Category: Running + Training

Current running uniform

By , May 28, 2015 7:18 am

This post is not sponsored and these aren’t affiliate links. I’ve found myself sharing my favorite running items lately (especially the tank) and wanted to share them here. It’s basically a snapshot in time of what I like to run in. 

Xaarlin gave me a Nike Dri-FIT tank top for Christmas that I am kind of in love with. And have been raving to all my running friends about.

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Sorry to cut you out, Mamba

It just looks like another orange tank top, but the stripes in the fabric essentially have little vents in them that allow more air to pass through the tank. Paired with how light it is, it keeps you cooler than a traditional top. And it almost feels like you’re running without a shirt on at all. Woot woot!

After I wore this tank and realized how much I loved it, I decided to try to shop around and find more. Unfortunately, this exact tank is no longer on the Nike site (this is the most similar), but I did find one on the clearance section in my local running store, and just saw them for sale on 6pm! Yeah… I am going to get a few more. I know this is what I will be wearing all summer long. (I should note, there are complaints online about how “delicate” the tank is, and that it snags easy. Yeah, it does – it’s that kind of fabric. I’m careful not to let velcro touch mine, but I don’t really sweat it if it gets a snag – it happens. Also, it’s long, and runs a bit big.)

Most of my other tanks feel stifling compared to this one, especially the ones with shelf bras in them. It’s probably better I replace some of that old stinky stuff in closet anyway!

Alright, so you know I am in love with that tank. What else will you see me wearing this summer?

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  • Champion Women’s T-Back Sports Bra – I buy these a cup size smaller to keep everything in place. The cup seam placement is key for me on these (that’s all I’ll say about that!).
  • Nike Dri-FIT Touch Breeze Tank – See love letter above.
  • Champion Women’s Absolute Bike Short – Don’t be mislead by the name – it’s not a bike short with padding! I think it’s called that because of the longer 7″ inseam, which is perfect for me. These aren’t compression, but they aren’t baggy, and stay in place. They keep me un-chafed (when I use Vaseline in all the right places).
  • ASICS Women’s GEL-Cumulus – My go to shoe since late October 2010. I also wear the Nimbus from time to time, the GEL-Lyte33 for racing flats, and the GEL-Scout for trails.
  • ASICS Intensity Low Cut Socks – These socks fit my bigger feet and have the right amount of padding and breathability. They dry out quick when they get wet (which is rare, like when I go through a deep puddle – they really let my toes breath, otherwise).

What’s your running uniform? Does any of it match mine?

Training Week 292

By , May 24, 2015 4:44 pm

Highlight of the Week: Runs with friends (my last 12 runs had been solo)!!!

Week292

Monday | May 18, 2015: 5 m run (w/Kelly!) + teaching strength class
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 72°/75°, Time: 47:24, Pace: 9:29 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay but HOT
Strength: 2 dumbbell/box mixed mode w/core, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Tuesday | May 19, 2015: 7 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 47°/46°, Time: 1:08:23, Pace: 9:46 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good/happy it was so cool!
Wednesday | May 20, 2015: rest
Thursday | May 21, 2015: 5 m run (incl. 6×400, w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 44°/44°, Time: 45:28, Pace: 9:06 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: heavy
Friday | May 22, 2015: teaching strength class + 3 m run (w/Dawn) + 3 m run
Strength: 2 dumbbell/box mixed mode w/core, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 42°/43°, Time: 29:30, Pace: 9:50, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 54°/54°, Time: 26:56, Pace: 8:58 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay/sleepy
Saturday | May 23, 2015: 30 m ride + 4 m run (incl. 10 hill repeats)
Loc: Prairie Trail, Temp: 49°/64°, Time: 2:14:24, Pace: 13.6 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, wanted to continue
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 69°/69°, Time: 39:01, Pace: 9:45 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: too hot and thirsty
Sunday | May 24, 2015: 14.2 m run (w/Rachel)
Loc: Nordic Trail System, Temp: 58°/64°, Time: 3:08:17, Pace: 13:16 avg, Difficulty: medium then easy, Felt: good

Notes:

