31 December, 2013

Guess What Day It Is...

It's the day of the traditional Year in Non Sequitur!  If you've been with the blog for any length of time, you'll know that the following is a hodgepodge made of the first sentence from each month's first blog post.

I think this screenshot says a lot about my running progress: 19 miles one week, then only 2 the next.  Take a look at my summer work schedule.  Six Classes...I have six classes to go until I finally have my Bachelor of Arts degree.  Last night I tried out a new recipe that I copied out of a magazine at work.  I don't think I've mentioned the Zimmerman case here before, and I probably won't mention it again, but I was sort of shocked to wake up this morning to a "not guilty" verdict and to find so many of my out-of-state friends on Facebook proclaiming once again how effed up Florida is.  They switched up the process for Candlelight choir this year.  I don't think I've mentioned on the blog (though Facebook knows alllll about it!) that my work building has a... considerable challenge with German cockroaches.  Oh hi, guess what!  I had a really good idea a few months back: heading out to do my longer training runs out at Disney resorts. Thirty-eight hours ago, I was waking up for the Space Coast Half Marathon.

Honestly, of all the years I've been putting these posts together (they really are some of my favorites!), I don't recall a post that less represented the peaks and valleys.  And boy howdy, there have been some peaks and valleys.  Among others:

  • School!  Though I had hoped to graduate in December, I think things worked out for the best.  Two semesters on the Dean's List, all A's and A-'s, and just one class this spring before graduation.  Plus, my Master's application is filled out, resume and cover letter uploaded, and references secured.  All that's left is to pay the application fee and order my transcripts.
  • Running!  There were some significant roadblocks - physical, emotional, and other - during the first 3/4 of this year, but I ended up completing THREE half-marathons and a bunch of other races.  I dragged friends into running 5k's, encouraged (and sometimes inspired) others to run longer distances, made runner friends, and can't seem to stop signing up for more races!  Running has become my outlet, my therapy, and on multiple occasions the one thing I could point to and say "I'm proud of this."  I wonder when I'll stop gazing at my medal display and getting a little choked up...
  • Separation! (note: the exclamation point was just there for style continuity -- this falls into the "valleys" category for sure)  It was hard then, and continues to be hard in so many ways.  I know I handled a lot of things terribly - things that never hit the blog - and that this shit hurts, but I still believe I'm on the path I'm destined to be on.  
  • Other assorted drama! (again, a valley)  There are a lot of people in the world who are selfish, mean-spirited, broken in any number of ways, or who bring negativity into your life in ways you can't possibly anticipate and don't understand.  I've had quite a few of those people meander along my path this year.  I'm not playing the victim card, because sometimes you invite the wolf in because if you squint and tilt your head to the left maybe he looks a little like a sheep... But I've definitely learned that when my health, heart, and happiness are on the line I am quite capable of standing up for myself.  (hmm...maybe not completely a valley after all...)
  • New Friends! I've made more new friends this year than I can count.  Most of them exist in only one facet of my life - work friends being a prime example - but having people to rant at, laugh with, cry to, and even run with has made this year much more positive than I feel I deserved.
  • Old Friends (and of course family)!  Some are in my life now more than they have been in a decade or more.  Seriously, who'd have ever expected me to be planning running vacations with high school friends?  Some have been around for forever.  They are my biggest cheerleaders, my secret keepers, and my ultimate supporters.  Thinking about the outpouring of love and understanding I've gotten when I needed it the most continues to humble me.
I've learned more about myself this year than possibly any single year of my life.  I brag about the things that I love, and continue to examine the things that aren't so great.  I've grown in ways I can barely fathom, and also done some incredibly stupid, careless, and irresponsible things. Like I said, peaks and valleys! 

Looking ahead, I wish for less drama and more fun in 2014.  I will graduate from college a mere 14 years behind schedule.  I think I can (at least) double the number of half marathons I ran this year.  I hope to get a new job, though the idea of leaving the one I have now makes my heart ache a little.  I need to handle my personal business (including the D-word and some financial stuff) and not hope that everything will straighten out if I ignore it long enough.  And I'm going to nurture my new and old friendships.  After all, no Jamie is an island.

