Friday, July 27, 2012

I had to share this...some days... this would be me... but... no matter how much I try to convince myself, I'm always happier after I do the run!

I was syncing my Garmin to my computer this morning and it uploaded the run I did a week ago Wednesday.  I loved seeing this run because I did it while in Durango, CO and it was a different map on my screen.  It put me back in vacation mode.  Even though I had to get up earlier than normal to run (different time zone), run a shorter distance than normal (didn't want to interrupt our family vacation plans), and run without socks (they were sitting in the drawer at home... 500 miles away)... it was more than worth it to run.  For one, I got to run on a riverwalk that... gasp... had a river running right next to it.  Unlike my riverwalk that has a dry riverbed right next to it.  I also felt pretty good about this run because I live/train at 2700ft above sea level.  Durango is 6500ft above sea level.  Yes, there was some pushing myself along the way and it was a bit harder to suck in air, but I did it and at a really reasonable pace.  If I lived there I would like to think it wouldn't be too hard to acclimate.
If I lived near this, I think I would be out of excuses to not run!

The long and the short of it... if you get the chance - run when you are in a different setting.  It motivates you and gets you out of ruts.  It may be hard, but it is always worth it!

If you're joining in for Fitness Friday - welcome!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Food for Thought

We all know how important eating is... especially for the runner.  We all try and make sure we eat less sugar, more water, just the right amounts of fat, protein, and there are others of us who venture into vegetarian/vegan territory trying to find just the right fueling process for our bodies.  I personally am trying to eat a more plant based diet, but haven't been able to completely give up meat yet.

Over the past few years, I've turned into somewhat of a food nazi amature nutritionist.  My kids appreciate me... sometimes.  My cute husband tolerates me.  I think they all wish I'd just give in and go for a big bowl of ice cream and brownies at every meal.  As the main course.

I came across this article this morning and found it pretty interesting.  In my marathon training so far, I've been trying to be conscious about what I eat and have even started making sure that the training products I've been using are organic or natural... to the best extent I can. 

After reading this article, what are your thoughts of products that you use for training?  I would love to be able to carry around a banana or a sandwich, but I just don't see being able to carry it well or eat it while running.

I'm leaving you with a couple of photos from our trip to southwestern Colorado... my cute husband, son, and I did a 40 mile backpacking trip... over 4 days with 3 12,000ft passes involved!  Yay for cross training (and fyi, I didn't leave daughter behind on purpose, she's living at a university summer program right now).  Now it's over and today is back to work day for me!

At the top of a pass... son is not as upset as he looks!

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Fourth of July 5K

As the Fourth of July was rolling around this year, it occurred to me that I would get to run the 2nd Annual Mouthy Kid Race Up the Hill... better known as Amy and her son race up Tumamoc Hill because last year he said he was going to beat her without even trying.  You can read last year's report here.  I was quite shocked to say the least when I mentioned this to him and he didn't argue, moan, or complain.  He just agreed to it.  Though I am trying to forget the fact that a couple of hours later he texted me trying to get out of it by claiming "laziness".  In the end, he decided to go.

I also decided that since this run is a perfect 5K, I'd do the It's My Birthday and I'll Run If I Want 5K put on by Livin the Fit Life,  It won't be my fastest time ever, but, I will get it done... and start running this darn hill again... I've been avoiding it for some reason, but really need to get back on the bandwagon with it as I signed up for my annual Labor Day race that involves killer hills.

From the parking area... overcast and almost cool!
The best part of doing this race was the weather... 70ºF and overcast!  A dream in Tucson in July.  In fact, I read yesterday that the 4th of July here was the coolest on record since they started keeping records way back in 1895.  I loved it!  I'm still trying to figure out how to move someplace else for June, July, and August.

My son cracked me up - he ran up the hill without a hitch, just as I guessed that he would and when I got to the top, I found him in this zen-like pose acting like he had been there for months waiting for me...

At least he was nice enough to wait for me and decided to run down with me.  At the bottom we tried to take a picture, but in his words, we FAIL at taking self portraits!  This was the best one... *trust me* on this!  I am only showing this one to document the event.

If you're joining me for Fitness Friday, welcome!  Thanks to Jill for hosting!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Thought for a Tuesday...

