Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Perfect Running Form

It's an elusive and magical thing, this "perfect running form".  A beautiful midfoot strike, legs cycling effortlessly underneath an erect yet relaxed upper body.  And huge, huge bruises on your calves.

No?  Oh, I thought that was part of it.

Yeah, so apparently the faster I run, the more I kick myself.  So... I've got that going for me.

Listen, I'm comfortable with a certain level of spazniness with myself.

Just yesterday, I was sort of... yodeling? into a fake microphone (uhh, my fist) at the Y because there's this spot underneath the stairs where the acoustics are awesome.  But naturally I was too lost in my groovy dance moves to notice the guy under said staircase that had stopped his pushups and was literally just lying on his belly staring at me.

But yeah, kicking myself to the point where strangers look at me like a battered wife?   Not cool.

The only saving grace of all of this inadvertent self-abuse is this:

A trophy!

On Saturday, I ran a 5k in the beautiful upper peninsula of Michigan with two of my favorite people, Rachel and Matt.  It was a beautiful morning, perfect course, and a mercifully small field.  

I felt great the entire way, and finished with a nice PR.


7:18 pace
2nd woman overall


Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to enter our raffle to benefit the Alzheimer's Association.  There is still time to get your entry in! 

We'll be out there running for 16 hours on June 20th... and we'd appreciate any good vibes we can get.  :) 

Don't forget to keep checking the raffle page for more prizes, like these two I got in just got in the mail:

 What's the most spazzy thing you've done lately?

Have you ever raised money for charity with your running?  

Monday, May 21, 2012

We Put the FUN in FUNDRAISING! (a freaking sweet raffle)

Rachel and I will be dedicating 16 hours of continuous activity on June 20th to bring awareness to the fight against Alzhiemer's. We will be running on a local high school track, switching off - one hour on, one hour off, from 5am til 9pm.  We're nervous and excited and incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support we've received so far.  

We need YOUR help!  

 Please consider making a donation to the Alzheimer's Association by visiting our fundraising page.  Every little bit helps, and just might get you an entry into our awesome raffle!  

Here's how it works:

If you donate $5, you get 1 entry into the raffle.

If you donate $10, you get 3 entries into the raffle

If you donate $20, you get 8 entries into the raffle.

And here are some additional ways to earn entries once you've donated:

Spread the word on your blog = +1 entry

Share on Twitter = +1 entry

Share on Facebook = +1 entry

Participate in our VIRTUAL RACE = +3 entries

(We also offered everyone who donated prior to this post one bonus entry)

So!  Here's an example:  You donate $30, link this post on your facebook, 
and run the virtual race, you get 15 entries! (11 + 1 + 3)

The raffle will be open til Sunday, June 24th, and we'll announce the winners on Tuesday, June 26th.  

And one more thing!  Please let us know if there is someone that you love that fought or is fighting this terrible disease, and we'd be honored to carry their name around the track with us on June 20th.  

So, to recap:


2.  Share on your blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

3. Check out our Virtual Race and make plans to run it!

4.  Leave me a comment to let me know what you did so I can tally your entries.

5.  Leave me a comment to let me know if you'd like to honor someone specifically,
 and we'll make it happen.

Any questions?  Sent me an email at, or leave me a comment!

Here's a still-growing list of our donated items (check back often for new prizes!):

SparkleTech Skirt

Any standard SparkleTech skirt (a $65 value!)



One Pair of Aspaeris Pivot Shorts!


Simple Hydration Logo

Simple Hydration Bottle

 A Simple Hydration Water Bottle!


Allied Medal Displays!

One medal hanger of your choice from Allied Medal Displays to TWO lucky winners!!!


Runners ID, Cycling ID, Medical ID Tags

 FIVE lucky winners get a $15 Gift Card to RoadID!


One pair of BTB 430 Sunglasses!


Belts from Hippie Runner to FIVE winners!


Running Funky

Pair of Running Tights from Running Funky!


A Headband from BondiBand to THREE lucky winners!



Headbands from Active Bands!


Compression Socks from Zensah!



A Belt and Headband from One More Mile!


Two Gatorade Prize Packs!


Two Bras from Handful!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Longest Day

My grandma was a high school English teacher and librarian with two masters degrees.  She was a crossword puzzle whiz, and literary enthusiast.  Her passion for words and her love of language is something that lived on through my dad, and now through me.

