Sunday, December 28, 2008

Great, big ::sigh::

'Member how I mentioned that me knee wasn't cooperating with me in my last post? Well, if it had legs and feet of its own, it'd have jumped up and kicked me in the head today. I've been taking it really easy the past couple of weeks to see if I could sweet talk it into working with me and sometimes that seems to work...other times it doesn't. I've been noticing sometimes that it feels like it's twisting and threatening to pop out when I turn my body (hmmm, maybe I don't actually move my feet when I try to turn???) hurts, but not enough to make me cry and it goes away pretty quick. Anyway, I've been doing a lot more resting than moving lately. Still, my long runs are important to me for so, so, so many reasons. First of all, they're just important to my training...if I can't get in the weekly long runs, howTF am I going to run 26 miles in June? Secondly, they're my time. Even when I'm with people, we have our conversations, catch up on what we've missed in each others' lives, and then we kind jam out to our iPods, get lost in our thoughts or whatever it is that we do. I need that break. Between my insane work schedule (which is FINALLY slowing down...for a whole 2 months...maybe) and studying my ass off for a test I'm not sure I'll ever pass, I really look forward to my Saturday mornings.

So I had 7 miles on the schedule for this weekend. Not super long, but the longest since Denver and I was really looking forward to it, even though I had a bad feeling about it. I found out late Friday that our original plan (6 miles from Hell in Placitas + another mile thrown in somewhere else) was cancelled due to ice and snow, so I decided to sleep in a little and hit the Bosque. I got up at 8.00 and texted Denise to let her know I was getting ready to head out...luckily she got my message and warned me that the windchill was 4* out. FOUR DEGREES. I'm crazy - I like the cold weather. Actually, I LOVE the cold weather. But 4* and windy...Yikes. No, thank you. I decided to wait a few hours and see if it warmed the meantime I studied some (booo) and played Wii Fit (OMG, the best thing in the whole world!). Noon rolls around and it's still insanely is cancelled and I'll spend the rest of the day studying (bigger BOOOO!) and trying to keep warm...7 miles can be done on Sunday.

Today rolls around and I head out for my run around 1.45 (I spent the morning studying again...I swear, if I don't pass this section...) but just walking up to the trail didn't feel right. I felt this creaking in my left knee but I was convinced that I just needed to warm up and the walk to the 8 mile mark would be perfect...not so much. I started to run and about 5 steps in...OUCH! Ok, I must need a longer warm up...a half mile more would be perfect. About 5 more steps and OUCH again. Needless to say, my 7 mile run wound up being more of a 3 mile walk. I'm not very happy with this at all, but I'm taking the week completely off running. None. Nada. Instead, I'll hit the pool tomorrow and swim laps. I don't even know how many to do since I haven't really been doing any swimming training. I know it's a gross overexaggeration, but this seriously feels like one of the worst days of my life. And there's still 12 days till I see the ortho. :(

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Well that's a bummer

I got my results for the CPA exam. I got a 71...I needed a 75 to pass. 4 stinkin' points. I'm pretty upset over it, although the margaritas Denise and I went for yesterday helped the pain a little. I have the next section on Jan 16 and I'll most likely re-take this section soon after that since I was so close. Stupid test.

Add to that the fact that my left knee has decided to stop cooperating with me. It started bothering me after track a couple of weeks ago. It's mostly stiff with some sharp pains every once in a all comes and goes though. I finally broke down and saw a doctor for it yesterday since I also dislocated this knee about 10 years ago and the last time I had it looked at the torn ligament wasn't healing right. The doctor thought it felt like it was moving okay and the xrays came back looking really good, so now she's worried about that ligament too. I have an appointment with an orthopedics doctor on Jan 9. In my regular doctor's words, there's a chance they'll have to "intervene" but that's for them to decide. I'm not even going down that road right now. I knew it was a possibility when I injured it in high school ortho then told me I' might need surgery by the time I was 25...but 25 was so far off at that time! It was nothing to worry about! Well, I'll be 26 in April...time flies when you're having fun.

Anyway, I hope to pop back in before the holiday, but if I don't have a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Next year's schedule

looks full...very, very full. I need to sit down with the calendar and figure all this out. Looks like my "secret" goal of running ~1200 miles in 2009 might be something I'll accomplish. It's "secret" because I'm thinking that if I don't tell anyone, no one will know when I fail...except you all know now. I'm Emailing one of the Fleet Feet owners tomorrow to talk about Seattle training for next year too...we spoke briefly today and she shares my enthusiasm for 22 mile runs. Actually, I'm not really sure that I have enthusiasm for 22 mile runs, but I have enthusiasm for training well and meeting my (very secret) time goal, so 22 miles seems like a good way to get there. And that's just Seattle...that's not even saying I get into NYC...and if I don't get into NYC, I'm still finding a fall marathon. I know, I'm insane. Just wanted to share that with you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I ccccan't feel my ffffingers...

Oh. My. God. I finished the Farolito 5k about two hours ago and I'm just starting to warm up. I cannot believe how cold that run was. The weather sites I've checked said it was/is about 30* but the winds were out of control and the "feels like" temp was around 20*...and I believe that. We got to the Academy about 10 minutes to 5 (race time was 5.30) and met up with Denise and Francine. Francine was already threatening to skip the running and go straight to the hot chocolate we were planning on for afterwards, and in retrospect, that may not have been a horrible idea. Being that this was an Athletes Edge race, it was no surprise that a) the start line was 100 miles away from the finish line AND where everyone was gathering, so we had to hike to that (did I mention it was like 20* outside? And it really felt like 3*?) and b) it started late. I have no clue how late because my jacket sleeve is hard to pull up over my watch and by that time my fingers were frozen and in pain, but it felt like we waited about 4 hours, so we'll go with that. I stand by my well-known and earlier documented dislikement of AE.

So we get started and Denise says something along the lines of "We're really weird people for doing this." I can't help it, I have to correct her. Maybe the freezing wind froze her brain for a second or something, but we weren't weird...we were eff'ing insane for doing that...although that didn't stop us. We took one walk break at Mile 1 but it wasn't long. The course was dark and outlined in the was gorgeous, but if Denise didn't have her headlamp, I'm sure I would have face planted into the ground somewhere along the way. The course wound it's way through the Academy on the road, through some parking lots, across the campus, on a small, dirt path (not for long...again, I would have died if it hadn't been for Denise's lamp was safely in the car) and we finished with one lap around the (icy...yes, ICY) track. We finished in 39:48. Not great, but under 40:00. The hubs was there in time to watch me finish but he headed to the car immediately after. We wrapped up the night with a huge special hot chocolate at Starbucks and the hubs and I picked up some dinner on our way home. I now sit here with a beer as I relay the heroic story to you all.

All in all, this could be a fun race. The dark is scary...not because I'm afraid of mosters jumping out at me but because I have an insane fear of falling (seriously, I can't walk through a parking lot without thinking about falling). But even without my insane fear, it was just really dark and I think a headlamp is necessary for this race...the farolitos are pretty, but they don't create much light. AE needs to be more organized, but I've been saying this for months (I couldn't even get safety pins when I picked up our packets). There were no water stops along the course, which wasn't an issue for me, but for others it may have been (had this been during the day or in the summer, I would be raising hell). I'm not sure that I'll be doing this again next year. I think it'd be fun, but I'd probably be more willing to chicken out if the weather was this nasty.

Farolito 5k

Tonight we have the Farolito 5k and I'm super excited about it, even though according to it's 34* but feels like 24* because of all the wind. Yes, in's not always sunshine and heat. In fact, it snowed up where the race is going to be held this morning.

For those of you who don't know what a farolito (also known as a luminaria) is, it's a lantern made out of a paper bag filled with sand and lit with a candle. They're a hispanic thing and are very popular in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas...Old Town Plaza in Albuquerque puts up a beautiful display every Christmas. You can find more info here.

Anyway, the course for tonight's 5k is inside the Albuquerque Academy grounds and is lined with farolitos, which is why the race is run at night. I've heard it's a fun race, so I'm really looking forward to it. And, to make it even better, the hubs and I went out today and bought each other our Christmas presents and exchanged them early...brand new CWX tights. :)

I'll have a race report after I thaw out and have some hot choclate with my ABQ Fitters.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Starting Over

Tomorrow I'm registering with next year's season of In Motion and ABQ Fit...I can't believe it's already been about a year since I started this. I remember on the first day of In Motion (the beginner's group that comes before ABQ Fit starts) we were splitting up into our proper groups. There was a beginner's group that would train towards their first 5k (this is the one I joined, obviously), a 10k group for people who had a little more experience and a half marathon group for the people who were slightly crazy. The morning of our first meeting they also announced that there would be a group of people training for the San Diego RnR Marathon that summer and they would be doing their runs the same time we were...we were free to join them too...just in case slightly crazy half-marathoning wasn't enough for you. I remember standing there, freezing in the February cold, surrounded by ~200 other people and thinking that that small group who walked off together was completely, totally insane. That thought was immediately interrupted by the realization that I was there because I hoped to accomplish the same goal as them...but not for another 8 months. And in the summer months...while I knew I was still considered crazy, I was not quite as insane as they were. Except that this year I will be one of them.

