Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yes I'm the Girl Wearing the Highlighter Yellow Reflective Vest!

In a recent Tweet, I shared with everyone that I was truly excited to have received an incredibly thoughtful Christmas gift from one of my co-workers. But before I opened it, she warned, "I hope it's not too dorky." I was so touched when I saw what it was...a reflective vest for my nighttime runs! She had heard me complain all week about almost getting hit by drivers out on the road. Being 100% honest with her, I said, "Sure I think they're dorky but who!"

This weekend, I was blessed again with more gear, this time from my boyfriend who took me to one of my favorite stores. "Are you up for a surprise?" he asked. OF COURSE! So we got ready and headed out. He refused to say where we were going but that it involved some Christmas shopping. As we parked, I knew exactly what store he was taking me to... REI! YAY! We walked in and he asked the store clerk where we could find reflective gear. YAY AGAIN! I was awesome Brooks jacket, a reflective arm band and a reflective holder for my IPhone. I'm such a lucky girl! Thank you sweetheart!

Gear from REI; with flash

Without flash...BTW this jacket is awesome! It rolls into a pouch.

Lightweight, water/wind resistant, and perfect for storing a little body spray for after a race!
Click here to find the jacket although mine is the men's version.

Having shared the photos of both my vest and jacket on FB, some of my non-runner friends teased me. I have to admit pretty funny though. My brother asked if he could borrow my jacket for a rave. LOL! I brushed off the comments and reminded people about safety.

Well yesterday I decided to go with the vest even though it was raining a bit and the jacket would have been the better option; the boyfriend said he wanted to wrap the items he had bought for me at REI to have something for me to open Christmas day. As I put it on, I thought it might be a bit much and draw too much attention. Proving that I could still be safe while remaining fashionable, I wrapped the vest aroung my waist almost like you would place a race bib. I thought it looked great...reflectors in the front and in the back flapping in the wind.

The wrong way to wear the vest:

Less than half a mile into my run, a guy was pulling out of a parking lot and almost did not see me till I shined my flashlight on him. I was annoyed but kept along my run. About another mile later, the same thing happened only this time it was right in the middle of an intersection and the lady did not see me at all. She was making a left hand turn, mind you I had the right of way, little guy flashing WALK and all. Here's a diagram of the situation; the WTF stands for WHAT THE FUDGE, I promise ;)Oh, and I'm not the greatest artist.

I flashed my light on her and stopped till she could see me. Yes, I know VERY dumb move but I was so pissed off! I let her pass and just yelled "HELLO!" She signaled at me to move and drove off clearly not giving a rats behind. I kept running and some car started yelling something in my direction. He looked really mad, like it was my fault. I think he was saying "Get the hell out of the way!" which was maybe his nice way of reminding me how dumb it was to stop mid-run and yell at this woman. I was pretty angry though. I just don't understand the carelessness of drivers!!!

At this point, I told myself, "Julie, this is ridiculous! Wear the damn vest like you're supposed to!" I stopped mid-run and sported my vest like it was a badge of honor. I continued along my run feeling proud...yeah, I'm the girl with the highlighter yellow reflective vest! DO YOU SEE ME NOW?!?!

I got a honk and a wave along the way so maybe it did work! :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Staying Positive

Since I got out of the swing of things, getting back has been a challenge but one that feels great and I am happy to be making steps in the right direction to get to where I was. The winter flu hit me hard this season and I literally could not exercise for over a month. I gained 13 pounds and was miserable. Yes! I said 13 pounds! I started focusing on my other passion, baking. Enough said about where the weight came from.

Determined, I started running again and going to the gym but it was not easy. Every mile I ran seemed like an eternity and I could not wait to get to the end of it. All I kept thinking is "how am I ever going to run a full marathon?!?!?" Truth be told, I started to get very discouraged the first couple weeks. When this happens, I go back to a prior post I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED!

