Life as we know it

Our family adventures

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This is it!!

This is my triumphant post race picture from Sunday!! I wore my medal all day!

Well, this is it. I’m about to go to bed and then we’ll get up early and head to Milwaukee tomorrow. We’re spending the day at a museum or two and then we’ll spend the night at an airport hotel. We take off at 8:20 Friday morning!! Its finally here!

I don’t know if or when I’ll get computer access during the trip, but I will check in here if I do!

I ran 3 miles this morning and we spent the day packing and getting ready. Tonight we went on a date, pizza and Indiana Jones. I highly recommend it. It was awesome, though a bit predictable, and it had plenty of stuff that wouldn’t be believed. But it is the movies, right?

Not much else to say, so I’ll leave you with some more pictures from Sunday and also my other races. Enjoy!

My strong finish

My biggest fan!

Here’s my finish at the Black Earth 10-mile run. I finished in 1:59:31

Running the Lake Monona 20K.

Lake Monona 20K finish! 2:41:40.

Wish me luck!

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Thank you

I wanted to take an opportunity to send out a great big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me on this journey. I couldn’t have done it without any of you. I have learned so much from this experience and now I’m about to go finish fulfilling the goal I set in January of running the half marathon.

I accomplished both my goals of raising money to help cure blood cancers and run a half marathon because of my supporters. My family, coworkers and friends, including all my virtual friends from! I also got plenty of support from fellow band members and coworkers of Doug’s and my dad’s.

And its not just the donations I am grateful for. I know that not everyone could contribute to this cause with money. But many of them still contributed with their kind encouraging words and listening ears. I think these were some of the most important supporters I had.

My parents gave me a ton of support in this goal as well, from printing my initial letters for me when I didn’t have my printer yet, to letting me borrow a hose for my car wash, to just letting me know they’re proud of me. That means a lot.

But my biggest cheerleader has been my loving husband Doug. He helped with fundraising too with his own donations as well as helping me in fundraisers. We couldn’t have put on the brat stand with out him! He has come with me to each one of my races and he does anything to support me. I couldn’t have done this without him.

I couldn’t have done this without any of you. Thank you.

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I am an athlete

One of the best things about yesterday’s race was that I could really see the difference from when I started training. My hard work has most definitely paid off. And its not just in how many miles I can run. Its in how well I run them, and maybe a little bit in how fast.

Yes I was toward the back of the pack, but I was just amazed as the mile markers kept flying by, or by how fast I flew by the mile markers! And it seemed so EASY and I felt GREAT the whole time! Maybe its the taper helping.

I ran three other races before this one. I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 5K in March, with a time of 34:56, the Black Earth 10-miler with a time of 1:59:31 and the Lake Monona 20K with a time of 2:41:40. All three were good races for me, perhaps with the exception of the Lake Monona 20K. But that was only because my training had suffered a bit while I was dealing with my foot injuries.

All three races were good, but they didn’t have what I had yesterday. And I can’t really put my finger on what that was. Perhaps it was the nerves/excitement/adrenaline? I think it was the confidence that brought those on. I can’t say I really had the confidence in my previous races, and honestly, I have no idea where it came from!

About a month ago when I was going in for my eye exam I filled out the new patient form, and in the spot where it said sports and hobbies, I wrote down running!

I have lost 52 pounds in the last year and a half. I have trained for and I’m about to run my first half marathon. I look forward to the time I can run my full marathon. And I did all this while raising more than $3,800 for a great cause.

I have learned so much about myself and what I can do through this experience. I’ve said this before, but it still rings true: I have found out I really can do anything.

I feel like now I can truly call myself an athlete. And its very fulfilling to do so. I have never been an athlete. I never played sports. But now I do and I couldn’t be happier.

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What a rush!

WOW! I had an absolutely AMAZING race today. If I have another day like this next Sunday, I will have a great half marathon experience.

I ran the Madison quarter marathon in 1:15:14, beating my predicted time by almost 5 minutes! I placed number 621 out of 801 overall. I am truly amazed by my effort. I can’t say that enough.

I entered this race because I’ve heard great things about the marathon, and the distance matched my training plan. So I did it. I treated it as a trial run for the half marathon, so much so that I was pretty nervous and I didn’t sleep well.

We got up at 5:30 and headed to the Alliant Center, where we finished, at 6:15. There we caught a shuttle to the starting line. The full marathon started at 7:10, the half at 7:30 and my race at 7:45, but I was glad we got there so early.

There were A LOT of people in this race. I knew there would be a lot, this one actually set a record. About 5,500 runners took part in the three races. And seeing them all was pretty surreal. This race was small though compared to my race next week: There are something like 23,000 runners registered for my race.

