Tag Archives: reflection

First Run of 2015-Not What I Expected

Standard

My 67 day RunStreak ended January 1, 2015. I am happy that I kept with it, because I like staying with goals I set, but I was also glad to wake up New Years Day and not run! I had ran the night before at the Red Deer Resolution Run 5km, a nationwide run put on by Running Room. It is not a chip-timed event, and the draw is mainly to get in a final run before the new year. You also get a really nice jacket as part of your registration fee (I’d say the registration fee basically just pays for the jacket). The weather was VERY cold, barely in the teens (Fahrenheit) and the race started at 6 pm. I had forgotten my head lamp in Lethbridge, so I was hoping someone in the group of 150 plus runners would be near me with a lamp. Well, we took off and three guys sped on out ahead. In retrospect, I could have maybe been able to stay with them given the proper footwear (more in that later) but I stuck at a comfortable pace and ran pretty much solo (well, not pretty much, I was alone!) for all 5km. I finished in a comfortable 24:25 and was the first female to finish. I was happy with how I did, especially since the Bower Pond trails had negligible lighting. The thing, though, that I took away from this event was how at peace I was with myself.

Now, I am not going to go on and on about how I had some crazy-ass personal revelation on the year 2014, or how 2015 is going to play out, but as I approached mile 1 and realized I was alone….I smiled. I was in a “race” but I was pushing just myself. With no one nearby, I couldn’t see or hear anyone ahead or behind me. The sun was long gone, the moon was behind a hazy, cloudy sky, but the bright white snow of central Alberta lit the path. The sound of feet moving through this crunching snow was mesmerizing. Occasionally, runners would hit turnoffs up onto sidewalks, but then would be led back onto the trail along the river. Whenever I was along the river, I was alone…but so incredibly happy. When the race finished, while I didn’t have anywhere close to a personal best, I was happy.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3ea/39584265/files/2015/01/img_6899.jpg

So I took two days off after the Resolution Run. We were back in Lethbridge after a whirlwind of holiday travels. It felt great to be back in our own house. I knew I wanted to head out and run Saturday morning, but it was COLD, not just cold, but downright miserable. It was -1 F or so when I woke up, and by the time I got set to go on my run around noon it was a mere 2F. With four inches or so of snow freshly fallen in Lethbridge, which was on top of some older snow and ice, I decided to try out my new INOV-8 X-Talon 212 trail shoes. I had ordered these shoes in Amazon in November after Ali told me how awesome they worked for her during the Rugged Maniac obstacle race. I wanted these for Spartan Races. But, I knew I could use them on the trails in Lethbridge.

I drove over to Bull Park Trail on the Westside with the goal in mind to run down into the valley to the bridge and back. With it so cold out I didn’t know if my phone would cooperate when I wanted to take photos. I packed it away deep in my pockets and set out. As I jogged from where I parked my car in a nearby neighborhood (wasn’t sure if my car would make it into the not-yet-plowed trailhead parking lot) to the trai, I could tell right away these shoes were different. I was just running through snow, but my feet were flying. I hit the trail, which has shale below the snow, and was still moving so fluidly. These were great! The wind was quite cold on my face, but my body felt good and my feet weren’t even cold.

Before descending into the river bottom, I had to watch my footing as I could see ice below the snow, especially noticeable in areas where drifts had occurred. But the shoes gripped these areas so well too! Even descending into the river was easier than what it would have been had I worn my New Balance!

I made it down to the river and could see foot prints. I was not the only crazy person out there running today. I did never actually see anyone on the paths during my jaunt, but I knew people had gone the same route as me! I headed north in the trail with the river parallel to the trail. Roughly parallel, actually, as this path is more of a goat trail. I have done this path before, and it is now probably my favorite stretch in Lethbridge. Running it in the snow, in these shoes, was a completely different experience. I stopped for a bit (didn’t bother stopping my watch whenever I stopped) to try to get a photo. Frozen. Well, not frozen, but it gave the “extreme temperature” message. I putzed with it a little more, but ended up putting it in my sports bra (heat against my body would help???) and went toward the bridge.

