Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Just one of the many reasons I should live in NYC.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

One Year Ago Today

We are just a handful of hours shy our one-year anniversary. Some things have changed, but a lot has stayed the same.

He still snores like a velociraptor, I still hog the bed.
He's still not very handy (but he tries), I still don't like to help.
He still travels too much, I still get crabby about it.
He still says we have 4 dogs, I still say its 3 1/2.

But what matters the most is the love and memories we've shared and continue to. And that on this day, one year ago, we were surrounded by some of the most wonderful people in our lives.

And we had one hell of a party!

Hold onto your hats, big things are in store for year two.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Race Recap: Madison-Mini

The short of it: 

I came heart-breakingly close to my goal time of the day, but didn't quite get there.  2:25:48

The long of it:

The week leading up to the Mini was hit or miss at best.  Coming off a stressful, feel sorry for myself and be lazy week, I was feeling pretty uncertain about the race.  I know that my training had been inconsistent, with hi's and lo's like none other, and there's no one to blame but myself for that.

With life, and the course, and my training in mind, the coach and I agreed on  a sub-2:25 goal for the race.  Not a lifetime PR, but definitely a PR for the year.  It seemed realistic with just enough of a challenge to keep me going and focused.

Despite everything, I was excited about the race. It felt like everyone I knew was descending upon Madison for the occasion, and I was excited to see so many of my running pals.  Also, the weather was forecasted to be undeniably perfect for race day.  However things officially shook out I knew it was going to be a good weekend.

Friday afternoon we pedaled to the expo to pick up my packet.  I figured it was a good way to get my legs moving and do a little pre-race XT without exerting myself, which I try not to do.  :) And obviously since I rolled my bike all of 12m that afternoon a pre-dinner nap was needed.  Post-nap it was time to get my eat on with Renee and a dozen or so other online running peeps.  It was like Twitter threw up at Tutto Pasta.  Seriously.  At one point someone blurted out that almost their entire feed was at the table. For reals.  With the exception of W, everyone at the table has become my friend through Twitter first, IRL second.  Random but true.

Since someone refused to take me for post-dinner fro-yo, there was nothing left to do but go home and get ready for the race.  Outfit selected (and second guessed), gear checked (and re-checked), nails painted, eggs boiled (thanks Renee!!), off to bed.
Obligatory pre-race family photo
My alarm went off way too early the next morning and it was time to get up and get moving.  I had my typically race day panic over my outfit.  Would I be too cold?  Would I be uncomfortable?  Was I too bloated to wear X, Y or Z?  And actually, yes, I was feeling too bloated and too cold to wear the originally selected (and instagramed) tank top, so I sub'ed in  the red one.

We headed down to the Memorial Union to get the show started.  I met Jen, my running buddy for the day, on the steps of the Union and with 10mins til to go time we made out way down to the start corrals.  Earlier in the week I had bullied Jen into agreeing to we had decided on a 2:25 goal time.  We typically run pretty similar times, and were both wrestling with our own running pains, so we thought this was a good, attainable, goal to strive for.  The first corral, aka the speedsters, were off and we slowly creeped our way towards the start...


Up Langdon, down Wisconsin, around the square and down State.  The first few miles ticked by nicely.  The miles were flat (or downhill) and the temperature was gorgeous!  We listed to our music and chatted occasionally...and by chatted I mean I likely annoyed the hell out of her by random up beat drivel and inability to do simple math.  We headed inot the Arb knowing that this was where the race was going to start to get tough. And hilly.  We kept moving and I kept Jen entertained with my inability to do simple math.

Somewhere around mile 7 or so, Jen's IT band started to rear its ugly head and she wasn't feeling up to the pace we were keeping, and we parted ways.  She was still set for a strong 2:30 finish, which was her original goal, so things were looking ok for both of us. Lonely, but ok.

