Friday, November 14, 2014

Tyranena 1/2 Barrel Beer Run Recap-2014

This run. I have gone to this race several times before and find myself looking forward to it every year. It's like the last week of school before winter break. You spend some time with your friends seeing what they are doing, you see others that you did not expect to see, you have fun. Oh yeah, there is the whole race thing, too.

I must admit I think the weather is never really that lovely for this race, however, I think I normally block it from year to year, until the few days leading up to it. This year, one word WIND.  I lamented over what to wear, and then changed my mind a few times, finally changing it one last time, morning of, something I seldom do, and of course hindsight 20-20 and all that jazz I was a bit too warm.

I was excited to reunite with my Panty Raider Ragnar peeps and posse of friends. We got to hang out ahead of time, with time to hit the port-o-potty one last time before the race started. I ran into another running friend at the start line, always great catching up with people and hearing about their races, lives, etc. Although, as Dominique stated they need a fast version of the Star Spangled Banner for cold weather starts, we were soon off. 

I felt good for about the first half of the race, until all of a sudden I didn't. I was tired, sick of wind and ready to be done. I plugged along, knowing a beer was in my future. The last mile was uphill and into the wind, ick. The good news was Falon was there with babe in tow, so that was a smile inducing moment. 

I quickly went through the tent, and went to my car to change and then went back out on course to cheer in the rest of my friends. I also might have goten to hold babe the whole time. BONUS! After, enjoyed drinks, lasagna and more friends! 

Still love this race, the atmosphere, the people. Highly recommend!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lakefront Marathon-2014 recap

All of a sudden Summer was over and it was here, the Lakefront Marathon. This event usually sells out in April, so I have known that I was going to run this race for a long time. I typically like to follow an 18 week training plan, so this marathon has been on my horizon for a long time.
Overall, I was ready for this race. I had hit most of my training runs, a setback here and there with travel, blisters, etc. but nothing that really had me feeling unprepared. The week leading up to the marathon I was pretty antsy, stalking the weather, Twitter, Facebook for any updates, unforeseen things that changed that I didn't know about. I was ridiculously obsessing about what to wear for this race, even though I pretty much knew what I wanted to wear. (I tried to quiet my brain, but it wasn't happening). My last 20 mile long run had gone ok, but when I got home I was nauseous and had the chills so that lingered at the back of my mind. I guess knowing what a beast a marathon is, I still worry about not being able to do it. I worry. Every.Time. 
Thankfully, I had some amazing bread to eat, a cross country meet to coach, packet pick-up, book fair shopping-enough distractions to keep me sane the day before. 
Even more spectacular, Bill, who was not running LFM, offered to drive me to the start so I would not have to take the buses. This was so cool, as it allowed me a little extra sleep, and I could hitch a ride with my parents after who were coming to the finish to watch.
We got up to Grafton, surveyed the bathroom lines, and headed back out to the port o potties. No line there! We went back to the gym and got to chat with Bill, Mary, and Dennis. The great part of being inside was that I decided to shed my layers, and not get too cold. We met up with Jamie and Joel, he was running his third marathon. Dropped my bag off at the gear check, Joel and I went our separate ways to the start with our last good lucks.
Going into this race, I did not feel the pressure to prove anything. Last fall was my BQ, in May I PR'd, so this race I had been treating like a maintenance race, staying in marathon shape. However, knowing that I had been running pretty consistently, I knew I could probably do well if I wanted to. Talking to several people building up to this race, I got a mixed bag of advise...just enjoy it, don't try too hard, you've been doing well, why not keep doing it?! 
I remembered one of my favorite Steve Prefontaine quotes, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." Now I'm not a huge mantra runner, however, this struck me, why after 18 weeks of training would you not try your best, start the race, see how it feels if all systems are good, go.
I started off around the 3:30 pace group. I really wanted to be sure that I did not take off too fast. I stayed with them for a bit, but edged away after the first mile or so. I was pretty consistent hitting my miles at about 7:50 and it was feeling good. Knowing that how you feel the first half of a marathon means nothing, I tried to keep focused on one mile at a time. 
Photo by Bill Flaws