I am here to report that it doesn't get any easier.  The getting up early to run.  I might get less bad better at running, but getting myself out of bed is something I have to just force myself to do.  Looking at me, you might think I have this great habit going on.  The truth is, I have this great internal battle going on.

I've been getting up early to run for something like 6 (wow!) years, and, while I am grateful that I do it this way, there are a lot of mornings my brain is screaming "NOOOOOOO!!!!!" like a tired two year old.

I am always glad that I did get up early afterwards because if I didn't kids, work, and the heat would all be my excuses.  And I really like that feeling of being up and doing something before anyone else is up.  I've never regretted getting up early even once.

Why does my brain have to be so obstinate? 

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane

 Now that I'm off of work for a few weeks, I've been working on shoveling cleaning out parts of my house that seem to get neglected.  I've found tax returns from 1997, Home Depot receipts that aren't faded because they hadn't started using that ink that fades within a week of purchasing an item, and even 2 checks that I lost misplaced for a couple of weeks.  I also came across this training log that I had from 2005 when I first started running.

I don't remember how I found out about this training log except that I think it was on a scrapbooking website/blog... Stacey Julian perhaps?  I do remember clicking through the link and realizing that there was something made for moms trying to run and went and plunked down my credit card and ordered it as quickly as I could.

From the looks of things, I was not very into writing down many details in this log, but it does make me look at where I am today and realize that I have come a long way from those days that 3.88mi was my long run for the week!  I really have no excuses anymore!

I do remember when I finally ran my first 5K, I emailed that lady that wrote this book and told her thanks so much and what I had done.  I was pretty much telling anyone that would listen at that point.  She sent me a water bottle and a handmade "congrats" card.  I kept the card on my backroom bulliten board for a looonnng time, until it finally disintegrated into almost dust. 

I just went and looked and it appears that she still has her website... maybe I should email her and let her know about my marathon...

Thanks to Jill  for hosting Fitness Friday.  It's a highlight of my week!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hiking aka Cross Training

In my never ending quest to get in all my cross training days and also do something I enjoy, I've been hiking every Monday with a group of people that have been hiking together every Monday for something like 15 years.  Kudos to them.  To accomplish this task and not end up as a headline about another hiker that died of heat exhaustion (why do summer visitors feel the need to go hike at noon with 12oz of water??  I don't even want to walk to my car at noon, much less go out in the desert to walk!), it's been 4:30 and 5am starts for us.  I actually am quite jealous that work will start again next month and they will continue to hike on.

Hutch's Pool.  The water is really low, but there is still water!

Pima Canyon and a view of the city.

Through the window of a old stone house along the way.
Believe it or not, though the southwest is in extreme drought conditions, there has been water at most places we have gone to.  The water may be low, and the waterfalls that are supposed to be along the way are not running, but, it's amazing that there was water there to begin with!

Shortest hike so far: 6 miles
Longest hike: 16 miles

And yes, I was dead tired when that 16 miler was over.  I think a lot of it had to do with me being nervous about us getting back before it got too hot because it ended up being a much easier hike that I had anticipated, we just had to walk quickly.  I felt like I had accomplished great things, but I went home, showered, and slept. 

This cross training thing is already proving it's worth.  I'm getting out to do something I like that I get to do only a couple of times a year to do, and, I'm claiming it's marathon training in the process.  Double win!

Friday, June 22, 2012

If this blog was my boyfriend...

He would be asking for his stuff back. Actually, he would have already asked for his stuff back. And I probably would have said "Oh yeah, I'll get to that" and not thought about it again until now when I finally get around to it and find out it's been so long that he really doesn't want his old sweatshirt and cds back. It's been so long that he's moved on to a new sweatshirt and likes different music now.

I guess that boyfriend didn't get what it was like to have a demanding full time job, 2 busy teenagers, 1 cute husband, 2 dogs, and 9 chickens. Oh, and throw in marathon training on top of that, and you have the perfect recipe for me to ignore my blog for, um, has it really been almost 3 months?

Marathon training? It's going great. My biggest challenge so far has been the making sure I not only run, but get in the cross training days. It takes up a lot of time and planning ahead has been essential. I even managed to go back to the rock climbing gym after not having gone for almost a year. Yes, another boyfriend ignored. So ignored I had to fill out a new waiver. Kind of embarrassing when this place is your cute husband's second home!