Anyway, in short, I can't wait for my second season. I've made some really good friends in this group, the hubs is thisclose to joining with me (to do a half), and I think I can really improve. It's amazing what difference a year can make.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Trek 5k!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! To celebrate the holiday Mike and I got up early, squeezed ourselves into spandex (ok, he didn't need to do much squeezing but all the eating I've done lately and the lack of movement has not been good to my weight loss) and we headed out for our first Thanksgiving race. Albuquerque had a couple of things going on today but we chose to do the Turkey Trek, a 5k sponsored by Fleet Feet and held at ABQ Uptown...Fleet Feet is also the new sponsor of ABQ Fit (HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!) so I was interested to see how this race would go. Also, this was my first 5k ever (I know, I've run a marathon, but never a 5k)

It figures that today is cold and rainy...Mike's most hated running weather, but some of my favorite. We got to ABQ Uptown a little before 8.00 to meet up with Denise and Francine and a few other ABQ Fitters that were running this race. Mike lined up near the front, where he belongs, Denise and I headed towards the back. We were hoping to finish around 40:00 but overall I just wanted to have a good time and get my day of eating off to a good start. :) The course was was on the streets and went from ABQ Uptown to Cornado Mall and then back. There was a water stop a miles 1 and 2 which was plenty and the volunteers were nice and enthusiastic, which was really asking a lot considering it was cold and wet out and they were standing out there watching a bunch of crazies run around. It was a little hilly, but nothing impossible (of course, running the Academy last night left me with tired legs so the first hill wasn't very fun). Denise and I really pushed it the last half mile though and finished together in 37:00 flat...shattering her last 5k time by 7 minutes and beating my goal of 40:00. Needless to say, I'm pleased.

Now it's on to the reward...a day of turkey, wine and pie. I really couldn't ask for me. Have a good holiday!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Back to it!

So I sat for my first section of the CPA exam yesterday. That was hell. Picking the biggest, hardest (really, they're all hard, this one just happens to have the most information in it) section to start with - during my busy season at work, no less - was not the smartest thing I've ever done. But I'm done. I at least know what to expect for the next 3 times I have to go through this (god, please let it only be 3 more times!). I'm taking the next week off studying and will sit for the next section, law and tax, on January 16. That'll be fun...I avoid tax at all cost.

To celebrate being done with this part I did a few things. First, I chopped off even more of my to come once I actually do it. I now look like a boy, but I like it. It'll take me about 5 minutes to do it in the morning. I then met up with Denise for margaritas - that girl is awesome! And, to top it all off, I dragged my lazy, fat ass out of bed at 7.00 this morning to start running again. I stuck with Denise for her 8 min/2 min run/walk interval and we did just under 4 miles. I was secretly happy she didn't have her watch with her today, which made it easier for me to stick with her and do the run/walk intervals...I haven't run in 2 weeks (at all...the most running I've done has been from the computer to the fridge and that's just b/c the floor is cold and I'm in a hurry to get back to the heating pad I've stuck on the floor for my feet). It was HARD! And Tramway might not have been the best idea for my first run back, but that didn't occur to me until I was half way up the first hill.

Anyway, it's good to be back. I have a better study schedule set for the next section of the exam so it looks like I'll be able to stick with running and hopefully be back up to doing 8-12 miles every weekend around Christmastime. I'm so looking forward to getting back into the mileage!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tomorrow's the day...

I sit for my first section of the CPA exam. I don't feel 100% ready, but I doubt I ever will. Once this is over I can have some kind of life again...sitting for the biggest, hardest part first - and during my busy season at work - was not smart. Cross your fingers I don't have to retake it. All I want is a 75%!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm alive...barely...

So I know it's been a gazillion years since I've updated this thing, and trust me, I've wanted to. Especially since I got my tattoo!!! No, I don't have the most attractive feet ever, and yes, I still have a very sexy sock line from running all summer, but there you have it. For those of you lazy people who don't feel like scrolling down like 2 posts, it means "Determination" in Greek. The marathon has Greek origins, hence the language. Also, I put it on my right foot since I had problems with it before my race and seriously thought I wasn't going to make it to Denver...Stupid foot. Originally it was going to go on my left foot, but after that little experience, I decided the right had more significance to me. Also, my sister, Aliza translated it and drew it for me. Super cool! It hurt - bad - but not as bad as I was expecting. There were no tears. :)

But besides this, there has been no excitement in my life. I sit for the CPA exam, aka: "That Damned Test That's Taking Over My Life And I Don't Think I'm Going To Pass So I'll Be Doing This For The Next 10 Years," next Friday (the 21st). I haven't had time to do anything at all. I go to work at about 7AM and leave/get back to my car at about 5.30PM (depending on whether or not I'm working out of town - 98% of the time I'm in Grants or Santa Fe). I get home around 6.00 and start studying around 6.30 or 7.00 and usually try and go until 10.30 or 11.00. Needless to say, I'm not learning very much because I do all this stuff ALL DAY LONG, then come home and mess with the theory behind it some more...I'm only getting about 5 1/2 hrs of sleep every night and I'm exhausted. I don't have time to run. I don't have time to bike. I don't have time to clean. I DO, however, have time to bitch and whine about how much this sucks.

So, with that said, I'll sign off before I go off on some random vent about how stupid it is to discounts bonds. Because it is. No one does it in real life.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Now what???

I met up this morning with the ex-ABQ Fitters who are running the San Antonio Rock n Roll in a couple of weeks. They did between 10 and 12 since they're starting their taper, and even though I'd wanted to do 10, I held back and did 5. I figured that since I haven't done a serious run since the race (the ~20 shuffle thing that I did on Monday doesn't count) I should have some restraint. My goal is to get out a few times next week, but since the time has to go and change on me and all, we'll see how that goes. The dreadmill and I are not friends. Something tells me it's going to be another long, cold, dark winter running little circles around my condo community. Not fun.

I feel a little lost though. When I first started running it was because I wanted to run this marathon and it was going to be super hard and I couldn't run unless I was being chased...and even then, I'd probably just give up and hope I could talk my way out of whatever horrible fate I was facing. So going out every Saturday morning and several times during the week was something I had to do if I wanted to get to the training. Once I got through In Motion and started with ABQ Fit, it was time to get serious. I'd already proved to myself that I could get something I just had to finish it. So I got up even earlier on Saturday and never saw friends on Friday nights...I didn't want to feel too tired. If I missed a run, I'd make it up, even if it meant doing it alone for hours and hours at a time. But it was so easy to do - I had this huge, giant goal sitting there staring at me, saying "If you don't do this now, you'll never make it." Well, I did the training and I completed my goal.

Now what?

I don't have that let down feeling that I've been told to expect. I'm still elated over the fact that I ran a marathon and I can't wait for the next one...but it's not till June. It's WAY too early to train for it now. Part of me wants the break from the high mileage, but part of me misses it already. I found a 10k that I'll do on Thanksgiving morning and there's a 5k and a sprint triathlon I want to do in December but for some reason those just don't have me quite as excited. Well, the tri does, but I know I'm not going to do that great because I'm not training.

Anyway...I guess I just need to find a race close to home between now and June. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


It's gone. Gone gone gone. I almost don't know what to do with myself...and it's not just the running...I know that'll come back fairly quickly. It's with everything. I sit for the first section of the CPA exam in about 3 weeks and I am not prepared at all. I'm on chapter 3 of a 9 chapter book and I'm messing around on The Nest. I know I need to study. I actually kind of WANT to study because I really, really, really want to pass this section. But I want to know what's going on in the lives of my Internet friends too. I keep thinking that if I put half the effort I put into my training into my studying, I'll pass. Yet, here I sit, typing out a blog entry. I lead a sad, little life.

And sometime in December there will be a post from me whining about how I failed miserably. I really need to pull my crap together. :(

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm taking the plunge

I'm getting a new tattoo. I've said for the past several months that I'd do it if/when I finished the race, but I had a hard time figuring out exactly what I wanted. I'm not big on pictures (so no running shoes, or pictures of little running dudes or anything like offense to anyone who has something like that, I've just never been into it) so I was kinda stumped. I finally decided that I wanted something written in Greek (since the marathon has Greek origins) and I thought "Victory" would be kinda cool...except "victory" translated into Greek is "Nike." Yeah, loses some of it's coolness. Even when put into Greek characters, I knew what it meant and I just couldn't bring myself to walk around with "Nike" written on my body for the rest of forever.

Anyway, my sister Aliza, who rocks by the way, helped me translate a few things (she's a History major and has taken some Greek I said, she rocks) but none of it seemed right. Finally a couple of weeks ago the hubs and I were talking about it (well, I was talking and he was sitting there quietly and nodding his head when appropriate...he's not a tattoo fan) and he came up with a great idea...the word "Determination." I let it sink in and hmm...I like it. I like it a lot. It describes the whole journey in one, little word...exactly what I was looking for. Since it was kinda late, I just threw it into an online translator and went with whatever popped out and thought...hmm, looks good too. This is it. Thank god I remembered to ask Aliza to look into the translation yesterday though because it turns out the word I found was "Definition" not "Determination" so that could have been a huge mistake. So Aliza translated it last night, drew it out for me and now I have an appointment on Saturday, Nov 8 to get it permanently engraved on my right foot (remember my foot problems? That's why I want it on my right foot). Aliza did such a good job drawing it out that the artist suggested going with what she drew, making changes only for some spacing issues. Have I mentioned that my sister rocks?