When I got to Concordia, I was feeling good, got caught up in the excitement of the race and definitely ticked off a faster mile than I should have, but it was great seeing all the people and the Bill(s).  A definite pick-me-up that's for sure. A few times I would focus on another runner and his/her pace, but then remind myself I am running my own race, not to get caught up in theirs. 
I saw Jamie at mile 10, again, great to see familiar faces out there!
Photo by Jamie A.
The thing I love about this race, is that the spectators DO cheer for you by name, and it is awesome. They push you to keep pushing. Some of the miles blur together, but Bill drove by me again and I saw him and Jamie again along the course. 
Photo by Bill S.
Knowing that I was still feeling good, but that I usually lose some steam near the end (someday I will learn how not to) I kept playing numbers games. Make it to mile 20 before you go over 8 minutes. By building a buffer I would not only PR, but would come in under 3:30. So basically the last miles were a numbers game, I knew I had it, but just had to keep it together. I did better than I thought keeping it together at the end, I saw my friend Ryan right around the 25 1/2 mile sign, I think I might have mustered up a smile, but it was weak.  Then I saw Jamie and Bill in their cars trying to get through traffic to get to the finish, yelling and honking. 
Photo by Bill S.
As I neared the finish, I was hoping to have a little fuel left in the tank, thankfully I saw my friend Alberto, he had enough energy for both of us. He cheered and ran and was so excited, that it got me out of my stupor to bring it in, I saw his wife on the other side, and was now focused to get it done. As the crowds thickened towards the finish line, I started frantically searching for my parents, did they make it? Were they lost? Then suddenly there was my mom, I saw her first, gave her a high five and moved on, wondering where my dad was, parking? further ahead? Sure enough there he was! I gave him a big high five as well and made it through the finish with my fists raised. 
Photo by Bill Flaws
Mile 26

The first moments after finishing a marathon is a cathartic experience. You are happy that you finished, I was excited that I PR'd, I was humbled by this gift of running that has given me so much life, I hurt, I felt good, I was done. 
I heard my name and saw a running friend right away and he congratulated me a great finish. Soon I found my parents, there is nothing like a hug from your parents. I am so thankful that they still come and watch me run. So thankful. 

I grabbed my gear bag and did a complete change in the changing tent, grabbed a beer, and waited to connect with Bill, Jamie, Joel. I saw Igor who was pacing the 3:30 group and let him know how happy I was that he did not pass me. :) 

All in all, it was a great day, weather, spectators (lots of others out there I didn't mention). We went to the Milwaukee Ale House and grabbed some lunch. I was a little weepy, because I know I've said it before, but marathon running is hard, a lot has to go right for a long time for the overall run to finish strong, much less a PR, and when that happens, you feel blessed, lucky, humbled that's FEEL. 

The medal

Bill and I

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Brewers Mini-Marathon-2014 (Pacer)

I had the opportunity to Pace the Brewers Mini Marathon this past weekend. Some of my non-runner friends were not sure what a Pacer does. Simply put, a Pacer runs a specific pace for the duration of a race, finishing at a specified time. I was pacing the 1:50 group with two other runners Tim and Nicole. We were part of the Performance Running Outfitters Pace Team. 
Our Team Leader, Micaela, who also has an amazing running apparel line organizes the Pace Team, communicates everything we need to know was rock solid from the beginning to the end. 
When I woke up the morning of the race, I had a text from Bill who was working the event that it looked like the inaugural event, which was a line of storms headed our way. Thankfully, there was a bit of rain before the start, but not enough to worry about. 
We were supposed to be there early, and like the early bird, rule follower I am, I was. Which on the plus side got me rock star parking, closer than the gear check to the finish. The down side was I had to wait around a long time and get cold. However, while waiting I was able to meet some new runners and talk running!
Yomarie and I prerace

Our pace signs waiting
We took a group photo and then headed to our corrals to get the race started. The corrals were easy to navigate, and we got into our spots and we were off.
Tim and Nicole were perfect Pace partners, we talked about running, parenting and all things in between. It was surprising humid, we were sure to remind runners to grab hydration at aid stations. Tim was great when we picked things up too much, to keep us steady on track. I love the course for the Brewers Mini, you really get to see some "Milwaukee" landmarks. I saw several running friends out on the course, so that was fun as well. 
The wonderful thing about Pacing is that the focus is on the other runners. It is a great way to give back. A fun way to experience a race differently. Especially fun is the finish-when people are starting to doubt themselves, to give them the little bit of encouragement they need to stick it out and finish strong. Love. Normally, I stick around a little longer after, but did not this time, headed home to clean house. Yay! 
Have you ever paced before? Would you like to? Used a pacer in a race? Did you like or dislike it?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Boston Registration

Boston Registration happened this morning at 9:00. Now I wait for confirmation that I am accepted based on time. So excited!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lake Michigan Trail Marathon

I had my eye on this race ever since it was announced. Yet, having already committed to Lakefront for the Fall, and not running as many races this year, I until the week before to sign up. I am so glad that I did not pass this one up.
This course is unique in the fact that it has portions of trail running through some of the Milwaukee area parks. I went in to this race treating it like a training run, so there was absolutely no pressure other than to run.