I was in middle school when she got Alzheimer's.  I can remember watching her sort silverware in our kitchen after a family dinner.  She would take a utensil out of the dishwasher basket, and sort of furrow her brow before putting it in the drawer.   I remember her looking around hesitantly before closing the drawer.  Puzzled, I  opened the drawer and saw all of the knives, forks, and spoons mixed together.  She had lost the ability to sort silverware.

She tried to hide the loss of her every day skills:  she still wore a watch, and when asked for the time, she'd say she didn't have her glasses to read it.  In reality, she didn't know what the numbers on the watch face meant. She couldn't use cash; she'd ask store clerks to take the right amount from her wallet.  

What stands out to me as the true horror of this disease is that she knew what was happening to her.  She knew she was losing her mind, and she was terrified.  

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's.  5.4 million Americans are living with this horrible disease, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

What can we do?

Please take a moment to watch this video.  You can even watch it with the sound off if you're at work being sneaky.  It's worth it.

Rachel and I have decided to join the fight against Alzheimer's.  We are participating in The Longest Day, a 16 hour event from sunup to sundown on June 20th.  We'll be running it as a relay on a local track.  We'll take turns:  she'll run for an hour, I'll run for an hour, all day long.  

And while we run, we'll be raising money, raising awareness, hoping that one day we'll live in a world without Alzheimer's.

In the next few days, we're going to be asking for donations.  We've got a ton of great prizes lined up, and we'll be setting up a raffle for all who are willing to donate.   If  you'd like to make a donation, please visit our personal fundraising page

One more thing:  if you've lost or are losing someone you love because of Alzheimer's, we'll run for them.  Specifically.  Let us know when you make your donation, and we'll dedicate a portion of our run to your loved one, by carrying their name with us on the track.

And if you'd like to do more than donate, please join us for the Run to Remember Virtual Race!!!

Please stay tuned for more details!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Post-Race Fun

After Rachel and I were done with the race, we grabbed some beers and scarfed down some brats, and headed back out on the course to cheer for the (mostly) marathoners.

We found a sweet spot at mile 26, and cheered our hearts out for the runners.  I was surprised by how strong most people looked, including this one guy who was running towards us.

But then, he abruptly stopped and said "I can't do it!" and started laughing a little hysterically.  I wasn't sure what was going on with him, and I said, "C'mon buddy, it's just a quarter mile left, can you walk it in?"  He told us he couldn't feel or move his leg, that it was completely cramped up.  He tried to take a step, but screamed when he put any weight on his leg.

He stood there for about five minutes, looking incredulously around at the other runners.   The look on his face was clearly "What the f*** planet am I on right now?"  His shouts of pain were interspersed with this manic laughter, and Rachel and I asked each other what we could do.  We offered to walk him in with his arms around us, but I didn't know if that would DQ him, or if he even cared.

A few minutes later, he started hobbling towards the finish, and we cheered for him as he ambled away.

We were waiting to see Jess , when the Leg Cramp Man came up behind us and said "I made it!", and made some fairly awkward small talk with us for a few minutes.  The guy was super nice, but seriously, I just kept thinking he was going to keel over at any minute.

Just a few minutes after that, we saw Jess run by looking strong, and we headed back to the finish to congratulate her.

On our way, we saw something glorious:

Lucky for you, I decided to act out the latter.
What I would give to know the story behind this boat name.

Final thoughts on the Wisconsin Marathon and Half Marathon:

This is a top-notch, beautiful race.  In a world of overpriced races, this one is a bargain at $68 for the full and $48 for the half, and you get so much for your entry fee.  A very cool, unique, gender-specific tech tee, a beer and brat post-race, and by far the best medal I have ever gotten:

It's awesome, and it doubles a bottle opener, and we put it to good use. 

On top of that, the course is just gorgeous - varied terrain, mostly along Lake Michigan, super enthusiastic spectators and ultra-helpful volunteers.

I will be back.  Oh yes, I will back.

Have you ever seen anything crazy like Leg Cramp Man at a race?

What's your favorite marathon/half-marathon?  Did I convince you to take a trip to the Dairyland?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wisconsin Half Marathon Race Recap

On Saturday, I ran the Wisconsin Half Marathon.  I have never, ever been more nervous for a race.