  • Kelly and I got to run together this week! YAY! I really missed my training partner. I’m happy our schedules linked up again this week. But I would be lying if I said my body is still used to our 4:00/4:30 am wake-up calls. Nope. Nope, nope, nope! I was crashing midday on Tuesday and Thursday! I’ll get used to it again.
  • Yay for a few runs in the 40 degree temps this week! What a treat! I wouldn’t mind the random cold day or two like that this summer…
  • I made it to 100 miles for the month! I know, the month isn’t over, but the last two years, May has been a 100-mile month streak killer, so I was happy to get past that.
  • My training is so unfocused right now. Each week I try to get in a hill sesh (for the half I am running in June), a speed sesh (to try to keep some speed), a double (to get ready for The Longest Day), a long run (to keep my endurance up) and a bike ride (to get ready for RAGBRAI). Oh. And there is that 20 mile trail race in July. So I need to start running trails soon (I did today, at least, and with Rachel – and what a fun time we had!). I actually like doing a variety of things each week, but I understand that being so unfocused means I will do nothing well. Just mediocre. But since I run for fun, and my #1 goal is always to show up at the start line healthy and then have a good time (fun, not clock time) at the race, that works for me! Maybe I will focus on something in the fall. Or maybe not!

Link to Training Week 291

Training Week 291

By , May 17, 2015 3:45 pm

Highlight of the Week: Working out with my mom on Saturday and my dad on Sunday!

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Monday | May 11, 2015: 6 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 64°/67°, Time: 59:02, Pace: 9:50 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: hot/had heavy legs
Strength: dumbbell/step mixed mode w/resistance bands, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Tuesday | May 12, 2015: 5 m run (incl. 10 hill repeats) + 7 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 52°/51°, Time: 49:05, Pace: 9:49 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good/strong
Loc: Nippersink FP, Temp: 53°/54°, Time: 1:08:22, Pace: 9:46 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: warmed up after 4 miles
Wednesday | May 13, 2015: rest
Thursday | May 14, 2015: 3 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 54°/54°, Time: 28:55, Pace: 9:38 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: angry then better
Friday | May 15, 2015: teaching strength class + 13 m run
Strength: dumbbell/box mixed mode w/resistance bands, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Around Round Lake, Temp: 65°/66°, Time: 2:16:02, Pace: 10:28, Difficulty: easy, Felt: sweaty and hot, but good!
Saturday | May 16, 2015: 6 m run (incl. 4×800) w/Mom (walking)
Loc: hood, Temp: 59°/58°, Time: 57:30, Pace: 9:35 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: hot, tight legs
Sunday | May 17, 2015: 22.6 m ride (w/Dad and Pete)
Loc: Prairie Trail, Temp: 61°/66°, Time: 1:53:35, Pace: 11.9 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great

Notes:

  • I’ve added a weekly double run workout to my schedule to get ready for The Longest Day Relay on June 21. This will be my second year joining Team Running to Remember to raise raise awareness and funds for the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. This year, the team is doing a point-to-point relay from Monroe, WI to Madison, WI. I am doing this event in honor of my paternal grandfather, who had dementia. Please visit my fundraising page if you’d like to donate, and let me know if it’s in memory or honor of anyone so I can run with their name on June 21.
  • Hill repeats are wearing my legs out! I am not sure why I find this surprising. Ha ha.
  • Why the dirty hand in the photo collage? Hee hee, I was running on the trail and saw a kid with a stuck bike chain and tried to help him. No can do. It was twisted around the gears. They seemed to appreciate my help – they were super polite kids!
  • We’ve gotten some early glimpses of summer humidity this week. Wooza! It was so bad that when I finished my repeats on Saturday I had sweat dripping off my elbows. Ewww! Hopefully running in it now can make it easier this summer…. right, right?!
  • My mom walked at the park on Saturday while I did my repeats. We both appreciated having each other there for “company”! I definitely felt like running faster when I was going by her… it’s probably apparent in the Garmin data, ha.
  • It was so nice to cycle outside this week with my dad and Pete (from Efit)! My bike is riding really smoothly since getting tuned up, and it was so much more enjoyable to be outside (especially with other people!) than to be on the trainer in the house!

Link to Training Week 290

Training Week 290

By , May 10, 2015 9:51 pm

Highlight of the Week: Receiving positive feedback on a new strength workout for my class / doing two days of hill work and feeling strong.