Happy New Year to you and yours.  May your 2014 be filled with love, happiness, and wonderful memories.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for coming along on this voyage with me.

30 December, 2013

Doth the Lady Protest Too Much?

Conversation at work today between me and my officemate:

Me: I have a new top I want to wear, but I don't think my black cami is clean. Actually, to be dress code legal, I guess I need to wear my sleeveless black tank top instead...but I think the neckline on that one is too high. 

Her: So it's see-through and low-cut?
(She gives me the Single Raised Eyebrow of Judgment)

Me: you're making me sound like a ho! It's really not that low-cut!

I am acutely aware of where I am at this point in my weight loss: somewhere between looking way better than I used to and looking as good as I think I do! It's a dangerous place to be, full of pitfalls of ego (see the size-medium pants incident). I see people every day out and about wearing clothes two sizes too small - muffin tops a-poppin', navels visible beneath too-tight shirts, back and/or armpit cleavage - and I don't ever want to BE those people. How do I know I'm not getting dressed wearing rose-tinted "less fat goggles?" 

I have a feeling I might be doing that, if today's conversation is any indication. Perhaps it's time to find some new work clothes that are a happy feminine medium between flirty and frumpy. 

Ironically enough, I think the new shirt in question is exactly that. I tried it on with the sleeveless black top underneath, and it works perfectly. 

26 December, 2013

Portrait of the Artist in a Christmas Ornament

Happy Boxing Day!

I took the self-portrait above yesterday, and have been thinking about it quite a bit.  There's a lot of information about me here, both obvious and just below the surface, and I wanted to make a note of it before it becomes just another of the hundreds of silly random pictures of me on Facebook.

The obvious:
  • I'm wearing running clothes.  This picture was taken during a walking cool-down following a five-mile run on Christmas morning.  I ran past this tree twice, but it wasn't until the sun came up and I was moving slowly that I noticed my reflection in the ornaments.  I started to walk away, but thought I'd try to get a picture.
  • Long sleeves!  That means cool weather - my favorite running conditions.  (that's my free race shirt from the Orlando Half, by the way)
The less-obvious:
  • There's no chance I could have taken this photo inside my house, because I didn't bother decorating for Christmas this year.  However, a few boxes of my ornaments (just the impersonal ball-type ones) are out and proudly displayed...on someone else's tree.  A new-to-Florida friend mentioned that she only had 4 ornaments on her tree, and I gladly loaned her mine so hers wouldn't be so sparse.  
  • The photo is a selfie because there was no one else to take it.  
So there you have it - seasonal happy runner and lonely Scrooge all in one picture. 

23 December, 2013

Please Stop Yelling and Start Listening

I fear my "left-wing radical liberal" card is about to be revoked.  I'm also treading Biblical waters I don't understand.  But I'm genuinely hoping someone can help me understand what the HELL is going on in this country right now.  Here's the question I'd most like answered: why are the so-called open-minded left-leaning people all up in arms over the now infamous Phil Robertson interview in GQ?

Apparently I'm supposed to be offended by Robertson comparing homosexuality to bestiality...and also adultery, greed, drunkenness, and slander.  OK, the bestiality thing - I guess if I was gay that would really piss me off.  But seriously - let he who hasn't committed one of those sins call for the first boycott.  Since the media is pulling quotes left and right out of the article, I'm going to do the same:

Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

Anyway, what *I* interpret there is "love the sinner but hate the sin."  Am I so off-base there?  As far as I can tell, Phil has just as much of a problem with me going out for too many drinks after work as he has with gays.

Is the problem with him calling homosexuality a sin?

I think the big problem that we all have decided that our own interpretation of the Bible and the sins it includes - be it not eating pork, not having sex strictly for the purpose of procreation, not getting tattooed, not having gay sex, or not gossiping - is the only correct one.  And somewhere along the line we have decided the only way to convert others to our point of view is to scream at them that they are wrong until they relent and agree with us.

