Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm Going Streaking!!

This past few days have been a whirlwind of activity...I started the Thursday morning festivities by doing the inaugural Talmer Turkey Trot in Burlington, which is about 20 minutes or so from my house. I was fortunate that I able to catch a ride will Bill from Loves To Run and his daughter. They were going to be running the race together, which I thought was awesome! We got to Burlington, and found a great parking spot, - almost getting run over by a car that also drove through the starting area taking out some cones. Crazy!?! On my way to packet pick up, I ran into a friend from way back Roller Den/Boy Scout Camp/UWP. Packet pickup was a little crazy with long lines, but once we navigated into the right line, it went smoothly. WE went back to the car, did a warm up and were ready to run. We ran into a fellow “Jennipede” Tony who had already ran 10 miles earlier for his warm up (runners, we are a crazy bunch). It was good to see him and hear what his plans were for the races in 2012.The race took as over a bridge, through town, and out on a trail. At one point, by the river you could smell the chocolate from the chocolate factory, yum! Then we were heading back to the finish. I had been watching my time, and thought I could finish under 30 minutes, and was able to hold the pace and finish 29:50, which put my 3rd in my age group. We stayed for awards, won some raffle prizes, and heading home to Thanksgiving festivities.

Jason carving the turkey.

Packers, turkey, family, a great day to end the day. However, little did I realize that this was only the beginning. I texted my friends to see what time our annual “craft day” festivities were taking place. “Craft Day” started about 10 years ago with a craft day; it has evolved to scrapbooking, eating, shopping, movie marathons, etc…whatever we are in the mood for that year. This year my two friends were coming to me and my one friend, Julie, was shooting a wedding in New York because she is an amazing photographer, check it out at her site. Anyhoo, it would be a little bit different without her. This year we were doing Black Friday shopping, and they would be at my house before midnight to pick me up and head to the stores.

Kohls "spa" at about 5 am

Our night/morning went like this:

1.Target-mile long line, drive to

2. Walmart-scored some goods, drive to

3. Kohls-good buys, but the line was sooo long, drive back to

4. Target-almost got in a fisticuff for touching someone’s cart, found deals, line over an hour to checkout

5. Kohls-perfect-except for the clerk who asked me when I was DUE, really!?!? I replied “nope just fat”

Home at about 6:00 am. After a few hours of sleep, we headed back out La Fuente, Mayfair Mall, Breaking Dawn…awesome day!

Runner’s World is having an Inaugural Holiday Running Streak. In a nutshell, run at least a mile every day until the first of the year starting on Thanksgiving. I decided to do it, a little extra push during this busy holiday season. So of course at 8:00 Friday night, I had to get a mile in, and that is exactly all I did. Saturday I planned on running longer, but got caught in the rain, so only did four miles on the trail. Today, I did six on the treadmill. I am liking it so far, and hope to complete the challenge. Anyone else doing it?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why I Run 11/11/11

I love this day. I love this day for a couple of reasons. Number one it is Veterans’ Day, and I’m a BIG fan of supporting the people who gave their time and sacrifice so that I can do whatever I want (or not).

My brother is a DAV (Disabled American Veteran) by definition. He lost his leg while serving in the Marines. Most of the time I don’t ever consider Drew to be disabled, and I don’t think he does either. But sometimes, SOMETIMES like today when I think of the sacrifice of not having a leg, it bothers me and makes me sad. I know I have a brother who is alive and healthy. I am fully aware of how blessed I am that he did not make the ultimate sacrifice.

BUT still I have days like today, when I woke up last night thinking about Drew and couldn’t sleep because I felt bad for him. I think of cheering for Drew in cross country and track in high school. I think of my daughters watching me compete, and know that his three kids don’t have that opportunity.

My cousin’s cousin was talking about getting her brothers to complete a half marathon together. I thought even if I get them all on board (ok they wouldn’t ever do it, ahem Pat) Drew couldn’t. These are thoughts that enter my mind when I’m tired out on the trail, or ready to turn off the treadmill, I run because I know others can’t…not just “others” but my BROTHER.

But he can still do this....

Why else do I love 11/11/11? Well to me 11:11 has always been a good luck sign. My husband I always make a wish when we see it on the clock and seal it with a kiss. Sometimes they are silly and sometimes they are serious. I don’t know what he wishes for because if you tell a wish it won’t come true, but I am sure his wishes are filled with good intentions. I wish today that everyone be happy with their lot in life, and take charge of what makes you unhappy and make a change.

So here are eleven things I am happy about today:
1. Family-Mom, Dad, Brothers, Husband, Daughters, Cousins, etc…
2. Friends-Old and New
3. Health-Not only for myself but for #1 & #2
4. Job-Librarian for kids, what is not to love?!?
5. Coffee-First cup of the day in already
6. The Good-surrounded by so many great things
7. The Bad-To appreciate the good
8. Freedom-to do what I want
9. Choice-Stout, IPA, Porter-Just kidding!!
10. Books-So many good ones, not enough time!
11. Running-Sanity check to clear my mind.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm Back In the Saddle

So after some gentle prodding from a blogger extraordinaire, Running Diva Mom, I have decided to blog again. I told her this weekend I’m a blogger who doesn’t blog.