I kept putting one foot in front of the other telling myself to dig deep and do this.  Shortly after the Arb we headed down Commonwealth and I distracted myself by trying to find one of my friend's house.  Having only been there once I thought I would recognize it when I saw it, btu wasn't really sure what I was looking for.  Also, I didn't want to be puttering along if they were outside, so I had to keep moving down the street.  When I came up to there house they were having a breakfast running party--pancakes, bacon, and so on.  I gave a shout out to them and got heckled in return, which was just what I needed to push through that little bit of the run.

At the 5k mark I was still feeling surprisingly strong.  I knew I was going to have to dig deep to make my 2:25 goal, but that it was still well within the possibility. Just. Keep. Running.  Around mile 11 I realized that my pace was slooowing and that I was going to have to keep a ~10-min mile pace to finish under 2:25. Well, shit. I tried to dig deep and finish strong. But the wheels were starting to fall off.  At about a mile and half we hit the packed gravel portion of the Laskeshore path and it was ever so slightly uphill.  This was around the point I knew I didn't have what it would take to meet my goal that day, but dammit, I was going to run ever last step of that race if it killed me.

I did run every last step of the race.  Complete with finish line kick.  And no, it did not kill me.  The little hill .1m from the finish almost did me in, but I made it. 2:25:48. So close.

At the finish line I found W, toting around Burton in a doggy-bjorne, and my work bestie Gayle!  I handed thrust all my sweaty stuff and food at them so I could snag a finish line photo in the giant terrace chair, and while I was waiting guess who came strolling in? Jen!  She finished just a few minutes after me and we snagged the obligatory finish line pic together.

Christmas Card!
We meandered our way down to the terrace, where we saw Joel and Lisa (who PR'd--congrats!!), grabbed our finisher cups and sodas (beer did NOT sound good yet), and found a seat.  After we collected ourselves a bit we went to reconvene with the running group and swap running tales by the lake.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.  

Madison-Mini Final Results:
243/329 AG
1303/1725 Gender
2647/3227(?) Overall

Monday, August 13, 2012

Race Recap: Mama Goose 5k

I had the pleasure of having Matt as a counselor at a summer camp I ran many moons ago.  During that summer, I was continually amazed at Matt's kindness, generosity, work ethic and compassion for others--the sort of values you know are instilled by wonderful parents.  As the summer when I learned that Matt's mother had been battling cancer for several years, and the prognosis was continually up and down.  Matt's mother Peggy, on the rare occasion she stopped by camp, had a way of bringing warmth and happiness to the room despite all of her personal battles.

A year or two later, Matt's mother Peggy lost her long time battle with cancer.

I'm sure there was grieving and heartbreak in the family and friends, but rather than let cancer have the final say in their family, Matt started a memorial run in his mother's honor.  And so the Mama Goose Memorial Run was born.  Running has always been a passion and source of accomplishment in Matt's life, so it made perfect sense to combine two things he loved dearly.  Every August the race in run in Peggy's memory and money is raised for the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

I feel blessed to know a soul as kind and compassionate as Matt and know that his mother is incredibly proud of the man he's become.


While of much lesser importance, I suppose it wouldn't be a a race recap if I didn't share how it went.

The weather was beautiful--much milder than it has been, probably mid-60's at race time.  The course this year was a 5k jaunt through a neighborhood in Verona that I had never been to.  The pavement was great, the hills were rolling but manageable and the 200+ participants were friendly and happy.

I warmed up before the race with little .5m jog to loosen up my legs because I have actually learned that I run/race better on warm muscle (duh).  Things kicked off at 9am with a very official '3, 2, 1, GO!'

My goal was sub-31:00.  And no walking, no matter the size of the hill.  After all of the running and speed work coachie has me doing I wasn't sure how things would play out.  Quite honestly, my legs felt awful.  Like bricks.  Heavy, tight, sore, angry. AWFUL.

I was pleasantly surprised that more often than not when I glance down my pace was in the mid-9:00's, a pace I NEVER run.  For much of the race I was keeping pace, or within a few strides, of skinny high school runner girl which in and of itself felt like an accomplishment.  But wouldn't you know it, as we neared the finish line that bow-legged lassie pulled away. Drats.

