Life as we know it

Our family adventures

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Waunafest 10-miler

I surpassed my expectations today. But I suppose that wasn’t hard to do, considering I didn’t really have any. I ran a great race today-I nearly beat my PR!

I was a little indifferent to this race just because I’ve been cutting back lately. I wasn’t sure what to expect because it’s been three weeks since I ran that long. On my way to the start, I realized that this was my big race for the summer since I decided against the half in August.

We ran a little late getting there, but what else is new on race day? Luckily I’ve run races here before and knew exactly where to go to pick up my stuff and then the start. They didn’t have any pins for the bibs, oops! Luckily I remembered the random safety pins I’d seen in my car the other day, lucky me! Since we were running late and we weren’t sure where we’d find parking and Doug had to put gas in the car, Doug just dropped me off. I walked out to the start and got a little nervous, but that passed.

I started out fast. I’ve never been able to pace myself. I just go at what feels natural. So I didn’t try to slow myself down, rather I was interested in how long I could keep it up. Turns out I kept it up for the whole first half!

It was really hot. The first part of the race was heading right into the sun through an industrial park, so no shade. That was pretty boring. We were in the industrial park about 4 miles and then the route went into a neighborhood. What I love about this race is that in this neighborhood, almost every other house was either handing out water cups or had put out sprinklers or hoses to run through! That was much needed in the heat!

We were in the neighborhood about 2.5 miles and then went back into the industrial park. I stopped to fuel after 5 miles and after walking a bit I was able to run again in spite of mounting fatigue. My new shoes had been squishing my toes a bit. I don’t know if the new shoes make me strike higher up on my foot or what. But it seemed like when I was trying to stay back on my heels it felt better. It also helped to wiggle my toes too.

Anyway, we ran about 2 more miles and came back around past the start. The last 3 miles went more around town. It got long here and then there was an uphill stretch where I got really tired. I walked when I got to the uphill and fueled some more. I ran once we started going down hill again and ran the rest of the way.

After I passed mile 8, I looked at my garmin and realized I could have a longshot at beating my PR, set three years earlier at this race: 1:53:05. Unfortunately I was running out of gas and also the course was a little long compared to my garmin measurements. I wanted to try and speed up and beat the PR, and I did do my best, but I just didn’t have it in the tank.

I ran the 9th mile and walked through a water stop just before the 10th mile. I was ready to walk a bit more but then I realized that this was the end of the route for the 5K I did there last fall and the finish was right around the corner. I was a little slower, but I did run the whole last mile. The last bit of the race goes into the park where we started and around a baseball field. When I got to the park I sped up and couldn’t believe how strong I felt as I rounded the field, but I knew the finish had to get here quick!

After the race I had to sit down for a bit in the shade because I was dizzy and I was seeing really bright. But luckily I didn’t have any kind of heat problem. I really recovered pretty quick. Allie and I waited in the shade while Doug went to get the car, which was a long walk away. While we waited for Doug I went to get another bottle of water and checked the results, and mine were in. My official time was 1:55:02! Its a mere 1 minute and 57 seconds off my PR!

I averaged 11:05 pace the first half, but my average was around 11:45 or so the second half. So if I’d kept up my original pace I would have blew that PR out of the water. But I’m not disappointed. I was quite pleasantly surprised to discover that I can battle my old PRs!

One thing that really struck me about this race, compared to my 10K on July 4 and even the half, I felt a lot stronger and confident in this race. I remember how much I just really wanted to stop the whole time during the 10K, and I really didn’t get to that point today. Running through sprinklers really helped. 

So while I was a bit apprehensive and feeling unprepared, apparently the cutback helped! Now that I’m focused on my next half and picking out other races, I’m interested to see how my results will change.

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Creative mind at work

This kid is thinking. She’s taken over the dog’s bed. Combine that with her newfound interest in blankies, and she’s got a portable bed!

This is what she did when we asked her if she wanted to go night-night. She’s a little young for the living room campout though!

