Friday, May 31, 2013

May rewind & a Friday Funny

I started this post earlier this morning and here it is 10 p.m.  Since it is still Friday, I'm determined to get it done & posted.

I don't normally get my monthly rewind done on the last day of the month, but since it's ending on a Friday and I had my run done early I figured why not.  Speaking of having my run done early I had to quickly shoot out the door faster than expected because I looked at my weather app (weather bug) and saw this:

I've become sort of addicted to checking this app, especially in terms of planning a run.  However I've learned that sometimes it looks like it's going to be bad and it turns out to be nothing.  Other times it does turn out to be exactly as it appears and if I ignore what I see I kick myself later on.  It's more often the latter so I've been erring on the side of caution.  When I saw what was coming I rushed out to get my run done.  Turns out it didn't start raining until after 10, but I'm was glad to have a nice run done.

It was a great end to the month of May.  Despite being injured for over half of the month, I've still had a descent amount of mileage.  It wasn't a specific goal, but I managed to clear over 100 miles.  That means for 12 months I've cleared at least 100 miles a month.  I will admit that this last week or so I saw how close I was to reaching this bench mark so I definitely wouldn't give myself any slack.  In the end I logged 109.33 miles.

This brings my total for 2013 up to 745.18 miles.  It does put me (seriously) behind on my Run This Year goal.  To keep on track I'm going to have to run 211 miles a month for the rest of the year.  *siigh*  It is way too early & I am way too determined to call this goal a fail. I'm optimistic....ANYTHING can happen.

Even though it is late I'm still going to throw you a Friday Funny.  I saw it this morning on fb.  It made me chuckle at it's silliness.  Oh, if it was only this simple.  Running I can do all the live long day, but work on my abs...ugh!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1.  I've mentioned it before, but it's worth revisiting.  I love getting comments on my blog.  Don't feel like you have to.  I certainly don't want a fake or forced response.  I always read your comments.  I may not always reply to them, but I read them and they mean a lot to me.  In return I try to comment on other blogs too.  Because I follow/read many other blogs it's hard to always comment every time.  Sometimes I really mean to, but then, usually due to business I don't.  I tend to put this self imposed "I've taken too long and now it won't matter" rule that after a week or so I don't bother trying.  Of course, that is ridiculous.  Most bloggers I know (including myself) value (positive or constructive) comments in any way shape or form.

2. We've have a very interesting weather week where I live.  We are *this close* to breaking an over 100 year old record of the most rain in a spring (considered as March, April & May).  Even before this week many have already battled flooded basements and yards.  We have been very fortunate (In terms of our basement) and have kept dry.

What seemed like a typical rain storm on Tuesday night completely wreaked havoc on our town.  We were all at home and (some of) the kids had a great time playing out in the rain.
After it stopped I joined them outside and took SEVERAL pictures of them & their antics.  I also paused to capture some of the beauty in my yard.
 Peonies are one of my favorite flowers, I love to sit and smell them over and over.
For some reason I'm intrigued by raindrops and always try to capture them on camera.

We began to hear via fb the full extent of what had just happened.  Pictures were being posted and stories being told.  In essence many portions of our town were completely underwater.  History was being made all around us, things that people who lived here their whole lives have never seen was happening right in their back yard.  Jim & I took a drive around town.  It was tricky because you could only go a few blocks before coming upon another section that was submerged.  Major highways were closed around us.  Thousands without power.  It was very unreal to drive around and see things and we didn't even see all of it.  Here are a few shots I took from driving around & these were about 1 hour after the rain had stopped:

 You can find many more pictures on our local newspaper's website: Register Mail or on their facebook photo page.  I know there are a lot of other great pictures out there, it would be great to have them all in one place.  The most popular happening though was a video footage from the local community college.  Take a look.

At first you may think, no big deal, but wait until :36 on the video.  This video has been seen all over national t.v.  Good Morning America, The Weather Channel, etc.  Jim, had a friend from Louisiana call us last night because he saw it on the nightly news and wanted to check in on us.

3.  Mommy Matters:  We had a big moment here last night at the Peterson Family Zoo.  For the last time, we took the training wheels off of a bike and our youngest learned to ride on her own.  At first it included a lot of short rides with dad close by:

With a lot of practice and confidence it didn't take long to see her doing this:
taken this morning & having no problem keeping up with her big brother

One might think that I'm all tore up about my baby getting so big.  But not really.  Oh, I'm sentimental about it, but I'm fully ready to be leaving somethings behind.  Maybe it's because for almost 18 years I've had someone in the "little" stage and I've just had my full of it.  I treasure these moments, I really do, but I'm just as happy to be moving forward and going onto the next stages.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vloggin' Wednesday - my injury

Many of you have asked and yes I am back to running.  Literally running.  It's a much slower, scaled back pace, but I'm carefully handling my injury while getting some miles in.  I'm anxious to get out there and run without giving it thought or care or adding speed, but that is at the end of what I think will be a long few weeks.  I'd rather work my way back the right way then rush it and risk re-injury.  I talk today about my injury & what I've done to get back going in the right direction.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

365 Day Running Streak

Actually, as of today I can say 366 day running streak, but....  Yesterday marked my 1 year anniversary of when I started my running streak.  It started with the commonly known Runner's World Summer Streak
where you run everyday from Memorial Day to the 4th of July.  Then there is another streak that takes you to Labor Day.  That dies down and there is a Holiday Running Streak (Thanksgiving to Christmas day) and then a New Year's Streak (every day in January).  So, if you are not ready to think big or commit long term then you can always start with one of their smaller streak challenges.