I had to stop and pause and take in the surroundings as I reached the bridge. While I had seen Lethbridge from this vantage point before, I had not seen it covered in snow and almost frozen in time. It was awesome.
As I headed back, I checked my phone again. It cooperated! I stopped a couple spots to take photos before heading back up the coulee. Below are some of the shots I was able to get. These were all down in the river bottom, as once I headed back up the coulee, it stopped working again.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3ea/39584265/files/2015/01/img_6888.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3ea/39584265/files/2015/01/img_6889.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3ea/39584265/files/2015/01/img_6887.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3ea/39584265/files/2015/01/img_6891.jpg

By the time I made it back to my car, I had completed a cold, yet extremely satisfying, 4 miles. Extremely satisfying doesn’t even begin to hit how awesome it was. Yes, I stopped a lot to take in the sights and did not run 4 miles hard, per say. But I felt like I was running in a cloud when I was moving. Much like my run on New Years Eve, I had a smile on my face. I also realized part way through this run that if it had been two years earlier, I would have never set foot outside in these conditions, in this cold, in this snow, in this river valley. But now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. That is good enough for me, and I call that a successful first run of 2015.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3ea/39584265/files/2015/01/img_6892.jpg

Father’s Day

Standard

Last week, I avoided doing school work during my prep by choosing to clean my classroom shelves. I still had binders from my classes at UW-La Crosse! I had emptied many in the past and dumped them, but the few that remained in the bottom corner must be ones I thought I may use??…well, I still had some of my “methods” classes down there. Language Arts binder, Reading Methods 432…yeah, don’t need these anymore. The binders were in great condition, so I emptied the contents into the recycling bin and was going to call it a day.

Until I found my journal entries in the back of my RDG432 binder.

This RDG 432 course I remember clearly. It was fall of my senior year, and we met once a week on Monday. The class was 3 hours long. I initially dreaded it, because I really had no interest in teaching reading or language arts, but I came to enjoy it. Part of it was the professor, Michelle Boge. She was very humorous, approachable, and realistic. The journal entry activity was something she did with us at the start of a few of our classes, as it was something we could do in a classroom of our own. She wasn’t going to read them, but they were meant to get us to reflect on a broad topic for 5-8 minutes and write. Michelle would write a statement on the board for us to copy down, and then we had to write whatever came to mind. One entry I did was on chocolate chip cookies, one was on my first job of being a caddy. And the one below was on my dad.

20140615-123622-45382056.jpg

20140615-123622-45382413.jpg

Was this a happy day I wanted to relive? Not really at all. But it is still a day engrained in my mind. Is there anything I can do about it, now 10 years later? Not really. Except not beat myself up over it. I have matured and I have come to better terms with the situation. I have handled the loss of my father by running for him, using that time during my races to reflect on our family and the times we spent together. I am still not 100%, nor will I ever be, but I can say I am in a better place than I was in October 2006.

It’s never too late to say “I Love You.” I love you Dad—Happy Father’s Day.

20140615-123318-45198254.jpg

Chicago 2006 vs Calgary 2014

Standard

All of you reading my blog know I have my big race this Sunday in Calgary. It’s the Calgary Full Marathon, all 26.2 glorious miles of it, and my goal is a sub 3:35:00—a Boston qualifying time for my division.

Flashback now to October 2006, when I ran my third full marathon. It was my first marathon other than the now-extinct May-time running of the Madison Marathon. During those previous races, I had ran a 4:27:38 and a 4:48:03. My goal this particular race was to break four hours.

20140526-205437-75277892.jpg
It’s funny to now look back at this race and see how my goals and ability has evolved. It also makes me feel hella old, because it’s now been 7.5 years since that race! I was still fairly inexperienced when it came to long distance road races, but I had caught the bug.

My good friend Matt and I drove down from our college town of La Crosse, Wisconsin, to Chicago on the day before the race. The expo in Chicago was unlike anything we had ever experienced. It was insane and a sensory overload.

20140526-205512-75312888.jpg
The lead up to the race was equally as amazing. Close to 40,000 runners that year if I remember correctly. This was also back in the time when they didn’t have a corral system to start. I just positioned myself in the masses and after the gun went off, it took me about ten minutes to get to the timing mat.

