Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Icebreaker Indoor Marathon 2015-Guide

One of my favorite races of the year is the Icebreaker. If you are unfamiliar with it, let me give you a little background. It is a race weekend full of something for everyone  held at the Pettit National Ice Center. It is a truly unique experience where you get to run on a track and see the other runners throughout the whole race. The benefits are awesome, spectators can see you multiple times, access to your hydration is available to every lap, as well as the port-o-potty. You not only get to see the leaders cruise by, you get an opportunity to cheer on people that you cruise by. The race director, his crew, volunteers are an amazing crew. Although they take their job seriously to put on a great event, that’s the only serious part during this weekend. Most of the time they will also take part in at least one portion of the event, it truly is a runner’s race, a race for runner...Then there is Team Flaws, the people behind the RunningintheUSA. Mary, a Rockstar runner, which that title alone does her no justice. She is truly amazing, she not only runs the Gold Medal Challenge (1/2 marathon on Saturday, full on Sunday) she bakes dozens of delicious US and running shoe shaped cookies. Her husband, is on his feet more than her, believe it or not, snapping hundreds of pictures of all the events.

I have participated in the half here several times, the Gold Medal Challenge once, and as a volunteer. This year a different opportunity presented itself to me. A runner with visual impairment was seeking a guide for the marathon. Chris, the race director, posted the query out. Although having no experience with this, I told him if he needed me I would be willing to assist. It turns out, another veteran runner of this race, Doug, is also an accomplished guide. Chris got the three of us in touch, and we corresponded beforehand, and agreed to meet Saturday after the first heat of the half marathon.
Photo by Bill Flaws RunningintheUSA.com 

Doug had just finished the half, doing great after coming off a crappy flu that kept him from running for a bit. He explained what he foresaw as problems, and we did a few laps together to get a feel of what the plan would be like for Sunday. I originally was going to run the second half of the full, but we agreed we should all be at the start together, just in case anything came up.

The rest of the day was relaxing at home, and even ventured out to try a new place for a drink or two. Sleep did not find me very easily, I was pretty nervous about what the day would bring. Sunday came quickly though, thankfully the snow did not. Once at the Pettit, I found Doug, Steve and his wife, Pat. Many other friends were running the race so it was great to see them.

Our plan was to start at the end of the pack, and naturally let things space out. Doug was by Steve's side and I took up the rear. We fell into a smooth groove and it was easy to see Doug's expertise in guiding. Steve easily adjusted to Doug's guidance and we were on our way around and around (95 times).

Everyone was very supportive of Steve, and Steve was full of WOOTS himself. I was going to break off from them at some point and sit a few laps out, but decided early on that I might as well just do the whole thing. Again, it's the environment of seeing the same people around the track, passing and being passed by runners you know and don't know. Listening to songs that you might not ever listen to while you run (each runner requests a song to be played while running). It makes you want to be out there participating. Doug stopped for a few laps, kept us hydrated and on pace from the side, and then joined us again to the finish.

Steve was coming off a foot injury, and claimed he wanted just to finish. Well finish he did, and with a time of 4:16:57!

This experience was unlike anything I have ever done before. Everyone made this experience a great one for Steve. I have tried to put together the right words to describe the overall feeling of the day, and simply cannot. This Icebreaker was even more amazing than ever and it is because of all the great people who make it that way. Thank you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TAG..I'm it!

Tracey from Robot Lady Runner tagged me four (pun intended) some questions...here goes!

Four names that people call me:
1. Aimer
2. Z
3. Ms. Z
4. Momma
These 3 called me lots of silly names ;)

Four jobs I've had:
1. Lifeguard/Swim Instructor
2. Hostess
3. Teacher
4. School Librarian

Four movies that I've watched more than once:
1. Grease 2
2. Better Off Dead
3. Wayne's World
4. Schindler's List

Four books authors that I'd recommend:
1. Sherman Alexie
2. John Green
3. J.K. Rowling
4. Jodi Picoult

Four places that I've been:
1. Iceland
2. Oahu
3. Poland
4. Germany

Four places that I'd rather be right now:
1. Mexico
2. Southern Florida
3. any Hawaiian Island
4. Pretty much any place warmer than 70 degress
Sanibel Island

Four things I don't eat:
1. mustard
2. horseradish
3. egg yolks
4. meat with bones

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Roundy's BBQ chips
2. Cheese (almost all kinds), melted deliciousness 
3. Pasta
4. Coffee with chocolate

Four tv shows I watch(ed):
1. Modern Family
2. the News
3. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
4. got into Friends near the end

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:
1. Running Boston.
2. Going on daughter's school trip to Virginia
3. Summer
4. Races, the people and the places. 

Four things I am saying right now:
1. What's the temperature?
2. Less than 100 days until Boston
3. I want to read that book!
4. Has anyone seen my? (seriously losing my mind I think)

I'm going to tag Angie from Angie Runs and Krista  http://www.krittabug.com/

Sunday, January 4, 2015

So long 2014, Hello 2015

I have been mentally writing this post in bits and pieces for the last few weeks, yet, it didn't happen. 
Not that I didn't want to, or that I didn't have a lot to say, duh, I always say too much.
It's that 2014 was a pretty awesome year in running for me. I am not going to recap my races, because that is what my posts already are. 
Instead, I'm going to say a few things that I am grateful for (in no particular order)

PR's every marathon I raced I cut a little time off. My half-marathon, a PR I have been chasing for what seems like forever.

Running peeps-from the my Twitter friends, to race friends, running partner, random strangers along the road or race-I get all kinds of happy when I am surrounded by these people. The energy and support that this group gives is amazing. The motivation in November when I was a total slacker. I love every time that I get to reconnect with old running peeps and know that I will get to meet many more along the way.
   *newbie runners- I had a few friends accomplish many firsts this year, rock on!!

Injury-free-I have had the same pain in the same area for a while, but no injuries that have left me sidelined. I am thankful that I have the ability to do what I do, every.day.

Pacing-Again, I got to pace this year, it is such a fun experience and a great way to give back and share an awesome event with people.

Coaching-The running club at my school is small, but I love working with my students who range in levels. We did one race this year, and my heart does a happy dance every time I think about my one student who told me the day before she didn't want to finish last. We talked about how there is nothing wrong with being last, but on race day she came in near the end, but she was not last.

Family-Although the hubs doesn't always want to come to my races, he supports me when I go, puts in double time when I am gone, and knows I am doing what I love. My girls participate with biking with me, did a track race back home, and one race. Hope they continue to find their passion as they get older. My parents also drove over 2 hours to watch me finish my fall marathon. I love their support through the years.

Friends-Although many of my non-runner friends don't always "get it" they support me and ask about upcoming events. When one of my non running friends told me how much she enjoyed reading my blog, I was surprised, and happy to hear.

You. Grateful for you. Thanks for taking the time to read.

Now to touch on 2015....
Knowing that 2014 held a lot of good for me, one of my better years in running. I don't want to stress myself out by focusing on time, time, time. 

My goals in short:
Prepare as best I can for Boston, enjoy every moment, walk away unicorn loving and happy, whether my time is my fastest or slowest.

Run the Inaugural Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon. Yay Milwaukee, so excited for this!

Throw my hat into the lottery for Marine Corps Marathon...
Run Summerfest Half, Madison Mini, Crazylegs. PRobably Tyranena...

Eat a little healthier, drink a little less.

Continue to find ways to give back...share the passion.