Tomorrow I'm up to running 10 miles. At the least likely to melt me to the sidewalk coolest part of the day... 5am. This is Tucson and it is June. If I had been smarter I would have chosen a February marathon. Then as my runs they got longer, they would have not involved carrying more water than my actual body weight. Ahh - the joys of desert living. Yes, I might be a tad jealous of those of you who run at noon, have rain on a regular basis, and grow something other than cactus in your front yards.

My cute husband made sure I was well stocked in the endurance food as well. And he got extra points for making sure it all matched!

Thankfully, my cute husband made sure I was prepared for this running weather and bought me a hydration bladder to put in the vest I bought at the REI garage sale a couple of months ago. It had been barely used. Someone else must have decided that running in hot weather wasn't all that it was cracked up to be.

So dear blog, I hope to be more attentive in the coming months. This is the only way I will be able to remember what training for my first marathon was like when I'm 90 because I'm sure the heat will have melted my brain by then.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Training Plan...

If I had known my sister was on top of this training plan thing, I wouldn't have worried nearly so much about it.  She ran her last marathon in 2001 (I think she said the Marine Corps Marathon) and worked with a trainer and saved all the training info she got from that experience.  She thinks we are about in the same place since I've never ran a marathon and it's been 11 years since she has.  Probably true.  I should probably start with the basics!

Date (long run) Sun      Mon    Tues    Wed    Thurs    Fri    Sat

5-May              Rest      X         3          X         3        X   4 mi
12-May            Rest      X         3          X         3        X   4 mi
19-May            Rest      X         3          X         3        X   6 mi
26-May            Rest      X         3          X         3        X   6 mi
2-Jun                Rest      X         3          X         3        X   6 mi
9-Jun                Rest      X         3          X         3        X   8 mi
16-Jun              Rest      X         3          X         3        X   6 mi
23-Jun              Rest      X         4          X         4        X   10 mi
30-Jun              Rest      X         4          X         4        X   6 mi
7-Jul                 Rest      X         4          X         4        X   10 mi
14-Jul               Rest      X         4          X         4        X   12 mi
21-Jul               Rest      X         4          X         4        X   8 mi
28-Jul               Rest      X         4          X         4        X   14 mi
4-Aug               Rest      X         4          X         4        X   14 mi
11-Aug             Rest      X         4          X         4        X   Half Marathon
18-Aug             Rest      X         5          X         5        X   16 mi
25-Aug             Rest      X         5          X         5        X   18 mi
1-Sep               Rest      X         5          X         5        X   12 mi
8-Sep               Rest      X         5          X         5        X   20 mi
15-Sep             Rest      X         5          X         5        X   12 mi
22-Sep             Rest      X         5          X         5        X   22 mi
29-Sep             Rest      X         5          X         5        X   12 mi
6-Oct               Rest      X         5          X         5        X   3 mi
October 7th MARATHON!!!

X = CrossTrain: Swimming, bicycling, yoga/pilates/weights
The only thing I am changing is that it starts out running 3 miles during the week at the beginning.  I run four miles on a regular basis and see no reason to quit... it would be like going backwards... right?

My most favorite thing about this training plan is that is starts with a rest day.  How lucky am I? 
My sister also threw in this whole thing about nutrition... which most of it I'm doing already... (yay)... except for the one sweet a week.  I have a horrible sweet tooth.  Horrible.  This will be good for me.  I need some sort of motivation!  But it is also good that it starts after Easter and my birthday!  And also too bad for me that I bought a countertop ice cream maker last summer.  Again, probably really for the best for me.
Thoughts?  Opinions?  How does this compare to any marathon training plans that you have ever done? 
If you're here from Fitness Friday... welcome! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I can't have anything...

I'm home for Spring Break this week.  We decided not to go out of town in favor of painting the outside of the house.  Yeah I know.  Life around here is more fun than Disneyland.  Maybe it had to do with the fact that we have almost a $1000 worth of paint in the shed that we bought in October to do this.  That's where my Spring Break vacation is.  Stuck to the house.

I should be more honest.  My Cute Husband is painting the house.  I am deep cleaning the inside.  Not that it needs it or anything.  I think there are some dust bunnies that were getting ready to carry us off into the night. 

