Category: Running + Training

Training Week 256

By , September 14, 2014 12:02 pm

Highlight of the Week: The arrival of fall temperatures making my outdoor workouts more delightful. 


Monday | September 8, 2014: 4 m run (w/Kelly) + teaching strength class
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 55°/54°, Time: 39:54, Pace: 9:58 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: surprisingly good
Strength: Back to School 1200 rep workout, Difficulty: medium (mostly observing), Felt: stressed for the class
Tuesday | September 9, 2014: 7 m run (w/Kelly & Yvonne)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 63°/63°, Time: 1:08:00, Pace: 9:43 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: okay, but worn down
Wednesday | September 10, 2014: rest
Thursday | September 11, 2014: 8 m run + 2 m run (to try new shoes)
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 52°/52°, Time: 1:21:27, Pace: 10:11 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great/might be last run in those shoes
Loc: hood, Temp: 52°, Time: 19:04, Pace: 9:31 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay

Friday | September 12, 2014: teaching strength class + 6 m run (w/Jen)
Strength: Modified Back to School 1200 rep workout, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fine
Loc: Nippersink FP/town, Temp: 46°/51°, Time: 1:16:10, Pace: 12:41, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Saturday | September 13, 2014: 3 m run (w/new shoes)
Loc: Millenniuam Trail, Temp: 55°/56°, Time: 29:42, Pace: 9:54 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: out of breath
Sunday | September 14, 2014: 15.2 m run (w/Bobbi, Dawn & Kelly) + 12 m ride
Loc: Gurnee, Temp: 46°/48°, Time: 2:48:03, Pace: 11:03 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great (hungry at the end)
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 56°/59°, Time: 53:53, Pace: 13.4 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good


  • It was fun to try out my new lighter shoes this week. They felt fine for a 2 mile (and later on, 3 mile) run. I could feel the bottoms of my feet more toward the end, which I thought I would. I was surprised to feel the impact of each stride more up my legs. Makes sense though – they have less of a shock absorber than my heavier shoes!
  • Speaking of shoes, I also got out a new pair of Cumuluses to use for my long run on Sunday. They felt great! From time to time in August, I felt stiffness in my left knee. I figured it was from my softball sliding injury on July 31, then later running that knee in to a table on August 23 (as well as the fact that I supinate more on that foot and it twists my whole leg)… but when it didn’t go away after awhile, I started to wonder. Ha ha, looking at the wear on my shoes… I think I just need to add some new pairs in to the rotations!
  • Today marks three weeks until my first marathon of the year, and three months until my last! Next week will be my last 20-22 mile. I like to do a two week taper. Do you prefer a two or three (or something else) week taper for the marathon?

Link to Training Week 254 & 255

Slouchy McSloucherson

By , September 8, 2014 6:56 am

Sigh. I was disappointed when I looked at the photos from the half a week ago and saw my form:


I noticed how badly I was slouching forward at the Wisconsin Half in May and swore I would work on it over the summer. 


Oops! Someone did NOT do their summer homework!

It’s not the vest. The weight of the vest actually tends to keep me more upright! It’s just sloppy end-of-race form (and middle of race/run form, too). 

During most of my long run on Sunday I focused on having good form – pelvis forward, shoulders back, and core engaged. And I felt fantastic during the run. I wasn’t tired when I finished. It didn’t bother me as much to pick up and go (after waiting for lights, etc.). And hopefully I looked less goofy (ha ha, just kidding – I was still wearing the vest). I can’t tell if it was better form or the lower heat/humidity that made me feel so fantastic, but I am going to REALLY try to focus on my form now. REALLY. I swear, guys. 

Do you focus on form when you run (an associative runner)? Or do you daydream and lose track of it (dis-associative runner)? (Ha ha, yeah, I talked about this three years ago).

I am a completely dis-associative runner. I don’t think about m y form until my shoulders ache, or I am falling down, or I see a picture like this, later. And I definitely have a hard time talking to someone else and thinking about my form (no surprise there – I am not a good multi-tasker). 