Anyway, this is what it translates to, except it's in my sister's handwriting and the first A is capitalized, and actually the "a" is not supposed to look like this at all, but this is the best I can find online:


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The reason we're all here...

I've had a hard time thinking about what I would say when I actually got around to sitting down and putting my thoughts out here in cyberspace. The buildup to Sunday was so long and once the race was actually over it took a while for me to sort out my fact, I'm still in the process of sorting them out, so I'm sure I'll be coming back to this down the road.

Sunday morning came faster than I thought it would, but at the same time, it felt like it was taking sooo long. We got up at 4.30 AM so I'd have enough time to eat, get dressed and make my way down to the starting line. Even though I was so tired Saturday night, I couldn't sleep. I wasn't really nervous, but I just had a hard time. It didn't seem to matter though - I was wide awake when the alarm went off, and I didn't even need the second alarm to go off before I was out of bed and eating my pre-run breakfast (pop tart and banana for those of you nosey people). At 5.45 me, Mike and my mom all headed down to the starting area to meet up with Denise. The entire time, I felt nerves at all. I was just really excited. I think it helped that I'd spent the past couple of days telling myself that it was "just another long run."

I finally went to line up at 6.45 and made my way all the way to the back of the pack...I know where I belong! On my way back there though I found a 5:30 pace group and I stopped - big mistake. After chatting with them for a while, I admitted that 6 hours was probably more realistic for me, but I'd start out with them and just try to keep their balloons in sight. They were such a cool group of people! Honestly, if they weren't so nice, I would have been smarter and left them alone! I didn't even hear the gun go could have been because I was so far back, or - most likely - because I was too busy running my mouth with my new found friends. Anyway, before I knew it, we were off! I stayed with the pace group for the first mile and then realized that as much fun as they were, there was no way I was going to manage that pace for the next 25 miles, so I dropped back. It was so sad seeing their balloons slowly bounce away in the distance, but by Mile 12, I couldn't see them at all anymore.

I wish I was able to break the race down mile by mile, but I really can't. I was out there for hours and hours, and I know it was a long time, but it's still a blur. The course was so pretty and wound it's way through downtown Denver and past some points-of-interest in the city, as well as some gorgeous parks and some really fun neighborhoods. The race went very well for me. I know it wasn't fast by any means, but it wasn't bad. The only horrible thing that happened was my iPod froze up at Mile 18 and a race official was a few feet away when I made that horrible discovery...and he had news for me. He said "Just so you know, you're about 2 minutes slower than the 6 hour pace." Yes, thank you for pointing out my's not breaking news. He wasn't being rude, and it WAS the truth, but talk about horrible timing. Anyway, I was forced to finish the last 8 miles with no music. 8 long, grueling miles.

Everyone told me that the marathon really starts at Mile 20, but I don't think it got much harder until Mile 22...but even at that, I honestly don't think I ever hit the wall. I was literally expecting a giant brick wall to drop from the sky at any moment, but it never did. I won't lie - it hurt. My legs hurt. My back hurt. My feet hurt. There was this clapping sound in my ear that wouldn't go away, so even my ear hurt. But it wasn't the kind of pain that makes you want to stop. I never once asked myself "Why am I doing this?" I saw Mike, Denise and my mom at Mile 23 and I said "This is so hard. way." But the second the words were out of my mouth, I wondered why I'd said them. Yes, it was so hard. It was, by far, one of the hardest things I've ever done, but OF COURSE I was still doing Seattle! I'd been re-thinking my training program the last couple of miles by that point, 100% intent on doing even better then.

Also somewhere in the 23rd or 24th mile a bunch of bicycles had caught up to me and another woman near me. I heard them talking amongst themselves and figured out that they were part of the race crew and were sweeping the course...but I was going to be the last road racer. Yep, you read that right. They decided to open the road right behind me. I don't know how I pulled that one off, but I'm so glad I did. It would have been horrible to have to finish on the sidewalks! Anyway, this got me and the other woman talking and I found out that she was turning 50 soon and she had just finished up her last round of radiation the week before the race...she'd survived thyroid cancer. It took everything inside of me to not stop running right then and there and burst into tears. We spent the next couple of miles going back and forth, one of us in front of the other. At 25.75 she caught up to me again and said "Can I stay with you? You're going to finish this thing and I'm not sure I will. I need to be with someone who will finish." I showed her my watch and said "We have less than 3/4 of a mile to go. We're both going to finish!" The next thing I knew, Mike was by my side saying "the finish line is right around that corner, you're going to run a marathon!" I looked up and saw the 26 Mile marker and took off.

The shoot was so long and I felt like I was running so fast down it. My legs were on fire and my feet felt like they were bruised and blistered, but I couldn't stop. I heard the announcer say "Here comes Valerie into the finish line" and all I could think was "raise your arms for the picture!" I swear, hearing the beep of the timing mat was one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard. My mom, Mike and Denise were all standing right in front of the finish line and I couldn't help jumping on top of Mike as soon as I was done. It was officially one of the happiest moments of my life.

(In order: Almost there, FINISHED!, and Completely Exhausted but rocking the pink Crocs!)

The official chip time was 6:08:15 and I was the last one in my age group. I'm 100% happy with it. :)

I've read so many marathon race reports and thought how can it be so're out there for so long??? But really, it's so hard to summarize the entire race and to put it into words. It's really something that you need to experience and even then, I don't think it'd ever be the same for different people. I've heard so many times that running a marathon will change your life, and I'm still waiting to see the change in mine. No matter where I go, or what happens to me down the road, I'll always be a marathoner. Emotionally, I feel a little different. I feel like I can take on anything now. And even though it sounds a little dumb, the fact that I did those last 8 miles without my iPod - my lifeline - I feel even stronger for it. I feel proud of what I've done...not only the race, but the fact that my husband has definitely decided he's doing the next half marathon that comes up and most like a full within the next year or so...and our friend, who despised running only a year ago, is so excited and motivated now and has decided he wants to give a marathon a shot. Inspiring others was something that I never thought would come of this, but if it I'm speechless. For once.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I survived!

Official time was 6:08:15. I'll have a full report tomorrow or Tuesday.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I am so nervous. I'm sitting in my hotel room right now, waiting for Mike to get back from the gym (yeah, he's that crazy and won't even take a day off during vacation). We went to the expo last night and picked up my race packet...I couldn't believe how emotional just that experience was. I'll admit it - I got teary. I can't believe I'm here! We spent a little bit of time walking around the expo, spending a little bit of money...I did a lot better than I thought I would and I only bought this little belt thing that holds your bib on it and has a little pouch that expands to hold all kinds of goodies. Oh, and I bought my 26.2 sticker to put on my car tomorrow afternoon too. The weirdest part was that there are no finishers shirts...I was very disapppointed, but I guess I'll have to settle for something else. Oh! And I found a pace bracelet for a 6 hour marathon! I know that's insanely slow, but it's what I'm hoping for (ok, I'm truly hoping that something magical will happen and I'll finish in under 4 hours, but just incase...). Anyway, I grabbed one of those sad is it that you're SO happy to find a 6 hour pace bracelet and then realize that they put the Boston Qualifying times right in front of it? Yeah, way to rub it in that I will NOT be finishing in the 3:40 needed to go to Boston next year.

Anyway, I'm heading back today for a lecture on Marathon Nutrtion and to hear a two-time Olympian speak (I can't remember his name for the life of me right now) and to probably buy just a palin ol' Denver Marathon shirt.

I'm doing okay so far...I definitely have butterflies but I'm more excited than anything. All that keeps running through my head is "OMG I'm running a marathon tomrrow!" and 'OMG that's a really long way!" and "OMG I hope I make it!" and "OMG what am I thinking, of course I'm going to make it!" and just regular "OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG" when I run out of other things to say. I think god and I are pretty tight right now with all the talking to him I've been doing today.

So yeah, I'm just trying to relax and keep my stomach from jumping out of my body. So far, so good.

Countdown to Denver: ONE DAY.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I wanted to do this later, closer to the race, but I'm afraid I won't have time, so I'm doing it now.

There are a few really special people who have been unbelievably supportive over the past year of my insanity and while this may not be the most exciting blog entry ever, it's the most important I've ever written. This is my "Thank You" to those amazing people.

My parents - they thought (ok, knew) I was nuts when this idea first came out...and after the first few arguments over it, they finally gave in and jumped on board. I know my dad really wants to be joining us on the 6 1/2 hour drive to Denver (and back on Monday!)...and the hours upon hours at the expo all weekend...and the hours chasing after me and waiting for me at specific mile stops on Sunday...but he can't and I understand that. Sucks, but trust me, I know how it goes. My mom has to board her new puppy and I know that kills her, but she's doing it. - They rock.

Cathy, my mother in law and Danny, my brother in law - totally awesome people. They get super excited over the race any time it's mentioned. Danny's saving our lives by watching the dog and cat this weekend. Thanks!

My sisters (Aliza and Hopie), brothers in law (Nick and Ricco) - They all listen to me go on and on...and they all deny that they'll run the next one with me, but I know they will. :)

Terie - The most awesome coach ever who became a good friend. It's because of her that I'm running this race.

Denise - takes a GOOD friend to travel all the way to Denver to watch you run for hours on end (ok, she really wants to go to the expo too!). This is an amazing, beautiful woman. I'm so lucky to have found such an awesome friend!

