Tag Archives: medals

Digital Running “Time of the Season” Challenge

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When I was training for the 2014 Dopey Challenge in Walt Disney World, I was introduced to Digital Running.  The website offers a place for other runners to meet and participate in team relays, share information, training plans, and more.  You can also register and participate in online challenges.  In 2013, I registered for the Hat Trick and Grand Slam Challenge, which were completed at the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend where I ran a 5km, 10km, half marathon and full marathon.  I also registered for the Interstate Challenge where I needed to complete an event in both Canada and USA.  

   

 

Since I am a bling addict, I registered in March 2014 for the “Time of the Season” challenge.  For a full year, I needed to log an event of 5km or longer, at least one per month.  Each event would be verified, and once I completed three months in a row, I would earn a pie piece towards a giant medal.

Tricky part was finding a chip-timed event nearby once the weather got cold.  I could not find a chip-timed event in December, only local fun run 5km events.  I still did those events (Santa Shuffle and Resolution Run 5km) but they wouldn’t be officially counted.  Luckily, a one-time “free pass” was issued if you couldn’t get a timed event in.

  

My final event for this challenge was the Hyptothermic Half in Calgary, Alberta.  It was tough to find a February event in Alberta, but I am glad I did as this event was where I ran my 1:35 half personal best!  Soon, after logging this event on my member page, the final piece of my “medal” came.

  

Virtual races and challenges aren’t something I always sign up for, and they aren’t for everyone.  But when I found something fun like this, which encouraged me to compete in events each month for a full year, I couldn’t pass it up!  

 

Millarville Run to the Farmers’ Market 2014—Race Report

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Today was the 3rd Annual Millarville Run to the Farmer’s Market Half Marathon. Last year, I ran this event, and you can find the recap here: Millarville 2013

I had such a positive experience at this event last year, that I decided to run it again! Two things were different though: I didn’t go up the night before, and the weather was cool and had a slight drizzle!

My alarm was scheduled for 3:45 AM today, but I woke up naturally at 3:43 AM. How does that happen? Anyway, if you read earlier this week, the husband and I are on this “Clean Eating Cleanse” diet for two weeks. This morning was breakfast number 7. I knew this “diet” could play into how my race would go, but I was using this race as a scheduled speed training workout, not necessarily a personal best. That being said, I had green tea, black coffee, steamed asparagus and two poached eggs as breakfast…not my normal race-morning breakfast. I got dressed, packed a bag to check, and hit the road at 4:50 AM.

I made it to Black Diamond Oilfields Arena at around 6:40 am. I was able to park close the the start line, went in for my morning-of packet pickup, and got myself situated. Packet pickup was smooth, and the shirts are great. Same logo as last year, but different size, orientation, and shirt color.

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The bag check was located right behind the start line, and I was able to drop my bag about 10 minutes before the 7:30 am Half Marathon gun. One thing to note about this event—they have a half marathon, a half marathon relay, an 8 miler, and new this year was the 8-Mile “Bun Run”, where participants had to consume a homemade cinnamon roll from a local bakery at (I think) two different locations during the race before proceeding! The half marathon also offered a 7:00 AM early start for walkers, where I say about 20 people took part.

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I started off the race feeling very solid! The weather was in my favour, and I pumped out a 7:26, 7:51, 7:27, 7:35, and 7:29 for the first five miles. I will note, though, that the first portion of the course had little to no incline, and was mostly flat, or rolling country roads. So what goes down…must eventually go up.

After the relay exchange point was where we hit the first substantial hill. I made mile six in 8:04. No biggie, I still had a great average pace. If I wanted to beat my 1:38:40 personal best from March it could still happen. My legs got a little tight from the climb, but started to loosen during mile seven and eight, where i ran 8:00 and 7:55.

Then came the rural highway from hell.