The weather was overcast, a bit chilly, and rainy. I think I was wearing a long sleeved cotton shirt, which now I realize is a huge rookie mistake. Come on—I was a poor college kid. Why would I pay lots of money for a fancy tech shirt?!? Along with that, why would I pay lots of money for a decent watch? (Photo to follow)

The support from the friends, family members and volunteers throughout the boroughs of Chicago was amazing. I got in such a running trance that the race felt effortless. Before I knew it, I was approaching the finish. After a final push, I crossed, with my official time as 3:59:25. I broke my four hours! (even with a crappy $5 Wal-Mart watch too!)

20140526-205615-75375507.jpg
Matt finished his race in 3:00:17. A ridiculous time! He was upset he didn’t break 3 hours, but he qualified for that elusive race held every April in the springtime—-The Boston Marathon. He went out there the following year and experienced every runner’s dream.

This Sunday, I hope to cross the finish in Calgary with the same combined end result as what Matt and it had in Fall 2006—a new personal best, and a Boston Qualifying time.

20140526-205555-75355092.jpg

Running is Good for the Soul

Standard

I am not an “early morning runner.” I can barely get up the first time my 6:15 am alarm goes off to get ready for work.

I am also not an “evening runner.” Once I get home my eyes zero in on food, shower and the couch. I am so done for.

I have also realized over the months that on weeknights I can barely be a “westside Lethbridge runner.” By the time I drive home from work on the northside, I again just want to eat, shower and collapse.

So even though my eyes usually hurt after a day of teaching, and I want to just curl into fetal position and sleep, I have found that the best time for me to successfully pound out on the pavement is right after school. Sometimes I run with my track & field kids….sometimes I run solo.

I often run through the northside neighbourhoods, but sometimes I head down to the river bottom trails. That’s what I did today—and I don’t regret it one bit. I started in the river bottom right off of Bridge Drive and took the trail towards the nature centre and the bridge. It was here that I mixed things up.

20140319-190626.jpg

I headed up those metal stairs so I was now close to eye level with the high level bridge. The wind was hitting me hard but the sun was making the wind not matter. It was gorgeous up there!

20140319-190751.jpg

20140319-190809.jpg

I decided to run down the shale path towards Scenic Drive. I headed south on Scenic until I approached the Galt Museum. I had a bit longer to go before my turnaround, so I found another shale path—one I had never followed before. I kept running parallel to the bridge on a path the stretched farther and farther out…until I reached a beautiful point.

20140319-191114.jpg

I hadn’t even know that this staircase existed. If I had had the time, I would have descended into the river bottom here. Instead, I took some time to just take in this gorgeous day.

Someone can have a busy day. A shitty day. A grumpy day. A tough day. A disappointing day. A stressful day. But, somehow, a good run can make all that “stuff” disappear. Running is good for the soul.

20140319-191425.jpg

One Month of 2013 to Go!

Standard

Happy December 1st everyone! The next couple weeks are going to be crucial training weeks in preparation for the Dopey Challenge, and a big push for any final fundraising I may be able to achieve. Here are some thoughts and things going in in my head right now….

Training Calendar
This weekend (Thursday-Sunday) was my first true semi- imitation of Dopey, in that I ran 5-7-13-15 miles four days in a row. If I hadn’t had been doing other races over the past month, this would have been happening sooner, but better late than never. I have to admit that right now, I feel pretty solid. My 13 and 15 milers were around a 9:25 min/mile pace, which I am very happy with considering that today I ran up both the Wendy’s hill from down at Fort Whoop Up and up Whoop Up Drive to the Westside. My mileage total was 45 miles this week, with 40 of it being accumulated in the past four days. The next weeks’ mileage totals go up to 48-51-52 and then drop to 37 and 28 before I head out to Disney.

Weather
I know a lot of people training for Dopey have much nicer temperatures to deal with, but I also know a lot of us have winterized crap. I have fortunately been lucky enough to have had a very balmy, uncharacteristically warm November. Today, on December 1st, it was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit at 3 pm. Now, that being said, tonight there is a blizzard warning in effect for basically all of Alberta and by Tuesday morning it’s going to be very different out. But I am lucky I have had such nice weather so far to train in. I am prepared, however, to maybe have to suck it up and go use the University of Lethbridge indoor track one day when I have a long run….can’t wait to see how many laps I will have to run in order to total 20 miles…..!

