Twenty One 2015

Yesterday we went to place some flowers on my stepdad’s grave.  My kids were lucky enough to have three grandpas for a little while.  I don’t know if Logan will actually remember him, but Jaden will be able to share the stories.  They enjoyed the visit yesterday.

Cellcom Half Marathon Race Recap

I believe that this was half marathon number 17.  It certainly wasn’t the fastest race I’ve ever run, but I had a great time.

Jess and I stayed at a local hotel the night before and got to the race right around 7:00, just in time to see the marathoners take off.  The half marathon started at 8:00.  It was a very warm day.  I left my arm warmers in the car and instantly regretted forgetting the sunscreen.

We had plenty of time to stand in the long port-a-potty lines and take a few selfies before we had to line up in our corrals.  I had never before noticed how beautiful the landscaping is at Lambeau.  I guess I’ve never had any reason to be at a football stadium in May.  The tulips were gorgeous!

The half marathon started right at 8:00 and there were a few minutes between each wave.  As with any large race, the first few miles were quite crowded.  Somewhere in the first half mile, there was a baby bunny that was trying to cross the road.  I have a sad suspicion that the poor thing was trampled to death.  Sad smile

There wasn’t a lot of shade on the course and I warmed up really quickly.  The water stations were really crowded throughout the race.  I was really thankful for the sprinklers that people had set out for us to run through.  Any chance to cool off was really appreciated.  The crowd support was pretty good for this race.  There were a lot of people on their lawns and along certain intersections of the race.

The marathon and half marathon ran completely different routes, so I don’t know what the marathon course was like.  The half marathon had a slow, steady incline around mile 7 that I was prepared for.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the sharp, steep cliff hill that we had to climb during mile 10.  It wasn’t long, but it was brutal.  I think the people who lived there must have felt badly for the runners, because they had an ‘unofficial’ beer rest stop for us.  I abstained.  I don’t think a  small cup of beer at that point in the race would have been a good thing for me.

Around mile 8, the clouds started rolling in and the wind picked up.  The wind was gusty at times and the clouds helped to cool us down a little bit.  It was a welcome reprieve. 

One of the big draws of this race is getting to run through Lambeau Field.  Both the full and half marathon take a loop around the field before finishing in the parking lot.  There were quite a few people in Lambeau to cheer us all on.  One disadvantage for spectators is that if you go into Lambeau to watch your runner, there is almost no chance that you will be able to get out in time to see them finish. 

 

As a runner, the only downside is that your GPS watch is going to go a little crazy as you run through the tunnel into and out of the stadium.  All the concrete blocks the signal.  I remember looking down at my watch at one point and it said that I was running a 3:40 pace! 

After finishing, in 2:12:29, I got my medal and a bottle of water and waited for Jessica to finish.  I was expecting her to run about a 2:30, but she started three corrals after me and I can’t do math in my head after about mile 10. 

After waiting for a while, I started to get cold and had to fight my way back toward the finish line to grab a mylar blanket.

If you look at the graph you can see the one sharp valley where I had to walk through a water station because of the crowds.  And you can see the sharp peak at the end where the tunnel blocked my GPS signal.  (Or, I turned into an Olympian for a short time.)

Once Jess finished, we walked toward the refreshment tents.  Our race bib included two tickets for beers and a ticket for a brat.  We both skipped the brat, but went for the beer. 

I wish I could remember what beers we had.  The one in my right hand wasn’t very good and I threw it out.  The one in my left hand was pretty good and I drank about a quarter of it.  That is all my stomach can handle at 11:00 in the morning after running a half marathon.

Overall, I felt ok running this race.  It was amazing to get out there and be among “my people.”  My pace wasn’t great and I have had to adjust my thinking to accept running a half marathon a full 20 minutes slower than my PR.  But, at least I get to run.  My breathing felt great and I never felt like I was going to run out of steam.  But my legs were heavy and I had a dull ache just below my tailbone.  It wasn’t so bad that it slowed me down, but I was aware of it throughout the whole race.

My splits weren’t anything to write home about.  I was relatively consistent.

