Friday, September 26, 2014

Get your towels ready, it's about to go down

We bought a boat!
 
It's just an old beater fishing boat, but the tricked out fishing platform and 70 hp Evinrude are perfect for what we need. And what we need is the wind in our hair and fresh fish in our bellies!
 
It's like mother nature knew we wanted to enjoy our new purchase, so she is giving us a warm, sunny fall weekend. If you need us, we will be in the middle of Lake Koshkonong. Have a great wekeend!

 
 
 
P.S. I love what the wind does to Kevin's hair. Instant douchey fauxhawk.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fox Cities Marathon 2014

Marathon #5 is done!
 
Long story short - it was ideal (for me) conditions and I got a new PR. It was the best I've ever felt in a marathon from beginning to end. (Which doesn't mean I felt GREAT through the whole thing, but let me know if you believe someone who says they felt great throughout their whole marathon and I'll sell you some oceanfront property in Arizona.)
 
 
 
The silly thing is, I probably had the worst training prep I've had for any of my marathons yet I still managed to pull this off. I totally don't condone being an idiot like me and going into a marathon undertrained. I'm extremely lucky that I'm on the other side of it uninjured and still in love with running. I SWEAR next time I will train better. (Have I said that before? Hmmmm.) And honestly, I'd really like to see what I can do with a decent training cycle. I have a lot of planning to do for spring races apparently!
 
Oh, hey, I was writing about a marathon and not all my shortcomings, right?
 
Going into race morning I had low expectations: have fun, don't go out too fast, don't eat too much GU or drink too much Gatorade to give myself an upset stomach, and hopefully finish the damn thing under 5 hours. I did all those things! GOLD STAR FOR ME.
 
It was dark and rainy before the start, but the rain lightened up to sprinkles that continued on and off the whole race and the sun only peeked out for maybe 5 minutes total. It was about 55 degrees and there was a nice breeze that only seemed to hit me in the face between miles 17-18. The rest of the race the breeze kept me comfy - I was never too hot or too cold. It really was great conditions for the race, but I was surprised how many people were complaining about it afterwards. I guess runners all have different preferences.
 
The half marathon and full marathon both started together at 7am. It was nice to be able to line up with all my buddies who were doing the half and I ran with Lishy the first 2.5 miles before the marathon split off from the half. It was a great way to settle in, not worry about the first few miles and not dwell about how I would be alone until the last miles of the race.
 
It never even bugged me that I was running this race without a buddy. I got lost in my own thoughts and the first 10+ miles went by extremely quickly. I chatted with other runners and joked with volunteers. I sometimes forget how enjoyable solo running is, and I think I often do a better job of laying down the miles when I'm alone. I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel. (name that movie)
 
Besides the fact that I am the only runner in this incredibly scenic portion of the course, do you think I was easy enough to spot?
 
Believe it or not, I saw some outfits even louder than this.
 
Mattie's mom was all over the course snapping pictures and cheering for me. She caught me daydreaming a few times too! Kimmy (on zero sleep from working the night before) was out cheering for me too. She yelled at me at mile 9 for going out too fast (hahah) and then was at 16 all dressed up in her hobo spectating costume: 
 
 
Just kidding - she was keeping warm until it was time to run with me! She met me again at mile 20 and gave me all the distractions and encouragement I needed in the last 10k. We did the math at the 20 mile mark and figured I had 1:13 to finish with a PR. While I was starting to get tired, I knew I felt good enough to make that cut off.
 
 
The only real 'low' point I had in the race was at about mile 22. I just started to feel draggy and was ready to be done. I took half a GU to get some energy and then the greatest thing happened. A group of 4 teenage boys who were volunteering as crossing guards were going NUTS for each runner who went by them. As we approached they got real quiet and lined up in a formation. As soon as we got to them, one jumped on another's back and they all yelled so loudly that it was exhilarating and a little frightening! Hahah. I don't know how they had the energy to do that for each runner. I bet they were tired when it was over. Anyways - thanks teenage boys for the boost of energy.
 
Once we got to mile 24 I found another gear and knew I would finish this thing with a PR and that was a great feeling. I wasn't dragging my ass over that finish - I was running it!

 
 
 


 

This might be my new favorite race picture - my feet are off the ground! It actually looks like I'm running...at the end of a marathon! Hooray!



I crossed at 4:34:39. A 4+ minute PR. Phew. A couple things I want to remember about this race are:

-The only times I stopped to walk were at some aid stations (cause I choke when I drink and run) and to walk the two big overpasses towards the end of the race. They were all planned walk breaks and I never stopped to walk when I just felt tired. Most of my walk breaks were very, very short. WIN.

- Only 4 miles were over the 11 minute pace and none were over 12. That's a first in the marathon for me!

