Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Run to Feed the Hungry 2011

Happy holidays all! I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving last week - mine was great!

I signed up for my local Thanksgiving race - The Run to Feed the Hungry. Last year, the 5k at this annual race was my very first race ever, the first time I had run that far, and the first time I felt like a runner. This year, my friend Brandi once again agreed to run with me, but we opted for the 10k. Just like last year, I headed into the race not knowing for sure if we would be able to run the whole thing without walking - the furthest I have run since my half-marathon is 4 miles, although I have been doing that regularly. Brandi, whose husband is in the Air Force and is often gone for weeks at a time, has been running sporadically at best, and so going in we were both a bit uncertain as to how it would go.

To make things a bit more fun, I decided to make us a couple of Thanksgiving tutus for the run, marking my first race in a tutu. I see them all over on people's blogs, and they are always smiling, so I thought "Hey, why not?!" I spent Wednesday morning putting them together (during a "Gone With the Wind" marathon - "Miss Scarlett, I don't know nothin' bout birthin' no babies!") and was really pleased with how they came out.

For the first time in the 18 year history of this race, the morning was grey and rainy. Not just a little sprinkling, but rainy. We were wet before the race even started. But we stuck it out in our fabulous tutus and waited for the gun to go off. (I can't tell you how many whisperings I heard as we made our way through the crowd about how cute our skirts were, and people were constantly passing us as we ran and complimenting them. Totally boosts your self esteem despite the fact that you are sweaty and red!) 

The first mile or two I was cold and the water was running down my face, but soon I was warmed up and the rain felt like a blessing. We don't talk much when we run together, so we were both plugged into our music and just keeping pace together, checking in with a "How are you doing" and a nod every once in a while. I had loaded my iPhone with a mix that included the occasional Christmas song, (ones that were a great tempo for my running) and I was really pleased with the result when I hit shuffle. (*side note - when you run with music, do you ever wish everyone around you could hear it too, because you are sure that you would all break into song and dance like that parade scene from Ferris Bueller? No? Oh, me neither....)

I told Brandi about a half mile in that we would make it to mile 2 without walking, and then see how we were doing. When we got to 3 without trouble, I told her we were shooting for 4. (It was a big reverse for me to be the one in better running condition - I can't believe that I have become someone who encourages others in these situations!) At that point, she said she had never run that far before, and that was pulling her through. I said we'd get to 5 and check in again. By the time we hit the 5 mile marker, she said "We've got this!" I have to give her props - her body was killing her from about mile 2 on, and still she pushed on. We kept on running, and when we were pretty close to the finish, we kicked it up about 5 notches and just all-out ran for the finish line. When we came to a top on the other side, I thought I might puke, but I held it together. 

Overall, it was a great run, and I was thrilled with how we did. I love those days where you are able to show yourself that you are stronger than you think you are. And I found a new love of running in tutus - I am envisioning an array of colors for different runs. Fun! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fun Run, Pie, and New Shoes

My local Fleet Feet Sports has Tuesday fun runs every week, usually sponsored by some athletic gear company. This week, I was brave and signed up to join in the "fun." They start at 6 at night, and follow a 3 mile loop (which you can extend if you want.) I had to force myself to go tonight - I was really nervous about my speed and ability, about the fact that I was alone, and just about the unknown in general. But I went, and got there a few minutes late but just before they left.

Due to the fact that I was late, I missed the part where they tell you what the route is. This resulted in my having to keep someone in my sights at all times so that I could actually make it back to the store. It was hard, as the group I got caught following was running faster than my normal pace, but I pushed myself and managed to keep up and made it back to the store (fear of getting lost alone in the dark in the city is a great motivator!) Upon arrival back at the store, there were snacks and water and cider and, oh yeah, pumpkin pie. Mmmmhmmm. It was delicious!