The weather was nice, but a bit chilly. It was perfect running weather though. It was around the high 50s I think and windy. I think it was similar to how the weather should be next week.

Since Doug and I got to the starting line an hour before my race we walked down to a coffee shop and had some muffins and drinks. I got an iced latte and remembered after I ordered it the sage advice to not do anything different on race day. I drank less than half of it before my tummy started feeling funny, so I ended up dumping it out. It didn’t end up affecting my run, it was just a waste of money. But my stomach did start to feel funny toward the end of my later running intervals.

So most definitely, that advice is right on. No coffee, iced or hot, for me on race day. I did, however, make another discovery that I should have made earlier. In thinking about how my legs have felt heavy during my runs this past week, I figured it had to do with how long it was after I ate that I started running. I decided I probably was eating as early before my runs as I would before the race though. So I thought I’d try eating some sports beans, or muffins as it turned out, closer to the start to see if that would help. I’m thinking it did. It seems so obvious to me now. So I will have some extra gel or sports beans with me so I’ll have something to eat before I start, if it doesn’t work to go pick something up near the start.

Since I was treating this as my test run and I had the nerves/adrenaline thing going, I started fast. My GPS watch told me later my first running interval was at a 9:30 pace. I started running my second interval about 30 seconds early because I was still so excited, but then I settled into a little slower pace.

I was worried about finishing last for some reason, though it became obvious that I wasn’t finishing last. And I don’t know why I was so worried about it. I finished last in the Lake Monona 20K and it wasn’t that bad at all, except for the lack of food, but thats another story.

But I really placed a lot more importance on this race than all the others. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the whole trial run thing.

Anyway, I maintained a running pace around 10:30 for most of the race, though I started speeding up as I got closer to the end. I felt great the entire time. It was just so incredible.

I can’t say I really understood the whole adrenaline thing until today. At the end of the race we were running on this bike path, then a back road that lead back into the Alliant Center.

Running down the road I knew the finish was beyond a cluster of trees up ahead. The crowd started getting bigger and then someone shouted my name, since it was printed on my bib number, and at that I just took off! I totally felt the adrenaline rush. It was like I had hot water just pulsing through my whole body, very strange. I ran faster and faster and totally sprinted to the finish. I’m not sure how far it was, but I actually ran that even faster than my start pace!

I crossed the finish line and I just couldn’t stop smiling but at the same time I felt like I would cry too. I saw Doug snap my finish picture, and once I crossed, all I wanted to do was give him a big hug. Because he’s my biggest fan and I couldn’t have done it without him.

While I complained about the lack of food after the Lake Monona run (all the had for the last finisher was bananas, which I don’t really care for), this one had a very nice spread. I expected it since it was a marathon and all. I took a bunch of food and Doug and I hung out at the finish for awhile until the full marathoners started coming in.

We had a kind of funny incident though. We were walking through the area by the food tent and stuff that we didn’t realize was supposed to be runners only, so Doug shouldn’t have been there. We asked a cop to take our picture and then we stayed in there until we left. But we started noticing that they were kicking the nonrunners out and he shouldn’t have been there. But the cop didn’t kick Doug out, and it was obvious he didn’t run.

Who knows? I was more annoyed they weren’t getting the people behind the railings who were actually on the course. There was a woman holding a little girl who had a small American flag attached to a yard stick, and this contraption actually hit some of the runners! Finally they left but there were still a few people who were on the wrong side and when asked to move to the other, still hung there on the wrong side. Annoying!

I felt great the entire race and after. We stayed about an hour and a half then went home where I showered and slept an hour and 15 minutes. We went to brat fest for awhile and then we went back home and then I trekked back to work. I did get a little sore once I was sitting awhile at my desk, but even that has started going away.

I am writing such a long race report for a quarter marathon, I wonder what it will be like when I finally get to blog about the half marathon! I don’t know when or if I’ll get access to a computer in San Diego though, so it could be awhile before I can write about it here. But at our send off last week it was suggested to us to journal about the race afterward and I will definitely do that. And then I will write down every word once I get back to a computer.

Doug and I are going shopping for vacation stuff tomorrow and one stop is Barnes and Noble to get entertainment for the 4-hour flight, and I will buy a nice blank book to record my whole vacation but most importantly my first half marathon.

With my time of 1:15:14, I beat my predicted time by almost 5 minutes. I have beat my predicted time in every race. I am now predicting my half marathon time at 2:40, though I could certainly be faster! I can’t wait to see what happens!! My silly fear that I wouldn’t be able to run more than a few miles was definitely put to rest today. Only 7 more days til the real thing!!