I still finished strong, with a nice little kick in the final .1m.  All and all I am quite pleased with myself.  :)

Unofficial Garmin Time: 28:42

Mama Goose 5k Final Results:

 88/142 OA

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

That's What Friends Are For

 My long time BFF Jamie lives in NYC, and while I love NYC, I don't get out there nearly as much as I'd like.  She's had a rough 2012.  Family drama, breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, moving, and so on...  So I decided it was time to pull out all the stops for her 30th birthday and make my way, unbeknownst to her, to the big apple. Luckily for me, she is still friendly with her ex-bf and he was more than willing to be my accomplice in getting me to NYC, into her apartment (hello! he overnighted me a copy of her apartment keys), and to her office with out her knowing. Muhahaha!!

First stop: NYC Bagel & Shmear
One direct flight later I was making my way from the airport to her apartment in Astoria.  While I was able to smuggle crepe paper and streamer and signs and balloons in my carry on, I thought TSA might oppose to helium.  

Side note: TSA didn't seem the least bit intrigued by the 100 balloons I had in my carry on, but did stop me to inspect my bun because of the bobby pins holding it in place...random.

A little research showed me that there was a party supply store a few blocks from Jamie's place. Score! And much to my complete astonishment, things were actually cheaper there than here in Madison. Double Score!!  20mins later I was making my way back to Jamie's apartment, in the wind and rain, with two-dozen helium balloons in tow.  I was dodging trees and fences and angry NY'ers just hoping that everything made it back in one piece...Don't worry, me and all 24 balloons made it.
By now it's noon'ish so I had to get my butt in gear.  I knew that, allowing for get lost time, I needed to leave her place at 5 to make it into Manhattan to her office by 6, which meant I needed to start getting ready around 4, which only left me 4hrs to decorate and nap. Decorating, in the heat and humidity that NYC calls summer, was not as easy as planned.  Tape didn't want to stick, balloons fought back, and I was a sweaty mess by the time it was all said and done!!  It will shock know one that after the decorating was accomplished I took a nap, sans pants, in front of the fan.

The final product.
After my pant-less power nap I had to think creatively to turn this midwestern gal into a sophisticated New Yorker. Who am I kidding. I totally stood out.  But I didn't get lost, I didn't have to ask for directions and I navigated it all in heels. FTW.

I roll into Jamie's office around 5:45 and convince the receptionist to call her up to the front desk without telling her it's me.  Sneaky, sneaky.  So Jamie comes up there, expecting a package, on her cell phone to find me.  And what does the stinker do? Continue her conversation on the phone. Granted it was a mutual friend, and she was talking about how confused she was that I was there, but still!

Eventually she got off the phone, gave me a hug, and the giggling and gossiping commenced.

From there we went to meet 20 or so her fancy NYC gals out a a nearby restaurant for apps and drinks. The restaurant messed up the reservation, so rather than have the roomy prime party table upstairs, we ended up squished into a little booth/room downstairs.  Not the best for conversation, but the food was tasty and the cocktails were delicious. Regardless of the minor setback, I'd say fun was had by all--especially the birthday girl.

                             BIRTHDAY GIRL!!

Best Birthday Present EVER!

I was only in town for a few days, and seeing as Jamie had no idea I was coming, she had to work.  C'est la vie--NYC has plenty a girl can do!

I spent Thursday afternoon roaming Manhattan with a friend of Jamie's--running errands, window shopping, going for lunch.  Thursday night someone had a hangover, Jamie, so we laid low. We went for dinner at a nearby restaurant and then proceeded to watch hours of the Olympics in our pajamas. Not a bad way to spend an evening with the BFF you rarely get to see.

Friday I spent much of the day being lazy hanging out with her cats, lovingly nicknamed Moo and Roach.
That night we gorged ourselves on sushi before meeting my accomplice/her ex-bf for beers at the Astoria Beer Garden.  BTW, this beer garden is pretty much the coolest place ever.  Great beer selections, good food, both of which are reasonably priced, and they were showing the Olympics on an absolutely gigantic jumbotron outside.  

