Life as we know it

Our family adventures


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What I have learned from Team in Training

1.) I really can do anything. I’ve written this over and over, but its so true! I know that when I feel ready to take on a full marathon challenge, I can do it. I know when the time comes for Doug and I to start our family, I can do it.

Its just amazing the new confidence I have found.

2.) I can do anything, but I can’t do it by myself. I had several times during my training when I might have quit if I had been on my own. I had trouble finding a good pair of shoes, dealing with blisters, asthma, injury and more. The network of support I got from Team in Training got me through it, as did all the encouragement I got from everyone I know!

As I start training for my next half, I am more on my own. But I’ve still got my friends from Team in Training, as well as a great group of women on runnersworld.com, who will help me.

3.) Fundraising is hard. In the past, when I would get letters from friends, agencies or even complete strangers requesting a donation for something, I would just throw them away. Often when driving around town I’ll see groups holding a car wash or a brat stand, the very fundraisers I held, to raise money. I’m certainly thankful that many of my letters didn’t get thrown away and that people came to my fundraisers.

Definitely in the future, when I get a request like that, I will do my best to give. When I see a brat stand, I will try to stop even if I have something cheaper at home. I’ll get my car washed, even if its supposed to rain later. This is hard work, but fulfilling, and I will do my best to help someone else reach their goal.

4.) I can inspire people! When I started this adventure, it really didn’t seem like a big deal. I was going to try to raise money and I was going to run a half marathon. I had no idea so many people would care as much as they did, or be inspired to maybe do something they didn’t think they could. Thats an incredible feeling!

My time as a Team in Training active participant has come to a close, but I plan on being an active alumni participant. Or at least as active as I can be without fundraising. I will contribute what I can to other people, but I will not undertake that kind of project again. Once was enough. But I will gladly run with the group and volunteer to support long runs (even though it will mean more Saturdays of getting up at 6 a.m. or earlier!) and I will talk up TNT to anyone who will listen!

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My next half marathon

So the thing to do after you complete your first half marathon is run another one, right?

Well thats what I’m doing. After much thought and discussion I have picked the Fox Cities half marathon on Sept. 21 as my next half marathon. I am so excited to have a plan! I’m going to sign up for it after I get paid this week.

I also have picked out five other races I’d like to run in this summer, leading up to the half. Whether I do all five depends on if I have the money to enter, of course, but I’m hoping I can do them all.

I have already signed up for one, the Diva Dash 5K on July 13. I don’t know how it will be racing during the summer. The humidity stays pretty good for the most part, or so I think. I guess I’ll find out.

Now that I’ve chosen my races I need to find a training plan. I need it to tell me how to progress my mileage. I will most likely use the smart coach program offered on runnersworld.com.

This training experience will be different from my first. For starters, I’m on my own now. And I’m not trying to raise $3,800, I’m just training! I’m really hoping I can keep up the motivation on my own. That was the most valueable part of Team in Training. On my own I might have quit several times. But with Team in Training I had the support to continue.

It looks like I’ll log fewer miles training for the half, at least right now. Last time I was training for the full at first, so my miles were higher. Miles each week on the half training plan seem kind of low. I can adapt it to my needs, but I’d like to follow it. I’m looking to achieve a good base during this round of training. No more injuries!

I’m changing the blog again. I changed the layout and some of the other elements on my page. The title will probably change too, but I haven’t decided to what yet. I may even change the page’s address. Who knows.

I haven’t posted much in June. Not much to report on in between events, I guess. That will change as I start training. I wonder what crazy new things I will experience this time around?


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Last TNT run

My TNT event is done, but the Alaska group is in the spotlight next weekend! I ran with them this morning on their last training run.

Now it really is over, for me at least. I have heard rumors of a wrap-up event. I hope there is one and that I can go. Some people are talking about running together over the summer so I may get into that. I don’t want to lose touch with them.

Good luck Alaska marathoners!

Today’s run was going to be 5 miles or 8 miles and I had planned on the 5. But the group was going out for pancakes afterward (but I couldn’t go) so instead we ran for time rather than distance. We ran out 45 minutes and then back for 45 minutes. As a result, I ran 6.75 miles.