If you look at this overview map from my NikePlus app, you can see that long, long straightaway, which I would like to nickname “The Mindfuck.” It isn’t just a straight shot for nearly 4 miles, but it’s a straight shot that then keeps rolling upwards, going flat, then climbing up again. During mile 9 and 10 is when I started to feel the tightness in my quads and hip flexors. While I kept telling myself to go for a 7:45 for both these miles, my legs just couldn’t. I ran an 8:35 and 8:11.

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After the climb that wouldn’t end, I looked at my watch around 10.33 miles. I looked at the average pace (which was around 7:49/7:50 a mile) and I quickly assessed my pain level. I also thought about the training I had all summer ahead of me, and most importantly the big Boston Qualifying race I have in Edmonton in August. At that point, I quickly decided to run smart and run slower, coasting into the finish line. I did not quit—I just weighed my options and realized since a PB wasn’t going to happen, it wasn’t worth killing it to just run somewhere in the 1:40s. So mile 11-13 were 8:40, 9:04, and 8:15, which brought me in at 1:44.32.

After walking off the soreness in my leg, I received my sweet handmade bling, and then I broke our cleanse rule and devoured a quarter of a cheese bagel. Sorry Dan! And I also downed a bottle of water. I also immediately felt at ease with how I did! Last year, I ran this same event in a 1:52.10….I ran almost 8 minutes faster! Sure, I was 6 minutes off my personal best, but the improvement I have had over the past year and a half of doing all these races makes it all fine! I finished 36/331 overall runners, 12/213 females, and 8/47 in the 20-29 female category. You can’t have a personal best every race, and sometimes running smarter and safer is key, so that the “Big Show” goes as planned!

How did I feel after? Legs were sore, my knee was fine….but my stomach was beating me up. Did not hurt till after the race. I wanted to keel over into fetal position during the shuttle ride back to the start line, and while I drove back to Lethbridge, I had to stop at a Wayside before Claresholm. This is when I laid in the back seat on Snoopy’s blanket, wincing in pain, and napped for one hour. I did eventually make it back to Lethbridge, and now 10 hours post race, my stomach seems to have settled. Lesson learned—-don’t expect to feel like a rock star after a half marathon when you are on some whack job clean eating cleanse! Next half marathon is the Stampede Road Race in Calgary on Sunday, July 6th. I WILL NOT be on a weird diet then!

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Woody’s RV World Red Deer Half Marathon 2014-Race Recap

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My previous post was about my preparation for the Woody’s RV World Red Deer Half Marathon. Today, I am going to recap the race and let you know if my goal came to be!

This is the fourth year I have ran the Red Deer Half Marathon. I ran in 2010, 2012, 2013, and now this year. It is convenient in that my in laws live in Red Deer, but it is also a great race! The volunteers are fantastic, and swag is pretty great (with one complaint) and the course is gorgeous.

Pick up was no issue at all, as usual. Stopped to get my goods on Friday night, so I had plenty of time to then relax on Saturday I forgot BodyGlide and HoneyStinger Chews, which then caused me to go back to the expo and purchase these. (I didn’t know where any other running store was in town so this was easiest!). Had some pasta with the family Saturday night, threw back a beer that evening (per usual pre race plan) and went to bed early. 6:00 am alarm came fast!

I did my pre-race ritual of eating oatmeal and drinking coffee. I taped myself up, put on some Voltaren 10% on my knee, and headed outside for a warmup. I wanted to get more than 13.1 miles in today, so I planned on doing a 1 mile warmup before the race. I ended up doing about 1.5 miles, but thankfully I did this as I determined I was dressed too warm. Sure, it was raining, but I was already warm with a short sleeve Lululemon shirt on, so I quickly put on a tank, got on a garbage bag to protect myself from the rain, and walked to the start line.

I cut it pretty close this year, arriving at the start line at probably 7:53. It is nearly a mile from my in-laws house and I was power walking it. I got positioned in the corral, Oh Canada was sang, and away we went! You can notice how confused I am at that very moment by looking at the photo found on the front page of the Red Deer Advocate. Nice.

