Training Week 297

By , June 28, 2015 5:36 pm

Highlight of the Week: Getting a lot of runs in with Kelly before she moves / teaching fitness boxing!


Monday | June 22, 2015: teaching strength class
Strength: Mixed Mode: Body Bars & One Dumbbell, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Tuesday | June 23, 2015: 5 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 68°/65°, Time: 48:25, Pace: 9:41 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Wednesday | June 24, 2015: 7 m run (w/Kelly) + swim
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 59°/56°, Time: 1:07:16, Pace: 9:34 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Grayslake Pool, 500m freestyle 11:56, 500m breaststroke 14:20, 250m backstroke 6:57
Thursday | June 25, 2015: rest (sick)
Friday | June 26, 2015: teaching strength class + 4 m run (w/Kelly)
Strength: Mixed Mode Body Bars & One Dumbbell, Difficulty: easy (mostly observed), Felt: okay
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 60°/63°, Time: 41:43, Pace: 10:26, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: ok, challenging on the lungs
Saturday | June 27, 2015: 4 m run (incl. 8×1:00)
Loc: hood, Temp: 66°/68°, Time: 39:34, Pace: 9:53 avg, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: okay, hard to breathe

Sunday | June 28, 2015: 7.15 m ride + teaching fitness boxing + 7.65 ride
Loc: home to Efit, Temp: 58°/65°, Time: 33:56, Pace: 12.6 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: calm
Strength: boxing and body weight workout (BOSU), Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, super sweaty, raspy voice
Loc: Efit to home, Temp: 70°/70°, Time: 34:56, Pace: 13.1 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: exhilarated


  • This was Kelly’s last full week here, so we tried to run together as much as possible! Rain and me getting sick messed with our plans a bit, but we did the best we could, and I am happy for that!
  • Yeah… I got some nasty chest cold… thing. My colds usually run a very typical course – sore throat, painful unproductive cough, draining face, finishing with productive cough (which sometimes lasts weeks). This went straight from sore throat to difficulty breathing with a painful cough unproductive/productive combo. Makes me wonder if it’s something more serious with my lungs. I am going to visit the doctor this week if my breathing doesn’t get under control!
  • It probably didn’t help that as I was getting sick, I decided to hit up the pool for some laps, for funsies. I hope I can go back soon, when I am feeling better. I’d love to pay a coach for some pointers in the water! I am a confident swimmer, but I bet my form is all over the place, ha ha.
  • I rode to and from my Sunday class at Efit. It’s a short ride, but pretty exhilarating because some of it is with traffic, and while I am brave enough to go out in it, I prefer riding in traffic in a group (or solo, on a trail). I’m grateful to have one of those sunglasses mirrors for my bike, so I can see behind me – even if it makes me look like a dork!

Link to Training Week 296

The Longest Day 2015

By , June 24, 2015 6:25 am

It’s my second year participating in The Longest Day with Team Running to Remember, and another year of awe, gratitude, and hope.


I am amazed by the passion of my team and their commitment to Alzheimer’s advocacy. I am in awe of those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and their caretakers.

I am forever grateful, and truthfully, just floored by the amount of donations I received for the Alzheimer’s Association. I have so many thoughtful people in my life. And unfortunately, I have a lot of people in my life who have a direct connection to someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. (You can still donate here!)

I am hopeful. I am optimistic. I believe will we see major advancements in Alzheimer’s and dementia treatment and care in our lifetime. The majority of funds donated (see here) to the organization go toward Alzheimer’s care, support, research, awareness, and advocacy. This is an organization I believe in. We are making a difference!

So what is “The Longest Day,” anyway? From here:

The Longest Day is a team event to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. Held annually on the summer solstice (June 21st), the duration of this sunrise-to-sunset event symbolizes the challenging journey of those living with the disease and their caregivers. Teams are encouraged to create their own experience as they fundraise and participate in an activity they love to honor someone facing the disease.

The super cool thing about The Longest Day (TLD) is that you can do ANY activity you want with your team. Yes, our team chose running, but you could bowl all day. You could knit. You could garden. You could fly your plane. You could kayak. Whatever the activity is, the idea is that you are active from sunrise to sunset, as it says in the quote above, to symbolize the challenging journey of those with the disease and their caretakers.

