Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Tale of Two PRs

I had the opportunity last week to run two races in within three days, and it was fun stuff.

The first was Day One of my ill-fated run streak:  The Turkey Trot in Appleton, WI. 

I lined up for the five miler on Thanksgiving morning with my friends Matt, Brian, and Lori, and had no plans for the race. 

I had been rushing around trying to get registered until just moments before the gun went off, and my buddies were teasing me about my lack of preparation.  I sort of forgot to eat or drink anything in the morning, I didn't bring water to the race, my running clothes were a random cotton assortment of lounge-wear from the depths of my dresser, and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. 

I ran for a bit with Matt at an easy 10ish pace, and felt like I was holding myself back too much to have fun.  I sped up a bit and my first mile was just over 9 minutes. 

The course weaved through pretty neighborhoods with big old houses, and the crisp air and sunshine put me in such a good mood that I was consistently laying down miles in the 7:30-7:50s.

I crossed the finish line feeling great and actually sort of refreshed in 40:19, which was more than two and a half minutes faster than my PR

Three days later, I drove to De Pere to run the Noodleini 15k thanks to the kind heart (and checkbook) of my sweet sister-in-law Kathy. 

This race was pretty hard.  The roads were covered with icy slush, the course is not very scenic, and it was a gray and dismal day.  I'd never run that far on a slippery surface before, and that shit was difficult.  Every time I pushed off to take a step, my back foot slipped back an inch or two, which made for pretty slow going. 

I took my time, talked to a ton of other runners, and finished up in 1:20:44, a 26 minute PR.  (The last 15k I ran was in 2007 dressed as a hobo with this girl)

Noodleini 15k
8:39 pace

So there you have it.  Lesson of the day - PRs are equal parts lack of preparation and mild dehydration.  I should write a running book filled with this gold.

Have you ever raced more than one race in a week?

Are you still streaking? 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The death of a run streak...

...looks something like this:


And feels something like this:


Sigh.  Run Streak 2012 is officially done for me.

I made it nine days, and it felt good.  Until it didn't.

I thought I'd make it longer, but I sort of hit a wall this weekend.  I just started a new bartending job, and I had four shifts in a row from Thursday-Sunday.  On Saturday, I was exhausted, my feet were swollen and painful, and my legs felt worse than after my marathon - seriously. 

I haven't run at all since Saturday, and I have no desire to.  The balancing act of being a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, personal trainer and chipper bartender while trying to find time to run, exercise, and not collapse in a mountain of dirty laundry is a work in progress.

To all of my fellow streakers, streak on.  I'm proud of you guys. Especially you, Momma.  :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Operation: Get Off My Ass

 At least one mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Year's.  
Who's with me?

My run motivation has been next to nothing since Tyranena, and even with a race (or two) this week, I can't seem to get my ass on the treadmill.

I expect a certain amount of waxing and waning of motivation and mileage between seasons, goal races, etc., but I am ready to get back on the horse.

Even my mom is in on it!  She may have had a beer or two in her when she enthusiastically committed to it, but now it's on the internets so she has to.  Right Mom?

Oh you think so, don't you?
 She's going to be running her third half marathon in May, and what better way to kick off the training?

My mom is cooler than your mom.
As for me, I've never been able to run through the winter (pregnancy, injury) and I really want to set myself up for some great, more aggressive training in the spring.

Run Streak 2012:  Are you in? Have you ever done one before?  I haven't done one, and I'm looking forward to seeing if I can keep with it.  Although I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to have to fight so that my DailyMile is not exactly seven miles a week.  Ha.

What's the next big race you're training for?  I don't have another big race til April, and I think that is part of my motivation issue.  Running in the USA, here I come.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ugly Duckling Syndrome

Hey guys.

So, I started a new job recently, bartending at a nice sports bar pretty close to my house.  We need a little extra money, I love tending bar, and I was really lucky to get hired right away.  Win, win, motherfucking win.