#whyirundisney
All of last week, ever since RunDisney announced their new contest, I had been trying to think of what to do. My husband and I brainstormed how to best fit what I needed to say into a 15-second Instagram video. My video submission was done today, and I am pretty pleased with it. I got the words in I needed to say and a few choice images. Who knows what RunDisney will think and if they will even give a second thought after seeing my video, but let’s hope! Below is the video link I shared under the #whyirundisney hashtag via Twitter.
Andrea’s #whyirundisney Submission

Andrea’s ‘Canniversary’
Tomorrow marks my 5 year anniversary of living in Canada. It’s crazy to think five years have already come and gone. So much has happened in the last 5 since being here, and even thinking about everything that has happened in the last year alone is crazy. I had no clue how things would play out five years ago when I crossed that border with Dan and gave up my life in Milwaukee…but things are going pretty solid if I do say so myself. Steady job for myself, Dan’s business is going great, our house is a home, our pets are great fur babies, and the running I have been able to do since being here has been second to none. This year has overall been pretty spot on!

All I wanted to do was put on sweatpants…..

Standard

….but I had to go run 7 miles.

Now, yes….I know….I don’t HAVE TO go run 7 miles. It’s my choice in matter because of my training. But today I had 7 scheduled, with 5 tomorrow, and then nothing for Thursday and Friday leading into my race Saturday evening in Walt Disney World. The Wine & Dine Half Marathon is this weekend….and I couldn’t be more pumped for my first ever RunDisney …. But I am in a weird flux of tiredness from work and being gone multiple weekends for other races, where all I want to do after a day at work is hole up on the couch.

20131105-213444.jpg

Example A.…today, I left school at 4:45. Went and got a Skinny Peppermint mocha from Starbucks, got home, and proceeded to eat black bean salsa dip I had made this weekend. The prospect of me getting out on my run by 5:30 was dwindling. Then, I put on my running tights and plopped on the couch. Not good. Then, I whined to my husband that I didn’t want to run. But I somehow mustered up the energy to get my ass out the door.

I had my headlamp on, as it was already dark at 5:45 pm. Daylight Savings Time really does suck! I made my loop on all sidewalks….out of our neighborhood and headed down to Sunridge. It was once I got onto University and nearing Riverstone that I started hearing this devil voice saying to me “you are tired….turn left now and go home. You don’t need to do all 7!” Cut it short ! See….like I have said before, I don’t run with music….so these voices kept taunting me. I had to ignore them.

The farther I kept looping out away from home, the more likely I was to actually do my whole 7 miles. I hit the point of wanting to run straight home after passing the university stadium. I wanted to turn left! But I forced myself forward, swearing in my mind. Who knows….I probably dropped an f-bomb out loud in the dark. Whatever.

Funny thing is that as I head down the far end of Columbia, with a little under 3 miles to go….I hit my happy place. I started thinking about my weekend in Disney I have ahead….I started strategizing how doing a 10pm night race in Eastern Time Zone is going to be just fine for me in Mountain….at this point in my run it was nearing 6:30 pm….that means last week it was 7:30 (and my body still thinks this!) and in Orlando right then it was 8:30! This night race with no elevation would be great! (As long as he humidity breaks!)

I got home with all 7 miles completed. And I was happy. Sure, I had a million things to mark at home (ok, more like three different class sets of assignments, but you get it) but for my own sanity, I needed this run. Even though I didn’t want it to start, I knew I needed it. I now have showered, cleaned, marked one class set of worksheets…..and am in my sweats. With a glass of red wine. And in 48 hours I’ll be waiting at the Calgary airport for my red eye flight to Disney.

…Life is good….

Reevaluating my Training Calendar

Standard

On August 19th, after my 16 day Disney extravaganza, I started following my official Dopey Training Calendar. Brian Darrow from Digital Running Club had outlined a sample basic calendar for members of our Facebook group (Dopey Training Crew) and he was nice enough to suggest to me which weeks to splice together, as I was starting it later than others and had more of a base of miles started. When the school year began, I had been signed up for the Super Spartan in Red Deer, Bare Bones Half in Lethbridge and the Wine & Dine Half in Disney. Three races during the school year and then Dopey to top it off in January seemed good!. But the I signed up for then Spartan Beast….and the Spartan Sprint the following day….and I got asked to be a relay member for the Grizzly Ultra in Canmore….and I signed up for the Lethbridge Claus Cause 10km….and I randomly just did a 10km for the University of Lethbridge Pre Med Club this past Saturday….