I guess I have been feeling that way about a lot of things, after taking a lot of time off of running due to a knee issue, I felt I was a runner who wasn’t running. After not finishing the book for one of my book clubs I felt like I was a reader who wasn’t reading.

But that is really not the case. Instead of looking at what I am not doing, I need to look at what I have been doing, and a lot of it has been great! I played beach volleyball on Bradford Beach in Milwaukee, a beach that we started frequenting at the end of summer with some co-workers.

Cliff jumped into a river after swimming upstream, Boogey boarded in the Atlantic Ocean with my Brother Doug and Cousin Amy, after a fun-filled long weekend at Doug’s home in Vermont.I was a member of the 62 person team The Jennipede, who broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people tethered together while running a marathon. Raising over the goal of $500 for the Jenny Crain Make It Happen Fund. I read two audiobooks (Lolita for a book club & Before I Die) on my way to work, which is less than a 10 mile commute.Reading book three of the amazing Maze Runner Trilogy, even taking two of my students to an author event to meet the author James Dashner. Read Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn for my SEED book club.Read Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard~haunting as a mother of two girls. Went for an 8 mile run with a member of the Jennipede who blogs himself, Bill at Loves to Run and turns out to live super close to me. Hopefully that was the first of many more shared runs together.

Went to AASL (American Association of School Librarian) National Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Had a wonderful time meeting new people and connecting with an old friend as well. Lots of great authors and great books!

So I lost track of how many miles I have run this year, because how do you record a run of 10 minutes with 1 minute walking /1 minute running when you are used to running 5 at a time? Or after a 1 ½ mile run that knee pain made me stop? Or the quick, race the kids getting off the bus run that lasted 12 minutes? But I am ok with that. I’m even semi ok with the extra 10-15 pounds I’m carrying right now. Because it is who I am right now~And I like me.

Now that we are up to speed with what I did/didn’t do, let me tell you about this past weekend.

Luckily I was able to purchase an entry to the Tyranena Beer Run ½ Barrel Race with someone who couldn’t participate. I was excited about this race for several reasons. The first was that this would be my first official run after taking most of the summer off due to a knee pain. Secondly, my husband brew’s beer, so I thought he would enjoy spectating this race while sampling their wares. Thirdly, I was going to be meeting up with Jamie from Running Diva Mom, as mentioned above. We were also going to be meeting up with some other bloggers that Jamie has “met” via the blogosphere. A couple of these ladies are organizing a team for Ragnar Relays which I plan on participating in with them, so that was super exciting.

I got to the race early, which was no surprise to me, as I am always early. It turned out the husband did not come, so I was riding solo instead. I was able to catch up on gossip via a cell call on the way to the race so that was a nice treat. Anyhoo, check in was easy and I was able to go back to my car and drink a little more Gatorade and water. Finally I went back to our meeting spot near the port o potties and was easily able to recognize Jamie and her paparazzi-I mean family. They were a terrific group of ladies with a great amount of energy.

Jamie and I discussed our plan for the race, and realized we would be able to run together. My goal was to run and have fun, and enjoy the race. Right before the race we met Rachel from Running in Real Life and Falon from Falon Does Marathon . So it was great to meet them in person!

It really was a different experience for me to not step up to the line ready to race. It is a competitive running gene that I was born with and usually after the start I GO! How nice it was to find a comfortable pace with great conversation while traversing the countryside over 13.1 miles. Jamie’s family was super supportive and familiar with the area, so they were all over the course. They took a lot of great pics and cheered us on (Go Jamie and Amy)! Her Grandma even honked the horn in support because she was in the van. There were hills, some bigger than others that zapped the wind right out of me. There were some smells that almost zapped the food/drink right out of me. But there was scenery that took my breath away in a good way. The lake, the leaves, the countryside, the Brewery! Jamie was so good at remembering the course from a few years ago, so I knew what to expect as I was running. I was chugging on empty as we neared the finish, my endurance just not being there without training. To date this was one of my slowest half marathons, but it was definitely the most enjoyable.

Afterwards, we were rewarded with a great big piece of lasagna, Jamie and I both opted for the veggie version. I was able to try the Brewer’s Gone Wild-Hop Whore-an Imperial IPA that was delicious. I also had their Bitter Woman IPA, which was also good. I cranked up the music on the way home considered the day a success.

Sunday morning I was super lucky to also get to spend another day outside. My two wonderful cousins Amy and Tracy came up to go hiking at Lapham Peak State Park with their cousin Jill. We had great conversation, more hills to climb, lunch at Water Street Brewery, followed by Starbucks. I was home in time to watch the Packers roller coaster to another victory. 8-0 Baby, you know what it is!

And this was written on the waiting window while we were waiting for our coffee:

Read, every day, something no one else is reading.
Think, every day, something no one else is thinking.
Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do.
It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.
-Christopher Morley