2014 Race Plans.

I am probably going to jinx myself just by writing this post but I’ve decided to live on the edge this week :)

After a less than stellar 2013 and a few months off of running, I finally started to get the racing itch again!  Of course at the time we were in the thick of one of the Polar Vortexes(Vortices?) from last year so I didn’t actually get to start running but I did plan out some training plans and pick a few races to sign up for.

The first race that I added to my calendar was the Madison Half Marathon in the Spring!  It is Memorial Day weekend so that gave me plenty of time to avoid running in the snow and cold but still have time for a 12ish week actual program.  So I started this back in March and am currently on week 7 already!  The winter weather won’t leave well enough alone but at least the ice has decreased some so most of my runs have been going pretty well.  I picked the Hal Higdon Novice 2 half training program which happens to have a 5k and 10k as part of the plan.  You already know how the 5k turned out and the 10K I signed up for is the Deer Run which is in a few weeks.  I’ve been meaning to do this run for the last three years but finally now it fit in my plan perfectly!  This is my main race of 2014 where I am actually planning to train and attempt to finish in a good time.  Attempt being the key word in that sentence ;)

Don't tell him he has to run another half marathon in June!

Don’t tell him he has to run another half marathon in JuneMay!

The next race registration fee to hit my credit card was the Fox Cities Half Marathon.  I love this race so I signed up when it first opened back in the middle of March.  This is my favorite local race and I already can’t wait to run it again after missing out last year.  It was my first half ever in 2010 and then I ran it in 2011 and 2012!

My goal will still be to beat the race walkers.

My goal will still be to beat the race walkers.

About a week after signing up for Fox Cities, I somehow happened onto this website.  That was a bad move on my part :)  Because I already want to do all the races.  I ended up semi-compulsively signing up for the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon in Colorado in August so I will get to check off a new running locale this summer!!

Totally looking forward to this view!  Maybe not so much the altitude though...

Totally looking forward to this view! Maybe not so much the altitude though…

Those halfs are all fairly close together but I have been able to work out a decent sounding plan that allows me a little time off between races and then still increase weekly mileage at a safe amount.  I am trying to increase my overall running mileage for this year for a yet to be disclosed reason :) Stay tuned next week for that post…

And to spice things up, I also signed up for my first Triathlon!  I found a small one close to my house that has the swim in a pool (no scary open water for my first tri) so somehow I will have to figure out how to swim with correct form and breathe correctly before that race!

Not looking forward to wearing this...

Not looking forward to wearing this…

Not even taking into account the secret, yet to be published, most scary race in the coming 12 months, 2014 has turned into a year full of races that I am really, really excited about!  So now I just need to keep stretching and avoid hurting myself :)

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Race Flashback: 2014 Gary’ Gallop 5k

My current training plan called for a 5k at the end of last week and initially I was planning to do a cute sounding Easter race but then I saw that it was canceled for this year so I moved on to Plan B – Gary’s Gallop!  So on Saturday morning I headed out to try to find the race… luckily I brought the directions with me (I suppose that’s why they sent them, huh?) because even though this was held at the Wisconsin Lutheran College Athletics Complex, it was actually nowhere near Wisconsin Lutheran College.

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I got to the race way too early – shocker, I know.  So I got my race bib and found the bathrooms (no porto-potties!!!) and then went and sat in my car for like 45 minutes… The weather was forecast to be pretty warm and sunny all week and then at the last minute, it turned to rainy, cold and gloomy.  In theory those are probably better racing conditions but not so much standing around and waiting for the race to start conditions.  I finally decided to brave the temps at 9:10 or so and go run a couple of laps to warm up a little.

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Then they did a moment of silence for the Boston Marathon victims, sang the National Anthem and then everyone made their way to the start line – in the middle of the parking lot.  I was a little confused by that but I guess whatever works!  At 9:30 the air horn signaled we were off! (Oh yeah, we were also led out by a dude on a Harley – lol!)

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I started out way too fast but I always have a hard time “pacing” for a 5k cause it’s not long enough to really save time in the end.  So I guess I will probably always start too fast and then hope someday I can just keep up to the pace I start with all race?  Great strategy I am sure :) But whatever, I finished the first mile in 7:20 (what!?)!

Shortly after hitting the first mile marker, it was time for the “hills” to start.  I suck at running up any sort of incline and I really need to get better at this.  So because of said “hills,” I had to take a short walking break because I felt like I was going to die.  At least I was not the only one doing this but still, I was not proud of this!  After the first “hill,” you went down a little and then back up again so mile 2 sucked everything out of me and I finished in about 8:35.