There was also a raffle for some products - Mizuno was the sponsor tonight. They were raffling off hats, gloves, shirts, and shoes. Guess who won a pair of Mizuno running shoes? That's right - this girl! I got fitted at the store, they gave me options, watched me run, etc, and I walked away wearing a brand new pair of Mizuno Enigmas - $130 shoes for FREE! And let me tell you, I needed them! I have been wearing my previous pair for far too long - in fact, when I went to Fleet Feet last week and tried some on, one of the staff members put my old shoes in the toss pile by accident. Yup, they are that bad. But we don't have the money for new shoes, so I have been putting up with it (bad bad bad, I know.)

So my reward for making myself go to the run tonight despite my fears was a pair of much needed shoes. What a great night! I know what I am thankful for today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Am

I Am

I am strong
I am curvy
I am persistent
I am diligent
I am capable
I am pretty
I am smart
I am funny
 I am kind
I am a good friend
I am sweet
I am genuine
I am interesting
I am valuable
I am talented
I am caring
I am worthwhile
I am determined
I am important

Enough focusing on what I am not. 

What are you???

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy Mail Day

I've been having a rough couple of days. Hubby's job is causing some issues for him, which in turn causes issues for me. Moods around here haven't been the greatest, and I am a worrier by nature so my thought patterns have been heavy. But each day I am afforded at least one ray of light to break up the grey. Yesterday the rays involved my kids. But the day before that, the biggest beam of light came in the mail. 

Remember when I won the Brita giveaway over at MizFit last week? Here it is! I was so excited to open the package. I asked my lovely assistant to help model the new merchandise. Note that she has inherited her father's goofiness. I had my camera on continuous shot and just told her to show off the box...


So here's the loot - a pretty purple filter pitcher, a filtered water bottle, and an extra filter. Yay!  

We live in the city. When we first moved here in March, I couldn't stand the water. It definitely has a taste. I've accustomed myself to it over time, so I was really interested in seeing what kind of a difference the filter would make. 

 Tap water


Filtered water... 


Honestly, there was really a difference in the taste with the filtered water. It was clean and smooth, and I was immediately struck by how far I had fallen from good pure water since getting used to the city version. 

So I now have a water bottle that I keep filled to take with me whenever I leave the house (which I also look forward to filling from a random water fountain to test its filtering skills) and a filtered pitcher which stays in the fridge for cold, clear, clean water all day long. If you live where the water is anything less than stellar, and especially if it is causing you to drink less water than you should, I highly recommend the Brita line. (And this is my own review and recommendation - Brita doesn't even know who I am, nor, I'm sure, do they care!)

In other business, I ran 4 miles this morning. It is COLD out there, and I need to step up my search for some winter bottoms for running. Now that I've used compression shorts, I can't go back to plain workout capris. But the compression capris and pants are so expensive! I'm on the hunt for a good deal. 

So, 3.5 miles Monday morning, 3 miles Monday night, and 4 miles this morning - things are adding up this week.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Endorphins please

I do not endorse strangling your children...but do know the feeling

I am crawling out of my skin. My day started going downhill around noon, and has only gathered velocity since then. I'm not going to go into details, but suffice to say today is one of those days where you can see why some people hide in the closet from their families, rocking back and forth and downing their secret stash of chocolate bars. At the very least it is making me consider having a secret stash of chocolate bars. And a closet big enough to hide in.

Instead, I am going to drive 20 minutes to my sister-in-law's and go for a run with her. A second run in one day is new for me. Night running - also new. Hopefully the activity, and the company, will calm my rolling blood and allow me to come home and sleep peacefully. And hopefully tomorrow morning things will be better.

Back on the road

I finally got out for a run this morning after over a week of not running. And it felt good. It wasn't the easiest run I've done, but it felt great just to know that I was doing it. At one point my mind flashed back to the alternate possibility, in which I would have been warm and cozy on my couch watching tv with my son, and rather than longing for that, I felt the way that I would have been down on myself for not getting my butt moving. In that instant, through the heavy breathing and sweating, I could actually feel that I made the right choice. I am still a little phlegmy from my cold, and running in my skirt is officially no longer a happy thing (my legs were bright pink and freezing by the time I got home) but overall it just felt good. 3.5 miles done this morning.

