In Her Shoes

Tackling my bucket list, one half marathon at a time.


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To Run or Not To Run

I’m back to blog after another long hiatus. And I’m back to talk things out. I’ve recently had an itch to run another marathon. 4 months from now I’ll hate myself and I’ll hate running. But for now, I want to run. My wedding is next August so I keep thinking I should sign up for something to get myself motivated and in shape. What better time to run another marathon, right? Well, maybe. The problem? I’d be training in the dead of winter….a Wisconsin winter. There is nothing worse than that. The other problem? There are no marathons in the Madison area in the spring which means I’d have to travel. No, it’s not the end of the world but I sure do love sleeping in my own bed the night before a race.

My two options right now are the Oshkosh Marathon on April 19th or the Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha on May 2nd. If anyone has other ideas, I’m all ears.

As I hem and haw over this idea, I keep asking myself, “why not just run another half.” Because I just want to do another marathon and I really don’t have a good reason why. We shall see. I have 2 months to decide.

Marathon Sign

 

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2013 In a Nutshell

If I were to sum up 2013 with 3 descriptions, it would be the year of Mila (my niece), weddings and running. In honor of the last day in 2013, let’s recap.

Mila Moo

My beautiful niece was born on June 13th, 2013. Moo, as I call her, is the cutest little peanut on the planet. And I’m not being biased. To spare you, I’ll only post two recent photos. Our entire family is obsessed with her. She’s the constant center of attention, which she should be. It has been so fun to watch her grow over the last 6 months. I cannot wait until she’s old enough to run around and chat with.Stocking stuffer Mila Moo's first Christmas

 Weddings Galore

Earlier this year, it seemed as if I had a wedding every weekend. And I know this is only going to continue for a few more years. But I’m so grateful to be able to witness some of my favorite people get married.

Wedding Party

My best friend Gretchen’s wedding party, May 2013

Running

In the past 12 months, I’ve run 6 half marathons and one full marathon:

  • Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon: January 20th
  • Iowa City Half Marathon: May 5th
  • Madison Half Marathon: May 26th
  • Rock ‘n’ Sole Half Marathon (Milwaukee): June 15th
  • Brewers Half Marathon: September 28th
  • Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon: October 20th
  • Madison Marathon: November 10th

I’d say that’s a pretty good year of running! But still not enough. I didn’t hit 1,000 miles in 2013 like I wanted. But maybe that’s what 2014 is for?

So which race was my favorite? Hands down, no doubt about it…Iowa City. Why? 2 reasons. I finally broke two hours and because I did this race with a few of my best friends…none of which had ever run a half marathon. I was so proud of these girls, not only for running the half, but enduring the training and my annoying encouragement. Now, let’s see if I can get them to do another in 2014?!

start of race

Half marathon finishers

This year was dominated by running and I loved it. Yes, there were times I hated it, but I didn’t get burned out. Even after marathon training for half of 2013, I still love going out for a quick run after work. However, I will admit…it’s nice not to have a strict schedule to follow.

I have yet to sign up for a race in 2014, but I plan on kicking out another handful of halves. I’d really like to cross Minnesota and Illinois off my “Half in Every State” bucket list item. And let’s be honest…I’ll do another marathon, even though I always say, “I’m never doing this crap again.”

So there is 2013 in a nutshell. The years come and go too quickly. Thank you to all my followers for reading over the past year. See you on the flip side.


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Flashbacks for Motivation

Thank god I blog. Why? Because I can look back at previous posts to remind myself why I signed up for a marathon.

I’m feeling really overwhelmed this week and I need an attitude adjustment. Fast. Yesterday I hit that point where the marathon just…consumes me. I didn’t think that would set in until Friday. It’s all the stupid race emails I’m getting from the Madison Marathon. The last two I’ve received…I started tearing up at my desk at work. Pathetic, I know.

So I’m writing to build some mental strength.

Background info: I’m running the Madison Marathon on Sunday. This will be my 2nd marathon. My first marathon was June, 2012 in San Diego.