Mile 1 9:58

Mile 2 10:06

Mile 3 10:09

Mile 4 10:01

Mile 5 9:55

Mile 6 10:09

Mile 7 10:09

Mile 8 10:16

Mile 9 10:02

Mile 10 10:21 (shocking considering the cliff-I felt much slower)

Mile 11 10:11

Mile 12 10:07

Mile 13 9:44

Mile .16  1:26

I am really glad I did this race.  It was one that had been on my list for quite a while.  Since I am going to be racing much less often going forward than I used to be, I am going to be more choosy when picking races. 

The pros:

*Interesting medal.  If you run it every year from 2015-2017, the medal will make a complete circle with several Green Bay area attractions highlighted.

*The shirt.  Love the color.  Nice fabric.  (the photo does not accurately represent the color.  It is actually a dark burgundy.)

 

*The weather.  I would much rather be warm, than cold.

*The crowd support.  And the sprinklers.

 

The cons:

*Crowded water stations.  The weather was quite warm and I think they could have added more water stations.

*My allergies.  I really feel like people who live along the race course just shouldn’t be allowed to mow their lawns on race morning.  Please.

*Post race food.  Not great food.  The line was really long.  They had cut orange wedges, chocolate chip cookies and cut bananas.  I had to go back for the chocolate milk because they temporarily ran out. 

*Race photos.  I couldn’t find a photo of me in Lambeau.  Not a huge deal, just a bummer.  It seemed that the rest of the race photographers weren’t in great locations.

Overall grade:  B+

Well organized race in a great town.  I would recommend it.

Twenty 2015

Jaden-the kid has an addiction.  He can’t even put his phone down when he puts his shoes on.

 

Logan-Doesn’t everyone practice their tae kwon do in their pajamas with a basket on their head?

Ready for Cellcom

The Cellcom marathon and half marathon has been a race I have wanted to do for years.  This year, the opportunity arose for me to register.  My friend, Jessica and I are going to head over to Green Bay on Saturday afternoon and we are both doing the half marathon on Sunday.

This is the first half marathon I have done since October of 2013.  So, even though it is half marathon number 17 (I think), I am having a little bit of anxiety about it.  My training was only ok.  I had a couple 9+ mile runs.  The first was awful, the second was pretty good.  My longest run was 11.11 miles (on the morning of my 11th anniversary), and that run went really well.  But, I have also had some 4-5 mile runs that have been really challenging.  I haven’t been able to do any speed work or intervals.  I am only able to run slow and easy.  And, I have to remember that the only reason I am able to run this race is because of the epidural injection I got a couple weeks ago.

The half marathon starts at 8:00 Sunday morning.  Jessica and I got a hotel room in Green Bay for Saturday night.  Right now, the biggest concern seems to be the weather.  It has been dreary and rainy for the last couple days and it appears that the same is in store for us on race morning. 

I don’t mind running in sprinkles, but constant, drenching rain; or thunderstorms, can make the race less than enjoyable. Note to self: pack a cap.

As soon as the race is over, we are going to hurry back home to see if Jessica can make it to her daughter’s dance recital.  It’s going to be a quick trip.

Now, even though I am not in top form, it would be completely out of character for me to go into a race without some goals. 

My first goal is just to finish the race with a smile on my face.  I know that I have said this before, but this time it is really true.  It has been a long time since I have run a half marathon.  I feel undertrained.  I worry about how far I can run before I experience pain.  I worry that my stomach will cramp up.  I just really want to have a good time…it has been so long since I have been able to do this.

My second goal, and my plan for race day is to finish around 2:15.  My plan to do this, is to run the first 6 miles or so with the 2:20 pace group.  I often go out too fast and running with the pace group will force me to slow down.  Maybe I can even get some pictures.  After mile 6, I will evaluate how I am feeling.  If I feel well, I can pick up the pace and run ahead of the pace group. 

I don’t think I should have a more ambitious goal than that.  This is going to be a test to see if my body can handle the distance.  If things go well, I may set my sights on a fall half marathon. 

So, if you are of the praying persuasion, I would appreciate prayers to safe travels and pain free running. 

Chase’n Chocolate race recap

Last Saturday, Jaden and I ran another local 5K.  We ran the Chase’n Chocolate 5K that benefits a local domestic violence prevention organization.  The race was held at a park in Wausau and the turn out was pretty good.  The weather wasn’t quite as warm as I would like and Jaden and I both decided to keep our sweatshirts on during the race.

