Category: Running + Training

Veterans Victory Fun Run Walk 10K Race Report

By , August 26, 2014 6:23 am

Is anyone else wondering if Mother Nature thought “Hey! It’s almost the end of August! I didn’t really do that summer weather thing… maybe I should now!”? Ha ha.

We’ve had a recent streak of hot weather and humid days. Which, actually, was fantastic for the beach this weekend. But… a little challenging for running. 

Eh, it’s summer. I expect it. I am actually surprised we’ve had such a mild summer, so far, and, uh, how little I took advantage of it, running-wise. Ha. Wassup wit dat?!

So. It was humid this weekend. And Rachel and I were registered to run the Victory Fun Run Walk before heading out of town to Iowa. It was perfect timing – we planned to leave late Saturday morning anyway, so why not run a local 5K/10K in her neighborhood?


The race is a fundraiser for the Edgerton Hospital’s Capital Foundation and had a 1 mile, 5K and 10K option. It’s called the Victory Fun Run Walk in honor of the service star women who helped raise funds for the previous hospital* (the race was at the new hospital).


Of course, we chose the 10K option! Rachel and I both have fall marathons, so we gotta get those miles in!

Rachel let me know it would be hilly, so I was planning on a slower pace, but man, it wasn’t so much the hills (I mean, it still was…) but the humidity! It was just oppressive. I could barely breathe the whole time. It was hard. Probably the hardest 10K I have ever done! 


I was happy I was running with Rachel so I had someone to chat with, until I ran out of steam (you know, metaphorical steam, because I had plenty of actual steam around me).

The race was an out and back, down a hilly access road, through a neighborhood, on some (you guessed it hilly) country roads, through another neighborhood… and back. There was one water stop at the 1.5/4.5 mile point and plenty of volunteers telling us where to go, and cheering us on. Ha ha, they were so nice, saying things like “You look great! This is such a hard day for a race!” 

I think only 15-18 people did the 10K… if even that many! It’s funny, the girl who won the 10K was wearing the same shirt as me. I kept joking with Rachel that she was my teammate and I “let her” take this win. Uh, yeah. And you know, we maybe finished 6th and 7th females overall, but most of the ladies who finished in front of us were in the 30-39 age group. Dammito! Ha, not really. 

We finished in an hour and three and a half minutes or so. I am not sure what our official time was. The course was short… and I was so okay with that. I was just proud of myself for surviving.


The race was small and well run – the type of race I really enjoy. I’d like to come race again in Edgerton when it’s not so humid. Okay, and I could stand to do a little hill training… maybe!

I loved that they gave us these little dog tags with the race name and year on it! You know I totally put that on my medal rack. Hee hee!


And… I loved that they were playing my power song when we started the race! I told Rachel, any race that plays Van Halen, ACDC, or ZZ Top at the start, is a good race. 

*They explained this much better at the start of the race but I had a hard time hearing, so that is what I read here.

Training Week 253

By , August 24, 2014 10:12 pm

Highlight of the Week: Running with Rachel along the Mississippi River in Guttenberg!


Monday | August 18, 2014: 4 m run (w/Kelly) + teaching strength class
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 62°/63°, Time: 41:18, Pace: 10:19 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: like crap
Strength: Lebert and 1 dumbbell, Difficulty: medium, Felt: so. hot.
Tuesday | August 19, 2014: rest
Wednesday | August 20, 2014: 7 m run + 4 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 64°/63°, Time: 1:15:33, Pace: 10:47 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: decent
Loc: Chicago Lakefront Trail, Temp: 81°/83°, Time: 44:02, Pace: 11:01 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: great then DYING HOT
Thursday | August 21, 2014: 3 m run
Loc: Chicago Lakefront Trail, Temp: 79°/78°, Time: 32:48, Pace: 10:55 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: like midday is not my time
Friday | August 22, 2014: teaching strength class
Strength: Lebert and 1 dumbbell, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay
Saturday | August 23, 2014: Veterans Victory Fun Run 10K (w/Rachel)
Loc: Edgerton, Temp: 73°/74°, Time: 1:03:39, Pace: 10:41 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: so hard on my lungs
Sunday | August 24, 2014: 15 m run (w/Rachel and Dad (first 5))
Loc: Guttenberg, Temp: 70°/73°, Time: 3:00:42, Pace: 12:03 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: surprisingly decent!