Team Running to Remember has been together for four years. Rachel and her friend Kim started the team in memory of grandparents they lost to the disease. And why did I join? Also in memory of a grandparent. My paternal grandfather had Lewy Body Dementia, and I saw the disease take away the man I knew and put someone else in his body (as well as give him hallucinations, disrupt his sleep, and mess with his muscle control). And honestly, it took a few years for me to come to grips with and be brave enough to face. I selfishly hope it’s not something I go through again, but, the odds aren’t super low.

For the first three years, Team Running to Remember ran from sunrise to sunset on a track. This year, we mixed things up! We ran a 47-mile relay from Monroe to Madison, WI. We chose 47 miles because in 2015, there are 47 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease, worldwide.


Our day started with a sunrise wake-up, and travel to Monroe. We had originally planned to start running at sunrise, but we delayed it until 7:30 am because The Weather Channel wanted to do a segment on us!

And then we were all off! Our course had 12 legs, varying in length from just over 1 mile to just under 7 miles, and our plan was to run the first, fifth (you’ll see why, soon!) and last leg together as a team.


The night before the event, we divvied up legs. I preferred to run more legs together, with less breaks, and chose legs 1-2, 4-6, 9-10, and 12. Another teammate stacked legs like I did, and others wanted to go every other leg, or so. Our goal was to have at least two runners on each leg, and we always did!

The first 9 legs were on the Badger State Trail, a crushed limestone, rail trail (read: flat, yay!). We started our first run off in the fog, which made me think of TLD 2014 when it was foggy for almost the entire day! The sun quickly burned it off though. By Leg 2 (which Rachel and I ran together), it was sunny and started to warm up (63° when we started leg 1 and 68° when we ended Leg 2).


We wore bibs to honor the people our donors donated in memory of

Steven called me during Leg 2 to let me know the exchange point I selected (Rachel chose the overall route and I picked all the distances and exchange points) was actually an overpass. Oops! John ran back to meet us, and we ran just a little bit further to the next major road. That was probably the only issue we had with the exchanges all day! Yay!


Southern Wisconsin is so beautiful! (Northern probably is too – I have never been.) I loved seeing the rolling landscapes and native plants!



Kim and Mattie took off for Leg 3, and we met them half way to cheer them on.


Right before that, Rachel got a call that a local news station wanted to interview them! Neat! I’ll have to post that video whenever I come across it. UPDATE – here it is.

Amy and I ran Leg 4 together and I enjoyed some one-on-one chatting and getting to know her. I did NOT enjoy the bugs. Yikes! At the end of our leg, our entire team ran back to finish the leg with us for the news anchor to video tape. Then as soon as we passed her I stopped to get some bug spray. It really burned when I put it on my neck and I started off Leg 5 feeling a bit… uncomfortable.



But Leg 5 may have been the coolest (literally, for sure) of all – we got to run through a tunnel!


We grabbed what flashlights and headlamps we had, but it didn’t help much! We walked through (as no to trip) and enjoyed the cool air in there.


Kim, John and I went off on Leg 6, after. We decided to do a 3:1 run:walk ratio, which is what John trains at for his marathons. I was happy to take walk breaks. It was 68° when I started Leg 4 but 79° by the end of Leg 6! And there was starting to be less shade on the trail!


I was looking forward to my big break until Leg 9! After I finished Leg 6, I changed clothes and shoes (I did after Leg 2 as well), then we drove around cheering our runners on and going to exchange points. We had four cars – ours, Rachel’s, John’s, and Sarah’s. I greatly appreciate our drivers for hauling us all around, cheering us on, and putting up with our smell!

It was getting hotter and hotter. We started to modify some of the runner plans – Kim took my leg 9, and Sarah ran part of Leg 8 for Mattie. We all did run/walk ratios as to not overheat, and we met our runners mid-leg to give them ice and make sure they were doing okay.

I got to run Leg 10 with Amy, again! By that time, we were in Madison, on the Capital City Trail, in an open, prairie-like park. We ran to the mile mark and walked a tenth or fifteenth of a mile then ran again. We were going along at a great pace, and I was still blabbing away (my sign that I am feeling okay), despite it being 81° when we started and 82° when we finished! The team met us half way, and was worried about how hot it was getting, so they told us they modified the course a bit – we were going to run two more miles (instead of three), then they were going to take more of a straight shot toward the Capitol Building, to stay safe.