In the days leading up to it, I obsessively put run times into pace calculators, studied the course map, and poured through my Daily Mile logs.

I came up with my goals for the race:

C Goal - Finish happy and strong, under 2:05 (9:27 pace)
B Goal - Under 2 hours (9:09 pace)                 
A Goal - Under 1:58 (9:00 pace)

The Wisconsin Marathon bills itself as "The Cheesiest Marathon Ever", and they even have a separate start corral for runners sporting "cheesy" outfits.

Rachel and I love to dress up for races, and because we love cheese, and the race happened to fall on Cinco de Mayo, we decided to go with a Mexican cheese theme.  And it was awesome.  

Exhibits A and B:  The 'stache and tiny sombrero.

Fortunately for any small children that were spectating the race, we opted for not wearing the mustaches because they made it a little hard to breathe normally. We put them to better use after the race:

Hola, Senor Cerveza.  Aiiiiiii!!!

Anyway, because of Rachel's mad cheese-drawing skillz (I'm cool now, right?) our shirts were awesome:

"I've Got A Queso The Runs" 

Our rufflebum panties inspired the back of the shirt:

"Frilly con Queso"

We arrived in Kenosha around 6am for a 7am start.  We parked and walked about a half mile to find some porta-potties.  By the time we got back to the car, we were drenched and FREEZING.  We had a few minutes to kill before the start, so we sat in my warm car and tried to dry off a bit.

Around 6:45, it magically stopped raining and we headed for the start.  We squeezed into the crowd of runners, listened to a truly beautiful national anthem, and we were off!

I planned to go out right around a 9:00-9:15 mile, and then gradually pick it up from there.

Mile 1 - 8:45
I started right at the 9:00 minute/mile pace sign, and I was passed by hundreds of people.  The entire field started off super fast, and I ran faster than my planned pace and felt tired and discouraged.
Mile 2 - 9:15
Slowed down quite a bit the second mile, and was wondering how I was going to finish this thing since 9:15 felt like I was pushing it.
Miles 3-7 - 8:52, 8:47, 8:34, 8:50, 8:53
These miles I focused on getting out of my own head.  I smiled at spectators, enjoyed the gorgeous lake view and few little rolling hills, and tried to tell myself that I didn't feel like crap.  It worked, for the most part.
Mile 8 - 8:41
There was a turnaround around mile 8 which was a great distraction.  I love looking at all of the other runners on an out-and-back, and I spent a few minutes looking for Rachel's tiny sombrero in the field of runners.  She passed by only a couple of minutes behind me, and looked super strong.
Miles 9-12 - 8:40, 8:50, 8:44, 8:42
The wind was at our backs, and I knew I had a P.R. in the bag.  There was another little turnaround around 12, and I got to see Rachel again, as well as Jess who was busy killing the full marathon.  I battled a little nausea and cold sweats here, but I choked down a bit of Gatorade, and it passed.
Mile 13 - 8:30
We turned into a strong headwind for the final mile, and my energy was fading fast.  The spectators were amazing, and I was fighting back tears as we ran through a wall of cheers.
The .1 - 7:21 pace
A flood of emotions just hit me as I thought about how far I've come since my femoral stress fracture, my months on bedrest, and the personal struggles I've had in the last year.  I shed a few tears coming into the final turn, and it was the most emotional, rewarding race finish I've ever had.

Wisconsin Half Marathon
Finish time:  1:55:30

Overall Place 648 / 2411

Gender Place 222 / 1480
Division Place 46 / 282

A PR by four minutes was sweet victory, and a finish in the top 15% of women was the cherry on top for me.
Happy, relieved, and ready for a hot shower.

Stay tuned tomorrow for post-race pictures, drama at mile 26... and the weirdest boat name you've ever seen.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Race Goals and Things I Hate Thursday!

Pretty exciting day for me guys... it's been a long time since the last edition of Things I Hate Thursday.

But first, let's talk numbers for Saturday.  I'm running the Wisconsin Half Marathon in Kenosha, and I'm trying to nail down a few goals without having a damn anxiety attack.