I went grocery shopping on Saturday (payday) and spent quite a chunk of change as we hadn't been able to grocery shop with the last paycheck, leaving our cupboards very bare by this weekend. I am now stocked with lots of fruits and vegetables, brown rice, steel cut oatmeal, and other things to help me have a successful couple of weeks. I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Listening to the tiny voice

In the past 2 1/2 weeks, I have only ran twice. And I've been stressing over it, big time. I've been sick since Sunday, the kind of sick where I would make it about a half mile if I was lucky before collapsing on the ground in a heap. On the levee by the river, I'm not sure anyone would check on me either. They might just figure I was homeless and leave me there. So I haven't been able to run the last several days, but the time before that I just wasn't running. Something about the combo of the pitch dark and cold didn't lure me out of the house (or my bed) for a while. I've been feeling major guilt and stress about it as I swear I am watching my thighs grow and my endurance decrease daily.

Last night as I was mentally freaking out over it, the tiniest voice in my head was trying to be heard over the shouts of disapproval and dissention. I had to forcibly quiet my mind in order to hear it. And what was it saying? "This isn't permanent. It isn't the end of everything you've worked toward. You can build it back up." Simple, I know, but amid the normal onslaught of "You're not good enough" "You are too chunky to run" "Only a worthless person would just not work out for two weeks" (all of which is thought by me, directed at me) it was a startling statement. It took me a bit by surprise. So I took a couple of calming breaths, and focused on those statements. Which are all true. As soon as I am able, I will head back out to run, and if my endurance has gone way down, I will start small and build it back up. I did it before, I can do it again. Two and a half weeks can't erase everything I've done - I won't be starting from scratch.

As I was reading blogs this morning, I was greeted with a couple of running challenges (thanks to (Just) Trying is for Little Girls for informing me of them.) So I signed up to add motivation. One is the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge over at Run To The Finish, where you get points for how active you are and the healthy choices you make, and points win you cool prizes. The other is the Healthy Thankful Blogger 5k over at A Journey to Thin. It also has a cool giveaway. I am not above being bribed to run. Go check them both out and sign up to add some more fuel to your fire of motivation.

Do you ever get caught up in feeling like your "off" days are the end of everything you've worked for? How do you bust out of that mentality?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Being sick, winning, and some pictures

I thought it wouldn't get me. I thought I was taking all the precautions necessary to beat it. But the odds were against me from the start. The miracle is that it didn't take me sooner. I've got it. The head cold that has been going around out there, and in here among my four children. I thought by hand washing and avoiding direct contact with their germy hands and faces that I could skip this go-round, but no such luck. It started as a runny nose and watery eyes and has progressed to thick mucus and a little congestion. Here's hoping I don't develop the dry cough that won't stop. Ugh. I'm downing water and taking my Zinc and just hoping it is over soon - I am on day 3 already.

In a happier vein, I am a winner! MizFit did a water drinking Brita challenge, and at the end had a super cool Brita prize pack to give away, and I won! I am really excited to get my pitcher and water bottle to help me get in my necessary water for the day. Good health really starts with hydration, something I am hard pressed to remember some days. So thanks, Miz!

Last night was Halloween, and I spent my day yesterday blowing my nose and finishing costumes, so I will leave you with some pictures of my little monsters.