- My first half was 2:12 and second half was 2:22. I'd like to get that a little more even, but I'll take only a 10 minute difference!

- I was ahead of the 4:25 pace group until mile 18. I tried to stay with them at that point, but I couldn't hang on. Damn that Oprah, I'll get her next time!

- I didn't carry any hydration system because there are so many aid stations on this course. I am really happy with that decision. I carried my GUs in the back pocket of my shorts and while I have a bruise on the small of my back now, it was still worth not fumbling with a belt or backpack.


All the successful marathoners and half marathoners! A great day for everyone! (We were all smiling because we knew we were off to get celebratory beers as soon as this picture was done!)
 
 
 
My splits and stats if you like numbers:
 
 
 Stats:
4:34:39  10:29 pace
45/83 F 30-34
210/421 F
532/888 Overall
 
 
One last thing about this race. IT IS SO AMAZING.  I say it about a lot of races, but I think of all the races I have done this one has every single little thing right. There was never one point of the race where I was thinking something should be done differently.  The community support has to be the biggest attraction of this marathon. It's a small town race, but there is nothing small about it. Thanks to the race directors, volunteers and fellow runners for another great day in the Fox Cities!
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

OMG Becky, Look at her Vag (aka Tuesday Randomness)


Running: Last week was my, uh, last week of training before Fox Cities Marathon this Sunday. I feel pretty good about these miles and the cooler weather that made them so enjoyable:

 
I just hope it's not 'too little, too late' and I have a good day on Sunday. This summer has been so back and forth in training and if I do have a terrible race I have no one to blame but myself. I guess it's a good plan to go in with low expectations. Or even no expectations. My body feels good though!
 
 
Is your crotch hungry girl, cause it's eating your bike: Can they make a running outfit like this cycling jersey? I'd wear the shit out of it.
 
 
 
 Spectators would be like "OMG Becky, look at her vag. She's just so FAST!"
 
 
NFL Drama:  I know you've heard about everything going on recently, even if you're not a fan. (Because it's all the news effing talks about lately.) I have been a diehard since childhood, but this year is making it really hard for me to be enthusiastic about a bunch of abusers, losers and the people who enable them. I know there are a lot of good guys in the league too, but wow. I also realize that this is not the first time bad people have played in the NFL, but in the social media age the exposure of it has exploded. And it's ridiculous. Can we just play some football?
 
 
 
I wish this were funny, but it's not.
 
 
Palate Cleanser:  Indoor cat reactions to going outdoors. So many great faces.
 
 
 
 
My cats actually love going outside on their harnesses. And yes, I realize typing that sentence makes my coolness factor go up 10 points. Cat Ladiez for Lyfe.
 
 
 
 
Your thoughts?
 
Naked cycling jerseys - yay or nay?
 
NFL is still legit - yay or nay?
 
Cats on harnesses - yay or nay?
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Worthless Wednesday

 
(I was going to call it Wordless Wednesday, but then I added words so, new post title.)
 
 
I ran a tiny 5k in my hometown Saturday morning. The temps were sublimely cool. (Hallelujah!) The course was fun - there was a candy stop at mile 1 and a bead necklace stop at mile 2. I wore my 'I Run for Beer' shirt and planned to run easy, but I found a long lost gear and busted my ass to finish in 25:37 and 4th woman overall. It was just the confidence boost I needed at the end of this slow, inconsistent summer.
 
I hope it was a good turning point for my dedication and determination as the cooler weather moves in!
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Oh hey, it's September already.

Oh hey.

It's been a while.

I don't really have a great reason why I haven't been blogging all summer. I just haven't felt like it, haven't had a lot of motivation and haven't had a lot of time to do it.

All is well, though. It's been a good summer.

Since my last post I've...

  • Gone camping/tubing.



  • Had a glorious weekend at Kimmy's cottage with the best friends in the world.



  • Run 22 miles around Lake Geneva with Kim.

  • Turned 31. (and celebrated at a golf outing and pool party)

  • Traveled to Iowa to go to Kim's cabin on the Mississippi.



  • Went to a White Sox/Tigers baseball game with my family in Chicago. 





Phew. Typing that all out makes me realize why I am so exhausted! I've gotten some running in but not nearly enough for this marathon coming up in a couple weeks. Ah well, nothing like winging it. Again.

I'm hoping that a more regular running and blogging schedule will help get me back into the swing of things this fall. Expect to hear more from me in the near future!




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Psycho Psummer Trail Run

If your idea of a good time includes running in 90 degrees, climbing up and down rocky hills, falling over roots and being covered in dirt, and snacking on pickles, watermelon and Mountain Dew, then you should probably become a trail runner.
 
That was just some of the fun that Kim and I had at the Psycho Psummer Trail Run in Kansas City this past weekend.
 