Tracey, aka: Runner - Without her, I wouldn't be where I am. We don't get to talk nearly as much as I'd like, but I know she's cheering me on.

Reynetta - one of the best friends a girl could have. We don't see each other enough, but she's my biggest cheerleader.

Paula - You always have the right thing to say at the right time. Everytime I'm frusterated with this whole thing, you get me back where I need to be. We may not know each other IRL, but you're one of my best friends.

Alicia and Jacq - My absolute best friends. You guys put up with all my craziness...both the running craziness and the regular craziness. I wouldn't be me without you girls.

Mandy, Kristin and Kylene - Your Emails save me every single day of my life. Knowing that you're thinking of me on Sunday will save me then too.

Heather, aka: Rotty - Woman, you keep my motivation going when I'm sure it's gone forever.

The rest of my May 2007 Nesties - I've never met a group of women more inspiring and supportive. From the first time I ever mentioned running a marathon (which was in June 2007...yep, I remember) you girls have ALWAYS been the ones to tell me "you can do it." Not one of you have ever told me that I couldn't or that I should re-think my goal. None of you questioned my sanity (you should have)'ve all let me ramble on and on for the better part of a year about stuff you don't care about. For that, I thank you and I love you all.

And last, but furthest from the least, the hubs - words cannot describe the gratitude and thanks I would like to express. He has let our house fall apart. He's gone to bed at 9.00 every Friday night for 8 months now and sacrificed seeing our friends. He's even had the same dinner with me every weekend all throughout training...and none of it with a single complaint. He's listened to my whining about sore muscles, my pace and things that don't need to be repeated here...and he's put up with it. If I had the chance, I'd marry him all over again, just for these reasons. Mike, I love you just for putting up with me during this time - all the other reasons are icing on the cake.

Thanks again to everyone. I will update again after the race!

Countdown to Denver: 3 days!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The last...

Tonight was my last run before the marathon and I went into it with mixed emotions. I've been pretty nervous all week, but I've really calmed down over the past day. Tonight for some reason, I was really sad knowing that it was the last one before the race. It's kinda hard to's not like I'm never going to run again. My plan is to take a week off and then to slowly build my mileage up again.

Anyway, I had a hard time deciding where I should go for this monumental two mile run. Logically, I should have just stayed home and run around my little neighborhood...but a hundred laps around my condo community is just too much monotony to handle. And it's too easy to quit when I get bored. I could have gone to my mom's house and run in the arroyo behind her house, which is what I did last night...or I could have gone to Maraposa Park...but neither one of those options seemed right. Suddenly, it hit me. The Bosque. I know what you're ALWAYS run in the Bosque! Yeah, I'm down there a lot, but tonight was so fitting. This is where it all started, on a cold day in early February when I first met up with the In Motion group (most of which would later become ABQ Fit). So that's where I was nice too. Not too many people, the weather was good.

So this is it. Just lots of rest and carbs now...stuff I'm actually good at! I have one more day at work and then we leave on Friday morning. Now I just need to resolve the crisis I'm having with my iPod, and I'll be okay. The next time I put these running shoes on, it's for real!

Countdown to Denver: 4 days!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


So I just got back from my last group run with my fellow ABQ Fitters. We ran 10 miles on Tramway (can you say "hilly?") and even though I'd plan to make it only 8, I was feeling so good at the 4 mile mark, I decided to keep going and make it 10. According to the non-ABQ Fitters I know, 10 the week before a marathon isn't a good idea, but it's too late now. I still feel great. Granted, I felt something pop in my stupid, god forsaken foot around 8.5 miles (yes, the same one that hurt all last month...and even in the same, stupid place) and it hurt pretty bad, but a little bit of walking seemed to help. I'll just make sure to ice this week and I'm sure it'll be okay by the time I get to Denver.

Anyway, I'm a little sad that the season is over. I've made some totally awesome friends, and even though I know we'll stay friends through Winter Warriors and In Motion and probably ABQ Fit next year, it feels like the end of an era. Hell, it IS the end of an era! I've finished training for my first marathon - that's a huge deal! That's about as huge a deal as doing the race itself! I was talking to one of my friends a couple of weeks ago, after the 19 miler, and she pretty much told me that she was surprised I've made it this far. She didn't come right out and use those words, but that's what she meant. I don't blame her at all - when I first told her I was going to run a marathon, we were sitting at TGIFridays drinking beer and I was almost 40 lbs heavier. It didn't upset me at all to hear her say that, and she really meant it in the nicest way possible. But I have to be honest too...I'M a little surprised that I've made it this far. I know myself...I have a habit of starting things that sound great, but after a couple of weeks, forget about it. Once it gets hard, I'm out. Why do you think I was 40 lbs heavier in the first place? Yeah, the beer had something to do with it, but my love for sleeping in and sitting on the couch also contributed.

So anyway, I'm saying it publicly...regardless of what happens over the next 8 days, I am really, really, really proud of myself. I have already proven to myself - and probably to a few others - that I am capable of so much. Now I just need to show myself that I'm capable of 26.2!

Countdown to Denver: 8 days!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oh crap

I'm running a marathon in two weeks. TWO WEEKS.

Excuse me while I go puke.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

So Long, Farewell...

Even though training isn't 100% officially over, it feels like it is. 8 miles this Saturday and 10 miles next Saturday...that's nothing! Ok, I know it's something but after the hell I put my body through this past weekend - not to mention the hell that is coming up in 17 short days - this is nothing. Anyway, it's a little sad, but happy at the same time. I won't miss getting up at 4.30 AM to choke down a peanut butter sandwich (oh god, just the thought makes my stomach turn) and I am SO excited to be able to go out and do something on a Friday night...but I know how it's all going to work out. One weekend off, and even at that, it's probably not an "off" weekend. The ABQ Fitters that are going to San Antonio next month have their 22 mile run on 10/25, so my friend D and I are going to ride our bikes in the Bosque that day to make sure they stay hydrated and happy. Plus, on 10/26 is the Day of the Tread bike ride here in ABQ and I'd like to do the 20 mile ride (ok, I wanted the 50 or 80 mile ride, but lets be realistic here...I'm running a freakin' marathon the week before. Let's not kill ourselves too quickly). But the following weekend, I know I'll be up and ready to run again...maybe not at 6.30 in the morning, but definitely before noon. I know, I still amazes me that I can be anywhere before noon on a weekend. And in spandex at that.

I'm not fooling anyone either. I have the Seattle Rock n Roll marathon in June and I want to train better for that than I did Denver. Hopefully work will slow down (HA!) and I will be able to increase to 5-6 days of running for that. But right now, working 50+ hr weeks kinda kills any kind of fun you may have on the agenda. AND...I haven't told the hubs just yet (because I'll get a lecture on spreading myself too thin or something lame like that) but I want to do a century ride next year. Or least really bond with my bike. God, I miss that thing.

Anyway, I was just kind of going over my thoughts from the past few months and wow. I just can't believe that this point in my training is already here.

Countdown to Denver: 2 weeks, 3 days

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Walking used to be fun

I can't move. Seriously, every time I move, even if it's just to breathe or to type out this post, I want to cry. My legs hurt SO bad, it's unbelievable.

We had our 4 hour run, which turned into more like 4 1/2 hours for me (I was so close to Alameda and the porta-potty I ran extra to get to it...hey, if it saves me a trip into the trees, it was worth that extra 1/2 hour). I figured I'd get 17 miles or so in about 4 hours, but in the end I wound up with about 19 and the loss of use of my legs. I was going to push it to 20, but by that time I was convinced I had a blister on the bottom of my foot, that foot injury that's been hurting the past couple of weeks was insanely bad by mile 17 (in retrospect, it wasn't that bad), and a few coaches saw me coming in and came out to cheer and clap for me. I couldn't just breeze past them.

Anyway, the significance of this run is that it was the last long one of the season. We are officially tapering now...I have 8 miles next week and 10 the weekend after that. Then, RACE DAY!

Here's my gripe for the day though. How lame is it that there are no porta-potties on the Bosque trail? Unless I'm super lame and just never noticed or saw any...but I haven't mastered the art of finding good tree cover and on almost every long run the at some point I think I wish there were a porta-potty at that next parking area. You know you're getting desperate when you're wishing for porta-potties. Really though, it's a 16 mile stretch of bike and running trail and the only toilet I know of is at Alameda. Weird.

Countdown to Denver: 3 weeks!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Friday was a pretty special day for was my one year anniversary. If you're looking to the right side of the screen, you're probably shaking your head and thinking Umm, got married on MAY 19 and that first anniversary was a few months ago, you freak. Nope, it was the first anniversary of my relationship with running. Yeah, I remember the I said, it was special. Granted, it led to about a month off because of some sucky shoes and a knee injury, so it wasn't really, really consistent until February (Feb 2 of this year, if you must know...ok, I'm just weird about remembering hubsand freaks out over it, but seriously, I can remember ANY date. Honest, it's some kind of weird thing I have) but yeah. Sept 19, 2007 I set out for my first run after having mulled over the idea of running the Duke City Marathon in 2008...I'd spent the couple of weeks before researching training plans and decided to start out running for 2 minutes and walking for 2 minutes until I hit a total of 30 minutes. Yeah, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be and it wasn't until I joined a beginners group later on and got on a good training program that I saw the light at the end of the tunnel (and some good shoes...God, shoes are SO important!).