 My punk rocker
 Athena the Greek goddess
 My little witch
 And the bat
Rock on! We need to work on his hard core attitude ;)

Monday, October 24, 2011

What I did with my weekend

This is where I was this weekend...

 doing this...

 climbing these (145 of them)

soaking in this 

getting wet trying to get a closer picture of this 

and enjoying this from the deck of the rental...

now it's back to reality - sigh.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Feeling worthless. Feeling like everything I am is tied to my weight and ability or inability to lose it. Feeling like I'm not as good as the next girl, the skinny one. Feeling like a failure. Feeling like I should be able to love myself no matter what size I am. Feeling like I should feel more successful after losing 50 pounds. Feeling like I wish the word "fat" had never been introduced into my vocabulary. Feeling like I just, for once, would like to feel truly happy with who I am and what I look like. Feeling pudgy and gross and just blech. Feeling edgy and irritated and short-tempered and like I am crawling out of my skin. Feeling like I just want a reset button on today.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I've used this picture before, and I'm sure I'll use it again. Some days this is just how I feel when I run. D'oh!

I ate really badly yesterday. Really. Badly. And it showed in my run this morning. I could feel the sugar, carbs, and fats just weighing me down and oozing out of my pores. Gross. My running skirt didn't fit right, and I was just not comfortable the whole run. But I did my four miles, accepted that it was harder than usual due to my own actions, and moved on. Fruits and veggies here I come.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Picking myself up

Last Friday I weighed in for the second time for this weight-loss challenge I am doing with my step-mom (which really needs to be called something different - it is just the two of us trying to lose weight until Thanksgiving, encouraging each other.) I have turned most of my focus to working out more - getting in more running and doing some strength on the off days. Anyhow, I had lost 3 pounds. Which was great. Then the weekend came, and my eating wasn't great. And that stretched on into Monday. And then Tuesday. So even though I have amped up the exercising, I am eating more calories than I should. Not only that, but in thinking back over the last two days, I can count the servings of fruits and vegetables I had on one hand. ONE HAND. For TWO days. Unacceptable.

So on my run this morning, I was going over all the ways I failed the last few days in my head. And it was playing  like a loop for the first half mile: "You ate too much sugar. You had too many carbs. You didn't eat any veggies. You cannot control your eating. What is wrong with you?..." Until I stopped myself. And thought, what good is beating myself up about it doing? What good has it ever done? So here is what I am going to do instead: today I am going to eat more fruit and vegetables. And be proud of myself for making the choice to eat healthier today, and do my workout this morning, and keep trying, rather than spending my day being down on myself and just feeling bad. Which generally leads to more bad eating. Today I am going to be proactive instead of reactive. 

What good things are you doing today?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Got up this morning and headed out in the dreaded dark to run - I wasn't brave enough to do the bike trail in the dark again, so I stuck to the neighborhood streets where at least there was some weak light from the streetlights. It was cold this morning, I'd forgotten what that feels like. I went a new way, which included two hills - loved the small challenge. I also threw a couple of sprints in there. All in all, it was just over 3.5 miles, with an average pace of 10.17 minute miles - fast for me. I came back and got the kids off to school - I love having accomplished something big before 8 a.m.!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Had to show off my new shirt - I won it from Ros over at life's a wheeze - you should go get to know her, she is super awesome. And I'm not just saying that because I won ;) I already thought she was cool. I also got $10 on iTunes - new running music? Yes please! I am taking suggestions! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Drip drip drop October shower

Rain was in the forecast for Northern California last night, and was supposed to continue through today. I set my running stuff out in preparation for the morning, thinking that a run in the rain might be fun. I have heard that lots of runners love to run in the rain, and I was (hesitantly) looking forward to it. I worked the timing out with the hubby to take the eldest child to school so that I would have enough time to run and get back to take the younger two, since it is so dark in the mornings lately I can't leave as early as I used to. I went to bed and set my alarm and fell asleep.