This week was better...managed to drop 4.2 pounds and ran more this week than I had in a long time. My Nike GPS app made it a point to let me know...Tracy Morgan said, "You can drop it like it's hot and pick it up when it's cold because you ran more miles this week than you did last. I'm proud of you!" Too funny!

I was anxious for our Saturday team practice as our schedule called for a 75 minute run which I had not done in quite some time. It was a rainy day which made me even more nervous but I made it to practice and was ready for it. We did our stretches and off we went.

Typically most of the team will do intervals but there are a couple who run the whole way which is exciting because they keep me on track. God knows there are moments I want to stop for a walk break. About three miles into it, a teammate asked me, "Are you planning on running the entire 26.2?" I really didn't know how to answer that as I've never done a full before and to be perfectly honest, cannot even fathom the idea of it since I know 13.1 was hard enough let alone doubling that amount!

As we talked about this along our run, one of the teammates turned to me and said, "Just tell yourself you're gonna run the whole way!" And he was right, the minute we let ourselves be defeated or have a negative mentality going into something, we're only setting ourselves up for failure. We have to push ourselves to believe that we can achieve something instead of already thinking we can't no matter how hard the goal is. 26.2 is not going to be easy but nothing in life ever is which is exactly why I titled my blog one step at a time...that's how we have to approach it--one foot in front of the other.

Our coach also added, "You're doing it now and that's what I'm gonna train you guys to the whole way." Positive talk, breeds positive results and having a strong support circle like TNT...GO TEAM!

Breakfast with the team after little reward for running 7.25 miles:

Some of the things I baked while I was out of commission. As you can see, I love baking cupcakes the most:

Vanilla Cupcakes

Pumpkin Bunt Cake

Funfetti Princess Cupcakes

Carrot Pecan Cupcakes

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My First Guest Blog Post

I'm really excited about this opportunity to be featured as a guest blogger in And Her Little Dog Too. Check it out and continue to follow!

Thanks Leslie!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Running At Night...BE CAREFUL!

After more than a month of being sick and feeling discomfort when exercising, I think I’m finally starting to get back in full swing of training. I am very fortunate to be part of Team In Training this season as a mentor where I can train along with the team while helping some of our members come up with fundraising ideas. Eager to get back on track and be able to run with the team, I’ve been making up for lost time in the gym and on the pavement.

For the last couple weeks I’ve been running consistently logging anywhere between 3 and 6 miles per run. Not much right now but we’re only in our 6th week of training, two times a week with the team and the rest on my own. As my runs get longer, I am experiencing new courses throughout my city and learning which points are safe and which to steer clear from. Since I do a majority of my running after work when it is dark, I stay away from areas that aren’t well lit for obvious reasons. A, you never know who or what is lurking in a bush and B, I’m very clumsy and if I can’t see ahead, I’m bound to trip and fall…done that too many times. It’s always a good idea to run with a small flashlight for the dark areas but if you can, best to just avoid completely.

One of the biggest dangers of nighttime running that I’ve experienced more and more is the people on the road. I cannot believe how much drivers don’t pay attention pedestrians! Within the last two days alone, I can recall about four incidents where the driver has not seen me and will do what us out here call the “California rolling stop”—not stopping at a red light and rolling into the right hand turn. MAKE SURE YOU MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH THE DRIVER BEFORE YOU CROSS THE STREET EVEN IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY! DON’T ASSUME THAT THEY SEE YOU!

One woman last night did the infamous rolling stop even though she did not have the right of way and did not bother to look in both directions before proceeding. As I looked at her, I realized she was on her cell phone. This got me so incredibly angry I actually flailed my arms in the air and yelled “HELLO!!!!!!” For one, it is annoying to see that people are so careless and clueless when they drive but more importantly it is dangerous and DEADLY! To all my runners out there, please be careful even when you’re the one behind the wheel. Because of these experiences, I am currently on the hunt for reflective or LED gear for my nighttime runs. Stay tuned to see what I find this weekend!