  • WHOA, what a week! It must have been our most humid one of the summer so far! I ended most of my runs completely soaked in sweat. Even my shoes were soaked after my long run on Sunday! That rarely happens to me. It’s really fun to run with your socks slipping around in your shoes. Ha ha. Not. 
  • I was happy to fit in some lunch workouts, but man, midday is NOT my best running time! My body likes running early, in the dark. Oh well, miles are miles right now. Even if they are junk miles, I am happy to be running a bit more. And this weather is just reminding me how much faster I feel in the fall/winter!
  • Rachel and I did a 10K in her town before our trip to Iowa on Saturday! I think that was the most challenging 10K I’ve ever done! I told Rachel I need to come back and run the course with her when it’s not so humid (and could they remove the hills? Ha ha, just kidding). Report on that tomorrow!

Link to Training Week 252

Gotta ride dem hills!

By , August 18, 2014 6:03 am

There’s a perception that Chicagoland is just flat flat flat. It’s the midwest afterall, right? People complain about the “hill” on the Chicago Marathon course – it’s an overpass, by the way. And actually, people use overpasses to do hill training… it’s either that or the treadmill. 

Or travel outside of the city to somewhere with hills!

The county I live in just outside of Chicago, Lake County, actually has plenty of places to run hills. The trail next to our house has hills. They aren’t ginormous, but they definitely challenge me. So much that I often wonder why people go out of their way to run hills. Ha ha ha. But then again, I tend to avoid them unless I have to! <— I’m lazy like that. 


So there is this city out here, Barrington Hills, that some people will specifically travel to, to run or ride the hills for training. I’ve known lots of people to do this. It’s a beautiful area with big estates, forest preserves, horse farms, and yeah, some hills. I’ve actually run there, more out of the convenience of the location than for the hills, but I do see why people like working out there. 

Well, some of the residents are causing a stink about the cyclists going through there (pdf here), so much that they’ve made a website protesting bike lanes being added to the streets. 

The residents are saying the cyclists urinate in their yards, ride in groups so large they take over the road, and curse at drivers. The cyclists are saying the residents yell at them, throw things at them, try to run them off the road, and barricade them with their cars. 

Sigh. Can’t we all just get along?

I wasn’t surprised to read these things are happening, but I was surprised to read that some residents don’t want cyclists there. At all. One of the nice things about riding a bike is that you can travel far, and see lots of different places. It’s not like they are breaking in to a gated neighborhood to ride (geesh, I hope not)!

Of course, I can see why both parties are upset. I’ve been on both sides, as I am sure many of you have been. When I go out on my bike, I obey the rules of the road, and have some people ride way too close, cut me off, yell at me, and so on. And yeah, just the other day, I was driving home, and a large group of cyclists was taking up the entire road to my house – they were probably 5-6 abreast. I had to go in to the turning lane to slowly pass them. Luckily, I could do that. And luckily… I didn’t get too mad because I like to cycle in large groups, but geesh, share the road goes both ways!


I think… there will just always be people who think rules and common decency don’t apply to them. Cyclists who don’t stop at lights, even with cars around. Cyclists who ride in the dark, in to traffic, with no reflective gear (saw that Friday night). Cars who ride too close, throw things at you, yell at you, and yeah, cut you off. As a cyclist, you learn who those other cyclists are and can choose not to ride with them. But you never know what the heck you are going to get with someone driving a car. 

I wonder how this will all turn out! If it were me, and that was a regular place that I went for hill cycling… I think I’d be going someplace else!

Is hill training so important to you that you would travel to do it?

(And that is not the only reason people ride there, of course! That is just my spin on it.)

Training Week 252

By , August 17, 2014 4:54 pm

Highlight of the Week: Doing my long run with Rachel on a crazy new-to-us path!