So we probably ended up running 46 miles on our relay, instead of 47. But, better safe than sorry (and we still ran A LOT more, cumulatively!).

Rachel, Mattie and Alicia took off for Leg 11, and we met them halfway (where Kim joined them and Mattie left the leg), and again near downtown Madison so we could all run the last .4 miles to the Capitol.


That .4 miles was the hardest part of the day for me! Ha! I had my short sleeve Team Running to Remember shirt on and the sweat was just dripping down my arms. That was my hottest run at 85°! And… I was starting to feel the heat. I was getting a headache, getting sun-sick.

But there was no time for that! We had an after party to go to! This is supposed to last until sunset, remember? John was nice enough to let us all clean up at his nearby hotel, then we went to One Barrel Brewing, which donated $1 from every beer purchased to the organization! Ha ha, Amy, Steven and I stopped at Chipotle first though, and I do believe that was the BEST burrito I have ever had from there. You know how relays are – you have all that snacky food (we had fruit and other “healthy” stuff too) but you just want a MEAL when you finish! (Well, a meal and a shower!)

Somehow, my headache left me at the party! We stayed until 8:00 pm then made our journey back to Illinois. Some of the rest of the team did make it until sunset!

It feels funny to talk about how important this cause is to me then pair it with something that sounds like a race report, which is something that benefits me – something I enjoy! But that is the idea behind TLD – do something you enjoy to honor those facing and supporting the disease! Win win!

I hope I can participate next year, when TLD will be on a Tuesday. I really love this group of people and am honored they include me (and Steven – he is not pictured but he was there all day – driving and taking pics and providing support!)!


Stalker alert

By , June 23, 2015 4:43 pm

I was looking in my “Crap I don’t use” folder on my phone today and found an app in there that’s secretly (really, unbeknownst to me) been tracking my steps, walking and running distance, and flights climbed. Stalker alert!


I wonder in what other ways I am completely under-utilizing my smart phone. Ha ha.

A lot of people I know are in to tracking their steps each day, and I’ve been kind of curious where I am in comparison to the standard 10,000 goal, and now I know. Well, at least now I know how many steps my phone takes with me (I have it with me for most physical activity, but not for teaching strength class, and I don’t have it on me all the time).

I have wondered if people using activity trackers count running toward their steps, or if they try to get to 10,000 steps with only walking. Does it defeat the purpose to accumulate all your steps in one fell swoop, for instance, on a run? If you run at a 180 step per minute cadence, it would take you about fifty-five and a half minutes of running to get to 10,000 steps for the day. I probably don’t have a cadence quite that high, so it would take me an hour of running to hit 10,000 steps for the day – which is a typical run length for me, meaning I would get to 10,000 steps quickly.

But… if I just run in the morning and sit on my butt all day, like I did today, that doesn’t seem like a good measure of my health! I need to move more throughout the entire day! I suppose that is why people get the fitness trackers that vibrate to let them know they’ve been on their bottoms too long.


Heh – it always comes back to “quit sitting so much!” doesn’t it?

Training Week 296

By , June 22, 2015 12:47 pm

Highlight of the Week: Participating in The Longest Day with an awesome group of people and raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association.


Monday | June 15, 2015: 5 m run (w/Kelly) + teaching strength class
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 71°/70°, Time: 49:13, Pace: 9:50 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: tired
Strength: Lebert – bodyweight & kettlebells, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay, ready for a new mode
Tuesday | June 16, 2015: rest
Wednesday | June 17, 2015: 3 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 62°/62°, Time: 28:57, Pace: 9:38 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay
Thursday | June 18, 2015: 7 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 62°/64°, Time: 1:09:56, Pace: 9:55 avg, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: too humid
Friday | June 19, 2015: teaching strength class + 4 m run (incl. 4×400)
Strength: Mixed Mode: Body Bars & One Dumbbell, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 59°/59°, Time: 38:49, Pace: 9:35, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good, but hot
Saturday | June 20, 2015: 45 m ride
Loc: Prairie Trail & Fox River Tail, Temp: 59°/70°, Time: 3:25:47, Pace: 13.1 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Sunday | June 21, 2015: 6.29 m run (Legs 1-2) + 8.95 m run (Legs 4-6) + 5.55 m (Leg 10) + .4 m (Leg 12)
Loc: Badger State Trail, Temp: 63°/68°, Time: 1:04:53, Pace: 10:19 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Badger State Trail, Temp: 68°/79°, Time: 1:41:58, Pace: 11:24 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: okay
Loc: Capital City Trail, Temp: 81°/82°, Time: 1:00:02, Pace: 10:49 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: pretty good
Loc: Downtown Madison, Temp: 85°, Time: 5:42, Pace: 14:14 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: way too hot


