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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Must.Blog.

I’m a disgrace. I haven’t blogged since May. But in my defense, my last post was the greatest post ever and I wanted that to be the most recent post forever and ever. If you didn’t read it, go back and please do so.

I will not bore you with excuses of why I haven’t written. I’ll just leave it at this:

Lake living

 

Besides lake living, I’ve been (attempting to) plan a wedding! I know we still have a year until the Big Day, but I get anxious when I think of all there is to be done. Because I like lists and they make me feel more accomplished, here we go:

Finished

  • Date (8/15/15)
  • Venue (Pleasant View Golf Course)
  • Photographer
  • Day-of Planner
  • Wedding dress!
  • Wedding party
  • Honeymoon (St. Lucia!!!!)

Big To-Dos

  • Videographer
  • DJ
  • Hotels for guests
  • Shuttles
  • Food!

Let me just say, if you live in the Madison area, I really, really welcome your suggestions for anything on the to-dos list. Especially a videographer.

I won’t bore you with wedding details so I’ll move onto another thing keeping me occupied: running.

I have my 2nd half of 2014 next weekend: the Madison Mini. I feel like a wimp compared to last year (6 half marathons, 1 full marathon). I hate that my priorities have changed, but I just didn’t find the time to travel for halves this year. I’d like to say maybe 2015?? However, 2015 will be the Year of Weddings amongst my friends and I. Oh well, I’m still getting the miles in, just not in official races.

*Break from writing*

I just started thinking, “I am rambling on about things people probably don’t care about. What did I used to post about?”

Well, running. So I went back and looked at my post about my marathon last November. After reading it, I have a minor inkling to sign up for the Madison Marathon in November. I said minor, people. Minor. We’ll see how I feel after the half next Saturday. And if I’m really crazy enough to sign up.

What a random blog post. See you again in another 3 months.

 


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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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She’s ALIVE

Yes, I’m alive and well. I know you were all so worried. I know, I know. Miss Social Media hasn’t blogged in over a month. And it would have been longer if Emily hadn’t reminded me. So this post is for you, Wank.

But why haven’t I been blogging? Because I haven’t been running…much. Yes, I finished my marathon. And yes, I forgot to post about it. So here I am, finally remembering that miserable but successful day. The Madison Marathon was a month ago yesterday, so I’ve forgotten details except for these:

  • It was freezing at the start…absolutely freezing!
  • I was terrified at the start. I had the worst attitude ever and wanted to get these miserable hours over with. My friend Jen and I huddled in Starbucks until minutes before the gun went off and I ran into my running friends Cindy and Mike who gave me a brief pep talk.
  • Once I got going, I started feeling great. Miles 1-10 were awesome. I remember seeing my family around 5 and I jumped and ran towards them, hugging them all. Hugs subsided after that point.
  • Jen ran with me up until mile 8. We said our goodbyes right by Camp Randall where she told me she’d meet me at mile 22 to finish the last 4 miles with me. She, unfortunately, had to drop out of the run due to a IT band injury.
  • I saw so many of my wonderful Neckerman coworkers at mile 10. There was a long stretch of them on University Ave, waiting to take my picture. I remember I stopped and gave my friend Mel (the one I do most of my half marathons and training runs with) a hug here.
  • The rolling hills on Gorham (miles 11 & 12) were NOT fun.
  • My knee started killing me at mile 13. I saw my family around this time and asked for Ibuprofen. A few minutes later, my awesome brother comes running up to me with a bottle of pills and asks how many I want. Those were clutch. Pain went away within minutes.
  • I started really feeling the pain at mile 17ish. This was through the Maple Bluff neighborhood. The wonderful people of the Madison Marathon decided to put the largest hill in Madison at mile 17.5. I forever hold a grudge against them for that.
  • I saw my friend Mike at mile 19ish and told him I hated life. And that I was never doing a marathon again.
  • Miles 19-22 were a challenge. I wanted the run to be over, I was bored and knew I wasn’t going to see family or friends for awhile. I was aching to find Jen at 22.
  • Jen joins me at mile 22. The first thing I said? “You can talk to me…but I’m not talking back. I hurt. I hate this. I want to cry.” Jen was such a trooper. SUCH a trooper. She encouraged me, pushed me, motivated me, put up with my bad attitude, put up with me snapping at her (“YOU DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH I HURT JEN!!!”) Good God I owe her. So seriously, J, I love you. I could not have finished the way I did without you there.
  • We see my family again at 22.5. I yell at Lauren to stop taking pictures of me while running. (“SERIOUSLY…STOP. YOU HAVE ENOUGH.”)
  • I see Mel right after my parents. I stop. “Mel…I hurt.” She wouldn’t let me stop…and pushed me onward.
  • 23-26 were agony. My quads were pulsating. Jen was amazing. The view was gorgeous on John Nolan Drive. I hated life. Everything in the world was terrible.
  • My friend Amanda joined Jen and I for about .3 miles around 24. She’s a gem.
  • As we are coming up West Wash at mile 25ish (another HILL), I tell Jen I need to walk. WHO walks with .7 left of a marathon?! Well, me. A stranger and spectator (his name was Kevin) comes up and starts motivating me. He gets me running again. What an encouraging guy he was. He left with .2 miles to go. I saw him again at the finish and thanked and hugged him.
  • I crossed the finish line in 4:32. 2 minutes after my goal. 12 minutes after my stretch goal. Did I care? No. Because I was done.
  • The most important thing I remember? My family. They were EVERYWHERE. I think I saw them 14 times on the course. They would drive by me cheering, park the car up ahead of me, jump out, cheer me on again until I passed them, and repeat. It was so amazing. Before the marathon, I was not looking forward to seeing people I knew on the course. Once I was running, I couldn’t have been more thankful for anything else. So to my mom, dad, Lauren, Jeremy and Bennet: you guys were amazing. You kept me going.
  • On the topic of amazing support, I was overwhelmed by all the texts, phone calls, Facebook posts, tweets and verbal “good luck” wishes I received. Before, DURING, and after the marathon. I don’t know what else to say other than I am incredibly fortunate to have the people in my life that I do. I could not reiterate that enough.