But things took a sharp dive into self-loathing when I walked into the bar on my first day.  I was full of confidence (with a  few nervous butterflies), and then I noticed the girl behind the bar.  

I don't want to exaggerate, but this girl was gorgeous.  Beautiful waist length blonde hair, super cute clothes, model-perfect features, blindingly white teeth... you get the picture.

I looked down at my ill-fitting jeans, my running shoes, and my long sleeve t-shirt that a half hour before had been "cute" and "approachable" and now was screaming "schlub".  


I haven't exactly "let myself go" since I became a stay-at-home mom, but I was feeling a little like this:

Over the next few shifts, I met some of the other bartenders.  Some were guys, some were girls, all were gorgeous.  Mother of God.

I'm not all "oh woe is me, I'm so ugly" most of the time, but damn.  My inner freshman in high school was coming out as I nervously tugged at my clothes and looked at myself disgustedly in the bathroom mirror.  "wahhh I'll NEVER get elected to homecoming court!!!"

So anyway.  I decided to get my brassy straggly hair cut and colored in an attempt to restore a little self-confidence.  Because really, I can't change this:

That shit is here to stay.

But, with a small fortune and the skilled hands of an expert, I can change this:

Make it better here, and here, and here....

Several hours later, I emerged from the salon with a head of shiny brown, much shorter hair.

Yes, I always look this tired, thanks for noticing.

Pretty hair makes me ANGRRRYY...

Do you have any self-confidence boosting rituals that pump you up before you are forced in to be in the presence of unnaturally good looking people?  In college, my roommate and I would take shots and dance in our underwear to "Get Low" before we went out to the bars.  Classy.

What makes your self-confidence waver? In this situation, I wouldn't feel so down on myself if I was really confident in what I was doing.  But new job = being suckier than everyone else = sad face.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Panty Raiders Half Marathon Reunion

Before I give you the play-by-play of this glorious race and even more glorious drunken debauchery, let me first say:  Run a Ragnar.  

Running Ragnar Chicago was actually a pretty big frustrating mess with bright shiny moments of hysterical laughter and team spirit interspersed throughout.  It was one of those things you don't really appreciate until a few weeks out - far enough out the disappointment doesn't sting so badly, but not so far that you can't remember the raunchy inside jokes and the little things you learn about someone after sharing a cramped, panty-strewn van for 36 hours.

The reason to run a Ragnar, however, doesn't have anything to do with the race itself.  It's this:

Linda, me, Kimba, Amy, some ho-bag, Lisa, Amy Zyn, Falon, Amy Zem

Sigh.  I love these women so, so much.   I can only hope at our next reunion we'll have all 12 of us!

So anyway, the race.

We ran the Tyranena half marathon, which is awesome.  It's pretty small, incredibly well-run, and just beautiful.  The course has rolling hills for the first half, an unofficial beer stop (be still my heart), and enough scenic diversity to get your mind off of the task at hand.

Something I should mention here:  I was SICK.  Sick sick.  It started on Thursday, and when I woke up on Saturday morning, my throat was on fire and my sinsuses felt like they were going to explode.  

I wasn't sure I was going to run, but I got such a boost of energy from seeing my girls and the race hoopla, I lined up with everyone else at the start.

Rachel and I made a quick decision to run together - we both wanted a buddy and I didn't want to be tempted to start racing when I got out there. 

We were only a couple of miles in when I realized our pace would put Rachel really close to a PR.  Hmmm.

She ran an awesome race right up until the end when she surprised the hell out of me with a seriously fast finishing kick.  We held hands (because we're secret lovers) when we crossed the finish line and it couldn't have been cheesier.

OK, we might have held hands at other times besides the finish line.  Don't judge.

We finished around 2:00:30, which was great for a somewhat difficult course.  So proud of Rachie - she fought the whole way.

As for me, the race felt like an easy long run.  At the risk of sounding boastful, I have no idea when a 2:00 hour half became easy for me.  It makes me reassess my running goals for sure.