I probably should have just turned around sooner to stick with the 5. But I was running with Rachel and telling her about my event and I didn’t want to abandon her. So I kept going. Between the taper and recovery, its been over a month since my last run that distance, aside from the race.

Overall I felt really good. But in the last 2 miles or so my legs started getting pretty stiff. I ran through it and I was happy I did. I think it will help me get back into my longer mileage.

Now, however, my legs are quite sore to the point of being uncomfortable. My back is sore too.

I’ve been super hungry since running, I’m sure because of it being my longest run in awhile. Unfortunately I have made some poor food choices, but I’ll get back to the diet tomorrow.

I’m still looking into fall half marathons, but its looking like it will be the Fox Cities half! I’m excited to pick out another race. Doug and I talked about it today and decided even though we have to travel farther for that race, since its later it would be better on the budget. I need to look into a few things before I officially sign up.

I’ve heard the fox cities is a great race and it will be nice to have a plan and get back to the structure of training. Its only been two weeks and I already see the discipline slipping. I’m not going to let that continue!


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I need a race to train for!

I’ve been looking through assorted race calendars to find my next training challenge. I’m realizing I need something else to train for or else my motivation and discipline will go away fast. I’m not worried right now, I’m just easing back into running. But I can see myself getting lazy in the near future.

Problem is, nothing is really drawing my interest. I think I’m still in the let down phase from my incredible first half. Nothing will be as exciting as that!

There aren’t many races until the end of July and August. I don’t know how wise it is to do many races in August, with the likely heat and humidity. The other problem is these races cost money to enter, and I don’t have much of that right now.

I’m considering three half marathons. The first is in Oconomowoc on Aug. 30. I don’t know if that is too soon, not to mention I would have to pay for it sooner. The second is the Fox Cities half on Sept. 21. That one really would be ideal, I have heard it is a great race. But its farther away and we might not have money to travel. And the third is near Lake Mills on Nov. 10, but that one holds the possibility of weather being too cold! Its also the most expensive.

So what do I do? I’m putting any decisions off for at least a week or so until I get an idea of what it will take to rehab my achilles tendon. After that I’ll decide what my training goal needs to be. And hopefully by that time Doug and I will have a better idea of our money situation.

In the mean time, I want to enter a few other races, but I don’t have enough money. Boo money, I say. I’m interested in a 5K July 13, just because its the first one I can find. Its also benefitting Girls on the Run, a nonprofit encouraging girls to run! Then there’s something every week starting the last weekend in July.

I know I’ll find something. I just need to get a handle on things and make a decision!


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My race report

I have finally taken the time to write down everything I could remember from my race. Here it is! Be warned, its long:

I woke up at 3:15. But it wasn’t that hard to wake up. I put on my race clothes and layered a long sleeve shirt and my jacket because I was cold. I had to leave our room at 3:45 to get breakfast and meet the Wisconsin team at 4:20. For some reason I didn’t expect it to be dark outside when I opened the door! There was a balloon and poster on our door. It was exciting for me because I never got that kind of thing in high school because I was never involved in sports.

I went over to where they were having breakfast and I was unhappy to learn it wasn’t free. Luckily I had brought along $5. I was able to get a pack of oatmeal and hot water for it. They didn’t have milk available at all, which is what I usually had on my oatmeal. Surprising that of all breakfast foods, they didn’t have milk.

It wasn’t what I was used to but I had no other option. We had been encouraged to bring what we usually eat. And that I did bring. I brought two packages of oatmeal, but I couldn’t bring milk, obviously. And I didn’t bring a dish or a spoon so I was stuck. The most irritating thing was I wasn’t the only one surprised it wasn’t free. And the lady at the cash register was getting peeved at people who were surprised like me… saying they do it like this every year. Well, fine, but most of us are first timers and didn’t know!

So I ate my oatmeal, feeling quite unsettled, and then I found the Wisconsin team and we took a group picture. I need to see if I can get a copy. I left my camera with Doug so I didn’t get a shot on my camera.

The line for the shuttle was long. I was glad we got there early. The ride was quiet. And before I knew it we were at the starting line!

I stuck with Mary, and we ran together for half the race. We checked our gear bags first. I had to shed my long sleeve shirt and jacket. Luckily it was starting to warm up so I wasn’t terribly cold. The sun still wasn’t up. I forgot to put on my sunscreen before I checked my bag.