Monday | August 11, 2014: 4 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 77°/81°, Time: 45:13, Pace: 11:18 avg, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: like my skin was on fire
Strength: Arms of Summer workout, Difficulty: easy (mostly observing), Felt: good
Tuesday | August 12, 2014: 5 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 63°/62°, Time: 50:26, Pace: 10:05 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: tired
Wednesday | August 13, 2014: rest
Thursday | August 14, 2014: 7 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 57°/54°, Time: 1:11:14, Pace: 10:08 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good!
Friday | August 15, 2014: teaching strength class + 14.75 m ride (w/Janet) + 3.2 m run
Strength: Arms of Summer workout, Difficulty: easy (mostly observing), Felt: good
Loc: Grayslake to Prairie Crossing, Temp: 48°/51°, Time: 58:09, Pace: 15.2 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: happy!
Loc: Ray Lake FP, Temp: 77°, Time: 33:33, Pace: 10:30, Difficulty: easy, Felt: content
Saturday | August 16, 2014: 22.2 m run (w/Rachel)
Loc: Geneva Lake Trail, Temp: 58°/78°, Time: 5:08:38, Pace: 13:54 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: decent enough
Sunday | August 17, 2014: 14.7 m ride & 3.3 m run (w/Bobbi for her LR)
Loc: DPRT to Independence Grove, Temp: 64°, Time: 2:37:42, Pace: 5.6 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: DPRT, Temp: 63°, Time: 42:18, Pace: 12:49 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fantastic


  • I’ve been trying to ramp up my mileage this month in case I’m able to run the marathon I’m signed up for in October, and I realized that half way through the month, I had already run more miles than in July. Oops! The good news is, my body seems to like running more. I like it and it’s definitely making running feel easier! 
  • I rode both my road and mountain bike this week! Woo hoo! It’s crazy how much less time it takes me to complete any distance on my road bike – I am so used to thinking about how long things will take me when running them (and those estimates have been a bit too low (too fast) lately, ha ha)! I hope I can get out on my road bike a bit more when it’s still “warm” out!

Link to Training Week 251

Running around Geneva Lake

By , August 16, 2014 9:30 pm

Despite recently reading about the 21-mile path that goes around all of Geneva Lake (in Wisconsin) on Valerie’s blog (and having heard of it before!), I somehow forgot about it until Rachel mentioned it as a possible “meet-halfway-for-a-crazy-long-run” point. Yes, please! Sign me up! There are so many lakes around where I live, and it bums me out that there are rarely paths to run around them. That is not the case at Geneva Lake! There is a requirement that the 20 feet of land directly from the shoreline be public domain, around the ENTIRE lake. 


Ha ha. There are NOT any requirements on what to do with the landscaping though, so you encounter ALL sorts of terrain – pavers, dirt, crushed rock, loose rock, grass (so much grass), places that seemed like all roots, sidewalk, wood, road, brick… you name it, I think we ran on it. I had my GoPro on, and it’s really interesting to flip through the photos and see how often the terrain changed*. 


And that terrain is at all sort of, um, angles. Ha ha. So many stairs. So many downward slopes. So many hills. So much necessary careful walking. 


I don’t know what I was thinking. I expected this to be a normal pace long run, not a trail run pace. But it was as difficult as a trail run. It IS a trail run. And it’s definitely on the muchos enjoyable scale of a trail run, too! 

It was such a treat (and a tease, really) to run next to the water (and not be in it)!



And beautiful mansions line most of the trail! Can you imagine looking out your window and seeing a stranger go through your yard? I suppose the homeowners are used to it, but I couldn’t get over the fact that we were running so close to people’s homes! It felt a bit odd to run through someone’s “backyard.”



I mean, look how close you’d get to some! 


Ha ha. But we said hi to everyone we saw, whether they were on the path or in their yard. Many people commented on how beautiful and interesting the path is. And a few asked us if we were going all the way around. Yep yep!

Our plan was to run from Lake Geneva, west to Williams Bay, then stop in Fontana at a gas station for water… then to continue all the way around to the other side. 

The plan worked well other than me running out of water with a mile left (and Rachel offered me hers, so no biggie D). There are not many drinking fountains or places right off the path to purchase water. I actually think this description of the path difficulty, path etiquette, where to use bathrooms, and what you’ll see, is fantastic. 

Quite a bit of the path is shaded, and we had a nice wind, so it was a great morning to run… until it got closer and closer to noon and the sun got higher and higher! 

And unless you’re constantly checking a map, it’s kind of hard to tell where you are around the lake because of the bays and shape of it. As we got closer to the end, I was so eager to see the ferris wheel that our cars were parked by!

Ha ha, not that I was super eager for it to end, but with our added gas station excursion we put in over 22 miles! I was all talky talky for the first 18 miles, then hit the stage of the long run where your brain feels like mush, and you just need to focus on continued movement, and in the case of this run, not tripping. That is my rare quiet stage. Hee hee. 

