2014 Running Recap

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Races: 25
Runs: 172         
Miles: 575
Highest Miles (Month): 64.6 in August

Lowest Miles (Month): 34.6 in June (I was training for the biking portion of the triathlon.)
Outdoor Runs: 136
Indoor Runs: 36
Longest Run: 7 miles (3 times!)
Average Pace: 12:43
Slowest Pace (Month): 13:43 in January 
Fastest Pace (Month): 11:53 in November

2014 was a great year for running. My pace went from 13:43 in January to 11:53 in November (December went up a bit-too much food!). Most of the runs were outside which is incredible considering how cold it was at the beginning of the year. I did 25 races and got quite a few medals. I’m very proud of them. I completed my first 10K race in May (it was actually an 11K) and completed 2 more by years end. Some races were great like the Reindeer Run and the Mankato 10K. Some were not so good like the Resolution Run (last run of the year) and the Suds Run (I had bronchitis!). I learned a lot over the year. I learned that you are not going to get a PR at each race.

I also started speed work outs in October and it helped immensely with my races in October, November and December. There was an immediate improvement! My September 5ks were over 36 minutes. By November it was down to ~33:35. Over 2 minutes in 2 months, that is amazing.

I have run in some amazing places too. Including 8 States (California, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota) and 3 Countries (US, Canada and Iceland).  The most beautiful run was the 11K in San Francisco. It was breathtaking (in more ways than one…OMG hills!). 

It was a great year!

Iceland couldn't fit on the map above. Here is Iceland:

December 2014 Recap

Runs: 13          
Miles: 42.6
Races: 2 (Reindeer 5K - 33:38; Resolution Run 5K 35:20)
Outdoors: 11
Indoors: 2
Longest: 7 miles
Average Pace: 12:05

December started out great. The weather was nice for the most part so I could run outside more than November. I did some good long runs of 6.5 and 7 miles. But like every December, the Christmas season took over with overeating and not running as much and so I gained weight which I think is the main driver of my slower pace this month. Also two longer runs also slowed me down. 

I had two races this month, Reindeer Run the first Saturday and Resolution Run in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve. Reindeer run was good. It was officially my fastest 5K as the others before it were not the full 5K length. My overall pace was 10:50! Woo Hoo! So that was good. 

Resolution Run was bad, I just wasn’t feeling it and I gained some weight, I was on vacation and I was not happy how cold it was…in VEGAS!

I managed to get to almost 43 miles. I’m surprised by that. My goal was 30. So I’m happy. But the last week of the month really disappointed me, I could have got to 50!

Trophies for December

I'm surprise there isn't a trophy for running on Christmas...I did that! But I got my Exra Frosting trophy for running on my birthday! :-)

Resolution Run 5K & Hofbräuhaus

Resolution 5K Vegas
A race in Las Vegas…you would think it would be nice and warm…well it was not! It says it was 39 degrees but the wind made for a chilly run. It also wasn’t my best race. I finished in 35:20 which isn’t horrible but really slow considering where I was in early December…damn you Christmas food! I know I gains some weight so I’m not sure if that is part of it and I was on vacation for a while and didn’t do much running so that is probably part of it too. The start was delayed but eventually we started. It doesn’t seem like it but it felt like it was all uphill! The route wasn’t that exciting. It was around a park with fields. It was also an out-and-back and I hate those. Not really much to report about the race. My last mile was the best just under 11. (Map and Splits below)

After the run we got our medal (ornament) our champagne glass and headed back to the hotel. We had an important date with the Hofbräuhaus.

I have been to the original Hofbräuhaus in Munich a few times, once on New Year’s Eve. I love it. So I thought what a great way to celebrate the New Year was there. We had some food, Mike and Mom had some drinks and we listened to the band. It was a great time. Mike and Mom did shots of fireball. Mike and Eric were bad and got paddled. Since Eric had an early morning we didn’t stay out until midnight. That was our New Year’s Eve night. 

Splits and maps

Daniel "Dan" Williams | 1970 - 2014 | Obituary

Death Valley National Park

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Today we kidnapped Allista and headed for Death Valley. It was a long day with a lot of driving but we saw some really cool things. The first stop was Ashford Mill Ruins. Not really much to see here except the outside walls of a building.