Why did I sign up for the Madison Marathon back in April? “Because I Can.” That’s what I titled my blog post. “Because I’m fortunate enough to have the ability to run.” I signed up after the Boston Bombings because I was pissed. Pissed that two people would do something so foolish, inhumane and so full of hate. And to the running community. So I need to remember that on Sunday. How? “Because I Can” will be written on one wrist.

How did I feel days before my first marathon last June? Did I have the same nerves? All I can remember is being so excited to fly out to California and see my sister and cousins. Welp, once again, thank god I blog. I was actually FREAKING out 5 days before the marathon. HEY, just like yesterday…5 days before the marathon.

How prepared am I compared to last year? I think I’m a stronger runner this year. I’m faster at the long distances and I know my body more. I know when to slow down and when I can push myself a little harder. But was I religious about sticking to the training plan as much as last year? Nope. I skimped out on some mid-week runs due to an incredibly busy fall. HOWEVER, I was religious about my long runs. AND last year, I only did a 16, 18 and 20 mile run. This year I did a 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 mile run. How I found time for that, I’ll never know {patting myself on that back for that one}.

Enjoy it. That’s what everyone keeps telling me. My response (to myself): How do you expect me to enjoy 26 miles of running? I barely drive that distance in a week. Once again, attitude adjustment. No, I might not enjoy the 26 miles. But I’ll enjoy everything about the experience afterward. After I completed my marathon in San Diego last year, I was the happiest person on the planet because it was over. And I did it. And I was so proud of myself for it. I can’t wait for that feeling again.

Lastly, whenever I’m in need of running motivation, I turn to Pinterest and search “marathon.” This is my favorite:

you're capable of so much more

Sayonara. See you on the flip side. Unless I need to vent through my blog one last time before Sunday, which may again, benefit me in the future.


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Running at Sea Level is For Sissies

If I didn’t have fun plans over the next few weekends, I would be incredibly depressed. I got home from Denver yesterday and as always, I hated to leave.

Iowa boys

Some of my favorite Iowans

We didn’t do everything on the agenda due to weather, but it was still a blast. My trip was filled with friends, upon friends, upon friends. High school friends, college friends, old friends, new friends. I won’t bore you with weekend details but I will bore you with running details.

I had the day to myself on Thursday because apparently people work during the week. I met my friend Danielle for 5.5 miles around Wash Park (g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s). The run wasn’t the best as I was DEFINITELY feeling the altitude in my lungs. But I couldn’t have asked for better scenery or company.

We were supposed to hike the Manitou Incline on Friday in Colorado springs but we woke up to….SNOW. Erroneous.Snow yuck

So we ditched the hike and went shopping instead. I was disappointed we couldn’t do the incline because a) I was looking forward to the gorgeous scenery and b) I thought it’d help get me more acclimated to the altitude. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Saturday was spent cheering on the Hawkeyes, freaking out about the Hawkeyes and being depressed over the Hawkeyes. After the heartbreaking loss (however, we played great), it was time to prepare for our run on Sunday morning. Danielle, Erin, Tayler and I spent the night eating, drinking wine, drinking beer, eating, watching YouTube videos, singing, and eating some more. We know how to fuel our bodies for runs.

Preparing for the 20

Pre half marathon shotSunday morning we were up and at ’em early. At 6:45am, the four of us were out the door running the 2 miles to the start of the Denver Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon. Dressed in Packer gear. We started the half together, not having goal times…just wanting to get through the full 20 miles. We hit mile 5 (after a biotch of a hill) and I felt great. We zig-zagged through City Park (where we saw Emily about 6 times…Best Spectator Ever Award), 17th Street, Cheesman Park and all over downtown. We hit mile 11 and I still felt great. Cheesman Park wasn’t necessarily the easiest thing in the world, but luckily I had Erin and Danielle next to me singing, dancing and encouraging me. They are honestly the greatest. We hit about 12.5 and sprinted it in. Our Garmin’s clocked 13.4 miles….slightly annoying. Final time: 2:04:12.