So my three races before Dopey turned into 8….

I have still been getting in my miles needed for my weekly totals. It has been tough due to the hectic nature of this school year, but I have made it work by juggling days in my calendar. Last week Sunday on the day for Bare Bones half, I was suppose to run 18 miles. So after the race, I ran home. It ended up being 5.5 miles back, but I made my weekly.

This week, though, my body started to hit a wall.

I have been taking every race I run seriously, and not used them as “training runs” but as competitions. My adrenaline has been going harder than ever before. For instance, at Bare Bones I knocked 5.5 minutes off my previous best time and rolled in at 1:41:07. I felt like a rock star after finishing and that feeling stuck with me as I ran home.

That feeling turned into immense pain in my hamstrings by morning.

The average person will train some months for their first race, and then take about a week or two off after to recuperate. If you take that race seriously at your race pace, you will undoubtedly feel like crap the next day, unlike after an easy 10 mile training jog.Feeling like “crap” after a successful race is good in my eyes, as it means I pushed myself enough. I admit, I haven’t taken days to rest after each race…..not like I should have at least. But I needed to keep building my mileage base since I will be competing a full marathon in January.

But the pain in my hamstrings Monday morning hit hard. I was going to run 5 miles that day but when I stepped outside to start the run, the first few steps hurt so bad. I readjusted the calendar. The 5 miles in Tuesday turned into 3 miles. Wednesday was 1 mile, Thursday was off, Friday was 5. My race on Saturday became just the race, not an additional 2 miles after to make that day 8. And today’s 18 miles just didn’t happen.

Am I failing myself now? No…but I need to take care of my body so I can make it to Dopey. I could have gone out and ran that 18 today….but I pushed hard yesterday at the Pre Med Hoof It 10km (got my PR with a 46:32!) and just have an overall exhaustion taking over my body from the work during the weekday. I slept a solid 12 hours last night, and I needed it. This morning I readjusted this next week and next weeks’ training days, as I will be prepping for Wine and Dine. I needed to incorporate more of a taper leading into Wine and Dine, as my friend gave me the go ahead to run in Corral A on my own and go for my best time (I hope to get into the 1:40s, and ultimately maybe under 1:40 into the world of the 30s!)

My goals with my races have evolved over the past months since starting. Back in April when I ran in Waukesha, Wisconsin, at the Trailbreaker Half all I wanted to do was break 1:54:19. I did that with a 1:52:53, and I have not looked back since. I went on this running and writing and fundraising journey to do something special in memory of my dad. I was always planning on running more races in one year than I ever had before. But I hadn’t planned on having the sheer drive to keep competing against my own personal bests and to keep on striving to improve. I am excited to see what the rest of 2013 brings with my upcoming races, and I am even more anxious to continue what I have started as I head into 2014!

My Family Saves a lot of Shit!

Standard

Growing up, our family basement was “finished” in terms of the fact it had more than just a sub floor. It wasn’t necessarily a livable space, or somewhere where you would want your middle child to have their bedroom, but it had the flooring down and was framed and insulated. My friends and I could play down there, and it was fine. We had a lot of storage space in my parents house—it’s amazing my mom and dad did not become hoarders! I know as an only child, we have more photos of me growing up, more photos of our family at holiday events…I know I was spoiled growing up with gifts and other items….but with all that, comes years of random stuff being stowed in your parents’ basement. But then, over the last ten or more years, some of that “garbage” has been filtered out and thrown away.

