Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lake Michigan Trail Half Marathon race report

I was totally unprepared, but I went and ran a half marathon last weekend.

Last winter, it was announced there was going to be a new race in Milwaukee that was going to utilize county parks and trails. Along with a bunch of friends, I signed up. At that point, I figured it was going to be half marathon 2 of 3 during a one month period for me.

Well, it's turned into my first half marathon of the year since I was in a car crash the day before the Green Bay Half Marathon and I decided to take a DNS at the Madison Mini in mid-August because I didn't want to hate the race that I love so much.

So the Lake Michigan Trail Half Marathon was going to be my first attempt at 13.1 miles this years. The race also offered a full marathon, 50K and 20-mile training run option, so there was no worry about coming in dead last.

But still. I was woefully under trained. Oops.

I went to the starting line with no expectations other than to eventually finish and have a good time.

That lack of expectations was a good thing since it was super warm and humid. As in, just standing at the starting line I could see the salt crystals starting to form on my arms. Oh boy.

And did I mention it was foggy? Yeah. A good portion of the route was along Lake Michigan (hence the name), but given the amount of fog, if you didn't know you were running next to a big ole lake, you would have never realized it. So much thick fog.

Kind of made it a little eerie, but oh so cool at the same time.

So like I said. No expectations. I just decided to aim for getting 7 or 8 miles in without feeling like I was going to die and then just coast until the finish line.

The first five miles were on a pave multi-purpose trail that ran through some of the parks. Then we got to play on the trails in the woods. And oh my gosh. Was it gorgeous. Even with all the fog.

Somewhere around mile 8.5ish, the wheels started to fall off. My legs were getting cranky and tired, it was hot and I was rationing water because I wasn't quite sure when I was going to be coming up upon the next aid station. So I started adding in more walking. On the final back portion of an out and back, I ran into my friend Erica, who was struggling with an injury. We walked it in the final three-quarters of a mile and called it a day.

 In the end, it was my worst time ever for a half marathon. But I enjoyed my time out there. The route was gorgeous, it was a good weekend with friends and after we had some food and drink, Erica and I went to go float in the pool at her condo for a good chunk of the afternoon.

I'm hoping to go back next year and actually be prepared to run the race for a decent time.

Friday, September 5, 2014

August Reading Recap

OK. I may have been on vacation for a week in August, but even I have to admit. My reading totals? Kind of out of control.

I finished 13 books in August for a total of 3,859 pages. That brings the yearly total to 61 books and 20,859 pages. The average length of a book I read last month? 297 pages. Needless to say, with 61 books already read, I'm well on my way of meeting my goal of 77 books for the year.

I admit, it's not like the books I read last month were very taxing on my brain. I mean, seriously. They were the definition of mindless, summer vacation reading. So what'd I read? Take a look:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
4:09:43: Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of Runners by Hal Higdon
Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher
Down London Road by Samantha Young
Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Yes. Yes. A lot of Stephanie Plum. The good news? I've only got three more left in the series. And honestly, I'm kind of glad. While they're quick, fun, entertaining reads, I'm a little Stephanie Plum-ed out at this point. But I need to finish them.

And now for the brief reviews, complete with number of stars given out on GoodReads. Follow me here if you’d like a more timely update on what I’m reading, what I think and what’s been added to my to-read list.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart  ****
I liked this. It was different and kind of kept me guessing until the end.

Twelve Sharp ****, Lean Mean Thirteen  ***, Fearless Fourteen  ****, Finger Lickin' Fifteen  ****, Sizzling Sixteen  ***, Smokin' Seventeen  ****, Explosive Eighteen  **** by Janet Evanovich
Short, fun, entertaining reads. Perfect for summer vacation. Which is why I really should have finished the last three of the series before September started.

4:09:43 Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of Runners by Hal Higdon  ***
Not bad. Of course I know the story of Boston 2013, but it was kind of interesting to read it through the minds of those who were actually out on the course that day.

William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher  ****
The final installment of the Star Wars trilogy written in the style of Shakespeare. How can you possibly go wrong with Shakespeare speaking Ewoks?

Down London Road by Samantha Young  ****
I liked this. A good friendship into lovers kind of story.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith  ***
It was OK. At least it was a fast read. I read a lot of young adult stuff, but this kind of felt young adultish.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty  ****
This took a bit to get into and to figure out how the characters connected, but once it did. Man. It was one of those books that I didn't want to put down until I finished. I definitely recommend this.

So, yeah. I was a bit out of control in terms of reading last month. Now wonder my running and biking numbers were so freaking low. I always had my nose in a book apparently. Oh well. It was worth it.

What are you reading this month?