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Monday | May 4, 2015: 3 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: Chicago Lakefront Trail, Temp: 70°/68°, Time: 27:36, Pace: 9:12 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: annoyed with work
Strength: dumbbells/body weight mixed mode with resistance bands, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Tuesday | May 5, 2015: 5 m run (incl. 8 hill repeats) + 5 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 47°, Time: 47:27, Pace: 9:29 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good, enjoyed the mist
Loc: hood, Temp: 46°/46°, Time: 48:26, Pace: 9:41 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: weak/tired/hungry?
Wednesday | May 6, 2015: rest
Thursday | May 7, 2015: 10 m run
Loc: MT to Nippersink FP, Temp: 45°/51°, Time: 1:44:15, Pace: 10:25 avg, Difficulty: medium then easy, Felt: heavy breathing at first
Friday | May 8, 2015: teaching strength class
Strength: dumbbells/body weight mixed mode with resistance bands, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay
Saturday | May 9, 2015: 4 m run (incl. 6×400) + co-teaching Burn & Buff + hour walk (w/Anne)
Loc: hood, Temp: 49°/48°, Time: 35:31, Pace: 8:53 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Strength: One dumbbell sets w/30 sec run/walk intervals x3, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay
Sunday | May 10, 2015: 13 m run (incl. 8 hill climbs) + 20 m bike
Loc: Grant Woods FP, Temp: 42°/44°, Time: 2:15:25, Pace: 10:25 avg, Difficulty: good, Felt: mostly easy
Bike Time: 1:21:48, Pace: 14.7 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, sore saddle

Notes:

  • May seems to be the month of the year when I start to cut back on my running – less and slower miles. While some people eagerly wait through winter to run in the summer, I tend to be the opposite. The winter sees my faster paces and most miles, and the spring and summer are when I seem to cut back – both because of heat and because it’s the end of the Wisconsin Half training cycle. I know I will slow down a lot as it gets hotter this summer, but I hope I keep up a higher weekly mileage than I have in the past! I don’t have any “goal” races on the calendar, but I do have endurance events I’d like to well prepared to do. And I just love a long, slow run, once a week… or more.
  • My grand plans to ride outside this week were thwarted by a killer headache on Friday, the day I had time to drive to a safe trail and ride solo. Another indoor ride it was. My bike rode so smooth after getting tuned up! I can’t wait to take it outside next week! My dad is visiting and we have plans to ride together.
  • I did hill repeats on a 40′ hill on Tuesday, and incorporated a 75′ hill in to my long run today. The hill got easier each time I went over it on my long run, so that’s promising! It’s not exactly what I will be running at the half in Kansas City, but it’s better than nothing! And there are quite a few other hills I can go run where I live. Might as well try as many as I can, ha ha!

Link to Training Week 289

Good morning…

By , May 7, 2015 7:25 am

… moon

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… far away deer

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giant blinding orb in the sky sun

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… baby geesers!!!

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Side note: Each year, when the geese show up in the spring, I start asking Steven (in a whiny voice, ha ha), “When are we going to see the goslings?!” Each year, he tells me “not for at least a month.” This year the first time I asked him was in April, and he gave me the month answer. To which I said, “But I already waited a month to ask!” He was right though – the first time I saw them was today, in May!

… strange weeds that look like little palm trees that I never noticed until this year

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… Mr. Creepy Crawly (he says he’s more of a “G’Day Mate!” kind of guy)

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… hills

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And not pictured:

  • humidity (and corresponding heavy breathing and slower miles)
  • runner with dog
  • considerate cyclist
  • two walkers
  • walker with dog who gave me a rude look and didn’t say good morning back (sarcastic sorry for being on the sidewalk)
  • morning bird who got the worm then dropped it when I startled him running by (sincere sorry)
  • heron
  • seagull
  • baby rabbit

I’ve been a lazy morning runner the last few weeks, but I made sure to get out of bed “early” today and get my run in before it hits the mid 80s here this afternoon. No gracias!

Anyone else work out this morning to beat the heat?

It would be nice to cycle outside this afternoon… if we don’t get those storms they’re predicting!

Oh! And good morning to “in yo face feed me right meow” cat!

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I swear I did hill repeats!