The rules behind streaking are very basic & simple: you must complete at least 1 mile each calendar day.  It is called a running streak, but running can mean different things to different people.  I encourage people all the time to get started with walking and if that IS all they can do then that is THEIR running.  Honestly for me recently I did have to walk some of my miles.  I had a serious injury that prevented me from running, but I still laced up and walked.  Some days it was at a slow pace, but it was the best I had to give.  The main idea is to get out there and get moving.  There are 1,440 minutes in a day.  In a general sense, do you not have 30 minutes to give some time & effort to walking or running to help aid in your quest for fitness?  I know many of you can do it in less than that, so what's your excuse?  Yes, I know some/many of you have good reasons to not do this.  But if this mother of 6 children can find time for it, so can you!  Of course, if you want to look at it from a broad spectrum this can be applied to any form of fitness like biking, elliptical, yoga, lifting weights, etc. etc.  However, I will look anyone in the eye and say "no time" is no excuse!  Ok, give me a second to step down off my soap box :)

Anyway, I'm done preaching and will turn this back to me.  It is all about me, isn't it....hahaha!

I started out a year ago with my streaking.  I've mentioned it plenty of times through out the year.  It has helped keep me motivated.  It has helped greatly in my running and especially in my recovery time from some very big races.  I know it's a common mindset to "do nothing" the day after a race or long distance, but I'm of the opposite thinking.  It's helped me tremendously to get out there and get moving when I'm sore from head to toe.  I think it's one of the best things you can do for yourself.  Sure, it hurts and yes I'm twice as slow, but i do it anyway and I have seen great benefits from it.  Again, realizing that everyone is different, but I've seen where it's been one of the best things for my running.  Aside from my recent injury I have by far had the best running year of my life and I give large credit to my streaking for it.

Here is a break down of my mileage for the last year:
2012                                  2013
May - 15.9                        January - 136.6
June - 101.1                      February - 141.4
July - 127                          March - 190.3
August - 127.5                  April - 163.7
September - 106.2            May - 91.2
October - 128.8
November - 121
December - 111

That gives me a grand total of 1,569.26 miles for my 365 day running streak!  If you break that down it's *only* 4.3 miles a day.  Yeah, I know some of you want to slap for putting that *only* in there.  I know I run some crazy miles, but when you break it down I don't think it seems like that much at all.  I have a little non crazy in me too :)
(after my run yesterday)

I'm not sure where I'm going from here.  For now the streak continues.  I'm been blessed with physically being capable of getting out of bed & moving each day.  Looking over the last year I know I've had some crazy runs and I've sometimes gone to extremes to get my 1 mile done instead of just letting it go.  Someone asked me today how I became so determined.  He said, he'd never use to word stubborn or hard headed, but simply DETERMINED.  I like, no love, that word as a way to describe me.  Sure you can use other words if you want, but for now I'll stick with being determined to continue to my running streak.

Have you ever tried a running streak?

What about just committing to get moving for 30 minutes a day?  20?  10?  You have the time!  Why not get started?!?!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Run River City Race Recap

Ok, remember, this is the race that I didn't run even though you might see pictures of me running.  Hang on, it will all make sense by time you are done reading.

Last December I was contacted by some Tough Chik team mates about putting together a team for the Run River City Marathon.  I've never been part of a relay for a marathon.  (Note, I have been part of a relay for Screaming Pumpkin, which is a marathon, but that format is not your traditional marathon so it's really different & not the same in comparison).  I was honored to be asked to be a part of the team and since it was months out registration cost was still down and I jumped on board.  Of course months passed and this was the last thing on my mind.  My full April race schedule with lots of hopeful PRs and a BQ took over.  I was even guilty of saying more than once that I had no other races planned after my Illinois Marathon.

On this team of Tough Chiks was Shannon, the original and head honcho at Tough Chik:
Talk about totally awesome!  This gal traveled all the way from California to run this race with us.  She is positive & uplifting and despite being the head gal, totally humble and down to earth with her everyday attitude & approach to life & training.  She was a delight to meet for the first time and helped make the day competitive and yet laid back & relaxing.

Also joining the team was Amanda:
This woman is fun, sassy (in a good way) and TALL.  See how she's nearly doubled over to get in the picture with me (ha ha).  Amanda was wonderful to also meet for the first time.  I had been following her blog for quite awhile so it felt like I already knew her anyway.  Also very down to earth, we connected on several levels and I found encouragement with her in some of the things we both face as moms and runners.

Rounding out the team was Jess:
This woman is all that and a bag of chips!  Aaa-maaaz-zing!  Every moment with Jess is fun and party like.  She takes even the down moments and turns them into something positive that will make you smile.  She was the mastermind behind making our relay work like clockwork without a blink of the eye.  I had met Jess on one other occasion, love reading her blog and really enjoy her spunk and attitude!!

All of us together made for quite a competitive team.  We might not have had all the speed, but had just the right combination of personality to make this one awesome relay team!