So that's that.  I'm still a little sick, but hopping back on the treadmill today to try to run the last of it out.  

Have a super Thursday everyone.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Christmas Elves and Tiny Foam Rollers

Hey, good morning.

You guys have heard of "Elf on the Shelf", right?

Basically, it's a tiny elf that prepares your child for a life of constant criticism and ubiquitous surveillance.

Oh, what I meant to say is it's a fun holiday tradition that involves putting a tiny overpriced elf in different places in your house to remind your children not to be naughty, or the elf will report back to Santa when it makes its nightly flight back to the North Pole.

So anyway, the idea has evolved into putting the elf in naughty situations around the house, and people get pretty creative with this thing:

Elf knows how to partayyyy

Oh yeah.  Get some you smily little bastard.

IMG 05731 300x200 Hilarious! Elf on the Shelf in Compromising Positions
It was the wine.

It's a rough life.

So, anyway, we don't do this tradition, mainly because I can scare my children adequately on my own thankyouverymuch, but also because hell if I'm going to waste an entire bag of mini-marshmallows on a sink bath for a creepy little doll.

But, I nearly reconsidered as I was spending some quality time with my foam roller the other day and saw a piece from the kids' foam block set:

If I had an Elf on the Shelf, you can bet my kids would be waking up to him working on his IT bands.

Had you heard of Elf on the Shelf?  

Do you have any ridiculous holiday traditions?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oh, Hello Winter Blahs

You're a bit early this year, yes?  Where are we, the second week of fall and you've already made your grand arrival?

It snowed yesterday, just a little.  My kids freaked out - they don't remember the snow last year and they were pretty pumped.  Also, I've been sick.  I had the pukes yesterday on top of an annoying cold I've had since Monday.

So, I've been feeling a bit under the weather... and sadly my 31 day workout streak took a big shit.  Because I don't work out when I'm sick, usually.  That whole "If it's above the neck, it's ok to run" bullshit is so stupid.  Pretty sure you should not be running through migraines and sinus infections, but whatever.

I like to run when I'm just on the tail end of a sickness...  like several  an IPAs after a bad day, it seems like it helps me get over it faster.

So, I have a plan to fight the winter blahs, and I'm pretty excited about it.  Last winter, I was awesome at getting up super early and getting to the gym nearly every day, and I'm ready to do it again.  Plus, a new session starts at the Y on Monday... ahhh serendipity.

Want to see it?  I know you do....

Monday - 6am - 7am - Power Vinyasa Yoga (because it is the best thing ever and it's easy to get out of bed for a 90 degree studio).  Later on, an interval run on the treadmill while my babies nap.

Tuesday - Easy run in the a.m.

Wednesday - 5:30am-6:30am - Bootcamp class at the Y with a crazy badass instructor that reminds me of Rose

Thursday - Tempo run baby.  Best day of the week.

Friday - 6:00am-7:00am HIIT class at the Y, then swim swim swimeroo for a half hour or so.

Saturday - Long run.

Sounds fun, right?  

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Recap

September 2012 will go down in the books as a incredibly mediocre fitness month with one huge deviation from that mediocrity.  Namely, I sat on my ass a bunch, but ran a marathon.

September Recap

Miles Ran: 90 (exactly the same as August!)

Cross Training Workouts Completed: Uhh, zero?  Would you believe zero?  First time for everything...

Meters Swam:  0.  Awesome.  

Highest Run Mileage Week: 34 <------- highest mileage week ever, unless you count running all of that at one time...

Upcoming Races: One yet-to-be chosen 5k.

Current Triumph:  I ran my first marathon.  And I lived to write about it.

Current Goals:  

  • 31 DAY STREAK!!! Clearly, I need some extra motivation... so I am going to shame myself into getting in at least one workout every day during the month of October.  
  • Use marathon recovery time wisely, not lazily.