By , May 6, 2015 5:05 am

You know when you do hill repeats, and you’re all excited to upload your Garmin and see the elevation profile? And Garmin is all, “Silly human, you call those hills?! I am not even going to make little blips on the map for you!”

CRY.

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Ha. Joke’s on YOU, Garmin. I have two apps on my phone that make those hills look like SUMTHIN':

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They count, right?! RIGHT?

Ha, they are nowhere near the course profile of what I am running for my next half:

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but that is not the point of hill repeat training. I will take my long run to some hillier trails, with yes, longer than 40′ inclines.

It’s nice to be training for something without a time goal. My goal for this race is finish feeling strong. And not die in the heat. And hopefully not run too horribly big of a positive split.

I’ve turned in to this strange sort of runner that likes doing some sort of speedwork (repeats, tempos, hills) once a week. I know. It’s odd. I am trying not to question it too much, and just keep up with it. But changing what I am doing throughout the year is a big part of what’s making me stick with it – the week by week variety keeps it from getting stale. First I was focused on 5K training (no PR there), then half training (no PR there), and now, hills (not going for a PR, there). So… while my training hasn’t resulted in any PRs… running is about much more than that, to me. Overall, I just want to enjoy it. And I am really surprised that I am starting to with speed sessions. A bit. I still dread the heck out of them.

Training Week 289

By , May 3, 2015 5:06 pm

Highlight of the Week: Giving it a go at the Wisconsin Half and learning a lot about myself as a runner / running someplace new.

Week289

Monday | April 27, 2015: 5 m run (incl. 6×400) + 15 m bike + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 50°/51°, Time: 43:00, Pace: 8:36 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Bike Time: 1:02:32, Pace: 14.4 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay (but sore butt!)
Strength: medicine balls, Difficulty: easy (mostly observing), Felt: good
Tuesday | April 28, 2015: 5 m run
Loc: White River Trail (Indy), Temp: 63°/62°, Time: 50:19, Pace: 10:04 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: happy to explore!
Wednesday | April 29, 2015: rest
Thursday | April 30, 2015: massage! felt so good!
Friday | May 1, 2015: teaching strength class + 3 m run
Strength: medicine balks, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 56°/56°, Time: 27:18, Pace: 9:05, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Saturday | May 2, 2015: Wisconsin Half Marathon (first 7+ w/Kelly)
Loc: Kenosha, Temp: 49°/65°, Time: 2:06:16, Pace: 9:38 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: meh, then better when I slowed
Sunday | May 4, 2015: 2 m photography walk w/Steven

Notes:

  • After weeks of doing mile repeats and longer tempo workouts, it was refreshing to do some 400s on Monday. Dare I even call it… fun?!
  • I forgot to mention this in my post about Indianapolis – it was such a nice surprise to see trees with leaves there! We don’t have much of that here, yet.
  • Except the disgusting stinky trees that bloom in the spring in my neighborhood and make me gag as I run by them. Does anyone else have these trees around?

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  • When people say they’ve lost a toenail, to they mean it actually fell off on it’s own, or they removed it themselves (because it was no longer attached)? Because when I say it, I mean the latter.
  • I had my road bike tuned up this week! Now I am all ready to ride outside! Let’s do this thing!
  • I slept on my right side, with my right leg straight and left leg knee bent. Last week I woke up with a really sore right shoulder, and it’s still been a bit sore this week. I just figured it was from strength class, but maybe it’s from sleeping on it? And that makes me think that sleeping with my legs like that probably isn’t good for me either!
  • Friday was my 100th run of the year! I’ve never tracked my workout stats this closely and it’s fun finding out random things like that.
  • April recap time! I ran 180.2 miles in April, and (indoor) cycled 50.5. I taught nine strength classes and one fitness boxing class. I did one strength session on my own. Weekend classes really quieted down in April. I bet May and the summer will be similar.

Link to Training Week 288

Wisconsin Half Marathon Race Report 2015

By , May 2, 2015 8:52 pm

Well, that didn’t go quite how I expected. But I am totally fine with how it did go!

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Looking at my previous two years at this race, where I’d tried to race something I was too heavy for, and started to slow down around mile 7, I figured that is what would happen to me again today. I figured we would stick to our 8:23-ish pace for those 7 miles, then I would tell Kelly to go ahead and get a kickarse PR, then I would slow down to a 9:00 minute mile and finish under 2:00 hours.

