Race Recap: Green Lake Area 13 dot 1 2014

Half marathon #8 is in the books! On Sunday, I ran the Green Lake Area 13 dot 1 with my sister-in-law and her husband. The appeal of this one was that it was close to home, and scenic. I haven’t been feeling great about training. This whole year has seemed like a wash. However, I’ve put in the weeks and hours and miles, and figured, only goal is finish, upright and smiling.

Saturday night was pizza and an early bedtime. Sunday morning I woke up to…92% humidity. There is nothing worse than a long run in high humidity. It’s hard to breathe. I sweat so bad. The chafing. Oh well. I ate breakfast, drank lots of water, and picked up the in-laws.

We went to pick up our packets and…they had no record of me. I’d registered two months earlier. I had the confirmation email. They had nothing. They were great about it, though, and I got a bib and my fleece in no time at all. Yeah, this race gives runners a long-sleeve zip-up fleece jacket, and it’s nice.

ready spaghetti!

ready spaghetti!

The race started at 8:15 and off I went. The course was awesome. We went through downtown Green Lake (all three blocks of it), along the lakeshore, past the golf course, through the gorgeous conference center grounds, and back. At mile 5, there was this uphill, and it just kept going uphill, and going, and going…that was tough. I’d been walking through the water stops, but this was the point where I decided I would take walk breaks during this race.

And I did. The next 8 miles were rough. I could stop and wring the sweat out of my clothing. There were more (but gentler) hills. The chafing started to burn. By mile 11, my ankle was hurting. I knew this was going to be a personal worst time, and I was totally OK with it.

Mainly because I had the best playlist ever.

At 11.5, a guy about 20 feet ahead of me dropped onto the side of the road. Uh-oh. What pissed me off: the two women between us just passed him up. What the hell, ladies? I’m thinking, “If that’s me, fuck yes I want someone stopping to ask if I’m OK.” So I stopped. He’d cramped up bad. I yelled down the hill to see if anyone had water, and a woman who had some left ran up and gave him her bottle and some Gu chomps. Another person ran up to get a couple bike volunteers. When they arrived – and one went to get a medic – I finally kept going. Man, I felt bad for that guy. To get 11.5 miles and go down…rough.

The last .1 took forever. And ever. I was never quite so happy to see the finish line. Bonus of coming in late in a small race: the announcer definitely gets your name and everyone cheers.

So now, I’m protesting running until the humidity drops. A lot.


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Run Rant

I set out for a 5-mile pace run at 6:30 am. A mile and a half in, I totally lost my shit. Standing by the side of the road, yelling at everyone and everything that would listen. 

This is running, for me, right now. 

I’m sick of the heat and humidity. I’m sick of Jack Jack thinking he’s a sled dog and I’m the sled. Mostly, though, I’m sick of myself and my inability to either go as fast as I want, or hold a specific pace for more than a mile. 

So I lost my shit. I yelled at myself for setting out too fast, then slowing down. I yelled at Jack Jack for going to fast and nearly pulling my arm off. I yelled at my shorts for being too short and causing chafing. I yelled at the stupid motherfucking humidity that I hate every August. I yelled at goals. I yelled at running. 

And then I cut it short and went home. 3 of 5 miles. 

I feel a little better, at least. 

But really, why can’t I run faster? There are people that are fatter than me that can run a sub-4:00 marathon. People that drink like fish and can run a half way faster than I do. People that are just as short as I am that can zip by at 9:00 miles. What the fuck? What am I doing wrong? Am I going to be stuck at this 10:00 pace for ever and always? Have I already plateaued? 

I need to figure something new out, or let it go. 

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On five years of running

Sometime this month (gosh, for once I don’t remember the exact date), it will be five years since I started Couch to 5K, Week One, Day One. 60 seconds of jogging. One entire minute. I thought, more than once during that first 20 minutes, that I was going to die. 

I did not. 

My husband thought running would be like a lot of my other hobbies over the years: a passing fad, one I’d get sick of in a year. 

I did not. 

Five years and thousands of miles later, I can say: running changed my life. 

I’ve run (I don’t remember how many) 5Ks, three 10Ks, seven half marathons, and two marathons. 

I’ve run in two countries and twelve US states. 

I’ve run with friends and acquaintances and strangers-that-became-friends. 

I started this little thing called #sqlrun, and now runners at SQL events get together and run – sometimes in the morning, sometimes at 3:00 in the morning. 

I’ve inspired other people to start running, or move from a 5K to a 10K, or tackle their first half marathon. 

I’ve learned that injury can set me back a few days or a week, but even a sprained ankle isn’t a reason to give up. 

But mostly, I’ve learned about setting goals and achieving them. From running my first marathon to setting the PR I wanted in a half, it’s about perseverance and discipline and not giving up. And that has translated into so many other things in my life. 

So here’s to another 5 or 25 or even 50 years of running. Yes, I want to be that bad-ass grandma running races at the age of 80. 

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Four years

Four years ago today, I woke up knowing, for the first time, that I would never, ever, ever again hold or take a drag of a cigarette. 

1,461 days later, I’ve held fast. 

It’s hard to believe that I used to be the girl chain smoking in her car. That I’d go through a pack or so on a Saturday night while drinking a few beers around a campfire. That I would ruin hiking by stopping for a smoke break. 

Never again. 

I remember the one day about two years ago when I was driving home from work and had the worst craving in a long time. I stopped at the grocery store and sat in my car, bawling, because I thought I couldn’t do it. I thought I’d curl up and die without a cigarette that instant. I did not die. I stopped crying, went into the grocery store for dinner supplies, and went on with my life. 

It’s been the best four years of ever. 

I have two friends that just quit this week. Chris and Ted, if you’re reading this: you can do it. Soon you’ll be celebrating a month, and a year, and four years, like I am. 

