Sunday, October 30, 2011

YMCA Freaky 5K Race Report

This was a fun Halloween race. And the first race I've ever dressed in costume for.

My parents and I got to the park just after 8 a.m. on Saturday morning and after meeting up with my brother, his wife and their kids, we only had to wait around for about 30 minutes before the race started. It was a little chilly out - about 35 degrees with a ton of sun and no wind - so it was a bit cold, but not to bad. We eventually headed over to the start line and I found us a spot in about the middle of the pack - ahead of a huge cluster of strollers, but it turns out it was still a bit too far back because there were a ton of walkers that I ended up having to weave through.

Before we knew it it was go time.

I really didn't have any expectations going into this race. My running hadn't been very stellar in October, but I was pretty sure I could turn in a decent time, even if it wasn't a PR. I just wanted to see what I could do.

Right out off the bat the race starts with a pretty decent downhill as we head out of the park and along the river. I was running, letting gravity pull me downhill and I saw my oldest nephew run past me. I figured my brother or his wife were right behind me. Let's just say I got a bit of a shock when I glanced to my right and saw my 60-year-old father running downhill next to me.

Uh, there's no way I'm letting my Dad beat me downhill. And I might have told him that as I took off. I didn't see him again until the finish line.

I got down hill and kept running. I knew after a short flat section along the river we'd be heading back uphill. It's not a very long incline, but it's fairly steep. And it feels long. I admit, I wasn't sure how the hill was going to feel. Even though I ran a ton of them this summer, I haven't touched a hill since Fox Cities just over a month ago. And while the hill was brutal, I made it to the top and ran every step. I did take a short walk break at the top though. I kept running after that. Through some neighborhoods and another park, past a high school and through a water stop at about 1.8 miles.

We ran through another neighborhood and before I knew it, I was rounding the corner and the western edge of the park was coming into view again. I knew it was just about a half mile and I'd be at the finish line. I picked up the pace, crossed over some railroad tracks and turned the corner. A tiny wanna-be uphill and I was turning into the park and making my way to the finish line. I picked up the pace again, and based on how I felt, I probably left a little too much in the tank before that finish chute kick.

I ended up finishing in 30:32, not a PR, but I'm pretty happy with it. And it's definitely a PR for the course (I ran this race in 2009 and turned in a time of 34:11).

I didn't pay much attention to my Garmin during the race, but I was aiming to keep my splits between 9:50-10:00 pace. I ended up turning in splits of 9:43, 10:06, 9:52 and :50. Remember Mile 1 had the uphill/downhill combination and the short walk through the water station was accounted for in Mile 2. Pretty happy with those numbers.

So I'd say it was a good day. After I got down, I helped cheer for the rest of my family as they came in. And yes, I got some compliments on my race "costume," too bad it didn't send any good vibes the Badgers' way - for the second week in a row they lost a heart breaker courtesy of a Hail Mary pass. I swear. That team is going to be the death of me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mostly wordless Friday

Hope everyone has a good weekend, whether you're running or not! I'll be back with a race report from the YMCA Freaky 5K at some point this weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. It's going to be a busy Saturday for me. It all starts off with the YMCA Freaky 5K in the morning. I'm going to race the race, but I'm also going to do it decked out in a "costume." Granted it mainly just involves a red and white tutu I made and some Badger gear, but still. I've never run a race in a tutu before. Looking forward to it. Then there's a family picture followed by supervising a kids' Halloween party for The Rugrats. And after all that?

2. It's time to keep the Badger gear on and watch the Badgers (hopefully) bounce back after last weekend's nightmare of a loss and beat Ohio State in Columbus. I swear, anything and everything that could have gone wrong - interceptions, a safety, a blocked field goal, a blocked punt and a crazy Hail Mary pass by Michigan State for a touchdown to end the game - did go wrong. Not a pretty game. Not a typical Badger team. Too many mental mistakes. I'm hoping they can put that nightmare behind them and go into the Horseshoe and play the way the real Wisconsin team plays. Because that was not the Wisconsin Badgers on the field last weekend.

3. And Sunday? I'm going to gun school. See on Nov. 1 a law goes into effect in Wisconsin allowing people to carry concealed weapons. And my bosses thought it would make a great story if we sent a reporter to one of the training classes people have to take in order to obtain a permit. Specifically have a "young, single woman who wants carry a weapon for her own protection" go through the class.