I am so happy Rachel recommended we run this trail and that we got to do it together!


We had been sort of planning to get together on her birthday weekend, and I think this was the perfect way to celebrate with doing something that we love to do together – explore new trails (and underestimate our running pace ha ha ha)!


(and explore new bathrooms)

Happy Birthday, Rachel! Until our next run (in a week!!!)!


Let me know if you ever run this trail! I want to do it again, especially now that I know what to expect! And maybe go the other direction the next time. I bet it would feel like a completely different trail!

*And how many frickin’ photos I ruined with my hand being in it. Ha. 

I Run 4

By , August 13, 2014 10:37 am

This is not a sponsored post. This is something two of my close friends are doing, and I think is so fantastic, I want to share it with you. 

Have you heard of I Run 4? I Run 4 is a program where runners are matched with a child or adult with special needs, or the sibling of a child with special needs (Unsung Heroes, see below). That person becomes the runner’s “buddy,” and, you guessed it, the runner runs (or does other activities) for them! 

Each runner interacts with their buddy or their buddy’s parents through the group’s buddy Facebook page or the group’s sibling Facebook page, posting about the runs/activities they have done for their buddies and sharing photos. Runners are encouraged to wear their buddy’s name during a race, make a special shirt for their buddy, make them signs, take photos with something special they like, or (with permission) send their buddy race medals! The I Run 4 site has merchandise ideas, as well. 

What a cool program, right?

I was really surprised I hadn’t heard about this until recently, when two of my friends started participating! Dawn has had a buddy for quite some time, and Kelly just got hers! I sent them a few questions so I could share their experience with the program!

Thank you so much to Dawn and Kelly for letting me interview them and sharing their photos (and getting permission to post them)!

How did you hear about I Run 4?

Dawn: Through the Grayslake Running Club [four other members of the club participate in I Run 4].
Kelly: My best friend told me about the organization after I expressed a concern for future motivation. I returned to work in December, accepting a weekend nurse position. The only con to accepting this position would be losing my weekend long run and signing up for weekend races. Dawn suggested I sign up for a buddy to keep me motivated by sharing my running journey. Having someone to run with and/or for is motivationally inspiring!!   

Why did you decide to participate in I Run 4?

Dawn: Because I have a high school classmate who had a terrible car accident 15 years ago that left him disabled.  At our 30th high school class reunion (in 2012), I was humbled at how much he lost (though he’s not in a wheelchair, he is considered “disabled” and cannot drive or work) and had to depend on others for just the basic things to live life (like getting to the grocery store, doctor, to an event).  It made me realize how fortunate I truly was to be able to run and do crazy things like Spartan races. 
Kelly: I agreed with Dawn’s suggestion. I researched the organization right away but then held off questioning if my running/walking/biking journey would actually motivate or inspire another. Once Dawn was matched and I started seeing all of her posts, I saw the excitement and gratitude from her, her buddy and his family.  So I signed up in early June.

How long did it take to be assigned to a buddy?

Dawn: About four months. 
Kelly: Several weeks ago the I Run 4 organization started a buddy program for the siblings, referring to them as the Unsung Heroes. In the short time I have been involved with I Run 4 several of the buddies have passed, leaving many siblings behind.  For the siblings who have a special need sibling, they often feel left out/behind. Having a buddy, just like their special needs sibling, would help bond their sibling relationship. I signed up for a sibling buddy at the beginning of August and was matched on August 10th

Do you put any requests in for the “type” of buddy, or fill out a sort of questionnaire?  

Dawn: You can select to be a buddy for a child or an adult or either.  Other than that there wasn’t any other questions that I recall had to be answered. 
Kelly: No. I just submitted my name and basic demographic information. 

Are there costs to participate?

Dawn:  No, but you have to have a Facebook account because that is the way runners and buddies communicate.  I am also “friends” with his mom, though I don’t believe that is required.   It just lets us be more “connected” and supportive. 
Kelly: No.

What costs have you incurred on your own?

Dawn: I bought Zach a $3.00 t-shirt and bought a “Dawn Runs 4 Me” iron on decal. I have also bought 2 “I Run 4 Zach” decals for my car and I’ve registered for 3 virtual races (a 10k already run, a 5K and a half both coming up in September). 