The next morning I had my third, and final NYC bagel of the trip, and headed home.

A whirlwind trip, but worth every bit of it.  <3 font="font">

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Race Recap: RnR Chicago

The short of it: No PR. No PW. On to the next race.

The long of it:

Let's be honest, my training has been questionable at best since April. I have no one to blame but myself. The sweltering heat that has been this summer hasn't helped things, but mainly I've been undisciplined and distracted and LAZY.

As of two weeks ago I was thinking of skipping Rock 'n Roll Chicago. I could stand the  thought of another slow and disappointing race, let alone a PW. Ugh. No thank you. I expressed this woah-is-me attitude to a few running friend and the general consensus was to get my ass to Chi-town and make the best of it. 

Ok. Fine. I'll go.

Fast forward to last week. 

I'll sum it up by saying it was a long, shitty week at work.  Days were long, work was frustrating, tears were shed. It was a crappy week. I was suppose to train through the week as though RnRCHI was merely my long run. Coachie's plan for the week was a little ambitious, race or no race, but working back to back 12hr days didn't leave much time or energy for running.  I got in what I mentally and physically could and tried not to get too down on everything I didn't. Plus, my quads and hams were sore from hauling my ass up and down a ski hill or two at DWD last weekend.

Saturday we finally got out the door around 11 and made our way to Chicago. The expo was pretty standard. The Trigger Point crew was nice enough to sell us a replacement roller for the one Willis chewed up. The expo actually still had a race shirts in the size I ordered (yeah!!). We were in and out pretty quick (that's what she said...).

Dinner, followed but cheesecake in bed, Friday Night Lights on Netflixs and lights out by 9.  4:30am was going to come eaaaarly.

I slept relatively well for being the night before the race. I only woke up once or twice, and that was more because I was cold than nervous. Regardless, that damn alarm went off way too early.  Did I mention I forgot my breakfast stuff at home and had to resort to what I could find at Walgreens? Clif bar and hard boiled egg (kept cold in the ice bucket). First time for everything.  We were dressed and out the door by 5:30 or so, making the mile and a half walk to the start. Not a bad warm up, I guess.    

We got there with enough time for the obligatory pre-race nervous picture.

W walked me to my corral and hung out until a few minutes before the start.  It was already mid-70's and a little humid, but there was cloud cover so I feeling okay about things. Except that this was the first half I was running solo. Silly, I know, but it was a mental hurdle I was going to have to tackle. Sure I've done plenty of double-digit training runs by myself, but something about racing solo had me a little shaken. Whatever, time to run and worry about it later.

The first few miles flew by. I wasn't moving particularly fast, but loosened up nicely after about a mile or so and felt good. The first aid station was somewhere around mile 2 but I opted to cruise through it as I had my own water and was feeling good. Shortly after that I saw W, my own personal super spectator, for the first time. Another mile or so went by, another W sighting, another aid station. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Somewhere after the 10k point I started having conversations with singers on my iPod:

Bieber would keep running!

Carley Rae?
No maybe about it, keep going!

Nicki Minaj?
She'd make it look fierce.

I'm beautiful. Drop-dead.

Yeah, being in my head was little strange at that point but it was still mostly upbeat. Every time I started to need something...water, gatorade, cooling station, ice...it was there within half a mile. They weren't messing around with course support. It was top-notch.

My attitude was good and I was keeping my slow and steady pace up until mile 9'ish.  Up until that point I only walked the aid stations, and while I was running slower than in a perfect world I'd like to, things were going well. But somewhere between mile 9 and 10 I feel apart.  Secretly I had hoped to beat my RnRNOLA time, and at that point I was on pace to do it. 2:30 didn't seem unreasonable. I had 40-some minutes to go and ~4m. If I dug deep I could do it. 

But I didn't. 

The sun came out, we left the shelter of the tall city buildings, and the fact that my longest training run in weeks was 8m all reared their ugly head at once.  And so began the walking. The trudging. The swearing. The general suck-fest. Womp, womp.

