So many races…

We are so busy racing and living life that I am falling behind on getting the race recaps up.  So…here are the last two races we did.  But, actually it is 4 races.  we like to race.

The third weekend in July is our local town festival.  It includes a race on Saturday morning, the Jamison Kampmeyer Memorial Run-named after a fallen firefighter and local hero.  I have been involved in this race every year for the past 6 years.  In fact, this year’s race fell on the exact day of my very first race ever, when I ran the 5K six years ago.

This year, Jaden decided not to run the 5K and instead to run the 1 mile kids run with Logan.

They got to see their cousins at the race.

The starting line is a little chaotic.  Lots of kids and quite a few parent running along with them.

I let them take off and then hurried off to see them further on down the course.  They are having so much fun.

Jaden ran most of the course with his brother and then took off to finish on his own (Logan wanted to finish with me….a mile is a long way for a 4 year old).  Jaden got a great high five from Fish as he was finishing.

It took some convincing, but I managed to get Logan to run to the finish line.

This may be my favorite photo ever.

The kids love their trophies.

5K/10K start.  Tim and I ran together for the first 2 miles and then I ran ahead. 

I ended up with third in my age group.

Tim finished with his fastest 5K time of the year.


*Local Race, great cause, great people, etc.

*Kids all get trophies

*Loved that the kids race was before the 5K/10K this year.


*It was hot

*Most people didn’t know about the switch to moving the kids race earlier.  Caused a little confusion.

Overall: A-

I love the switch to doing the kids race earlier.  I think the communication needs to be a little clearer.  I’m sure it was on the flyer, but when people are used to doing things a certain way for so many years, change is hard.  I love my local race and I plan on doing it for as many years as I can.


The next weekend, was the Hub Cities Duathlon.  This is another favorite race.  I have been involved in some way since it started.  Last year I volunteered because I was injured and couldn’t participate.

This year, they added a kid’s duathlon.  It consisted of a 1/4 mile run, 1 1/2 mile bike, and 1/4 mile run.  Jaden was very excited to participate.

All the kids taking off at the start.

I love his focus and determination.

Here is his run into the transition area after the first run.

He took a while to get his helmet on and his bike ready. 


He was really looking forward to the bike portion.  He thought he would do really well here, but a lot of the kids have road bikes or bikes with gears and he just has his mountain bike.  His spirit was in it, but I think his bike might have slowed him down.

Running toward the finish line after the 2nd run.

He worked hard because he didn’t have much left in the tank at the finish.

Duathlons are exhausting.

Check out those run splits.  Talk about consistency.  He lost time on the bike.  Might be time to get him a bike with gears.

He finished third in his age group.  Way to go, buddy.

It is only appropriate to have a massive ice cream cone after your first duathlon!

Jaden had such a good time that he said he wanted all of his races to be duathlons!

The next morning, it was back for the adult’s turn.  The course is a little over a 2 mile run, about a 14 mile bike, and a little over a 2 mile run.  They changed the run courses a little bit last year, but because I was volunteering, I didn’t notice. 

Strong start.  Women start 2 minutes after the men and two minutes before the relays.  The first relay runners caught me at just over half a mile.  Super fast!

It is hard to see from this picture, but my back tire is really low.  I noticed it about 3 miles into the bike portion and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.  I know that it slowed me down.  Grrr!

I look like I am struggling….because I am!  It was hot.  And I was having a hard time getting my legs to do what my mind wanted them to do.

Thumbs up.  I’m almost done.  The second run leg is almost entirely on the trails.  This would be great for a lot of people, but not for me.  I am really clumsy.  Really.  My dad still calls me ‘Grace.”  I was so worried that I was going to fall or trip over a root or hurt myself.  I was very preoccupied with keeping my footing.

How I managed to snag 4th in my age group is a complete mystery to me.  Everyone else must have struggled with the heat too.  The competitive part of me wonders how I would have done with a properly inflated back tire.

Unlike the kids, our run sections were slightly different lengths.  First run was 2.2 (8:05 pace).  Second run was 2.1 (8:52 pace).

This was not my fastest time on this course, but it was my hardest effort.  I really struggled.  I know it was hot, and I know I had a low tire, but I really thought I was in better shape.  I guess I’m not.  I think I will set a goal to work hard and come back next year ready to compete.  (Assuming my back injury cooperates.)


