Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Break

I wasn't able to spend any of the Easter weekend with my family
due to working 12 hour shifts all weekend.
I have to admit that I was a little down about it over the weekend
but after being able to spend the past two days
of spring break with them
I am happy with they way things worked out!
We have been busy enjoying the beautiful spring weather
that has finally arrived in Wisconsin.
Yesterday the boys and I met some friends
and headed out on the bike trail
for a beautiful 14 (ish) mile bike ride.
Here is my Instagram photo from the afternoon.
Once Tim got home the two of us headed to
Grand Bluff Running, a local running store that recently opened.
They are doing group runs every Monday night
 so we thought we would check it out.
It was a small group this week but it was very nice.
They were very welcoming and we had a great time.
It was a beautiful night to get out and run
and we got to explore a new route in the area.
I am sure we will go back as our schedules allow!
Today turned out to be another beautiful day
so the boys and I decided to take Mollie for a walk
and head to the school playground to play.
Another Instagram photo.
 We definitely made today count!
We had so much fun running around
and playing on the playground.
It was so much fun to see the boys
creating obstacle courses
and helping each other through the hard parts.
Mollie wasn't sure about the slides
but Isaac took her along
for most of the fun anyway.
It is so much fun to see how much he loves her!
On the way home we took time to enjoy even the smallest things-
we loved all of the sidewalk chalk art
and even found a flower peaking up through the brown grass.
not sure how safe this was but they sure had fun going down the hill!
 It has been wonderful to spend these
couple of days with my boys-
enjoying the beautiful weather
and being active!
That is really what this journey is all about for me!
I am so blessed!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vetfest Half Marathon

Over the past several months it may have seemed like I had gone missing.
I assure you that I am alive and well!
My absence all started out with me switching positions at work;
followed by our 'big move' to the new hospital building.
Training and learning new work duties and a crazy work schedule added to the mix.
I was getting in my workouts and training
and was able to do what I needed to around the house
before having to go to work.
Basketball games and tournaments
and other activities for the boys filled any extra time.
This combination left little time for blogging.
I tried to post a couple of times but found that I was having issues with Blogger.
I worked for hours on posts only to have it not work and I gave up.
I am getting into a better work routine
and finally found myself with a little time so I decided to give it another shot
and I figured out a way around the issue with Blogger.
I am very happy to say that I am back!
I am also excited to share that during my time away
we trained for and finished a half marathon.
Yep, that's right!
Almost a week ago we traveled to Reedsburg, WI
and ran in the Vestfest Half Marathon.
My best friend lives there and this is the one race that she does every year.
Over the past few years it never seemed to work out for us to do it with her-
until this year!
We were starting our training for a local half when I realized that I was
off the weekend of this race.
We decided that we should go for it!
Like the other half marathons that we have done,
I printed out the Hal Higdon training plan and wrote it out on the calendar
and we followed it as much as possible.
We even ended up doing a rough, hilly, 12 mile training run
while in Missouri the weekend before the race.
12 Mile training run in Eldon, MO
With that run in the books we had put in the work and were ready for the race.
In the days leading up to the race
I noticed a very significant difference from the past-
we were so much more relaxed!
We made the hour and a half drive to Reedsburg on Friday night
and enjoyed a great meal and time with our friends.
As we were getting ready to go to bed
 it hit us-
oh that's right, we are running a half marathon tomorrow.
We made a plan for the morning and headed off to bed.
I slept great and woke up ready to go
but it still didn't feel like other race mornings-
I wasn't feeling anxious or nervous.
The half marathon start time was 9 AM but
we missed the online registration deadline
 so we decided that we should
get there early so we had time to register
and get ourselves ready to run.
I ate my normal oatmeal for breakfast
and made sure to drink some water
before we headed out.
We walked past the start/finish line as we headed to the registration area
and it started to sink in that we were about to run.
Registration was smooth and very quick.
Within minutes we were headed
back to the warmth of our heated car.
It was breezy and the sky was threatening to rain.
We sat in the car and chatted for a bit
while deciding exactly how many layers we should wear.
Coat or no coat?
We were checking the weather to see if we were going to stay dry
or if we should prepare to be wet.
Then once again it really hit us-
we were about to run 13.1 miles!
I was still feeling relaxed!
We decided that we should really start getting ready.
We pinned on our bibs and headed to the bathroom one last time.
We all gathered for a 21 gun salute
and the National Anthem
and before we knew it
we were lining up...
in the rain!