The sponges at mile 11 were AMAZING. The Brooks guy half a mile after that made me smile (and pause for a gratuitous self pic). The tunnel was fun. And then I ran out of motivation. We were running on Lake Shore Drive, in the full sun, cars blazing by...I was so close, but I just didn't care. I'd walk the rest of the damn thing if I had to. I just wanted to be done. And then around mile 12 Kelsey caught me.  Bad news, Kelsey caught me. Good news, KELSEY CAUGHT ME! That girl kept me moving for the last mile. She told me that with only a mile to go we were going to run. There was no walking at that point, no matter how shitty we felt. And so we ran, and complained, and commiserated our way to the finish.

This wasn't the hottest or hardest race I've run, but it just didn't work for me. I'm sure it was my lack of summer running coming back as a karmic bitch-slap, but I pushed through.

My feet were barely leaving the ground by mile 12....

Thank god for Kelsey!!!

Rock 'n Roll Chicago Final Results:

1207/1723 AG
6151/8998 Gender
11082/14881 Overall

#RnRCHI: Run and DONE!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Race Recap: Dances with Dirt 10k

Me, writing a race recap the day after the race? Unheard of!

Last week, after recovering from my first ever trail run, I decided to take the plunge and register for my first trail race. I mean, why not?  I was only registering for the 10k, how bad could it be?

Let it be known that the Dances with Dirt 10k is a bastard of a race.  A dirty, rotten, bastard that will make you want to cry and quit and possibly punch someone.  I should have listened to EVERYONE that told be to just run the half--twice the distance, more technical, but no black diamond ski hills to haul my ass up. Lesson learned.  Listen to your elders.

Obligatory pre-race nervous face

Since the 10k didn't start until 8am we opted to drive up race morning.  I couldn't have asked for better weather for a mid-July day--mid 70's and overcast. All of my friends were undertaking much more impressive distances at the race, so I found myself milling about alone in the sea of 10k runners. I seeded myself middle back knowing that I wouldn't be first, but that I wouldn't be last.  I had, after all, gotten out my nervous poops that morning so it was going to be a good day!

The race started with a mix of grass and blacktop path along the golf course, over to the base of the ski hill, along the bottom of the hill over to the undeveloped side of the hill where we made our way into the woods.  It was around this point that I fell into stride with a cool chick named Megan from the Chicago area and she became my running BFF for the race.  We talked and motivated one another along the way, and made the best of what was going to become a really obnoxious run. Once in the woods we ran some not too technical single track with rolling hills, and what not before making our way back to the base of the ski hill...where the masochistic race director had us run up the big ass black diamond at the center of Devil's Head, about 3/4 of the way up we cut across the hill and over to the adjacent black diamond and made our way to the top.  I told you it was going to become an obnoxious run.

At least the view was good...

From there we disappeared back into the woods to run some more single-track-esque trails.  With all of the time I've spent at Devil's Head, I can honestly say I had no idea where we were at times.  We looped and swooped around a bit in the woods, ran up another ski run, partway down what used to be my favorite blue run at the hill (favorite until I had to run down it), back into the woods and eventually all the way down the bunny hill.  From there we were half a mile from the finish line and I was ready to be done.  Sure, I found myself walking up the giant f'ing hills, but what was starting to ache and shake were my quads from trying to be so careful on the downhills.  Another little jaunt through the woods around the corner and down the finish chute.  I finished feeling, sweaty, a little tired, but good. 

Coachie wanted me to run another 2-4m after the race, but I just didn't want to.  And since apparently I think I know more than my running coach,  I decided not to run.  Instead we drove over to Devil's Lake to the "nice" showers so I could rinse off and change into something that didn't stink.  We then settled in to enjoy the breeze and fun of the finish line for the afternoon.

