Monday, December 31, 2012

1 year Blogaversary!!

1 year ago today I wrote my first ever blog post, and it's been quite the year. I feel like my fitness has improved so much over the year and I have met so many wonderful people throughout the year through blogging and the running community. I even felt confident enough with my abilities that I am currently a pacer/mentor for the Fleet Feet Winter Warriors group.

Looking back over the year I tackled a few things that I never thought I would do:

  • Complete a marathon - The words " I will never run a marathon" came out of my mouth when I was just beginning to run about 4 years ago. At the time it was challenging to run for 60 seconds at a time with a rest break for 20 minutes. It seemed impossible at the time and now it's something I can knowingly tackle and will be doing another this year. 

  • Complete a triathlon - I've watched the Ironman Championships on TV before, but never thought is was a sport for me. As I become a runner this actually seemed possible as biking and swimming were sports I enjoyed, but it meant actually training in the sport and correctly learning it's aspects. The task seemed daunting at first but I wanted to give it a shot. I put my neck out there and I love the sport now.  

  • Spend $$ on a sportswatch - I finally broke into the age of technology and with the thought of doing a triathlon I did a lot of research between Timex and Garmin and decided to go with the newest and greatest Garmin 910XT. I have thoroughly enjoyed using it and I know there is still plenty for me to learn with it yet. I am looking forward to learning how to use the courses and virtual partner to help me with my speed.
I also spent a good portion of the year planning my wedding and finally tied the knot on August 24. It only took me 29 years, but I finally met a man that makes me happy and loves me for everything that I am. There were points in life where I wasn't sure that I would ever find someone that would fulfill those areas in my life.

I completed the most races ever this past year, and may even tie the total number I've done in my young running career!!

Point Bock 5 miler (March) - I walked this one due to injury

I did not begin tracking my mileage until 2012 so I don't have a benchmark number, but here is where I ended up this year.

Running (590.19 miles)  - You can tell when I peaked with my marathon training.

Cycling (311.70 miles)

Swimming (14.93 miles) I will spare you the graph on this since it's only a few miles a month 

I did get in 25 walking miles when I could not run early in the year and I picked up yoga late in the year. Mixed in with this were plenty of weights workouts to help with my strength and injury prevention.

Overall I managed 947.05 miles for the year. I know many of you have run this many miles or more and I commend you! I have become addicted to my workouts and I have missed them this past week being sick and stuck on my couch for the last few days. I am looking forward to starting fresh tomorrow 

2013 will be scary in the fact that I will be turning the big 3-0 but really I am looking forward to a great year. Here are my time goals for the new year; mentioned in an earlier post.

  • Run a sub 26:00 5K
  • Run a sub 2:00:00 half-marathon
  • Run at least 1 marathon and PR (sub 4:50:00)
  • Complete the Fremont Sprint Triathlon sub 1:00:00
  • Finish an Olympic Distance Triathlon

I am a little more afraid to put a total mileage goal out there as I have learned how much of a struggle in can be to remain uninjured and sometimes life just gets in the way. But here is what I am going to try and shoot for, along with not lapsing in keeping up my swimming & biking year round.

  • Swimming: 50 miles
  • Cycling: 500 miles
  • Running: 1,000 miles
Here's to a Happy and Healthy 2013!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Gear Must Haves

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!! I had a great time catching up with family and now I find myself sick and stuck at home feeling miserable. There were some family members sick and I blame one of them on getting me sick. I received a little bit of cash for Christmas and I'm trying to determine what gear to buy myself for Christmas.

Here are some of the few things that I am thinking about getting:

The stick

Item # 080188

Wool socks


Swimming suit (cool thing about this one is it's reversible)

TYR Solid Reversible Diamondback (30 and 32 Only) TYR_DRSO1

I am debating about getting some elastic laces sometime this Spring for use in triathlons. I am loving the ones that came on my Merrell Hiking shoes and just need to decide which kind to get.

What are your favorite gear pieces??

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What a Week

This week was the first of me working 2 jobs, being a running mentor and my own training plan. I am trying to focus on my 2 weaker areas which is swimming and then biking. I also tend to slack off on strength training so I'm trying to get at least two workouts per week. I only had to make a minor adjustment due to not exactly having energy after working 13 hours on Wednesday. I moved my bike/swim workout to Thursday which I ended up skipping altogether due to feeling completely relaxed after yoga. Not bad for only miss 1 planned workout in one hectic week.

12/3/2012 Run 3 4 - WW 5 - WW 3
Cycle 7 7m 11
Swim 800m 1200m
Other Strength Rest (W) Yoga Rest (W) Strength

I still ended up with a total of 34.75 miles for the week broken down as follows:
Run: 15 miles
Cycle: 18 miles
Swim: 1200 meters
Strength: 2 workouts
Yoga: Intro to Yoga -1 hour class

As mentioned last week I tend to do better when my schedule is full and this is proof!! I don't push things off and do them as I think of it or as planned because I can't push it off. I am excellent at procrastinating when I have the opportunity.

In other news, I am now a member of the lost toenail club. I have had a toenail that I thought was going to come off in September, but after I cut it down realized there was a massive blister underneath it and proceeded to relieve the pressure on it. Since then it's been alright and it finally let go on Saturday. I just hope it grows back without looking too hideous.

Sunday I woke up to SNOW and I was so excited for my run. Here is a little glimpse into what it looked like  right after I got back.

Sorry for the slightly fuzzy photo here :(

I had my bag packed for the gym so when I got home I could grab that and get to the gym for a bike and swim. In the evening I made 2 different vegetable soups for the week and a veggie pizza for dinner. I was able to use up almost all the vegetables I had bought from the store and now I have great food for the week since I have little time to cook during the week.

Here is to another great week!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Let the Chaos Ensue!!

I love this time as year as it makes most people generally happy and I just love the spirit of the season. I am feeling a little lackluster in my spirit this year and I'm waiting for it to sneak up on me. I have yet to even think about putting my tree or Dickens Christmas Village up and I'm not really sure if it will end up happening. My life is about to get ultra busy, although it seems the busier I am the more I get accomplished. I guess when I can't procrastinate I just shut up and do it instead of find time to push it off to!!

I mentioned last week that I am mentoring the Winter Warriors 15K program at Fleet Feet Sports and we have group runs every Tuesday night (6 pm) and Saturday morning (7:30 am). We had our first run on Saturday and I'm so excited to help everyone in the group improve their running and making new running pals! The training plan calls for 4 weekly runs and 2 cross training days and I will also be fitting in 2 strength days and maybe a yoga class. I basically only get Friday off each week as a rest day before the long run day.

It is year end coming up and in the accounting world it only means one's time to get it together! We are trying to wrap up financials and clear out any lingering issues from the year to keep the tax accountants off our backs. I usually end up working at least 45 hours each week and things will just be a little more chaotic in those hours for the next few months.

I also am starting a seasonal retail job at my favorite craft store and I will be working 16 hours or so each week. Meaning I work 2 4-hour weeknight shifts and a 8 hour shift on Saturday after the group run. I am thankful they don't follow the super crazy hours most other retailers do and it's also where I worked in college so I at least feel comfortable with the store, just need to learn the new register system and I will be golden.

All of this means the days are going to feel really long and I think I'm going to struggle keeping my energy up and getting my workouts in. It also likely means I will have less time for blogging so I may end up disappearing at times. I know it's all for my benefit in the long run and I will just need to remind myself of that when I get stressed out. At least by the end of February I will be back to my normal life again :)

Have you found your Christmas Spirit??

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mentoring Opportunity

I am excited to officially be a mentor/pacer for the Fleet Feet Winter Warriors 15K program. We had our kickoff meeting tonight and I can't wait to get out there and hit the pavement. There are scheduled runs at 6pm Thursday night and 7:30am Saturday morning each week. This is exactly what I need to keep me running outdoors throughout the week!!

I have never coached other runners before other than friends who I've helped along the way so I'm looking forward to expanding my running group and help others achieve their goals. Seeing others push themselves motivates me to write some down and strive for mine!

I recently have come to a point where I am tired of being mediocre, in the past I have been okay with being average. I am sick of the status quo and realized I need to face my fears, push myself and put everything out on the table. So here are some of the goals I have for myself next year.

  • Run a sub 26:00 5K
  • Run a sub 2:00:00 half-marathon
  • Run at least 1 marathon and PR (sub 4:50:00)
  • Complete the Fremont Sprint Triathlon sub 1:00:00
  • Finish an Olympic Distance Triathlon
How can I expect to be a coach and push others when I'm too afraid to push myself? I have been afraid of injury and failing, but I am determined to face it head on! 

Here is to a great 2013 and remaining 2012!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Festival Foods Turkey Trot

I wasn't exactly sure I was running this race until last week Friday when I finally signed up for it. I was taking it easy coming back from my minor foot injury and after I was able to run 3 miles without stopping and I felt great. I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I would be able to do the distance. And who doesn't want to feel like they are ahead on their calories on Thanksgiving!

I ran this last year and I was hoping to beat my time but I wasn't confident it would happen due to the lack of running. In order to do it I had to shoot for under 49 minutes so I was hoping I could hang just under a 10 minute mile and then speed up a little on the final mile. The course was changed this year and moved from Menasha to Appleton this year so I wasn't sure of what the streets would bring us.

Sarah picked me up at 7 am, we stopped at a gas station so I could pickup a newspaper and we headed into downtown to find a place to park. We hung out for a bit and then made our way to the Paper Valley hotel to hang out inside until it was time to get started. One final bathroom break and then we were lining up to get going. I didn't really feel nervous all morning and still felt good so I was hoping it was a good sign.

We were off and we settled into the pack and were able to pull in the first mile at about 10:03 avoiding a too fast start. I couldn't seem to get into a steady pace for the next mile and had to keep slowing myself down but then I finally caught my rhythm after mile 2 and it was smooth sailing. At mile 3 on the course you turned a corner and the people ahead of you were turning just on the opposite corner so it was fun to see the others.

At about 3.5 miles there was a generous downhill portion so I decided to stretch my legs out on the hill as I knew that going down into the flats would mean we would have to climb out of there. The mile 4 marker came up and then you saw it, the steep hill glaring down at you to tackle. This thing just kept getting steeper as you went up! I pushed through it and then it was home free to get myself to the finish. I had not stopped to walk yet and I knew I could beat my time at this point if I turned in a decent mile.I pushed my body through it even though it felt ready to give in around 4.25 miles.

I finished in 48:49 and managed to get a PR, sealing up an awesome year in which I have gotten a PR in every distance I have ever run, even though some of the distances were a first this year. I have accomplished a lot this year and I need to start thinking about my goals for next year so I can continue to improve in my running and triathlons!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Indoors vs. Outdoors

During cooler weather do you tend to hibernate indoors and churn out miles on the treadmill? I for one prefer to get in as many miles as I can outdoors. I just cannot stand running on a treadmill for more than 4-5 miles. I know it doesn't sound like that far and I don't know how some of you can do upwards of 10 miles on that thing. I don't care if I'm watching a tv or listening to tunes I just can't do it. I enjoy being outdoors even if that means running in freezing temperatures.

Once daylight savings time comes along this also equates to alot of night time running. I honestly love running at night and it's when I feel my best. It is just so peaceful and calm and somedays I like how it makes me feel like a badass! I do make sure that I am reflective as can be, wear a headlamp and a red blinking light on the back of my SPIbelt so others can see me. I live in the city so there are still streetlights on but they are very dim and just don't cut it for me. I do make sure to vary up my routes, when I run and where and I cut out any semi-shady parts of town that in the daylight wouldn't normally scare me aware. I seem to have my most enjoyable runs at nighttime and I just feel like I can keep going on forever.

I am also in love with the fact that winter is close. It means no more disgusting sweaty runs for me which is nearly impossible for me on a day that is 50 degrees or warmer. The hardest part about winter running is figuring out what to wear to keep yourself comfortable and what parts to layer. This just takes time and you will probably start off by dressing too warm. Make sure to shed the extra layers as quickly as possible and remember to dress as though it's 10 degrees warmer than it really is. The first mile may be a bit chilly but you will warm up and you can always take a hot shower when you get home!

I can't wait for the first run after a fresh snowfall, it will be such a serene run.

Are you too chicken to run at night or in the cold?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Opening New Doors

Are you the kind of person that is willing to try new things or do you tend to stick to your usuals??

I tend to stick to my routine because it's comfortable, but lately I have been opening myself up to new experiences and facing them head on. My big firsts this year for me were:

1. Completing a triathlon (just sprint distance) even though nobody I knew had ever tackled one.

2. Completing a marathon! I told myself a few years ago when I just started running I would NEVER do one, I have recently learned to not sat that word :)

3. Set a PR in every distance this year in every distance (5K, 10K, 13.1 and 26.2) except a 5 miler and 2 different sprint distances. When will that ever likely happen again??

Yesterday was also a big first for as I attempted a Hot Yoga class. This was a huge deal for me because I am not a group workout kina person. I love my alone time and usually get nervous that everyone is watching me and how horrible I am doing! So I have a major fear of working out in public. Joining a gym for the first time ever 2 years ago helped me to slowly get over it but I still don't go at peak times. I just tell myself it's because I want to be able to get on the equipment I want and not be crowded in the locker room. I have also never attempted Yoga and was so happy Sarah and I were in the same boat so I wasn't the only newbie. Thanks Kim for suggesting it!!

The weather here yesterday was rainy, windy and just crappy. I was having some stomach issues in the afternoon and was beginning to wonder if I would even make it to the class, but I was determined. I was happy I did and instantly upon walking into the studio I was already practically sweating. We began by doing like 25 of some kind of Sun Rotations and then we finally moved on to some other poses but there were still alot of Chaturanga, Downward Dog and Upward Dog in that session. I had to take a few breaks due to my arms being tired, my palms hurting and to wipe the sweat dripping from me.

Overall it was a good experience, I will definitely be trying some other yoga classes and instructors to see what I like best.

What is your favorite kind of workout outside of cardio?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Making Some Changes

I spent this morning changing my blog over to a new email address so it's seperate from my personal email to make things easier on myself! Only bad part about it was I had to follow all the blogs again in my new user. I have figured out how to do alot more admin items in blogger now and I know the biggest question a number of bloggers have using blogspot is how to Unfollow blogs in the new format.

So here is how you do it:

1. Find the gear wheel on the top of your reading list on the right hand side and hover over it. You will see it will pop up a little note that says "Manage reading list" and then click on the gear wheel.

2. This will bring you to a window where it will list all your blogs you are currently following. For those you want to unfollow just simply select "Settings" (it may ask you to put in your password again and then you will have to select it again)

3. Then find the "Stop following this blog" in blue text and select it.

4. This will open a pop up window asking if you are sure you want to stop following it.

I had to learn how to do this since I had to re-follow the blogs I wanted to and delete all of the ones I was following in my old user id. Hope I was able to help some of you clean up blogs that are no longer posting or you simply just want to get rid of!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Starting a New Streak

After having 3 lackluster weeks of working out I am determined to get back on track!! I've been struggling with my motivation since I've had no races on my calendar and I was feeling burned out. Thankfully I have found both my motivation and determination!!

The plan is to try and make it easy on myself by not having specific items on my calendar. So here is my seriously, well thought out plan.....
  • 3 days of at least 2 different kinds of cardio each day(running, biking or swimming)
  • 3 days of strength (consisting of 1 of my Jillian Michaels DVD's)
  • 1 rest day
I know, it took me a while to come up with that plan! I did put some thought into it since I have the goal of completing an Olympic Distance triathlon in 2013 and this was similar to what my plan looked like last year. So I'm just not throwing anything down on a specific day and going to do what I feel like. I think this will help me from feeling burned out sinceI have a choice in what I get to do each day and what will work with my schedule. I have 3 different Jillian DVD's so I can switch it up on my strength days too. I love that fact that I don't even have this written down anywhere, well until now, it's just all in my head.

On a good note, I tested out my foot last night but doing a little treadmill run but not overly pushing it. I did a warmup walk of a 1/4 mile and then another in between 1/2 mile running segments at 6 on the treadmill. I could tell my endurance was down but I did feel like I would start to find the groove right about the time I would have to stop to walk. So far I've had no pain in the foot after running for small periods of time on Saturday and Monday! I'm excited to know that the swelling in my peroneal tendon is gone and I can gradually build up a base again.

Do you prefer a detailed training plan or a very flexible plan?
I'm usually better with very detailed plans but so far I'm liking this and I've gotten in workouts the last 3 days and will be doing a Jillian DVD after dinner settles in tonight.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Epic Spectating & Finding my Mojo

Saturday I packed up and headed to pickup Sarah and we then ventured south for the Tyranena Beer Run. I unfortunately would not be running due to my lovely inflammed tendon but I was excited to meet more awesome runners and fellow bloggers and for some epic spectating. We met up with most of the "Panty Raiders" and I was happy they made it easy on me for spectating as I only really had to remember 1 outfit!! These ladies are awesome and were a pleasure to hang out with after the race enjoying Tyranena Beers and some delish lasagna. After the race most of us headed over to Rachel's who graciously hosted us ladies and drank & ate some more!
Lisa, Amy Zem, Falon, Kimba, Rachel, Kim, Linda, Amy Zyn, Amy G

I would highly recommend this race!! They have a 1/4 barrel (13.1 mile) and 1/6 barrel(4.73 miles I think?) routes and they are completely different so you are not running into each other since the shorter race starts an hour after the half.

I made sure on Friday night to come up with a sign and my requirement was to somehow work "beer" into the sign since it was a beer run, I was planning on doing "Pain Now...Beer Later" but my sign making skills need some help and I didn't leave myself enough room after "pain". I screwed up on the first freakin word, but I think this actually ended up being better.
What do you think of my sign?

My husband told me it was lame and doesn't get the whole "race sign" thing. But he is not a runner so I don't think he ever will get it! I made several runners smile, laugh, tell me they love me and "you got that right" so I consider this sign a success and in need of being saved for later use. I had a spectator take a picture of me with my sign at 6 miles and I was right before the last turn of the finish and a few runners seeked me out to take a picture of me with the sign afterwards as well. I was even recognized walking around in the tent afterwards without the sign so I think I helped people through the race at some point!

I just love that feeling and seeing people achieve their goals and have success just gave me the motivation I was needing. I have had a very difficult time getting myself to workout since the marathon I was feeling a little burned out on running and then having to take care of my left foot. I'm also not signed up for any races until this is fixed. Needless to stay I've been getting in workouts few and far between and I have a renewed sense of energy now!

I kicked butt in my Jillian Michaels DVD this afternoon and I'm feeling great. A week ago I was basically dying 10 minutes into the workout so I'm feeling encouraged by my progress in strength and wanting to push forward in all areas now.

I am going to test out the foot since I did some running yesterday during my spectating getting from point to point and I am feeling no pain at all. I am going to do a treadmill run tomorrow using a run/walk ratio and will kill it at any point I feel any twinge in my foot. Here's hoping to some sucecss!!

Would you rather run or spectate?

How do you re-focus?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Simple Amusement

I try to remind myself to enjoy the little things in life. In the current injury situation I find myself looking back alot and being thankful for all of the things I have accomplished. But I always need to refocus my thinking into looking forward to accomplish greater things.

I have had a few days to work out the grumpies inside me. It is a good thing for me to take a break from running and focus on my strength, swimming and cycling (all of which will benefit my running).

We had gorgeous weather yesterday and I was finally able to tackle some much needed yardwork, including mowing the lawn now that I could at least walk without decent pain.

This morning, I was partially listening to the news while talking with my hubby. We were expecting some severe thunderstorms running through the area and they were listing off affected cities of the biggest storm sliding through northeast WI and into MI. One of them that caught my attention........Spread Eagle. My husband and I both looked at each other and burst out laughing!! WHHHAAATTTT? Seriously??

So I had to google this to figure out where this town is located and if it truly existed. YES, yes it does!!

And then to see the highway number (Old Highway 69 if you cannot read it) just south of the city....ahhhh just too fitting.

Have you had your laugh today??

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I called the foot doctor....

I have had pain in my left since the day after my marathon. I attempted a run on Saturday since my feet was feeling mostly better, I cut it to 2 miles as I could basically feel the pain right away. It wasn't that much worse than walking around on it so I figured it really couldn't hurt.

I WAS WRONG!! I was limping around the house in pain and I could barely put any weight on it for about 24 hours. I was frantically searching around the internet for possibilities of what it could be and based on the placement of the pain I thought it was peroneal tendonitis. I wasn't 100% sure so I decided at this point I needed to consult a professional and promptly found a podiatrist. I was lucky enough when I called Monday that they had an 1 opening on Tuesday otherwise I would have had to wait until early November.

As the podiatrist was having me push against his hand in different directions and pinpointing the spot of pain I was describing the uneven surface of the marathon and the dirt trail and he had this look like he knew what it was right away. He was going to take some X-Rays to make sure there wasn't anything structurally wrong with my bones.

The peroneal tendons run across the ankle to the mid-foot. One attaches in the location noted and the other goes in here and goes along the bottom of the foot.

As I guessed it, it was peroneal tendonitis..I should be a doctor...NOT! He promptly instructed me I have to take 4 - 6 weeks off from running and he gave me some few stretches to perform with the nice little sidenote "this tendon is the most difficult to get to and stretch"...AWESOME!! He also said if the pain is not gone in 6 weeks I would have to come back to see him and I would end up in a walking boot. Needless to say, I will be icing, stretching and not running until this is gone!!

My left leg can SUCK IT!! Anyone want to switch with me??

In talking with the doctor I remembered a little problem I had in 8th grade that I ended up on crutches & in an aircast for 2 weeks because of this same tendon! It likes to slide over the bone that sticks out on the outside of your ankle and will do this a few times a week. They just told me to live with it and if it got worse I would have to get a screw put in it. And the anterior shin splints I suffered from last winter was on my left leg.

I am determined to come back from this stronger than ever! So I will be getting cozy with the stationary bike, swimming pool and Jillian Michaels. I am secretly hoping that I can repeat last year and come back as a faster runner and triathlete. Just gives me more reason to work on my weaker areas of the triathlon and  hey, I was wanting to get in more cross training anyways!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Marathon Photos

Well, I did a horrible job of  taking any pics from race day. I left my phone in the car since it was likely going to rain most of the time and honestly it was just one less thing to carry with me. So I relied on the race photographers figuring I should be able to get a good one.

Well, let's just say apparently I just like to look bad in my pictures. They put signs out saying "SMILE...photographer ahead" AND you could spot them on the sides of the trail since nobody other than runners were out there. Do you think that would help me at all?

The first photographer I saw was around the 17-18 mile mark (I think?) and I was just trying not to make it look like it hurt. Would have been nice to have seen some earlier on when I was actually happy.

Passing someone :)

Oh yeah, here is a nice little game we like to on a slippery balance beam after you've already run 15+ miles. Try not to fall now!

Finally sprinting into the finish!!

Do you think I got any good ones??
We are always way more critical of ourselves.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Race Recap: Whistlestop Marathon

Well, the weekend did not exactly get off to the greatest start. We had an incident at home on Friday and I felt so bad leaving without being able to handle the situation. I can be a control freak and I just had to trust in others and know they would be able to take care of things while I was gone. I had a marathon to run the next day and could not give that up.

I loaded up the car and then headed over to pick up Sarah to pile the rest of the car full. We began our journey all the way up to Ironwood, MI to check into our hotel. We then hopped right back into the car for the 35 minute drive east to Ashland, WI for the expo. Let's just say, they should really just call this a packet pickup w/ some merchandise.

Since we would not be getting a shirt at the finish of the race Sarah and I both got shirts to commemorate our First Marathon, we both decided on the same one since it boldly stated what we have accomplished!!

We picked up our packets in no time since this was a small race (under 500 marathoners) and headed over the pasta dinner. Let's just say if we would have known what to expect we would have gone out to a restaurant for some pasta instead. We ate and mowed down our free apple to fill us up and headed back to the hotel. We both needed to finalize our race day outfits and get everything ready for the 5:30am wakup call.

Cool plaques for first place finisher (they also had one for local winners too)
Of course, I slept like crap and 5:30am just came to early. I lounged in bed for a bit and then began to get ready for the day ahead. I walked down to the hotel breakfast with bread from home in hand along with my peanut butter. I stuck with my usual and ate 2 pieces of peanut butter toast and we ventured out back to Ashland. Then we had to hop onto a bus and drive to the start, which was very daunting. That bus ride seemed to take forever and was not exactly thrilled about running that far back to where we would finish.

We got dropped off the bus and huddled in the chalet until shortly before the start. The plan for the day was to breakup the race into 6 mile chunks and the final 2.2 miles.

Part 1 (1-6)
We headed off with some rolling hills for the first mile and I walked for a bit with Sarah when we hit mile 1 as she was not feeling well. I immediately began counting down at every mile marker how far I had left. We then turned onto the trail, which according to the race information was a "crushed limestone" trail. I guess if you consider dirt with some large rocks in it "crushed limestone" then they were right on point. I was hoping this would just be a temporary problem since I was not exactly trained for this kind of surface. We stuck together until mile 2 and I had decided at this point to run as long as I could. I talked to 2 older gentlemen for about 1.5miles, I was coming to pass them and one mentioned what a beautiful morning it was so I decided to run with them until the next aid station when they walked. I kept on rolling through the mist that had been ongoing all morning without issues.

Part 2 (6-12)
I ate my first GU after the 6 mile mark and kept on my merry way. The footing was still the same and it basically kept changing so you had to be very aware of where the packed down lines were an constantly readjust that along the way. I was still running through at this point and was continuing to pass people the entire time, I really enjoyed this section as the rain got worse and then seemed to clear away. I finally felt like I was in a zone and was hoping I could keep it up. I was slowly watching my average pace creep down toward the 10:30/mile mark which was where I wanted to try and stay as long as I could.

Part 3 (12-18)
My 2nd GU was consumed and I just kept on trucking, I knew very soon I would be halfway done with the race and was looking forward to that moment. My legs were starting to feel the wear & tear of the surface and I just wanted to get through this section of the race without having to stop to walk. I was aiming to run until 18 where I would begin a walk/run ratio to finish out the race. My mantra quickly became "Quitting is easy" during this portion. I came up to the aid station right before 16 and what was that I could hear???MUSIC!!! This was literally the first aid station that had speakers and music playing. Everyone was cheering really loud and I could feel the adrenaline surge in my body.......and then it was quickly over and there I was staring at this some old lonely trail. Yep, my nice little bubble I had going popped here and I had to stop to walk for the first time, and my feet instantly were tingling. I kinda freaked out but I kept on walking and it went away. I walked for about .25 miles and began running until mile 18.

Part 4 (18-24)
Time for my 3rd GU and I walked at this point again too. I told myself to start running after .25 miles again and I would run until mile 20. I finally made it to mile 20 and stopped for a walk break again. I almost felt defeated at this point because I was so ready for the race to be over and I knew I still had a solid hour left. Staring down at this trail for the last 3 and a half hours had gotten to me and I just wanted to be off it. At this point I just told myself to run to the next aid station, which were at least every mile at this point, where I would walk for a few minutes and proceed to run again. Everyone around me was basically doing the same thing so there was not a lot of cat and mouse playing going on.

Part 5 (24-26.2)
 Is this stinking trail over yet?? I seriously felt like I was in some stupid video game where the background just kept replaying itself over & over again. There was no corners to turn, just one really long straight trail!! I tried to joke around with some other runners about this but nobody wanted to talk. It was a very lonely race as nobody wanted to encourage others on and everyone just kept to themselves. I had been feeling uber bloated since about mile 22 and could not stomach eating another gel so I skipped it. FINALLY we turned off that stinkin trail, onto an asphalt trail and man did my feet hurt! The surface change really was a jolt to my legs and running became so much harder. The last aid station came and I wanted to run the last 1.2 miles to the finish but I just couldn't. I had to take one final walk break halfway there to recover myself a bit. There was little motivation as there was nobody around to really catch at this point as I could only see 2 people ahead of me but we were evenly spaced out and all running the same pace. I rounded the last few corners and made it to the finish!!

I managed to make my B goal by finishing in 4:50:07 (darn you last walk break!!), but I never had to use a porta-potty along the course so I can't blame that either.
Bib #Overall
Age Group
NameCity, StateFinish
21335712318Kons, AliciaNeenah, WI  04:50:07.1    CenturyLink Full Marathon

*I believe there was only about 430 full marathon runners so this was definitely a fast group.This was also my last official race with my old last name, since all the next ones coming up I've signed up for post marriage. At least I should remember when the switchover occurred.

I managed to waddle over to get my mylar blanket, medal...and then they make you walk out of that tent another tenth of a mile to another tent to get our finishers duffle bag. Darn you race directors!! Downside is that the medal and bag were the same for the Half Marathon & Marathon and it doesn't differentiate which race you did. Just kinda annoying since we went through alot more to just get the same thing.

The duffelbag is pretty cool. loaded with pockets!!
 I walked back over to the finish area bleachers to watch for Sarah to finish. I sat down not knowing if I would actually be able to get back up and I could not stop myself from shaking. I decided to trek it back to the tent with the heat to try and get warm. I found a spot where I could see the last turn before the finish, but still could not get warm. I finally had to pee and was not about to use the cold portapotties outside when I knew there was an indoor bathroom. I decided to check and see if I could find out if Sarah got picked up by medical as I hadn't found her yet. They weren't much help so I decided to go back to where I was sitting. I turned into the tent and there was Sarah with her medal and finisher bag. I immediately teared up because I knew just how much of a struggle she was going to have that day feeling under the weather! I was so proud of her for finishing that beast, we had a quick hug and we immediately left the place not wanting to come back.

We warmed up in the car on the way home and shared our experiences on the way back. We had a few other runners in our hotel as well and we were able to discuss the experience with them later when we ventured down to the hot tub. They felt very similar to our complaints about the race so we were happy we weren't the only ones.

Overall, would I do this race again....HELL NO!!

The only positive thing I really have to say about the race is that the aid stations were good, they had Water and Red Powerade at each one (although I carried my own gatorade and just refilled my water) and some decent food was at others scattered throughout the race but I never took them. There was only one aid station that was handing out GU's and it was at mile 18 if I remember correctly.

Right now, I want a break from some of the longer runs but I think I definitely want to do 1 (maybe 2) next year. Anyone have a really good race suggestion?
P.S.I think I want a race with really incredible spectators!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Marathon Eve

Ok, so it's a little early but by the time most of you read this it will be. How's that for pre-planning! After 3 months of training it is surreal to think that I'm so close to starting the Whistlestop Marathon.

I will be leaving town shortly after noon to make the 5 hour trek up nort to Ashland, WI for the race expo & pasta dinner. Then we get to drive about 30 minutes to MI where our hotel is located, couldn't find anything in Ashland that wasn't ridiculously overpriced! One of the main requirements when we were searching was 1. Don't be a total dive
2. Must have hot tub
and that really was about it, we really aren't that picky.

I have successfully packed about 1/2 my running wardrobe because I still haven't figured out what I will exactly wear. I don't even think I packed 'normal' clothes! I will leave that task for tomorrow when we can sort of rely on the hourly forecast. As of right now it's not exactly looking pleasant for the weekend. At least after the marathon is over, we probably won't want to venture out from the hotel.

I know I can't control mother nature and there was always this possibility, all I'm asking for is to not have to run the entire 5 hours being wet & cold. I would honestly prefer it to be snowing over raining when we dip into the cooler temps. The bulk of the marathon is run on a trail so this could turn into a squishy nightmare with horrible knee pain for me, but I'm trying not to think about it. I just need to go into the day with a good mental game plan and adjust it as needed for the conditions.

My goal is to JUST FINISH the race since it is my first marathon and I know the distance will never be easy. 26.2 miles is far to run and is not something you decide to do overnight. It's taken me 4 years of running to get the point of truly feeling like I can conquer this distance and not be afraid of it.

But let's be honest, I do have time goals in mind. My plan is to try and start out around 10:45 - 11 minute miles and slowly increase my pace. I don't ever really want to see an under 10 minute mile unless it's after 20 as I don't want to slam into a wall halfway through the race. If things mentally & physically work out for me I think my A goal is achievable, here is what I'm thinking:

A Goal: 4:30 - 4:45
B Goal: 4:45 - 5:00
C Goal: 5:00 - 5:15                                
D Goal: Get your arse across the finish line!!
F Goal: You will not Fail....see D Goal :)

Fuel Plan: I plan on eating a GU every 5 - 6 miles, more likely 6 and eat 1 shot blok at 3 mile intervals between the GU's (ie. Mile 3, 9, 15, 21) & maybe 1 mile out for that final last burst. The race has red powarde (ICK!!) for their drink so I'm going to load up 3 out of the 4 bottles on my fuel belt with Gatorade and just refill the water one often, until I drink the Gatorade and then I can have some water with a little hint of Gatorade to it.

Now it's time to enjoy the atmosphere surrounding this big event and try and get some sleep before the race is here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Marathon Training Recap - Week 12

So, I did pretty good last week but I can't 100% prove it. My laptop crashed and I don't have any of my files right now.Which means my marathon training plan is gone so I'm going from memory. I shipped my laptop to our office and I have to deal without it until Wednesday morning, at least they were able to recover my files....WHEW!

Monday: 4 mile run - ended up getting in a quick 3.2 miles
Tuesday: Strength - JM 30 Day Shred Week 1 completed even though it was around 10pm
Wednesday: 5 mile run - 5.5 mile trail run with Kim & Matt (except the 0.5 mile he skipped out on)
Thursday: Core & Swim - Skipped since my body was really dragging and felt I needed the extra rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 8 mile run - Completed on a crushed gravel trail to mimic next week's marathon surface, felt amazing and finished in the right amount of time so I just missed being stopped by the train!! Felt great and kept a 10:20 overall pace without having to stop :)
Sunday: Cross Train - Did 20 minutes on the elliptical and completed a 700 yd swim ladder workout. Wanted to do bike instead of elliptical but forgot my headphones...phoey!

I completed my goals from last week with the exception of the bike ride, that will just have to wait until after the marathon when I probably won't feel like running. And technically I only did 700 yards swimming instead of 800 but the gym was closing and I had to get out of there. If I wouldn't of had to wait 5 minutes for a lane would have been just fine though!

At this point the marathon is only 6 days away and I cannot wait for Friday to get here. I only have to work a half day and then Sarah and I are off to the expo and pasta dinner! I'm happy the marathon is Saturday morning so we don't have another whole day to sit and stress about it. We will just have to hobble around on Saturday if we want to emerge from our hotel room.

I think I'm going to end up packing half my running wardrobe as I'm still up in the air to what I will wear and I want compression stuff to wear after the marathon. I have to remember to pack "real" clothes!!

I'm starting a list of miscellaneous items to pack, let me know if there was anything you wished you had before or after your marathon?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Hate the Marathon 5!!

Ok, so I gained the 5 pounds typical to preparing to run a marathon, and all I can say about it.... I HATE IT!!

I have spent the last year paying close attention to my weight and had lost about 13 pounds. It's driving me insane to watch the scale number slowly going up. I hate that I never feel full and I feel like I can constantly eat all day. I've recently come to terms with the fact that I am an emotional eater. After careful consideration that is not the reason for the weight gain, but all the carbs my body is craving right now.

I was secretly hoping I would be immune to this, I did get away with not gaining the Freshman 15 when I went off to college thanks to walking all over campus with a 20 pound weight on my back.

I have had issues with my weight ever since my college years when I went from being mostly active to sitting at a desk all day. I did gain weight during my last year in college thanks to my emotional eating (thank you stress!!) & having a bout of depression but nothing like how fast I saw it stack on with the job change. I realized at that point in my life, when I was 50 pounds more that what I was out of high school, I had to make a major change to my eating habits and successfully stopped gaining weight.

Next was the hard part, losing it!! I tried to start running once before and had little success, but I found other ways to get active instead. I tried running again a year later and with some encouragement I successfully became a runner. I have kept at it because of all the benefits it has done for me.
  • Lose/maintain my weight
  • Tone my muscles
  • Improve my self worth
  • Improve my mental strength
  • Realizing you can do anything you put your mind to!
I'm finding it hard to love running right now when it's failing me with my biggest struggle over the last 5 years. While I know this gain is likely only temporary, it's still hard. I worked so hard to get the weight off and I know I will have to face this road again. I have been trying to really focus on why I'm eating something and not just blindly eat.

I know the overall benefits have outweighed gaining the few pounds that I have and I just need to accept it. I will lose the weight again and I'm pushing to finally hit my goal weight of 125 lbs. by 2013.

I will admit that I habitually weigh myself every morning, am I the only person that does this?

Have you ever struggled with your eating habits?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Marathon Training Recap - Week 11 & Sept. Recap

All I have to say about last week.....SORE & TIRED!!!

That 20 miler really took alot out of me and I didn't even attempt to run until Wed, all 3 miles just plain hurt! The 6 miles kinda hurt and the 12 miler was really difficult mentally, just not feeling it Sunday. Thankfully it was my first Taper week so I didn't really feel too bad, BUT I did modify the crap out of last week!! I can at least say I got in all except 1 scheduled mile and I threw in a little swim, which I really missed :)

9/24/2012CoreRestStrength3 m + 400 yd Swim6 m PaceCross12

My goals for this week
  • Enjoy taper
  • Swim at least 800 yards
  • Get a bike ride in on the road bike
  • Mixup my runs this week & have fun!
I have noticed one thing missing in my Marathon Training Plan.....
I don't have one for Post Race!! Any advice out there??
*Note that I do have a Half Marathon 3 weeks after the Marathon

September Recap
Miles Ran: 113 (compared to 80 in Aug)
AND....that was all I really did other than a few strength workouts
** I didn't get any cross training workouts, definitely need improvement here!!

September Races
9/1 - Justiceworks Just Run Half Marathon
9/23 - Fox Cities Half Marathon (New PR Baby!!)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

What's On Your Brain?

I'll give you a good hint at what's on mine lately. I went to the library yesterday and this is what I came back with:

1. Triathlon Training by Michael Finch - I really enjoyed the cross training last winter and the races. I definitely feel that I need to mix this in more as I'm starting to get sick of just running. My goal is to do an Olympic Distance this summer and hopefully the following summer a Half Ironman...EEK! I'm thinking it will end up being Madison, WI since that is closest to home and I did spend 6 years there during my college years.

2. Going Long - Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks & Adventures (The Best Stories from Runner's World) -
I got this for some motivation to get through the marathon and help me get some motivation to get out the door on those days I'm just feeling a little off. I read the first and I want to read them all now!

3. Mathletics by John D. Barrow - This book is about the science behind some sports feats and to be honest it really wasn't very interesting. I just glanced through it and read the few things that interested me. The only real item of note that I took away from this book is that most of the great athletes are born September-December. They said it's mostly because they are the oldest & biggest in their age groups and therefore seem to be better and get more of the coaches attention.

I also went shopping to find some necessary clothing for running in the cooler weather as I only have 1 pair of capris and 1 pair of pants. I have lost a decent amount of weight and most of my stuff doesn't fit me anymore, which is a good and bad problem to have. I went to the Under Armour & Nike Outlet and then to the local running store to find some deals. Here is what I came away with and the only thing I really paid full price for was the socks and hat, the long sleeve I used $15.00 of rewards to purchase it since in winter it will be at night alot. I don't think they can miss me in it though as it's ridiculously bright!!

Brooks Nighlife 1/2 zip, Nike pants, Brooks hat, Shot Bloks, GU Brew,
Brooks Hat, UA Capris, UA Shorts, UA Socks, Skirt Sport (w/o lining)
Are you already planning your races for 2013? If so, what is your favorite race?

Personally, I think I may already have most of the year figured out with a few maybes in there. I think my favorite for next year will be the Fremont Triathlon, a revisit to my favorite from last summer with a few more people joining me :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Race Recap: Fox Cities Half Marathon (+7)

Sunday started before the ass crack of dawn. As I rolled myself out of bed, I questioned myself...WHY am I doing this??? Oh yeah, because I'm CRAZY!! It was 4am and I had to get myself ready to be at Sarah's to start our run at 5am.

The Half was starting at 7am and we wanted to leave ourselves time for an easy run to the Start and conveniently Sarah lives close to the Finish. We started by running to the finish and headed over towards the start. My brain was very confused. I am not an early morning person and the only time I've run in the dark it's been nighttime. Granted, for most people it was nighttime but I just couldn't wrap my head around it. We didn't walk much because it was freezing when we started. Literally, it was probably a few degrees above freezing.

Miles 1 - 6.9 10:34, 11:14, 11:12, 11:36, 11:40, 12:24, 10:58
Can you tell which mile we stopped to eat GU?? 

We made it to the Start and metup with Kimba, Kim, Matt (all first timers for the marathon) and Kathy, Megan and my cousin Nikki. The marathon spectators were Nick, Rachel & Kevin whom we would see at mile 2.5 where the Half and Full split. We were all freezing at the start as you can see in this pic. Sarah & I after the first 7, good job Rachel of capturing the pre-race nerves of Matt & Kim in the background.

Miles 1 - 8 (8-15) 10:08, 9:57, 9:29, 9:37, 9:38, 9:25, 9:09, 9:30
Ok, so not the usual breakup of a race but it works well for me this way. I started off the run with Nikki & Sarah. We were all trying to take it easy at the start and not begin too fast. I really liked that we didn't have to fight through the crowd much and did very little weaving. It was enjoyable and the miles were flying by. The hardest part of this was remembering when I needed to eat GU. Nikki and I kept on cruising and I would glance at my watch and freak out. (I shouldn't be running this fast, I am going to BONK!! That's OK, it's just practice at hitting the WALL!?!?) Yes I actually rationalized it this way during the run. We ran/danced to Tootsie Roll and just had fun out there! I finally started feeling like it was difficult and I had to stop at mile 8 to eat my GU. I knew I would lose my running buddy and the last 5 miles would be a mental battle.

Miles 9-13 (15-20) 10:53, 9:28, 10:49, 10:16, 9:27
Ok, this was really hard. My legs felt like dead weight and I just willed myself to keep going. I knew exactly where the course ran at this point and knew just how much was left. I took it one mile at a time and told myself I would walk again at 10 and maybe one other time. I timed it so the 2 bridges we had to go over I walked up and started running on the downhill, cause at this point starting again was not easy. I just kept trudging forward, talked to a few random people and willed myself to the finish. I saw my overall pace was slowly creeping up and I thought I might lose my chance to PR. I just kept pushing and realized when I was on the last mile that as long as I didn't slow my pace I would make it.

FINAL TIME: 2:08:50 (a minor PR by a little over a minute but it still counts!)

Glad to be done, and all I could do at this point was sit down & put my flip flops on!
Now that I was done, I was excited to go cheer Kim on. We hobbled our way back to the car and we headed out on the course just shortly after mile 21 and then back to the finish area. I had prepared a few signs for use along the course. Here are the 3 funnier signs I made and then one motivational one I used towards the finish.

This sign was especially for Kim, we've managed to be attacked twice!!

There were not alot of photographers on the course (basically only around the start & last 1-1.5 miles) and the pictures they got were pretty good, but they are not very easy to copy due to the background they plastered all over them. Maybe I will have to break down and buy the best one.

Overall it was a great day as everyone finished!! (speedy Kimba ran a BQ!) I was glad to see friends & family out there with me and excited for my marathon day which is now fast approaching. I was a little jealous that I wasn't doing it Sunday.

I'm still feeling a little lethargic this week. I'm definitely glad taper is here as I'm taking my runs easy this week.