Duck Dynasty is a guilty pleasure of mine.  It's silly and staged, but at the end of the day the show has heart.  It's about an extended family who, though they usually think each other are doing things the wrong way, love one another.  Every episode ends at the family table with a pre-meal prayer of thanks and not a request for the salvation of the rest of us sinners.

Phil Robertson thinks that being gay is icky.  His quote about anal sex? Well, you can read it for yourself.  But he's not advocating any anti-gay legislation, hate crimes or even "pray the gay away" activities.  He's saying, if I'm allowed to interpret one more time, "I think homosexuality is wrong, but that's their eternal problem, not mine."  I personally think hunting is icky.  And while the Robertsons eat what they kill, their vast multi-million dollar empire rests on folks who I'm certain only kill for sport.  Is that a sin?  Who am I to judge?  I'm pretty sure I commit at least one sin a day, and I'd be willing to bet you do as well.  And I'm also willing to bet that we each judge someone whose life choices don't align with our own at least once a week, if not once a day.  What's the damn difference?

Frankly, Robertson's thinly-veiled racism in the same article was more offensive to me than his opinion of various sins.  And yet the NAACP doesn't want to re-educate him.  GLAAD seems to want Phil Robertson to change his moral compass to one that they find more palatable.  "Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe," said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz. "He clearly knows nothing about gay people..."

Where were the lies?  I've read the article fully through twice, and I have found nothing but opinions likely shared by a lot of people in his demographic.  And what do "true Christians" believe? 

I'm not saying he's right.  But I think that rather than scream and shake our fists and threaten boycotts every time someone makes a statement we disagree with, perhaps we should ALL step back and consider things from their point of view first.  Maybe we should look deeper than the quotes pulled for the evening news or the memes posted on Facebook.  Maybe we should stop our pearl clutching that an old Louisiana redneck Bible thumper said something offensive.  Maybe we should take a second to sit our kids - or nieces or nephews or neighbors - down and have a heart-to-heart about how we are all God's children, and if God is willing to love us despite our shortcomings, then we should be willing to extend grace to those around us as well.

OK...I know that many of you disagree with me on this.  Can you tell me why?

13 December, 2013

5K PR...and Looking Ahead to More

I put off my Thursday morning run until Friday morning when it would be cooler. Then this morning I decided what I wanted was an extra hour of sleep and I'd run after work. Then I got home 2 hours late from work and decided to just skip the run.

 ...then just as I sat on the couch I got a text from a friend who got home from work and ran a 5k in under 29 minutes and asked how my run went. My response? "Just got home...heading out momentarily."  So I hauled myself upstairs, changed into running clothes, and did my own 5k. I PR'ed with 41:21, which is a 13:20 pace. I also did my first mile in 12:43.  (normally after that pace, I'd have needed to walk the next two miles)

Peer pressure is awesome!

By the way, I apparently love to make a liar out of myself.  Just six days ago I said "It's unlikely I'll do distance races two weeks in a row again any time soon."  That lasted exactly as long as my sore ankles.  This morning I signed up for the Melbourne Half Marathon, which takes place the weekend after Celebration.


Well, mostly because I lack impulse control.

In addition to that, I also came to the realization that adding another half in January or February would make a milestone even more wonderful than my original 6 Halfs in 6 Months goal.  Check this out:
1. Princess 2013
2. Space Coast 2013
3. Orlando 2013
4. Celebration 2014
5. Melbourne 2014
6. Princess 2014
7. Sarasota 2014

Six half marathons (plus two ten-milers, a bunch of 5k's and one 4k) before I turn 35.  When I turned 33, I hadn't even yet signed up for my first race.  At 34, I had just run my first half and wasn't sure what future date I might try to run another one.  Now?  I feel like I've just set a goal that I can be tremendously proud of.

Additional Short-Term Running Goals:

  • Complete a 5k run in under 40 minutes
  • Complete a half marathon in under 3:05 (14-minute pace)
  • Complete a half marathon in under 3 hours

07 December, 2013

Orlando Half Marathon Recap

The Space Coast Half Marathon was just six days ago.  This very same calendar week.  I can't recall what crazy pills I took that made me think I was capable of running 26.2 miles in one week, but I'm so glad I did.  This race turned out to be an amazing experience for a lot of very different reasons.