After checking our bags, we grabbed some food and hopped in line for the porta potties. It was a long line! By time we got done it was time to go to the corrals. They told us before the race to get in line, and once we were done get in line again. But it was time to go. I wish we had more time to go again before the start because maybe we wouldn’t have had to stop on the course.

When we got to our corral, Jenny, the Milwaukee coach who came with us, met us. She was running the race and starting with the farthest back, which happened to be Mary and I. Luckily Jenny had sunscreen for me to use.

The gun went off at 6:30 and we ended up walking 17 minutes before we got to the start. It was so crowded I couldn’t have started fast if I wanted to; and running with two other people kept me slower too. Looking back, I would have liked to start a little faster, but it all turned out OK.

The crowds were large and noisy for the first three miles or so. Once we got to the Balboa Park area the spectators were fewer. The crowd on the race started opening up a little bit too. It was around this time Mary and I both had to use the bathroom.

We spotted a park bathroom and ran up to it, only to find out it was locked. I suppose it made sense. Those small park bathrooms wouldn’t have stood a chance against 23,000 runners. Many of the people who ran up to that bathroom just went out back in the bushes. But we weren’t going to do that.

We passed a few porta potty stations and came to the conclusion that the line was going to be long no matter where we stopped. We ended up stopping at a porta potty that wasn’t actually part of the course. It was at some school and it was very stinky. We waited 15 minutes to do our business.

Before we left for San Diego, I thought I was very thorough in packing everything I would need for the race. Except that I didn’t bring a dish for my oatmeal, and I also forgot my water belt and gels. I had to buy those at the expo. Luckily I did find my gels and a water belt in the same style as my old one. I also ran with it a little on Saturday to make sure it would work. It did, it seemed.

As we had started running, I was noticing that my new water belt was rubbing on my hip just above my pants. It would have become a real problem, but when I put it back on after my bathroom break, it ended up higher on my hips and that problem was solved. As it was, I had a scab area where it had rubbed for that short time.

Shortly after our bathroom break we started approaching downtown. The crowd on the course was not as heavy by this point, probably because it was all walkers. Mary and I started lengthening the intervals a bit to make up for time we lost waiting for the bathroom.

Running farther into downtown we passed Petco Park, where Doug and I would go Monday night. There was another water station before we turned again onto the road going along the harbor.

When we had gotten into downtown, the spectators increased again. Doug was waiting for me at 6.5.

When I passed Doug at 6.5 he took his pictures and I ran up and gave him a sweaty hug. I knew he hates that, so I did it partly because I could. I noticed right away when I stopped for that hug that I was already a little dizzy and my legs felt a bit like rocks. But I kept going and it was OK.

When we had turned to go away from the bay, Mary had fallen behind me. She was starting to have some foot problems. We separated about mile 7 because I wanted to speed up and she was needing to slow down.

We ran up the road a bit farther and there were still plenty of spectators. At about mile 8.5 we turned to head onto the infamous slanted road highway. It was on this stretch of the course that I found out why they encouraged us to trim our toenails before the race. I had forgotten to do that.

As we had turned to run away from the bay the sun had started coming out and it was warming up. It stayed somewhat overcast though and it was still pretty comfortable.

The highway portion was from mile 8.5 to about mile 11. There were a couple uphills but also a nice down hill. I lengthened one of my intervals as I was leaving downtown, but the minute I got to my walk break I knew I wouldn’t do that again.

I was not a fan of the infamous slanted road. In all the reviews I had read that was the most common comment. I was really afraid the road would aggravate my Achilles of my neuroma or both, but it really didn’t seem to. But that doesn’t mean it felt good.

I started getting really tired during the slanted road portion. I weaved from one side of the road to the other passing other runners and walkers and also trying to find a somewhat flat surface. The bands on this stretch weren’t the best. I can’t say I really noticed the bands a lot unless I didn’t like them. There weren’t many spectators along this stretch, but there were a lot on the overpasses.

I was so thrilled when I saw the exit from the highway. It came out right at the Fashion Valley Mall, which was right behind our hotel. I knew I was getting close. It was at mile 11 where we turned, and I was at mile 11 when the sun really came out. Luckily on this road the sun was at my back because I was already feeling like I was going to get burnt.