During this process, I was cleaning out the drawer where all of our energy food is kept.  The Clif Bars, the Powerbar chews, the Nuun I got from entering their contest last year.  My Cute Husband doesn't care for the taste of Nuun so I've been the only one using it.  While training for my half marathon last fall, I used a little bit, but four tubes goes a long way.  I think each tube has something like 12 tablets in it.  During my training I opened each tube to see what each flavor tasted like.  My favorite is grape.  Needless to say, since I haven't been running really long distances lately and it hasn't been super hot, I haven't used a lot of my Nuun lately.  I was saving it for my Chicago marathon training this summer. 

You noticed I said *was*?

While cleaning out this drawer, I picked up the Nuun bottles and noticed that they seemed a lot lighter than the one I had that wasn't open.  I looked inside.  One lone tablet lie at the bottom of each tube.


In conducting the investigation into what happened to my Nuun, I found that my 14 year old son wanted something to eat.  In this process, he decided that in the snacks I have available to him, which include apples, bananas, popcorn, cheese & crackers, and many other things depending on the day and how long it's been since I've been to the grocery store, there was nothing that he cared to eat.  He thought that eating Nuun tablets straight out of the tube were his best bet.  He kept doing it for days, thinking that I would never notice one or two gone, until, one day there was only one in each tube left so he decided he should quit.  No one ever said he has any common sense.

He had no idea that he had eaten almost $30 worth of Nuun tablets. 

Yes, this is why I can't have anything nice.  And also why I dream of beating my head against the wall some days.

Sometimes I wonder why I even try.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Shoes revisited...

Yes I have a lot to say about shoes and I didn't say it all the other day.

Minimalist shoes.  Intriguing, no?  Even if you don't think they are for you, it is food for thought.  Has the shoe industry been just trying to sell us ultra padded shoes that won't keep us from injuring ourselves?  Or is this latest fad just a ploy to, um, sell more shoes?

I suppose for me in the end it really doesn't matter which.  I love my Saucony's that feel like I'm running on pillows.  But, I really wanted to see if a pair of minimalist shoes were any good either.  Not necessarily to run in, but walking around in doing normal things.  Hopefully just to strengthen my feet in general.

This led me to the Running Shop where I managed to find myself walking out the door with a pair of brand new shoes. 

First I need to compliment the Brooks company for coming up with such a great box.  You can't help but smile while looking at it.  If I was a hoarder, I'm sure I would keep it front and center in my piles of boxes and such so that people could smile before gasping at my house that would surely look like it could swallow them at any point.  But, since I'm not a hoarder, I am reduced to keeping my box out of public view and hoping that my fellow running blog readers will get the same enjoyment out of this box that I do.

And the shoes?  I went with a pair of Brooks from their Pure Project.  I've worn them a few times now and am very surprised at how sturdy they are.  I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't the snug, secure feeling I got.  Or the cushiness.  And this is coming from a girl who normally runs on fluff.  Yes, they are very lightweight, but you expected that right?

I have yet to run more than across the street in them.  I'm a chicken at heart and don't want to end up hurting myself.  I don't know that my stride is a minimalist stride.  I am tempted to run a mile or so in them just to say that I did.

Minimalist shoes?  What do you think about them?  Fad?  Or something more?  Do you own a pair?  How is that working out for you?

And if you're visiting from Fitness Friday - welcome!  Thanks again to Jill for hosting this blog hop!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let's talk shoes.

How many pairs of shoes does one person need?  Two?  Six?  Ten?  True confessions time.  I own a lot more shoes than this.  A lot more.  Shoes are a HUGE weakness of mine.  I honestly have never counted how many pairs I have, but am afraid to say that I could probably wear a pair each day of the month and still have shoes to spare.  No.  I am still not going to go count my shoes.

Yeah.  I could probably feed a small nation for a month in the money I have tied up in shoes.

A girl has to have some weakness - right?

Of course, my obsession passion leads into my running shoe life as well. 

You will never believe the great deal on shoes I got at our local REI's garage sale!  (I never said I paid full price for any of my shoes!).

For those of you who have never heard of this, REI has a garage sale a couple of times a year where they sell everything that has been returned to them.  There are no returns and you get what you get.  People line up in droves.  I braved the crowds to go over and made my first pass through the shoe section.  I mostly saw lots of worn out hiking boots.  Sorry.  Not on my radar!  The second pass through I saw these....

Yay!  Brand new shoes?!?  In my size!!!!  I looked at the bottoms... I think they had been worn across a parking lot once... so they couldn't be returned as new.  They still had that brand new running shoe feel... when you first put them on and it feels like you are walking on pillows.  