At 3:50 this morning, I woke up to use the bathroom. And the first thing I heard upon waking? Rain. Pouring rain. Dumping rain. Torrential rain. Uh-uh, I thought. If it is raining like that when I get up, I'm not going. It was the kind of rain that leaves you soaked in two seconds flat. I climbed back in bed and went back to sleep. When my alarm went off at 5:30, the world was silent. No more buckets of rain falling on my roof. So I got up and got dressed and waited for it to be light enough for me to head out. The skies were clear, the world was wet, and it was lovely. I was a bit slow this morning, which I know was because my legs are tired from my fast run on Monday and Jillian yesterday. But I did my 4 miles and got back in time to take the kiddos to school, and am glad I did it despite the fact that I am super sleepy now (that bathroom wake-up was not the only one last night, and I stayed up later than I should have doing some crafty stuff.) Now I am going to finish my crafty stuff and plan dinner and wait for the thunderstorms that are headed our way this afternoon.

You runners out there, do you like running in the rain? Do you have any tips for when I inevitably do run in it?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I did level 2 of the Shred this morning - man, I forgot how hard it was! My arms are a bit shaky now. But I finished, and that is good enough for me. Yesterday I had a great 4 mile run, 11:25 minute miles, which is faster than I have been lately. My step-mom and I started a kind of a challenge last Saturday, trying to eat better and lose a little weight from now until Thanksgiving, but instead of  winner we each put in $20 and at the end will take that and go do something fun together. Really, I am using this as a way to push myself to get in more exercise and runs, and to keep my eating in check before the big holidays hit. So far so good. 

How are you all doing?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Awesomeness stalled

In trying to regain my awesomeness, yesterday I did the Shred in the morning. Then, when Hubby texted in the afternoon asking if I wanted to go for a jog when he got home in the evening, I said absolutely. (For the record, my husband doesn't run. Every once in a while he will decide he feels like it and he will jog around the block, but that is it. In all fairness, he isn't supposed to run much - he has something of an enlarged aorta - a story for another time. So getting a text saying he wanted to go for a jog was kind of rare and a big deal. And it wouldn't have been very awesome of me to say no.) When he came home, we ran a quick mile (and by quick I mean we were moving faster than I normally do, so I was huffing and puffing by the end) and then walked 3/4 of  mile home. 

Last night before bed I set my running stuff out and set my alarm for 5:40, since awesomeness doesn't sleep in and skip a workout. However, when I got myself out of bed and into the hallway, I found my boys' bedroom door ajar, and was faced with a carpet covered in vomit. Good times. So rather than running this morning, I found myself cleaning up that mess and taking care of a little 7 year old boy who told me "I didn't get much sleep last night." Which is an honorable trade-off. Then why do I feel like not making my run today makes me decidedly lame and un-awesome? I am battling the same feelings of guilt that I experience when I purposefully and consciously do not work out. Is that an appropriate way to feel, or should I be ok with having to miss out on my run in order to take care of my family? I thought about running now, because my 12 year old is also home feeling really sick, and thus I could leave the boys here with her and go, but I don't feel like I should leave when two of the three here are sick. 

Any thoughts on these feelings? Are they normal? Am I just copping out?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I miss feeling awesome

Here is what I have been thinking today: I miss that feeling that came with working out 5 days a week as I trained for my first 5k and also took a class that challenged my fitness every time and made me stronger. I miss feeling like I could do hard things, give them all I had, and go back for more. I miss feeling awesome. The past few weeks I have had a really hard time motivating myself to get moving and get my butt back in gear. I keep telling myself I'm going to do it, but in reality I end up running a couple days during the week, doing the Shred once or twice, and that't it. I can't seem to drag myself out of bed in the dark and get myself moving, and as the day goes on I just won't do it. Well, for me, Sundays are the days when I feel like I am ready to conquer the world, and I make great plans and have great ideas for the coming week. So today, in Morgan tradition, I am going to sit down and write out a workout schedule for the coming week. But not in Morgan tradition, I am actually going to stick with it past Tuesday. It's time to bring back the awesome.

Friday, September 23, 2011

One week down

One week down with no sugars and I weighed in this morning. Last week I started out at 179, and this morning I weighed in at 175.2, for a loss of 3.8 pounds. Yay! I don't lose weight in big increments like that usually, and I know it was just because it was the first week, but I'll take it!