Kelly: Thus far none, however I have only been matched for a week. I plan on making temporary tattoos, shirts and possibly a tote bag for myself & my buddy.

Does I Run 4 give you guidelines?

Dawn: They have guidelines on what can be posted in the Facebook group. It is to be a positive atmosphere. You cannot post links to races or fundraisers. You are not allowed to use derogatory language.  The I Run 4 organization also has a separate Facebook group for virtual races where the medals that come with your paid registration fee already include a medal for the buddy. Usually with these virtual races you can also purchase additional medals (ie for a sibling) and/or tshirts other gear at reasonable prices.  Proceeds, I believe, go back into the organization. 
Kelly: Yes – there are rules on the Facebook page. 

Kim’s Edit – rules such as not to leave your buddy behind (it’s a permanent match), I Run 4 Siblings must have a special needs buddy already matched, one runner will be matched to one sibling, only matches made by I Run 4 will be honored, matches will be made according to the waiting list. 

Does I Run 4 set things up for you?

Dawn: They provide you with your match’s name and contact person (typically a parent).  They provide ongoing support to rectify buddy/runner issues (eg needing a rematch, etc.).
Kelly: Yes, the organization does all the matching the posts the matches several times a week on the private FB page. The runner & parent are tagged in the post. It is the responsibility of the runner & parent to initiate contact and post. 

How often and how do you interact with your buddy?

Dawn: My buddy is 8 years old.  I try to post at least once every day. Sometimes I post more than once.  I don’t worry about if his mom is posting back but if I don’t see any activity (such as a ‘like’) from her for a day or two, I’ll double check to make sure she sees the post because… you know… Facebook can sometimes be cranky!  All interaction has been through Facebook. His mom and I are “friends” on Facebook. 


Kelly: I post to the FB each time I run and/or bike, so about 4-5 times a week.  I may also post when my 4-year-old son does a race. My buddy seems interested in my children, so I may post his races to see if she likes them.  Continue reading 'I Run 4'»

Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon Relay Race Report (2014)

By , August 12, 2014 6:35 am

I’ve said it before and I will say it again! Triathlon relays are so fun! Especially when so many people I know are doing it, too!


This year, the studio I work at, Essential Fitness LLC (Efit), had four teams and one individual participating in the Iron Girl Pleasant Prairie Sprint Triathlon (last year, we had two teams and two individuals). And, xaarlin stayed at my place and was doing the full relay, too! SO MANY PEOPLE!!!


I had actually been thinking about doing this race as my first triathlon, but changed plans when we decided to have several Efit teams. And yes, I asked who I thought was the fastest swimmer and runner to be on my team. Ha ha, why not?!

There was a lot of teasing about having a “stacked” team and even some straight up questioning if I should be the cyclist on that team. Yes, this was my first time being the cyclist on a relay team. But gosh, people, I don’t suck that much! Ha ha!

But all that talk, despite knowing my team (and me!) just wanted to have a good time, made me a bit nervous. My “happy with an average 16 mph pace” didn’t feel like it was going to cut it. So I looked at last year’s winning race results and saw the average bike pace was over 20 mph, and aimed to average 20. I wanted to push it the entire time and spend the whole (biking portion of the) race in the  ”pain cave.”

Great method, right? Don’t train for it, just push it on race day. Well, it is “only” 12 (or 11 – it’s not measured accurately) miles. I just biked 70 miles and that was easy… it should be fine, right?

Spoiler alert: it was fine. But I’ll tell the whole story!

This triathlon starts at 7:00 am with five-minute wave starts for age, starting with oldest athletes first. The relayers go with the youngest athletes, in the final wave at 7:45 am. Quick side note: it’s so interesting to watch this, because people are already on their bikes before your relay swimmer has even started, and already on their run, before your cyclist goes! The whole time, you don’t really know who is in first overall, since they could be in any one age group, and might not be the first to cross the finish line!

Our swimmer, Marlene, did fantastically, and was the third relay swimmer out of the water, with a time of 14:53 for the half mile swim. T1 was done in 47 seconds.


Of course, the relayers are nervously waiting around at the transition area, wondering when their teammates are going to come in, and sometimes seeing the other teams take off before you (all of the relay bikes were racked together and off to the side).


I knew we were in third when I started, and wondered if I could catch the first place relayer, who had just over a two minute head start. 