She’s really thinking and playing. This morning while I ran my 10-mile race, Dada just let her run around the park. She’s becoming a little daredevil. She’s also discovered the joys of jumping on the bed, one reason why it took her awhile to fall asleep at naptime today! She also took her shirt off. Allie is full of surprises. Oh, and she’s 21 months today!

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My next half marathon

As much as I’ve enjoyed cutting back the last few weeks, I need a goal. I’m still focused on running but not as motivated. We’d been considering some different travel plans for the fall that influence which race I could choose.

Way back over the winter I wanted to run the Madison Mini in August and the Fox Cities in September. I decided against the August half because I wasn’t as motivated for it and the potential for super hot and humid. I found out in May that I couldn’t do the Fox Cities in September because of a family wedding. They aren’t on the same weekend, but we can’t afford to travel to both. And besides, I now have another possible conflict with that race date anyway. September is going to be a busy month!

So my next chosen race is the Tyranena Beer Run Nov. 5 in Lake Mills! They have a 1/6 barrel race that is 4.37 miles and a 1/2 barrel run of 13.1. I’m not sure how you measure a barrel, but apparently they have. I considered this race three years ago when I ended up doing Fox Cities instead. There were three races on three consecutive weekends that I considered, but this one is the right combination of interesting, budget friendly and a good date.

Its got beer in the title and is measured by a barrel. It also, obviously, starts and ends at a brewery. The entry fee includes two beers and a lasagna dinner after a race. The $55 entry fee is definitely worth it! I also like the look of the route (map at bottom of the linked page). I was concerned about a smaller local race and finishing last, but a look at the last few years’ results calms any fear I have about that. We do have to travel about a half hour or 45 minutes to the race, but another great thing is it doesn’t start until 11:30, so we don’t even have to get up at the crack of dawn!

So now I just need to decide how I’m going to structure my training and when to start! I’m running the Waunafest 10-mile race tomorrow morning. Since I can run 10 miles somewhat regularly, I don’t need to train up to the distance. So I don’t know if I just work to maintain that or start some kind of speedwork or other fancy stuff. I’ve never even tried any of that fancy stuff before and I have no idea where to start.

I think I will continue on the three days of running cutback for at least another week or two. But with this goal I know I can get the motivation to get back into it. And now I can choose my other races to lead up to the big one! I’m looking forward to this.

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So close, but so far

Ugggh, two weeks ago I was a mere half pound away from my goal weight. Now I’m 2.6 pounds from my goal weight.

I sometimes feel like all I do is focus on my weight or my running, and since I cut back the running, I’m focusing even more on my weight since my goal is so close but still so far. Its annoying especially because I have plenty of other things going on.

I feel like I’m at some kind of cross roads. I need to re-evaluate my goals. I’m considering stopping weight watchers for awhile. Its been easier to lose the weight when I’m tracking, but lately I’m doing my best to avoid it.

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Time for teeth

At bedtime every night, Mama changes Allie into her pajamas. Then we find Dada and head to the bathroom for teeth! Its so cute, once we find Dada Allie smiles really big, points and says “teeth!” We’ve recently started letting her do it herself. She brushes her teeth while Mama or Dada brush her hair. She loves it, which makes us happy. We’re helping her start a good habit early.

After teeth, we go into her bedroom and read a story together. Sometimes she’s really attentive, other times I’m not sure she even notices us reading to her. Then we kiss, hug, and group hug a few times before putting Allie down. Sometimes she goes to sleep right away, other times she stays up and plays awhile and goes to sleep when she feels like it. Tonight was one where she stayed up for awhile.

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Who’s who?

If I wasn’t the one looking through the pictures, I’m not sure I’d be able to tell us apart! This first picture is one of my favorite baby pictures.
And here’s a picture of my favorite baby! Yeah, I can see the resemblence.

When I was looking for pictures last night I kept finding the portrait that I thought was my favorite. Then I found three more! I loved this dress. How old was I here? Mom, do you know how old I was here or in the following pictures? I think this was around age 5?

With her hair pulled back one day, as we were getting out of the car after work I looked back at her and felt like I was looking at myself!