How might this get better you ask?  They were a whole whopping $40.  I know, my non-running friends might not think this is a deal, but, I am sure the readers of this blog know that my running shoes retail for $130 and this is a screaming deal. 

I think I did cartwheels all the way home.

And then put my brand-used shoes on a went for a "new shoe" run.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I could lie to you and say...

That I've been racking up the miles.  More miles than I can count.  I'm wearing out shoes left and right. 

OK.  So maybe not.

Maybe the truth is that I got a whole 7 miles in last week. 

And watched 14 episodes of....

in the last two weeks.

I am not one to get addicted to TV shows, but this show has caught my attention and I spent about 5 hours on Sunday watching the last 3 episodes before PBS took them off their website (and I would have to spend $20 at iTunes to watch them!).

So, yay.  They are done.  Back to running.  And blogging.

On the fitness side of things, the school district I work for made a (free!) Fitness Center at the high school for all employees to use.  They even have made classes like Boot Camp, Circuit Training, and Zumba.  I've been going to Circuit Training twice a week for the last month.  I love that the trainer looks at what you are capable of and matches up your abilities to what he has assigned and modifies if necessary.  I love the "family" feel of this class... so much better than the gym I had belonged to!

I'm hoping for more core fitness this way as I work to get ready for Chicago.  I know that it's an important part of training that I have never been good at doing or sticking with.  I'm hoping for much better results this time around!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Where have I been?  Not posting.  Laundry.  Dishes.  Work.  Kid activities.  An anniversary trip stuck in there.  Just not enough time in the day to do all the things I need to do, much less want to do!  But, I find I am much more dedicated to my running routine if I am blogging about it.  Please accept my apologies for being MIA the past month.

The big news?  I am signed up for the Chicago Marathon!  I've never done a marathon before, but if you remember correctly, my goal is to do one before I'm 40, and the big day is only one year and two months away at this point.  Good thing the marathon is in October!

How did this happen?  My sister that lives in Chicago and I were talking at Thanksgiving.  We thought it might be fun to do.  Then sign up time came at the beginning of February.  I got an email saying it was more than half full and texted her about it.  She texted me back saying she had just signed up.  My Cute Husband and I were on our anniversary trip while all of this was happening.  Long story short, I signed up for the Chicago Marathon on my phone sitting in the parking lot of a Verizon Wireless store.  After all, as my Cute Husband pointed out, she probably would have been mad at me if she signed up and then I didn't. 

It will be fun to do it with someone.  Especially since she lives there.  And has done it once - about 10 years ago. 

Now for the hard part.  To find a training plan.  I know I am usually a fly by the seat of my pants type girl, but for something this big, I feel like I need a plan.  Any recommendations from anyone?  What has worked for you?

If you're joining me for Fitness Friday - welcome!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Would you trust these kids to...

Silly face - she hates that I used this picture!

Be your personal trainers?  A 16 year old ballerina and a 14 year old... um, nice boy... don't worry - his hair has been cut since this photo was taken... I can't stand not seeing his eyes (read - I'm paying for haircuts, we cut it like I want it!). 

I mentioned how I would like to lose my muffin top for 2012.  Both kids ears perked up and suddenly they were arguing over who could give me the best ab workout.  Daughter has great abs - they do an ab workout everyday at her school dance class.  She also promised fun music would be part of it.  Son said that he does ab work at soccer practice everyday and he would make me look like the models on Shape magazine.  Daughter countered with her workout giving me the abs of the women on Runner's World magazine. 

Well, um, I don't know.  Shape versus Runner's World.  I'd take either of their abs right now if you would give them to me.

Who got to go first?  Son.  I have a horrible time dragging getting him out of bed every morning, but with the promise of making his mom hurt, he was able to pop out of bed much faster.  What kid wouldn't jump at a chance like that?

And next time, I will try the Runner's World ab workout with fun music. 

With all of this free help I will look awesome by month's end I'm sure.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What is wrong with this picture?

Can anyone say December?  I'll give July a pass since we were out backpacking that month.  One of my goals for this year should be to run at least one more mile per month than I did last year.  I'm going to say I will totally rock December.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Resolutions... goals... plans?