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Silly thoughts

My half marathon is in eight days. I have been tapering for a week now. My short runs have been very good, but now I’m starting to psych myself out a bit. I’m afraid that since I’m running shorter distances in the two weeks before the race that when its time to race my body will just decide its done after six miles!

But really, I know that won’t happen. I did multiple runs of 10 miles or more, some of them several weeks apart. My body didn’t stop. And I’m sure whoever came up with any of the multiple marathon and half marathon training programs is smarter than me. People have been training this way long before I started running. There’s obviously merit to the taper.

Unfortunately that doesn’t stop the crazy thoughts rolling around in my head!

Doug and I went to the race expo today to pick up my race number, chip, T-shirt and other assorted goodies. The chip for this race is one you actually attach to your shoe. My other races with chips were velcro straps that went around the ankle. I’m glad I’m doing this race now because I think this is the kind of chip I’ll be using in San Diego.

Another reason I’m glad I’m running this race is I only just realized today how early we’ll have to get up and the logistics of getting to the starting line. My race starts at 7:45, but the other races start at 7:10 and 7:30. So ideally I need to get to the starting line by 7. We’re going to park at the finish and take the shuttle to the start, so we need to get there around 6:30 to catch the shuttle. So we need to leave our house around 6:15, which leaves us with a wake-up time around 5 a.m.!

After today I only have three more days until vacation. I am so looking forward to not working for 13 days.

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So what happens next?

Sunday I’m running the quarter marathon event of the Madison Marathon and then the following Sunday, of course, is my half marathon! But what am I going to do after that?

I’m starting to look at the race calendars to find races I’m interested in running after the half marathon. One thing is for sure: I run slow, but I like it and I plan to keep doing it.

While a full marathon will remain one of my goals, I probably won’t run one until at least next summer or fall at the earliest. I need to get a better running base and strengthen my achilles tendon, which won’t make it possible for a fall marathon this year. And I can’t do it in the winter because of asthma.

I will likely try to partake in a local half marathon or two this fall, however. And there will be plenty of 5Ks and 10Ks to run in. It just depends on what I feel like doing and how much money I have to register!

I will likely continue writing this blog, though I’d have to change the title and the focus a bit. I haven’t really thought about that much, but I have found that I like blogging. Funny, I remember the days when I thought blogs were dumb and I wouldn’t dream of reading one, let along writing one. Now I do both.

In training news, I ran 4.3 miles around my neighborhood today. It went well, but lately it seems like my legs have been feeling heavy at the beginning of my run. I don’t know that its anything to be concerned about. It goes away and my run was fine.

Tomorrow Doug and I are going to the brat fest and the race expo. I’ve already contributed a few brats to the quest to breaking the record. We had some brought in tonight at work.

Sunday is my quarter marathon. And I only have four more days til vacation!

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I helped raise more than $125,000

Tuesday night was the TNT summer sendoff party. I got my race day singlet (I still don’t know what is meant by singlet, its a tank top) and our tickets for the pasta party the night before, the victory party after, and some transportation stuff along with important information. We had some appetizers and listened to some motivational speeches and important race info to know. It was info packed, thats for sure.

I am still in awe of my group’s fundraising total. I helped raise more than $125,000, and people are still fundraising. This is just amazing. I reached my goal and if I get another donation or two, I will pass it. But the top fundraiser in my group raised $8,500!

But that total: $125,000. Thats definitely something to be proud of.

Its been a few days since I wrote. Honestly, there’s not much to write about now, and I will also admit I’ve been a little lazy. But I’m here now.

One week from tonight, Doug and I will be snug in our Milwaukee hotel room, I’m sure not sleeping much, waiting to go to the airport early Friday morning!

I can’t wait. I swear, I’m talking everyone’s ear off about my vacation and my race. I’m sure they’re getting tired of hearing it, ha ha.

So I only have five more days of work until vacation. Lucky Doug only has two. Its weekends like this I wish I worked a job with normal hours. But its OK. I am using fewer vacation days by working all weekend.

After my rough run on Monday, I’m happy to report my Wednesday run was fantastic. My knee was still a little sore from the orthotics, but every step of my 4 miles felt great. And it seems like the knee pain from the orthotics is going away as well. Tomorrow I run again, 5 miles.

Sunday I am running in the quarter marathon portion of the Madison Marathon. The quarter marathon is a little more than a 10K, its like 6.5 miles, which fits right in with what I should be running this week.

Doug and I are looking forward to the “World’s Biggest Brat Fest” this weekend. It is just what it sounds like, a big festival to eat brats. They keep a counter all weekend and try to break the record every year, but it hasn’t been broken in awhile. There’s more than brats. They also have a live music stage and rides, and other food like ice cream from the Chocolate Shop, YUM.