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So my goal this race was to pace it like I will when running in Calgary on June 1st for my full; an 8:00 minute per mile pace. I knew my first mile was going to be a crapshoot, and I actually ended up going too slow! I ran mile 1 in 8:14! I set my Nike plus GPS watch to Average Pace so I could watch it work the way back down to 8:00. Miles 2-5 clocked in at 7:58, 8:01, 7:55, and 7:47, respectively.

The course is gorgeous, and follows the trail system on the Red Deer River. I have ran these trails many times, even though I don’t live in Red Deer, as they are convenient to my in-laws place. Familiarity does help a ton when you are shooting for a specific time in a race, as I knew when certain hills or hazards were coming. As I approached one tricky hill on the south side of the Red Deer river, I started talking with a lady around my age about her pace. Her name was Christy—she was doing the full and was going for 3:30! She was running the same pace as me, but obviously I was only doing the half. For the rest of the course, until she kept going to finish her full, we stuck near each other. Using each other as pace buddies was helpful! I had slowed a bit on that hill, hitting an 8:25 for mile 6, but then got back on track with help from Christy. We ran miles 7-12 in 7:51, 7:56, 8:15, 7:52, 7:53, and 8:02.

I had to run the last mile alone, as the full course forked to the left. I headed behind Lindsay Thurber High School, up Michener Hill, and coasted down to the finish line. This last “mile” took me about 7:00. I put mile in quotes because throughout the race I did not have to weave through traffic much, I hugged the curves, and I ran the tangents. My little legs need any advantage possible. I crossed the finish line comfortable with a time of 1:43.09…and I felt great!

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I was met at the finish line with my finisher’s medal, water, a banana, and one of those space blankets. My only petty complaint about this race is the medal, as this is now the third year in a row the medal has had the same design on the front face, with the backside date being the only thing that changed. After receiving those goodies, I was greeted by my father-in-law and my beagle Snoopy. Snoopy was not thrilled as the rain was now really coming down. I had to get a finisher’s photo with him, because I realized earlier last week that I had a photo with my silly beagle every year at this race! Apparently it is a tradition!

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I had met my “goal” for this race-I completed the half marathon at the same pace I plan on doing my full marathon. And most importantly, I felt like I could keep on going. It is now Tuesday evening and I am not sore one bit! I took yesterday off, but ran a comfortable 6 miles this evening, and I don’t even have knee pain! I am more ready than ever before to attempt to earn the coveted Boston Qualifying time. Less than two weeks….!

A shoutout to Christy, who did meet her goal, finishing the Red Deer Full Marathon in 3:29:00! Boston Qualifier!

How Do I Sum Up 2013?

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There is that. That picture is worth a thousand words.

While this is a mix of finisher medals, placing medals, and challenge medals….they all share in common that they are some pieces of special bling I earned during 2013. I registered and competed in 21 unique races so far in 2013.…I say “so far” as I will be doing race 22 tomorrow when I run the Brita Resolution Run 5km with my good friend Kelly! The mix of races I ran this year weighted heavily on half marathons, along with some 10kms and unique distance 10-miler and 35 km trail races. I also got snatched into the whirlwind that are Spartan Races, where I completed 3 Sprints (5km), 1 Super (14km) and 1 Beast (21km) which earned me a coveted Trifecta Tribe medal!

Those aren’t the only important numbers of 2013.…I went into the year with a two year old half marathon PR of 1:54:19, from Woody’s RV Half in Red Deer 2011. I wanted to break that sometime during this year! While back in Wisconsin for Easter……First race out, I hit 1:52:53….holy crap.….I was hoping that wasn’t the peak! I went on to break this NEW PR three more times during 2013! My best ended up occurring up in high elevation-ville of Lethbridge, where I ran a 1:41:07 at the Bare Bones Half! I never thought I would now be setting my sights at sub 1:40!

