Life as we know it

Our family adventures

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Another crazy race

If its Crazylegs, it surely will rain, especially since last year was so nice! Early in the week it looked like there may be some rain… as race day got closer it looked like it would be a lot of rain. In addition to the rain, it was cold and windy. So much for spring!

This is the fifth Crazylegs we’ve participated in. Its the third with rain! Doug and I walked in 2007 and it was nice. I ran in 2009 and Doug walked and it rained. A lot. In 2010, we were both going to walk and Allie was with us, but it rained so we skipped it altogether. We picked up our shirts Saturday morning and then went out to breakfast. In 2011 it was a beautiful day. So I totally expected it to rain today!

We decided it was too cold for Doug and Allie to walk. So we parked downtown and took in the atmosphere and wait for my start. The highlight was meeting Bucky Badger. Allie LOVES Bucky! We were waiting to get a picture and she kept saying she wanted to give him a hug. So she did and then we got the picture.

Allie hung in there for awhile. You can see from the pictures that she was bundled up! I think she was warm enough for awhile but we were just outside too long. But right before I started Allie lost it and they went back to the car.

The rain the whole time was drizzly. It really wasn’t bad. What was worse was the temperature and wind while we were standing around waiting to start. My wave made it to the starting line at 10:50 (first runners started at 10) and I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands. Nevertheless, I was still excited to be running my first race in six months.

I started too fast, as I expected I would. I tried to slow down, but I never did! I walked up Observatory hill, but I buzzed through everything else!

One of the reasons I like this race is the crowd support and funny characters who run. There was a group around me the whole way singing goofy songs and saying silly things. That really made it fun. People along the race route played music and cheered. There weren’t as big crowds as there are on good weather races, but it was still cool.

There’s a part of the course where we’re running around this huge parking lot. We circle the parking lot and then go back out the way we came in. Its about a mile and it always seems sooooo long. There was a van there that had music blasting. It was playing “Eye of the Tiger” as I passed by and it really pumped me up. Its cheesy, but awesome! I actually got a bit emotional reminding myself this was my first race in six months and that I’m SO happy I can run. There’s another house in the last mile that always plays the Rocky theme. Thats a great motivator to get it done!

And get it done, I did. My Garmin time was 53:19, a PR by almost 4 minutes! My splits were 10.44, 10.59, 10.25, 10.28 and 10.12. That 10.12 is my fastest mile since giving birth! It was during mile 3 that I felt I really should slow down, but I realized I was feeling great as I was getting faster. With 20,000 runners, even with a wave start, the course is always crowded. There are a couple sections we go out and back so there are runners in each direction, thus even more crowded. With my pace in my wave, I’ve noticed every year I start passing people by about mile 3 when there are runners going each direction. It really makes me understand the frustration faster runners feel when slower runners line up incorrectly! But it was cool to me to be passing so many people too.

At the end, Doug and I had to figure out where he could pick me up in the chaos. Since Doug and Allie didn’t walk, they drove toward the finish but there wasn’t a place to park since it was soooo crowded. When we finally figured out where we each were I told him the way to go to pick me up in a not crowded area, thinking he was going the opposite direction. So he missed the turn I told him and I had to run around a bit to get to him, finally swooping into the car as he was stopped in traffic!

Crazylegs is a huge race. It can get difficult and frustrating to navigate, but I love running it. Its one of those events that just says “Madison” and makes me love living here. Too bad we can’t order up some better weather for EVERY year in the last weekend in April! At least we can probably count on good weather next year.

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I got the job!

I got some great news today! I have been hired permanently to my current job!

I started as an entry level collections specialist for unemployment tax collections in December. I had interviewed for the permanent job last fall, but for reasons unknown (to me at least), the permanent positions went away and I was hired as a project. I was originally hired as a project for my first position in 2010. Projects have all the benefits of permanent except for seniority and transfer rights. Projects are basically like contracts in that they have an end date. My original project was extended twice. Then when I started in tax collections, my project was going to July 2014.

But now I’m permanent and I don’t have an end date!

State hiring is such a long process, I’m just glad its done! Everyone said once I got in as a project I’d have my “foot in the door,” for a permanent job. I was getting skeptical. But I finally did well enough on a civil service test to be considered for interviews… and I had five interviews last fall! When the hiring process started this spring, I still had to interview again. Luckily though I worried a bit about it, it wasn’t terribly high pressure. After all, I got the job once already! So it took two and a half years, but having my foot in the door definitely helped!

This is a bittersweet time for me. A few years ago when I lost my job at the newspaper, I had no idea what I’d do with the rest of my life. Now I do have that idea. I suppose I’ve always been interested in those money/math-type jobs, but that wasn’t the path I took in college. This job is interesting in that financial aspect as well as coordinating the need to collect overdue tax contributions and help those employers who need to pay.

It is slightly ironic though that I’m hired in just as the job was starting to get more stressful and frustrating at times! It is worth it though. Its way more interesting than my previous job, and it pays more! Unfortunately I don’t get a raise with my permanent appointment, but now that I’m permanent, I’ll get raises in the future!

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In Mama’s shoes

Allie has been SO fascinated with Mama’s shoes lately.

In addition to walking in them, she’s been getting a lot of practice lacing and unlacing them. She’s getting pretty good!