    Last Month's Goals:  
    1. Well, I've got this full marathon thing going on in a few weeks... my first.  So I guess not to die.  Or cry too much. - Woo!  Did it!
    2. Start a new class at the Y. - I suck.
    3. GET BACK IN THE POOL!  :) I suck again.

    2012 Goals


    • Run 1,000 miles in 2012  - This one just wasn't smart this year with rehabbing from my stress fracture... so new goal:
    • Run 400 miles from September - December: - 90 so far!
    • Run a sub 1:55 half marathon  - 1:55 and change.  I'm counting it.
    • Get a new 5k PR - current PR 23:17 - Done!  22:43!
    • Run Ragnar Madison to Chicago relay -  Done!  6/8/12
    • NO MORE STRESS FRACTURES! - through October- none so far!  

      • Join Toastmasters to face my fear of public speaking. - I went to one meeting, but haven't taken the plunge.
      • Pass the ACSM Certified Personal Trainer exam - Got my CPT!
      • Knock out at least eight items on my "Fear Can Suck It" list. - Completed so far: 6!!! Including the all important #15.  :)

      How was your September? 

      Tuesday, September 25, 2012

      First Marathon Recap

      Well, I did it.

      On Sunday, I ran the Fox Cities marathon, and it was... different than I thought it would be.

      Let's start at the beginning...

      I woke up on Sunday after a great night of sleep, hopped in the shower, and enjoyed half of a bagel with peanut butter and honey, some Gatorade, and a cup of coffee.

      Decked out in the PR purple with my PureFlows, homemade armwarmers, and rufflebums.  

      The drive to the start was exceptionally pleasant because I got to ride with my husband and my beautiful friend Kim, who was also running her first marathon.  Side note:  she BQ'd, and I (spoiler alert) did not.  ha.

      We met up with a bunch of awesome runners at the start:

      Kimba, me, Sarah

      It was COLD out.  I'm not sure of the exact temperature, but it was right around freezing, and my Raynaud's was acting up in full force.

      I wasn't paying attention to the time, and suddenly everyone was running to the start, and I found my way into the pack around the 5:00 hour pacer, and lost all of my friends.  An even bigger bummer, I didn't get to see my sister-in-law Kathy before the start to wish her luck on her first half (turns out, she didn't need it!  :))

      My strategy for the race was pretty straightforward:

      • Divide the race into six parts - five 5 mile chunks, and the last 1.2 miles.
      • Run the first 5 mile chunk slower than any of the others
      • Negative Split
      • Dance, cheer, sing, have a party out there.
      • Come in under 4:30:00

      Miles 1 - 5 | 10:12, 10:25, 10:03, 10:19, 10:13 | Total 51:25 | Avg: 10:17

      The first few miles just flew by.  Matt and I high-fived at each mile, and it seemed like we were constantly seeing mile markers, which was great.

      The not-so-great part was the pace felt hard.  I was fairly steady around 10:15 miles, and I swear, they felt like 8:30s.  My feet were numb, my breathing was a little labored, and I felt... worn out.  Not terrible, just not as fantastic as I had hoped I'd feel.

      Miles 5 - 9 | 10:02, 9:58, 9:59, 9:57, 9:52 | Total - 49:52 | Avg: 9:58

      These miles went by a little more smoothly - I wasn't checking my Garmin nearly as much as I did at first.  The fear of starting off too fast was slowly fading, and I was regaining feeling in my feet.  

      We saw our awesome cheerleaders for the second time around mile 8, and  it was such a pick-me-up.  

      They had ridiculous signs, and I loved them:

      Kevin, Rachel, hubby Nick

      If a Marathon Was Easy It'd Be Called Your Mother 

      And my reaction to the sign:

      Miles 10 - 14 | 10:47, 10:18, 10:07, 9:56,  10:05 | Total 51:36 | Avg: 10:19

      This section was the hilliest portion of the course.  Nothing crazy, but definitely enough long inclines to throw the pace off a little bit.