Of course, everything was all set to go with this Tough Chik team until I got injured last week.  They so affectionately called me their Boston fastie and I was set to run the final and longest leg of the relay.  When I realized that I was not going to be able to run (boo hoo) I called in my re-enforcements and had my RP Angela take my spot.  I was still determined to be there at the race and be a part of the team as much as possible, I just would not be doing the actual running of my relay leg.

I drove over to Peoria to have a team meeting the evening before the race.  It was during that time that Angela called and due to her own injury had to pull from the race.  The look on Shannon, Amanda & Jess's face as I told them was priceless.  Almost funny, but in a not funny way.  (Sometimes you just have to laugh at the craziness of what was happening at the last minute).  I did offer to run, I mean, I can walk and move.  I can actually, in fact, still run, it's just very slow, not to mention uncomfortable and stressful on my leg.  They would hear nothing of it.  Not because they didn't want me, but they love & support me enough to not allow me to do anything stupid that could further injure myself.  I shot off an text to one possible person who might be able to help us and in the mean time they made plans on how to split the extra leg between the 3 of them.  We were determined to make it happen one way or another.

Insert Katie who saved the day with less than 10 hours until race time.  I knew that Katie's husband, Matt, was coming to run the full marathon.  I suspected she would be at the race as well to support him.  I asked if she would be willing to run while she waited.  Her only stipulation was that she wanted to see Matt finish.  That worked out perfectly because if we had her run the first leg she would finish near the area where she could easily walk to see him finish.  She could run, have plenty of time to recover/relax and still see Matt finish.  Perfect!!

Race morning I still dressed in my team gear as if I was running.  As far as Shannon, Amanda & Jess were concerned I was still a part of this team regardless if I was running or not.  We met for our team picture:

Then we met Katie, introduced her to the TC team mates, went over final instructions and handed off my race bib to her.  Hence her being my run double.

Once the gun went off, Katie was speedy fast for the first leg of the race and did a great job running her miles.  She handed off to Amanda:

In the mean time I was there all along cheering, offering support and company to my TC team mates:

Amanda handed off to Shannon:

And then Shannon handed off to Jess:

Our goal for the day was to simply have fun!  Mission definitely accomplished!  The weather had turned quite warm and sticky.  Very humid and into the 80's.  I didn't even run and I was a hot sweaty mess.  I was asked if I was having a hard time not running.  My response was mostly no.  Yes, there was a part of me that wanted to be out there, but I know that I can not run like my body is suppose to.  Typically can't is not in my vocabulary unless we're talking physically impossible.  While I can usually push past most physical limitations this is just not one of those times.  Trust me, it's rare and knowing that I can't run without great damage to my body makes it (a teeny teeny bit) easier to sit back & not get out there.

All relay teams had the option to join the last runner down the final stretch of the race to the finish line.  I had since gotten my bib back from Katie and joined the team down that final stretch.  It was the one point of the day I was willing to say screw my leg and !@#^ injury I'm going to run.

Let me point out that despite the big smile and leg looking just fine, I was in fact in discomfort and nothing felt right about me running.  I even had a very hard time keeping up with the other gals.  In the spirit of the team and finishing together I toughed it out and crossed the line with them.  I took my finishers medal and later gave it to Katie.  She's the one who really earned it!  

For me, I gave 100% of what I had, even if it was only the last .2 of the race.  Everyone else gave their 100% and it turned out the be the best race that I have ran, but didn't run.  I have been blessed to have this experience!!

If you want to see other Team Tough Chik race recaps look here:

Sunday, May 19, 2013


This morning I posted this picture:

I stated that I was at the Run River City Marathon with my Tough Chik team, but I was not actually running.  Remember I'm injured?!?!

However, later on you might have seen these pictures:

 Wait! .... What? ....  Am I *gasp* running?

And is that a finishers medal around my neck??

 I know, it doesn't make any sense!

 This picture is the missing piece to the puzzle.  Insert Katie, my run double, who saved the day in so many ways and at the last minute too.

So, I did in a way run, but not really.  It's definitely the most interesting, different, confusing race I've ever not run.  Tomorrow I will give you a full race recap with all the fun (it really was amazingly fun!) details.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Waving my white flag

Well, this happened sooner than I thought, but I'm just about in full surrender on my leg.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up and walking away from running all together.  Or even taking the situation lightly.  I am injured!!!!  I know the biggest thing I need is rest, but I also need to be actively rehabbing my leg to get things back on track to "normal".  Right now my leg is barely functional.  Yes, I can walk and move it and it may appear that I am doing so without pain or discomfort, but that is far from what is going on.

I have ran 1 mile the last few days, but it's barely a run and it takes every ounce of strength to get it done.  I'm fully aware that I'm playing with fire when I set out.  I haven't been burnt yet, but it's a fine line that I'm messing with.  That 1 mile is enough to mess with my leg even more.  I have very, very limited use of that leg.  I'd say it's working at 10% capacity and trying to make up for the other 90% is really hard, tiring and putting stress on the rest of my body.  Yes, I can get 1 mile done at a 12-14 minute pace, but I'm beginning to see where even that is doing more harm than help.