Um… not quite. Ha ha.

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We stuck to pace for 5 miles. At that point, I told Kelly I could feel I was slowing down, and for her to go ahead a bit if she wanted. She said she really needed to stop and use the restroom. She stopped, I adjusted my ponytail that was making me nuts (this was after I ditched a hat that made me nuts!) and ran ahead slowly. She caught me and I figured we’d run a bit slower for her to catch her breath. We ran just over 9:00 for mile 6. Okay, good, I was thinking. We’ll speed back up in the 8:00s again now.

But by this point, we were on the horribly pot-hoely out and back part of the course (seeing people on the out and back is fun… thinking you’re gonna trip? not so fun), and all of a sudden, everything on me felt so heavy. Even my arms felt heavy. It was odd.

The sun was out at full force. We had another mile just over 9:00. “Dammit,” I thought, “I am totally screwing up her race again, like last year!” Gah. I don’t want to be that friend who makes you go out way too fast then you have to slow way down to finish the race. Sigh. But that was me today.

Kelly went ahead at mile 7. I was confident she would go ahead and PR, and I felt good I wasn’t holding her back anymore (although I did appreciate sharing my misery with her – I can run faster with a friend by my side).

I slowed down a bit, to a 9:19 mile for mile 8. “Oops!” I thought to myself, “gotta keep it towards 9:00s, Kim, to come in under 2:00.” I hoped Hanna catching up with me would make me get back on track. Ha ha, no! It was nice to chat (and to meet her) though!

I stopped and had my water bottle filled up just after mile 9. That slowed down my pace. I started seeing splits in the 10s! What the heck?

But… I was smiling. My body was happy I slowed down. The sun was beating down on me and slowing down was just what I needed to do, unfortunately.

The last two miles got even slower (in the 11:00s!). I never walked, but had to stop and get water AGAIN. Rachel caught up with me and said she was feeling the same. And said, “I don’t think we’re recovered from that ultra.” Nah…

I saw Kelly on the out and back by the finish and was so happy to see her and know she was going to PR! When I (eventually) got close to the finish I tried really hard to make sure I didn’t look like death. Because I didn’t entirely feel like it, just had nothing left to give. Steven said he could totally tell I was trying to look happy! Ha, did it work?!

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Because I was SO happy to be finished and have that over with! The last three years I’ve set a fast goal for this race in the winter, then gained weight and still went for the goal at the race. It’s a horrible cycle, and kind of horrible to do that to the people I run it with!

But, I know Kelly doesn’t care and is happy for our time we run together. I am too. And she did PR today! I’m so proud of her. Sigh. I am going to miss her so much when she moves next month. Yeah. Haven’t mentioned it before because I am ignoring it… anyway.

Me? I ran a 2:06:16. Hee hee. A good half marathon time, for sure, but a horrible way to execute it, I know! I’ll make it a goal not to do THAT again this year. I need to be more honest with what I can do with the weight I am at!

Steven had a lot of fun taking photos at the race. R2D2 was a hit! When he had the balloon on the ground near the end, he said little kids were coming up to give it hugs, and one kid even said “R2D2, I love you!” Awww.

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Our friend Pablo helped Steven take photos, and his wife and son hung out with him, too! We saw a ton of people from the studio, Rachel and her crew (ha, Kelly and I were on a “team” with them – our team name was “Four Swiss Misses and a Bratwurst,” since we had four ladies and one man), and a few people from the running club. Oh! And I saw Kelly cheering people on! That was a nice surprise. Oh! And seeing Ian at the turnaround, as well!

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A few people from the Efit crew – we had quite a few more!

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Me, Sarah, Mattie and Rachel

This was my seventh year running this half. I’ve run it every year since the inaugural, and will continue to. I will just try not to have wild ass goals next year. Ha.

Now, this seems a bit Debbie Downer, but like I said, I am completely cool with it all, and Kelly is happy with a PR (especially with the silly cold she has). But let’s end with some positives, right?