Now, I know for a fact nothing precious has been tossed. I’ve been a guardian of that basement my whole life. I spent many of days when I was middle school aged or older looking through my moms’ family photos. I loved the idea of the past, and loved looking back at it. Photos like the ones below exemplified my grandparents and their families, and we have held on to those!
20130803-214409.jpg

20130803-214358.jpg

20130803-214346.jpg

But other than family photos, there was a bunch of my toys. The things piling in my parents’ basement were random Barbies, board games and hand-me-downs from my cousins. We also had a lot of my school work. The wooden walls in our old-school basement were a stapling ground for anything I did in art class. We also had an old-fashioned desk we got at a rummage sale, that my best friend Ali and I would use to play school. In the desk we stored old notebooks, folders and classroom supplies. From kindergarten and, on this desk was in my basement—and I added old notebooks into in. But later on, many got thrown away. However, me being the master of the basement, I made sure my early ones stayed.

When my family went to Walt Disney World for the first time in 1991, me; being the studious young kid, made sure to ask Mrs. Shrake if there was anything I needed to do. We use to do a single sentence journal entry every day in class, which included the date, and was usually about a topic on the board. She told me to write in my journal each day when in Disney World. Since I am currently on my 15th trip to Walt Disney World, I thought it would be fun to look at these pieces of history (ha!) Here are excerpts from my school journal in 1991, when I was on my first ever trip to Walt Disney World:

20130803-213922.jpg

20130803-214009.jpg

20130803-213944.jpg

20130803-214136.jpg
I have, and always will, remember those first words: I am up in the airplane. I am up in the sky. And it is even crazier to think about these words I wrote back in 1991, while in Disney World with my family, and that I am here now in 2013, writing words about these words while on vacation with one of my best friends.

Race Recap-Red Deer Half “Running: Cheaper Than Therapy”

Standard

20130519-192049.jpg

I will admit right away that the quote above, “Running:Cheaper Than Therapy” was seen by my own eyes on someone’s shirt at the Red Deer Half Marathon. I think it may have been Nike….not sure, but I am going to track it down and order it stat. If anyone has seen these in stores, let me know ASAP. This is my new mantra.

I have done the Red Deer Half two other times–in 2010 and 2012. I haven’t done a “Race Reflection” post on either of these yet, but the past years I ran this race, I ran a 1:54:19 and 1:56:06, respectively. I choose to do Red Deer on my May Long Weekend because 1) I don’t like camping, and everyone else goes camping on Victoria Day weekend and 2) the location is convenient, as my in-laws live in Red Deer and 3) my husband goes on a boy’s trip this weekend so I have nothing better to do!

The course stays pretty much the same year to year. The race starts near Lindsay Thurber High School, which is about 9 blocks from my father and mother-in-laws. It heads toward Kerry Wood Nature Centre, then onto the Mackenzie Trail system right on the Red Deer River. You wind up and down quite a few daunting hill climbs, go around an island near Heritage Ranch, take a loop at Bower Ponds, then they rudely have you finish by climbing up Michener Hill for about 150 m, at I would say a 55 degree incline. The race ends winding down Michener straight to the finish.

The morning was damp, with weather forecasts for thunder showers all day. I got up at 6 and had my breakfast, only to head out for a two mile warmup. My sick reasoning for this was because I am doing the 20 mile Coulee Cactus Crawl in two weeks and I wanted my total mileage today to be 15…My friend Joe had suggested this. Good thing he did, because while it was only 50 degrees, the humidity in Red Deer is something I am not used to anymore. Lethbridge is dry and arid (yes, you can have Canadian cities be arid). I had to take off my long sleeve layer before race time, which I am thankful I did. I met up with my friend from marathon club, Whitney, at the start line. I also said hi to my husband’s cousin, Erin, who was doing the full. She is my age and was shooting for Boston qualifying. (She got it! Just barely, but it counts. Finished with a 3:34:24. I met her at the start of the hill and ran with her up it for support. She said without me there she may have walked!). At 8 am, the half and full marathon started. There were a little over 950 competitors in total, with 801 doing the half. Whitney and I took off and stuck together for the first 2.5 miles. We were really booking it, and then she started to just step back behind me. I kept on moving, and as each mile passed, I got more and more nervous—-I was running dangerously…..was my pace going to break?

20130519-192111.jpg
Since I am familiar with this course, I think I had an advantage. The advantage was I knew where the “dead spots” were and where I would have to find some internal push to get me through. There was many spots where awesome volunteers were located, (IMHO, one of the best road races as far as number of stocked aid stations go! Water and gel almost every 5km!) locations where local musicians were playing (heard a great cover of “Born to Run” and lots of easily accessible spots for everyday spectators.