Mile 3 finally leveled out a little bit and I just tried to keep running even though my side started hurting and my lungs were hurting… Run, run, run, and I finished this in about 8:58 (see the nice positive splits?, those are good, right??)

After hitting mile 3, you run a lap around the trap and then loop back into the finish.  I really liked this because a track always pushes me to run faster than I normally do.  So I pushed it and then when I saw the time was ticking at 25:5X – I ran as fast as I could to try to finish under 26 minutes.  I swear I crossed when it said 25:59 but my official results are 26:01 so I guess that was kind of all for naught.  But it was a good push regardless!

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No matter what the time says, that folks is still a brand new PR!!  My previous was 26:17 so that’s a whopping 1816 second PR!!  Not a bad way to start 2014.

Takeaways from this race:

  1. Work on running hills.  I live in the flattest area of flat Wisconsin.  But I need to make a point of running in areas that have a little elevation gain/loss at least occasionally.
  2. Work on speed workouts again.  I used to really like doing these but then the track by my house was under construction for awhile and now it says it’s only open from 7am-9pm aka not early enough for me on workdays and I don’t really run after work but I can still do them with apps on my phone.  So no excuses.
  3. Sign up for a few more short races this year.  It’s fun to push my slow runner self to go a little faster!

I really liked this race.  It was a nice size, nice course, cheap and pretty convenient to get to.  I will for sure think about doing it again in the future!

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Long time no Blog.

I guess it’s been a while since I blogged/had anything worthwhile to blog….I almost don’t remember how to use WordPress :)  I blame not running for the not blogging though and hopefully this year will be a little better than last in that department.

The last race I did was in September 2013, a whopping 7 months ago and I can’t really say I trained much for that race.  In fact… I can’t really say I trained AT ALL for any of the races I ran last year, which is bad, I know. I think I was just burnt out on running but still signed up for races because I will always love racing! I am really hopeful this year will be better and I will have slightly better race times to show at the end of 2014…

Not many races out of the "brisk walking" category...

Not many races out of the “brisk walking” category…

Don’t get me wrong, the races I did last year were still fun but I am hoping for a little more this year… possibly even in the form of a new PR at something.  I’ve got an exciting list of races on the docket in 2014 so I want to make those registration fees worth paying and really give each race my all.  Now I just need to stick with training and see what happens –  I’m five weeks in on training for a half and so far, so good.

My first race of the year (5k) is on Saturday so stay tuned to see me crash and burn on that!

Happy Halloween.

I don’t really celebrate Halloween but I do enjoy dressing the dog up in costumes and eating candy.  This year was exceptionally ridiculous so I just had to post this for your viewing pleasure ;)

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Race Flashback: 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon

It’s already been awhile since we got back from California but hopefully I can still remember a thing or two about this race!

Our alarms went off way too early and we puttered about getting everything ready for run 2.0.  We were both a little more nervous on Sunday since the distance was so much longer but at least we had one race behind us and knew that one went well.  We walked from our hotel to the start line again – the weather on Sunday ended up being a little cooler and less humid in the morning so that was nice.

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The getting in the corrals was much, much smoother this morning and we ended up in ours way too early but it gave us plenty of time to get near the front of our corrals and sit for awhile.  Around 5:30, the first wheelchairs and runners went and then about 7 minutes later B corral went and another 7 minutes later and we were off!

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It was much darker on half marathon day so we got to see and enjoy the World of Color in California Adventure a lot more that day.  It was cool to see the Ferris Wheel all colorful!

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The route was a bit different than the 10K run so we got to see different sections of the parks and in slightly different orders so it didn’t feel like we were running the same race twice.

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After about 4 miles in the parks, we exited the parks, never to return again – dun, dun, dun…

Bye, cute scenery!

Bye, cute scenery!

It wasn’t all bad + boring though, they had quite a few groups of dancers and cheerleaders along the way to try to distract us.

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We both were feeling Ok, especially considering we had run 6.2 miles the day before but by the time we made it to about mile 7-8, we just wanted to be done!

Are we done yet?

Are we done yet?

Around that time, Disney had about 300 classic cars all lined up, well, I should say all the car clubs were invited and all the owners were also cheering us on, it was pretty cool those people agreed to wake up so stinkin early and cheer for us!

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After leaving the car zone, we rounded the corner near the Honda center in Anaheim and then trotted along for a bit more until the next highlight…

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Angel Stadium.

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Running through the stadium actually did help mile 9-10 pass quick and we were given Clifs and Powerade in this area so that was a welcomed thing!

The stands were full!

The stands were full!