While my exercise isn't bad, it could be better, so I will be making an effort to increase the number of days I am doing that. My step-mom wants to do another weight loss challenge until Thanksgiving, like we did last year, (which I won, by the way.) The problem is that while last year my sister, brother-in-law, and niece also did it with us, this year they don't want to. So right now it is just my step-mom and myself. So we might just do more of a support thing and less of a challenge, which is too bad since I won $60 last year and would love the chance to repeat.

Any of you out there doing holiday challenges to keep yourselves in check?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Running Tip #34

Running Tip #34 - Don't run on the surface streets on garbage day.

This morning I started out on my normal running route along the American River Bike Trail, but about a mile in decided I wanted something different. I was already throwing in sprints here and there (as I am trying to increase my speed) but didn't want to do them all on the trail. So I headed over to the surface streets, just to shake things up a little. In my area, Thursday is garbage day. Which had me running by garbage cans that hadn't been emptied yet (abnormal - they usually are picked up bright and early.) Why is this such a bad thing? Just try taking deep breaths to support your running as you are passing cans full of trash. It was even worse during my sprinting, when I was gulping more air, and thus more of that nice rancid meat smell. Yuck. But over all I got a good run in, and didn't pass out from the smell, so it was a win. I'll know better next time.

I cut out sweets and sodas last Friday, and am feeling really good. My runs have been better, I feel stronger and less pudgy. I have currently set the time frame for no sugar for four weeks from when I started, and then I'll see how I want to proceed from there. I'm running and also throwing in some workouts from the Shred, and overall it is working for me. Now I just need to be more productive during the day - something that I am fairly certain is being affected by my anemia. Just need to remember to take my iron pill and try to work some more iron-rich foods into my diet. Maybe I'll go make some oatmeal for breakfast...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A heartfelt, heart wrenching post - well ok, a link to one anyway

I just read this wonderful, poignant post, and had to share it. In light of things that have been happening in my life the last few months, this really touched me and hit my heart. Go read it and let me know what you think.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Half-Marathon Part 3 - In which nearly 2,215 people don't finish the race, but I do!

Warning - more pictures ahead. And some words.

I left you all at mile 6, with me making a dorky video about my progress so far. I was still going (pretty) strong, despite the sun beating down on me and the fact that I was facing another 7.1 miles. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many people who were also suffering trying to achieve the same goal. There were many times on the course that I wanted to yell out encouraging, fun things like "Who's having fun?" and "How is everyone doing - let me hear you yell!" and "We all rock!" but, unfortunately, I was too embarrassed to do it. I wish I had had the nerve.

Mile 8 took us through the parking lot of the Honda Center, where the Mighty Ducks play hockey. While most of the first 4 miles were on Disney property, as well as the last 1.1 miles, the rest of the race was on the streets of Anaheim. We ran by a lot of strip malls, over train tracks, and through an industrial area. All of that was pretty ho-hum, but I didn't figure that it was much different than any normal half-marathon. I have heard that the Disney World races are completely on Disney property, since that resort is so much larger, and that because of that there is a lot more of that "Disney-feel" and entertainment to the runs. Which would be awesome, but I still felt that this race was a good one.

Around mile 7 I started getting texts - since I use my iPhone for my music when I run, every once in a while I would hear a chime letting me know I had a new message. Turns out my hubby had put out a Facebook post encouraging people to text me, especially between 8 and 9, to cheer me on. It was so sweet, and every time it dinged I got a new burst of motivation and inspiration. He would text me funny things, and friends and family would encourage me to keep going.

Between miles 8 and 9 we ran along the Santa Ana River Trail, which really made me laugh. Here is what the "river" looked like:
You could see the bottom of the ditch (I guess it is a river bed?) and the whole thing was obviously man-made. The reason I laugh is because I am from Northern California, where we have lots of river access, ad our rivers are natural and beautiful and lush. I run on the American River Bike Trail all the time. I would have considered this river more of a reservoir. Whatever.