Bill was doing the announcing at the race, and he was the first person I saw right after I parked. He had agreed to take my drop bag for me, so that was convenient, and worked out well.
Participants received this bag!

I talked with Mary Flaws and Dennis right before the race, they were bib number 1 & 2 which cracked me up. As we got closer to the start of the race we moved up towards the front and were off.

The weather was humid, and it was foggy. It was kind of strange really as it limited visibility. We headed south, on paved trails that I have run on previously. Then the course took us into Seven Bridges Park. We went down stairs, over bridges, and through hiking trails. We entered another trail, which I was afraid that I was going to get lost. The trails were really well marked with yellow paint, however, there had been some rain the night before. I stopped once to look around and make sure I went the right way, and then kept going to see another yellow marking so I knew I was on the right path. 

My only complaint about this race was they could have had a few more people out on the course. The crap part about even complaining is that I know it rained the night before, I also heard from volunteers that some party-going people moved signs in the middle of the night, so that was unfortunate and completely out of the hands of the race director.

That being said, I didn't get lost physically, but I certainly did mentally. I had just finished my first week back at school. Always a bittersweet time of year, I love my job, and enjoy my summer. One of the things I didn't really get a chance to do was go back "home" for a visit. While out on the trails, I thought of back home, and being in the middle of nowhere, reconnecting with myself. At that point I had to remind myself that I was in Milwaukee, it was surreal. 
Photo by Bill Flaws Running in the

The race allowed me to naturally slow down on the trails, and pick my pace back up on the paved paths. 

It was fun coming past the finish on my way back towards the woods for a second loop, knowing that mental reprieve was coming. Coming out of the woods was a nice way to end a marathon, hitting the pavement and shifting back into cruise.

Post race deliciousness!
I was pleasantly surprised with my time, thinking the trail portion would have slowed me down a bit more. If you have ever contemplated a trail race, I would highly recommend giving this race a try. It is a very nice way to get a sample of what trail running is like, without it being the majority. I hope to recruit some people to do this with me again next year!
My results
I stuck around for a bit after catching up with some other stellar athletes, but had to head back home as my parents were coming to visit. It wasn't until I got home did I realize that this was marathon number 10 for me. Yay!

The rest of the day I hung out with my parents, hit St. Martin's Fair with my friend, and celebrated the end of summer.
Celebrating Summer!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Like a Blister in the Sun

So the past week I have been fighting some blisters. I usually will get one on the side of my right big toe and it's not a big deal, I don't pop it. It will eventually callus over and yay, hott feet for me.

Recently, though, my right foot has joined the party, not wanting to be left out. It's my big toe also, right side, and underneath my toe on the ball of my foot, and a tiny one on my crack (just wanted to type my crack, btw) between my big toe. 

Here's the thing, it hurts when I start to run, but usually goes away. The left one is behaving nicely, already been this to party-its ready to leave. My right foot is a different story: I tried not popping it, but it was getting big,ugly and painful.  I tried popping only to have it fill back up. I popped it and put on a blister band-aid. Still refilled. Today is my normal day off, I soaked it in some Epsom salt. I'm not going to lie, this bad boy hurts. It really wants me to know its there, having a great time. 

I'm pretty sure the main reason I'm getting them right now is that my feet sweat a lot when I run, I do use synthetic socks. I'm looking for some advise out there...Take some time off, try something else!?!? Make it go away, I have a training plan to follow...Any suggestions would be great!

P.S. You're welcome for not posting pictures!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Madison Mini Marathon 2014 Recap

Another sign that summer is almost over is that it was the weekend of the Madison Mini. It was nice heading to Madison without any set plan or schedule. I arrived in Madison, hitting some college move-in crowd, but found a spot to park less than two blocks away. I was in and out, but finally bought myself a Fellow Flowers shirt I have lusted over after not getting the last time I saw them at an expo. 
I love it, and can't wait to wear it sometime soon! My dinner plans were not set in stone, and after getting to my hotel I chose to avoid the campus area, and went to my standby Noodles. I headed back to my hotel, showered, laid out race outfit, talked on the phone, watched TV, totally vegged out in the nicest way. I set my alarm for 5:00 and soon was up for race day morning. 
I found a spot in the lot that was closest, and walked to the terrace to chill and eventually drop my gear. The clouds were in the sky, but it did not look like rain, so I was happy with the sun being covered, keeping the heat away. 