I pushed and pushed and pushed on my bike. I tend to be a lazy rider – spin, spin, spin, coast for awhile – there was NONE of that. I was pedaling in a medium high cadence the whole time. I shifted as necessary, but didn’t so much pay attention to what gear I was in, just that I kept that cadence up. That was pretty neat – I felt really connected with my bike, and that method worked really well!

There are rules about taking no more than twenty seconds to pass on the left then getting back over to the right, and maintaining a distance of four bike lengths between bikes. Yeah… I was almost in the left the entire time, passing people, and calling “on your left!” I rode on the right when I wasn’t passing. 


I was passed by one person the entire time, and I kept playing tag with this other cyclist – she’d get ahead, then I would, then she would, and so on. I said to her “it’s unfortunate we can’t pace and draft off of each other!” She agreed. It was a bit windy and drafting would have been nice. 


But other than the wind, the course was pretty good! There was a bit of uneven pavement, but I could keep pace there. Three smallish hills that slowed me down, but not terribly. I was worried about the two 180° turns, but there was no issue there (just losing speed). 

Most of my GoPro pictures look like this – me checking my speed to try to average that 20 mph. 


I am not so good at math when I am working out, so I was trying to figure out if I was on target with pace, and knew if I got to 30 minutes and my watch said I had gone 10 miles, I would be on pace. 

I wasn’t. I was under. Too slow. But I kept pedaling as hard as I could, anyway!

I had told Yvonne, our runner, that I would try to cycle the advertised 12 miles in 35:00 minutes, and my final cycling time was 35:08! Right on target and a 20.5 average pace according to the official results. The Gramin recorded 11 miles at 19 mph pace. So… at least I hit around the 35:00 minute goal (I think a few people were really surprised I did!)!

My plan was to dismount my bike and take my shoes off then run all the way through transition to Yvonne. We had a good rack spot near bike and run exit, but were all the way across from swim and bike finish. 

So I got off my bike and my calves immediately cramped up. Gah! I ignored it and ran as fast as I could. I felt like I was running fast. Ha ha. Who knows!

Video of T2 from Brian


T2 was done in 43 seconds and Yvonne took off! We knew she was aiming for a sub 21:00 5K, so we watched the rest of the relay teams come in, as well as our individual triathlete and xaarlin, then booked it to the finish to run in with Yvonne!


Yvonne’s PR is 20:26 and she finished the 5K in 20:27. Gah! Second 5K this summer she has been off by a second! But man, she was looking fantastic on the run! She said she got all worked up and started out too fast, then slowed it down a bit, and really struggled with the sun and some nasty gravel part (must be new to this year – boo!). But you never would have guessed it when she came flying in!


Oh! And what happened to the first place relay team? I never caught that girl on the bike – she was averaging 22 mph. We finished a minute and 46 seconds after them, overall! Yvonne made MAJOR headway on our overall time!

A hopeful goal of mine for this race was that I would beat my previous team sprint relay times on this course of around 1:30:00 each. We did. Our final time was 1:11:58, and we were the second relay team overall!!! 


I felt so proud of my team and how hard we all pushed it! And I felt relieved that I belonged on the team with these two, after all the (teasing) comments I received about it. 

And I felt so proud of ALL the teams and individual athletes – and even the people I don’t know! This is a super supportive race, and it was fantastic to hang around at the finish and cheer on everyone.  

And I LOVE how many people came out to support us. Steven was there taking photos. I didn’t get a picture of us together, but apparently I can rely on the GoPro. 


And several Efit friends were there spectating – special thanks to Bobbi, Pete, Rich, Mike, Brain E, and Dave! And of course, to Brian S, our trainer who encourages us to do so much!




We wore pink headbands and pink ribbon tattoos in support of a friend with breast cancer

It really means a lot to have so much support. And especially for a hectic race like this. I mean, yes, it’s all in one area, but you are running all over to see the swim start, then back to transition, and to the finish. And watching for four teams and two individuals is a lot of work! I felt EXHAUSTED when it was all over!

This race left me really jazzed about what I could actually do on my bike if I train a bit. Of course, I mean in the single-event sense. I am sure I would have been much slower had I swam before I biked! And let’s not even talk about the run. Ha ha. 