After the stadium, the last 5k was a total blur but somehow it eventually was about .7 miles to go and just like the 10K, we decided to run that right through without taking any walking breaks.  I really do think it helped us finish slightly stronger!

Rounding the corner and seeing that finish line was the best thing ever!

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After crossing the finish line and grabbing our half marathon medals, we also had to navigate the area and find our two other medals! Our Dumbo Double Dare one and our Coast to Coast challenge one!

So many medals, so much fun!

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Such a fun 19.3 miles.  We kind of already want to do this race again!  Our time was not fantastic but it sure wasn’t awful either – 2:37:43 or something like that.  For all the stopping and walking breaks we took, I really thought we would be close to three hours but nope!

Can’t wait to go back!

Race Flashback: Disneyland 10k

So the Sister and I traveled out to California over Labor Day weekend to be a part of the Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare.  We signed up way back in January at the marathon race expo and August/September seemed like forever away.  Well, now it’s all over and done and that makes me sad :( But anyways, here is the recap of the first portion of the race!

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We flew into California early Friday morning and went straight to the expo.  I always thought the Florida race expos were crazy but this one took all the cake! It was crazy crowded and I am pretty sure everything was already sold out by the time we got there because there was nothing good left to buy.  I can’t complain though because it saved me from spending all the money :)  The rest of the afternoon was spend carbo-loading and walking around California Adventure for a bit before we could get to our hotel and get checked in. We managed to get in bed pretty early but the 2:45am race morning alarm was no less brutal!

Glorious Carbs

Glorious Carbs

The temps in CA had been in the 90′s but where supposed to cool down before the races… spoiler alert – never happened! So it was pretty warm already when we headed for the start line of the race.  It was very nice to be able to walk straight from our hotel to the start line though and not have to struggle through transportation that early in the morning.

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We showed up at the start line area before the 5K start so it was pretty crowded.  We also ended up having to wait in a huge mob of people until about 15 minutes before the race started and they let us in our corrals! This was pretty stressful and confusing and it was no fun being jammed in a small space with all those people for that long.  I am guessing this is something they will fix for next year’s race.

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Once we got separated out into our corrals, it was so much better and was pretty roomy for a Disney race! We didn’t really have to wait long and we were OFF!

Selfies

Selfies

The sun was just rising when we took off so it was not terribly hot, still really humid though.  We tried to keep a pretty conservative pace throughout the whole race because neither of us had a good training cycle for these races.  We started out by running around the Anaheim convention center and on some surrounding streets but then we ended up mainly running in the parks which was very cool!

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We first ran though Cars Land and the Paradise Pier area of CA Adventure.  It was cool seeing these places when it was still a little dark because you got to see the lights that we missed out on the rest of the trip because of our early bedtimes :)  I recall we stuck to walking for about 2 minutes and then running until the half mile point and I think we were able to pretty well keep up with that until the end.

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After we exited CA Adventure, we got to run through Disneyland! I was a little underwhelmed by the size of Sleeping Beauty’s castle though… it was… hard to see from the end of Mainstreet USA.  Not something you can say about Cinderella’s castle for sure!  I was a little embarrassed for Sleeping Beauty ;)

It's a Small World After All, It's a Small World After All

It’s a Small World After All, It’s a Small World After All

Our route took us though Tomorrowland, Frontierland and most of this park really and then out of the part again and around through Downtown Disney.

Teeny yiddle thing

Teeny yiddle thing

Somewhere around here we also happened to run past Joey Fatone from N’Sync.  I had a really hard time not busting out laughing :) I was not really the biggest fan of them back in the day but my sister was so I think she was a little excited! And she also maybe muttered “Bye, Bye, Bye” as we passed him!

JOEY

JOEY (in the green t)

The finish line was near Downtown Disney so once we left the park, it was not far to go! We decided to run the last .7 of a mile straight which helped the end not drag on so much I think! It was very exciting to cross the first finish  line of our weekend but scary at the same time because we were still only about 1/3 done or so!

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The finish area was not really crowded at all so we got to kind of stop and take pictures before exiting that area.  That was one very nice thing about this finish – not herding you on when you just want to sit like after the Florida Disney races!

We gathered our medal and then also had to track down the DDD wrist bands to add that to our collection until the next race! It was a very important band because without it, no DDD MEDAL!!!! We also stopped for some finisher pictures before heading back to our hotel.

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We spent the rest of Saturday eating, resting, driving and eating some more.  It was a good way to save our legs for Sunday :)

One race down, one to go!

Race Flashback: Madison Mini Marathon.