I woke up this morning in my own bed, early enough to take a shower.  That probably sounds like a silly thing to mention, but it's the first time a) I slept at home the night before a half and b) had a start time late enough to shower in the morning.  I still had to eat my oatmeal in the car on the drive to downtown Orlando, but it was really nice to have a bit of 'normal' in my race morning.  I also got lost trying to find parking and ended up in the most wonderful place - a Catholic school charging $10 to park in their lot about 100 feet from the start/finish line.  A guy walking out of the lot at the same time told me it was the best $10 I'd spend today, and I definitely agree!

Pre-dawn Orlando
and Lake Eola
Pre-race was normal stuff: stretch, wander aimlessly, people watch... a whole lot of hurry up and wait.  The girl who sang the National Anthem ROCKED it, and we were off. The other girl from my building who was registered ran past me pretty much right at the beginning (she's a runner though, so no big surprise there!) and I was glad to have had a chance to yell "HEY!" at her as she passed. From a physical and mental standpoint, I knew right away that this race wasn't going to go as well as the last.  My legs were tight but not sore, but I had no pep in my step.  It was hot as well, and my shirt was bunching in weird places from the start.  I wasn't even a mile in before I started wondering whether I could - or even wanted to - finish.

Another girl struck up a conversation with me about 1.5 miles in, and we leap-frogged each other for a while after that.  After a water stop around mile 3, I asked if she was running set intervals or just doing what felt right.  She said she had been doing 30-30's but her watch had died.  We decided to run together, and kept it up for the whole rest of the race.  She had also just done Space Coast, plus a Thanksgiving race and a whole laundry list of other runs, and we're both doing Celebration and Glass Slipper.  She's also doing the Dopey Challenge.  Crazytown!  Having someone to talk to got me out of my crappy brain space and made the race much more fun than I had expected.

Also on the fun front, the course had musical entertainment at various locations.  We past two bagpipers around mile 4 and a whole troop of Japanese drummers a few miles later.  I'm not generally a fan of either, but they were great diversions.  We also passed a non-official "Beer Stop," which I didn't take advantage of, and a pair of ladies making mimosas and bloody marys to-order.  We did stop for mimosas, and then couldn't resist posing for a terrible selfie.  (what you can barely see behind my shiny red face and the earphone cord dangling in front of the camera is the car of the cop directing traffic.  I'm not sure it's legal to walk down the street drinking booze, but he didn't stop us)

I also made another friend in the weeks leading up to this race, and met him for the first time this morning.  There's an internal social media network at work, with all sorts of sub-groups including one for running.  We've all been chatty recently, with lots of others running the two races I did, and I struck up an unlikely friendship with someone much more of a runner than me.  We texted back and forth, and met and talked for all of three minutes before the race.  And then after he finished the race he came back and ran for a while with me and my other new friend Jackie until he got back to the street where his car was parked.  We even passed a race photographer, so there might be a picture of me and my two new friends together.

The topography of this course was WAY tougher than Space Coast, with a bunch of hills (granted, I know Florida hills aren't really such a big deal) and a large portion of the course on brick roadways, which are sort of tough on the ankles.  And Orlando's neighborhoods weren't quite as breathtaking as Cocoa and Rockledge.  But there was something special about this race I can't put my finger on that I really liked.

I know I was way in the back of the field - by the halfway point, the traffic cops were letting cars cross the road in front of and behind us - and that was a little unsettling, but I really appreciated not having to jostle for position.  (actually, I just looked my results up - I finished 3305 out of 3344.  Doesn't get much closer to DFL than that!)  And there was no one else finishing around me, so for the first time in any of my races, I actually heard the announcer say my name.  I looked over at him and smiled and yelled "hey that's ME!"  And then I crossed the line, got my medal and my water/Gatorade/banana/mini muffin (did I mention the race was sponsored by Publix? mmm...muffin...), and wandered around the post-race party enjoying my chocolate milk and beer (not at the same time).