And, not only was it my one year anniversary, it also marked the one month countdown till the Denver Marathon!

Anyway, since my sister got hitched yesterday (Saturday, Sept 20), which was totally awesome and pics will be posted as soon as I can get some, I had to do my 12 mile "group" run on Friday. What a great way to celebrate my anniversary. Um, yeah. Not if your stupid foot is still bothering you from your 18 mile run 2 weeks ago. It bugged me last week on my 6 mile run (also alone...5.00 AM is not the same as 5.00 PM and I realized the importance of this while setting my alarm clock last week...unfortunately, I didn't relize the importance until I missed the group run because the alarm did not go off). I didn't run at all during the week because of the pain in my foot and the fact that I was in Chicago for work, and I figured it would be nice and rested for the 12 miler. Nope. 2 miles in it was hurting. The 12 miles turned into the 10 miles from hell...I finished it by walking the last .75 miles crying and talking to the hubs on the phone and trying to figure out what I've done in my past life to deserve this. In all, I must have walked at least 2 of those 10 miles.

So I'm not really sure what to do now. I have a 4 hour run scheduled on Saturday and it's the last long one before the race. I'm not skipping the race...I've come too far for that. It's feeling pretty good now and I know that by tomorrow it'll be even better. Come Saturday morning it'll be 100%, but by Mile 2 on Saturday morning is when I usually start having my issues. My plan is to make an orthopedic appointment and beg for something this week, but it'll probably take a couple of months to get in (damn new insurance companies!)...other than that, I'm going to hit it with some serious ice and bond with my bike. Lord knows I miss it anyway. Anyway, that's that. Figures. I go this long just fine and six weeks before the race SOMETHING has to happen.

Countdown to Denver: 4 Weeks!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I survived! A report!

I'm officially a half marathoner and I even have the medal to prove it...and as soon as I can meet up with my mom, I'll have some pics too. Wow, what a day. Not at all what I expected, but I am wiped the crap out.

I met up with the Albuquerque Fit Marathon Group for a 5 mile "warm up" run at 5.00 this morning, which required a 3.00AM wake-up to eat some oatmeal and a banana (don't worry, I fell back asleep for another hour, which is probably the best sleep I got all night). It was dark and cold when we met up and very, very different, but nice all the same. I ran with Coach T (who rocks...I can't ever get over how much she rocks) and we originally decided to do 4 miles and then do a 1 mile cool-down after the race...we ended up doing closer to 4.5 though. It was so weird being out running along Paseo and in the Bosque at that was so quiet and deserted. All you could see was a little bundle of bouncing lights ahead of us thanks to everyone's headlamps (damn! I forgot a pic of my super cool headlamp straped to my head for you all!). Anyway, we finished the 4.5 and got to hang out for an hour till the race started...not ideal, but what can you do?

So, on to the race...or, as I prefer to call it, the "super organized training run with bling at the end" because, as I stated earlier, THIS IS ONLY A TRAINING RUN. And I ran it as such...nice and slow. Miles 1-3 were a blur and went by pretty quick. I set up my watch to run 6 min running/2 min walking intervals, so I can't tell you what my pace was really, really, really slow though. At 4 I took a Gu and was still feeling good. At 6 we saw Mike and Frank on their bikes and we made our way off Rio Grande and onto the Bosque path. Mike filled up my bottles and we kept on going.

At 9 things started to get a little hard. I'd had to make a quick "run into the trees stop" so I ran harder to catch up to my friend, D, and I think that hurt me. Plus, my shoes should have been replaced a while ago (I bought new ones Friday, but I'm not wearing new shoes on an 18 mile run!) so my foot was hurting pretty bad too. D was having her own issues and we decided to split apart. I took off just barely ahead of her, but thank god I was nearby...sure enough, the water stop at Mile 10 was gone. Fin. No more. Mike and Frank were riding slowly next to me and I knew D needed more water, so luckily they were able to re-fill her...I'm pretty unimpressed though. The sponsors of this race were responsible for the water on our 16 mile run a few weeks ago too (the ones that didn't show). Not sure what the deal was, but still....I hope there was a good reason because there were a few people behind us too. Anyway, Mile 12 was the longest. mile. EVER. Ever ever ever ever. It never ended. At this point, I'd abandoned my 6 min/2 min intervals (my foot was killing me) was was doing more like 5 min/3 min intervals. Near the end Coach D saw me coming in and ran next to me. Poor thing, I know she was talking to me, but I had my headphones on so loud and couldn't spare the energy to take them out to hear her. Once I got to the straightway for the finish line BAM! I had energy and then some! Headphones came out and I swear I was running a 4 minute pace. I crossed the line at a slow 3:09:44...Not good, but not as bad as it could have been, especially considering our early morning "warm up."

So, yeah...I've actually run a race now. It was pretty quiet and lonely on the course and I'm so happy I'm not running Duke City as my first full marathon now. I've heard good things about Denver's crowd support and I'm excited about it...nervous because I can't imagine going out and running another 8 miles right now, but super excited too. I'm also thinking that with better crowd support and maybe sticking with my 1 mile/1 minute intervals (or maybe 5 min/1 min...something to try on our 4 hour run in a few weeks) I should be okay with Denver's 6 hour cut off. I've already suffered my 20 minutes in an ice bath and now I'm debating either finding some food or taking a nap...tough choice. Think the nap's gonna win, but mostly because my foot is still bothering me. But first, those stupid shoes are going to find their way to the trash can.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Butterflies in my tummy

Uh oh...I'm doing exactly what I said I wasn't going to do. Tomorrow is my 18 mile training run...the one that is the Chips n Salsa half marathon with a 5 mile warm up...and this is ONLY a training run. Nothing else. But in my mind, it's turned into a race...or an "event" because we all know that there will be no "racing" where I am concerned. I tried really, really hard to focus on this being just another long, slow, weekend run with my group, but how many group runs require picking up a race packet, pinning a number to my shirt and getting a medal when I'm done? It's hard to keep things in perspective when they aren't the normal things at all.

I'm sitting here, at 5.30 PM and I can't concentrate on anything. Hell, I haven't concentrated on anything all week. Every time I opened my book to study, I was automatically computing pace times instead of calculating unearned revenue or construction in progress. Trust me, I'd much rather think about pace times, but I can't. My studying is suffering because of this and I'm worried about it. And this is JUST a training run. WTF am I going to do in six weeks from now when I'm sitting in a hotel room in Denver? Guess I better start begging forgiveness from the hubs, my padres and my poor friend, D, who's stuck going with me.

Anyway, my stomach is flipping, my hands are shaking and I keep forgetting to breathe (something that I hope I remember to do tomorrow morning). I know I can do this, I just want to do it in a way that I enjoy myself and can look back and say "wow, I had so much fun on that 18 mile TRAINING run." So, if anyone sees this before tomorrow morning, wish me luck. I'll be back tomorrow evening with a race - I mean training - report. In between catching up on my studying.

- Signing off for the last time as Duff, Newbie Racer

Monday, September 1, 2008


I think this is the first year that I'm actually jumping for joy that summer is kinda over. Granted it's still a million gazillion degrees out (ok, it's more like 79, which I know isn't horrible) but I am so ready for it to seriously cool off. I shouldn't complain because it really has been getting better and I can see that in my finish times, but I'm just dying. I'm still waiting till 7PM to run - ok, that's partially because I work late now - but I'm losing daylight now. I almost can't wait till it's cool enough to bring my huge bag of stuff and change into my extra sexy spandex at work and just run as soon as I leave the office or client or wherever I am.

So the biggest training run I'm going to do is coming up in six short days. We have 18 miles on Sunday, September 7. We're doing 5 miles as a group at FIVE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING (yes, I did just virtually yell at one in their right mind gets up on a Sunday to run five miles at 5.00 in the f@%&ing morning) and then we're all entering the Chips 'n Salsa half marathon. So, just to be realistic, this is 18.1 miles. The only good thing about running at 5.00 in the f@#%*%$ing morning is I can't bitch about it being too hot...oh, and I get to buy a headlamp. That might be sexier than running around my office in spandex.

So after this, my next longest run is a 4 hour run, which lets face it - will not be the 20 miles I was hoping for (yeah, you read that right...I was HOPING to run 20 miles). My coach, T, told me to stop worrying about this so much so I'm taking her advice and my worrying will be put on hold until at least the morning of 10/19 when I'm sure I will worry about absolutely everything, including things I didn't even think I was capable of worrying about.

So anyway, if any of you will be in the Albuquerque area next Sunday and want to watch me kill myself, let me know and I'll tell you where the start/finish line is for Chips 'n Salsa, and also where Mike and my mom are going to be on the course (the want to see me mid-death).

Countdown to Denver: 6 weeks, 6 days!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Two months!

Or 8 1/2 weeks. Or 61 days. Or 1,464 hours. Or 87,840 minutes...

until my race!

The time is just flying by, and I know it's going to go even faster now. Thanks for all the support so far! Even though it's going to come fast, there's still a lot to do, and I appreciate all the help I've received from everyone. Granted most of you probably just delete my Emails or put the phone down and walk away when I start rambling on, but thanks anyway for letting me get as many of my nerves out now as possible!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Finally! A great run!