10th Half Marathon!

10th Half Marathon!

I had so much fun during this half. Well, as much fun as you can have running 13 miles. I was really worried about the altitude hitting me, but it never did during the 20 miles. My favorite spectator sign on the course?

“Running at sea level is for sissies.”

I loved every second of running with D and Erin. They know how to motivate you when you’re struggling and they KNOW running. Erin kept telling me to relax my shoulders; D was telling me to move my arms with other runners and that my legs would follow; both were telling me to pick people off. Ugh, I wish I had them there for every race!

But the fun wasn’t over following the half. We still had 4.6 miles to run. D stayed back to wait for Tayler to finish and Erin and I headed out to complete my 20 mile training run. In the first .5 miles I thought I was going to die. We took it niiiice and slow. Not too many details about this run, except that it was brutal. But we finished our 20 mile run in 3 hours, 11 minutes, 17 seconds. That was a pretty big motivational boost.

Sunday afternoon was spent drinking beers over the Packer game with more lovely friends who live in Colorado. I’m ready to go back already.

Packer game crew


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Take Me Down to the Paradise City

Add it to the Bucket List: Live in Denver

5 days until I jet off to the best city in the country. Denver, of course! It’s finally that time of year for my annual trip.

My sister (Tayler) and my best friend in the whole wide world (Emily) live in Denver so every year, I fly out for a weekend. We hike, shop, party, reunite with old friends and do all the fun things Denver has to offer. So what’s on the agenda?

Wednesday: land in Denver late.

Thursday: I’m flying solo because Tayler and Emily have to work. My plan? Run my 5-miler on the schedule, maybe do some shopping, maybe drive up to Boulder? Who knows. The world is my oyster.

Thursday night: party hardy. Over the past few years, I’ve become friends with all of Emily’s friends from college (University of Colorado-Boulder) and I absolutely love them. A few of them are out of town the weekend I’m there, so it’s the only chance we have to hang out. Plus, 3 of my great guy friends from college live there who I must see!

Friday: Emily took the day off, but I just found out Tayler has to work now. Tear. But Emily and I have a day full of plans. We’re driving up to Colorado Springs to knock 2 things off my bucket list:

  1. Pet a giraffe
  2. Climb the Manitou Incline

Giraffe part: there is a zoo in Colorado Springs that allows you to feed the giraffes! Score.

The Manitou Incline is a former incline railway and it inclines over 2,000 feet of elevation in less than a mile. Last year during my visit to Denver, I hiked my first 14er. So I have to do something equally as awesome.

Emily, myself and Tayler on Mount Bierstadt

Emily, myself and Tayler on Mount Bierstadt in 2012

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline

Saturday: Watch the Iowa/Ohio State football game. Last year I met my college friends at a bar for the game and we didn’t have much luck. It was actually a pitiful performance. But what Iowa game wasn’t last year? There isn’t much on the schedule for Saturday because I need to rest up for….

Myself, Danielle, Tayler and Erin after the AZ Half

Myself, Danielle, Tayler and Erin after the AZ Half

Sunday: the Denver Rock N Roll Half Marathon! I’m running this with Tayler, a friend from high school and my friends Danielle and Erin who I did the Arizona half marathon with. I’m also going to attempt something crazy: get my 20-miler in on Sunday. My plan is to run a 2-mile warm up, run the half marathon, and then just tackle on a nice and easy 5-mile cool down after the half. Easy, right? Riiiight.

I’ve been going back and forth on this 20-miler, especially because I don’t know how my body will respond to the altitude change. Fortunately, I’m flying out to Denver a few days early so I’ll have time to adjust. I contemplated doing the 20-miler the following weekend, but then I won’t have as much taper time. And I really just want to get it over with. So we’ll see how it goes!

Our plan after the half is to go drink bottomless mimosas during the Packer game and enjoy my last night in Denver. And then I fly back to boring ‘ol Wisconsin on Monday. The trip to Denver always goes by way too fast. I end up wishing I lived there, promise all my friends that I’ll be moving out within the next year and then it never happens. Maybe someday…

Have a great weekend and enjoy the beat.