It's unlikely I'll do distance races two weeks in a row again any time soon, and if the weeks line up the same way next year I will probably choose Space Coast, but I really do want to try this race again when I'm in better physical condition.  Like I said, there was something really special about it that I want to try again.

My Race Stats:
Clock Time: 3:23:25
Chip Time: 3:20:33
Pace: 15:18
Overall Place: 3305/3344
Division Place: 299/303

My Splits (according to RunKeeper):
mile 1: 12:52 min/mi
mile 2: 13:50 min/mi
mile 3: 13:46 min/mi
mile 4: 14:31 min/mi
mile 5: 14:28 min/mi
mile 6: 14:16 min/mi
mile 7: 14:40 min/mi
mile 8: 14:42 min/mi
mile 9: 14:42 min/mi
mile 10: 14:54 min/mi
mile 11: 15:48 min/mi
mile 12: 17:34 min/mi (Mimosa stop included)
mile 13: 16:02 min/mi

...and so I finished my THIRD half-marathon of 2013 with a time halfway between my first and second.  I have a beautiful new medal that I can't wait to show off at work on Monday.  And I have two new friends.  I'm exhausted, I've been alternating ice packs on my ankles all afternoon, and the same blister from last week now has another blister under it.  But I'm good.  I feel happy and strong and really freaking proud.

Next weekend is my last race of the year, a 4k "beer run" I'm doing with Scott. There's some rain in the forecast, but at least it'll be a little cooler than today.  I'm looking forward to a race I won't have to train for, and one I'm likely to not finish 4th from last!

05 December, 2013

Medium Well

As I think I mentioned recently, my compression running pants have started to become much less compression-y.  I decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy a new pair, so I stopped at Old Navy yesterday on my way home.  Their compression capri-length pants were on sale, and the display looked like a bomb hit it.  There was no organization of sizes, lengths, or colors.  I finally found an XL hanger with a black pair that were the right length and grabbed them, along with an interesting gray-ish silver-ish pair, and headed to the dressing room.

I tried on the gray ones first, and aside from the color not being as cool as I thought, the calves were loose.  Of all the weird fits I've encountered, I have to say boot-cut capris were pretty much the weirdest thing ever!  So then I grabbed the black pair and started tugging them up.  They were TIGHT, even going up over my (ever-so-muscular runner's) calves, but I kept going.  It was sort of like the control-top pantyhose dance getting them on, but I did it.

You know you have a problem when your black pants are stretched so far that they're almost sheer like black tights.  And I stood there staring at my reflection in the mirror contemplating whether I had really lost thigh size like I thought.  Maybe the old running pants had just given up after over a year of trying to squeeze me into them!  The tag on the hip was stabbing me, so I reached around to move it.  That's when I saw the most ridiculous thing ever: the letter M!

Ego Boost!

I managed to squeeze all of my biggest problem areas into a pair of MEDIUM pants!

Move over, [insert skinny runway model here]!

Granted, this was most definitely a case of "just because you can squeeze into it, that doesn't mean it fits."  I admit to having a moment where I thought maybe I should try on the Large, just in case...but then I came to my senses.  When I left the dressing room, I told the attendant that the pants were on the wrong hanger, "which is sort of a cruel joke," and laughed.  I went back to the racks until I found an XL pair in the correct length and left without trying them on.

I did try them on last night before pulling the tags.  You know, because I'm not completely stupid.  I have to say I wasn't completely displeased with my reflection....

Right about now, I wish that I had sucked up my pride and taken some 'before' pictures in the Spring of 2012.  This girl pictured to the left is still heavy.  Hell, she's still technically obese.  But I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of her for how far she has come!

I don't love my hips or my thighs, but I do love my curves.

I don't love my belly fat, but you can't see much of it from this angle.  It's a trade-off, because I do love the way my butt looks in these pants, but you can't see that either!

I also think that black tight pants really are more flattering than my naked reality, but since none of you are likely to see that EVER, we can all just pretend that this is how I look all the time!

So for future reference, this is my 'during' picture, taken 12-4-2013.

Medium?  Well, no... but definitely headed that general direction!

02 December, 2013

Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

If your birthday happens to be 3-3-79,
then this is almost the most perfect race bib ever !