  • My calves and hamstrings were stupid sore Sunday-Tuesday. Luckily (???), Kelly’s were too, so I knew it was from the 5K! It was weird – I normally don’t get sore in those spots. Let’s just call it a good thing and say I was waking up muscles I don’t typically use as much when running.
  • I kept the week pretty light because I didn’t know how many miles I’d end up running for The Longest Day relay. But I did get in a 45 mile bike ride, which was a lot of fun! And I saw another fawn, this time, with the mother deer. That is the third fawn I have seen in person this month!
  • The Longest Day event to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer’s was on Sunday. This year, Team Running to Remember did a 12-leg, 47 mile relay from Monroe to Madison, WI. I really enjoyed doing the event relay style, and that I got a chance to run with almost everyone (including a cool person I hadn’t met yet – Amy!)! I’ll share more when I’ve had a chance to process it… and have recovered from all the sun I got!

Link to Training Week 295

Squirrely Wednesday

By , June 17, 2015 12:32 pm

Video by Steven

All that work for nothing! (But Steven, Data, and I were wildly entertained for a few minutes.)

You know it was a good trip when…

By , June 15, 2015 6:23 am

… numerous inside jokes are created


I don’t have a snake burrito photo, so this will have to do. Telestrations is SUCH a fun game. Get it. Play it. Laugh hard. 

… you survive the elevator drop


running is involved




… plenty of delicious food and drinks are consumed


Blue Koi!



Cookout at Christina and Will’s place!


… there’s a train ride involved



… and numerous drum solos!


… you stay up way past your bedtime and don’t care


… you get to see big cats!



… and little cats!


… and a mama deer and her baby


… the home team wins


… you get to catch up with hometown friends


… you get complimented on your new suit at the pool (no pic, unfortunately)

… there’s a best beard contest




The post gathering survey has Luca in the lead… but four people still need to vote!

… you laugh so hard you cry


… you cry because you have to leave (Gina sent me the cutest photo of poor Luca crying in his car seat when they left to drive back to Texas)

… you get to spend time with your favorite people that you don’t see that often!

150607groupatRoyals 150608groupatTom

… everyone follows the itinerary, heh

… it takes you almost a week to write a post about the trip because you are in post-trip recovery

After Christina and Will’s wedding last year (yesterday was their anniversary, awww!), Steven and I stayed in Kansas City for a few days to hang out with Gina and her family, Steven’s dad and brother, and my parents. We had such a great time, we all decided to get together in June this year as well, but this time, with Christina and Will there!

In order to maximize our time together, Christina, Gina and I made an itinerary for the trip and I distributed it to everyone (my mom even printed it out and had a copy in her purse, ha ha!). I know, I know, that sounds crazy, but we had a few set things on our schedule that made it so we could only do other things we wanted to do on certain days and times… and have you ever organized meals for 11 people on the fly? Yeah, we wanted to avoid that. Saturday was our busiest day, Sunday was less busy, and Monday and Tuesday were even less so. I think it worked out really well, and the post-gathering survey respondents (so far, anyway) have agreed. Muah ha ha.

Next time though, the itinerary needs to have MORE days together! Friday evening, all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and Tuesday through lunch just didn’t feel like enough time. Since we don’t see Gina and family that often, our time together feels so intense! In a good way, of course. I lose sense of time, completely forget about work and life back in Illinois, and feel completely relaxed and in the moment. But the recovery from that is SO hard. You miss your people. You wish you could see them more often. And that’s why it’s important to have your next trip planned. And to text a lot. And FaceTime. Ha.