Ahead in the distance I could see our next destination:
 Can you see it in the distance?
 Angel's Stadium - coming up!

I have to say, before the race, I knew we were going to be running through the stadium, and while I thought it sounded cool, it didn't really mean anything to me. I'm not a huge baseball fan or anything, so I thought it was just something to break up the run a little. I was wrong.
 Headed through the tunnel into the stadium

 As we came through the tunnel, I could hear the roar of the crowd inside. It echoed down to us, and this wave of excitement hit me. I felt like an athletic superstar with a stadium of people cheering for me. I was running, ducking around people, wondering how they could be walking at a moment like this. We were on the outfield, running through a stadium, something people don't normally get to do, with excited fans cheering us on. Move it people! I ran around the corner, and looked over in the seats, and had the best surprise of my day:
 That guy in the grey shirt and khaki shorts, pointing at me? Yeah, that's my hubby. I had no idea that he was going to be there - I actually thought he wouldn't. It was a fantastic surprise - it put more pep in my step and really gave me a boost. It was awesome.
After we headed out into the parking lot, I shot another video. I am looking distinctly more red, sweaty, and exhausted in this one. And don't you love the frame it freezes on?

By the time we hit mile 10, I was really starting to wonder how much longer this was going to take. 10 miles was as far as I had ever run during my training, the furthest I had ever run in my life, and now was the time to run the last 5k to finish out the race. It was at least encouraging to see the signs for Disney Way, and to start seeing signs for the parks. At this point I had to just dig deep. I thought of all those people who donated money so that I could make it down to the race, all those people who had so much faith in me and my journey and wanted to see me meet my goal. I knew I owed it to them as well as myself to finish as strong as I could.

Tower of Terror in the distance - I knew we were closing in on the end.

 One mile to go!
 The back of the new "Cars Land" they are building at California Adventure

 Unfortunately, this Genie didn't have any ability to grant my wish to be done already

The last mile, I thought about my kids. I thought of how I want to be a good example to them, to show them that we can do hard things. That we can do anything that we want and set our minds to, and that their mom is capable of big things. Thinking of them, and also getting texts from my hubby that said "Be strong Morgan" and "I'm so proud of you Morgan" kept me running that whole last mile.
 It's blurry, but it's there - the Finish line!
Just before you crossed the finish line, Minnie, Chip and Dale, and Goofy were all lined up to give high-fives and clap. I moved to the side where they were just so I could high-five them - I may be a dork, but I earned it!
Self-portrait immediately after crossing the finish line - I was so happy and proud of myself!

Let's bask in this moment for a bit. It was amazing. It was unbelievable. Last year at this time I was starting to train for my first 5k, and I didn't think I could even finish that. I would never have thought that I would be running a half-marathon. No matter how slow I was, I finished what I started. After twelve weeks of training, and 13.1 miles of sweat and (mostly happy) tears, I finished what I started. It was a wonderful feeling.

However, shortly after this, things went downhill alarmingly quickly. After crossing the finish line, I was handed a "cooling towel," which was a terrycloth towel in a package that resembled those portable baby wipe packages. I got my medal, picked up a water bottle, and headed down the line, opening and wiping my face down with the towel. The area funneled you past the medical tent, to the food, and then out through lettered tents (corresponding to your last name) into the family reunion area. I stopped in the medical tent to look for ice and pain pills. The ice was being replenished, and there was a line. 

I was anxious to get out and find Jon, who was supposed to be waiting in the reunion area after watching me finish on the big screens. So I got a handful of this stuff called Bio-Freeze and slathered it on my calves. Then I wiped what was left on my had onto the towel. Moments later I wiped my face, which was streaming sweat. I grab a bagel from the food line, and simultaneously realize that something I've wiped on my face had menthol in it.