Okay, and since this isn’t long enough, a few final thoughts:

  • I am so so proud of xaarlin for doing her first triathlon!
  • Like last year, I still think this race is crazy expensive to do the relay. But, they do have nice medals and shirts. Maybe some of the money is going to that?
  • There were new rules this year for relay transition – your bike had to be mounted (or stay mounted) before the ankle strap was transferred.
  • I left my left shoe a bit loose so my toes wouldn’t go numb as they have been. Now my left ankle is a bit sore from cycling so hard. Derrrr, Kim. 
  • Parking was much better this year, than last. 
  • I liked how you didn’t have to go as a relay team to get your packet this year – it made coordination easier. And I liked that they gave the cyclist and runner both a bib and bike stickers – I put my bib in the bibfolio! HOARD ALL THE RACE THINGS!!!

Training Week 251

By , August 10, 2014 9:51 pm

Highlight of the Week: Kicking ass with my Iron Girl team!


Monday | August 4, 2014: 5 m run (w/Kelly) + teaching strength class
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 64°/64°, Time: 50:13, Pace: 10:03 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay/sluggish
Strength: partner resistance bands + body bars, Difficulty: easy, Felt: bummed I couldn’t join in (even # of students)
Tuesday | August 5, 2014: 3.1 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 64°/64°, Time: 30:50, Pace: 9:56 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: decent
Wednesday | August 6, 2014: 4.5 m run (w/Kelly) + Full Moon 5K (w/Rachel)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 58°/58°, Time: 44:03, Pace: 9:44 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good – 1st bathroom stop this week! 
Loc: Madison, Temp: 71°/65°, Time: 32:01, Pace: 10:15 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great
Thursday | August 7, 2014: rest
Friday | August 8, 2014: teaching strength class + 4 m run (w/Bobbi)
Strength: partner resistance bands + body bars, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 58°/60°, Time: 41:48, Pace: 10:27, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Saturday | August 9, 2014: 16 m run (w/Bobbi)
Loc: Grayslake and trails, Temp: 61°/67°, Time: 2:57:13, Pace: 11:05 avg, Difficulty: mostly easy, Felt: really good
Sunday | August 10, 2014: Iron Girl Sprint Relay (bike)
Loc: Pleasant Prairie, Temp: 69°/71°, Time: 35:08, Pace: 20.5 mph avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: really great


  • Okay, really, this week was fabulous and it was hard to pick a highlight. I got to run with Kelly THREE times, travel to Madison to run with Rachel, and had a fantastic long run with Bobbi! Woo hoo! But Iron Girl takes the cake. Everyone on my team worked their butts off AND had fun doing it! And we placed second overall, and weren’t too far behind first! 
  • Have you ever had an encounter with a skunk when running? I have two times now! The first time was at the beginning of a 26.2 mile training run, and I went the other way. It was too early to deal with that. And Kelly and I saw one this Tuesday! I applaud her for seeing it in the dark, “without her glasses,” as she said. Man. I run away as fast as I can when I see a skunk! I can’t imagine getting sprayed!
  • This week’s long run was so much better than last week’s! Probably because the time I was done with it this week was before I even started last week, and I had great company! 
  • In the spring I started using these electrolyte tabs that really help me out in the heat/sun… when I remember to take them! Too many times now I’ve left and remembered I forgot them. I need to just put them with my fuel!

Link to Training Week 250

Why I keep homemade race signs

By , August 9, 2014 12:03 pm

The three things I hold on to from races:

1. Medals (derrrrr)


2. Bibs


3. Spectator posters!


Clockwise from top left: Chicago 2010 sign by Steven, Wisconsin 2009 sign by Mom, Naperville 2013 sign by Kelly, Naperville 2013 sign by Bobbi, RAGBRAI 2014 sign by Mom, RAGBRAI 2014 sign by Mom, Naperville 2013 sign by Bobbi, Naperville 2013 sign by Mom. 

I like to think I am good at purging things and don’t hold on to too much sentimental schtuff, but a quick glance around my closet (where I keep most of these things) and you’d see that’s not 100% true. 

At least the medals and bibs are nice and organized and in a designated spot. The homemade race posters, well, not so much. A few pinned up in my closet, one in Data’s room, two on the dining room table (ha ha), one floating around the office (funny thing – it’s the one with two gray cats on top, and Data keeps attacking those cats!)… they’re just not as easy to store. 

But I can’t imagine getting rid of them. At least until we move or something, hee hee. 