Training Week 295

By , June 14, 2015 4:11 pm

Highlight of the Week: Running with mi otra familia in KC / Kelly getting a 5K PR!


Monday | June 8, 2015: 8.4 m run (w/Steve & Dad (on bike))
Loc: Line Creek Trail, Temp: 69°/75°, Time: 1:26:31, Pace: 10:18 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: ok!
Tuesday | June 9, 2015: 6 m run (w/Gina)
Loc: Line Creek Trail, Temp: 68°/72°, Time: 57:17, Pace: 9:33 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good, hot!
Wednesday | June 10, 2015: rest
Thursday | June 11, 2015: 3 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 60°/60°, Time: 25:52, Pace: 8:37 avg, Difficulty: easy then medium, Felt: great to run in cooler temps!
Friday | June 12, 2015: teaching strength class + 10 m ride
Strength: Lebert – bodyweight & kettlebells, Difficulty: easy, Felt: surprisingly energetic
Bike Time: 38:25, Pace: 15.6 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Saturday | June 13, 2015: Rock n’ Sole The Big Gig 5K (w/Kelly)
Loc: Milwaukee Summerfest Fairgrounds, Temp: 55°/55°, Time: 23:14, Pace: 7:30 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good
Sunday | June 14, 2015: 11.05 m run
Loc: Millenium Trail to Nippersink FP, Temp: 62°/73°, Time: 2:03:04, Pace: 11:08 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: slimy, sore legs, agitated with bugs, etc, etc, wah, wah


  • I’ve officially hit the sweet spot of training – where I am signed up for races but with no goals beyond having fun! Woot woot! This is perfect timing, as I am starting to slow down as I experience nasty humid runs. Ugh. That was my long run this week – really humid with no breeze (where is the wind that plagued me all winter?!), looking for shade in the woods but getting attacked by bugs, the CeraVe sunscreen the dermatologist recommended making my face sweat like crazy (I will give it another try), sore calves and hamstrings from my race on Saturday… gosh, it seems like I forgot to complain about something. Ha!
  • I did hit 1,000 miles run for the year during my long run though! I am going to see if I can get to 2,000 for the year, so I am about two and a half weeks ahead of schedule.
  • This may have actually been my lowest mileage week all year, but that is okay – my body needed the rest, and I think next week will be one my highest mileage weeks of the year. I am running in a 47-mile relay next Sunday for The Longest Day and to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. My team has a goal of raising $1600. Please see my donation page here if interested!
  • It’s crazy how much doing speedwork every week has paid off for my 5K times – they’ve stayed consistent over the last few, even though my weight hasn’t. It would be crazy to see how’d they change if I actually stayed at a consistent weight. Ha!

Link to Training Week 294

Rock n’ Sole The Big Gig 5K Race Report

By , June 13, 2015 4:23 pm

Another successful race in the rain!


It seems like forever ago that Kelly and I decided we needed to make a trip to Milwaukee to get Holey Moley donuts and that June 13 would be the day. A run along the lake followed by donuts? Sounds perfect!

Then I did what I always do when I’m traveling (yes, even barely over the state line) and looked up races. I found the Rock n’ Sole series which has a half marathon, quarter marathon, and new this year, a 5K. And even better – the race started at the Summerfest grounds, which is really close to The Third Ward, where the donut place is. Sounds perfect (again)!

I asked Kelly if she wanted to go for a 5K personal record (PR) a few days after I failed to be a good running partner at the Wisconsin Half. I wanted redemption – at a distance I knew I could handle! Luckily, Kelly was on board.

So we did what speed training we could drove to Milwaukee nice and early this morning! We were greeted with good racing conditions – mid 50s and light rain! I definitely owe the racing gods for giving me nice race temps two Saturdays in a row!

The half, quarter marathon and 5K all started at the same time, but the 5K had a different start location. Good for race congestion… but definitely confusing – we saw quite a few people walking to the 5K start when we were on mile .3 of the course. Hopefully they have better signage next year (it was there, just difficult to decipher)! We only knew where to go after asking someone and double-checking the map online.