And I'm saying it was a great run despite the fact that we ran out of water on the course. I think it was the fact that I was nervous for this one. With the 12 miler I'd had a good 10 miler and I thought that I'd breeze through 12 (until I was driving up there and OMG the hills were enough to make me want to cry at just the thought). I was convinced the 14 miler was going to be in the Bosque, so despite the knee pain I was having and the nasty 12 miler I'd already had, I thought I'd get through that okay. No way. It was the worst run of my life. It was hot, we ran out of water on that course too and it just sucked overall. So needless to say, I was dreading this 16 miler today. DREADING it. I spent all week with butterflies in my stomach and feeling neauseated just thinking about it.

But I did it! I met up with my friends D and F early - although not as early as planned. All running shoes look the same at 5.30 AM and I tried to get out the door in a very old, very useless Nike on my right foot (and the correct shoe on my left), but luckily I realized before I even got to the car, but of course it made me late. And yes, this was after I took the time to lay out my clothes last night...I just didn't realize I'd grabbed the wrong shoe. I feel like a dork still. Anyway, my times were pretty good, so I think it really is just the heat that's slowing me down. Ok, ok...I'm slow to begin with, but I did really well today (considering). If we hadn't run out of water I would have been under 3 hours at 13 miles, but I walked extra in the 12th mile to try and conserve engery, just because I wasn't sure I'd be able to find the next water stop (and I was totally out by Mile 10). I found it ok at Mile 13 and kept going. I'm super tired now though.

Only 9 more weeks till Denver! Monday will be the 2 month mark!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An article from Runners World online

One thing that's really worrying me right now is not finishing my marathon in the time allowed...six hours. When I signed up back in March I remember thinking "Six hours?! That's PLENTY of time!" Well, it turns out that I'm slower than I thought I would be. I'm hoping that a lot of it is the heat and that over the next couple of months I'll natrually speed up, but I spend a lot of my free time computing pace times and worrying about this. My finish time doesn't matter a bit to me - I don't care if it takes me days to finish (ok, maybe I care a little because I'll get hungry) but I need a finish line there. I need the cheering crowd, the flashing camera and the finisher's medal...even if it comes with a 6+ hour finish time. So when I saw this article (taken from John Bingham's blog), it put things a little more in perspective and I feel a little bit better.

July 10, 2008
Motivation to Keep Trying

Dear John,

After getting out of the military several years ago I gave up on running. I had never liked it and found it boring. Two children and about 60 extra pounds later I decided I needed to get back in to shape. I mapped out a schedule and set off on my journey.
I should tell you that I am still overweight but very dedicated to my running and cross training. I entered a 10-K race that had a 90-minute time limit and a very small field of runners. When we took off from the starting line I was left going my slow comfortable pace while the rest of the field blazed away. It was discouraging but I continued on to finish in 1 hour 25 minutes, just under the cutoff and third from last.

I had been running well during training, yet when race day came, all the strength and motivation seemed to leave. I don't want to give up on running. Do you have ideas on why this may be happening and any suggestions on how to keep the motivation going? Even though I am slow, I have come to enjoy my time out on the roads. I just want to get better. - Jenny

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for the great e-mail. You have identified one of the most difficult parts of becoming a runner. How do you enjoy the process if the outcome isn’t what you expect? Well, the good news is, you can.

I finished last, or nearly last, in lots of races. One time, at a 10-K in Little Rock, Arkansas, by mile one I couldn’t see anyone in front of me. Luckily, another participant was kind enough to stay with me so that I wouldn’t get lost.

It can be discouraging if you’re comparing yourself to everyone else out there. I don’t. I only compare the “me” that I am now with the “me” that I used to me. As I tell people, if you think I look bad running, you should have seen me drunk.

I also remind myself that I am a work in progress. Even after nearly 17 years of running and walking I’m not what I want to be. Some goals I now realize that I’ll never achieve. Others, like completing a 50-K or 50-mile event, are still out there somewhere.
So, line up proud. You’re out there. You’re giving it your best shot. You’re changing your life with your own two feet. And that is something to celebrate!

Waddle on,


Saturday, August 9, 2008


Today was a pretty easy day, running-wise. Mike and I went down to the Bosque trail and I did my six mile run there. The rest of the group did a fun sounding trail run in the foothills and normally I'd be the first one there (ok, who are we kidding? Duff is late to everything) but my knee really freaked me out a couple of weeks ago and the marathon is 2 months and 10 days away (yeah, I'm counting) so I really don't want to risk it. It's total suckage though because I know the trail runs are fun and I can imagine that the views up there were amazing, but I'm getting to the point where I'm obsessed with getting to the starting line of my race and doing anything that may mess with that is not in the plan. Anyway, I did my 6 miles and to my astonishment I finished 8 minutes faster than I thought I would! Hooray!!

This afternoon we headed over to Mike's friend's parent's house for a matanza (a pig roast for you gringos) which ended up being fun. Well, as fun as a matanza can be when you don't eat pork. It seemed like everything else was pasta salad, but oh well...luckily I LOVE pasta salad so I was happy. :) We were able to see a few friends we hadn't seen in a while, so that in itself is always welcome.

Tonight we're going over to another friend's house and I'm so excited. It's actually a couple-friend and we have so much fun with them. They're getting married in two weeks, which I can't believe. I helped P propose to T in March of 07 (so it's been...what...a year and 5 months) and the time has just flown by. Between my insane work schedule, which has included way more out of town work that I intended when taking this job, my training, Mike's work and school schedules, and their crazy work schedules and wedding planning, we hardly get to see each other anymore.

So that's my Saturday in a nutshell. And in case you were wondering, I was supposed to be installing my CPA exam review software on my computer. Instead, you got to hear about my day. Now I'm going to go clean the house and maybe take a nap and then I'll think about intalling that software.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon And NYC Pics

I registered. I feel a little crazy, especially considering I haven't run my first yet but I just couldn't turn it down. I absolutely love Seattle and I've been dying for a chance to take Mike for a couple of years now. It's not until June 27, 2009 so I have a little over 10 months...but in the meantime I also have Denver, the Jay Benson Triathlon (which I'm determined to do in May '09) and the CPA exam...sounds like a good time, no? Oh, and finishing up my busy government audit season and tax season will be starting in could I forget?

So, now that I'm all stressed out thinking about how I have too much going on (did I mention one of my best friends is getting married in 2 weeks, and my sister is getting hitched in about 6 weeks too? AHHH!), here are some NYC pics that I promised a million years ago:

Me, on top of The Rock with the Empire State Building in the background.

Me and Jacque at Battery Park.
An awesome pic of the Statue of Liberty.

The view of the city walking across the Brooklyn Bridge

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I'm so there!

Friday, August 1, 2008

My life as I know it...

has ended. I knew it would happen at one point or another. In fact, I knew it should have happened a couple of years ago. I've avoided it for a long time, come up with excuse after excuse...but the time has come. I'm going to sit for the CPA exam. In fact I'm on my way out the door right now to go get my application notarized so I can mail it off tomorrow. Or tonight. I know I should mail it off tonight...but the post office closes at 6.00 and I still have to get the money order for the outrageous exam fees and that won't be until at least 5.30. And, to top it off and to add extra pressure on myself, I'm forcing myself to pass this ridiculously hard test on the first try. Oh, and did I mention I'm planning on taking the first section the first week of October? Yeah, the marathon will be two weeks later.

Guess I can run my stress off.

But on a happier note, NYC was fab and I'll try and get some pictures up ASAP. Hopefully tonight! If you have myspace and are impatient you can see them at

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ouch ouch ouch

First of all, upon the suggestion of a fellow Nestie, I added our Nike+ challenge to my page, which you see to your right. In case it's early in the morning (which it is for me, don't ask why I'm up at 9.00 on the only day I get to sleep in), I am Duffinger. SJE (who is insane) and Marcusrun are not Nesties, so we're pretending they don't exist until the Nestie who set up the challenge kicks them out of the competition. Trust me, I know it's hard to pretend that they aren't there when SJE has freakin' 86+ miles to my 42, but like I said...he's insane. So yeah, that's that. UPDATE 8/1: Crazy man SJE is no longer in our challenge. Darn. You guys shoulda seen his mileage! And I don't know what's up with Marcusrun...I'm guessing he's not uploading his runs. But either way, yours truly is in FIRST PLACE!

We had a pretty intense run yesterday. I say intense because horrible isn't really a great word to describe it. Horrible is a great word to describe how I feel right now, but not the run itself. The course was amazingly beautiful. We started at the Jemez Dam, went down to the Santa Ana Casino, then back to the dam. The views of the canyons and mountains were breathtaking...but so were the hills. In all it was 12 miles, but it felt like a million. And unfortunately, in order to get to the start, you had to drive the entire course. I was driving up there thinking oh my god, I am going to die out here.

I don't think it would have been too, too bad if my knee wasn't bothering me, but it is. In fact, I'm pretty sure I lost a kneecap somewhere along Mile 6. By Mile 10 I was seriously contemplating laying in the middle of the street and waiting for the next car to run over that time several others in my group had finished and were headed home, so I wouldn't be laying there for long. If it weren't for one other runner - a girl I hadn't met until that morning - I'd probably still be laying there (because let's face it, everyone would have seen me and most likely would have driven around me).