Allie is also taking an interest in running. Its SO cute. We go outside when we get home from work and we “run” to the mailbox and back. We’re planning on registering her for the kid’s race at the half marathon. Its on Saturday morning, so it will be a lot of fun for me because I’ll get to run with her. She’ll get a race bib, a shirt AND a medal! It going to be a lot of fun.

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Its crazy time

Saturday is the Crazylegs Classic 8K. I am soooo excited to run this race, not just because its a fun Madison race, but because it will be my first race in over six months! I ran the ZOOMA Great Lakes half on October 22. I missed the Berbee Derby and the New Years Day Dash with my sprained ankle (though New Years day was also really cold), I skipped the Valentines Day 5K because it was too cold and I missed the Shamrock Shuffle because it was just after I’d been sick. So nooooow, I finally get to race again!

This race is so super crowded but its a tradition in Madison. They have thousands upon thousands of runners every year, I’d look up the number but I’m on my lunch break. The start is in waves and as a slow runner I’m always in the back. I’ve predicted faster times every year as I’ve gotten faster and still been pushed farther back in the waves. Its annoying that the last waves don’t start until over an hour after the first ones. But once you start, this race is just great in atmosphere and the course. I love finishing in Camp Randall Stadium.

This is a family event too. Doug and Allie will do the 2-mile walk. Well, Allie will ride in the stroller. And they will be long finished before I start as well! But they’ll have fun taking in the atmosphere at the stadium while they wait for me to run by.

Last year I predicted my time at 62 minutes and finished in a PR of 57:15. This year I’m predicting 57 minutes. But I’m hopeful I’ll set another PR this year. I ran 5 miles this morning in 56:32, which would do it, but I know I’ll run faster in the race because I always do.

I’m finally back to racing, and my three remaining spring races are within four weeks of each other. Next weekend I’ll run the Lake Monona 20K. Thats perfect timing for my half marathon training. It will be my last long run and I really like having my longest runs in a race with that support! Then two weeks later will be the Green Bay half. I still need to think about what my expectations are for that race.

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Yummmmm, pie!

Going out to dinner is always entertaining! When you go to a restaurant thats famous for its pies, you have to try some, right? Even if you’re stuffed?

Afterward we went on an after-dinner stroll and Allie found a reason for Mama to take a picture of her!

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Maybe I jinxed it before I even publised it! Here is how I started the draft of this post this afternoon:

I’m hesitant to say things couldn’t go better because they’re going so well and I don’t want to jinx it! But my training for the Green Bay half marathon is going oh so well!

Then tonight’s run happened, yuck! My legs didn’t have it at all. I think 11 on Saturday combined with harder-than-I-meant-to-go elliptical on Sunday = I should have rested today. But I have weigh-in tomorrow, and with how my week shakes out, I needed to run tonight or tomorrow. And I don’t think running in the morning would have yielded any different results than tonight. I got a later start than I wanted to and was going to run 3. It was awful from the start so I decided to shorten to 2. I’d have shortened more but what’s the point of going out for less than 2?

By the end the only thing I hoped for was to finish the run without falling on my face and/or spraining another ankle! I DID accomplish that!

Oh well, this week is a recovery week. I was undecided about how much I’d cut back. I guess I’m getting my answer… heck, I might even cut out an entire day of running! When training is going so well I can afford a break!

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Checking in with the body

Running is going well right now, in spite of a litany of body concerns I have. In different fitness classes I’ve taken the instructors like to tell you to check in with your body, how are you feeling? Well I’m checking and and I can’t believe this list I’ve put together!

The week before last I had a minor concern with my groin, specifically the area where I had my stress fracture in 2008. Whenever I have an injury concern I go over and over it in my head and drive myself crazy. This time it was beneficial though as I realized I had the exact same concern last year at this time that was brought on by my increasing mileage and skipping too many stretching sessions. My hip flexors get tight if I skip the stretching too much. So the weekend before last I started stretching more and I shortened my long run. I’m still having occasional twinges but I’m not too concerned.

My ankle still isn’t quite right since my injury last fall, but it doesn’t seem to affect my running. I might be a tad paranoid about falling while running though! I have had some pain on the inside of my ankle that seemed really problematic in the weeks after my injury. I may go back to physical therapy for it, but right now its feeling fine.

The hip issue that sidelined me in January has tried to come back in the last few weeks. I’ve found that an intensive session with the foam roller all over my hip area one or two times a week is making that pain go away.

My back/SI joint are always an issue, but have been a lot less of an issue over the past couple months. In fact, I don’t have a chiropractor appointment scheduled right now! I can go in on an “as needed” basis. Of course whenver I make it to that basis, I can’t go more than a month! Its been two weeks so far.

I’ve considered myself blessed that I’ve never really had knee problems, though I’ve had minor bouts with runner’s knee. I had a little episode just before the Madison half last year. A couple times last year I’ve felt that familiar pain. But it seems to be staying away for now.

And now that I’ve listed all these and proclaimed my confidence, something will probably go wrong! But hopefully it won’t as my training is winding down over the next few weeks. I only have one more long run before race day, the Lake Monona 20K in two weeks. This week and the week after that race will be much-needed cutbacks.