The course was almost all right turns, which made it easier to run the tangents. We started near the Summerfest gates, went north toward the Milwaukee Art Museum then turned south to run along the lake and back to where we started. There was one minor incline on a bridge and that was it! It was almost completely flat! And there were a few spectators and DJs/bands/drummers.  I wore headphones* to listen to my own music though, which seems to help me for a 5K.


Map from here

Kelly and I started at the front of the pack and still had to deal with a few people in our way out the gate. After that though, there was no race congestion, even as we caught up with the teams pushing kids in wheelchairs (who started a few minutes before).


I should have asked Kelly what she wanted to do for race strategy. Her PR coming in to the race was 23:56 and I wanted us to run 23:30. I figured I’d set the pace (too fast first mile like always) and she’d be next to me. But she was behind me most of the time by a few steps, then more toward the end. I slowed down in mile 2 for her to catch up with me, then when she stopped behind me in mile 3 because she felt like throwing up, I stopped too and told her to keep running. Pretty sure I told her to barf later or barf while running. Ha, such a nice friend. My splits were 7:05, 7:40, 7:55, 00:32.

I didn’t notice mile 1, 2 or 3 markers but they had 3/4, 1/2 and 1/4 “to go” signs along with the sign for mile 13. When we had a half mile to go and were just over 19 minutes in I knew she had a PR. What I didn’t know was by how much!

We stuck together for the last half and she took off for a sprint for the last .05, finishing in 23:08! That’s a 48 second PR for Kelly! I finished in 23:14. I think** UPDATED we were both 3rd in our age groups!

I am so proud of her! That’s a huge PR!!!


And I was so happy I was finally part of a race where I didn’t crap out on her. FINALLY.

After the race, we went to the car to change (we parked really close for $5) then checked out the post race party. Both of us didn’t realize that Summerfest is an actual permanent structure, ha! It was neat to see it!

150613BigGig6 150613BigGig5

Then you know what we did after… donuts! Oh my gosh. That vegan pear fritter?! Why did I only get one?! Ha.


I’m so happy we got to spend this time together. I’ve run with Kelly more than anyone else over the last year and a half. I consider her to be my training partner. And… she’s moving out of state very soon. I haven’t let myself think about it. I know we’ll keep in touch because I work hard on my friendships and have lasting and close long-distance ones, but the truth is there will be a big void for me when she is gone. No one can replace that. But I will continue to not face it until she leaves and just spend as much time together before then!

A few other randoms:

  • This race had a nice expo! I wasn’t expecting it to be so big, because I had forgotten the other two distances were associated with the race as well. This 5K didn’t cost much to do and included a Summerfest general admission ticket (and a cotton 5K shirt).
  • It did feel weird to be running the shortest distance out of all offered! We were done so early!
  • We ran in to our friend Amy on our way toward the donut place! She was coming to see her husband finish the quarter marathon! So fun to run in to a person we really like by surprise!

*I always play my power song before a 5K. At this race they had music at the start that made it hard to hear, so I listened for a bit then paused it when I heard an AC/DC  song play over the loud speakers. Then they played “Thunderstruck” (my power song) right before the race started anyway.
**The official age group results are all messed up, but we 12th and 14th women overall, and I counted how many were ahead of us in our age groups. We finished 56th and 61st out of 1,449 runners.

Hospital Hill Half Marathon Race Report

By , June 11, 2015 6:30 am

I’m still on a bit of a high from Saturday’s race! I can’t believe how awesome I felt during the Hospital Hill Half and that I was able to run the last two miles as my fastest (by quite a bit)! Two things had a big play in that: the weather and hill work.


I didn’t bother checking the forecast the morning of the race. I knew every day of our Kansas City (KC) trip called for sun and a low in the high 60s/low 70s and highs in the high 80s/low 90s. I figured I was going to be running in full on sun with a lovely side of humidity. Imagine my surprise when it was, yes, hella humid at the start, but overcast! Clouds covered the entire sky! Hallelujah! Even though I had sweat dripping down my arms by mile 1, I was grateful there was no sun in the sky.

And then what was that we felt around mile 7? Rain drops? Woo hoo! It started as a gentle rain then got a bit heavier, never a downpour, and never enough to make it so I couldn’t see (I didn’t expect it and didn’t have my visor… but I did have my sunglasses, which I handed off at mile 5!). But enough to keep me cooler and was it my imagination, or did it make it feel like it was less humid? I was a very happy camper, running in the rain.