More numbers…..1155 & 1621. These are the dollar amounts I have fundraised so far for the Heart & Stroke Foundation (Canada) and the American Heart Association, respectively. I began this fundraising journey at the start of 2013, with the roll-out of this very website. My year would be devoted to running more races than my previous years, and all races would be ran in memory of my father, Andrew Lammers. This April 25th marked the 9th year since his passing. He was only 51.

While the medals are the tangible item I can now hold in my hand to reflect and remember the races of this year, there is much more that I have gained by competing in this ridiculous number of events. The personal bests…the fundraising goals being met and surpassed…the new race experiences….doing it all for Dad…….and now it’s one week until I leave for the culminating event of the year….the Dopey Challenge….2013 has been an amazing year. I can’t wait for the start of 2014!

Bare Bones Race Recap/Still in Shock/Training Pays Off/Didn’t Expect this Today/Love You Dad

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Today was without question the most successful race of my road race career. And I didn’t expect it to be.

Ok, first off, the last two days was spent with the WCHS Cross Country team up in Drayton Valley, Alberta, for Provincials. Don’t know where Drayton Valley is? Don’t worry—-bet most people don’t. It’s 6 hours north west of Lethbridge. And it’s small. Anyway, we took our six qualified athletes up Friday, they competed Saturday, drove them back last night, and got in at 11 pm. The kids had a great weekend, and us coaches were so proud of how they conducted themselves and how they ran.

But, I was worried about how the mixture of standing/running back and forth at the meet, plus the sitting in a bus for 6 hours each way, plus my still having a cold (and the fact I ate poutine from Wendy’s for dinner on Saturday) would effect my race on Sunday. When I got home at 11:30 pm, I was still wide awake, so I sort of unpacked and laid my race clothes out for the morning. Then I was still hungry and ate Brie cheese with Triscuits. And then I had a beer at midnight, because I always have beer the night before a race. OK, now you just know all my dirty secrets. But, please know I am not saying that drinking beer makes you run well. I just know how my system works and I have it set in my mind that I run better the next day if I drink beer the night before.

My 7 am alarm came fast. I ate my oatmeal, drank my coffee, taped up my quads with KT tape, got my hydration belt set, and off to Softball Valley I went. My husband dropped me off with about 20 minutes before race start of the Bare Bones Half Marathon. This is a small race benefitting the local humane society, and all race distances are canine friendly. The most popular is the 5km, then the 9km, and lastly the half marathon. Over 300 total participants in all three events, but only just above 60 in the half.
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The 9 am start came and off we went. The morning was absolutely gorgeous, and I got wrapped up right away with keeping a quick pace. I was passing people who had 9km bibs, and men with half marathon bibs were getting in their spots. At about half a mile, a very petite Asian woman passed me. And by petite, I mean 5 foot, about 95 pounds, but intimidating. Back to her later. My first mile was at 7:19. Crap. That’s way too fast. Mile two clocked in at 7:36. Then mile three was 7:32. Holy shit, what am I doing? I was going way too fast. But in my head I kept telling myself that since I actually felt great, to keep this up, because I knew that ridiculous hill up to Scenic Drive would slow me later.
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At the mile 4 turnaround, I slowed to 7:44. This is a mentally tough location, as you are in the river bottom and the trails turn every 20 feet. They wind so much that you can’t see anyone in front of you. I had no clue really how far the woman was in front of me, because before we looped back we had gone around a circular part….and when I came out of that loop she never ran towards me. I knew she was close.

I hit the hill, which I have now ran a few times during training and races, and knew I could not start walking. As I climbed the hill, I saw my competition walking. She was quite a bit ahead of me but she was speed walking up the hill. This gave me that extra push to keep going. I now have officially entered a competition between me and the 95 pound woman.

After getting onto Scenic Drive, what I am still amazed by is how I actually got my pace back on track. And I’m not saying this in a bragging way—-I honestly have no f’n clue how I did it. I have never ran this fast before in my life…but I was in a zone.