      After the 10 mile mark,  we ran through a gauntlet of middle school cheerleaders who were absolutely frenzied with excitement - it was AWESOME.  I never knew I wanted 30 twelve-year-olds to scream my name hysterically, but as it turns out, I did.  And it was amazing.

      Shortly after that, I had to take pitstop number one of the day.  In an out in less than 90 seconds... not too shabby.

      As Matt and I neared the halfway point, he let me know he was going to drop back and walk a bit soon.  I was feeling really good and was bummed to lose my buddy, but not worried about going it alone.

      I hit the halfway at 2:13:46, and thought to myself,  "I am not ready for this to be halfway done!"  I was having a blast.

      Miles 15-19 | 10:07, 9:56, 9:59, 9:45, 9:36 | Total - 49:32 | Avg: 9:54

      I really started getting into my groove.  I saw my awesome spectators again at mile 16, and shortly thereafter, we turned west, and into the WIND.  Whoa.  It was pretty windy (I found out later it was gusting to 25 mph), but it definitely gave me something to talk about with other runners!

      The main thing I remember from the segment was how many people had already started walking.  I passed dozens and dozens of people, and was feeling really strong.  I tried to pass on encouraging words to the runners I passed, and heard "This WIND!" more times than I can count.

      Miles 20-25 | 9:56, 10:05, 12:29 (ha), 9:50, 9:36 | Total - 52:08 | Avg: 10:25

      Mile 20 was AWESOME!  I even gave a little flying leap at the aid station (side note: I do not recommend this), and saw my cheerleaders again.  I also saw Amy for the fourth time that day as she was waiting to start her relay leg.  She gave me solid advice, "Hey, Kim!  Go run a 10k!"

      Predictably, after mile 20, it got a little rougher.  I started feeling like I was ready to be done, and the miles were dragging.  Right around 22, I had a sudden, urgent feeling.  Yeah.  That feeling.

      I went from "Oh, hey, look at that funny sign... man.. I'm kind of tired... I wonder how Matt's doing..." to "Oh my god, I'm going to shit my pants.  I'm going to shit my pants.  I'm not a fast enough runner to get away with shitting my pants during a marathon".

      Thankfully, I spotted a lone porta-potty up ahead.

      I don't want to get too graphic with you guys, but this was a long, frustrating, fruitless three minutes in the crapper.

      I actually laughed for awhile in that porta-potty (probably seriously concerning the passing runners).  There's just something about going from the solid, rhythmic sound of your footfalls for four hours, the wind rushing past your face, to sitting in a hot, cramped little hut trying pretty unsuccessfully to poop that struck me funny.

      I saw my awesome mommy at 23, and I told her that I was ok, but ready to be done.  That was a very lonely mile, and it was so great to see her.

      Around mile 24, things got rough emotionally.  I was disappointed in my pace, pretty positive a negative split was out of the picture, and tired.

      I also had forgotten that the course took us up and over a bridge next to Theda Clark Hospital.  It's where I gave birth to my babies, and where my dad lost his life.

      As I ran up the bridge, I could see the Children's Hospital where my littlest guy was stuck in an isolette for the first two weeks of his life.  Just past that, I saw the concrete stairs leading to a little side entrance where my brother, husband, and I spent so much time while my dad was on life support.

      I lost it.  The tears were streaming and my breath was coming in ragged gasps.  I felt like I couldn't catch my breath.  I blew a kiss the hospital where I had lost and gained so much, and crested the hill.

      I cruised down the backside to the cheers of volunteers and spectators, and spotted Nick, who was such a welcome sight.

       Last 1.2  | Total - 11:47| Avg: 9:49

      He ran with me for about a quarter of a mile, then cut across the park to be able to see me  cross the finish line.

      As I rounded the corner and saw the finish line a few hundred yards away, I willed it to come closer.  I picked up my pace just a little, and enjoyed the cheers of the crowd.