Rain, rain, rain

And on to dem hills.


The elevation chart makes it look more scary, but it felt more like this:


We don’t have hills like this where I live, but we do have inclines. As you know, I ran hill repeats and hilly long runs every week, for a month, leading up to the race. Even though they were nothing like what I’d be running, I hoped they’d help, and I think they did.

During the race, the hills didn’t feel very challenging IF I remembered not to chat with Gina while I was running up them! Ha! And not to follow any instincts to drink (water… although, some people did set up a beer aid station!) or fuel. Sure, I was out of breath when I got to the top of some hills, but none really made me hate the race or wish it was over. In fact, the race went by really quickly! Too quickly! (Although, we had so much on our schedule for Saturday, I’m happy we ran the pace we did, ha)



Let’s start the race on an uphill! Woot woot!

But… the truth is I definitely would not be this cheerful about it had it not been overcast then rained. So I’m VERY grateful for that – especially when it was incredibly hot and sunny for the rest of the trip.

And I’m so grateful this was my first race of the year with Gina (and her first Missouri race)! It was a birthday gift from me (wanna see your friends?! sign them up for races in other states, ha!) and a chance for us to do a race for fun – no time goals. I just wanted to finish strong (we did!) and was actually pretty surprised our finish time averaged under 10:00 minute miles (I figured I would be slower, not Gina) at 2:09:49.


Apparently, they timed us on certain hills – fun!


The reason we chose to do this race is schedule related. I had asked Gina and fam if they wanted to go to KC the first weekend in June and spectate at the half iron man Andrew, Will and I did in 2013 (I know, what a fun thing to invite someone to do, ha!). Lo and behold, that race was canceled for the year, BUT! The Hospital Hill run series, with a Friday night 5K (and option for an additional medal if you do that with a Saturday race), and Saturday am 10K and Half Marathon was going on. And it turned out it was the only weekend in June that worked with my schedule. So let’s do this random race! I signed myself and Gina up for the half, and Andrew signed up as well.


Now that I’ve done the race, I am surprised I haven’t heard rave reviews of it before! It has a fun expo with quite a few vendors, plenty of race parking/porta potties, clear communication (errr, minus the race website being down Friday night), tons of water/Gatorade stops (filled my bottle up almost every time), a great course that goes through downtown/a campus/residential/by the plaza/by the WWI Memorial/and yes – by several hospitals, HUGE medals, a cool shirt and flip flops, and a post pancake breakfast (that we missed – that’s what happens when the bib tab says “BBQ” lol).


The Liberty Memorial in background (not me, but you get the idea)


There weren’t many spectators, but the ones who were there rocked – many fun signs, and offers of candy, oranges and tissues. It was so funny to see the Kleenex guy out there with an umbrella in one hand covering him and the tissues while he ran with people to make sure they got one without slowing down. I’m always appreciate of spectators, volunteers and police course marshals, but even more on a rainy day (or in any cray weather).


And we had our own spectators! Steven, his dad, Steve, Luca and my dad saw us around mile 5, mile 9, and at the finish. It’s so great to see your peeps and awesome that they wait just to see us for a few seconds! It makes me feel very loved and honestly, want to perform better!


This is definitely a race I’d do again. And I’d like to try the 5K the night before then the half (which they call the Re-Run). We’re already planning on making this an annual trip! And I know it likely won’t have this fantastic weather again. Ha! Maybe more of us will do events next year though!

A few other randoms:

  • We got lots of compliments on our flowers! I actually saw another gal with a orange Fellow Flower. Gina joked that I should go run with her, since she was my real bestie, ha.