We scoped out the chocolate before the race.  It was good motivation.  Smile

Jaden’s goal was to beat his PR of 31:37 from last month.  He already knew that he was perfectly capable of running the entire race.  I knew that I was going to pace him to his goal, but I wanted to do more than just beat his goal, I wanted him to CRUSH IT!  I wanted him to know that he is capable of so much more than he thinks he is. 

We ran the first mile in 10:04.  That is a great pace for him.  Right at the beginning of the 2nd mile, there was a water stop where he stopped and walked while he drank.  (If you only walk the water stops, that still counts as running the whole race.)  Then he wanted to take his sweatshirt off.  I was lucky enough to get to carry it for him the rest of the race.  Winking smile  There was another water stop right at the end of mile two and he wanted more water.  We ran the second mile in 10:10.  Pretty awesome.

I wanted him to pick it up a little bit during the third mile.  I told him that I would let him know when we had less than half a mile to go.  It turned out that I didn’t really need to let him know.  He picked up the pace on his own during that last mile.  I could tell that he was working hard.  The best part of the day for me came during that third mile.  He was pushing himself and giving it all he had, and he looked up at me and said, “this is so much fun, right mom?”  It is hard to run fast with tears in your eyes.  He ran the third mile in 9:25.  That is the fastest mile he has ever run!

Once we turned the corner and he saw the finish chute, he took off.  I tried to stay just ahead of him to give him something to work toward, but once we got to the finish line I slowed down just enough to let him pass me. 

I realized that it won’t be long before he will beat me without me having to slow down!  He crossed the finish line in 30:05!!  I couldn’t even express how proud I was of him.  It was such a wonderful moment for him and I was honored to be there with him.

I think I embarrassed him with all the hugs and accolades.  (oh buddy, it is only the beginning)

After the race, we headed to the chocolate feast.  They had everything.  Chocolate covered strawberries (I might have had one or two (or 6) of them.), cookies, brownies, chocolate covered peanut butter rice crispie treats (awesome), candy bars, donuts, and everything in between.  It was awesome! 

In the corner of that picture, you can see that I also grabbed a banana.  I was trying to be good!

After the race, Jaden and I got to go to the Science and Technology fair at the local tech college.  This was an event put on by Michigan Tech and geared toward kids.  Jaden had a blast.  I think we went to every. single. exhibit.  We stayed for four hours and he would have stayed longer if I hadn’t  steered us to the exit.  He was completely enthralled by the different activities and it was awesome to see him enjoying something so much.  Especially science.

At the space exhibit

He stuck a wooden skewer through a balloon

Watching the beginning of the chemical reaction

continuing the chemical reaction

His ‘monster’ of a chemical reaction

This is what happens when you eat graham crackers that have been frozen in liquid nitrogen

Jaden in a bubble.  This was really cool.

Jaden running on water.  He would have done this all day if I had let him.

Vacuum sealed Jaden.

I really hope that this even comes back again.  Jaden would love to go…and I have to admit that I did have a pretty good time.  I loved spending the whole day with Jaden.

April Month in Review

Running miles: 80  Not my highest mileage, but I feel pretty good about it.

Mileage year-to-date: 309.  Pretty decent considering it is more than I ran all of 2014!

I ran two races in April.  The first was a local 5K with Jaden where he took 2nd place in his age group! 

The second was a marathon relay with a group from our tae kwon do studio.

And speaking of tae kwon do, I took place in our local tournament and got second place for my form.  I also promoted to my yellow belt.  I am still loving tae kwon do and I wish I could go more often.

I had another epidural injection the end of April, so my back actually feels pretty good right now. 

I have a couple races coming up in May.  The first is another 5K with Jaden next weekend.  It is chocolate themed and right up our alley!!  Then I am going to do the Cellcom half marathon on May 17th.  I can’t believe it has been about 19 months since my last half marathon. 

I am still hoping to get my bike out of the basement.  The weather has finally warmed up (for good?) and I hope that my back will allow me to ride this year.  I would love to do the local duathlon in July.

What races are you training for?