Training Week 254 & 255

By , September 7, 2014 12:20 pm

Highlights of the Weeks: Running some speedy (for me!) miles with Yvonne | Getting a few runs in with Gina and Steve (and one with Dad)! | A stellar solo long run on the 7th


Monday | August 25, 2014: 3 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 81°/74°, Time: 29:02, Pace: 9:40 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: exhilarated
Strength: Lebert and 1 dumbbell, Difficulty: medium, Felt: sore in my knee from running in to a table
Tuesday | August 26, 2014: 5.2 m run (w/Yvonne) + 3.3 m run
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 68°/67°, Time: 50:13, Pace: 9:40 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: decent
Loc: hood, Temp: 66°/68°, Time: 34:35, Pace: 10:29 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: sluggish/ready for rest day
Wednesday | August 27, 2014: rest
Thursday | August 28, 2014: 5 m run (w/Yvonne)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 59°/59°, Time: 47:42, Pace: 9:32 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Friday | August 29, 2014: teaching strength class + 5 m run (w/Adam & Dawn)
Strength: Lebert and 1 dumbbell, Difficulty: medium, Felt: decent but tired (sleepy)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 69°/69°, Time: 54:37, Pace: 10:55, Difficulty: easy, Felt: mostly good
Saturday | August 30, 2014: 7 m run (w/Gina & Steve)
Loc: Guttenberg, Temp: 70°/71°, Time: 1:11:07, Pace: 10:09 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay
Sunday | August 31, 2014: 3 m run (w/Dad & Gina)
Loc: Guttenberg, Temp: 65°/67°, Time: 34:25, Pace: 11:28 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Monday | September 1, 2014: Benefit Classic Half Marathon (w/Gina & Steve)
Loc: Dubuque, Temp: 67°/73°, Time: 2:24:28, Pace: 11:04 avg, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: like my RPE was way too high
Tuesday | September 2, 2014: rest
Wednesday | September 3, 2014: rest
Thursday | September 4, 2014: 4.5 m run (first 3.5 w/Yvonne)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 72°/71°, Time: 41:34, Pace: 9:17 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good enough!
Friday | September 5, 2014: teaching strength class + 4.15 m run (w/Dawn)
Strength: Lebert and 1 dumbbell, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: tired/out of it
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 74°/74°, Time: 44:38, Pace: 10:44, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Saturday | September 6, 2014: 12 m ride + 2.4 m walk (w/Steven TO SEE KITTENZZZZ!!!!)
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 59°/63°, Time: 57:38, Pace: 12.5 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: happy I rode and didn’t run
Sunday | September 7, 2014: 21 m run
Loc: Around town, Temp: 53°/72°, Time: 4:02:23, Pace: 11:32 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fantastic


  • Twice in this cycle I got caught in crazy storms! On August 25th, I got caught in the middle of a downpour and the route I took as part of my out and back flooded in 10 minutes! It was such a blast to run through the puddles! Then on September 4th a storm came in with hail and I got poured on, and beat down by hail for the last mile of my run. Exhilarating for sure! Have you ever run in the hail?
  • August was my highest mileage month so far this year! Woo hoo! Let’s hope I keep the mileage up since I am registered for marathons in October and December. Hee hee. One way to do that is to start the month with a race!I loved that I could run a half on September 1st! I always feel motivated when I run the first day of the month. 
  • Friday the 5th marked one year that I have been teaching the Friday 5:00 am class at Efit! Schweet! In that time I’ve only missed once class, when I was out of town for my snister’s wedding. That’s 51 4:00 am Friday wake-up calls! Ha ha. 
  • During my long run today, I stopped to buy water for my Nathan vest and the gas station clerk was asking me all of these questions about it – what is it, how does it work, where can he get one. I was like “Aww, he must workout, too!” Then he’s like, “I am going to buy one and fill it with beer!” Ha. Ha ha ha. 