The best part of it though was finishing (and I say that lightly because by the time I got to the parking lot I was walking/limping the last mile, which was STRAIGHT uphill) and going to the Hyatt Tamaya resort for a day pass to their swimming pools and hot tubs with another runner who's currently injured and had to sit this hellacious run out. We spent the rest of the morning swimming, laying by the pool sipping margaritas and relaxing in the hot tub. Today is a recovery day, so I'm going to just bum around the house. Fun times, man.

Also, speaking of fun times, I'm doing something so, so shameful. Something I thought I would never, ever do. I'm not running next weekend. I have a long run (well, it's a cut-back week) scheduled and I'm ignoring it. Granted, I'll probably walk triple that distance in NEW YORK CITY(!!!) but I will not be out there with my fellow Albuquerque Fitters. Yep, Duff is going to the Big Apple. My best friend in the entire world moved out there last year and I'm finally going to visit her and spending every available second with her is WAY more important than running my little buns off. So, look forward to lots of pictures of Duff and BFF-Duff soon. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I think I'm nuts

I'm thisclose to running the San Antonio Rock n Roll Half Marathon on November 16. Four weeks after Denver. I love San Antonio. I love my friend who lives out there. Apparently I love running (I know! Who'd of thunk it!).

Eesh, I've lost my mind. And to all those people that said running was the cheapest sport I could get into - YOU'RE nuts! This stuff is EXPENSIVE!

Monday, July 7, 2008

My late resolution

Normally I hate New Years Resolutions. HATE them. Why wait until one specific date to change something about yourself? Why can't you make a resolution any day? So, with that in mind, I made a resolution today...technically, it's my '08 resolution (per so I guess it'd be a late New Year's resolution. Anyway, my resolution is to run a marthon in 2008 or else I will have to run two in 2009. Yeah, it's kinda cheating because I'm already planning my race, and ideally I'd like to run two next year anyway (maybe...we're going to Jamaica and that cut out a chunk of time I could have used for a marathon vacation) but I figured "what the heck" and set that goal anyway. :) So, here's the link:,goals,350722871,1624272324

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I have arrived

A few weeks ago someone on the Runner's World online forums asked the question "at what point do you consider yourself a runner?" Almost automatically I started firing off a response that was along the lines of "What are you talking about? I put my shoes on and I run. That makes me a runner." But I stopped myself. Up until that point I was still pseduo-making fun of myself for doing it. I took running seriously, but I couldn't be serious about it, if that makes any sense. I mean, let's face it. I'm a slow, fat girl who moves slightly faster than a walking pace. Ok, maybe that's harsh, but it's not far from the truth. I felt wrong - dumb, even - calling myself a runner.

But something has happened to me over the past few days. I knocked out my ten miler on Saturday and that was such an amazing accomplishment. Technically we were done at 9.96 miles, but I told the coach I was running with that I had 0.04 left and I wasn't stopping till my watch said 10.00. Granted, that only required me to run across the street, but wow! Looking down at my watch as it beeped to alert me to the 10th mile was amazing. While we were running, somewhere in our 6th or 7th mile, my coach asked me if I had heard what our group organizer said earlier that morning. Considering that I was late to the "meeting" part of our run (what else is new?) I hadn't. It turns out that he said that those of us who completed that day's 10 mile run would be just about gauranteed to make it to our race goals. The only reason we wouldn't make it would be due to injury...not because we are not capable of doing it. Is it true? I have no way of knowing until later this year, but heck - talk about motivation!

Anyway, I can say it now. I'm a runner. I may not be fast. I may not be a size 0. But I run more days than I don't, and that is an awesome, awesome feeling.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Uh oh...

The big one is just about here and my stomach is already doing flips in anticipation. And the funny thing is that this isn't even THE big one. 10 miles on Saturday. TEN miles. Have I mentioned that I really am not the best runner around and I have to run T-E-N miles on in the day after tomorrow?! Yeah, I'm kinda freaking out.

I had an awesome run last weekend though - awesome as in it was insanely hard but I didn't die. We ran a six mile loop in Placitas, NM, a small town a little north of Albuquerque. It was amazing. The first two miles were completely uphill and killer...I walked most of those. I managed to run the next two miles straight (ok, it was downhill so that helped a lot) and then took it really easy on the last two. My leg had been bothering me for a couple of weeks by that point...not really shin splints, but not really calf pain either. It's hard to describe and my coaches couldn't even figure out what I was trying to say. Needless to say, I took it pretty easy the week leading up to the Placitas run with the idea that I'd take Placitas super easy in order to make it to this week's long run. Which leads me back to the fact that I have a 10 miler on Saturday.

I have an amazing coach in my running group though and I think a lot of my success, however small it's been, is due a lot to her. She's only a year or two older than me, so I can really relate to her and she's easy to talk to...which is great when you're out together for over two hours and the only other thing there is to do is try not to die. Anyway, she was nice enough to meet me last night for a 3 mile run and I ran my best mile ever because of it. It was so hard, but I did it.

Anyway, I shouldn't be complaining about a hard 3 mile run. Not when I have 10 to get out of the way first thing Saturday morning. :-S

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The "Never Again" Moment

I have a lot of moments where I think to myself "No way in the world am I doing this again." And oftentimes I follow through on that silent promise to myself. Last Saturday (6/7) I had the "Never Again" experience of a lifetime. After lots and lots of confusion - my running group managed to make plans to interfere with TWO other events going on in Albuquerque, so we had to change locations at the last minute twice - we got started on our 8 miler a little late. I was worried about it from the second I got friend, Tracey, had text messaged me at 6 AM my time to tell me she'd just finished her 8 miler in Florida (in the disgusting heat and humidity) and was wondering how mine went. The text woke me up, I saw it and shook my head in disbelief...WTF was she doing, being DONE at 8 AM when I wasn't even going to start until 8.30?! I suddenly realized that 8.30 was going to be waaaay too late. Oh well, not much else I can do at that point (besides crawl back into bed for another hour...which I did).

The first 5 miles were okay...and I say that with hesitation. Around the third mile I realized that the 21 oz of water and 8 oz of Gatoraide I brought was not going to cut it and I sent a quick prayer of thanks to the coaches for leaving a cooler full of water out at our 4 mile turn-around. Right before the cooler, the coach I was running with and I dumped the rest of our (now warm) water on our backs and heads before re-filling and taking off again, happy to have found some shade. This was also my first experiement with gels...I have to say, it really did taste like apple toothpaste form. Not pleasent, but it worked. Before I knew it, our new-found shade was gone and we were baking again. My coach got further and further ahead of me, but there was nothing I could do. My legs refused to move any more than they already were...which was not much. After walking/running/sliding through some soft sand we finally made our way back onto the original trail and the only thing that got me from the trail to where we stopped was my plan to call Mike as soon as I got to the car, and telling him to start a cold bath for me, complete with a glass of wine and two bottles of water (please note, this request went un-fulfilled as he thought looking presentable for a wedding the same night was more important and he'd left the house to go get a haircut).

So yeah, I finished. Horribly. And as soon as I got to the parking lot, where very, very few people remained (most of them had gone home already) the first thing that came out of my mouth was "NEVER AGAIN!" In all, an embarassing 2 hours and 6 minutes in the unbearable heat.

But, for the first time in a loooong time, that "never again" doesn't mean a thing. Lets see how I survive the 9 miler this Saturday. At least we're starting at 7.00 AM this time!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The 53 Runner's Commandments

The 53 Runner’s Commandments
by Joe Kelly

1. Don’t be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
2. Walking out the door is often the toughest part of a run.
3. Don’t make running your life. Make it part of your life.
4. During group training runs, don’t let anyone run alone.
5. Keep promises, especially ones made to yourself.
6. When doing group runs, start on time no matter who’s missing.
7. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
8. Keep a quarter in your pocket. One day you’ll need to call for a ride.
9. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.
10. All runners are equal, some are just faster than others.
11. Keep in mind that the later in the day it gets, the more likely it is that you won’t run.
12. For a change of pace, get driven out and then run back.
13. If it was easy, everybody would be a runner.
14. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.
15. Getting out of shape is much easier than getting into shape.
16. A bad day of running still beats a good day at work.
17. Talk like a runner. “Singlets” are worn on warm days. “Tank tops” are worn to the beach.
18. Don’t talk about your running injuries. People don’t want to hear about your sore knee or black toe.
19. Don’t always run alone.
20. Don’t always run with people.
21. Approach running as if the quality of your life depended on it.
22. No matter how slow you run it is still faster than someone sitting on a couch.
23. Keep in mind that the harder you run during training, the luckier you’ll get during racing.
24. Races aren’t just for those who can run fast.
25. There are no shortcuts to running excellence.
26. The best runs sometimes come on days when you didn’t feel like running.
27. Be modest after a race, especially if you have reason to brag.
28. If you say, “Let’s run this race together,” then you must stay with that person no matter how slow.
29. Think twice before agreeing to run with someone during a race.
30. There is nothing boring about running. There are, however, boring people who run.
31. Look at hills as opportunities to pass people.
32. Distance running is like cod liver oil. At first it makes you feel awful, then it makes you feel better.
33. Never throw away the instructions to your running watch.
34. Don’t try to outrun dogs.
35. Don’t trust runners who show up at races claiming to be tired, out of share, or not feeling well.
36. Don’t wait for perfect weather. If you do, you won’t run very often.
37. When tempted to stop being a runner, make a list of the reasons you started.
38. Never run alongside very old or very young racers. They get all of the applause.
39. Without goals, training has no purpose.
40. During training runs, let the slowest runner in the group set the pace.
41. The first year in a new age group offers the best opportunity for trophies.
42. Go for broke, but be prepared to be broken.
43. Spend more time running on the roads than sitting on the couch.
44. Make progress in your training, but progress at your own rate.
45. “Winning” means different things to different people.
46. Unless you make your living as a runner, don’t take running too seriously.
47. Runners who never fail are runners who never try anything great.
48. Never tell a runner that he or she doesn’t look good in tights.
49. Never confuse the Ben-Gay tube with the toothpaste tube.
50. Never apologize for doing the best you can.
51. Preventing running injuries is easier than curing them.
52. Running is simple. Don’t make it complicated.
53. Running is always enjoyable. Sometimes, though, the joy doesn’t come until the end of the run.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


So this little thing called life (and a sick kitty...who is now better) got in the way and blogging fell to the back burner. Actually, it just fell all the way off the stove.