I ran into Krista, whom I have known from the running circuit for a while now. I had not "talked" to her in real life since she BQ'd so it was all kinds of awesome to be talking shop with her about BOSTON!  

It was time to check my bag, head to the start. We heard the National Anthem on our way, and then we were in our corral to start. Those last few minutes always seem to take forever, and the little nerves always come out, no matter what. True to form, I take off too fast...
This race is fun though, taking you through Madison and its offerings, the Farmers' Market, the Capitol, Camp Randall, the arboretum...the hill at mile 9. I know Madison to be a hilly course, no matter what race I run there. Mile 9 was no joke, after you got to what seemed to be the top, you turned and kept going up more. It took my legs awhile to start turning back over after that. When the 1:40 pace group came behind me, I was like, no way, not now. They did pass me eventually but I stayed close behind them, and held on to keep it under. Was not going to be a few seconds over, that was for sure. 
Going through the finish the volunteers were so smiley and happy. I did pose for a pic in the big chairs, because nothing says Union Terrace like those big chairs. 
I went in and grabbed my gear bag, and headed over to get my medal for the M2 challenge, because last year the line was quite long for that, this year, not so much, yay! I used the bathroom (no port-o-potty) and headed back outside. I ran right into Krista who was ready to grab a beer, um yes please!

The Beer Gods were on our side, a woman next to us wanted her cup to take home, but not the beer, sure we'd drink it for her! Another gentleman walked by and set his free drink ticket on our table and walked away without a word. The band Mighty Wheelhouse was playing, they were tons of fun. 

While we were waiting I was able to connect with some of my other friends that were running. Yomarie being one of them, and a great story that happened to her...
Yomarie parked pre-race and as she got out of her car she heard a young woman asking people if they had an extra pair of running shoes. Several people had told her they didn't and by the time the young woman approached Yomarie her mind was thinking that yes she did have a pair in her trunk. Turns out it was the exact size the young woman needed. It was her first half, she had accidentally left her shoes, she'd send them back when she was finished. Yomarie said that was not necessary, good luck and she was happy to help. Well the young woman did finish her first half marathon in Yomarie's shoes and they met up post race!
Knowing Yomarie this is not surprising that she would do this, she is a super sweet person, but my takeaway from this is, it is what any runner would do, we look out for each other, we celebrate each other's success, we encourage when we are down. I love running people. I know there are many other good people and groups out there, but I am totally biased by the running community and how happy it makes me. Runners Rock.

Angie and her Iowa group were with us by now, and I was able to meet a few other Tweeps. Which is always fun!
This was Angie's 20th half marathon-woot woot! Tereasa took 4 minutes off her 5K time from last year. Awesomesauce! They are so awesome that I look pass the Hawkeye attire they wear in Badgerland!

I ended up waiting for a friend that had did the Madison Open swim that morning, who turned out to know Yomarie. We enjoyed visiting, and I may or may not have turned down a one way street getting him back to his car. Hate Madison driving. 
I am pretty sure I could live in Madison, I have said that before. Growing up in in a rural area, Madison was always our "go-to" place for shopping. I still love it, maybe someday...but in the meantime, thank you for a lovely visit again!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Summer, where has the time flown!?

Having more free time in the summer would mean perhaps I'd update this a bit more. However, that was not the case this summer...I have kept my running up. Some weeks hitting everything on my training calendar, other weeks not-so-much. As I am getting into the end of summer and back to work for me, I am trying to focus on making my runs meaningful. The scale does not lie, and I am going to be a bit more selective in what I eat when I get back to work, but am going to enjoy the tasty morsels that summer brings for a few more weeks. 
Here's a few pics that will bring up you to speed on what I've been up to!
Turned the big 37 at the end of May!
Ran Rock N Sole in Milwaukee. My Friends Tim and Yomarie post race.
Tornado warnings+No rain flap=Day camping at Governor Dodge for two days.

We drove to Philly -Independence Hall
For a family reunion, and took in the sights.
 Then to D.C.

Took a short trip to the Northwoods of Wisconsin
Where of course I found a race-The Musky Fun Run 10K

Well it certainly isn't everything we've done, but it's a quick peek. Heading to Madison this weekend for the Madison Mini Marathon! How has your summer been, are you getting your miles in, slacking off, or enjoying other things, or a combo of both!?!