Mile 11 was also a bit of a downhill so that energized me for the last two miles of the race.

I had skipped a couple water stations because I had been feeling water logged, but I took the last water station and my last gel to get through the finish. I don’t know that it really energized me by that point. My previous two had, but I find that when I get really tired, the gel doesn’t really help. Maybe I needed something else as a pick up by that point.

I ran the next few intervals as planned, more concerned about timing my last interval so I could cross the finish line strong.

At mile 12, my only thought was, in 14 minutes or less, I’ll be there. But then I just got SO tired. The sun was really hot by then. I cut a running interval short and walked a little extra. I wanted to RUN through the finish.

It really seemed like that last half mile or so was way more than that. Up to that point it seemed like the miles passed really quickly. Not the last half mile. I was really tired by this point. I don’t know if it was the heat or what, but I struggled. I didn’t doubt that I would finish, but I wasn’t feeling really great. Not like how I felt when I had run the quarter marathon the week before.

After walking a little extra, I knew the finish was in sight. I started running. I don’t remember if I ran any faster. But as I got closer to the finish I did feel stronger. This was the moment that I had been waiting for. I finished!!

Since this wasn’t an official half marathon, it was just for TNT and we ran the first 13.1 miles, we crossed the timing mat at 13.1 and then exited on this path where there was a photographer waiting to take our picture. I was numb, I couldn’t feel below my hips, but I got the energy to run through that “finish line” for my picture. Its not on the race web site though, which is really disappointing. I need to talk to some people to find out if those photos might be somewhere on the TNT site. That’s the photo I really wanted to buy.

Doug took a great picture of me at the finish. He had been worried since his race pictures thus far weren’t always the best. And a woman jumped out in front of him as he was taking the first one. But the second one was perfect.

After I got my picture I was supposed to check in at the TNT tent. But I decided the line was too long and went straight for the food. Once I had that I sat down to stretch. But I was so exhausted I ended up laying on the ground. It was pretty amusing. Doug had to help me up so I could eat and stretch. Then I started feeling my legs again!

I checked in and got my medal. I wore it all that day and the next. We hung around the finish a little longer and then I saw Mary. She had to stop at a medical station about a mile back. She ended up taking off her shoes and walking the last half mile barefoot. She didn’t end up with an official time because since she was carrying her shoes her chip didn’t register her time.

My official time ended up being 2:55:02 because of that bathroom break. But I timed myself separately and stopped it during the break. So I’m saying my time was 2:40:58, which is actually better than I ran the Lake Monona 20K, which was three quarters of a mile less. It was a minute behind my hopeful predicted time, but four minutes ahead of my realistic predicted time.

I was a little disappointed with my official time at first, mainly because I had neglected to take that bathroom break into account. My brain was pretty mushy by the time it was over. I had a hard time trying to talk to Doug and then I decided to call mom despite this. I had a hard time talking to her too! But I think because of this mushiness, I thought I had finished in 2:41 even including the break. But later I decided it wasn’t a big deal. I’m calling my time 2:41 and I know I can definitely beat 2:55 in my next half! And there will be a next one. I just haven’t picked it yet.

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And there it is! I’m still working on writing about the rest of vacation, but I did get this part done.

I have posted all my vacation photos in a web album. You can view it here: http://picasaweb.google.com/jessicad1208. You can also use the link below the slide show.

You’ll notice I have changed the layout and title of this blog. I also added the web album link as well as the slideshow. The slide show is all my race photos, which are also part of my web album. I do plan on posting a few of my favorites here as well, since there are at least 900 photos to go through in the album. I’ll do that later today or tomorrow.

I’m still not sure of my training goals. I’m still organizing and getting back into normal mode. There will be more races though, you can count on that.


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Getting back to work

Well, vacation ended at 5 p.m. today as I headed back to work. It was kinda strange being back after two weeks. I had to put my desk back in order and remember how to lay out my page! It was a relatively short adjustment though and not a terribly difficult night.

Over the last two days I have been working on uploading my photos to a photo-sharing web site. I will now work on organizing my thoughts about my race and vacation so I can finally post a race report here! It took a long time to work my way through the nearly 1,300 pictures I took. I’m almost there though.