      I raised my arms and took the last few strides of my first marathon.

      When I crossed, I didn't cry, I didn't collapse, I just smiled.  I was happy.  I was emotionally and physically exhausted, and so very glad to be done.


       Fox Cities Marathon
      10:10 pace
      Division: 29/62
      Sex: 193/398
      Overall: 540/915

      I'm still digesting my feelings about this race, but they've been vacillating wildly between disappointment, relief, sadness, and pride since Sunday.  I'm still glad to be done, but I'm already planning my next one.  

      Bottom line:  Running 26.2 miles was harder than I thought it was going to be.  

      If they could make a bumper sticker that says "26.2 Miles - That Shit Ain't Easy" I'd be all over that.  

      Check back later this week for all of the post-race fun and some reflection on my goals - some were met, and some were definitely not.  

      But it is important to note... I BEAT OPRAH!!!!!!!!  :)

      Friday, September 21, 2012

      The Plan, Stan

      In exactly forty-eight hours, I'll be almost done with my first marathon.

      I'm getting excited.

      The sleep-deprivation induced apathy that has settled on me this week is finally ebbing away.   The kids have not been even close to sleeping through the night, and I've been in a fog for days.  But after a couple of solid nights of sleep, I feel more wired, more anxious, more ready to run.  I find myself thinking a few times a day, "I wish it was HERE already!"

      Deep in taper madness (with still two days to go!), I find myself increasingly focused on logistics.  The pace calculator at Cool Running has become my new best buddy, and I've been poring over DailyMile logs like they're going to unlock the secrets of the universe.

      So, here's the plan:

      ***First and foremost, I want to have fun.  I want to appreciate the beautiful course, the spectators, the glorious weather(!), and my fellow runners.***

      Hippie blissful runner-speak aside,  I have to face my demons and realize I'm not, nor will ever be, a runner that's content to just run a race to run it.  I do have a time goal, and yes, I know how inadvisable that is for a first marathon.

      Instead of the regular A, B, and C goals, I'll just put out there my real, honest goal.


      Here's how I'm going to get there:

      • Run the first 10 miles no faster than 9:45s, but probably closer to low tens.
      • At the half, if I feel like it, I'll pick up the pace to closer to 9:30s (my long run pace)
      • At mile 20, pick it up gradually every mile and progression run the shit out of that marathon.
      • Drink early and often.
      • Eat pretzels, ShotBloks, and Starburst and hope I don't crap myself.
      So that's that.  Either all of that will happen, or I'll just blow up and have to crawl the last 10 miles.  Either way, should make for a good blog post on Monday, right?

      Really though, this is one of those rare races where the thing I care most about is feeling good at the end.  Mainly because, well, it's a FREAKING MARATHON, and because of the number of failed attempts at this beast I've had over the past few years.

      I had planned to run this same marathon in 2009:
      Got knocked up.


      Giant funbags + infant twins = not fun training


      Femoral stress fracture

      And now here I am about to actually run it.  I feel incredibly lucky.  

      AND SO NERVOUS!!!!!  AHHHHH!!!!!!!

      Tell me it'll all be ok, ok?  Any last minute advice for me?

      Wednesday, September 19, 2012

      Carb-loading, and a Blogger Meet-Up!

      What a beautiful, crisp fall morning we have in Northeast Wisconsin... I went for a run (my last before my FIRST MARATHON) this morning, and my cold ears and sniffling tells me that the seasons are changing!  I love summer, but I'm so excited for running in fall weather.

      I wanted to write a quick post about my marathon prep.  A few months ago, I wrote a post talking about the science behind carb-loading, and I tried it in earnest for the first time for the Wisconsin Half Marathon.

      I counted my carbohydrates each day and aimed for 400g each day... which is hard.  And depressing.  Seriously.  Going from an unintentionally lower-carb diet to 400g a day made huge changes for me.  I felt lethargic, BLOATED, and I was starving all of the time.  I'd find myself just snacking without even really realizing it, and I was FULL!  By the time race day rolled around, I damn near needed Rachel to cart me to the start line in a wheelbarrow - I was up four pounds and oddly obsessed with my new sausage fingers.  