At a little past mile 7, we turned around and headed back north on Scenic Drive. I kept telling myself to stay on the inside curve when possible and that the downhill at just past mile 9 would feel fantastic. Mile 7, 8, and 9 were 7:58, 7:53 and 7:41, respectively. As I descended into the river bottom, I could still clearly see my competition, and I knew that getting a personal best was possible….just didn’t know by how much. The first thing I kept thinking about was dropping some time off my 1:46:42 best time solely so I had a better shot at getting Corral A at Dopey Challenge. As I thought this when I was going down the hill, I then immediately pictured my dad standing there telling me “You Got This!” I honestly kept replaying that as I rolled out onto the trail and into the last 5km.

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The last 5km is an area I know all too well, and have written about before. This is the part that slowed me down my last mile at the Police Half Marathon in September. The reason why I slowed down then was partly because 1) I was chatting with another runner and 2) after he passed me, I never cared enough to try to catch up.

Today I had a pace bunny ahead to get, and I saw her clear as day around every turn.

As we headed into our last mile and a half, one of the event organizers said this to a volunteer as we passed “lead female and number 2 right here.That was honestly the most amazing thing I have ever heard while running. I was number 2, and mentioned in the same utterance as the lead. I all of a sudden felt like one of the high school athletes from the day before as they were in the Nordic ski trails running the race of their life. I wanted to make the podium.

Sorry to say, but this isn’t the fairy tale ending you may be hoping for. No, I did not hover past my competition with ease, nor did she do something dramatic that caused me to win in the end. And no, as I crossed the finish line there were not people there to lift me up on their shoulders and pour champagne on me. But as her and I turned into Softball Valley and the finish line was straight ahead, I heard Erin from Runner’s Soul on her microphone say “Looks like we have our first female half marathon finisher coming on in…….and number 2 is right behind her!” They had binoculars to look up our bib number and name and as I heard her saying my name as I came in to finish, I didn’t care that I didn’t get 1st overall. I just didn’t have a care in the world—-I was so overcome with excitement that nothing else mattered.

My time was 1:41:07. 1:41:07!!!!!!!!. My last personal best was in September with a 1:46:42. I dropped basically 5 and a half minutes in five weeks. And last year when I did this same race, I ran a 1:57:32. I improved a whole 16 minutes since last year. I was just in reflective happiness mode and complete disbelief. How the hell did I manage to do this? This shouldn’t have happened today….my weekend was out of whack…this course had a terrible hill for 3/4 of a mile….how…was….this…possible?

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Later, my cousin Erin told me simply “It’s called training! Turns out it works!” And she’s right. Now, what I did or didn’t do the past 5 weeks didn’t magically allow me to run this time. It’s what I have been doing the past 10 years and more importantly how I have been busting my butt during 2013 with my runs. I have done so many races and also have been intrinsically motivated by my fundraising in memory of my dad and my pinnacle race of the Dopey Challenge. The distances and effort I have put in during my runs have paid off, and I am now seeing the results—-results I am not used to seeing. And I can’t believe are mine. But they are.

Running still is, in my mind, as much about physical ability as it is about mental strength. If someone is just a beginner runner, yes, they need the base and the mileage to get them going and ready for a race. But they also have to be mentally ready to handle any challenges they might face. I was in a mental rut for the last few years with my running and was doing it without any motivation or goal…it was just getting done. So I had to kick up both my physical, and mental game. Trust me…as much as I would like to say that this race was all about my athletic ability, it wasn’t that. It was about my mental ability to let myself go and push myself to my full potential.

I am still in a “can’t believe this happened” mode, and I’m going to be smiling for days now. And you better believe that after I showered, I sent my updated race info in to Disney for my new and improved proof of time for Dopey Challenge. Now let’s see if that 1:41:07 can get me Corral A in January!

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School has Begun, Motivation is High…How is Dopey Going to Fit in….?