*The kids race.  Loved it.  And I loved that they had the timing mats set up for the kids.  They didn’t do awards and everyone got a medal-which is exactly how it should be-but it was nice to be able to show Jaden how he did.

*Wonderful people.  I really love this event.  I see a lot of people I know.  The volunteers are wonderful. 

*The food.  THANK YOU for having veggie subs.  And the cheese is awesome.  And so is the granola.  It is some of the best post-race food.  Much better than just half a banana.

*Lots of transition area spectators.  The transition area is really well laid out.  Jaden was there and was hanging out with my friends’ kids and they were able to see us several times and easily stay out of the way of all the athletes.


*I’m an idiot and didn’t triple check my tires.  Next year, my friend Bill has put himself in charge of my tires.

*The bike course just isn’t all that interesting.  Not much can be done about that.  Maybe I just remember more spectators along the bike course in previous years.

*I don’t like trails.  Everyone else would probably list the trails as a ‘pro.’

*Kids race transition area.  There were parents and adults all over.  They were lined up in the way of the kids who needed to rack their bikes.  I was afraid someone was going to get hurt.  I know that some of the kids needed help in the transition area, but I hope that next year we can find a better way to do that.  I’m sure they will.

Overall: A-

I will certainly do this race again.  (remind me to get vacation next year, so I’m not on call.)  I know Jaden will want to do the kids race too.

Balloon Launch 5K

I’m a little late in getting this posted.  It must be because summer is so busy. 

Last Saturday, we all headed over to Wausau for the Balloon Launch 5K.  This is a new event that takes place during the Wausau Balloon Rally.  The balloons actually take off a bit earlier in the morning—we saw them as we were driving to the event.  The event is at the park next to the small, municipal airport.  I had a few friends from work who were also running it.

Tim surprised me by getting the day off work, so he was able to run with Jaden and I was able to run on my own for the first time this year.

I lined up toward the front of the race and decided that I was going to work hard and see what happened.  It has been a long time since I have given it all I have in a 5K.  The course is really flat (only 24 feet of elevation gain) and pretty boring.  Lots of turns through residential neighborhoods.  It is kinda a bummer because there are much nicer areas to run through.

It took me a little while to find a groove.  I kept looking at my watch during the first mile and seeing that I was running a sub-8:00/mile pace.  I made a conscious choice to not slow down.  I was having too much fun pushing myself and I figured that I would crash and burn soon enough.  Mile one: 7:51

As I neared the end of the first mile, I saw a lady in an orange tank top ahead of me and I worked really hard to real her in.  I passed her just before the first mile marker.  I kept working hard and kept waiting for the crash and burn to hit me, but I was still holding on.  I think it was during that second mile that I started telling myself that I can do anything for three miles.  “It’s only a 5K.”  “Work hard. Don’t quit.”  I came up with any mantra I could.  And my playlist was awesome!  I had it on random, but I got some great songs to keep me going.  Mile 2: 7:46

Around the end of mile two, the lady in the orange tank top pulled back ahead of me.  I think my exact thought was “Oh Hell NO!”  There was no way that I was going to work that hard and then let her pass me.  I stuck with her as closely as I could.  I tried to make sure that I got the inside on some of the turns.  I felt like I was being all strategic and stuff.  Way too much mental work for a 5K.  I stayed right with her for the entire third mile.  At about 2.8, the course made a left hand turn and I got the inside corner on her and I was ahead of her after that point.  One more right had turn and a sprint to the finish.  Mile 3: 7:46

The course was a little short, but I am still going to count this as a PR.  I beat my previous PR by a whopping 2 seconds!

I managed to get 4th in my age group.  Not bad for 400+ runners.  I could see the third place girl ahead of me for the entire race, but I couldn’t catch her.

When I showed my dad my splits, he said that I should work on my consistency.  Open-mouthed smile

I finished the race and watch my friends and Tim and Jaden all finish.  I saw the lady in the orange tank top and went over to thank her for pushing me.  She said that she was so happy I had pushed her.  She was in a different age group and I pushed her to 2nd place.  It was awesome to find someone I matched with so perfectly.

After the race, I was ecstatic with how everything went.  I never imagined that I would run it that quickly.  In fact, my dad was there with Logan and he never got a picture of me finishing because he wasn’t expecting me for a few more minutes!