I've never failed to mention that my RP (running partner) Angela is beyond awesome.  I love her to pieces.  Same goes for my Team Tough Chik team mates, Shannon, Amanda & Jess.  Even though I've only met (in person) Jess once and Shannon & Amanda never they are top of my friend list in terms of running & blogging.  They are all top caliber women, in so many different ways.  So this Sunday I will likely not be toeing the line at the 1st ever Run River City with my TC team mates.  Make no mistake, I WILL be there!!  Unless a complete miracle of healing happens I won't be running.  I don't doubt the possibility of such, but I'm being realistic and I still rest firm in knowing that God has a plan & purpose for all of this.  So RP Angela will be running for me.  I still get to go and be there and be a part of the team, but Angela will be the one doing my running.  I know no better person to replace me in this situation.

My streak continues.  I did get out this morning to run for one very slow, painful, miserable mile.  It was the turning point for me.  It was throughout that time that I realized I can't keep doing this.  When I went in to teach my yogalates class I realized how much worse it was in other ways.  I could barely lift my leg to do the most basic exercises.  I have very, very limited use of my leg.  Somethings I can do, but it's painful and I feel like it on the verge on snapping.  Even upon realizing this I still hope to continue my streak, but not in the way I was thinking.

I'm sure it's no coincidence that the last few days a particular saying/quote has been surfacing & circulating around facebook.  It has spoken volumes to me and has come at just the right time:

First off, I was only ever doing my 1 year running streak for myself.  Yes, you can submit to the National Running Steak Association (no, I'm not making that up) and pay a membership fee to have yourself listed as a "legit" streaker.  A) I'm way too cheap to pay for something like that.  B) I wasn't worried about having it be all legit anyway.  Runners have a thing called honor code.  I've never done anything to remotely break it so there is no need to question my word anyway.  I am very satisfied with knowing that everyday for 365 days I went out there and completed 1 mile.  I've never seen anywhere where there is a time limit on completing said mile.  While, yes, I won't be running it...I'm fully aware of the difference between run (or even a jog) vs. a walk, I will continue and finish my streak with completing 1 mile of walking each day.  Maybe more.  Walking is not nearly as strenuous on my leg.  There is a huge difference between a 14 minute pace & a 20 minute pace.  If I'm reduced to a crawl then I will do that too.  For now I know with all my heart that I ran when I could and now I HAVE to walk.  It's not a bad thing.  I'm staying on a path to health & wellness and that really is what it's all about!  I'm am NEVER GIVING UP!  EVER!!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

All it takes....

One misstep.  You never know it's coming, or when it will happen.  Literally in an instant, everything changes.

I just said in my last post that this is not the time of year to be injured.  The weather is most ideal for the next several months and after a loooong, extended winter it's what what I've been waiting for.  Plus, I had personal goals to really ramp up my mileage.  With school getting out in a few weeks my schedule will drastically change and give me a bigger opportunity to get in longer runs.

I'm not sure if the two things are connected, but I did mention in my marathon recap that my hamstring began to bother me mid race.  Nothing too serious.  Nothing painful.  Just a slight nagging of something being off.  I had no previous sign of a problem, it just popped up out of the blue mid race.  Since I was pushing for a BQ I kept on race plan and pushed forward.  After my race I had no sign of the problem again.  Until last Wednesday.  I had already ran back to back 10 mile runs since the marathon and had no problem.  For some reason this 9 miler made a difference.  I started off my run just fine, but at some point (mile 6ish) it just started up again.  I slowed down, but still finished my run.  This time that slight nagging feeling stuck around anytime I ran.  It helped that I ran slower the next few days and cut my mileage down.  I wasn't stopping dead in my tracks, but I was listening to my body.

Last Saturday my son was running in the IESA sectional track meet.  Despite being the shortest kid on the team he was running the hurdles.  What can I say, the boy can fly.  Maybe not at top speed, but he's not afraid to try and go for it!  We had some conflicting information on when he would run.  I was informed he wouldn't run until the afternoon.  My son insisted he would run first thing in the morning.  After talking to another mom who confirmed my son's information I headed up early in the morning.  Events were starting right at 9 a.m. and that is exactly when I pulled into the parking lot.  Even though I knew they had to run the girls hurdles and then the boys I was still un easy about the time.  Track meets can move along quickly.  Especially in this event where it literally only takes 15-20 seconds and then it's over.  I decided to hustle over to the stadium to be able to find a good seat, get my camera out and be ready to enjoy my son's last race of the season.  I wasn't at a full run, just a slight jog.  At least if I was going to miss the race I wanted to feel like I put a good effort into being there.  I didn't see the acorn that rolled my ankle and suddenly I was flying toward the ground.  I had visions of ripped tights (I was still in my running clothes from that morning) and scrapped knees.  So I reacted and did a funky wibble wobble move to prevent myself form the hard fall.  I still fell, just not as hard.  I picked myself back up and immediately had pain searing through my hamstring, the same one that had been giving me problems.

I hobbled over to get ready to see my son run.  Pain continued to pulse through my leg.  I tried stretching it out and just about anything I did did not feel good or normal or right at all.  Just sitting there was painful enough.  I've never been injured like this before.  I have no medical knowledge and have not yet tried to diagnose myself on webmd.  I'm guessing I pulled a muscle.  It's my hamstring for sure, up on the higher end where it goes up into my glute (fancy shortened name for gluteus maximus aka my butt).