Thirty-eight hours ago, I was waking up for the Space Coast Half Marathon.  Of course, like most pre-race nights, I had been up just about every half hour all night looking at the clock.  Around 1 am I woke up with a headache at the base of my skull that hurt so bad my first thought was "I've cancelled training runs for headaches that hurt less."  I didn't have any ibuprofen with me - they say not to take anything but Tylenol within 24 hours - and Tylenol doesn't really do much for me, so I went back to sleep rather than get up and take pills.

When I woke up for real, it still hurt, but not half as bad as it was at 1.  And my face felt hot.  And I stumbled when I got out of bed and started walking.  I thought maybe there was something wrong with me.  I also figured there was NO WAY I was going to bail on the race, so I got up and dressed and out the door.

Mom and I were staying at the Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach.  You know I'm not one to name-drop random hotels, but I cannot say enough about the hotel.  The room was spacious and clean (though it smelled vaguely of feet), and the staff was wonderful.  The morning of the race, they had to-go bags with bottled water, an apple, and a cereal bar.  I had my own pre-race food, but appreciated the extra boost.  We took the 4:15 shuttle to the race site, and then played the hurry up and wait game until "blast off" at 6:00.  I was trying to keep my spirits up, but my headache was weighing my spirits down and I was worried about a weird twinge I kept getting on my right shin.

Side note: they were having audio problems, and the microphone kept cutting in and out.  During the singing of the National Anthem, the crowd just started singing along whenever the audio stopped.  It was kind of awesome.

Before this race, my goal for the whole race season was to finish a half marathon in under 3:15:00, which is a 15 minute/mile pace.  Since this course was flat, and the weather was cool and overcast, I thought it might be a remote possibility if my body aches and pains quit.  I pointed out the lady holding the sign for the 3:15 Galloway pace team and told Mom that I'd probably finish a little after her.  I also lined up in the corral slightly ahead of her, but well behind the 3:00 pacer.  When the race started, I figured I would just run at whatever pace was comfortable until it wasn't comfortable, and then I'd slow down.

At the 5k point, I was running directly behind a lady with a bib on her back indicating that she was a 3:00 pacer.  I made the conscious decision to stay behind her, because I knew I couldn't keep that pace for the whole race.  At the 5 mile mark, I was still keeping pace right behind the same woman, but staying behind her was slowing me down.  And so, I passed her some time before the 6-mile mark and waited for her to pass me.  I never saw her again.

I had a total mind-screw right after I passed the 10K timing mats.  For some reason, I was convinced that 6.2 miles was the halfway point, and I couldn't understand why we were still going straight.  Where was the U-turn?  The distance from 6.2 to the actual turnaround was (I'm guessing) less than half a mile, but I struggled the whole time because I was mentally already half done and resented having to keep going.

After the turnaround, my mood picked up and I started looking at RunKeeper in disbelief.  At mile 7, my average pace was still 13:34 (I think - I didn't take a screen shot). I knew my 5 mile run the weekend before had good numbers, but that was only 5.  Here I was 7 miles in, feeling strong, and running FASTER?!?

...and then disaster struck.  I grabbed a handful of Craisins and popped them in my mouth during a walk break.  I'm not sure what happened, but all of a sudden I took a sharp breath and was pretty sure I inhaled one.  I had a pretty wicked coughing fit, but when my interval timer beeped I started running again.  The coughing made my throat feel raw, and I had that "you might puke if this keeps up" feeling.  The persistent scratching in my throat wasn't getting any better...and then *cough* there was a cranberry in my mouth that wasn't there before.  Oh was stuck in my throat!  Problem solved?  Not really.  Another few minutes of running and walking, feeling like crap and I did that sinus-clearing snort thing and HEY! Another cranberry!  It turns out the second cranberry, which I hocked into the grass as if it were a loogie, was the source of my discomfort.  Instead of inhaling it down into my lung, I somehow snorted it from my mouth up toward my nose.  Once it was out, the pain was gone.

That's a first!