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People who are on here who have not met me in real life may not know I am a high school math teacher. School officially started for students today in most places across Alberta, and many spots in North America. We all know that the start of school brings new beginnings. It brings excitement….motivation….spirit….and for me, it also got me wondering how I am going to manage to do all I strive to do in the classroom & my school, manage my Dopey Challenge Training along with other scheduled races, keep somewhat sane, and not drive my husband completely nuts in the process.

I am a teacher who puts her time in during the summer. I do this so come fall, I can start off with at least some sanity and peacefulness of what is going on. Or at least what I want to go on. A false security that I am prepared maybe! But, even if I plan a whole new unit ahead of time, three units ahead, a whole course…things come up and changes have to be made. Work and lessons often need to be adjusted. I keep telling myself the importance of time management this semester is going to be key, as after my day at school, I need to make sure I am prepared for the following days of class….thing is, I can’t work solely on school work non-stop 24/7. It doesn’t work like that. If anyone did tha, you would turn all types of crazy.I need to head off on my run.

But, here is the thing: I am afraid that at first I will be feeling guilt about these runs. Even though I set myself a 5 pm limit to staying at the school doing school work each night and an 8 pm limit marking papers at home, if I feel like there is something to work on, I may feel guilt about going on that run. But I know eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later, once on the run I will realize how much of a release it is. Running has kept me calm and sane through so many tough times. It is the best therapy, even after your hardest day. This Dopey Challenge training may actually help me keep a sane mind during my heavy-loaded semester…

I spent this whole last weekend following everyone and everything in regards to the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. Watching the videos online, looking at the photos of the race itself and all of the sweet bling handed out, reading the blogs, getting in on the discussion via social media… I got excited, pumped up, motivated, spirited….all the same feelings I get for the start of school. Now I just have to make those feelings and emotions in running work with the feelings and emotions of the school year, and most importantly, keep them in balance. So here’s to being motivated for the school year and being motivated to earning some major RunDisney bling!

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Race Medal Personalization—Beyond the Norm…

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Back when I was in high school and had a letter jacket, my parents always took my medals to Alberti’s in West Allis, Wisconsin, to get sewn on. If you know anything about West Allis, Alberti’s is just what you would expect—-a local trophy and award shop that is always kind of in disarray, doesn’t have a website, but has been opened for years and operates efficiently, with great prices and excellent service. When I started running road races in university, I wanted my medals to be engraved with my finishing time. Alberti’s did that too!

Below is an image (best I could take) of a mess of my early medals with the times engraved. Alberti’s charges about $3 or less per medal. They are very clear and aligned!

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This was fine for my first 7 medals. These were all races I ran back home while in the Midwest. Thing is, I moved to Alberta in late 2008 and still continued doing races. As I completed these races I would take a piece of masking tape, stick it to the back, and put the time on it. I had been in Alberta for about three years when I decided to try and find my own Alberti’s here in Lethbridge. I did some research, found a trophy store, and headed over. They seemed so confused on why I wanted them to do this, and did not even have a standard price to give me! I know the amount they quoted per medal was around $8 each, and many depended on the surface they would engrave on. The thing that threw them the curveball was this beauty below:

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Only in Calgary would the full marathon medal be a belt buckle. It always is. And it’s awesomely ridiculous. Anyway, this shop that won’t be named said their machine could not do the curve of the buckle. I left beaten and unsure what to do. Will my medals ever be engraved?

Fast forward to the next time my mom visited. Well, lets say her suitcase was a bit heavier on her way back to Wisconsin, as she was taking the medals back with her. A few months later during my next trip home, there were my medals, all engraved. Even the belt buckle! (I know it’s very hard to see in the picture with the glare, but below the date is my god-awful time from that race. Mountain elevation caused major upsets in my stomach that day!)

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Now, I have my collection of medals I have been getting so far this year. As I am typing this today, I message my mom for the Alberti price information….she warily answered, and then asked “are you telling me I have to bring more medals home in July?” (She is coming out to visit on Saturday for a month). No, I won’t do that to her this trip…I am just going to wait until I go home next and bring home quite the box myself!

