Jan 29, 2012

The Journey has been on a ... well... Journey!

I have been MIA from blogging for a while mainly due to a few trips:  Florida, Florida, Mexico, and now Germany.  Wow.  Is it really only January still? 

I have traveled more than 20,000 miles in 20 days and as such my body, free time, and training have taken a hit of sorts.  I am sick sitting here in my hotel room at the Residenz in Babenhousen, Germany on a cold, very damp winter afternoon.  Sick, but happy to live a life where I am able to travel the world and be apart of it.  Travelling for work has re-sparked in me the desire to travel in my personal life.  I am making a list of the places that I would like to see and I am going to start working on seeing them. Starting with the US.   I have no excuse for seeing more of China than I have of my own country.

So going back to the start. 

*starts car*

Welcome to Florida!

Mike and I drove to Florida in mi-December, staying through News Year Day.  This vacation served us two purposes, first obviously as a vaction.  Secondly it was to make the plans for our upcoming Jupiter Beach, Florida wedding.  *giggles*   Oh yes, our wedding!  August 25th, 2012 - which even though is 7 months away is coming up fast!   Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, Jupiter Beach.  Life is amazing and I get to marry my best friend and the great balancer in my life. *awwww so sappy*

Moose loves running on the beach!

*coughs*  Anyhow.  We took our Pug, Moose, to the beach at Jupiter to see how he would do.  Jupiter Beach (north of the Pier at least) is one of the few dog friendly beaches left on the coast of Southern Florida.  We made sure to bring lots of "doggie bags" with us in case Moose decided to use the beach as his personal sand box, and of course he did.  The second he hit the sand there he went!

We would bring him to the edge of the water and run into the surf with him but then he would freak out and run back to the beach, attempting to run away from the ocean as fast as he could.  Good to know that he would never run into the ocean should he ever be allowed off-leash.  Good thing to know as well is that he likes to run.  Fast.  And far away from us when off of the leash.  

Jupiter Beach, FL

Mike and I spend a lot of time in Jupiter where ultimately we want to live.  We found a wonderful cafe during Hurricane Irene, ironically enough called the Hurricane Cafe, and it is a place that we go to every time we are in the area.  This time, we took Moose and he did well even with the food smells and all the people.  He likes to people watch, moreso for the attention I am sure. 

The community of Jupiter is very active in cycling (great riding up and down the A1A**), triathlons, running, stand up paddling, surfing, deep sea fishing, just about anything you can think of ocean related.  It is the perfect place for us to live, and it is the perfect place for us to start our lives as man and wife together as well. It is just so "us".

After New Years Eve, we drove north back to Michigan, through the Smokies, only for me to fly right back down a few days later.  This time I was headed for the Magic Kingdom... Disney World!  What another vacation?  Yeah, only this time it was to run a Goofy little race, 39.3 miles total, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge. 

** You know that Ice Ice Baby is now running through your head.  Do not try to deny it!  

*makes airplane noises*

Welcome to Florida! (Again)

Myself and about 8 of my running friends flew down to run in the various races.  We dressed up as a group for both races - for the Donald Duck Half we dressed up as the various Princesses, fairies, Peter Pan and the King.

Most of us before the Half Marathon (Holger, dressed as the King, as well as Arg's father, and  Rich and Sharon are missing)

I ran with Anne and Jim as Peter Pan, Tink and Wink her wild cousin (Wink would be me of course!) stopping to take pictures at every mile (except mile 1 which we missed).  I will use any excuse to run in a tutu and take pictures, so if I have to run 39.3 miles in order to have a good enough reason then count me IN!

"Wink" after the Donald Duck half Marathon 2012

After the race we hot tubbed and then headed down to Celebration, Florida (a community built by Walt Disney) for dinner.  Upon awaking the next morning I had the revelation that I was so not ready for the marathon. I knew this flying down for the race.  

I had just finished my MBA the week before I headed down to Florida in December,  so I was ready to run another 13.1 miles and call it quits. I was a stoic person the morning of the marathon.  I had a great experience at Detroit Marathon this past October.  HUGE PR (77 minutes!).  I had focused on wrapping up my MBA and let training or just running in general slip to the back burner for too long.  I knew that I could finish the 26.2 but at what cost to my body?  My goal is not this race, my goal is Ironman Florida and while it is still 10 months away at this point, was running a marathon unprepared worth the risk of injury or burn out?

Yep. DUH.

So I put on my gear and got ready with the group - 101 Dalmations (complete with Cruella) were ready to be set lose upon the Kingdom!

Those of us who stayed in the house - the rest (Arg and Sharon) were staying on-site to Disney and Corrina and Rich were in the Cheer squad not running this day.

I had a rough morning prior to the race start as well (sorry to Jim who bore the brunt of my stoic, silent, not in a taking or joking mood self.  Yikes, I am really not a social person when my mind is in game mode).  I was cold.  I was tired.  I was sore.  And do you know what?  So was every other person there, especially those of us doing the Goofy. We had a 13 mile test-run the day prior so this was all new territory. 