I mentioned earlier that everyone else I knew was running much more impressive distances, so we had a bit to relax before others started to finish.  Krista V rocked the half and I completely missed seeing here and meeting her in real life. Boo! Then came Shayla and Matt, both of who ran the marathon like it was walk in the park!  Shortly after that Jeff, Kritta's main squeeze, came strolling in from the 50k.  It wouldn't be long now until Kritta, Marty and Tracey would be finishing.  And finish they did, in style, like the absolutely adorable runners that they are.

Tracey, Marty and Kritta

From there we spent the afternoon, lounging in the shade, snacking on everything within reach, drinking beers and laughing like the exhausted, sunkissed, fools we were.  It was the absolute perfect end to a great day.

Tracey, Jeff, Matt, Krista, Marty and I
DWD 2012
As far as a first trail race could go, with only one trail run under my belt, I have to say I'm pleased with the outcome.  I finished, I felt good, I didn't get hurt, I wasn't furst...but I wasn't last.  All in all, I should be pleased. I am pleased. But I have my list of shoulda, woulda, coulda's.  I should have pushed myself on the flats and powered through the small hills. I would have been faster if I hadn't held back on the downhills.  I could have, and yes I really do think I could have, broke 1:30 if I just put my mind to it.  

Instead of obsessing over what could have been I am going to relish the accomplishment of my first trail race and a great afternoon spent with some of my running besties.


Final Results are posted!

16/18 AG*
179/214 Overall*

*The results do not include the DNFs which, to make myself feel better I must point out, were A LOT.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Running & Other Such Shenanigans

I may or may not be the worst blogger ever these days. But it happens. Life happens. We all move on.

Over the past few weeks I've been trying to figure out how to get my mojo back--it's been MIA since April. And the wicked hot and dry summer we're having this year is not helping matters. Wah.

The artistic stylings of Jay Roeder.
First thing first, I found a coach. I am now working with a longtime acquaintance, Chris, on planning out my training and racing schedule for the rest of 2012.  I gotta say, this guys got street cred-- TNT coach, multiple Ironman races under his belt, 70.3's, ultra marathons (including finishing the Rocky Racoon 100 in like 18hrs and change), just to name a few. Oh, and he's an all around cool guy.  So far I think his training plans are out to KILL me which is why I taking them more as suggestions than gospel.  I think we're in the early stages of our 'relationship' and that we'll sort things out. But in the meantime, it is so nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to tell me when I need to HTFU and get on with it.

One of the things he and I were both on the same wavelength about was adding some trail running to the mix. Something fun, different, and a little lower impact on my poor, beat up body.  Enter the amazing Marty.  I know Marty mainly through the Twitter and mutual friends, but I can tell you he is one of the nicest guys around. Not only does he love running and trails and staying active, but he loves sharing his passion with anyone, of any ability, any time. We had been trying to rendez-vous at Lapham Peak for some time to learn me to trail run. We finally made that happen last weekend.  I let Marty and a few other FitMKE peeps out there in the heat and sunshine for ~4m loop.  The first loop was the 'faster' group...which I TOTALLY sandbagged, but amazingly enough, no one seemed to mind!  We chatted, Marty gave an excellent tour and tips, and we had fun.  I should have called it a day there, but I let Marty talk me into ANOTHER loop with the 'slower' group.  And off we went. Again.  And while I was getting tired, I stuck it out and had a BLAST. I drove home, smelling NASTY, singing along with Carly Rae (on repeat) at the top of my lungs. All and all, a great little field trip.

Go ahead, click on it and laugh.
And since, you know, I've gong trail running all of ONE time, I let myself be talked into running Dance with Dirt this weekend. I blame Krista. Let's be honest though, I am only doing the 10k...but I've heard it's a doozy of  run.  Oh and and it's going to be toasty out there tomorrow. AND DID I MENTION THE 10k RUNS UP A SKI HILL? Because it does. Twice. But what goes up must come down, right? 

After I'm done hauling my ass up and down a ski hill, coachie wants me to tack on another couple miles for training purposes or something.  By the time I finish my 10 or so trail miles for the day, assuming I can still walk, the plan is to scoot over to Devil's Lake to cool off in the lake a bit and shower before heading back to cheer for my hardcore friends doing the 50k.  Fun in the sun my friends. Fun. In. The. Sun.