In the days since I have managed to get the general pain to stop.  It only hurts when I try to stretch it or move it a certain way.  It's definitely way more than just some inflammation.  This is a major problem for me. A) I'm NOT ok with this in any way shape or form.  I'm an extremely active person who is constantly on the go-go-go, even if it's not running.  B)  I have a relay race to run on Sunday with fellow Team Tough Chik members ShannonAmanda & Jess.  We've been planning this race since the first of the year.  C)  I'm 2 weeks away from my 1 year running streak anniversary.  My husband reminded me that my body is way more important than some running streak.  Ah, yes, dully noted...but knowing how I am do you really think I'm just going to walk away from all of that so easily?  Hmmmmm, NO!  At least not without a valiant effort.

So I ran yesterday & today.  Don't freak out, it was only 1 mile.  I can move.  I can run.  It's uncomfortable and very easily painful if I'm not extremely careful.  I don't have normal or full range of motion in the use of that leg.  Of course, I'm over compensating in other areas to make up for that, but I can manage (very slowly) for that 1 mile.  So yes, I plan to finish out my streak even if it's only 1 mile a day for the next 14 days.  However, I will be taking that one day at a time.  My streak is not going down without a fight.

The real kicker in all of this is that amongst a lot of miscommunication, my son didn't even run until 2 p.m.  Yeah, that makes me want to !@#$%^&* on so many levels.  But I did get to see him run and that was my goal for the day.  It's a bummer that things worked out the way they did.  Even though it's frustrating and I'm wondering WHY, I know that all things happen (according to God) for a plan and a purpose. (Jeremiah 29:11)

My son flying over the hurdles!  He's made a lot of improvements this season in his form and race!!

Friday, May 10, 2013


Wow!  What a week it has been.  Not in a bad way.  Not even wild and crazy.  Things just came up left and right and I have been on the go-go-go since Monday.  While it's not unusual for me to have busy times, I am usually expecting them.  My calender will look all crazy.  Not the case this week.  It appeared to be quiet and fairly normal.  Yet, somehow I was gone from home a lot and that meant I had little to no time on the computer.  If I checked emails or fb then it would be on my phone or ipod.  Those are good for checking things and doing "must do" business, but not for a lot of the big things I normally do.  As a result my email inbox has absolutely exploded with unread messages since that is my primary source of reading blogs. All the while I just keeping going, going, going.  Even now...I'm trying to hurry and get this done so I can get somewhere else really soon.

Running is going good.  I have a streak to keep alive (closing in on my 1 year mark) and that keeps me motivated and out the door.  I seemed to have quickly returned to normal (for me) running after my marathon 2 weeks ago.  My hamstring has bothered me a few times this week.  I'm "listening" to it very carefully, which sometimes means not running as far as I'd like or taking a much slower pace.  Even if I get to where I can end my streak with satisfaction, summer is not the time I want to be injured.  Not only for the nice weather aspect, but leading up to my BIG race of the year where I am determined to blow it out of the water!!!!

I have a little bit more business to get through as it's the end of the school year x6 for me.  Then things really quiet down for awhile.  Even then, I'm still busy and there is ALWAYS something to do.  I'll get through it one way or another.  Hopefully while logging a loooot of miles!

 I enjoyed this picture!  This is true every single day of my life!!

A little funny on Mother's Day weekend!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

April Rewind

The month of April was pretty epic for me.  I broke every personal record I had set out to achieve and set the bar high for my new racing standard.  For now I am very satisfied with what I have done and would be very content if I stay at this level of my running.  By all means I have done more than anyone ever expects me to do.  In my town, my circle of friends, my family, (even some of you within my blogging circle)  think I'm a total rock star.  Sure, I'm nothing close to Kara Goucher or any kind of Olympic caliber, but they don't know that.  Or if they do, they don't care and think I am anyway.  My family, my friends, my fans (if you will)....they are such a crucial part to my running & racing endeavors and success.

And yet, despite all this awesomeness and epic-ness I still believe it's possible for me to set that bar even higher and lower my times even more.  I realize at some point I am not going to get any faster, but I don't think I've reached that point yet.  So for now, I continue on to see what my running has in store for me.

Despite my heavy racing last month I had another great month of logging miles.  Running a half and full marathon helped, but I still logged 161 miles in April.  That takes my yearly total up to 636 miles for 2013.  Yes, I'm still behind on my goal for Run This Year.  Now that I don't have any racing on my calendar for awhile and the weather has finally improved I should be able to run, run, run and really rack up those miles.  I plan to blow the lid off of my previous monthly highs to make up some lost ground before I need to focus in on training for Howl at the Moon, my 8 hour Ultra.

I have continued with my running streak and as of April 30, I have run 338 days in a row.  In case you are not doing the math or paying attention to numbers I am closing in on my 1 year anniversary of streaking.  That might call for some real streaking to celebrate!!  I'M KIDDING!   Just seeing who's paying attention to what I say.  I do have plans for something special to note the occasion and it will involve having my clothes on in it's entirety!!