Woah, now that I think about it…I remembered a lot. Phew. That’s a lot to post in my first blog back. I’ll be back more often, I promise. For now, here are some pics from my marathon…

Mel made this sign for the marathon. Our friend Krista loves Unicorns, I love the Hawkeyes. Perfection.

Mel made this sign for the marathon. Our friend Krista loves Unicorns, I love the Hawkeyes. Perfection.

The start was FREEEZING.

The start was FREEEZING.

right wrist

Right wrist motivation

Left wrist motivation

Left wrist motivation

Mile 10...I was so happy!

Mile 10…I was so happy!

Hugging Mel at Mile 10

Hugging Mel at Mile 10

My lovely boyfriend high fiving me. No idea what mile this is.

My lovely boyfriend, Bennet, high fiving me. No idea what mile this is.

Mom and Bennet at mile 18. I didn't enjoy this time period.

Mom and Bennet at mile 18. I didn’t enjoy this time period.

Crossing the finish

Crossing the finish

Jen, my savior, and I at the finish

Jen, my savior, and I at the finish

Mel and I at the finish

Mel and I at the finish

My amazing support group and family

My amazing support group and family


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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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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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Spreading That Marathon Love

I have exciting news that I haven’t been able to share until now.

You know how I absolutely LOVE getting people into running? And LOVE influencing people to sign up for races? Well, I’ve done it again. Back in April when I signed up for the Madison Marathon, a great friend of mine signed up with me. But she didn’t want anyone to know about it…just yet. But now word is out……

JLO IS RUNNING THE MADISON MARATHON WITH ME!

Meet JLOMeet Jen. I call her JLo. We’ve been friends since the beginning of time. Not really, but since middle school. She is one of those great friends that you don’t talk to for a while but when you see each other, you pick up right where you left off. In high school, we were sidekicks…and got into way too much trouble together. She was the girl I always went to about my boy problems…yep, always. And she gave advice like a married 30-year-old. It was great. Yeah, I still do that to this day. And still, she gives the best advice.

Jen just finished law school in Spokane, WA, has been studying her little butt off for the bar, which she took and probably passed with flying colors this week. This girl is one of the most determined, loyal, well-rounded people I know. And I couldn’t be happier to be running this marathon with her. If only we were training together! Unfortunately, Jen lives in Chicago, but we’re doing the Brewer’s Half Marathon together in September so we’ll get some miles in together before the Full.

SO…remember when I forced my Iowa friends to do a half with me and I asked them questions about their training for my blog? Well, I did this with Jen as well. And used the same questions.

She apparently follows my blog religiously (thanks JLo), so after reading her answers…any advice/encouragement you can give her would be great!

1. Have you ever run in a race before (5k, 10k, half, marathon, etc). If yes, what were they?

Yes, I’ve run the Spokane Half Marathon, BLOOMSDAY 12k twice, and a couple of 5K’s

2. How is training going?

Training has been hard! It’s so hot out, but when I reach the end of my long runs, my hands are up on the trail and I am cheering on the inside while everyone is literally staring at me because I am running with two arms in the air like I just won the gold.

3. What is the hardest part about training?

The hardest part of training I think is staying motivated and not getting bored on long runs, but I perk up when I hear Wild Ones by Flo-Rida.

4. What do you like about training?

Feeling really accomplished after every run whether it be short or long.

5. Why are you running the Madison Marathon?

I am running the Madison Marathon because I’ve been wanting to run a marathon once and who better to accomplish this goal with then an amazing person and motivator like Megan Cabalka!

6. If you normally do a different physical activity, what is it?

I normally run and love to do yoga or barre classes.

7. Any injuries so far?

I have really tight IT bands that put pressure on my knees, had it when I ran the Half, but nothing so far yet in my training!!

8. What are you looking forward to most?

I am looking forward to running the last 2 miles of the race… feeling like its only 2 more and I accomplished this extremely challenging goal that has tested me mentally and physically! And seeing my friends and family cheering at the end!

9. Do you have a time you’d like to do the marathon in?

I’d like to finish it b4 they start closing off the course 🙂

10. Tell me your best joke.

What is a DJ’s favorite sauce? Marrrra-marrinnaara (saying this as I am scratchin the vinyl)

There you have it. Jen Niesen is running her first marathon! I cannot WAIT.