Whatever you call them, everyone seems to think a lot about them during the first week of a new year.  A blank calendar is just so enticing and in your mind, running a sub 20 min 5K anything is possible.  Just like the rest of the world, I've written down a few things that I would like to accomplish in the next 12 months. 

* Run 1000 miles.  I know, I know.  I wrote this down last year.  Ignoring the first week of this year (did I mention my Cute Husband had his keys/wallet/phone stolen and staying up late canceling credit cards doesn't mix with 4:30am runs), I think it is possible.  I have lots of great inspiration out there to draw upon, and I really think that's what I need sometimes. 

* Leave the muffin top behind.  Let's face it folks.  It's been 14.5 years since I had a baby.  Though my baby weight is gone, the baby pooch is still there.  No one thinks I'll lose it anytime soon because it's supposed to have left years ago.  And, yes, I have a plan for this too.  Step one... bought a resistance band.  Step two... started using it.  Ouch.  Hopefully one of these days my arms won't feel like soggy noodles when I'm done.  Step three... check out other kind of workouts as well.  I'm kind of interested in kettlebells.  I've heard lots of good stuff.  I'd rather be out running... but they say this is how it works to get stronger.  2012 is the year to test out this theory.

* Eat better.  It goes hand in hand with leaving the muffin top behind.  This means staying away from Trader Joes.  At least that isle where the chocolate covered cherries live. 

* Run a marathon.  I really want to do one before I'm 40.  The clock is ticking.  There is around 1 year and 4 months left until this event occurs.  My sister lives in Chicago and thinks I should go do that this year with her.  It is tempting.  I probably would never have another chance to do it and have a free place to stay and someone who knows their way around the city (silly sister and that military lifestyle!).  Thoughts on Chicago?  Registration opens on February 1.....

Other than that, I haven't keyed in any specific races at this point.  Those kids and their things are too unpredictable at this point.  I always feel like I'm going out on a huge limb to make plans like that because of them.  I really would like to find something to do this spring - then there would be that motivation to keep getting up on a regular basis while these colder mornings are here.  And I don't even live where it's REALLY cold!  Now just to find something I could get excited about....

If you're visiting from Fitness Friday... welcome....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Years Eve and New Year's 2.5K's

Yes, as promised, my Cute Husband and I got together the 5th and 6th Bi-annual Team Brenton 2.5K.  He did most of the legwork.  He's dedicated like that.  And even more amazing because he had "Christmas at UPS" aka "working on hardly any sleep for the entire month of December" going on while doing it.

Yes, I'm wearing my running skirt.  And, yes, that is my Cute Husband wearing shorts over on the end.  Yes, we think he's crazy about half of the time.
The idea is that you run a 2.5K on New Year's Eve... preferably so that you can begin your New Year's Day 2.5K right afterwards.  We begin ours at 11:40pm... and ran around a well lit mid-town golf course.  It was pretty cool because about half way through - it was midnight!  Lots of fireworks (now legal in AZ) went off and I think I got my first kiss ever in the middle of a run!  We ended at about 12:20am.

A few friends showed up... and since we decided to go the pace of the slowest person so no one would be left alone, it was untimed, but quite fun!  Even better was afterwards, one of our friends had homemade hot chocolate... which included, from what I understand, lots of whipping cream and candy bars.  It kind of made my gingerbread cookies seem bland.  It really was some of the best hot chocolate ever.  I would have drunk more except for the fact that it was about 50 degrees out and we really didn't need hot chocolate.  Especially after warming ourselves up with some exercise.  That and I probably needed to run around that golf course a couple of more times to work off the hot chocolate to begin with.

A few other friends couldn't show up, so they participated in their own way and time.  I hope to have a few photos to post of those at some point.  That was the great part about this run - you could participate in your own way where ever you happened to be.

The best part?  We asked for a $5 Payless Shoe Store gift card donation to go towards the kids at the school I work at.  Many of them don't have a decent pair of shoes to wear and shoes there are always needed.  People were SO generous.  I was quite overwhelmed at the generosity of people... at last count we had $185 in gift cards to donate to this cause.  I had to go back to work this morning... after 2 weeks of not getting up until the sun did... it was harsh.  The best part of going back was being able to give the gift cards from our run to the principal and see her excitement and surprise!  I can't wait until the shoes actually land on the feet of those who need them.

There aren't many better ways to start off a new year than a run with friends, food, and generous people!  Here's to a happy and fulfilling 2012!