How has the month of April and/or 2013 been looking for you & your goals and/or running?  Drop me a comment and let me know!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Wrapping it up - IL Marathon

Just a few odds and ends about my Illinois Marathon weekend.  It's already been a week since I had such an awesome race weekend!  Part of me want to savor it all and hang on forever.  Which in some ways I will.  I have a great memory & things live in my heart for-evah-ah!  But life goes on and so do my blogging.

On Friday I wanted to get a jump on my day and get over to the race expo early.  I'm not a huge shopper, but every once in awhile I just like to browse and pick up a few things.  The right expo can be a runners paradise with all the gear available for you to see hands on.  So my plan was to hit the expo as early as possible and then check into my hotel.  My girlfriends who were also coming had plans to come later in the day.  I knew of Charles, a runner from my hometown running group (Muscatine Running Friends) who was also coming to the expo, race, etc.  Where I live now is right on the way so I contacted Charles about riding with him and since he was going over first thing in the morning then I hitched a ride with him.

Charles is a very nice & generous runner.  His company was very enjoyable and since we had 2 strong connections (running and being from Muscatine) we had plenty to talk about on the ride over.  Charles was also kind enough to get me to my hotel after the expo and then later pick me up for the 5k and bring me back again.  It such a great reminder of how runners are friends no matter what.  Charles & I are nothing alike in terms of running pace, goals, etc., yet we are united as one simply because we love running.

While at the expo I did do a little shopping.  We do have a great local running store here where I live, but they can be limited on what they have to offer or only offer certain brands, etc.  (make no mistake, it IS a great store!!)  And as much as I am a fan of online shopping some things you just need to see or try on before buying.

Bondi Band is a great company that I am addicted to love their product.  I have over 15 bands already, but always feel the need for more.  After buying several last year I forced myself to not buy any at all for a long time.  I was really hoping they would have their Boston bands available at this expo, but they didn't.  That didn't keep me from stocking up on a few more and even buying one for a friend getting ready to move away.

I wasn't planning on buying earphones, in fact I had just bought a pair that morning.  When I walked in the booth caught my eye with their specially made runners earphones.  I listened to their "sales pitch" and told them I would think about it.  I'm a firm believer in walking away, thinking about it and then coming back if I decided to go ahead with the purchase.  A few features that perked my interest was that they offered a control button on the cord that would allow me to change my song as well as control my volume.  Also it allows the ear buds to sit in your ear, but not in the ear canal which makes it possible to hear ambient sounds.  Sometimes I want the music blaring and to be tuning out everyone.  Sometimes I want my music blaring, but still be able to hear when someone says something to me.  I typically don't like spending "a lot" of money of such items (I'm a cheapie!!), but decided to splurge.

That is all I had purchased at the expo.  Later that night, my RP and her sister was talking about the specific race marathon jackets, fleece zip ups, etc.  I realized I had skipped over that whole section of shopping.  I know how those are typically priced and Mrs. Cheapie here didn't want to tempt myself with what I knew I would not spend the money on.  However the next day after the marathon I had time to kill while I waited for the others to finish so I wandered over to the merchandise tent and browsed around.  Nothing wrong with looking!  I knew my eyes would bug out at the prices (seriously, yes, I am that cheap!) and be thinking "thanks, but no thanks."  I did see some socks that I liked.  You know I LOVE socks!  I really wish they had them in knee high!  (Will have to send that comment to them).  And they had car stickers.  Simple, cheaper things that I can justify spending some money on.  While browsing the gear I came across a jacket.  All of the other jackets (they had different styles, colors, etc) that I had seen were priced at $99.  Ummmm, no.  I have no clue why I even looked at this price tag, but I did and it said $59.  What?!?!  Did I touch the wrong tag?  Was it a mix up?  What size was this jacket?  My luck it was going to be XXXXL or some size I would never wear.  It was a mens small.  I actually prefer mens cut over womens.  I looked at the exact same jacket next to it, which was a womens small and it was priced $99.  I was confused.  I looked around expecting to see a Candid Camera (showing my age?) ready to jump out.  Or maybe the Twilight Zone music would start playing.  I stood there guarding the jacket.  I mean, I'm not sure why it was $40 cheaper than all the others.  Honestly $59 is still a little high for a jacket.  Buuutttt, I did just run my best marathon ever and run a BQ time.  Why not treat myself to a little something special?  Yep, you guessed it.  I bought it.  When I walked up to the register I was expecting it to ring up at the $99 price which I was ready to argue with the tag and if they didn't give me the tag price I was prepared to walk away.  But it rang up as priced.  They didn't seem to bat an eye either.  So I hurried and paid then took off!  Score for the day!!!!

(All my purchases from the weekend)

As part of my race packet I also got a nice long sleeve tech shirt for the marathon.  (I already showed you my 5k shirt).  The last 2 years they had done short sleeve shirts so it was nice to get a long one.  Bright, bold colors look good on me so I was excited to see this years shirt.  The race medals were also very nice.  They are a solid, heavy quality.  Since I did both the 5k and the marathon I was a part of the I Challenge so I received that medal as well.

This is on the back of the race shirt.  At first when I saw it I was looking at it from upside down and I though what a botched shape of IL it turned out to be.  When looked at it the right was I saw that it was Abe Lincoln.