Here are the key pieces of information:

  1. My last half was in August of 2011, and I ran it in 1:59 and change, which is a 9:05 pace.  
  2. My training the last few weeks has been really crappy.
  3. My last race was two weeks ago: a 6.75 mile relay that I ran at an 8:20 pace, and I felt great.
  4. My last long run was a month ago: a 10 miler at a 8:55 pace, and I felt great.
  5. I am terrified of running a half because my last one was so horrible and painful.  I've never come so close to dropping out of a race.

So, I guess my goals are:

C Goal - Finish happy and strong, under 2:05 (9:27 pace)
B Goal - Under 2 hours (9:09 pace)                 
A Goal - Under 1:58 (9:00 pace)

I keep going back and forth - are these goals too lofty?  Too conservative?  Should I not even think about the time goal and focus on enjoying the race?

I feel undertrained and not mentally focused.  I need to focus and get some inspiration over the next few days.  I want to run this race strong.  

And now... 

You know what I just f*cking hate?  That stupid tissue paper that covers exam room tables in doctor's offices.  It's loud, and it laughs at all of my insecurities and I hate it.  

I swear that crinkly sound of that damn paper could be the soundtrack to my own personal horror movie.  Scary medical procedures, rusty needles, that clown from "It".  <shudder>

You know what's even worse than doctor's office tissue paper?  Chiropractor tissue paper.  Every time I go in to the chiro, I have to lie face down on that stupid table, and my face rests on that little square foot of shame.  

Not so bad when you're lying there, but then you have to get up and see the greasy face-print that's staring up at you.   I always feel like I should make some comment to the chiro: "Hey, that's a framer." or "Just kidding, I put a bunch of oil on my face before I got here just to see your reaction..."

If someone wanted to really complete this circle of torture for me, they should put that paper on the benches at the gym.  I'd venture to say that the shame of the greasy face-print would pale in comparison to the sweaty ass-print. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Recap

I really don't want to write the recap this month.  There is nothing pretty about it.  

I didn't hit any of my goals, and it was just all around a bad month.  

I've been feeling like a need a kick in the pants on the cross training front, and our local YMCA is putting on an Ironman Challenge.  You complete the swimming, running, and biking portions of a full Ironman in a four week period.  

I can't say I'm "excited" for the challenge, but I know I need it.  

Run Miles Planned/Miles Ran: 74/48 - Some sudden, severe shin pain after a run on concrete scared me enough to take it easy leading up to my race last weekend.

Cross Training Workouts Planned/Completed: 16/ 9.  Pretty sure I could flip to "lazy" in the dictionary and there'd be a picture of me.  Napping on my couch.

Swim Meters Planned/Meters Swam:  3200/4150.  I'm shocked!  A tiny check in the "not a lazy POS" column.

Highest Run Mileage Week: - 20.  First week of the month, all downhill from here.  

Races Completed:  The Oshkosh Half Marathon Relay.  I was too lazy to do a recap post, but I managed just under 7 miles at an 8:20 pace, and it felt very easy.  I had trouble deciding how fast to run for that distance, and in retrospect I probably could have picked it up a bit.  But, I had serious GI issues before the race, and didn't shit on myself at all, so that's a definite win.

Current Book:  Seriously, what did I do this month?  I think I blacked out.  

Current Song:  The Itsy Bitsy Spider.  This would be even weirder if I didn't have two two year olds.  

Current Triumph: Triumphant isn't something I'm feeling right now.  I'm going to go with actually signing up for races ahead of time instead of being scared of being injured for them.  That said, I still haven't signed up for anything past June. 

Current Goal:  Complete the YMCA Ironman Challenge.  If I don't do this because of laziness, I'm tucking my tail between my legs, shutting down my blog, and never leaving my bed.  

Current Happiness: I'm so excited for two races this month:  The Bay de Noc Home Run, and the Wisconsin Half Marathon!

2012 Goals 

  • Run 1,000 miles in 2012 - 155 miles so far.  Not looking good folks.
  • Run a sub 1:55 half marathon 
  • Get a new 5k PR - current PR 23:17 
  • Complete a triathlon
  • Run Ragnar Madison to Chicago relay.
  • NO MORE STRESS FRACTURES! - through April- 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.
    • Knock out at least eight items on my "Fear Can Suck It" list. - Completed: #9 (Jan)

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