Bathroom Makeover

I finally finished my bathroom makeover! The paint was done a few weeks ago, but the molding needed to be painted, cut and hung. My dad lent me his chops saw and nail gun, but I had not found time to get it all set up to use. This weekend, I made a point to change that. I busted out the extension chord, set up a work station in the deck and made my bathroom look FABULOUS! It is so nice to finally have it done and clean and all the “bathroom stuff” back in there instead of on my kitchen table. Alki was not much fo a help…she decided to jump on top of all the wed painted moldings…well she got immediately scooped up, taken outside and washclothed off. I was glad I caught her before she tracked white paint across the carpet. My apartment is almost back in order.

It was nice having it cooler today. yesterday was a long day in the sun. I went to TNT practice but am not allowed to run since my knee is really swollen. Not fun. I have been icing it alot and resting it but things are not improving. I may need to go see someone if it does not get better by this weekend. After helping at a waterstop for practice I went to the West Seattle Summer Fest to wander around in the sun. After that I biked over to Alki for a BBQ on my awesome purple cruiser bike, then went out to Portage bay for a BBQ and swimming in the lake with my friend Kelly. We went on a sunset cruise of Lake Union, the city was spectacular against the setting sun. Great end to a long but really fun day.

Where is Summer?

Seattle is being a tease…and being really good at it. It is supposed to be summer. Last year it was all sun and warm weather this time…not in 2010 apparently. We got a great summer day on Saturday…perfect day for hanging out the deck and having a BBQ. I thought the weather had finally decided to wake up and realize it was the end of June…well, waking up to grey skies this morning told me that this was not the case. Still, it made for a cooler morning run with TNT at Seward Park, and perfect afternoon for a sunday nap.

Yesterday I jam packed in all sorts of productivity. Drove to Lynnwood for the massive dive gear sale (check), spent an obscene amount of money buying dive gear (check), had a girls date with Lana in Bellevue (check), bridesmaid dress fitting for Alissa’s wedding (check), painted my bathroom (check), had a BBQ dinner with Jenny on the deck (check), watched a movie (check), good night sleep (check). Yes, productive, fun day. I love weekends like that.

Today was a bit slower. Went for an hour run at Seward, bought groceries, ate lunch, second coat of bathroom paint, read a magazine and took a nap, then woke up to get ready for dinner out at Cactus on Alki. Now I am cleaning my apartment and trying to remind myself that, yes, Lauren, you do have to go to work tomorrow. Dang, I could really use another day of weekend time.

All Around the State

It was a whirlwind end to the week: flying back from my business trip in Spokane, running back home to repack for a wedding, then taking the water taxi to the Mariner’s game against the Cincinnati Reds (we won!) with my best friend Jenny, then jumping in the car with her first thing Saturday morning to drive over to Kennewick in the Tri Cities. We got really quite lucky actually, we both had weddings there on the same day. Perfect for carpooling! We met her boyfriend and sister for lunch, changed into wedding clothes in the bathroom, and then went off to our respective events. By college roommate, Lauren, got married to a really sweet guy named Justin. Their wedding was really fun, pretty low key, outdoors. They had a cake buffet with homemade cakes from all their friends, tons of people, good food, and dancing. It was really hot during the ceremony but then the reception was cut off short by rain. It was still fun. I was exhausted by the time I got back to Jenny’s parents house where we were crashing for the night.

The next morning we made breakfast, took a walk through the cherry orchards, and then headed back to Seattle. I was not thrilled to be sitting for hour after hour again, and when I got home I went for a run to shake it out. That felt good. I mixed it up some too, and walked backwards for a while. Boy can I feel my calves now! This is going to be a busy week.

Sunny Beach Weekend

This past weekend felt like summer…FINALLY! We have started referring to this as June-uary since it has been so unusually cold and rainy. Come on summer we are ready for you! This weekend we got a taste. Saturday morning I had a long practice run with my Nike team, it was great to catch up with my running buddy Crystal. We have gotten good at chatting and running at the same time. After practice I picked up my mom  and our friends Ted and Karen from the Amtrak station, took mom to the airport, then T&K and I went back to my house to hang out and grab lunch. We walked to Alki and had a fabulous outdoor-in-the-sun meal at Cactus. Then I took them back to the train station to send them off to Chicago. These are friends that I had not seen in 13 years. They lived on a boat in St. Croix and have since sailed around the world and finally landed permanently in New Zealand. I need to go visit.