I tend to have allergic reactions to menthol. Those Icy-Hot patches, Ben Gay, anything like that gives me itchy, swollen patches of skin. I panic as I realize it is all over my face, and I am having visions of myself all puffy and itchy through my afternoon at Disneyland. I realize that it was in the Bio-freeze, and try to wipe it off with the towel, or at least the portions where I hadn't already wiped the gunk off my hands. Meanwhile, I am still being funneled through the line, I have my hands full with a bagel, water bottle, towel, and who knows what else. I figure my best option is to find Jon, so I go through the appropriate tent and start looking. 

Now, at 6'7", my hubby is not hard to spot in a crowd - a fact that I have always been grateful for. And yet, as I am looking around, I can't see him. I find a nearby table with an open corner and set down as much as I can so I can focus on cleaning off my face. I pour some water on the towel and keep wiping my face, which is stinging a bit. Finally I decide that I have gotten as much off my face as possible (and my skin is feeling a bit tight and shiny like I just had a chemical peel.) At this point, I am starting to feel nauseous, and can't manage to swallow any more bagel. I trash it and grab the rest of my stuff and renew my search for my husband. I can't spot him anywhere, and so I manage to wrestle my phone out of my arm band so I can text him and find out where he is. Only I am in a complete dead zone, and can't get a message or call out.

Hot, sweaty, tired, nauseous, face burning, and feeling abandoned, my high just plummets. I finally manage to get a text out, asking Jon where he is, and get one back saying that he is still trying to get in and park. He isn't there and didn't see me finish. Things are not looking so rosy through my eyes anymore. I look around for a place to sit, hopefully in the shade, but there are no chairs anywhere and the sun is brutally bearing down on me. So I leave the reunion area and shuffle over to the road (which is closed) where I know Jon will be walking once he is able to park. I feel dizzy and sick, so I sit down on the curb. 

After 20 more minutes (and many failed texts) I get up and stand under the only shade I can find. I finally see Jon looking for me, and wave him down. At that point, any joy that I wanted to share at my finishing has been sapped by the events after crossing the finish line, and all I want is to get back to the car. Which it turns out is parked at the far end of one of the top floors of the garage. As we are walking out there, I realize that I need at least one post-race picture with my medal, but I have tears in my eyes and just can barely muster a smile. Hence the picture below in all its ugly glory:
I stumbled back to the car, at which point it took us another 20 minutes to get out of the garage. Jon told me his story, which basically was that since so many roads were closed for the race, he got stuck coming back from the stadium to the park, along with everyone else trying to get back to the finish line. We had set it up through the race website for Jon to be texted at different points along the race, and he told me that he was crushed when he got the text saying I was finished and he hadn't even made it to the parking garage yet. It was a low point for both of us. He could have parked at our hotel and walked over in less time, if he had known. I told him he needs to write it all up so that in future years, people watching their loved ones race will know what not to do.

He got me back to the hotel, put me in the shower, and then went and bought me a chocolate milk. By the time I drank that and was dressed, I was feeling better. We prepared to head back to the park for our day at Disneyland (crazy, I know, but it was the only day we had!) As soon as we got in, we ate lunch (Jambalaya for me - yum!) and soon I was ready to walk the park and ride some rides. We ended up spending 12 hours at Disneyland, just taking it slow in the crowds and riding and eating. It was a great ending to the weekend. But I paid for it the next day when I couldn't walk so much as hobble. 

I don't normally put magnets or stickers on my car, but I earned this one!

Overall, it was an amazing weekend, and I would do it all again. Previously, I was fairly certain that this would be the only half-marathon I would ever do, but during and even after, I realized that I am not done. Now all I can think about is doing another one, and trying to improve my speed. I am planning on trying to get a group of people together to run the Disneyland half next year, but I am also going to pepper the coming months with some as well. Finishing my training and the race proved to me that I can do this - which is why I signed up for the run to begin with. Achieving my goal has been an amazing experience for me, and has given me more self-confidence. And I can honestly say that if I can do this, anyone can. So does anyone want to join me?