  • This race actually started 5 mins early. When does that happen? Ha!
  • About 5,000 people did the 10K and Half. It was never too crowded but it was nice when the 10Kers split off.
  • I liked that the course was a long, skinny rectangle. I like course maps I can visualize in my head and that don’t go by the finish until it’s time to finish.
  • There were a few drummers on the course! The last set were on the top of the one really steep short hill – it encouraged me to get up faster.
  • Gina and I saw two girlfriends with matching tattoos (a symbol for friendship). Hmm, that’s an idea…
  • I made this post sound like the entire race was completely pain-free but I did have an upset stomach a few times due to cramps. The kind of cramps you can’t do anything about if you get my drift, ha!
  • It was so fun to have this time with Gina to chat away! It’s truly a treat to have that one-on-one time with her (most of our time together is in group settings, which I also love, but, ya know, sometimes you want your bestie ALL TO YOURSELF).




  • It’s kind of funny the last two races Gina and I have done have ended with rain. Fine with me!
  • This race had FREE pics! Schweet! If I would have known… I would have made an effort to find the photogs and smile. Ha. Usually I just ignore them and look for Steven.
  • This race had a virtual goodie bag – I really like when events do that and don’t give you a bunch of unwanted paper at the expo!
  • And I don’t even know how to explain this, but the race director sent out some goofy emails that really made me laugh (one example – channel your inner Pac-Man for the race, ha) – it’s fun when the race emails have a sense of humor in them!

Training Week 294

By , June 10, 2015 6:34 am

Highlight of the Week: Running a kick-@$$ half marathon with Gina on Saturday!


Monday | June 1, 2015: 5 m run + 5.5 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 49°/52°, Time: 47:22, Pace: 9:28 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: too hot
Loc: hood, Temp: 54°/56°, Time: 53:13, Pace: 9:40 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay but tired. And hot. Ha ha.
Strength: Lebert – bodyweight & kettlebells, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Tuesday | June 2, 2015: 5 m run (w/Kelly) + 15 m ride
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 41°/39°, Time: 48:09, Pace: 9:37 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: tired (legs)
Bike Time: 58:50, Pace: 15.3 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good for the legs
Wednesday | June 3, 2015: rest
Thursday | June 4, 2015: 5 m run (incl. 1×1600, 2×800, 2×400)
Loc: hood, Temp: 79°/81°, Time: 47:50, Pace: 9:34 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: okay, hot stomach
Friday | June 5, 2015: teaching strength class + 8 m ride
Strength: Lebert – bodyweight & kettlebells, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay – hot and struggling with headache
Bike Time: 29:39, Pace:16.2 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fine
Saturday | June 6, 2015: Hospital Hill Half Marathon (w/Gina)
Loc: KCMO, Temp: 70°/70°, Time: 2:09:49, Pace: 9:54 avg, Difficulty: medium/easy, Felt: good/great
Sunday | June 7, 2015: 3.3 m run
Loc: Line Creek Trail, KCMO, Temp: 82°/85°, Time: 34:24, Pace: 10:26 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: hot hot hot


  • I might have to quit running on the forest preserve trail behind my house – I stop too much to take nature photos on it! Like this fawn, on Monday:


  • A headache kept me from meeting Kelly on Thursday am to do speedwork. I was bummed to miss doing it with her, and worried because skipping the am time slot meant I would be running in much hotter temps later in the day. It was about 80°F when I went out. I survived. I aimed to hit an 8:00 mile pace for each interval. It’s slower than I would have done in the morning, but WAY better than not doing it at all! My body felt fine, but my stomach did not – something about the heat and sun makes it feel so… icky. Not queasy or barfy, just all sloshy and hot.
  • I woke up with another horrible headache Friday morning at 1:00 am and was really worried about my upcoming trip to Kansas City (KC) – the constant changing weather (and sometimes dehydration) gives me nasty headaches, and we were going to really hot temps in KC. And… I am just no fun when I have a headache (or am sick). But, luckily, I had ZERO headaches in KC despite it hitting the high 80s/low 90s most days and being outside a lot. Yay!
  • Oh my gosh – even though it was crazy hot (for me) a lot of the time in KC, we had AMAZING weather for the race – overcast, then rain for the last five miles! We had a stellar race and the hills didn’t even feel that horrible… and I know A LOT of it is because the weather was so great (and because of the hill work I did to prepare). I can’t wait to write the race report and actually look at the photos Steven took at the race (ha ha, been a bit busy since then!). Steven, Steven’s dad, Steve, Luca and my dad all spectated the race (Gina, Andrew and I ran)! It’s such a treat to have personal spectators out there!

Link to Training Week 293

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