  • I didn’t fall this year! I was very careful with my footing.
  • I got to run this race for free, since I am (a version of) a race ambassador. I have been the last two years, and gotten a free entry then too, but have paid for my BiL to run it both times (as a gift).
  • There was no wind in the beginning and a nice breeze at times when we needed it (it was 49° when we started and 65° when we finished, so we definitely needed it).
  • I got to cheer lots of friends in to the finish, and chat with lots of friends, too!
  • Someone told me they liked my tattoo!
  • The medal and ribbon are really cool this year! I love that it has the course map on it. I heart maps.

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  • Steven seemed to be having a good time, and we ran some fun errands after the race. It was nice to have him there and spend the time together!

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Until next year, Wisconsin…

A short run in Indianapolis

By , April 29, 2015 5:54 am

Wow! Downtown Indianapolis has a lot of neat public spaces!

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I’ve had a few people recommend Indianapolis races to me and honestly… never understood why. Now, I can see the allure to run here! I wonder if the rest of the city is as beautiful.

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I am in Indianapolis for a super short work trip. I got in late last night, but with the city being on the western end of the time zone, I still had plenty of light for a run! I mostly ran on the White River Trail.

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I do think I’ll have to come back for a race. This is only my second run (ever!) in the state of Indiana, and my first one didn’t go so well… ha ha.

I love seeing new areas through running and am grateful I had this opportunity to see just a (very small, ha ha) bit of Indianapolis!

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The balloon strategy

By , April 27, 2015 6:52 am

I have a lot of fun things going on this week, but one I am SUPER excited about is picking out a mylar balloon for Steven to carry at the Wisconsin Half Marathon. We’re thinking a Thor balloon this year!!!

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Last year’s pick!

Wait, huh? Why does Steven need a balloon?!

It’s not to use while running the race… it’s for photographing it!

The first marathon I ran was Chicago, in 2010. A lot of people run it (I know, derr…) and I wish I would have known, at a race like that, it’s better for you to find your spectator, than for them to find you in a sea of people. I mean, yes, of course, you plan out where you are going to see each other, on what side of the street they’ll be on, what you expect your pace to be, and so on. But, things go amiss in races… especially in marathons. And while I was running with a phone then, it wasn’t a smart phone that could track where I was and tell Steven. In fact, it couldn’t tell him anything, because I broke it during the race. Oops.

Anyway! I ended up missing Steven at a few of our planned spots, and it really upset me. And one of the reasons I didn’t see him is because there were so many spectators and I couldn’t find him.

I didn’t have this issue at my next two marathons because of the scale of them – it was easy for us to spot each other. But I knew that the NYC Marathon would have even more spectators and runners than Chicago, so I asked Steven and the spectating crew (Christina, Will, Gina and Steve) if they would carry a mylar balloon so I could find them on the course.

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Look for your balloon flying high and find your crew!

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Local and virtual spectators! In NYC (clockwise from top left): Gina, Luca, me, Christina, Will, Steve and Steven. And virtual (clockwise from top left): Grandma Pete (IA), Grandma Tiger (IA) and Courtney (TX). How lucky I was to have so many people spectating for me in person and virtually at NYC, and other events. I am really grateful Steven and family and friends like to come to the events I do!

And I saw them. At every. single. spot.

The balloon method is a success!

But wait, Wisconsin is not that big! Why does Steven need a balloon there?

It’s not exactly for me. It’s for all the people we know running it, to find him. There are just under 20 people running the race from my studio, and probably 10-20 others I will know there. Rather than tell them where he’ll be on the course so he can take their photo, I can just tell them to look for the balloon and get his attention. He’s renting a fancy pants lens again this year, and enjoys taking the photos and sharing them, so, the more people to photograph, the better!

Have you used the balloon method to find people at a race?

I must also mention the Gunther method. I mean, “giant stuffed animal method.” Ha ha ha.

Speaking of Gunther, today is Luca’s 4th birthday!!!! Which means he opened* his … drum roll please … Rhinoceros!

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Luca named him Rantha!

I wish I could see Luca in person for his birthday, like the last two years! But FaceTime was a nice alternative until we see him again in June! And, of course, I have to end this post with sharing this image of him I came across when I was grabbing the NYC Marathon pics. Aww, baby Luca pie!!!

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*And by “opened,” I really mean, saw for the first time with a bow on it (I am not sure how you’d wrap that!).

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