It would be arguably way MORE fun if I wasn't fighting off the plague and it wasn't 9000 degrees out, but those details are neither here nor there.

More Jay Roeder because I'm OBSESSED

What's totally cray-cray about the situation is that this is just a training weekend.  Just like next week, Rock 'n Roll Chicago, is just a training weekend.  Me and 10,000+ of my closest friends will be sweating it out on the streets of the Windy City, just training, having some fun. And even more off the reservation is that between the weekend and next coachie will jam pack my week with bricks, and crosstraining, and long runs and fartleks. 

Speaking of crosstraining, who here has tried Aqua Zumba? 'Cause I'm here to tell you, you haven't lived until you've gone to Aqua Zumba.  This discovery of mine was a happy accident, but since I'm in a sharing mood I thought I'd go ahead and pass on the awesome. You're welcome. So Aqua Zumba, yeah. I begrudgingly headed to the YMCA the other night to swim some laps, but was pleasantly surprised to find the laps removed and the blue-hairs taking over the pool. Let me tell you, these grannies meant business. Headbands on, water aerobics gloves on, game faces ON.  And then we Zumba'd. In the water. I have not smiled so big or laughed so hard in a REALLY long time. I was shaking my money makers and gyrating my hips, kicking my legs and clapping my hands, all in the safety of chest deep water because I am fairly certain I would have hurt myself on dry land. Oh, and the water hid the fact that I have ZERO coordination or rhythm.  I will be going back every chance I get.  

Did I mention that somehow I was talked in to running the Disney Marathon this January? Two of my Ragnar ladies from last year, Nesa and Kim, have decided to run Goofy this year. Seeing as it's the 20th anniversary of the WDW Marathon, and I love me some Disney, I was easily convinced to cross the Disney Marathon off my bucket list. That is assuming that I make it to marathon day and that it goes better than CMM. Details...  That's coachie's job, right?  

Assuming I survive tomorrow, I'm sure I'll have some epic stories to tell about my first ever trail race. Eek!!

One more Jay Roeder for the road!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Race Recap: Ragnar Chicago 2012

This time last week we were loading our gear into a 15 passenger van about to embark on 30-some hours of  sweaty awesomeness. (Note: That would have been true if I had published this the day I started the damn post. Blogging FAIL.)

Being the only Madison locals on the team W and I decided to host a team dinner.  Carbo-loading feast for 13 people, no problem. Truth be told, I probably made it more work than it needed to be, but that's how I roll.
Before the hungry runners arrived  

Being the only Madison locals on the team W and I decided to host a team dinner.  Carbo-loading feast for 13 people, no problem. Truth be told, I probably made it more work than it needed to be, but that's how I roll.

I opted for penne with sauce and ground turkey (suckas, you thought it was beef didn't you?!), followed by my all time favorite dessert, homemade strawberry shortcake. There was salad and bread and all things a runner needs before tackling Ragnar.

Food was eaten, conversation flowed, fun was had (I hope), until the mosquitoes descended upon us and we all fled for safety.

I don't even think I made anyone sick. ;)
Fast forward to race day.  Van 2 was nice enough to pick up W and I on the way to exchange 7 in Lake Mills. By 11am when we headed out it was already getting HOT which did not bode well for my running...

Van 2: B*tches Be CRAZY
I work hard to avoid photographic evidence of me running because, well, it's not pretty. So you'll just have to take my word that I ran.  

Leg 7 started at Lake Mills HS headed down the street a bit before turning onto the Glacial Drumlin trail. I really couldn't complain about my leg because legs 6, 8 and 9 were WAY worse, but it still sucked.  The trail is a very forgiving crushed gravel, but there was not nearly as much shade as I thought there would be.  It was like 1pm'ish and HOT already and let's face it, I am just not a good hot weather runner. I sucks the life out of me and I just haven't built the mental toughness to push through it.  Leg 7 ends with ~3/4 of a mile, mostly uphill, on the side of an unshaded county road. Nothing says 'KILL ME NOW' like running on the side of a black-top county road in full sun in HOT weather.