Link to Training Week 253

Benefit Classic Half Marathon Race Report

By , September 3, 2014 11:26 am

We just got back from a fabulous vacation in Iowa with Gina, Steve, Luca and my family!


Steve, Luca, Gina, Me, Steven, Mom and Dad

My parents invited Gina, Steven and Luca to their place on the Mississippi River when we were all together in June for Christina and Will’s wedding. I was STOKED when Gina and fam said they could come!

Step 1: pick a weekend for their visit (Labor Day)
Step 2: find a race!

Ha ha. Yes, I search for races every time I travel. And lucky us – the Benefit Classic Half Marathon was on Labor Day (in Dubuque, Iowa), and only about an hour drive away from where we were staying! This was Gina and Steve’s first race in Iowa, and my first half marathon in Iowa!

The race was put on by the Mississippi Valley Running Association (MVRA), and they put on a stellar event. The cost was low, we could pick up our bibs race morning, there were plenty of water stops, the volunteers were nice, all of the intersections were controlled, and the course was clear to follow. 

And what a course! When I was corresponding with the race director before the race, she warned me about the giant hill. Ha ha. Ha. 


But it was SO worth it. The race started in Eagle Point Park, located on a bluff high above Lock and Dam #11 in Dubuque. Then the race course went down to river level, along the river to the Lock and Dam… and back up! I thought it was so neat we could see the turnaround point from the start, and see the start/finish from the turnaround point!


The view down to where we’d be running to – almost all the way to the Lock & Dam. 


The bluff to the left is where we had to run back up to after turning around (you can see the Lock & Dam to the right)!

So, yeah. It was challenging! Going in to the race, I was hoping to average around 10:30s. Which I kind of did through mile 9! Then the sun came out and I felt like my effort was the same, but my pace slowed down big time (I finished in 2:24:44 with an average 11:02 pace)! It was a really strange sensation to feel like I was pushing it and look down and see paces much higher on my watch than I expected – my rating of perceived exertion was WAY off. It’s either: 1, the sun, 2, me being out of shape, 3, the hill, or 4, the fact that I was dehydrated with a bad headache the day before and skipped dinner. Or all four! (or maybe riding around a golf cart in a gorilla costume the previous morning? ha ha, nah, that was heat training)


Whatever it was, I was lagging behind and told Gina and Steve to go ahead. So we all ran just over the first 10 miles together, which was fun! I got to hear lots of people were commenting on Gina and Steve’s Texas flag shorts! 


They got a “welcome to Iowa!” cheer during the race, and afterward, someone from MVRA came over to talk to them, thank them for coming, and to ask what they thought of the course (and told us this course has the biggest elevation drop of any half marathon in Iowa). I thought that was really nice! 

The MVRA person was telling us how this is the second year they have used this course, and how much better people like it than when the course was mostly in the residential and industrial areas near the river. I thought that was interesting because when I was reading race reports people said the course was crummy, because so much of it was industrial. But this course wasn’t like that at all, so that must have been a review from 2012 or earlier. 

The course we did started in the park with a loop, went down a large hill through residential area, then went through a small industrial area to get to the river. Then we ran along the river and through another park, which was fun (we saw someone doing ski tricks!), and then went the same way back. Almost the entire course had really neat views – whether it was of woods, over the bluffs, or of the water. 




Out and backs aren’t typically my favorite course type, but I liked it here, and think it would be fun to do this race again! I like to imagine next year I would do better. Ha ha. The winning times in my age group were just under 2:00 hours (surprisingly, the 24-29 age group was more competitive). And there were not many people competing – 110 total in the half (there was a 5K, too). I was last in my age group and 98th overall! Ha! I have never been so close to the end in a half marathon.

Even though it was so small though, I still talked to someone from a town in Iowa who knows Alyssa. Always fun when that happens!

Now… until our next race – the Dallas Marathon (and half for Steve) in December! I can’t wait (and am looking forward to getting back in shape for it)!


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'»

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