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Race recap: Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon 2014

Bucket list race: the Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon. Why? The finish line. But we’ll get to that.

I was stoked for this weekend because one of my best friends was coming to town to run with me. SQUEEE! Erin and I have run races together in Portland and San Francisco (and run together in many other places), but it was nice to be closer to home. (And Erin, if you’re reading this, I’ll go to Ohio next year – just pick a race!)

Saturday afternoon we made the drive to Green Bay, checked into our hotel – half a block from Lambeau Field – and walked to the stadium to get our packets and t-shirts and check out the expo. That was packed. We grabbed dinner at a little Italian place – Angelina’s – which was perfect, and headed to bed early.

One of the nicest things about this race was an 8:00 am start time for the half marathon. No rushing in the morning! Getting to the race by walking only a block was also nice.

Cellcom start

ready to rock it!

Erin and I had a plan to run together the whole way, no time goal, just finish and have fun. The gun went off promptly at 8:00 and off we went.

About a mile and a half in, what did I do? Twisted my left ankle – you know, the one I sprained two months before this. I had to stop to walk for a minute, and I knew that was going to slow me down the entire race (it did). So did the sun and warmth. It’s hard to go from running in 40º to 70º in two weeks, but welcome to Wisconsin.

The rest of the race was great. The course had a few hills, but nothing like Door County. They would have been easier without a bad ankle. The people of Green Bay are awesome spectators – so many of them sat out in their driveways, cheering, holding signs, playing music – I can’t remember even a quarter mile stretch without spectators! The aid stations were also fantastic. Water and Gatorade every mile and a half. Fruit at 6 and 9. Best of all: freezie pops at mile 8.

I was really flagging about mile 10. Erin kept me going. She’s good. I’ll keep her.

The last mile is what this race is really about. You see Lambeau Field. Then you run along side it. Then, there’s a man yelling “Welcome to Lambeau Field! Single file through the tunnel please! Welcome to Lambeau Field!” And into the player’s tunnel you go. You know, where Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi and Paul Hornung and Brett Favre and Reggie White and Aaron Rodgers and Donald Driver have walked, week after week. You emerge onto the field and run a lap around it. The stadium is so BIG. There are a couple sections that spectators are allowed in; it was fun to give the kids high-fives. As I did that, I was looking up thinking, “How the heck to they make it up that wall for a Lambeau Leap? That’s HIGH.”

selfie in Lambeau

selfie in Lambeau

Then it’s back out the tunnel, and crossing the finish line.

That was fun – let’s do it again!

26.2 miles, two medals, two brats, and two beers later

26.2 miles, two medals, two brats, and two beers later

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How much does beauty cost?

I recently spotted this piece of bathroom decor:


I got to thinking, “How much does beauty cost?” I made a list of my must-have beauty essentials.

  • Smiling: free
  • Self-confidence: free
  • Exercise: nearly free (cost of a good pair of workout shoes, and maybe some equipment for your favorite sport – $100)
  • Drinking lots of water: free (don’t buy bottled water – really – maybe invest $15 for a water bottle with filter)
  • Loving yourself: free
  • Respecting yourself: free
  • Saying please and thank you: free

At most, $115 for three-six months. That’s about $1.25 per day. We can do this, right, ladies?

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Race recap: Door County Half Marathon 2014

I love this race. I ran it for the first time last year. I loved it so much, I made plans to go back. This year, my sister-in-law and her husband also signed up to run the half – their first! – and my mother-in-law, other sister-in-law, and brother-in-law’s wife signed up to walk the 5K.

I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. There was a four-and-a-half week break from running because of the ankle sprain. Coming back from that had been hard – and I was running really slow. The race is hilly, for a Wisconsin course.

I didn’t care.

Goal: finish, upright and smiling.

After getting ready and catching a shuttle to the park, the group of us got our bags and bibs and shirts. We pinned, we peed, we checked gear. We took a lot of photos.

we all have our eyes open and are looking in the general direction of the camera. success!

we all have our eyes open and are looking in the general direction of the camera. success!

We headed to the start line. The brother-in-law headed up ahead of me and the sister-in-law. She found a pace group to run with and so did I. I put on my punk rock playlist and settled in for a couple hours of running.

The weather was glorious. It sprinkled just a bit in the first few miles, but I remember this long, flat stretch at mile 9 going into the trees with the sunshine on my back and the wind on my face, thinking, “This is perfect.”

I walked through every water station – and a couple other times. This course has hills, no mistake about it, and I wasn’t trained for that. There were bagpipers again – I stopped to take a photo with one. There was gorgeous scenery – I stopped to take photos of it.

The scenery. This race. It is so perfect. There is no traffic. There are trees, and cliffs, and views of Green Bay, and evergreens, and birches, and a cemetery, and campers. The spectators are loud. So are the birds.

Between miles 10 and 11, a group of spectators had a cooler and were handing out small styrofoam cups of beer. Score! Heck yes, I stopped to grabbed one and thanked them. I wasn’t going to set a land speed record anyway.

Around mile 11, my ankle started to hurt. I’d been afraid that would happen. I took the last couple of miles slow – why wouldn’t I, when I could enjoy the scenery of Nicolet Bay?

When I got close to the chute, I looked for the family, and there they all were, cheering me on. That was so cool. I love that they all come for this race. I crossed the finish with a big smile on my face. Goal: met. It was my slowest half marathon to date, and I didn’t care. A month before that, I wasn’t able to run, and that day, I was able to. That explains this smile.


So, that’s done. My return to racing. The first race I finished since my marathon DNF last fall. It was a long time coming, and it was worth it.

It was also worth the pile of food from Casey’s Smokehouse & BBQ that night.


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