I’m sure these are ages 2, 3, and 4, but I’m not sure what order they’re in.
Of course, we can’t leave out Dada. I see Allie’s resemblence to him too. We are one good looking family.

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No shirt? No problem

Dinner tonight was kind of a flop with Allie. We had chicken and rice with the last of the green beans from the farmers market and rolls. We thought it would be perfect! Well Mama and Dada loves it, but Allie didn’t love it as much as we’d hoped. In fact, I don’t think she ate any of it. So we gave her some yogurt instead, of which as much wound up on her as in her.

So her shirt went in the laundry and she went shirtless after dinner, which she didn’t mind at all…

Notice how she’s shirtless, yet she’s still wearing her flip flops! I love this kid!

She’s been playing with Monk a lot lately. They get along well, although Allie can be kind of mean to Monk. But Monk doesn’t mind. Since Mama and Dada don’t always want to play with Monk, Allie can take over that duty.

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Blast from the past

Its kind of strange not being so focused on running the last few weeks. Don’t get me wrong… I’m focused. But not on training for a race. I’m at a good fitness level and just maintaining. Its refreshing. I’ve never reached a point where I could just maintain. I have my eye on a half in November and will pick up my training probably toward the end of August. But until then I’ll just run three days a week and enjoy some other cross training. I’ll end up with weekly mileage between 15 and 20 and can easily throw in the occasional 10-miler.

My new obsession is body combat. Its Les Mills’ version of cardio kickboxing. Kickboxing was one of the first aerobics classes I discovered when I lived in Carbondale and got a membership to SIU’s student rec center. Along with Rock Bottom (abs, glutes and thighs), I eventually made these classes a one-day-a-week ritual. I couldn’t go more often since I worked nights, but I would have. I had yet to pick up running, so this combination would be the basis of my first round of weight loss and learning to enjoy exercise in general.

It doesn’t require the coordination or the moves of step aerobics or “dance”-type classes. Its so basic: Four punches and four kicks. Believe it or not, even with so few basics there are endless possibilities for variety.

One thing kickboxing is giving me that running or other classes like spin don’t is agility. I’m getting quicker and lighter on my feet. Its hard for me to explain, but I’ll suffice it to say that a year ago I couldn’t move like that. And like so many other things I’ve added to my workout regimen in the few months, I can see the difference in my running. I see the difference just in the quality of my runs because I’m not fixating on a certain mileage four days a week. I’m running just to run. I also see the difference in my balance and speed.

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A weekend of good eats

Its not good for the diet, but it sure was good for our pleasure! I’m not a food blogger, but this weekend made me wish I was.

I had been planning to run 8 to 10 miles in the morning on Saturday, but I slept an extra hour and then I thought it was going to rain. It didn’t. So instead of working out I indulged in chocolate chip pancakes for a family breakfast. I like making pancakes on the weekends and added the chocolate chip a couple weeks ago and we’ve been obsessed ever since.

The morning ended up being pretty nice and I could have gone out for my run and still have been comfortable. Instead we all got showered and dressed and headed out to the farmer’s market where we got some awesome stuff for relatively cheap! Our finds included tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and corn on the cob. We got ground round that was only $2.89 a pound-every other booth with meat had it for $4 or $5 a pound, I don’t know why this stuff is so cheap! We’ve had it before and its so good! This might be the only item we actually do get cheaper at the farmer’s market. Anyway, the other highlight was a pound of Door County cherries! Yum. The only thing I really wanted that we didn’t get was cheese curds. I’ll get those Wednesday for sure! We were also sad to realize that no one had asparagus. I guess it must be out of season.

We got home and had a guilty pleasure lunch in the form of Taco Bell. Yum. Once Allie went down for nap we made the grocery list to incorporate what we got from the farmer’s market. We ended up getting pork to have with our green beans and corn for dinner. That was good eatin’ and super quick and easy to make! Got some lettuce to use with cucumbers and tomato for salad-would have gotten some lettuce at the farmers market but forgot. We also planned tacos to use that awesome ground round and tomatoes. The best part will be cherry muffins. I’d found the recipe awhile ago and I wanted to try it. I wanted to make the muffins during the weekend, but I didn’t have time.