Saturday night I went to my friend Sarah’s graduation party for about 10 minutes just to say hi, and then drove out to Ballard for my college dorm roommate’s bachelorette party. Lauren (my roommate, not me in the third person) is getting married on Saturday so we were celebrating in Seattle. We had dinner and then found some really good gelato, and then hit one bar for a few drinks. It was a pretty low key event, but it was really good to see her. I am looking forward to the wedding in two days! I am going to wear a hat.

Sunday was a lazy sunny day. I slept in a bit, went to the farmers market, and then Crystal came over to hang out on the beach. We were out in the sun a little too long and I got burned, but it was so nice and relaxing. We had through about going on a hike but could not find the motivation to do much except lie on the beach. Pretty good compromise, and way better than being inside! Jenny came over for dinner and we made awesome grilled chicken topped salads and a huge bowl of guacamole that we devoured on the deck. It is good bouncing ideas off of her about career ideas, travel, life in general. We are both going through different things and it is nice to get some perspective that you really only get when having a heart to heart with your best friend. I really enjoy having her so close this summer, and will miss her when she goes back to Pullman in August.

Running in the Footsteps of Legends: Eugene Marathon, May 2, 2010

How was the marathon? AWESOME! Well, that is at least what I started saying about 2 hours after it was over. The race was mentally and physically exhausting, and much harder than I anticipated, but I finished, and what was more important, I finished with a smile on my face.

My weekend in Eugene started early Saturday morning when my mom and I left Seattle, driving South on I-5, hit major construction traffic in Tacoma which we took a scenic detour around some side roads, and finally arrived in Eugene around 1:30. We checked into our hotel, the Red Lion, which was surprisingly comfortable and nice inside despite it’s rather run down exterior. We hit up Trader Joes for lunch then went to the expo to pick up my race bib, t-shirt, free goodies etc. Then it was time to head back to the hotel to relax before dinner.

The TNT pasta party was an inspirational event where we listened to honored teammates speak about their journey with cancer. It was a great way to remind us that we would be running for not just ourselves the next morning, but in memory and support of so many others. Trust me, that came in handy around mile 23 on Sunday.

I managed to sleep Saturday night, thank goodness. 4:15 came really early. I ate a PB&J sandwich and banana, drank some water, and we all loaded the vans to get to the course. It was great getting together with my teammates, all decked out in our purple jerseys ready to take on the 26.2 miles (or 13.1 for the halfers) of road. With a thunderous GO TEAM that gained cheers of support from other runners, we all split out into our different pace groups. The sky was promising a sunny/cloudy perfect-for-running day.

When the buzzer went off for the start of the race, I was so excited and grinning ear to ear. Nervous too of course, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The longest run I had done training was 3 hours, and I knew that my race today was going to be significantly more than that.

The first 6 miles flew by. I felt great, was feeding off the crowd, and had a fantastic group to run with. Mile 9 we managed to find a group of port-a-potties that did not have a line (thank goodness!) and then continued on as our little group of 5 till mile 11 where the half marathoners split. It was about mile 12 where I started to get tired. Not physically tired, but really energy drained and sleepy. At mile 14 I seriously hit a wall. I had to drop off my group which was an emotional experience. It is hard to watch your teammates run ahead as you slow down and start run/walking. I was starting to feel sick around this time too, all those sugary shot bloks and water were not jiving well with my tummy. I ran/walked to mile 16 where my coach Glen found me. He stuck with me for a few miles, and told me stories to keep my mind occupied. This part of the course was beautiful, along the river bank, but I was seriously dragging and still had a long way to go. My calves started to cramp and I was on a mission to find some salt. I eventually found a woman at mile 23 who gave me some salt pills and I took those at the next water stop. I am defiantly going to experiment with different fuel sources for this next marathon. I think that was one of the main downfalls of this race, I stopped eating after the sugar made me feel ill. There was solid food along the course but you don’t start trying it during the race.

Just past mile 23 Glen found me again, this time with some words of encouragement…”You can catch Rod”. Rod is my “running dad” from work. He is the one that got me into this in the first place. He had had a cold the week leading up to the marathon and was cramping pretty bad so was walking a lot more than he should have been. This opportunity was bittersweet, but I was going to catch him. Just after mile 24 I passed him. At mile 25 I really wanted to run the rest of the way, but I was too tired. Some of the other TNT coaches stuck with me until I reached mile 26. From there I was determined to run. I was not going to walk across that finish line! My calves were cramping so badly by this time that I was more limp running than actually running, but I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face. I did it! I finished a marathon! Me, Lauren Carter, from a family that “does not run”! I saw my mom cheering me on and snapping pictures from the grandstands. I wrapped myself in the silver blanket and headed to the water and food station and collapsed into a chair. The Portland TNT coach came over and brought me a banana telling me I had to eat something even if I did not feel like it. It was really nice to have someone looking out for me since my brain was basically sore mush at that point.

