes with Lelani was so much fun!
  9. Jeff and I met near Salem, Oregon on Labor Day weekend for a few days.  We checked out the Oregon State Hospital Museum, the Salem Farmer’s Market, and enjoyed our time together.  We also took a day to hike Silver Falls State Park, and saw all the beautiful waterfalls!  What an amazing experience! 
  10. In October, my girlfriends and I did a 10K in town.  It was fun to support a great charity and get some exercise as well!
  11. On December 23, I had a total abdominal hysterectomy.  I have been having pain and other troublesome symptoms for years, so it was time, but it was still scary to be wheeled into the operating room that morning!  My surgeon and nursing team were awesome and everything went smoothly.  My family came to the rescue, setting me up at home and taking care of me for the first several days.  My uterus and its benign fibroid tumors weighed over 5 pounds (a healthy uterus should weigh about 2-4 ounces) – 5 pounds of extra stuff in my belly causing havoc!  I am still healing, and moving pretty slow right now, but am already feeling relief from my symptoms and can tell I will be feeling better in no time! 

2020 is a whole new decade, and one that should have some new beginnings for me.  I’ll be able to spend more time with Jeff and the kids, and once I recover from my surgery, I’ll be able to get back to my active life!  Here’s to a lot of good things coming soon!

May the New Year bring you all peace and joy.

 

Muscle Memory

When I was in college, my father tore his rotator cuff.  My childhood home had a really steep driveway, and he slipped on some ice and fell down, catching his fall with his right hand.  Dad was right handed, and he lost a lot of use in that arm.  He couldn’t raise his arm above his shoulder anymore, and the doctors told him that he shouldn’t bowl anymore.  My dad loved bowling; I never knew him to not be on a team or two, from as early as I could remember.

Dad got pretty mopey after his injury, and at one point was very down in the dumps feeling sorry for himself.  I was over at my parents’ house when he was complaining that he couldn’t do things anymore, because he couldn’t use his right hand.  The task at hand that day – changing the light bulb in the hallway.

I was annoyed by his attitude, and I got pretty snarky with him and told him he was just going to have to figure things out.  I dragged a chair over to the hallway, pulled down the light fixture cover, and changed the light bulb, all with my left hand.  I told him that if I could do it, so could he.

The next week, dad asked if I wanted to go bowling on Sunday morning.  He was going to learn how to bowl with his left hand.  We went together several Sundays, and talked about life and school and whatever came to mind, while he practiced left handed bowling.  After a little time away, he went back to his league and spent the next 20-some years bowling as a lefty.

This morning I finished a 15K; the Hot Chocolate Run in Seattle.  It was my second time doing this distance, although if you read here you know I have done many half-marathons.

I haven’t been training; I haven’t even been exercising as much as I normally do in the last several weeks since my dad died.  I’ve just been trying to get through all the day to day stuff.  Yesterday I felt like absolute garbage.  But I didn’t want to bow out of the race.

While I was walking and jogging this morning, under a clear blue, cloudless sky, I was reminded that sometimes all you can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, and keep looking up, and keep knocking the miles and tasks off the list.  You just have to let the muscle memory take over.  Even if you don’t feel like you can.  Even if you don’t want to.  Because you can do it.  And someday, you’ll want to again.

I’m also blessed to be surrounded by amazing women who lift me up and carry me, even when they might not even realize they are.  They are a big part of why I crossed that finish line this morning.

I finished the 9.3 miles in 2 hours, 14 minutes and 14 seconds, for a pace of 14:25 per mile.  It wasn’t a fast time, and I didn’t run as much of the race as I normally would, but I finished.

Just keep going.  You got this.

Seattle Hot Chocolate 15K 2018

On March 4, 2018, I ran my first ever Hot Chocolate 15K.  Two of my girlfriends, Katie and Katy, went with me, and we had such a fun girls weekend!

Katy and I drove down on Saturday, picked up Katie, and the three of us went down to the Seattle Center to pick up our race packets and go to the Expo.  They had a lot of great vendors, and some great freebies!  We had some hot chocolate, posed for some photos, and got our race gear!  The race had some really nice medium weight pullover fleecies; I love it and have been wearing it on my road trip when I need something more than a t-shirt, but don’t want something too warm.  Katy treated us all to 15K shoe bling too – girl power!

We stayed at Katie’s house the night before the race and got up really early to head into downtown Seattle.  The traffic at 5:45 in the morning!!!  It was sooooo cold the morning of the race!  I knew we would warm up and be fine once we were running, but waiting for the start was very chilly!

Waiting to start

The course was ok; to be honest I wish it would have been more scenic.  It winds around downtown Seattle, and they closed off the Battery Street tunnel for runners to run through – how many Seattle-ites can say they have run through the Battery Street Tunnel?!  Sadly, there are a lot of dirty, littered parts of Seattle.  It reminded me that I am more a small town girl.  The highlights are definitely running across the Aurora Bridge, and heading back in toward the finish line and seeing the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project Museum (although I think they might have changed the name of this iconic museum?) brightening up the view at the end.

The race has some really amazing volunteers – it is sponsored by Allstate Insurance, and their employees manned water stations and cheered us on.  I love when a race has a good cheering section.  Along the way, there were some really cool Seattle residents who got up early and had the music booming from their decks and yards – it really gives a boost to my motivation.

There are definitely some tough hills on this course!!!  However, the fact that it is only 9.3 miles meant that I wasn’t as fatigued as I would have been on a half-marathon with the same hills.  I felt like I still had energy at the end of the race – the 15K distance was good for me!

I ended up finishing in 2:05:45, or a 13:30 minute mile pace.  I was happy with that, considering I really hadn’t trained at all for this race (which has become all too common on my races lately!).  I knew I could do the distance with muscle memory!

After the race, we got our hot chocolate goodies.  A cup of super-rich hot chocolate, and a melted chocolate dipping sauce with a banana, pretzels and cookie to dip in it…  Sooooo good…  It was just what we needed, with a little hot chocolate sectioned cup to take home after the race.  We couldn’t linger too long though, because it was still so cold!

Post Race Hot Chocolate

We headed out from downtown Seattle, and avoided the departing traffic by stopping in Ballard for brunch at the Portage Bay Café.  A mimosa and avocado toast really hit the spot for me – this place did not disappoint!

Brunch and cocktails!

I am so blessed to have such amazing girlfriends.  They love me, they build me up, I can share both my trials and joys, and I get to feel the incredible bond of girlfriends.  I LOVE these ladies!  This was another example of the wonderful life I get to enjoy.