Believe it or not, I'm still running - slowly - but I'm still out there. I started marathon base training with Albuquerque Fit and am really enjoying it. So far I'm up to five miles...running one mile with a one minute walk break between miles. I hope I'll be able to keep up this 1 mile run/1 minute walk thing...but 26 walk breaks seems like not near enough at this point!

So yeah, that's it for now. Nothing exciting. Mike and I are participating in the Santa Fe Century on Sunday...but we're only doing the 25 mile ride. I'm not crazy enough for the 100! :)

So! Hopefully more this weekend if I'm still around after all the running and biking!

Oh, and did I mention I'm doing a sprint triathlon this summer? Better add in the swimming too. :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

A sick kitty

I only ran once this week and I feel kinda bad about it, but not as bad as I though. I came down with the flu on Tuesday and was out of it on Wednesday too. It figured that as soon as I started to feel better Wednesday afternoon, I realized that Zepplin, the cat, had not been feeling well for a few days and he appeared to be getting worse. After he vomited for the 4th time on Wednesday I couldn't take it anymore and I ran him down to the 24 hr clinic. The doctor examined him (and kept calling him a "her") and thought that maybe he had a piece of string or something in his intestines. An x-ray, bloodwork, and a few hundred dollars later we still weren't 100% sure what was wrong. I was given some medicine and was told to bring him back the next day for another set of x-rays. If his intestines looked better, the meds would work on their own. If they didn't, he would need surgery.

Giving him is medicine was something I'd like to forget about as soon as possible, so I'm not going to recap that adventure. Lets just say that between the cat, the hubs and I, two of us were hurt...and that did not include the cat.

Anyway, we took him to a different, nicer vet last night for his follow up x-ray. His intestines did look better, but he was still throwing up and was most likely dehydrated. We decided to leave him there overnight and hook him up to an IV and see how that goes. If he is still vomiting, we'll probably have to do an exploratory surgery today. If not, he'll probably need some more medication, but he'll be on the mend.

So cross your fingers for my little cat!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Some very exciting news!

My little sister, Aliza, is getting married! Her fiance, Nick, is serioulsy one of the coolest guys ever and I'm really happy for them. September 20 will be here before we know it!

In other news that would normally be the highlight of my weekend if my sister wasn't running around getting engaged (!), the weather here has just been absolutely gorgeous lately! I've been outside as much as possible, trying to enjoy it before the temps reach 95+ and things get miserable. Spring in Albuquerque doesn't seem to last too long, but when it's here, it's something to enjoy.

The hubs and I went on a 9.5 mile bike ride this morning with a really awesome friend of ours...brought the camera but totally forgot to take pictures! I'm kicking myself now! It was a nice, easy ride and the perfect start to an Easter Sunday.

Only three more weekends left in tax season and I can go back to a nice, 40 hour, 5 days per week work schedule...I'm seriously counting down to that. Unfortunately, my mom couldn't hold me in for an extra 4 days and my birthday, which is finally on a Saturday this year, will be spent in the office doing tax returns. Luckily things are going well there and I really don't mind having to work.

Have a happy Easter everyone!

Friday, March 21, 2008


Yesterday was a rough day. It was the first time in about 2 weeks that I just really, honestly did not feel like going for my run. I was tired, cranky, hungry and just about every other bad thing you can think of. I went to my mom's house in Taylor Ranch, managed to spend some time hanging out and further delaying my run there, and then I finally set out into what I thought would be a cold, windy evening. Windy? Yes. Cold? Not so much...and the long sleeve shirt I decided to wear just added to my bad mood.

I did learn an important lesson though...when "hungry" is one of those nasty things you're feeling, running is probably not a good idea until you've gotten something in your stomach. I stupidly ignored my 4.00 ritual of eating a banana, which is the perfect snack before my run that is usually an hour and a half later. About 15 minutes into my run, my stomach was not agreeing with me...and about 5 minutes after that, it pretty much jumped outside my body and yelled "Hey, you wanna stop or you wanna puke?" I made it to the 25 minute mark and just could not run those last 4 minutes. I walked for three minutes, and then somehow I was able to bust out an extra 4 minutes of running. Needless to say, I was miserable by the time I got back to my mom's house. It figures that my sister and her boyfriend would be there when I got back too...and that he'd ask how far I went. Dumbly I checked my Nike+ and it said 2.57 30 minutes. He kinda gave me a look like "wow, you're slow" but's not like it's breaking news. And anyway, he's turning out to be a pretty cool dude, so I'll let this one slide. :)

As for happier hubby decided that we need a GPS watch since we both run (although he thinks marathoners are nuts) and bike. Even after my nasty, yucky day yesterday, I was absolutely thrilled when I got home to see the FedEx box sitting in front of my door! According to the hubby, the Garmin 201 (no, it's not the top notch one...but then again, I'm not a top-notch runner so don't knock lower-end stuff) has been charged and has acquired a GPS signal for the first time...and it will be taken out for my "long" run tomorrow morning. 5 minutes running/1 minute walking...I am moving up in the world!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I was browsing through the Runner's World website today and came across a request for readers to submit little blurbs on what motivates them to get out and run. They asked specific questions, which I won't bother to post here because I think they all point towards the same question: What motivates you to get out there, day after day, and run?

I'm still trying to find an answer to's a much harder question than it sounds off the bat. I guess my main motivator is that I want to run a marathon...and I can't even begin to tell you why I want to do that, so we won't go there today. I just know that in 7 months and 1 day I will be getting up at the crack of dawn to run 26.2 miles, and that's an insane amount of miles. Considering that I run about 2.5 miles right now (yes, in 30 minutes, I realize how slow I am) I know I have a long way to go, and by skipping any of my runs will really hurt that.

But the marathon aside, I'm actually starting to like running. I know, it's crazy and if you've known me for more than a couple of months, you can pull yourself off the ground and stop's true. It's hard and I hurt when I go. Finding a place to change my clothes after work, battling the wind, rain or snow, or wondering what new muscle I'm going to discover each night is not so fun. But the feeling I get when I realize that I'm about to start my last running interval and the past 25 minutes have flown by is great. And when the day is over and I'm getting into bed, I can feel my body relax and I know I've done something that's hard - maybe not hard for other people, but hard for me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's Even More Official...

On October 19, 2008, hopefully sometime before 2:00 pm, I will be a marathoner.

I just registered. I don't know whether to cry, throw up, or call the hospital in Denver and let them know I'm coming.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's official

I run slower than most people walk.

But I'm okay with that.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Annnd I'm Back!

Wow, talk about a Debbie Downer! Last week totally sucked...It was really one of the worst weeks I've had, ever. I had a lot of "Can I really do this?" and "God, I really suck, WTF was I thinking?" but then came Saturday morning. I had the most amazing run of my short running life.

My running group is for beginners - people who have never run before. Even though I tried to train on my own for several months before joining, I fit in perfect here. I was really worried for this week's "long" run because I had such a hard time during the week. I know for some people running for 4 minutes straight is nothing...for me, it's the feat of a lifetime. Add only a 2 minute walk break and I was seriously contemplating just giving up. Saturday came before I knew it and I had to have a heart-to-heart with myself just to get out of bed. I managed to get up, get dressed and out the door...It was amazingly cold outside! Even still, I found myself meeting up with the rest of In Motion at 9 am. We got started and that first running interval was long, but I made it. I kept reminding myself to go slow...there's no need to race through it. Before I knew it, it was over...and then the next one was over, and the next, and the next. By the time we got to the last running interval, I was doing good. I was tired and sore, but I didn't feel like I was going to die. I had hooked up my Nike+ system that morning, and as the last running interval started, I hit my power song ("Never Gonna Stop" by Rob Zombie...yes, I'm that big a dork) and I got through it.

I felt so good, so proud. I was one of the last ones coming in, but I did it...I ran everything I was supposed to run!

My first race - a 5k - is coming up in a little over a month. I'm nervous for it because as much as I don't care about being dead last during our training runs, I don't want to be dead last for the race. Eh, but someone's gotta do it...I just keep telling myself "A'int no shame in being slow." At least I'm out there...that's a lot more than most can say.