Rod finished not too far behind me, and as soon as I saw him I burst into tears and gave him a big hug. He was so proud of me, and it meant a lot to have his support.

Some genius decided that the TNT check out tent should be located on the far side of the track, so when Rod finished we walked around and signed out, then I headed back to the hotel to shower before the BBQ. It was about this time that I started to notice how sore I was all over from the lactic acid buildup. Every part of my body hurt. And I was sunburned. And still smiling J When I took off my shoes I was shocked to find a massive blister on my big toe…literally a 6th toe had appeared during the race! I had fun showing that off to my teammates!

The BBQ was great, everyone sharing the tale of their 26.2 mile adventure. Some people had great races and PRs, others had awful races and were disappointed but happy they finished. It goes to show that no matter how well you prepare, the day of the race can throw you a curveball.

The next day I was pretty stiff but generally feeling good. No specific pain in my knees or feet like I had experienced during the training. PT must be helping! Mom and I stopped to shop and go to Burgerville (an amazing real, locally-sourced fast food chain) on the way home.

It was an amazing weekend. Inspirational, fun, tiring, but so worth it. They were right, this was the reward for all those months of training. Now I am back at it again for Nike on October 17th…maybe I can PR in this race!

             *             *             *            

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who supported me this season with my fundraising, training, injury prevention and the piles of encouragement that kept me going! It means so much to have your support. I really could not have done it without you.

36 Hours To Marathon!

Only 36 hours till I run the Eugene marathon! 26.2 miles…I have never gone more than 17 so this will be exploring totally uncharted waters. I am driving down with my mom in the morning and then rendevouing with my team in Eugene…GO TEAM! I can’t wait to see everyone excited and rocking their purple and green TNT colors for the race. Mom and I going to drive the course and scope out photo spots, then pasta dinner and try to get some sleep before the big day.

It was fun putting the personal touches on my race jersey tonight. Making my name in puffy paint on the front, and recognizing the people I am running in honor of on the back. My friend Marty who is fighting cancer, and my best friend from high school’s father who lost his battle with leukemia two years ago. I am running for them, I am running for me, and I am so excited to tackle this course in Eugene! Wish me luck!

Doughnut Taper

Saturday morning was our last HIT team Saturday practice, and was also the first Saturday practice for Nike! Both teams met at Gasworks park for the 8am run, me decked out in my awesome traffic-cone orange Team Capitan shirt. It was bittersweet standing with my new team, getting a new set of runners set for their first long run…whopping 30 minutes…standing 10 feet away from my HIT team getting ready for their last long run…a short 90 minutes. Amazing how over these 6 months my perspective on a “long run” has changed. That first 30 minute run for me was hard! Now it is a warm up! Crystal, Sarah and I (the three HIT and Nike team members) cheered with our new team, ran the 30 minutes with them, then Crystal and I took off for another hour to finish our Eugene training time. I can’t believe the marathon is this weekend!

The rest of Saturday was beautiful…sunshine was pouring in my windows, but it was so windy that it was not much fun to be outside. I was wiped out anyway, and took a nap and read in the comfort of my little sun filled apartment with a happy warm kitty on my stomach.

Sunday morning I was up again early for a run, this time as a participant in the first annual Top Pot Doughnut 5k at Greenlake. I ran it with Crystal, Mark, Stephanie, and Kelly from the HIT team…good taper run, with the perk of doughnuts! It was a fun morning, and the doughnut at the finish line was great, but I was disappointed with the race execution as a whole. It was a $30 entry fee, and only $1 went to the children’s charity from the race. Where did all the rest of the money go? 3000 participants should have contributed more than $3000. Maybe it was the fact that they decided to chip time the race. That adds cost. But seriously, is the crowd that is running a 5k for doughnuts really that concerned about the accuracy of their time? It would have been more beneficial for us to donate $15 to charity, go for a run around Greenlake, and then go to Top Pot and order $15 worth of doughnuts. Oh well, it was a fun community event. Hopefully next year they will be able to donate more of the proceeds.

Sunday afternoon I made Broccoli Chicken Brown Rice casserole to take to the HIT and MISS team sendoff party at work. One week till Eugene! We had TONS of food (I always leave stuffed, not a good habit) and it was fun to visit with everyone in normal clothes, not all sweaty and tired. It has been such a great season, I can’t wait to do the marathon this weekend!