Monday, June 16, 2014

Lola's 1/2 Marathon Recap

For the last week, I have been in Germany, and have had a lot to do and a lot on my mind, which I will write about in a few days, but first, I wanted to recap my last "two" races!

On June 1st, I was slated to run the Team Ortho Minneapolis 1/2 Marathon. Unfortunately, due to thunder and lightening, the race was cancelled. It was the first race of mine to be cancelled and I was quite upset about it. It would have been my 7th half this year and the 10th of my life. It was pouring rain before the race start, and the race was delayed for an hour. About 50 minutes later, all the runners were called to the starting line, only to find out that they organizers cancelled the race. I have to admit that with the rain and the delay, I didn't really feel like running a half marathon. I was upset that the race was cancelled, but in the end, it just wasn't my day for a race! Unfortunately for others, the weather didn't get worse, it actually got better and the race really could have gone on as planned. 

The very next weekend, Anne and I had another race. We ran the Lola's 1/2 marathon in Lake Waconia, Minnesota. I was very excited about this race, because the shirts and the medals had mermaids on them! (It's the little things!). 

After taking to co-worker, who ran this race last year, I was freaking out! He is a BQ runner and said that the course was a killer for him!!!! "Extremely hilly" were his exact words! Hmmm. We all know that I am not the biggest fan of hills, while I don't mind them at all on training runs, and never avoid them, they freak me out in a race situation! So, needless to say, I went into the race pretty nervous. 

We woke up really early (5am) to drive to the start of the race, about 45 minutes from where my sister lives. It was POURING rain!! I was having flashbacks of the weekend before, and wasn't feeling so excited about running 13.1 miles in pouring rain, and brutal winds (not to mention the hills!!!!). 

After arriving at the race parking lot, we noticed 2 things: first, there were very few people, second, they all looked very fit and fast!!! 

Anne and I sat in the car, as the wind whipped the flags on the buildings, and the rain poured down in sheets. We both feared that this race would be cancelled. About 15 minutes before the start of the race, we were given word that the race would be delayed for 30 minutes. We continued to hang out in the car, staying dry and warm. 

Five minutes before the "New" race start time, I was pretty sure that this race was going to be cancelled. But, it was not and all runners were asked to make their way to the starting line. Anne made a quick stop at the port-o-potties, and we didn't get to the starting line until after the gun went off. I think there were only about 5 people behind me when I crossed the timer!! Overall, I think there were about 300 people running this race, the smallest 1/2 marathon I have ever run. 

It didn't take me long to catch up to the 2:30 pacer, and I stuck with him and his group for about the first 8 miles. It felt good to run with other people and to have someone to chat with. The pacing group was made up of about 4 others! Again, there were very few people behind me!

The hills weren't actually that bad for me. For every uphill there seemed to be a good downhill. But this course is not for someone who "never runs hills" there were some pretty long and steep ones!!! At mile nine we hit the steepest hill and I was forced to walk. I was soaking wet, since it was still raining, and I was very happy that I had decided to wear a long-sleeve shirt: the wind was chilly!!

I was feeling really good until around mile 10. At that point, I started to notice fewer and fewer volunteers on the course, which was poorly marked!! A lot of the course (about 80%) was run on open highways, and it was pretty dangerous. There were lots of side roads, and w/o proper signage, I really had no clue if I was going the right way. 

When I reached mile 12 (according to my Garmin), there were NO VOLUNTEERS!! At this point the course leads to a path, that then turns into a fork. I was running with 4 other women at the time, and none of us knew where to go. We actually stopped dead in our track, not wanting to run extra miles. Nobody was around to help so we chose a path and stuck with it. We were lead back into the town of Waconia, and felt like we were on the right track. The roads were open (even though they were supposed to be closed for 3.5 hours and we weren't anywhere close to that time), and we had to stop and wait for cars. Again, there were no signs pointing the way, and no volunteers. Other runners were making their way back to their cars, and we had to shout out for help. We took enough wrong turns to finally cross the finish line having run 14.5 miles total!!!! I was beyond mad!!! 

I collected my medal, found my sister. I was so tired, and so upset about the end of the course, all I wanted to do was leave and take a warm shower. I felt really bad about the entire race, even though it was actually a really good race for me, and I would have PRed, had I not run an extra 1.4 miles!!!!

Overall, I probably wont run this race again, unless they change a few things. The end of the course needs to stay closed to traffic and have volunteers or at very least signs showing runners the way! It was crazy, having to stop and wait for cars so I could cross the street. 

In hindsight, I was proud of myself for running and finishing this race. My training in the last month has not been very good, and I very much dislike running in the wind and rain. The hills were KILLER and I am proud that I got "up and over" them!!

Now, I am taking a break, getting my training back on schedule and will race again in August (unless I am able to run the SF 1/2 at the end of July!). 

Have you ever gotten lost during a race? 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

When fate knocks….you answer!

Do you believe in fate?

I do. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that we need to keep our eyes open to the wonders of the world around us. Fate has granted me a pretty wonderful year thus far. I have traveled, and had experiences that I can only give fate credit for. I have been living my life, this year, with my eyes wide open to the possibilities around me, I have been pretty in tune to fate this year.

Fate knocked me completely out about 2 weeks ago, when I came across a job posting. I have no clue how I happened upon this posting, I can only call it fate, but in a split second the thing that had been missing in my life, the thing I couldn't quite put my finger on, but has been nagging at me for so long was filled. In reading this job posting, I felt whole.

Now I know that sounds completely crazy, I mean, I wasn't even looking for a new job, in the grand scheme of things, I am happy with the job I have, or so I thought. When I read the job posting, it was like a light bulb was turned on inside of my soul, I could see everything clearly, at that minute, I understood what had been missing: a new challenge, a way to combine my passions, a new start.

Reading the job description, I found myself saying "That's me!" or "I can do that!" to every task listed. It was as if the job description was actually written about me, as if it was my resume! It took my breath away, it literally knocked the wind out of me, and had my whole body shaking. My physical response was something I had never expected. I almost started crying!

How I came across that posting, I have no clue, I have looked through my browser history, trying to figure out what I was searching for, but I cannot figure it out. I have to just admit that fate was knocking at my door.

I have to admit that I was scared at first, I mean, I have been working at my current position for 12 years. I needed to completely re-work my resume, request new (up-to-date) letters of reference, and write a cover letter. And since the job was closing in a week's time, I would have to do this all very quickly!

As I re-wrote my resume, and my cover letter, I was drawn in even further to the possibility of this position. This is my dream job. In my dream location.

I struggled a bit to write the "perfect" resume and cover letter, the pressure was on me, because it is not all that often that one applies to one's dream job. The pressure I was putting on myself was enough to cause me some sleepless nights, and some AMAZING dreams!

Once I finished my writing, and had collected all of my materials, I sent them in. It was such an amazing feeling! I was giddy.

Now, all I can do is wait, wait for a phone call, or an email. Wait and pray and hope. I have never in my life wanted something as badly as I want this position. And while there are still so many "what-if's" I feel a certain sense of calm, knowing that I am following fate, fate knocked, and I opened the door, whatever happens now is again up to fate.

And I am ready, when fate calls, I am ready. I am ready to take on every aspect of this challenge, and I am looking forward to it, completely!