      The discomfort was worth it though.  I didn't need to drink nearly as much water during the race and felt like I had so much energy the entire time.  So I'm doing it again, starting with....

      Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Pancake Mix

      You haven't lived til you've had these pancakes.  I'm literally salivating as I type this.  

      So anyway, I'll be up to my eyeballs in bread and fruit and juice this week, hoping to give myself the best possible chances of not having the end of the marathon be a death march.  


      Also, we'll be having a blogger meet-up at the Fox Cities Marathon this Sunday! You don't have to have a blog, or be a runner, or anything to come have beers and laughs with us post-race!  You know you want to.. we're so nice!  :)


      Anyway, we'll be meeting around 12:00-12:30 at a local watering hole... email me for all the details!

      And if seeing me isn't enough to bring you out, there will be plenty of other (much cooler) people there too:   this girl, and this girl, and this girl...

      Blogger meet-up - are you in?  If you can't make it, will you have someone to hug you all day to make you feel less devastated?

      Do you carb-load?  Do you love it or hate it?

      Friday, September 14, 2012

      Jumping out of my skin!

      I could not possibly be any more excited for a race that I'm not running.

      Tonight, I'm making the two hour trek to Rachel's house.

      Tomorrow, I'll be waking up at 2:45am to drive an hour to the start of...

         The North Face Endurance Challenge!
      THEN, I get to cheer on Rachel as she tackles her first 50k! And I even get to run a little bit with Julia who is getting ready to rock her first 50 miler!

      Go give them lots of well-wishes on their blogs and think about them tomorrow - they'll be doing something incredible.

      Good luck Rachel and Julia!!!!

      ""The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."
      Robert Frost"

      Thursday, September 13, 2012

      Running Stuff Makes Me Happy

      I was lucky enough to get to try out, break in, and love up some awesome products from a handful of companies for both the Longest Day event and for Ragnar Chicago, and I've got to let you guys in on some seriously sweet running gear.  Get ready to email the gift-givers in your life...

      I know a lot of you are already familiar with some of these products (because we all need Body Glide, am I right?) but I always like it when I know which companies really care about the running community.  They'll get my business in the future over any other company because I like people who like us.  So there.


      Magnets on the Cheap - This was really sweet.  We got these awesome magnetic signs for our vans for Ragnar Chicago, and they looked pretty badass.  See for yourself:
      OK, it's not the BEST picture of the sign, but Falon's bright 
      red thong-covered ass more than makes up for it.

      Best part about the sign:  no problems staying in place even with erratic sleep-deprived highway driving and panties flapping on them at 70 mph.  


      Chrissy’s Knee High Socks - We were sent some seriously awesome socks to rock for Ragnar - custom made for our team:

      Panty Raiders style
      These socks would be PERFECT for a high school sports team, or unique race swag, or of course for Ragnar teams.  We did a LOT of lounging around in these socks, and they have held up super well.


      My Race Ragz - Holy crap.  I can't even say enough about how much I loved our Panty Raiders shirts.  This thing is so comfortable, it's my first choice for what to wear during my marathon.  Perfect fit, printing looks amazing, so flattering and comfy.  THE BEST.  I wish all race directors used this company... I would donate far fewer race tees to Goodwill.....

      12 women, 12 different body types, all looking beautiful and ready to run thanks to MyRaceRagz


      Sparkle Skirts  - Leah at Sparkle Skirts is so sweet and helpful.  She has a personal family connection to Alzheimers and generously donated one of their awesome SparkleTech skirts for our raffle.  The winner of the skirt LOVED it, and I'm so jealous I didn't get to try one... maybe for Christmas (ahem, husband).  :)


      Inkblot Graphic Design Studio - I wrote a whole post dedicated to Valerie's mad graphic design skills, but I wanted to also post my business logo she designed... from Panty Raiding Pirates to a fitness coaching business, she's got me covered.