What have I decided to do while I wait for all my medals to be engraved? My future step is to have a display built in the guest bedroom for the medals to hang nicely—-many online shops make these, and so do sellers on Etsy. I am opting to have my husband build me one with reclaimed lumber. There will be pictures when that is done, but probably won’t be until landscape season is over, as that’s when he will have time to make it to my specifications! Until then, I decided to start embroidering my times on the ribbons of the medals. Sure, my earliest medals already are engraved, but by embroidering the time in you can visibly see it as it hangs. And since I haven’t been able to run since my Septoplasty surgery, I had some time to kill and decided to go back to my Girl Scout arts and craft roots.

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To quote my husband, after he saw my first medal I embroidered “that looks a lot better than I expected!” I’ll take that as a compliment!

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Medals and Race Bibs are NOT Created Equal, but I have Started Saving them Anyway!

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My first ever race I registered for was the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis 5km in December 1999. A team from my high school was always formed through student senate, so I took part. When I first started doing these shorter 5km races, I always looked forward to the usually long-sleeved t-shirt that came with registration. When I started doing longer races, shirts were always part of the entry fee, but they got more prized—they would say “marathon finisher” on the back, or they started to be made out of sweet tech material. The finisher medals took over as the thing I looked forward to at the end of a race, and these were sometimes reasons I would or wouldn’t register for something. The one thing that all these races share that I never looked forward to, though, was the race bib.

The race bib is your number for the race, and really it is a way for the race organizers to label you as a participant. It helps with organization on the day of the race, as sometimes different colors or number ranges signifies the race you are in (10km, half or full). Now in the digital age, these bibs help photography websites identify the runner if they take pictures at the event.

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In my early years of running, I never thought of hanging onto the race bib. It usually got tossed straight in the garbage after I was done. It was until my first race in Canada, the Calgary Full Marathon in 2009, that I for some reason decided to save my race bib. I think part of my reason for saving it was because it was my first race in Canada since moving here, but it was also a different bib other than the generic ones you would normally get. Ever since that race, I would come home with my bib, head downstairs to the guest bedroom, write my time on the back, and file it behind the Calgary bib, which was ironically placed behind my old Wisconsin license plate.

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I have now saved my racing bibs since that event. They are mostly now all Alberta races, since I haven’t had many races back in the USA since moving. And while these bibs aren’t as fun as the bling you get at the end of longer road races, they do prove to hold on to memories. I am stuck in how to best display these, if I should at all. This year, I have used the bibs to fill up an ugly empty bulliten board space in my classroom. I have my medals I have earned so far this year below, but every time I do a race and add a new bib to the empty space, it also provides pride in finishing the race.

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Last weeks’ race, the Coulee Cactus Crawl, provided the most generic of bibs. Just a single 1 in the centre. I had seen a fellow blogger’s race bib post a few weeks ago and it got me thinking about my race bibs. I decided I needed to have fun with this one and bling it out.. This gave it more personality and fun! While the bibs may not be as cool as the medals, I have now decided I need to start having fun with them!

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Race Recap & Fundraising Update-Calgary Half Marathon

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Today marked my sixth race out of eight weeks. Yes, I am sort of going crazy. But, this year is all about going big. All or nothing at all! I went into the Calgary Half Marathon riding high on my major personal best accomplishment in Red Deer last weekend (1:47:22) but this is the first time I have ever ran two marathons two weekends in a row-one week rest! I have now learned some of the limits of my own body!…but here is my experience (this will be short because frankly, I am about to fall asleep!…)

I first experienced RUN CALGARY in May 2009. I participated in the full marathon this year, and it was the worst race of my life.. I have yet to do a race reflection on this race, but lets just say my first experience racing in elevation proved to be trying to my stomach. I have always had this nervousness about trying to do a race in Calgary again. Last year even, when my husband and I did the Energizer Night Race in Calgary, my stomach hated me too. Third time had to be a charm, right?
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Package pickup was at Calgary Stampede grounds, the same location as the start and finish of the race. Well organized expo! Quick and easy package pickup, great shirts, good selection of vendors, and a great preview of the race medals! (I tried taking a photo of all five medals but since it was encased in glass, the 10km race medal got all funny looking. Sorry!