The brat fest is in the same area as the race expo, where I have to go to pick up my race stuff on Saturday. The race ends at the brat fest, so we’ll be spending plenty of time this weekend with the brats. And the weather is supposed to be fantastic!

Tomorrow I will commence my shopping for San Diego. I need a new swimsuit and some shorts at the very least. I’m also going to buy another memory card for my camera and maybe some other odds and ends. I haven’t gotten to go clothes shopping much in the last few months since Doug and I started our budget and Doug took my credit cards. This shopping is with real money though and I can’t wait to do it! Yes thats lame, but its the truth. I need to get my 5-mile run in early so I have enough time for everything.

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Rough run

I ran 5 miles today, my first run of the taper. It wasn’t hard to hold myself back today. It was a rough run! I think I waited too long after eating to go out. I should have had lunch first. And my legs were sore.

So it wasn’t my best run. But I’m going to have workouts like that and I just need to push through it. Hopefully race day won’t be one of those bad workouts!

My legs are more sore now. I think its the orthotics. I was warned that I could experience pain in my hips, knees and back with the orthotics, and right now I am in all three. Today I wore them 10 hours for breaking in and tomorrow I can wear them all day. But I think I will skip them tomorrow and see if it helps.

I’m glad I have been able to run in the orthotics. That was my goal. So I’m not going to panic that I can’t wear the orthotics all day yet.

I have the next two days off and my goal is to get the house cleaned up and relax a little because I still haven’t been able to do much of that. And tomorrow I get all my race goodies at our sendoff party!

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Counting down

The race is officially two weeks out. Thirteen days and only seven working days until vacation.

I getting to the point where there’s not much more to report!

I’m entering the taper and its going to be hard to hold myself back. This week my longest run should only be about six miles at the most. Considering most of my runs are between six and eight miles, holding myself back will be a challenge. Next week will be even more challenging. My runs next week are only three miles each! But that is the week before the trip so I’ll be really busy.

On Tuesday we have the TNT summer team sendoff, where we will receive our race day singlets, airline tickets, party tickets and assorted other items. We’ll gather the entire team for only the second time. The first time was at our first meeting.

There are people going to San Diego who I have yet to meet. I don’t know if I will meet them all at the sendoff! Its been so hit and miss because we’re all so busy.

Doug and I have made our tentative plans for activities on trip. There’s so much to do there. We’ve got the big things decided and tonight I started looking up events and dining and nightlife options. We’re going to be so busy but I hope we get to relax too.

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So much to do!

Doug and I have started trying to plan what we will do in San Diego when I’m not racing… and there’s so much! I knew there was a lot, but I just wrote down everything I want to do and we wouldn’t be able to do it all even if we were staying two weeks!

We bought a two-day Go San Diego card, which includes admission to something like 85 attractions. There’s way more than two days worth of stuff to do. We might do some of it separately, probably the cheaper attractions.

But number 1 on our list of things to do is Sea World, which is not included on the card. I found the reason why: It costs $59 for a single day admission!

We have four days after the marathon in San Diego. I think we’ll have our own time for portions of the marathon weekend too. After the race Doug and I know we want to have a beach day and a Sea World day. And then the two days of the Go San Diego card. Its just not enough time!

Among my favorites of things included on the card is the zoo and wild animal park, Balboa Park, which has a ton of cool-sounding museums, and Belmont Park, which is called the “quintessential California beach experience” on its Web site.

We will definitely need to decide what needs to be a full-day venture and what can just be partial! Also on the list of decisions to be made… how much we want to relax vs. how much we want to fit in!

The plans we do have right now is to have beach day be Monday, the day after the race, for obvious reasons (like, I might not be able to walk). Also on Monday night we’re going to a Padres baseball game, which is also “Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon night,” where they will apparently recognize race participants and volunteers in some way. After that, its very much up in the air! Any recommendations?

In other news, I had my first PT appointment today and I have some prescribed new stretches to try out. We didn’t start out with much because I just got the orthotics and my therapist didn’t want to introduce too much new stuff too quickly. I’ll go back next week and possibly one more time before the half. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing after the race, but the overall goal is to continue improvement beyond the race.

Tomorrow my teammates are running a 20-mile race as part of Stoughton’s Sytende Mai festival. Its something with Norwegian independence. Anyway, there’s a 20-mile race and my teammates are treating that as their 20-mile training run. I’m not running it but I am planning on going to cheer on my teammates. That is, if I wake up for it. I have been getting up early way too much lately. But hopefully I will do it. I want to support my team.