A while ago we signed up for the 20 mile race as part of a fun weekend road trip with Kim's family. The race started at 8am which meant we didn't even have to wake up until 6! Who knew I'd ever get to sleep in on a race day morning in July!


 
Lining up at the start!
 
Don't let the lady mean muggin' in the background throw you off - trail runners are an extremely friendly group of people. We had so many nice exchanges with other runners throughout the race, including the guy running in the kilt that mooned us. (Full disclosure - he had tiny briefs on underneath.)
 
Our plan, as always on the trails, is to walk up any steep hills. What we didn't realize about this race was that it was pretty much all hills, all the time! And they were very technical. Some parts were so rocky and rooty that we had no choice but to walk over them. (And this is not a complaint at all - the trail was incredibly beautiful!)
 

Trying to smile at the photographer and not trip over rocks.
 
Rocks goin' up and rocks comin' down...

If you look at the next picture closely you'll notice that I have a nice layer of dirt on my left arm and right leg. Yep, I fell just about 3 miles into the race. We were on a switchback portion that was the least technical part of the race but still had some rocks and roots sprinkled in. I wasn't watching my footing closely enough and caught my toe on a small stump sticking out of the ground. Wham! Down I went.

 
I always try to pop back up and start running as soon as I can before I can dwell on anything that hurts. Luckily, I was able to do so and I had minimal damage. Some scrapes and bruising on my knees and shoulder, but if that's the worst then I'll take it.

 
Just so I didn't feel left out, Kim took a tumble around mile 7 and we got to show off our dirt at the next aid station:
 
 
The volunteers at the aid station were so awesome that they had wet rags ready to wipe us down. We just made sure to get the picture first. Haha.
 
And while we are on the subject of volunteers and aid stations - both were incredible! I ate so much watermelon that I turned the collar of my white tank top pink from all the juice that dripped down my chin. I also ate lots of pickles, potato chips and Mountain Dew. One aid station was making grilled cheese and bacon! I didn't eat any, but it smelled sooooo good. They also had salt pills at each of the aid stations and I ended up taking 2 throughout the race.
 
 
So, earlier I mentioned that it was 90 degrees. It was definitely a hot day, but since the trail was shaded it didn't feel that bad. Who knew that the heat wouldn't get to us on the hottest running day of the year so far? We stayed hydrated with our Nathan backpacks and I am so happy I bought one for this race. I kept forgetting that I had it on! I'm so used to the water belt around my waist.

 
SHADE!
 
 
The 10 mile loop course (20 milers did  loops, 50k-ers did 3) wound around a lake and we would get glimpses of it every once in a while. Just after the halfway point we got to run over a dam and enjoy the nice breeze off the water. Ahhhhh!



A little later on we came around a corner in the woods to see a view of the lake. There was an extra surprise - a photographer chillin' in a boat! He got these pics:


 

When we were almost finished with our first 10 mile loop we realized that it had taken us almost 3 hours! We did a little number crunching and realized that we would be cutting into a lot of the rest of the day's activities if we continued onto the second loop. It was a tough decision since we both felt so good and knew we could complete the whole 20 miles, but we ultimately knew that stopping at 10 was the best choice. The race made it really easy to drop down and we still got the sweet medals.


 
One takeaway I have from this race (besides that I had so much fun!) is that I really, really need to improve my trail running skills and confidence. So many runners were able to easily hop up and down the rocky hills where I had to walk - and I even had a hard time walking in some of the tougher sections. So, I'm hoping to get out on local technical trails this summer to work on that. I also think that trail running is so much more fun in the summer compared to road running. The heat seems to get to me less when it's shaded and I'm running slower.
 

Incredibly non graceful trail runner vs. graceful (shirtless) trail runner:

 
My log jumping skills are so sub-par.
 
 
In fact, there were lots of shirtless graceful billygoat-like runners out there. Enjoy! (Kim and I did!)

 

 

See? Trail racing is FUN and SCENIC! Rawr.
 
 
More little tidbits from the race:
 
-The swag was awesome - we got gender specific tech shirts, a beer mug or coffee mug with the race logo (guess which one I picked?), a sweet ass medal, a trail nerds pin and stickers!
 
- Also, the race paid for all the pictures ahead of time, so the runners got them for free. Overpriced race photography can suck it!
 
-We were hanging out at the finish line party just after finishing when "2 Legit 2 Quit" was played by the DJ. We were singing and dancing along until I pointed out the fact that we HAD just quit - I guess we are not 'too' legit. Just half legit. :)
 
- I probably shouldn't wear white for a trail run. My poor tank top still has dirt stains all over it after 2 washes. Oops. 
 
- Gaiters are a lifesaver on the trails. I didn't have any rocks in my shoes and my feet were surprisingly clean when I took my shoes off.
 
- If you want to read Kim's perspective of the race, her recap is here.
 