Last weekend, the Sister, Pup and I ventured to Madison for the weekend.  It started out with quite the dramatic beginning because the Pup hurt himself somehow on his walk on Thursday morning so I was not sure if we were going to be able to go or not.  He didn’t have anything obvious wrong with him so the vet set him up with drugs and we decided to just have an easy-going weekend instead of our original plans to be more active the rest of the weekend but to still go.  My training was not non-existent but it was nothing impressive so I would not have been too broken-hearted to miss it if it’s weren’t for the M2 challenge I signed up for!

Anyways, we headed to Madison on Friday afternoon and went straight to the race expo.  They were oddly and rudely “no dogs” everywhere so the Sister and the Pup sat on some random ledge and waited for me to grab my packet quick and leave.  The expo was kind of in an odd location and I must have missed the signs because I walked around in circles for a bit before actually finding it.  After that extravaganza, we just headed back to our hotel to pick up dinner and hang out the rest of the evening.

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Carbo-load?

Carbo-load?

Saturday morning I somehow woke up before my alarm even though it was set for like 3:40 or some ridiculous hour like that.  We stayed a ways away from Downtown so we had a little drive to look forward to and didn’t know how long it would take to park, etc.  It ended up being a good thing I woke up so early because the Pup needed special attention that morning because he woke up hurting again :( I also had gotten nothing ready the night before – oops! So we actually ended up having not really enough time – as in, I missed the chance to stand in the porta-potty lines! (side note, this was a bad set up for this race, the lines were longer than in Disney?!?)

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Hey, Dude, s’up?

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The race started at 7am and of course I started out too fast.  We ran past the capitol after about a mile or so and that was really interesting to run past. I think the last time I actually got that close to it was probably 10 years ago or so?  It started out pretty cool in the morning for the first probably 6 miles or so passed pretty quickly.

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Somewhere around mile 6-7 Hills Happened.  I swear I read somewhere that this was a “fast and flat” course but they apparently have different ideas of what the definition of flat means!  The hills(inclines is maybe a better word) killed my legs real quick.  It didn’t help I really did not stick to any awesome training plan.

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Saw this guy again! He was at my first Marathon in Manitowoc.

Saw this guy again! He was at my first Marathon in Manitowoc.

Miles 8-13.1 were seemingly up, down, up, down, up, down right after each other and made that part of the race really drag.  I think we ran through a lot of trees for awhile and past some water which helped keep it a little cooler but the sun was getting hot by that point and so was I.

I think around mile 12, the course ended up on the same path we took when we did the Shamrock Shuffle a few years ago and was when I quit that race because it was too hot…So as much as I wanted to quit at that point, I knew I needed to put my big girl panties on and just run until the end for this race.

Sister and the Pup were camped out around mile 13 so I just kept ticking down the miles until I got to see them and then it was just .1 from there… Those last few miles were painful, as they normally are, but when I finally crossed the finish line, I was just glad to be done, I could have cared less about what time I finished this race in.

After I crossed the finish line, it was time to try to find the M2 challenge medal and the Sister… this part of the morning was probably the most difficult task I completed that day… I ran into a fellow Milwaukee runner that I worked the Lakefront expo with so it was nice to see a familiar face! We tried to stand in the M2 medal line but it turned out it was the results line even though “M2 Challenge” was on the sign right above our heads… so that was a total waste of time.

Turns out the M2 challenge line was a little obscene. All the people must have picked this time to get their medals or something? I was also trying to locate the Sister at this point and not having any luck because the poor dog was not allowed on any of the terraces there… even though I saw other dogs around. Rude. Eventually I got my medal and then found my posse and I posed for a finish photo or two.

Someone looks tired!

Someone looks tired!

After that, it was the long trek back to try to figure out where in the world we parked.  Good thing the Sister has a sense of direction because I was lost as can be.  We ended up being parked really close to the finish line though (at the Overture parking garage) so that ended up working out well.

Once we were back at the hotel, it was a long, lazy afternoon of lounging, eating, watching Alaska State Troopers, eating more, watching Million Dollar Listing, eating again and then going to bed early.

Even though we had grand plans for the rest of the weekend, my legs were happy the poor hurt Pup needed a weekend of hotel time. It was nice to just get away and be lazy!

How I wish I could spend EVERY weekend!

How I wish I could spend EVERY weekend!

All in all, this was a decent race but I don’t know that I will go back next year because I just don’t think I will be running that far next year – lol!

Another random thing about this race, I finished it 45 seconds slower than Summerfest this year – ha! At least I am very consistent in my no training race finish times :) Final Finish Time: 2:17:49

Now, the countdown begins for the Dumbo Double Dare NEXT WEEKEND!!!!!