      Allied Medal Displays - Joel at Allied is a super cool guy, and they were nice enough donate a couple of medal displays for our Alzheimer's research raffle.  Rachel and I ran in honor of one of his family members lost to the disease, and it meant a lot to us to have the support of Joel and everyone at Allied.  Top-notch people, top-notch product.  

      P.S.  An Allied Medal Display should be #1 on the Christmas list for "the runner that has everything".  Seriously.

      Handful - Ok, you guys already know how much I love Handful.  As in, embarrassingly a lot.  As in, probably shouldn't have put that picture on the internet (twice) a lot.  

      Just in case I hadn't already ruined my future chances of gainful employment.
      Jennifer and Jodi at Handful are so sweet, and they make a quality product.   They donated one to our raffle, and we are so grateful.  I also heard through the grapevine they just came out with a new version of the Handful! Can't wait to try it out!

      Bondi Band - Bondi Band is always supporting bloggers and their endeavors, and I love it.  I'm not a headband girl myself, but Rachel rocks those Bondi Bands all of the freaking time.  I pretty sure she has at least a hundred of them, and she always looks so cute in them:

      Rocking the BondiBand for 37 miles.


      Hippie Runner  They sent us a few belts for our raffle, and these things are awesome!  They stay put on the run and hold a surprising amount of stuff.  This baby has got two expandable pockets and little loops to put your gels.  I especially like that they aren't very wide so they don't cover up your sweet race day outfit.  


      Running Funky - Running Funky sent us a bunch of groovy running tights and shorts... you've got to see the sheer number of patterns they have available - it's crazy!  Go check them out here.


      Polar Bottle - Polar sponsored both The Longest Day and our Ragnar team, and I was SO excited to open up the box when it showed up on my doorstep.  I love that they have bottles in different sizes, styles, and patterns.  I didn't know a water bottle could look stylish.. but these really do. 


      Thanks again to all of our sponsors, and I hope that some of you find some new gear here to add to your wishlists.

      What's your absolute favorite piece of running gear/running company?  I really, really love Camelbak.  I have a hydration pack and a handheld, and they are probably the favorite gear I own.  

      Wednesday, September 12, 2012

      In 10 Days...

      I'll be running my first marathon!

      Fox Cities Marathon

      This is a super cool race because the course runs through seven towns/cities near where I live.  It's pretty much flat, and is run mostly through neighborhoods, parks, and tiny downtown areas.   It's known for the enthusiasm of the volunteers and spectators (of which I was one last year).

      Spectating glory, FCM 2011
      It has a half marathon that starts at the same time, and the two events together draw about 4,500 participants, so it's a great mid-sized race.   It also is the storied location where Rachel lost her marathon virginity... and I can't wait to follow in her slutty running footsteps.

      My training has been.... ok.  Pretty good.  I've never been able to consistently run as long as I have (about 8 months and counting...) without injury, and my running has improved quite a bit.  This year, I've taken four minutes off of my half marathon PR, and more than 30 seconds of my 5k time, and I've been itching to race again.  

      That said, I have missed a few mid-week runs (and my long run this weekend, whoops), and I'm deep in the taper-doubt I know a lot of you are familiar with.  

      Here's my training for the last 10 weeks:

      For a lot of runners, my mileage is low, but for me it's really good.  Until this year I never ran more than 20 miles in a week as I was always injured, and I'm so grateful for this higher mileage weeks.  Over the past two months, I've had fairly consistent mileage and gotten in two 20s and an 18, and they all went really well.

      So, that was my pep talk for myself.  Brace yourself for the onslaught of doubt and panic that will surely invade your computer screen over the next 240 hours... and also get ready for the best idea for a race sign.  Ever.

      Lay it on me:  advice for a first time marathoner.  I want to hear it all.
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