By the time I hit miles 8 and 9, I actually pulled up the calculator app on my phone to see what time I'd finish if I maintained a 14 minute average pace.  I also realized that I was most likely going to finish well ahead of my original 3:15 goal.  AND I realized that Disney was requiring proof of time if you thought you were going to finish the Princess Half in less than 3:15.  I sent a text to Scott that said "holy [redacted]. Gonna have a sub 3:15 to submit for Princess."  (I love that my phone knows that Princess a proper noun in my world) I also sent one to Mom right at mile 8: "5 mi to go. Pretty sure fkonosh b4 3:15." I don't know if she understood what I was saying, but it wasn't really important.

At mile 11, I sent another text to Mom saying "mile 11. c u in half hour."  That's right, even though my legs were starting to scream during the last 5k I knew there was no chance I was going to slow down to a 15 minute pace.

After mile 12, the lead runner for the full marathon passed me.  I took a picture as he went by, and tried to run along with him during my 20 second run interval.  Boy was he speedy...but when else would I ever have the chance to say I ran with a marathon champion 25 miles into his race?  Plus, all of the other marathoners running the opposite direction were cheering and it was easy to pretend they were cheering for me.

The last stretch of the race was on brick, and full of people cheering.  As much as I wanted to run and smile with them, the best I could manage was to maintain my intervals. As I passed a race photographer, I did my patented fake run pose.  A volunteer mimicked me and asked what I was doing and I laughed and said "fake running for the camera!"  He laughed, told me that was awesome, and gave me a high-five. One turn before the end, I saw Mom videotaping, and I figured I had to run for that.  I smiled and waved, turned the corner, and there was the finish.  So I ran straight on to the end.  I even managed to get my arms mostly up for the finish line photographers.

check out those post-race sausage fingers!
The "RaceJoy" app posted to Facebook that my finish time was 3:16, and I was heartbroken.  I couldn't figure out how I could've lost so much momentum in the last two miles.  And I was disappointed that I didn't have a proof of time for Princess 2014 after all.  And I was mad at myself for not being over-the-moon thrilled at coming in 15 minutes faster than my time from Princess 2013.

After I reunited with Mom, got my big cup of beer, a banana, and a bottle of the most delicious ice cold orange juice in the history of mankind, we took a few pictures of the "sweaty delirious girl with new bling" variety and then shuffled to the hotel shuttle, full of oh-so-stinky runners.

On the bus, I took a look at my RunKeeper, and realized that the time/pace posted to Facebook must have been the clock time and not my chip time.  I realized that for sure when I saw it had my 5k time as 49:50. My mood definitely improved, though I wasn't sure when I would find out my actual time...and the anticipation was killing me!

Eventually, while enjoying my post-race bubble bath, I logged back into RaceJoy and found my unofficial chip results, which turned out to also be my actual results:
What? You can't read this GIANT text?  See below!
Clock Time: 3:16:42
Chip Time: 3:10:26
Pace: 14:33
Overall Place: 2261/2937
Division Place: 195/259
(not pictured: Previous PR: 3:31 -- that's a 21 MINUTE improvement!!!!!!)

I have almost nothing negative to say about this race, but here are the only critiques I've got:
* The expo was CrazyTown.  You had to go through 4 different lines to get your bib, race bag, check your tag, and then go to the back corner of the expo for your shirt.  The first 3 lines were in the small circular entryway of the expo hall, and my inner crowd-phobe freaked the heck out during the 15ish minutes we were inside.
* The shirt is white and fairly sheer.  I'll wear it for early runs around the neighborhood when it's more important for me to be visible than for my bra to be invisible.  But I love the logo on it, and would wear it out if not for the modesty factor.
* The RaceJoy app was a massive disappointment.  Supposedly there was a way to have race updates texted to people, but I could only figure out how to post updates to Facebook.  And as I already said, those updates were based on clock time and not chip time.
* Supposedly there was Gu available around mile 8, but I never saw it.  I can't imagine how I missed it, but I guess I'll chalk it up to my own flakiness.  I'm glad I had my Craisins and wasn't relying on it though!
* Twice in the last 5k, I encountered residents leaving their driveways and driving onto the race course.  The first was right next to a cross-street, and was only on the road for a few seconds basically long enough to make the turn. The second was driving behind me, and I was so pissed off I refused to move to the side of the road.  I also trudged nearly a mile behind two girls in jeans and sweaters who had apparently been cheering for someone and were moving toward the finish line.  They were walking faster than I was able to run, so they weren't actually in my way, but other runners did have to run around them.  It would've been nice if a volunteer had told them to GET OUT OF THE WAY.
* I was disappointed by the weather.  I had hoped to snap some spectacular sunrise-over-water pictures, but it was gray and overcast...