 
 
I had such a good time running with Kim that day and sharing the trail with so many passionate runners. We already plan to be back next year so we can do the whole 20 miles!



All of the pictures in this recap are from Kim and Mile 90 photography.
Cause I can't handle running AND taking pictures. :)
 
 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Longest Day 2014

I can't believe that The Longest Day 2014 has already come and gone! It was another incredible day and once again being out on the track with friends and family throughout the entire 16 hours was what made the event so meaningful!

For 16 straight hours our team ran and walked laps around the track at Fox Valley Lutheran High School. We tallied everyone's mileage throughout the day - and between the team, friends, family and even dogs that came out to the track we covered over 700 miles!
 
Just a small sampling of the awesome people who logged so many miles!
 
 

The day starts realllllly early. Look at everyone who was there to kick things off at 5am:

Joan, my husband Kevin, Alicia, Sarah, me, Kim, Mattie, John and Kim

Behind the camera the entire day was Kim's husband, Steven. He took all of these amazing shots and we were so lucky to have him there!

Right on the dot at 5am we all walked a lap together to kick off the day. It was cool and foggy at the start of the day, but that was perfect compared to the hot temps and torrential rain we had the last two years.





My favorite part of this year (and every year) was getting to run and walk with so many different people, but also getting to stop and start whenever I wanted! Our strategy was to make sure there was always at least one team member out on the track throughout the day. Most of the time there were several of us out there, so there was no stress when you wanted to take a break. In the past Kim and I traded off every hour, so it was a lot more pressure on the two of us to stick to the track. This year, with 9 official team members, we never had to worry about it!

AND KIM AND I GOT TO RUN TOGETHER THIS YEAR!

Love. Love. Love. Love this girl.

Run? Dance? Prancercize? We did it all.


Funny story about this picture - Steven told Mattie and I to run close to him as we went by so he could get this shot from behind. As I ran by I made sure to have a big smile on my face - uhhhh he obviously wasn't taking a picture of my face! (Runner brain kicked in early!)

 
We had some other activities going on at the track during the day - a raffle, kids activities, a DJ and a yummy bake sale! We ended up raising about $500 thanks to the raffle and bake sale. These adorable Longest Day cookies were donated by a baker in the Chicago area:





We once again had the Wall of Remembrance up around the track with names of those that have been lost to Alzheimer's. It's bittersweet to see the list of names grow each year, but it encourages us to push on, especially at the end of the day when our bodies are so sore and our minds are so tired.




Another continuing tradition - taking a jumping picture when we reach marathon distance. We had several runners who ran their first 26.2 that day! There were so many personal distance records set by 9pm that night.
 


 
You want to know what is a great pick me up after you've been running for 10 hours? A FREAKING MARCHING BAND PERFORMANCE!
 


 
Jessica, a friend Kim and I had met through blogging, and her husband Matt brought the band! He coaches a traveling summer band and they just so happened to have practice at the very same high school where we were running! While they were practicing, Jessica came and walked with us and around 3pm the whole band came out to do a show for us. Some of the band members even stayed afterwards and ran some miles! It was a highlight of the day for sure.

Me, Jessica and Kim.
P.S. Jessica just had her baby girl last week! Congrats!

 
My mom also drove down to join us that day. She ended up walking 7 miles, most of which I got to walk with her! I'm so glad she got to see what The Longest Day is all about. She really enjoyed herself and even took home the name sign with her dad's name on it:
 

 I get my badassery from this woman. Clearly.


The hours ticked on and the miles kept piling up. I ended up with 45.5 miles total, which is a few more than the 42.25 I did last year. The only thing that really hurt was the bottoms of my feet, but overall I felt really good throughout the day (and in the days afterwards too!)

 
Everyone else was hurting too, but we all joined together to walk the last lap of the day.

 
After the last lap we launched balloons in honor of those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.


 
 
A million thank yous to give out: Thank you to the best team ever! The day was successful because of all of us working together.
 
Kathy, Josh, Matt, Sarah, Kim, Alicia, Kim and Nikki - you are ROCKSTARS!
 
Thank you to everyone who joined us on the track. Those 700 miles mean a lot to a lot of people.
 
Thank you to everyone who sent us encouragement throughout the day and in the days leading up to the event. Having your support means more than you know.
 
Thank you to everyone who donated. Our tally at the moment is just over $9,300 raised for the Alzheimer's Association. In year 1 we raised $3,900 and in year 2 we raised $5,900. I cannot believe how much this has grown. I am in awe of everyone's generosity!
  
 


Of course this post doesn't sum up the whole day, but that would be impossible. (and really, really long. hah!)  I can't wait to see what future years will bring!

Hopefully more marching bands!



P.S. If after reading all of this you would like to donate, there are still a few days to do so. Our fundraising page is here.