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Race morning my alarm went off at 5 am. I stayed at my friend’s place on the north end, so I was out of the house by 5:25, and made a quick stop at Tim Horton’s for my morning coffee. to the Tim’s on Centre Street down near the McKnight exit on Deerfoot….your coffee at 5:30 am should not taste like the burnt pot from the previous night at 9 pm! Day!. Anyway, made it down to Stampede grounds, parked, and killed some time. I anxiously walked around, toured the warmth of the grandstand where I found legit restrooms, and met up with my friend Krystal from marathon club.

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Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary started off the race at 7 am. The full and half began together, with the 10 km at 7:30, and the 5 km not until noon. I had my hopes set on beating my half time from the previous week, and for the first four miles this seemed possible. Running in an urban setting has its benefits—heavier crowds of people and groups cheering you on, a relatively flat and fast course, and lots to look at. Krystal and I stuck together for the first 7 miles or so, but it was back at mile 6 I started feeling both my quads start to tighten. This was the issue on mile 11 in Red Deer last week, but this week is happened much earlier. I tried to muster through, but by mile 8 I knew I couldn’t keep up with Krystal and for my own wellness I needed to slow down and not race this one as fast as I had hoped.

The last 5 km of the race was a steady decline and we ran through one of the best neighborhoods, as far as local support goes. Some crazy mid 20-early 30 year olds were all lined up blasting Gangham Style and dancing like nobodies business. It is in stretches like these that I feel no pain and I just go for it. I knew way back at mile 6 I probably wasn’t going to get close to my Red Deer time, and I then spent the next 7 miles telling myself it was OK. By the time I finished at 1:54:22 (exactly 7 minutes slower than last Sunday) I had come to terms with the fact I cannot simply PR every race I run. And I can honestly admit, I was happy. I had conquered Calgary, with little stomach pain…..just a little, but I will spare the details.

I managed to find my other friend Whitney, who ran Red Deer last week also. Her race experience this week was similar to mine time wise, and hers last week was also similar to mine. We both had felt the effects of doing a two-in-a-row. Myself, Whitney and Krystal did all manage to get a picture together before funneling through the masses and onto the freebies. It was an amazing race with excellent volunteers and event organizers, gorgeous day, beautiful course….basically the perfect race!

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I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tired.. I kind of want to just go to bed right now (it is 8:15 pm and sleep till Saturday. This is what I felt like at mile 8 of my half marathon during the 49th Calgary Marathon Weekend. I mustered on through, but for once in my running life, I listened to my body and played it safe, as I knew the wear I have been putting myself through during this journey has been harder than ever before. While I am slightly disappointed in my time, I am more happy than I would have normally been if it had been any other year.

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FUNDRAISING UPDATE! If this your first time reading my we page, welcome!You will want to read the PURPOSE link at the top of my page to better understand why the hell I am doing a web page. You will also want to look at the CHARITIES tab to find out more about the two heart disease research organizations I am fundraising for (American Heart Association and Heart & Stroke Foundation. CANADA has now taken the lead over the USA in fundraising! We have now raised $655 for the Heart & Stroke Foundation in Canada, just edging out the $635 for the American Heart Association! My close friends and family know that I am a born and raised Wisconsinite, and lived there for 24 years until moving north to Alberta, Canada. This is part if the reason why I decided to issue this friendly competition as I fundraise and run in memory of my father, Andrew A. Lammers! He was the reverse, however, being born in Quebec, Canada, and then living most of his life in Wisconsin! Thanks to all the generous donations from my family, friends and co-workers!