...which is an excellent point to carry into the list of awesome things about this race:
* The weather!  Though the sky was depressing to look at, I was so happy to be running in cool temperatures with a pleasant breeze...even when that breeze turned into a headwind around mile 7 or 8.
* The course is beautiful.  It's an out and back, with lovely houses on one side and water on the other side.  The road curves a lot, is pretty flat, and the field of under 3,000 half marathoners was spread out enough that I never really felt like I was part of a herd.
* The volunteers at the water stations were great.  There were a lot of kids/teens, lots of costumes, and I never had to stop to wait for a full cup to be put in my hand.
* The residents of the neighborhood we ran through were good sports about being trapped at home.  Lots were out sitting in lawn chairs watching the spectacle.  Some had signs and were cheering.  Some even had their own water stops set up.  I took a cup of water from a little girl who couldn't have been 4 or 5 and told her that her family was the awesomest on the street.  I also saw a family pouring beer into little paper cups and another with a hot plate cooking something that smelled awesome and something that looked remarkably like bloody mary mix and a stack of paper cups!
* The post-race amenities, including pizza, beer, pancakes, juice, and fruit - plus plenty of space to spread out and enjoy them - were fabulous.  Now I know why people get so annoyed with Disney for charging extra for similar stuff after their races!
* And last but not least, the finisher medal is spectacular!  It's huge - even bigger than my Princess medal - and more importantly, absolutely stunning.  Pictures don't do it justice.  The shuttle is silver-tone, and all of the white and colored areas are sparkly.

I'm almost certain I'll be back to run another Space Coast Half.  I had an amazing run, and can't imagine another race comparing!

* one large blister (the size of a lima bean) on the outside of my right big toe, and several smaller ones that aren't really worth mentioning
* immediately after the race, both of my big toes hurt under the nails.  thanks to the dark nail polish (which you can see at the bottom of the picture above), I don't know if there's any visible bruising.  but they hurt WAY less today.
* I'm having difficulty lifting my left leg in front of me.  I can do stairs just fine, but the range of motion of lifting my leg straight out is only about 1/3 of what my right leg can do.  While I don't generally do kick lines, this motion is apparently used getting my pants on and off, and is therefore an issue.
* General stiffness in my hips and thighs. other words, wow - I'm practically fine!!

Split Paces: 
(according to RunKeeper...which also thinks I ran 13.55 miles at a 14:06 pace, so take these with a grain of salt)
mile 1: 13:05 min/mi
mile 2: 13:39 min/mi
mile 3: 13:39 min/mi (even split!  woo!)
mile 4: 13:42 min/mi
mile 5: 13:55 min/mi
mile 6: 13:43 min/mi
mile 7: 14:11 min/mi
mile 8: 14:07 min/mi
mile 9: 14:16 min/mi
mile 10: 14:24 min/mi
mile 11: 14:41 min/mi
mile 12: 14:35 min/mi
mile 13: 14:54 min/mi

Of course, I'm going to have to do a delicate balancing act of babying and pushing myself this week, because the Orlando Half is coming up this Saturday.  I plan on doing short slow runs tomorrow and Thursday mornings, as well as plenty of walking on Wednesday.  I feel really good and strong, which boggles my mind, and am really confident that I'll do fine on Saturday.  My plan for that race is to take it easy, listen to my body, and hopefully finish in about 3:15.  I do not expect to PR again without adequate recovery time, and it's also going to be warmer which will probably slow me down.

It may slow me down, but it won't stop me.  I'm feeling pretty unstoppable today!