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Itching For Taper

5.5 weeks left of training. That’s nothing, right? Wrong. All my running friends (but one) are tapering right now. And I’ve never been more jealous of anything in my entire life.

All I have in my way are a few 8 & 5 mid-week runs. Oh…and a 19-miler tomorrow and a 20-miler in a few weeks. I’m trying to be positive about my training and I’ve actually felt really good lately. I haven’t been pushing myself speed-wise because, to be honest, all I want in this marathon is to feel good about it. Oh, and to PR, but I’m pretty sure I can do that. Hopefully I’m not being cocky.

But more than anything, I’m trying to make this experience fun. Last weekend I did the Brewers Half Marathon with a bunch of friends. I ran the entire thing with Mel and Jen and we put ZERO pressure on ourselves. We ran at a really comfortable pace and didn’t worry about breaking 2 hours. I didn’t feel the greatest…I guess I just never got in my groove. But we still had fun with it, of course.

Mel, myself, Jen before and after

Mel, myself and Jen before and after the half.

Jlo and I in Miller Valley

Mel snatched this of Jen and I during Miller Valley. Loved this part of the race.

Running through Miller Park

At mile 12.5ish we ran through Miller Park. This was my favorite thing I’ve done in a half to date. So cool!

Schultz's first half

This was my friend Schultz’s first half marathon! Love when people get into running.

Nater

This was also Naters first half…he ran it in 1:39. Stud.

Krista PRed

My girl Krista PR’ed with a 1:44. Holy mac.

Runing brings friends together

Old friends coming together through running. Love it.

Another medal to the pile!

Add another medal to the pile!

So onward I push. 19 miles after work tomorrow (yuck) but then I have 2 weeks till my 20 miler, which I’m doing in Denver. Yippee!

In other news: this is a must-read. Love, love, love. 

Enjoy the beat.


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Running 17 Miles Hurts But 18 Is a Cinch

A successful 18-mile run calls for a blog post. After all, that’s what I’m supposed to write about, isn’t it?

My 17-miler in Minneapolis last Friday (week and a half ago) didn’t go so well. I was in vacation mode and wasn’t in the mood to get up and run 17 miles. But then again, who ever has an itch to run 17 miles? Maybe Dean Karnazes, but that’s it. Don’t lie to me and tell me you do. Anyway, my route was gorgeous…ran around the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes (Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles). But even with the gorgeous scenery, I hated almost every minute of it. I think it’s because I did it alone. In addition to running 17 miles, WHO in their right mind wants to do that alone? Definitely not me.

So this weekend, I finally had 2 days of peace and quiet in Madison. No plans. Zip. Zero. Zilch. This girl isn’t familiar with that concept lately. And I was able to reconnect with my running buds! We met bright and early Saturday morning: half of us with 18 miles on the schedule and half with 20 miles. I won’t bore you with details, but it went great. And even better…I had energy left at mile 18 and kicked out an 8:55 mile. Who am I?

Half-way into it, we ran into a fellow runner who is pacing the Chicago Marathon in a couple weeks. Her name is Kay. Kay has done…take a deep breath…101 marathons. And has done one in every state. How incredible is that? My mind was blown. Just thought you should know there are THAT ridiculous of people out there.

I’m heading into week 11 with confidence. I’m definitely nearing the burnt out stage of training, but I only have 8 weeks left. That seems like a lot of time, but it will be gone in the blink of an eye. This weekend is my first half marathon (Brewers Half Marathon) since June and I’m super excited. Quite a few of my friends are running it as well and we’re making a weekend out of it in Milwaukee. Plus, I absolutely love kick-back weeks.

Lastly…guess what! A friend of mine from college is on this season of The Voice! His name is Michael Lynch, so look out for him in auditions next week (if you watch the show). Here’s one of his videos from a couple years ago, but still SO good.

 

And in honor of the season premiere last night, here is my beat of the day. Caroline Pennell quickly became my favorite.