And since I'm the only one in our office who fits the bill - and just so happen to write about crime and other public safety issues - I'm going to gun school. 10 hours worth of it. A good chunk is classroom. But I am going to be spending 4 hours out on a shooting range. As in I needed eye and ear protection and was warned not to wear loose clothing because "hot brass" could fly down the front or back of my shirt. Uh. Ok.This should be interesting. Especially since I've only shot a gun once and I actually have no desire to carry a concealed weapon. Never mind the fact that I don't actually own a gun - but that's OK. I get to rent one for the day Sunday. All I can say is it's a good thing the Packers are on a bye week this Sunday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tis the season for challenges!

So what better way to stay accountable through the holiday season other than signing up for some challenges?

In addition to my 1,000 mile for the year goal, I'm going to be involved in two other challenges (well, there's a possibility of a third, but the details are still be worked out on that one) - the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge and the Pile on the Miles Challenge.

Let's talk booties first. The Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge - or HBBC for short - is hosted by Amanda over at Run to the Finish. You earn points for things like running, eating your vegetables, and other forms of cardio and log your points for chances to win some pretty sweet prizes. This will be my third year participating in the challenge and I plan to throw up a weekly wrap up blog post for point totals. The challenge runs Nov. 19 through Jan. 6, so there's still plenty of time to sign up if you're interested. Go here and follow the directions. Come and join us!

Pile on the Miles...this should fit in well with my 1,000 mile goal. The challenge is hosted by Monica of Eat Run Repeat and the premise is simple. Rack up miles running and walking instead of packing on the pounds during the month of November. Log at least 5 miles per week and get entered into drawings. Go to this post for rules and how to sign up.

So what are you waiting for? Go pile up some miles and bust your booties! I know I'm pretty excited.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The blog is back!

Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing on?

I think I've fixed my computer issues. Or at least fixed them enough for my computer to be functional for another couple of months so that I can get a nice check from the tax man to buy myself a new computer. At least I hope it'll hold out until then.


You didn't miss much while I wasn't blogging. Not only was I not blogging, I wasn't really running either. I think the last nine months of pushing myself for those half marathon PRs finally caught up to me. I just wanted a break. To not have to worry if I missed a run or didn't log a long run over the weekend if I didn't feel like it. I just wanted to run when I felt like running.

And honestly, I didn't feel like running much. It was so infrequent that I'm on pace to hit my lowest mileage month of the year. And it will be a bit of a scary low number. Of course that kind of puts a wrench in my plans to hit 1,000 miles for the year and as a result I'm going to need some major mileage months during November and December to hit that goal. Gulp.

But I think I might be back on track. I ran tonight. I wasn't sure how far it was going to be. I have been feeling good - battling a wanna-be cold and this nasty headache that has refused to leave my head for the last few days - but after I was done with work tonight, I made myself hit the YMCA treadmill (it was windy, colder and on and off rain). At first I was shooting for 3 miles. Then I made myself hit 4. And honestly I was feeling good, so I aimed for 6. And I did it. Hopefully this means I'm back on track with the running.

I do have a couple of blog posts in mind to catch you up on what's been going on. I'm crossing my fingers I can get to them in the next week. And as long as my computer behaves, I just might be able to get them posted.

It's good to be back!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Please stand by

While I'm not dead, there's a chance my computer is nearing death.

It hasn't been working. I think it might have a virus, but I can't run my virus software because apparently my hard drive is essentially full, even though I've taken every document, photo and video off it and moved it onto an external hard drive.

Cross your fingers I can figure something out and hopefully I can get back to blogging soon.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Don't get me wrong. I like this Indian summer we're having here Wisconsin. Really can't argue too much when we've got temps in the upper 70s, sun, no clouds and barely any wind. The thing I don't like? I'm kind of over the whole, "dripping so much it looks like I just stepped out of the shower" phase when it comes to my runs. If I was running at noon, during the hottest part of the day, maybe I could understand. But I went for my run at 6 p.m. tonight and by the time I got home 4 miles later, the sun had set and it was starting to get dark. And I was still dripping wet. Hey Mother Nature. Let's compromise. How about upper 60s? That would make me happy.

2. Uh, what am I going to do this weekend? The Badgers have a bye week and the Packers don't play until Sunday night football. That's a lot of extra time to fill. Oh yeah. That's right. I've got a 25-mile bike ride for breast cancer awareness on tap along with having to fit in an 8- or 9-mile run. And a whole lot of extra time to enjoy the outdoors. Can't wait.