I ran on Sunday on a treadmill because it was so stormy that day. Then I ran outside on Monday. It had cooled off from the weekend but it was still really muggy. It was my most sweaty run to date. This morning I had spin class and the humidity really dragged me down. I don’t know if this is just the adjustment from California back to home or if its a lot more humid than usual. I think it is worse than usual. It was super steamy and hot when we got home on Friday and then also on Saturday. Then it cooled but it was still humid.

I’m hoping the humidity goes away soon. Its really kicking my butt. I’ve been using my inhaler more frequently lately. And I’ve finally gotten to the point where I don’t use it much at all except when I’m sick or the humidity goes through the roof.

We’re definitely back to real life. We turned on the air conditioner on Saturday then turned it off because it wasn’t working. Then we tried again on Monday with a new air filter, and decided the AC does not work. Both times we turned it on it seemed the air flowed fine to start. But it only cooled the house a few degrees and then the air flow all but stopped. We had condensation on the pipe leading into the furnace and there was frost when we turned it off Monday night. Boo! Luckily with our home warranty we only have to pay an $85 deductible, but that doesn’t mean we can afford this. They’re coming to look at it tomorrow and I hope its something that can be fixed tomorrow.

Unfortunately we spent way more on vacation than we thought we would. It was expensive to eat in southern California. I was looking forward to being a little more flexible now that we’re not fundraising or saving for vacation any more. But thats not the case, at least not yet. We have a few other expenses we didn’t plan on as well. I’m really hoping that in the next month or so the money situation gets better.

I’ve been looking into races to enter and I just can’t find any that draw my interest. I think its a bit of a let down from my first race. We don’t have the money to travel to a race, so instead of southern California, I’m limited to southern Wisconsin. Thats definitely not a bad thing though. I think I’m just not super motivated right now. There are plenty of races but I guess none are going to be as exciting as my first. I’m sure I’ll find that motivation in coming days.

Doug and I tentatively picked out a 5K in September to run together. He said after my race he wanted to start running. He talked about it all week. So he tried running Monday and his knees hurt later in the day. But we’re thinking its because he needs new shoes. I’m hoping he will buy a new pair of shoes and try again.

I might wait until I have my physical therapy session on Friday to decide what my ultimate training goal is. I don’t know quite how to proceed in training, if I need to start over to get a better foundation, or just keep doing what I’ve been doing.

But I’m back. I had two weeks off work, so it wasn’t terrible to go in tonight. But I might change my mind any time.


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Home sweet home

We’re home! Despite the fact that we didn’t have nearly enough time to do everything we wanted to do in San Diego, Doug and I are both VERY happy to be home. And it was a long journey too. We got up at 6 a.m. California time yesterday. We left for the airport at 8 and we were en route until almost 9:30 Wisconsin time last night!

We had to return the rental car, wait in the airport, fly home, get out of Milwaukee airport and back to the hotel to pick up our car, then we drove home from Milwaukee and stopped for dinner before we actually went home. We went to our favorite restaurant, The Great Dane, and waited 45 minutes for a table since it was Friday. We were SOOOO tired throughout the wait and the meal.

It was a little surreal to return home. The house seemed so big on the outside! And on the inside. I’m so glad we were able to clean it up before we left. I finally decided it all looked so big and brand new because we were living in a small hotel room (three different ones, in fact) for 9 days! It was so nice to sleep in our bed last night!

It will be so nice to eat a home cooked dinner, which I will make in a few minutes. We still had to go out for lunch this afternoon because we had almost no food and it was going to take too long to shop and THEN eat. So we went out. But I think both of us are hoping we don’t have to eat at a restaurant for awhile.

I had an absolutely AMAZING race last Sunday and we had an incredible vacation. I took more than 1,200 pictures! I love my digital camera. I took so many pictures that I went through THREE sets of batteries. My note to self for our next vacation is to bring lots of batteries. I took 200 to 250 pictures a day, which makes it easy to see why I went though so many batteries!

Doug and I are just relaxing this weekend. No plans of any sort in the works, aside from a band rehearsal tomorrow night, and perhaps my first post-race run tomorrow afternoon. Doug goes back to work Monday, but I don’t have to go back until Tuesday.

So hopefully later this weekend or on Monday I will have a chance to organize my pictures and thoughts and start blogging about the actual race and my vacation. See you then!