To make time pass I started calculating what I needed to run the last 5, 4, 3 miles and so on, in order to beat my PR of 1:53:52. I knew by the last 3 miles I was going to definitely beat it, I just wasn’t sure by how much. I could have taken a slow jog the last three miles at 10 min/mile and be ok…but I kept my short ass legs moving. At mile 11, though, my right hip started to tighten. I had worn KT Tape on my right and left quads due to the fact my left one was still very, very sore from The Spartan Race last week. I had an emergency massage on Thursday, which helped greatly, but I had my sister-in-law help me apply this tape the night before the race, just to be safe. My legs were feeling heavy, my hip was starting to sting, and I was starting to regret the two miles I ran at 6:50 am.

20130519-192152.jpg
Mile 11 and 12 were quite a bit slower than all my other splits, but in the last mile I knew I would regret if I slowed down. There was a hipster band playing on Michener Hill as I ran up it—-it was easier than the last two times I had done this race, and I thank the Runner’s Soul Marathon Club for training me on so many hills this spring! One thing I regretted from the last two years is that after climbing this hill, I did not take full advantage of the downhill to the finish. I did not let this happen in 2013!. I strode it out down the hill, and once I saw my mother in law, father in law and my dog Snoopy waiting down on the last turn, I lit it up like I was 17 and doing the 800 meter run….but I think I would have kicked my 17 year old self’s ass! Before I hit my stride, I nerdishly yelled Happy Birthday Snoopy! and waved to my dog (like he gave a rat’s ass he turned 6 that day) and I gave those final steps hell. In Red Deer, you run over a timing mat before the final straightaway and this tells the announcer who is coming in. Hearing him say the information I provided in my registration, which included my name, that I am doing many races this year, and that I am running in memory of my dad allowed me to not care about the pain my leg was in!

20130519-192229.jpg

20130519-192244.jpg
I finished with a personal best of 1:47:22.. I honestly did not know it was possible for my body to do this.. I have spent the last 10 years running road races, but I am now finally starting to race in road races.. The competition in the 20-29 female category was ridiculous—127 competitors, and first place was 1:28:15. I ended up being 14/127 in my category, 32/498 in my gender, and 113/801 overall. I was the happiest I have ever been after a half or full marathon.

20130519-192323.jpg
A week ago after the Spartan Race, my mom and I were discussing how much dad would have loved to do that race. He would have loved the obstacles! My mom made an interesting statement, that if dad was still alive, she doesn’t know if I would have done that race…if I would have kept doing all the races I have done over the years. I slowly started to change my main interest from dance to running since my dad’s passing, and it wasn’t necessarily planned that way, but it has became that. And obviously, this website was done in his honor. It’s just interesting to think about everything that has happened since April 25, 2004. It crazy to me that just by focusing my competitive drive into this website, into my dads memory, that I am doing things in running I never though I could break. Running is cheaper than therapy….but really, it is the best kind of therapy…give it a try!….

20130519-193319.jpg

Race Reflections-I didn’t realize how soon it was until now….

Image

20130109-200936.jpg

St. Clare Health Mission Half Marathon
May 1, 2004
Great River State Trail, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin
Time-2 hours 5 minutes 30 seconds

My first long-distance race. I was 19. I was a freshman in college. I took a runner’s bus from a parking lot in Onalaska, Wisconsin, to the starting line. I ran the 13.1 miles alone. A straight and level trail. When I was finished, I vaguely remember the finish line. But I have no photos. No one came to the race with me. I went back to my dorm room in Angell Hall at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

My dad had his heart attack and passed away on April 25th, 2004…

I left my hometown to go back to La Crosse, Wisconsin, on the day after my dad’s service to run this race. My mom said I insisted on this, to run this for dad. I didn’t show emotion. I didn’t cry. I just went back.

This is my first entry of race reflections, as I look back at all my past half and full marathons. I am looking forward to doing this, however, I didn’t realize how I would ‘feel‘ about it. I honestly had forgotten how few days had passed after my dad died until I looked up the race date online tonight. I think my jaw honestly went ajar. I can’t believe I did it. But yet I am so glad I went through with it.

If I hadn’t, I may not be here now, doing this, feeling this.