traditional pre-race photo (blurry due to the rain)
It wasn't long and we were off.
This was a smaller race so everyone spread out fairly quickly
and it never really felt congested.
We ran along an area that was familiar because we had done a 5K in the area in the past.
During the first uphill section I remember saying that it felt much easier than
the last time we did it because I wasn't pushing Aidan in the stroller.
It wasn't long and we were headed out of town
 to back country roads and rolling hills.
I tend to be the pace watcher but I pulled my sleeves down
 and wasn't able to see my watch
 so we were relying on Tim's Nike+ on his phone.
At the first mile he gave me our pace
and we were feeling pretty good about it.
As we came to the second mile sign
he gave me our pace a bit early 
but we were still feeling good about it.
By the third and fourth mile his GPS was getting
more and more ahead of the course markings
 but he continued to tell me our average pace.
We did this up until about the 5th mile
when he gave me our pace and I could hardly believe it.
I was getting warm and the rain had stopped
 so I pulled my sleeve up to see my watch.
His Nike+ app was off by about .25 miles but our pace was pretty close.
Here are our splits based on my watch:
Mile 1- 9:17
Mile 2- 8:59
Mile 3-9:00
Mile 4- 9:25
Mile 5- 8:44
Our pace was a bit faster than I normally like to start out
but I was feeling really good.
Around the 6 mile mark
 the course went past another road for a short distance
 before turning around and taking that road.
We were close enough behind Julie
that we were able to see and encourage each other as we passed.
Around mile 7 there was a water stop
so we decided to walk through and grab a drink.
We were not talking much
and were both listening to our music
but we did comment that we were feeling strong.
There were still some rolling hills but it had flattened out a bit.
There was a pretty strong head wind for much of the course and
it got really bad between 8 and 9 miles.
It felt like a wind tunnel at one point.
There were times that it felt like we were hardly moving forward
and I started to get frustrated with it.
As we went through this area we passed an older gentleman
who commented to me that he really liked my flower.
This made me smile and helped me focus again!
I remember making the comment that my legs felt great
but it was my lungs that were bothering me.
Tim reminded me to take nice, even, deep breaths.
Just before the 10 mile mark we turned into
a neighborhood that was, once again, familiar to us.
There was another water stop at 10 miles.
Tim went to get water and I told him that he could drink at the end.
It was about this point that I was starting to struggle and was ready to be done.
Fighting the wind really took a toll on me.
Mile 6- 9:06
Mile 7- 8:46
Mile 8- 9:08
Mile 9- 8:59
Mile 10- 9:05
Little did I know that fighting the wind was going to be the least of my worries!
Next up was the hill that made me want to cry!
It seemed like it was never going to end and we were fighting the wind at the same time!
Mile 11 really sucked!!!
After this hill I got a side ache that hurt all the way up under my collarbone.
Once again Tim reminded me to take nice, deep breaths.
He was such an awesome encourager/supporter!
He even tried to go in front of me up the hill to help break the wind.
The road on this section was really rough and you had to be careful of your step.
The wind was better for a bit
but it wasn't long and we turned a corner
only to be hit in the face by the wind again.
We were battling the wind from that point until the end.
I knew that we were very close to our goal of finishing in under 2 hours
but wasn't sure if we could actually make it.
We turned into the park
and I knew that it was literally an uphill battle to the end!
As we weaved through the park
we tried to pick up the pace but I didn't feel like I had much left.
It wasn't long and we could see the clock-
we were so close to our goal but I still wasn't sure it was possible.
I could see Julie at the start of the chute and
we tried to sprint to the finish!
We collected our medals
and checked our time on my watch-
Mile 11- 9:27
Mile 12- 9:28
Mile 13- 9:34
0.11- 8:51
Time per my watch- 2:00:03
We just missed our goal!
I was a bit disappointed at first but was super excited at the same time.
We were so close- even with the wind and the hills
and it was a half marathon PR by exactly 4 minutes!!
How could I be upset with that?
As we headed inside to grab something to eat
we ran into that older gentleman from mile 9ish.
We talked briefly and said congratulations and then met back up with Julie.
We grabbed some post-race snacks and waited for official times to be posted.
 My Race Stats (F35-39):
Official Time: 2:00:22
Pace: 9:11
Overall Place: 71
Division Place: 7/10
Sex Place: 29/65
Tim's Race Stats (M35-39):
Official Time: 2:00:22
Pace: 9:11
Overall Place: 70
Division Place: 5/8
Sex Place: 42/66
Once again we saw that older gentleman-
he was checking official times when we were.
He commented that running at 65 has its benefits-
turns out he won his age group!
What an inspiration!
Tim, Julie, and me (sorry for the reflective strips blinding you)
Post-race with my honey!
We took a few pictures and were getting cold so we headed out
to find that the rain had let loose!
This flag was amazing and gives you an idea of the wind we were running into.

 Overall, this was a great race!
It was very well organized
and smoothly run.
The shirts and medals were great.
I think my favorite part of the race was seeing the local Veterans that were the volunteers.
They were at all of the intersections
and we even saw several of them driving along the course.
It did feel strange to see them out there supporting us
when we should be thanking them for their service!
I am sure we will be back to do this race again in the future!
Now it is time to get ready for the Grandad Half Marathon...
just two weeks away!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I can't believe that it was one year ago today!

I had no direct connection to last year's Boston Marathon

but I will still never forget it.

Like many, I can still remember where I was

when I heard about the attack at the finish line.

Immediately I was glued to the TV and social media

and watched as they replayed the events

over and over.

I was in shock!

I was sucked in as they tried to capture the men

that destroyed/changed so many lives

and changed the running community forever.

There were so many emotions that day and the days following

but one thing is for sure-

runner's are strong!

It was amazing how the running community

pulled together,

 to stand united...

and run on!

The outpouring of love and support for those that were affected

was truly amazing and makes me proud to be a runner!

I am off work on Monday and
I also have a personal connection this year-
Aidan's teacher will be running!
You can bet that we will be watching the Boston Marathon
and cheering for Mrs. Lang
and all of the other inspiring runners!
Running a marathon is such an amazing journey.
There is so much time and energy dedicated to finishing.
There are so many emotions felt along the way.
I can't even begin to imagine the journey for many of this year's runners!
There are so many wonderful stories/tributes
to the runners and survivors of Boston!
They inspire me.
They push me.
They make me stronger.
They make me more determined to reach for all of my dreams!
Who knows...
maybe someday I will be there-
running Boston!
Check out this amazing tribute-
but make sure you have the tissues ready...
you are gonna need them!
Also check out the back story here: