Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Adios 2014

Hey everyone, I am back...for the time being anyways! I discovered I have missed tracking my progress and having a virtual diary of my races and major life happenings. I have some pretty lofty goals in my head and blogging helped me go through them the last time. I really wish I would have kept track in 2013 what my total mileages were, that was my best year of racing.

Alas, here is what I ended up this year which I found it aligns pretty closely to my 2012 figures.
Running: 640 miles
May was my marathon month and August was leading into my major half of the year.

Cycling: 359 miles
I did hit my most mileage ever in a month on my bike, I did something right in December!! Training for something big will make you do that.

Swimming: 20 miles
*no graph on this as it's only a few miles each month, although I tend to swim more in the winter. Explain that one!

This year had a number of ups and downs for me, but it has taught me a lot about myself and what I want out of life. It has solidified my relationship with my husband and I can really rely on him now. I have a hard time letting people fully in and letting go of myself, both of which he has helped me to get past.

I have met so many wonderful people through the running community, this year I participated in the Fleet Feet Half training program for speedwork and it was great being able to show up and have someone else tell me what to do! I heard through the grapevine they were looking for mentors for their Winter Warriors program and I jumped at the chance. I loved doing it before and I was able to push many people from our training program into signing up. Doing this always helps me find the joy in running again and thinking back to those milestones when I hit them. I was astounded to find out we had over 70 people in the program, the most ever yet!
This was from one of our track nights in summer having fun with the Brooks rep.
I also attended a fitness competition for the first time ever this year to support my SIL and my other trainer! They have helped to transform my body and how I think about it. This behemoth was the guest poser for the night.

I took some time away from triathlons this year, just did one super sprint) and I realized how much I miss them. Goals for 2015 are to get in some more of them and complete a half Ironman distance race. Hoping to also get in an Olympic distance and a sprint or two. Summer goes by too quickly to fit in more than that!

I would like to get a Ragnar Race in again this year and thinking about trying to get a team together, or ya know, just hop on a team again last minute!

Lots of races floating around in my head for this year and I need to get my goals and a race schedule planned out. Also I need to get back to following a training plan which I have been working at the last few weeks to get in a rhythm. Half Ironman training plan I am following begins late February.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ragnar Chicago 2014 - Off Kilter

I have wanted to do a Ragnar for a few years now and it just has never worked out, so when a friend posted on facebook they were in need of 2 runners two weeks before I jumped at the chance. I am glad I did, I really enjoyed myself and I ended up on a team with some fun people. Great outfits and team name! We ended up getting a ton of compliments!!! And the usual question......what ya got under there?
Team Off Kilter ready to go. Kill or be Kilt!
There was quite a bit of shuffling since they found another runner last minute. I ended up being runner #3 with a total of 13.7 miles overall. Our team started at 9am and it was hot already, I was pretty excited that my first leg was only 2.7 miles. I wanted to bust out the best time I could since it was so short and I didn't want to disappoint right away.

I got to pass some major road kill right away that reeked and almost made me hurl, but I kept it under control and was surprised at the rolling hills, the elevation map is apparently zoomed out so it looked pretty flat. I could barely see someone in front of me and that was it, I could never catch her and I got passed once a little bit before the exchange by a strong runner. Leg 1 completed with a kilt! 2.7 miles "Easy" (9:32 average)

We went to get some lunch when our van was done at Subway and then hang out at the park for the next van exchange. Everyone in my van took a nap in the shade but I just could not, I did not really feel tired and could not sleep being warm and out in the open. I really need to work on being able to sleep outside my own bed!

Our Van started up again around 7:30pm, so we donned our night vests and started out. I took a look at the elevation map for my second leg and I knew I was in for some major hills. This elevation chart showed some pretty sizable ups and downs including one really long incline. I warned my team I may have to walk some of the hills, but I was happy it finally cooled down. I took off directly up hill and then reached the top only to be stopped for 3 minutes by a stoplight...GRRRR.

Once I got going again I felt good and I tried to keep a nice even pace to keep me going through the leg. I was excited to see that I had tons of people ahead of me and not feel alone out there in the dark. I think I like hills better in the dark since I wasn't able to gauge how they were until I was running them. The combination of the dark, being around people and having some fresh meat had me conquering these hills like they were nothing. I came flying into the exchange with a smile on my face, I loved every minute of that leg! I ran this with my kilt as well and flashed a few fellow runners my shorts! Leg 2: 5.4 miles "Moderate" (9:25 average)

We all flew through our night legs and we had to make sure to give our other van a decent heads up as our final runner was trying to nail his 3.1 mile leg in 21 minutes. We didn't want them to oversleep his speediness, and they still were scrambling a little when we showed up and our runner came in a few minutes after. We ate a little pasta and meatballs and headed to the next exchange point at the YMCA, we managed to spot a kids play area with some squishy flooring. I couldn't find the showers so I just used the bathroom and gave myself a quick towel bath and changed into clean clothes. I tried to sleep but being in what felt like a 100 degree room and again, I sleep like crap away from home. We had about 2 hours to sleep and I think I maybe managed an hour. We got the call the final runner was out and we had to get ready. We were all zombies and not at all ready to go again.

We were off again shortly before 4am, I was hoping my stomach cramps would go away before I had to run because I needed to try and get something in my stomach. It slowly went away and I began to get ready for my last leg. The sun was just starting to come up along the beach as I was waiting for my runner to come in.

I felt completely silly wearing sunglasses, a headlamp, taillight and a safety vest. I would be taking off just before the night hours would be over so I was stuck looking like that! I was happy to know the first few miles of my leg from the WI half marathon and I took off wanting to not let the two teams my runner just passed get me. I looked back shortly thereafter and I was happy to see I left them in my dust! Again though I was out by myself, finally about 2.25 miles I spotted someone ahead of me. I slowly reeled them in and finally passed them around mile 4. The last straightaway towards the exchange felt like it would never come, I realized why this leg was rated the way it was, a long slow uphill away from the lakeshore. I got passed right at the end by two ridiculously fast dudes, just not enough of a lead there! Leg 3 5.6 miles "Hard" (9:38 average)

Van 1 completed!!

Our van was finished and we headed out for breakfast at IHop, and headed into Chicago to get the shuttle to the finish line. That felt like forever that we had to wait around for our team, finally we got the word our final runner was out, they dropped another runner off 2 miles before the finish to help escort them into the finish. We finished a little over 29 hours, got our picture with the DJ and the CARA group got our pic, they loved us too!
196.1 miles completed!!

We polished off our free beer, hung out for a bit and parted ways since everyone was exhausted. We cleaned out our vans and switched up based on where everyone needed to go and headed out. Our van stopped for some dinner and then I drove us the rest of the way home. I figured when I got home I would shower and crash, but I managed to have enough energy to unpack before finally passing out.

I loved the atmosphere of the race and the creativity of the teams out there. I would totally do another one of these again if I had the opportunity. I think it's a great way to see some sights and even get to know areas better that you thought you knew.

I really enjoy relays and I am going to find a way to fit more of them in my schedule. I seem to pull out times that I only wish I could during my own races!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Three Things Thursday

I have been totally irregular at posting lately. Someday I will get the hang of balancing everything.....yeah.... right! So here is what has been going on lately.

1. Today was actually a good hair day, that rarely happens with my frizzy, curly hair!

After bootcamp the craziness came out though, but I scored a free shirt for nailing a plank. I held it for 2:38 and I could have kept going!

2. I am doing Ragnar Chicago this weekend, which was totally unexpected until last week around this time. A friend was looking for some runners and I figured why not. It would be a fun break and I have always wanted to do one. I got the day off work and I was all set! I am Runner #5 and happy to be in the 1st van. Should be fun meeting new runner peeps.

3. I am back to getting into shape! I need to drop the weight I worked so hard last winter to lose and I want to be fast again. I miss all the PR's I got last spring from the hard work I put in. I am shooting for a sub 2 half in late summer and I get to run with my cousin and help her get one too. How exciting is that!! We are signed up for 2 about a month apart, the second shortly before her wedding weekend. I signed up for our local Fleet Feet track workouts Tuesday night and it begins on the 17th.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon

Morning finally was here, after tossing and turning for 5 hours in bed. I was at peace with what the day would bring, I wanted to enjoy the race after the journey I took to get there. Was it ideal? No. Is it ever? No. I wanted to do the best I could with what I had, which is what we all try to do in life. Now that I got all that philosophical stuff out of the way, here is how it all went down.

My goal was to start with the 4:45 pace group and hang with them as long as I possibly could, hopefully to the end if possible. My prior times were 4:50 and 4:42 so I felt it was appropriate. I seem to go out too fast and this was going to reign me in and keep me from blowing up. I love my running peeps!!
Kathy, Kim, Rachel, Me, Matt, Sarah
Miles 1-6 (10:22, 10:25, 10:29, 10:31, 10:20, 10:18)
The early miles felt easy and they were flying by, I was chatting it up with people around me and just enjoying the overcast weather and a light breeze. The group was pretty large at this point so I tried not to weave and just settled in amongst the crowd. We hit what was mile 12 in past years about 1.5 miles in and I was really thankful this year that I didn't have to watch all the half marathoners turn and the field dwindle down. It was also nice to not have the extra people to weave through. The only downfall to the change of course this year was not having the wall of spectators along the first part of the course, but then again it was nice to not feel all of sudden deserted!

Miles 7-12 (10:37, 10:22, 10:16, 10:12, 10:42, 10:50)
Still feeling good yet, just enjoying the moments and scenery. I was getting to know the people running with the group and I loved hearing why they were doing it. Some were doing it because they were 40 and why not do it now. Others were on a quest to do all 50, some were there that had done it before and others just trying to better their times. I really wanted to know what brought them to the race and many grew up in the area and had moved away. I think this is my favorite part about races and running, to hear other's stories and find what moves them.

Miles 13-18 (10:46, 10:39, 10:46, 10:41, 10:33, 10:47)
This was where it started to falter, my stomach didn't feel right after taking a GU (I took a HoneyStinger Gel earlier). I battled to get my energy level back up and tell myself I had run through worse. And then we hit what we thought was an aid station, but it was just a popsicle aid station. I had a gut reaction to take one as I thought it may help me somehow being that it was cold, and it was starting to get warm. I thought back to times I struggled and I really wanted to finish with my new friends. I had really bonded with them and I wanted it so bad. I kept pushing through and just tried to save my energy from talking and listen to them.

Miles 19 - 24 (12:33, 11:30, 12:17, 11:59, 12:05, 13:36)
And then it hit, I just couldn't hold my pace with my energy level dropping. I started to get nauseous from the heat, which my body does not cope well with and added to the stomach issues I knew I would have to walk more often. The walk breaks started adding up and they were 2 per mile at this point instead of just during the aid stations. One during the water stop and one about halfway between them. Most of these miles felt like a gradual uphill and was into a very steady headwind, as if battling the exhaustion and heat was not enough. Mentally I kept talking myself into it, and then I said that thought out loud to a struggling runner. It just happened to be the guy I had helped get through the last few miles at Fox Cities, we leap frogged each other and eventually I was disappointed he never passed me again.

Miles 25-26.2 (12:44, 11:32, 5:23) 
I can finally see Lambeau again, those last few miles really dragged on and it felt like I would never get there. Seeing that I was almost there was the energy that I needed. I was able to run a good portion of this and it felt good to finally not be battling the wind too. I really tried to relish being in Lambeau and coming through the player's tunnel. If we could just run around in there the whole time I don't think I would ever stop! The final push out of the tunnel was back uphill and into the wind again but I knew at this point it was almost over. 

I finished in 4:53 and I was good with that. In my head when I started I was hoping to make it in under 5 hours. I did end up having a good day where my body was concerned, I was not battling any injuries it was just simply fatigue. I wish I would have been able to push farther but I didn't want to land my journey in a medical tent so I went the smart route.

One thing I wish marathons would offer or someone needs to invent.... a spray sunscreen both part way through, us pale people with sun sensitivities would really appreciate it! Just making my runner's lines better each day now.

I am taking a break from marathons now, I want to get faster again and focus on getting in shape again. Although my legs didn't feel too stiff later on in the day and I mowed my entire lawn!!

Next up is The Longest Day for Alzheimer's and I am looking to log as many miles in 16 hours as I can. I am hoping to beat last year's number of 32 miles! I have put a challenge out there that every $5 I receive as donations I will run 1 lap around the track, meaning $20 gets you one mile. I will run it in honor of anyone you know that has suffered from this disease. Just go to our team's fundraising page "Running to Remember" or my personal fundraising page to help out. To any of you that have donated already, thank you!!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mo' Problems Monday

It is now actually feeling like Spring around here, and with that comes a new set of runner problems.

1. Chafing - Do not forget to body glide any body parts that will rub any other part or clothing, and do not forget the spots you know you will always chafe or something like this will happen.

2. Sports Watch Tan line (burn line for now at least)

3. Runner tan lines (again burn lines here yet)

4. Planning runs around where you can fill up water at parks, circle back to your house/car with a cooler or stashing a cooler on some country road. If you are anything like me you drink like a fish and can only last about an hour before a refill is required.

5. Poppin' pills like they are candy! These things get me through warm weather runs.

Oh yeah, I have this thing called THE MARATHON next week, I am not feeling very prepared for this one so we will see how it goes. I am going to start with the 4:45 pace group (prior finish times were 4:50 & 4:42) and hope I can stick with them the whole way. I tend to go out too fast and then drag myself through miles 18 on. I am not stressing about pacing strategies this week since I can leave that up to them.

What issues do you have while running in summer?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Race Recap: Wisconsin Half Marathon

This weekend I was excited for a little racecation with running buds Rachel, Matt and Kathy. You have to make sure you pack the essentials first. I made sure to pack on Thursday night and Friday morning I was throwing in last minute items as I thought of them.

The course is a double out & back course so it's fun to be able to see your friends twice. You also run along Lake Michigan for a good portion of the race and the sun was just sparkling off the water. First you make your way through a residential area and then through downtown, as you run along the park you start watching for the lead runners to come through. I love when you are able to see the faster runners and cheer for them! My plan was to start off easy and see how long I would last.

My first mile was 10:06 and the next several were under 10 as I was feeling good and the pace just seemed to work, Kathy and I were running together which was great for the company and distraction. The first miles seemed to go by quickly too. The first turnaround is along the shores and you can see the finish on your way back. The building you can see ahead in the distance is the finish, it seems so far away yet. Around mile 10 you come out of the park and back through downtown, this was where my wheels fell off and I told Kathy to go on ahead. I needed to just get into my head and work this out myself and I did not want to hold her back. After going through downtown it was hard to keep going south when the finish was only two blocks away. You then run the first part of the course again and turn around at mile 12 for the finish and see friends again if you are within 15 minutes or less of each other. Afterwards we waited around to cheer for Amy to come in from the marathon, she killed it!
Kathy, Matt, Rachel & I

 There were three Newport firefighters that I spotted along the course and they ran in their gear. We ran into them after the finish and I wanted to congratulate them and say thank you. It's not every day you can be sandwiched by three firefighters!

My first bathroom stop after the race was at the Rustic Road Brewing Company and I loved their sign. I really needed that after struggling through the last 4 miles of the race.

This year they changed it up with the shirts as the women got purple and the men were grey instead of the same shirt for everyone. The medal was big this year and of course included a bottle opener.


Race photos came in, and let's just put it this way.

The Good

The Bad

The Ugly

Sunday, May 4, 2014

You Are My Sunshine

This weekend was finally a gorgeous weekend here in WI, the sun finally came out and stayed around for more than 15 minutes. The clouds parted on Saturday morning just as I was getting ready to start the WI half marathon. Recap to come soon, just waiting on the race pics.

After the race we headed down to Rustic Road Brewing Company, well actually we only turned the corner from where we parked and there it was! I smelled the bloody's as soon as I got in the building and it looked like I couldn't pass it up. It was a forest in there!

And then it was on to Captain Mike's for a late lunch, we discovered the place the prior afternoon when we stopped in for a beer and once we saw the menu we knew we had to come back. Their mac & cheese looked fantastic along with the burger options. All I have to say is if you are in the Kenosha area, you will just have to check it out.

We were all tired and passed out early after the long day and up early on Sunday. It was great because we got to drive back with sparse traffic on the highways, I was home and unpacked before 10. I checked the weather and realized the sun was going to stick around and be in the mid 50's. I immediately knew I wanted to hop on my bike to get my legs an easy recovery workout. That meant getting my trainer tire off my bike and putting the regular one back on. All by myself, well here goes nothing!

I managed to get the wheel off, and then the tire came off a little hard. I checked the tube to make sure there were no leaks and put the tire back on.

Then it was time to try to inflate the tire with the CO2 cartridge for my first time. It scared me at first but I was happy to see I did it right and my tire was ready to go!

Then to put it back on the bike and get the chain back on, I didn't exactly do it right the first time so I got extra dirty. I was so proud once I finally got it back on and the gears were changing.

And finally off for an easy ride enjoying the sunshine and first ride of the year outside. Hasta La Vista Trainer!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Digging Deep

I have struggled with finding my motivation the last few months and I am starting to notice how it's affecting my life outside of athletics. My stress is bubbling over into all aspects and I am annoyed with it enough to finally kick it in the rear! I am getting over being sick the last two weeks battling stomach issues so I have not been able to eat as much as I should. I am feeling progress today and was actually able to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner!!

Saturday I had the privilege to drive Kim and Rachel during the Run Away to the Bay 55 mile relay, they were warriors. It renewed in me what I was missing before. I was exhausted at the end of the day and I slept like a rock, I almost forgot what that felt like since I haven't been sleeping well either.

I woke up early again Sunday to do my 20 mile long run and was disappointed to not feel good again. I forced down some breakfast and met up with Sarah who was also feeling under the weather. I wanted to at least get out there and try to see what would happen. A mile in I felt really light headed so we decided to head back, we wanted to at least do 3 miles so we headed around the park and back towards her house and ending up with 4 miles. I am disappointed I have missed two long runs but I just have to listen to my body. I would attempt some more cardio later in hopes of keeping up my endurance as I feel that slipping away.

The second TRI 101 swim clinic was from 3-5pm so I would have a chance to get a little pool time in. I again helped with the intermediate group swimmers and was excited to see some of the same people from the 1st clinic. They had improved so much by the end of this clinic I was beaming with happiness for them. I feel like swimming is the area where I can really help people as I feel confident in my abilities and knowledge of the sport. Swimming always makes me happy even when I feel like poo and it helped turn me around today. Thanks Teresa for the pic!

Going to go hit up the bike to get in a mini triathlon for the day!

Monday, April 14, 2014

April Showers

Mother nature, you always give us one good April "snow" shower, so let's just hope that was it. No more snow, please! It was slightly shocking waking up to a world of white this morning, we only had one tiny snow pile left. I have to admit, it is really pretty. The wet, heavy snow leads makes for a picturesque view. Don't you love the pond in our backyard too?

This weekend had 20 miles on tap for the Cellcom Training Plan, and the weather report was showing rain Saturday and Sunday. I decided it would be much more pleasant to run Friday night in 50's with a slight wind. I really felt great to start this run, until a mile in a train was stopped dead in my tracks. I tried to see if I could walk around and ended up hopping it. I was not about to change up my route I had mapped out. I haven't run by my house in a long time, it was nice to run old routes and it didn't feel so far. I snapped a pick at my turnaround spot about 6 miles out on the trail. I wanted to finish in the city as mentally to be able to go "1 more block" always pushes me.

In my excitement for heading out I forgot to eat shortly before I left, and it ended up dooming me. I pulled the plug at 15.5 miles when my calves cramped up so bad I could barely walk. I called my hubby to pick me up right as it was getting dark as I just did not want to push it since there is another 20 miler on schedule in two weeks. I walked at least until he picked me up and got in 16.35 miles overall and I am happy with that. I have noticed the last two weeks I have soreness in my inner hip. It's not a muscle soreness but a type of joint pain. I was in pain the whole night if I moved or slept with any weight on my left side. It slowly went away by Saturday afternoon but I am not really sure how to fix it. I am going to start taking Glucosamine and see if that helps at all. Anybody have any suggestions?

Saturday afternoon I volunteered as a Swim Instructor for our TRI 101 clinic, I was with the group of intermediate swimmers and we help guide them to be better swimmers with help from one of the YMCA masters swim coaches. It was so fun to be able to give back, since I took the clinic the prior year. So many people struggle with swimming and it is one of my favorite things to do. I would love to be a fish!

Sunday morning I woke up to volunteer for the Oshkosh Half Marathon, the Tri City Foxes were at the Mile 1 waterstop, so I figured it would be perfect to be there and then we would be done early and I could cheer on some friends. It was amazing that the rain disappeared, only some puddles for the runners to dodge. It was so fun to cheer everyone on and I saw more people than I expected. I managed to hit up 3 spots prior to the finish which I consider pretty awesome. I didn't know the area well but I remembered the course so I just tried to drive around the edges of it to make for quick travel times so I could make it back to the finish. It is also small enough that I still parked a block away from the finish after all of that. I love my runner and triathlon friends!!

Oh yeah, and I also had plenty of time to do a 1,000 piece puzzle this weekend. I am pretty sure that is a record even for me! I am a puzzle nerd.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Restless Legs

I am going stir crazy this last week! I had a really awesome leg workout last week Monday and I have been paying for it ever since. I woke up Tuesday barely being able to walk due to my hamstrings being tight. I figured it was just the typical DOMS and would go away after a few days. Thursday night I celebrated being 31 by having some drinks with the family and a few friends so it was a good excuse at least that night!

Lovely & bright Brooks tech tee!
Friday night was the April Fool's 5K, cue Wisco crazy weather. This race was to start at 6:04pm and the forecast was for wind (30 mph and gusty) and rain/sleet/snow depending on the air temp. It is a point to point race with shuttles so Sarah and I decided to park at the start so we could wait in the car until it was race time. It didn't look very packed and we got to park right next to the start line....NO JOKE. Sarah has the proof as I was too lazy to take a picture. We debated whether to run it, but since we were already there why not? I wanted to just take it easy as my legs still felt like junk and we had 18 miles on tap the following morning. Finished in 30:05, no walk breaks and a respectable pace of 9:42.

Saturday morning I was nervous but wanted to get the 18 miles in, I kinda slacked on two long runs in March and this was gut check time to see if I could even pull off the mileage and be able to complete the marathon without feeling like death. My left hamstring was so tight it hurt the entire time, halfway through it was starting to loosen up and then it got to the point that if I stopped and just stood there, my legs went numb. The last 5 miles were some of the hardest miles I have logged in a long time and I am glad Sarah hung around with my slowly self at the end!

21 miles in 15 hours was probably not the best way to get back into it, but if you are going to do it. Why not jump head first?!

I finally decided to get a deep tissue massage as my calves were really knotted up and my hammy's still were not better on Sunday. I was able to get in last night, although not much improvement yet. I searched for hamstring stretches and I died laughing because I cannot get into the start position without my legs seizing up on me, guess we will shelf that idea!

I really need to be able to do something soon as I can't take this anymore. So why not work on arms you say? I did that and core last Monday and they are sore now too, so they needed a break to. I might just have to gym it and get some more arms in and go for a little swimmy swim tonight.

Here's to hoping it is gone and my 20 miles goes great solo this weekend!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

I have been cooking more since I have a normal working stove, thanks to my dad for finally getting me that wedding present!! So I am going to attempt to post some recipes on here now that I can call some of my cooking a success. Seriously though, my husband is a way better cook than me so I most often defer to him when it comes time to making dinner.

Since it has been so cold lately I decided to share a new soup recipe that I just love as it gets me to eats veggies I don't eat often!

2 chicken breasts - cubed
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 c. chopped onion (medium onion)
1 tbsp. pepper
1 c. chopped celery (2 stalks)
1 1/2 c. chopped carrot (2 stalks)
1 c. peas
32 oz. chicken broth
2 c. milk
1/2 c. flour

*Biscuits optional

1. Saute chicken with garlic, onions and pepper, once mostly cooked add the celery, carrots and peas and saute for a bit longer. Add in the chicken broth and bring to a boil, turn to medium heat and cover with lid for about 20 minutes (until the vegetables are cooked through).

2. Whisk milk while slowly adding the flour to avoid getting lumps, add into the soup and cook for another 10 - 15 minutes to let the flavors mingle.

3. Serve plain or you can ladle your soup over a freshly biscuit.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Charlotte Trip Recap

I was extremely nervous for my first time flying but I was excited to get some warm weather, hang out with my cousins and see another part of the country. After all the events of the morning and losing my dog, Vito. I really had a hard time leaving. In a way it made me face my fears as my mind had too many other things going on. Once I finally arrived I was happy to see my cousin Nikki waiting for me outside the gate and we proceeded to head out to wait for our other cousin Andrea to pick us up. We were staying at her house for the weekend, Nikki also previously lived in Charlotte so they had lost of idead of places to check out.

I really loved trying out the local eats, we ended up having Mexican Thursday night and Friday for lunch, we were a pleasure to be around! We ordered in some amazing pizza from Friday night and rested up for the race on Saturday. Another one of my cousin's and his wife drove to hang out for the weekend as well since they lived close.

The race was AWESOME!! It was setup as a loop course of 1.31 miles making for 20 loops to be completed by each team. You could do as an individual or a team of up to 4, and there was maybe about 35 teams. We got to pick a spot on the hillside and camp out for the day. We originally were thinking of each doing our laps and then hand off to the next person, but when Nikki came back after the first lap she looked gassed and the baton got passed. I really love the pic of her on the right as she was all excited at the start, before she realized the loop was much hillier than we were expecting. We quickly changed  our strategy to switching off each lap to get through it.

The trail was beautiful as it wrapped around a little lake and you could hear the DJ half the time you were out there. The food spread was great, and the weather slowly warmed up to about 60 by the time we finished. I forgot to snap a picture but the baton we had to pass turned all of our hands green from our sweat. We got to keep it as well, which was cool. The SWAG was awesome as well, coolest medal ever and the t-shirt also has our team name printed on the back "Run, shake your Budde", an homage to the family name. The race director was great and talked with us several times and afterwards asked for feedback. I loved the small race feel and would recommend doing a race put on by these folks at Trivium Racing. Only bummer was we missed 2nd place by a mere 1:30, where we would have received a silver record. How creative is that?!

After the race we went back to hang out and have a cookout since it was such a beautiful day, I managed to get sunburned during the race, I know....shocking, so I tried to get a little color on my legs then. We enjoyed the weather and let all 4 dogs play around outside until they were all sleeping! We had some drinks and cue the craziness, when you get my family together you can expect nothing less! It was a great day overall and I can't imagine we stayed awake as long as we did.

Sunday was a rainy day so we hung out and relaxed most of the day and for dinner we went out to experience Taco Mac, which has 140 beers on tap, it was sorted by type so it was easy to find something you liked. Let's just say a Wisconsin girl's heaven!!

Monday we were flying out, Nikki and I were on the same flight back to Detroit but it was delayed so were stuck in Detroit for the afternoon. I think it's harder being delayed on the way home since you just want to get home and relax. I missed my husband so bad, we have never been away from each other this long and after everything that happened I just wanted to hug him!