I didn't talk too much about the race course.  If you've never run this race or ever been to Champaign-Urbana then you don't know how flat the area is.  There are no hills.  On the marathon course there is one slight incline.  Unfortunately it's at about mile 24 or shortly there after.  It's so late in the course you about want to die trying to get up it.  Really, it's not bad at all.  The course itself goes through many areas of the town; residential, parks, downtown, school zones and more.  The course is lined almost non stop with crowds supporting and cheering you on.  There is absolutely no lack of official support.  Water/Gatorade stops in abundance, even one manned by Zombies.  Several chances to get GU, even as late as mile 24.  Plenty of un-official support as well.  People handing out bottles of water.  Kids with bowls of Jolly Ranchers.  Stations with fresh bananas & oranges.  Someone even cooks bacon & has it sitting out for runners to take (one of my favorites!!)  A lot of signs and entertainment.  Elvis was there, as were bag pipe players.  College frat boys hooting & hollering from their house.  Beer stops & kegs along the way (not a favorite of mine or anything I participate in, but if that is your thing then ok).  Signs of cheering and encouragement all around.  Some of my favorites:  Quitting?  Ain't nobody got time for that!  or Quitting?  That's for the Pope!  Basically it's an awesome race!  The price is very reasonable and you get a racing experience you won't forget.  I can't wait for next year!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Illinois Marathon Race Recap

I have ran the Illinois Marathon 3 years in a row.  In many aspects, each year has been very different from the previous.  Fitness level, pace, over all time, approach to the race, the weather.  All varied greatly.  This year has turned out to be the most ideal marathon.

The weather was wonderful!  Previous years was very cold and windy.  Waiting at the start line was miserable.  When I left the hotel I had on a light sweater.  A sweater that I should have thrown away years ago so no big deal if I ditched it once we got going.  The craziness of getting to the start line left me worked up and warm so as soon as I stepped into the corral I took off my sweater.  All I wore was a tank top, a running skirt and compression socks.  I was never cold and didn't need anything more or anything less during my run.  The temperature was upper 50's when we started, it climbed to mid 60's by time we finished.  There was little to no wind the whole race.  The sun was shining bright, I even had a faint tan line on my back.

We left the hotel with plenty of time, but a snafoo with traffic got us parked, out of the van & headed toward to start line later than we wanted.  We almost thought we'd miss the start of the race.  In some ways that is not a big deal.  The race is chipped timed.  Doesn't matter what the clock says when you start/finish, it only matters when you actually cross those sensors.  I still felt flustered and frustrated when time was ticking and we were sitting in backed up traffic just 2 blocks from the parking lot & start line.  I probably could have jumped out of the van and yelled "see ya later" to my girlfriends, they would have understood.  I was trying to not freak out and get all caught up in the moment.  I kept telling myself to relaaaaax!

Of course, everyone had their own goal for the race.  Besides myself, my running partner and her sister was doing the full marathon.  They wanted to PR and have a good race (which they both accomplished), but ultimately they just wanted to finish.  They had no ambitions of running a BQ time.  My other friend and her sister were running the half marathon.  It was her sisters first half and she was pacing her & along for support.  I'm in no way implying that my BQ goal is better or more important, but I certainly had this idea of how my perfect race day was going to look like. Getting to the start line late was not in that ideal.  Already that morning I couldn't find my Sport Beans and about had a meltdown over it in the hotel.  Thankfully my friend saved the day by having an extra bag & giving them to me!  Typically in life I am very laid back about the flow of things, but running/racing is completely different.  I am very particular with pre-race rituals and what not.  However since I was traveling with friends I wasn't going to become some crazy psycho over such details.   Plus we had not yet taken a group picture.  Another ritual I did not want to forgo.

(I'm on the far right, next to my running partner)

Once we were out of the van we decided to hit the porta potties.  Very important!!  The line was looooong and again I was anxious of the fun going off while I stood in line.  I was the only one from our group doing a bag check, so we split up at that point and I went to drop off my bag.  Once I dropped my bag & was a tad away from the main point of the start line I saw that Assembly Hall was practically deserted.  I know from previous years that indoor bathrooms are in there.  I took the chance that I could get in and out of there quickly instead of waiting in line for a nasty, stinky porta potty.  My chance paid off, I was in and out there in no time and heading to the start line.  I was about 200 yards away when I heard the gun go off and the first coral took off.  I was assigned to the second corral and I had just enough time to run up, throw off my sweater, jump in the corral and our wave started.

When I took off I went with the general pace of others around me.  No sense trying to speed ahead and getting around people.  The pace felt right at what I wanted anyway, not too fast, not too slow.  After the first mile I felt myself picking up pace and passed the 3:35 pace sign.  My plan had been to use the pace signs to help judge where I was going to finish. I am a little skeptical of those pacers.  I have been in races where they are right on and other races where they are not.  Often when it comes to pace groups they are a big mass of people sticking together.  I try to avoid those.  I didn't want to settle into the 3:35 pace anyway so I picked things up to get around them and have them well behind me.  I then kept my eyes peeled for the 3:30 sign.  I caught up to them right at the 10k mark.  I was very excited to have caught up with them and felt great at the time which helped me pass them and pull ahead & leave them behind.  I never did see any other pace signs/groups.  While it would have been awesome to catch up to 3:25 or 3:20 I was confident just being ahead of 3:30.