Leg 7: 4.7m 53:28 (11:22 avg pace) 

W before his first leg.
Apparently I stopped taking pictures at this point...

After we finished our round of running we headed to Noodles for some food (which, not shockingly, didn't sit super well with me) before heading to Martin Luther HS to catch some z's.  This break last year we had enough time to eat, catch a few hours of sleep and get ready to run without feeling rushed.  This year after eating we had barely enough time for a cat nap before we were back at it.  I maybe snoozed for 30 or so minutes thank sin large part to the asshats yelling in the parking lot.   

Leg 19 started at Martin Luther HS and headed to Franklin HS.  Last year this leg followed the Root River Parkway and was flat and fast and fabulous. Since they changed the exchange for 2012, this year it headed out from Martin Luther HS and straight down 76th straight for 2'ish miles.  By straight down I really mean straight up, as in uphill. For 2 miles. Granted it wasn't steep, but it was constant for 2 fucking miles. It was 20-degrees cooler than earlier, but those first few miles took a lot out of me.  Eventually we turned off of 76th and made our way onto a multi-use trail of some sort through some park. The trail was awesome with some rolling little hills, twists, turns and whatnot.  What sucked was turning off the trail and finishing the leg running uphill. Again.  What also sucked was that the leg was almost 1/2m long.

Leg 19: 5.49m 58:49 (10:42 avg pace)

The cooler temps, and by cooler I mean in the mid-70's, felt downright chilly after the heat of the day.  It was refreshing but cool when not running.  We finished up our round of running at the YMCA in Racine at 5 or so in morning, watched the sunrise, and then promptly passed out on the grassy median in the parking lot for an hour and a half.  After that little cat nap we made our way to the next major exchange for pancakes and little relaxing before we started another steamy day of running.

I started my final leg, leg 31, around 9:30 from North Chicago HS.  Last year this leg wound its way through a neighborhood before making its way onto a crushed gravel path for the majority.  Not so lucky this year.  This year I had the pleasure of running the first half on sidewalks in the full sun and heat of the day.  I made my way through some Naval base, base some Seamen (hey-o!), and eventually onto a multi-use path.  Holy balls, Saturday felt even hotter than Friday.  There was a point during the run I started to get the chills, which is never a good feeling when it's wicked hot out.  Luckily my van was able to stop a few times and refill my water/hose me off because every step was a challenge. There was never enough shade.  But it was flat, so there's that I guess.  I finished at Lake Forest HS, which ps, has the most amazing front lawn I have ever seen. Like take off your clothes and roll around neked on the grass amazing. Seriously. Only by the time I finished I was too overheated and miserable to enjoy it.  I have never been so happy to be done running.

Leg 31: 5.1m 1:01:04 (11:58 avg pace)

I feel even worse for my teammates who had to run as the day got hotter.  Saturday seriously became a death march.  We did our best to pace to our runners and take care of one another, but it was almost too hot to matter.  W spent some quality time tossing his cookies at Northwestern after his leg.  And poor Maureen had the longest, hottest leg of them all to finish it off.

Trust me, these medals were well earned.

We wrapped it all up at Montrose Beach in Chicago.  I wish I could say we celebrated and got epic at the finish line, but really we all just wanted to be done with it.  We were ready to be out of the heat, clean, and off our feet. That's not to say we didn't love (almost) every minute of the experience, because I know that I did. And that W did. And that I adore the ladies of Van 2 so flippin' much.  But enough is enough already!

I'm disappointed in my running this year. Not just at Ragnar, but this spring in general has been a let down.  I'm still at it, working things out, hoping for a break through.  But in the meantime, I'm going to savor the memories, the friendships, the laughs...and start plotting an planning for next year.

Ragnar Chicago 2013, I'm coming for you! Here's hoping for cooler temps in 2013!