I am just so grateful that I was able to do this.  After dealing with this back injury for almost 2 years, it felt so great to push myself and for my body to respond so well.  And the feeling that I got after this race fed a part of my soul that I hadn’t realized had been starving for so long.  It was just so fulfilling.  I may or may not have cried. 

I know that I won’t work that hard again for a while.  My doctor certainly won’t want me to.  I have been a bit sore the days after the race, although part of that might be because of the two hour car ride to our family reunion right after the race.


*Flat course

*Pancake breakfast included in race entry

*Nice shirt

*Easy registration/packet pick up

*Seeing friends and getting to cheer them on.


*Really boring course

*Balloons launched before we got there

*Tim didn’t get a shirt because he registered late

Overall:  A-

I would probably do this race again.  I hope that they explore different options for the layout of the course.  And maybe the balloons could hold off for a little while and start launching closer to the start of the race.  And my friends would have to be there again.

Up next…Jamison Kampmeyer Memorial Run…in about 13 hours.

Best 4th of July weekend ever

We had the best 4th of July weekend ever.  I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

We started with a local 5K.

Jaden set a PR…29:04.  So proud of him!

Then we went to a friend’s house for a BBQ and lots of fun in the pond.

On Sunday, we met a couple friends and jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

My tandem buddy, John, is making sure my harness is secure.

Up, up and away!

Oh SH………………….

Check the altimeter.  That is 11,000 feet.

Thumbs up!


Chute deployed at 5,000 feet.

Tandem buddy John thinks he’s funny.

Those little specs are parachutes.

Coming in for a landing.

Post jump.

Post jump jump

On the drive home, we saw the Blue Angels doing the fly by at a local air show.

Then it was time for a driveway concert, featuring the last Grateful Dead show ever.

Best. Weekend. Ever.

June Month in Review (and back injury update)

Is anyone else having a hard time believing that the year is half over?  I don’t want summer to go buy so quickly.  I’m having way too much fun!  I’m running and biking and even doing a bit of swimming.

My June running mileage was 81 miles.  That brings my yearly total to 482 miles.  Not too shabby.

I am quickly falling in love with my bike.  I rode 102 miles in June.  I’m hoping to do more than that in July.  There is something very peaceful about riding through the countryside.

I managed to get in the pool for 3 swim workouts in June.  If I want to do another triathlon this summer, I’m going to have to do some more swimming.

I ran a couple races in June.  I did a few local 5Ks with the family.  But I have to say that my first triathlon was the highlight of the month for me.  I had the best time ever!  I knew before I even crossed the finish line that I wanted to do another one.

I also met with my doctor to talk about my back.  This was a follow up after my last injection, which was the end of April.  I’m surprised that I am still feeling so much relief from that injection (*knocks on wood*).  The ones before it usually lasted about 8 weeks before I would have pain again.  I still feel good (*knocks on wood again*). 

I told my doctor about my half marathon and about the triathlon.  I told her I was really enjoying riding my bike.  She was glad that I was still going well.  But she had some cautions for me as well.  I expected as much.  She said that she would rather I do triathlons than half marathons.  She said I could do one half marathon a year.  Even though I really want to do another one this fall, she tried to discourage me. 

I told her I had run 10 miles that morning.  Her response was that I should not do a double digit run more than once every other week and to keep my other runs shorter than 6-7 miles.  At this point, she was kind of a killjoy. 

She was very supportive of me getting back into more consistent swimming.  I would love to go more often, but it is hard with my schedule.  She also told me that I had to get the handlebars raised on my bike.  Aerodynamics are of no concern to her.  She basically wants me sitting upright when I ride.  I do think that would be more comfortable for my back, especially on the longer rides.  I’ll have to look into that.

She also warned me to keep track of the mileage on my shoes.  I should look to retire them between 350-400 miles.  I do keep track of my shoe mileage on my running log, so I can easily see when it is time to put a pair out to pasture.

All-in-all, I think it was a good appointment.  I understand where her advice is coming from.  But it is hard to try to take it easy when I still feel so good. 

I think June was a pretty awesome month.  I hope July goes as well.  I have a couple 5Ks lined up and a duathlon. 

What is on your calendar?