During Allie’s nap I finally went out for that run… when it was close to 90 degrees. I made it to 7 miles and considered myself lucky that I didn’t make myself sick. It wasn’t fun, but I wanted to get it done so I could do the next part of our day without guilt: Ice cream at the Union Terrace. Ooooooooh that stuff is good! I had a double scoop, I can never have just one. On a side note, so many of the things we do here in Wisconsin revolves around ice cream. After we got back from there, I fed Allie and put her to bed while Doug did the shopping. We had our late dinner of pork chops with dinner rolls, corn on the cob and green beans. Yum yum!

The awesomeness doesn’t end there however! Sunday for lunch I made sausage with peppers to go with our salad. That was really filling. Then that afternoon we had a date day complete with movie theater popcorn, candy and monster drinks. To close it all out, we went to the Dayton Street Grill for the start of restaurant week. Oh was that good. Restaurants that participate have special three-course menus for $25, so its a good chance to sample restaurants we can’t normally afford. I had onion and white bean soup, salmon summer succotash and chocolate panna cotta with a door county cherry sauce! Wow.

I was sad when the alarm went off this morning, if only because the good eating was done! But we do still have our yummy farmer’s market haul. I’m hoping to make those muffins tomorrow night.

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Summer to-do’s: half done!

The state of our summer to-do list, from June 7:

-Go to the zoo We’ve actually gone to two zoos, Madison and St. Louis!

-Go to the beach: Still trying to plan this. We’re hoping to do a beach day with Jocelyn before she leaves for college, but she’s a busy girl.

-Take a Betty Lou cruise: Ahhh, these cruises are a bit pricey and take some extra planning because we need to have the money and foresight to buy tickets ahead of time.

-Spend a night in Chicago: We really want to visit my brother and his girlfriend who recently moved to Chicago. We also want to put our Madison Children’s Museum membership to good use, as we can get discounts to a lot of the museums there. I don’t know when or if we can coordinate it though. Maybe in the fall?

-Go to Discovery World and other fun places in Milwaukee: Like Chicago, I don’t know if we’ll have the budget for this. The good thing about Milwaukee though is that we aren’t limited to only going there in the summer!

-Go to a Brewers game: This still hasn’t happened yet, but we’re determined to get there. By this time last year we weren’t even interested anymore as it wasn’t a good year for our team. This year, they’re hanging in though!

-Ride the merry-go-round at Ella’s deli This was a lot of fun and we want to make this a regular outing, perhaps as a special birthday treat. We’re seriously thinking of having a birthday party there as well.

-Go to a Mallards game: We tried to go a couple weeks ago, but because of poor planning it didn’t work out. We didn’t buy tickets ahead of time and the Mallards are wildly popular, especially on a Saturday night! Lesson learned, we’re hoping to try again next weekend.

-Play at the Children’s Museum: Mama took Allie when we had a day off in June but we’d like to get back there soon!

-See Grandma and Grandpa Durso, Aunt Julie and cousins Carson and Cole! We’re hoping this will be during our week of vacation near the end of the month. We had such a fun time on our family vacation! I wish we could go back!

-Get ice cream at the Memorial Union terrace: We made it to the terrace this past weekend! It’s always fun to go to the terrace, but its never fun to try and find parking there.

-Check out the Mad-City Ski Team: Now that my band concerts are over for the summer, we’re free on Sunday nights for the shows, so we hope to do this in the next few weeks.

-Go swimming! We’re going swimming as much as we can and we love it.

-Spend a lot of time with our whole family, especially Aunt Jocelyn who is going away to college in the fall. We’ve had lots of family time but would still like to get more before Jocelyn leaves!

So we’ve crossed off half the things on our list. Summer’s a little more than half over, so it works out. I know we can at least get a few more of these things crossed off. This has been a fun project and a good way to finally take advantage of all the awesome things we can do here in Madison.