3. I can't avoid it. I've got to mention something about Steve Jobs. I admit. I'm not the type of person that needs everything Apple. Yes, I have an iPod (two actually - a shuffle and a classic). Yes, I considered getting an iPhone, but I ultimately went with a Droid. I like my PC. I don't have an iPad. But I like the Apple products.

I keep going back to that commencement speech Jobs gave at Standford in 2005. He said some great stuff. Things that apply to all aspects of life. And because this is my blog, I can do what I want. And I'm putting those nuggets of information here. Mostly for me, but maybe they'll make you think as well.

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever."

"You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Yes, they're the three quotes that everybody has been throwing around on Twitter and Facebook. But that must mean the man when on to something when he said them if they still pack a punch six years later. I think the man knew about more than just computers. RIP Steve Jobs.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October could be another good month!

Remember all the good stuff I had going in September? A Labor Day 5K, Ironman Wisconsin spectating, a monster PR at Fox Cities?

Well October looks like it could be just as fun.
It all starts this weekend. When the calendar flips over to October it seems like everything turns pink. And for a good reason: It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Well, this year I'm going to publicly do something to try to raise awareness. I'm riding in the 25-mile Trek Breast Cancer Awareness Ride on Saturday morning with Peggy. Like so many other people, it's a disease that's affected my family. My grandmother passed away from the disease when I was 4. So I figure riding 25 miles this weekend, decked out in pink, is the least I can do. Plus it's supposed to be gorgeous.

Then next weekend? This Badgergirl is heading to Camp Randall! Yup! I'm going to see Wisconsin beat up on Indiana with Renee on Oct. 15. So. Excited. And it's homecoming. Yay!

And don't forget Halloween. But that weekend I'm also running the YMCA Freaky 5K. And I'm going to have fun with it. Yes. I'm running in a costume. Can't wait.

There will also be reading. And running, gotta keep chasing that 1,000 mile goal for the year. And while the month isn't quite as chock full of goodness as September was, I still think it'll be a pretty good month.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Not much substance here

Badgers. Packers. Brewers.

Sigh. That my friends was an amazing weekend in Wisconsin sports. But even with all of those great games to watch, I did get a few other things done this weekend. A long run on Sunday. Putting together the perfect pink outfit for a Saturday event (which I'll tell you more about later this week). And enjoying this Indian summer that we're getting here in Wisconsin.

Today was a day off of running. But like I said, we're having some pretty spectacular weather here in Wisconsin for early October. Upper 60s to lower 70s. Sun. Great weather. So instead of letting this stuff go to waste, when I got home I changed my clothes and hopped on my bike for a short ride before it got too dark. I ended up getting in a 45 minute ride, about 8 miles at an easy pace. I felt nice to change it up and hit the road on my bike instead of for a run. The one thing I realized though? When it's 65 degrees outside, you can totally get away with a t-shirt and shorts and be comfortable. But when you're on the bike? A short-sleeved t-shirt is a bit chilly. Oops. Oh well. It was still a good bike ride.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September reading recap

Welcome to October.

It's a big day here in Wisconsin. You knows. Brewers. Badgers. And at some point I need to fit in a run - since it was a "feels like" temperature of 35 this morning and I didn't pack clothes for that kind of cold, I had to push it back. But first, I give you a quick monthly reading recap. Because I've been reading.

In September I finished five books for 1,572 pages. That brings the yearly totals to 21 books and 8,317 pages. Compare that to last year when I had finished 26 books and 9,362 pages by the end of September. I still have that pesky goal of 40 books by the end of the year. I'm just over halfway with only three months remaining in the year! I need to average 6.3 books per month to finish with 40. Eek! It'll be tough, but it might be doable. Might.

So what'd I read in September? Take a look.

A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard
Flawless by Sara Shepard
Perfect by Sara Shepard
Unbelievable by Sara Shepard
Wicked by Sara Shepard

Do you see a theme here? Yes, I knocked out four straight books in the Pretty Little Liars series. Yes. It's a series aimed at teens - four prep school girls from a swanky Pennsylvania suburb who are tormented by a stalker they initially thought was their dead friend. But guys, it's good. Sucks you in. Can't stop reading them. I've got three more to read - that I know of - and I can't wait to finish them.

So you can beat there will be some more Pretty Little Liars reading in October. And I've got a couple others sitting on my shelf that came in at the library. And of course they're all due back by Oct. 25, which means October should be a pretty busy month reading-wise.