I know what a pita it is to make a race poster. And dayum, people have made me some nice ones! It’s such a thoughtful gesture to take the time to make a poster specifically for someone (and to go spectate for them, as well) and I really appreciate it! I look at them, and I feel loved. So it’s kind of nice to have them all over the house. Right… right?!

Funny thing – when my mom came to spectate our first half marathon, she didn’t know about making spectator signs. So I was like, “Are you going to make me one?” And gave her supplies to do it. Ha ha ha, I am awful, right?!

But now she does it on her own, and she comes up with such clever stuff! I love it!

Do you keep the race posters that your spectators make for you?

I don’t generally keep the posters if the race gave an official one. And I had no problem ditching the ones I made for Christina and Will’s wedding!

Full Moon 5K Race Report (2014)

By , August 7, 2014 12:48 pm

My first race in my new age group! Woo hoo! Let’s just say… I dominated. 10:21 average for a 5K (32:08 finish)? Aww yeah, baby!

Ha ha ha. Just kidding! Like last year, this race was just an awesome reason to get together with Rachel in the middle of a work week (half day? yes, please!) and run a super fun race!

And also like last year… we wore the Grumpy Cat shirts we made. But, this year? People actually got it. 


We were, um, a bit disappointed that not many people commented on our shirts last year (they have Grumpy Cat on them, with a full moon, and say “I ran the Full Moon 5K once. It was awful.”). DON’T PEOPLE KNOW WHO GRUMPY CAT IS?!

Hee hee. They do this year! Many came up to us to say how awesome our shirts are. One person asked if she could take our picture. And another person said they are going to make a shirt like that for the race next year. Love it! It’s fun to meet fellow Grumpy Cat fans. 


There was however, one guy who came up to us and said he liked our shirts… then asked what they mean. But we suspect that he just wanted to talk to people to brag. He made everyone in our group guess how many half marathons and marathons he’s done since he had knee surgery. Um, okay (it was less than my guess of 40 each). He did imply that Rachel and I look younger than 30, and asked if we are sisters, so it wasn’t all bad. 

Linda did the race again this year, too. It was nice to see her, and meet her friend, Corinne. 


L to R: Corrine, Rachel, me and Linda

Linda thought Rachel and I would finish ahead of her in the race, but we told her considering our last race together averaged an 18:00 minute pace or something… we might not be (and she did finish in front of us!). Ha ha. Truthfully, neither Rachel or I have been running a ton lately, and definitely not doing speedwork. 9:00s feel challenging these days, and we just wanted to take the race easy! Which we did! And I loved it! We chatted the whole time. I was sad when it was all over! Luckily I know Rachel and I have a few more runs together this month. 

This race is just so fun. It starts at 9:00 pm, under the “full” moon (yes, the full moon is not until the 10th this week). Everyone wears reflective gear, headlamps and glow bracelets/other accessories. 


Someone from Movin’ Shoes (the store that puts the race on) dresses up as a wolf and if you beat him I think you win something. He runs an 18:00 minute 5K or something silly. We didn’t even see him. Ha ha!

The course runs along Monona Bay in Madison and to a park, which is fun for me, since it’s not an area I am familiar with!


It starts out on street, then goes to trail, then in to the park. It’s somewhat crowded for the first two miles – another reason to not run too fast and be careful with your footing, right?! RIGHT?!


And since it’s summer, it’s HUMID. We were actually lucky with temps in the low 70s/high 60s, but man, we were dripping in sweat when we finished!

I was wondering if the post race snacks would include oreos, like last year. They sure did! It’s just meant to be that I run this race!

And I do hope this is a race I can keep doing! The date of it varies each year, to more closely align with the full moon. Last year it was on a Thursday in July (because of that date, I was 28 when I did the race last year, and 30 when I did it this year – funny to skip a year!), and yeah, this year, on a Wednesday in August. I hope it works for my schedule next year! Especially because I want to keep getting these cool shirts – one of the only ones I saved during my purge of last year’s shirts!


It’s such a treat to take a little bit of leave in the middle of the week and travel to do something fun like this, with such a great friend. And this year, Steven came as well. I think he was missing Rachel, too! Steven and Rachel’s husband, Kevin, hung out at a cool bar while we ran, then we all got dinner after the race, with Linda. Pretty late night! I totally planned a nap before the trip so I could stay up until midnight. I mean, I am 30, after all… (let’s not mention that I have loved naps since college). 

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