I cruised along with the miles.  They went by quickly and I felt great.  I probably could have survived a faster pace, but was mindful that I had a lot of miles to cover.  I in no way wanted a great first half or even first 20 miles and then slow to a much slower speed.  I took fluid whenever it was offered.  Gatorade and/or water was offered it seemed like every mile or two.  They have great aid stations for this race.  I remember passing the half way mark still feeling great, I even remember a song playing that I be-bopped to and even conducted a little while I ran.  (That's talent there peeps, conducting a song while running!!) 

A few miles later, around mile 15 my left hamstring began to bother me a little.  Nothing major, just feeling a little burn.  Typically those nudges help me to be extra mindful of my form.  When I get tired I can get lazy with proper form, foot strike, etc.  Something little can turn into something big after several miles.  The more miles that passed the more I began to feel worn down, tired and my hamstring was beginning to burn a lot more.  Mile 18 is when I felt like I really began to struggle.  I felt like I was really slowing down and it became hard to keep going.  I don't run with a watch, but do run with my phone that has a running app that will tell me my pace.  I have a general rule though that once I start it goes in my belt and I do NOT look at it.  It's tempting to see how fast I was/wasn't going, but I resisted and just focused on running to the best of MY ability, not some clock. 

Runners that I had passed a few miles earlier were now passing me.  Most of them I still kept in sight.  It's always good to pick a person out and keep them in your sight!  One person was a girl that had a pacer sign on her back that said 3:35.  Now I hadn't looked at my running app to check on my time or pace, etc., but I had a really good feeling that I had not fallen that far back.  At least I really, really hoped not.  Otherwise I was in trouble.  The more I saw her right in front of me the more I just wanted to go up and rip that sign off her back.  It bugged me!  If you are going to wear that sign stick to it and if not take it off. Anyway, personal rant.

I felt like things were picking back up again at about mile 20, but then I saw the 3:30 pacer pass me.  Crap!  Still nothing to get worked up about, I had told myself 3:30 to give me a very generous lead on my BQ time.   And I was questioning his pace anyway, which I now know he was ahead on.  There was a clock at mile 20, I saw that I was at 2:40ish.  Based on that I knew I would BQ even if I slowed quite a bit.  I still didn't want to gamble it though.  It wasn't permission to slack off, just maybe not worry so much about hitting my base goal.  Somehow I missed the sign for mile 23, which made for a long gap in which I worried that I was really slowing down or missed the sign.  I was so relieved when I saw the mile 24 sign knowing I had only missed the sign.  I also took a wrong turn.  I had just taken some Gatorade, was running along the side drinking (another great talent, I don't walk to drink, I drink on the go) and when I reached the corner I crumpled up my cup and threw it the ground.  I didn't even look up I just followed the curb around and kept going.  It only took me 10 steps or so to realize there was no one in front of me.  No runners, no spectators.  I turned around, look over my shoulder and saw a volunteer waving his arms at me & pointing the other direction.  Good thing I was paying attention, although I'm sure they would have come after me.  They saw me go the wrong direction and probably even yelled right away, I just didn't hear it.

The last 2 miles were a mix of I can't take another step, I can't keep up this pace & you are almost done, you got this!!!!  I knew the faster I ran, the sooner I would finish and could stop.  I had up to this point not walked or stopped in any way, shape or form.  As a general rule, I never stop, not even to go to the bathroom.  I kept pushing myself, but restrained from going all out too soon.  Once I hit the tunnel I sprinted and went all out.  Once on the field I could see the clock.  It showed 3:32ish as I pumped it up even more, I wanted to cross before the clocked turned to 3:33.  I was completely exhausted and yet full of excitement as I finished.  I started to cry.  I knew I had beat my BQ time with some change to spare, was even pretty sure I had hit 3:30.  I was so proud of myself!!

Since this is long enough, I will wrap things up for today.  I plan to come back tomorrow and finish up with an ending post to recap some other little, but important details.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Illnois Marathon - the bare facts

I've had this screen pulled up all day.  I did some fiddling around with my main blog screen.  Then flipped over to answer a bunch of emails.  I kept meaning to get back on here and give a full race report.  But then the beautiful day & warm sunshine was calling my name.  BEGGING for me to come outside.  A friend came over for a little bit so we sat outside chatting.  First on the front porch.  Oh how I love sitting on my front porch.  A past time that needs to be embraced!  Then after the bus came & picked up my baby girl for preschool I changed into my swimsuit and soaked up the sun in the backyard (my tan lines are looking pretty nice!).  So not only did I fail to clean my house from top to bottom (ok, like I do that on any given day anyway), but I left no time to sit and write things out for you.  I know you were just sitting by your computer ALL day just waiting with baited breath to read my race recap.

You have to understand that while I was out sitting in my swimsuit today I will no doubt be wearing jeans & sweatshirt tomorrow and maybe even shoveling snow.  So I HAD to embrace the day for what it was offering.  Anyway, to help hold you over, in case you are anxious to hear all about my race, I will post my stats from the race.  The bare basic facts on how I finished.  Tomorrow I will ramble on with thoughts & other details, but for now *drumroll*

10k split: 49:23
13.1 split: 1:43:49
20 mile split: 2:39:02
26.2 finish time:  3:29:50

201st out of 1,822 overall
29th out of 750 women
5th out of 116 women in my age group