Let me preface this by saying that I have felt what I call affectionately the "death march" in my fair share of races.  Marathons, halfs, 5ks, whatever the distance it can happen.  The death march scares me because it is where the event turns mental.  I told Jim and Anne while we were waiting to head to the start that I was afraid of the death march, because it was not IF it would come, it was WHEN.   I told them that while I am starting the race together with them, I am fighting my mind and the clock is going to be very close. I am prepared to stop at the half marathon checkpoint if I need to, but  I did not have time to stop and take pictures every mile.  It was not the time taking the pictures, it was the time stopping, waiting, taking, then getting back in.  I knew that my body was not ready to run 26.2 straight through, but I had to get to the half to know that I would finish.  At mile 8, I left them for good so that I could clear my head of trying to race against the finish clock.  Every time we had stopped for a picture I was feeling more and more pressure and I needed to stop the pressure build and find release in running MY Goofy.  I had a strong 3.1 miles until the checkpoint, got to there and then kept on going without a second thought.  Well OK... without a third thought. ;-) 

The castle!  We got to run around it and through it in both races.

At mile 13 I realized that I could start run/walking again as my confidence rose and my pace had increased allowing me some time in the bank, so I ran/walked 1 mile at a time to mile 20 where I looked at the clock and saw that I would make it barring a nap alongside the course.  The last 10k was the mental death march I was scared of.  The sun was out and beating down hard now.  80* or so at this point which was a 20+* increase since the start.   There was very little shade however there was a lot of water at each of the stops with ice cold drinks and sponges with water to help cool our bodies off.  At the 5 hour mark it was evident that my body was not trained to be out on my feet for much over that.  

Along the way, probably around mile 23 or so, which for those not in the know is where I quit my first marathon back in 2003,  I found a woman who was quitting the race.  Aha!  There we have it folks... I found my mission.  I would not willingly allow someone else to feel what I felt all those years ago.  There is a time and place to quit a race and today, that day, was not either of them.  There is no crying at Disney World! 

She was in worse shape than I was as she could not run at all by this point.  I just had her stick with me and told her that if she stuck with me, then she would get to the finish line.  As we were going along, the weight on my shoulders shifted and I realized that I was becoming stronger.  I could have started running again but I decided against it since my new found friend needed me.  Obviously I needed her as well.  She had told me that right before we had met, she went into the bathroom to call her brother to tell him that she was quitting.  He had actually ended up calling her at the same time to tell her that he had asked the entire church (he is a minister) to pray for her for God to send her the ability to finish happy, this her 9th time doing the race.  

When she was leaving the restroom she walked right into me and the rest is happy history.  Note to everyone reading this - never EVER tell me that you are going to quit.  Mile 23 is my mile now, as have still not let go of the pain of giving up on myself.  Every time I pass mile 23 in a run I slap the sign or stomp on the ground.  "I have beat you once again my foe!  This time the battle goes to me!" 

Thank the Lord!  I finished!  :-) 39.3 miles in the books. Now that IS Goofy!

After the race, we went downtown to celebrate with dinner wearing our medals and finishing shirts.  I am quite sun-kissed in this picture and very tired.  I am also so very grateful that I had my friends with me to make this experience awesome, even if it was mentally trying at times.

Yes!  Yes I did!
$300 for 3 medals, 3 tech shirts, and the eternal pride of overcoming not just the wall, but myself.  So totally worth it!

The next day we flew home, I got to unpack, sleep in my own bed for the first time in a week, cuddle up to Mike and the Moose,  and then get ready to fly to Mexico 24 hours later.

*makes airplane flying noises*

Bienvenido a Guadalajara!

La Diablita Cantina - great food!

The New Bridge in Guadalajara put in place for the Pan Am Games of 2011, which the town held host to.  

Now it is blue! 

Yeah.  Not much to say.  I travel here frequently so I have taken most of the pictures on the many trips prior.  My passport looks like I go to Mexico every week.  Which reminds me, I need to work on booking my next trip there in a month or so...

*makes airplane noises*

Welcome to Michigan!

And then I was home for almost 2 whole weeks!  I power tested in the Lab at Fraser which was an experience in and of itself! 

*makes airplane noises* Cha-Ching!  I just made Silver Elite status with Delta!

Willkommen in Deutschland!

So here we are.  Back to cold, damp, winter Michigan style, only not in Michigan. 

Yesterday I landed in Frankfurt, drove to my hotel in Babenhausen, and then traveled via the Bahn back to Frankfurt downtown and walked around the city.

Frankfurt skyline from the river Main

Frankfurt Downtown

Today was Babenhousen via foot. The US Army has a base here and in 2007, after 60 years, they handed it back over to the German Government.  Here are some old homes in the area around the base.

My phone is not transferring my recent photos right now, so as soon as I can get to work I shall update with my Babenhausen and Frankfurt pictures.  We are going to an offsite meeting the next two days, then back to Babenhousen Tuesday night for the rest of the week. I plan on getting back to Frankfurt this week if possible, and to get out and see other sites if time allows. 

Ich bieten gute Nacht zu jeder. Sicher sein. Halten Sie sich warm!
(Goodnight, stay safe and stay warm)

~ Fräulein Jenniferlyn

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