Shamrock Run 2012

This last Sunday I participated in my first organized run ever!  I got up bright and early to participate in the Shamrock Run, a run which shares its proceeds with the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.  They had 3 different length races; the 5K, 8K, and 15K.  Which race did I choose you may ask?  Well for those who know me “I go big or go home,” thus chose the 15K!

Janna, myself, and Tami

My training didn’t consist of much.  Being busy with work and life in general, two weeks prior to the race I had one of those ‘Oh Sh*t’ moments and convinced myself to go on a run.  It was a run I had been wanting to do ever since moving up here but just hadn’t got around to doing it yet or had any idea how long it was.  Well mid run, I realized it was a bit much due to all the knee pain I had ensued.  After a limp run/walk back to my apartment I realized my training run was a 10K.  Needless to say, I was so sore that I did not have the ability to do any extra training prior to the race; training fail!

By race day I had prepared myself mentally.  I was extremely nervous since I had never ran a 15K (9.32 miles) in my life.  Remembering all the pain from my training run, I made sure to stretch…A LOT!  The run began after a slight delay of an Amtrak train and the ambiance of energy was out of this world.  Here I was among 7,500 people running the 15K (32,000 people in total across all runs).

Matt and I

The run started out a bit slower than I had hoped because there were just so many people around me.  I found myself zigzagging between people who weren’t going quite as fast as I had liked.  After the first mile or so it thinned out a bit and I was able to keep a more appropriate pace.  Now for those that don’t know, the 15K course includes “Pill Hill;” the OHSU hill.  The hill was killer, especially since it’s toward the end of the race, around mile 5.

Pill Hill didn’t start out that well for me.  At the base of the hill there was a water station.  While taking the quick swig, I got some water down the wrong pipe; I thought I would drown.  Luckily after a few dry heaves and deathly chokes it was no longer an issue.  Man was that hill a killer!  My goal was to run the whole race, and the hill definitely tested me.  I really think it was all the people along the route cheering the runners on and the bag pipes I could hear as I approached the summit that kept me going.

Once I hit the summit I was holding back tears of accomplishment.  I hadn’t pushed myself that hard in a long time and felt so proud I tackled the hill.  At the same time though, I still had approximately 2 more miles to the finish line; luckily down hill.

As I finished the last 2 miles, each stride I took was an additional feeling of accomplishment; the greatest feeling hit when the finish line was in sight.  I tell you, the minutes I saw that banner I used every last bit of energy I had and sprinted my way to my goal.  The minutes I crossed that line I was overwhelmed with the feelings of accomplishment and exhaustion. When I saw the clock I felt so proud!

My final time was 1 hour, 11 minutes, and 7 seconds for an average pace of 7 minutes 38 seconds per mile.  I never stopped to walk once!

I’ll be honest, after the run I definitely had no desire to run another race again, but now that it’s been a few days and my body has finally recovered, the idea of improving my 15K time by 9 minutes seems like a pretty good goal! ;)

Shout out to my friend Jana for convincing me to do it and all my other friends who participated as well!

Euro-Dance is My Muse

One thing I have noticed the past couple years is how much I am addicted to Euro-Dance music.  I really don’t know why I am, but there is just something about that constant beat.  I have told many of my friends how obsessed I am with it, but I really don’t think they truly understand.

For me, dance music is an asset whether I am working out, getting ready for my day, having a party, traveling, or even zoning out while traveling.  When I listen to dance basically everything around me goes dark and I am engulfed in this place where all things  are great.  I mean, I am pretty sure this is a healthy addiction right?

I really think it is these moments that my mind is most creative.  Hearing how one beat can be mixed with many different songs across one track is just downright awesome and gets my mind thinking out of the box.  To me, dance music isn’t just something to listen to while throwing back a few beers, it is a work of art.

For those of you who may not be familiar with that much dance music, check out the videos below.  Some of these videos are pretty old but still awesome!

Alexandra Burke – “All Night Long”

DJ Visage – “The Return”

Erika – “I Don’t Know”

 

I would DIE without music; seriously!  Leave your favorite Euro-Dance tracks in a comment below please!

The Small Town Experience

View north along Main Street in downtown Pendl...

Downtown Pendleton

This last week I took a short trip down the road to Pendleton, OR to visit my family.  OK, so the trip isn’t that short (actually is 300 miles) and I am still going to be here a few more days.  Since I am currently looking for a new career opportunity, I have had a bit more time on my hands and thought, ‘what the heck, I may as well go visit.’  So far it has been pretty good and I have been able to meet up with a few close friends that I still have here.

Pendleton is approximately 16,000 people.  A pretty small town.  With that comes good things and bad things.  The good things are: it is a safe community, it’s really laid back, and people are generally pretty friendly.  The bad thing however is that with a small town, you practically know EVERYONE.

Being out of Pendleton for approximately 7 years now has let’s just say liberalized me a bit and I am much more used to being “lost in the crowd” in larger places.  To be completely honest, it is pretty nice to be incognito every so often.  I mean, here in Pendleton, let’s just say you go buy some beer; before you get home, the rest of your family practically knows.  Why you ask?  Well, most likely it was your church youth group leader from back in the day, that now has a part-time job at the grocery store.  A God-fearing soul like myself should not be buying such things after-all.

So, that was  bit of an exaggeration.  But at least you get my point.  Today my friend Megan and I went downtown to a restaurant we had never been to before.  While we were there, there was a total of 10 people that we knew.  YES, TEN!  And remember, I have not been living in Pendleton for 7 years!  After this much time it brings all kinds of awkward feelings and situations… ‘Hi, Mrs. Math teacher from my sophomore year of high school (that probably doesn’t remember me…. or DOES she!)’ Or it’s one of those thoughts… ‘Oh crap, look who just walked in, we must leave….’  Let’s just say it was a good thing we each had a beer in hand!

Both tonight and tomorrow night will include trips to the local “Saloon” where I am sure I will run into at least half of my high school class.  This will be entertaining to say the least!