Badwater Basin
The next stop was the Badwater Basin. This basin is 282 feet below sea level. We walked out on the salt flats, it was really strange. At first it looks like you are stepping on an ice skating rink:

 There is a sign up on the rocks that shows sea level and that is when you realized how far down you really are. Here is a nice photo of the gang:

Natural Bridge
A short drive up the road brings us to the Natural Bridge. It is a half a mile uphill hike to the arch. We left mom in the car for this one. The hike was a bit tiresome as it was on big gravel. Not the best for walking. We hiked past the arch to a dry waterfall. That was kind of cool. Here is the arch and dry waterfall:


Artist's Drive and Palette
This is a one way drive to the face of the Black Mountains and is noted for having various colors of rock. These colors are caused by the oxidation of different metals (red, pink and yellow is from iron salts, green is from decomposing tuff-derived mica, and manganese produces the purple). It is really cool!

Furnace Creek and the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
After driving through the Artist’s Palette, we headed to the Furnace Creek area for lunch. We stopped at the visitor center where it was over 60 degrees cooler than the last time we stopped there when it was 116 degrees…in the shade! After lunch we drove up the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. We didn’t actually get out and walk to them as we were running out of sun and there was something more exciting up the road. But here is the picture I took from the parking lot:

Mosaic Canyon
The Mosaic Canyon is my new favorite spot of the park. We had never hiked to it before so this was a first for us. The canyon is in the north western mountain face of the valley which is named after a stream-derived breccia sediment with angular blocks of dolomite in a pebbly matrix. The entrance to Mosaic Canyon appears deceptively ordinary, but just a 1/4 mile walk up the canyon narrows dramatically to a deep slot cut into the face of Tucki Mountain. Smooth, polished marble walls enclose the trail as it follows the canyon's curves. There was a great view of the valley on our hike down to the car.


After that we headed back to Tracie’s in Pahrump.

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

The 3:30 am alarm came way too soon. We got our stuff packed up and headed to the airport for our Vegas adventure. No big problems getting on the plane and taking off. We landed in Vegas and 30 degrees. There was a bit of a chill when we got off the plane. We got the car and made our way to Pahrump. Tracie made homemade pizza for us. It was delicious. I love her pizza. After lunch we ventured off.

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
About 30 minutes away from Pahrump is the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.  The place is huge. We walked a couple of the board walks and watched pup fish in the blue water. One of the park employees was wading in the water, trying to catch invasive fish. He said the water was really warm. Seems strange when it was chilly outside. It was an interesting time, we spend over 2 hours there. Here are some pictures:

Don’t Break the Ice…Ward style.
After the park we went back to Tracie’s house. Mike was doing target practice with the Nerf guns, cross bow and bow and arrow. They got this bright idea to shoot at the Don’t Break the Ice game. Chaos ensued. We all took a shot at it even my mom! It was fun. Video: Don't Break the Ice Ward Style 

Tracie, Mike and Eric went out to get some KFC for dinner. Some of the kids wanted KFC and Eric is always up for KFC.  We ate dinner and called it a night for us.

A Bridal Shower, a Birthday, a Death and a Memorial Mass

That is the time I woke up. Why did I wake up? Well the red light on the alarm clock went dark and it woke me up. The power is off…crap!  I look outside and there is at least 5 inches of snow…double crap! It is Bridal Shower Day and we have no power and there is a lot of snow outside. I couldn’t fall back to sleep. I started to stress out. No heat, no way to warm up the food and quite a few people going a long distance to get here…what the heck am I to do?  So I stressed. Mom, Mike and I sat in the dark living room and was Facebooking on our phones. What else could we do? I called the power company and had to deal with stupid questions like “did you check the fuse box?” Well duh! And “do your neighbors have lights?” It is 4:45 am on a Saturday morning, I’m not going to call them to find out. Mom said she could really go for toast and coffee so Mike and I went in the 4x4 sleigh over the river, through the snow, over the hills through the woods to Kwik Trip. Thankfully when we got home the lights were back.

The Bridal Shower
I have to say we had a fantastic time. All of her aunts on her dad’s side were there. A cousin or two, all the bridesmaids (one drove from Illinois and one from Duluth (in the snow). Bradley’s Mom drove all the way from Amboy, MN too. We had eat great food (thanks Mom), played a few games and she opened presents. Here are some photos:
The cake and Danielle

With the Moms

The Schanks

The Biseks and Anna

The Bridesmaids and the Bride

A Birthday
After everybody left and we cleaned up, we went out for dinner for my birthday. After dinner we drove to Independence to see Christmas lights. It was a great birthday and I went to bed feeling like I had a great birthday…

Sometime after we went to bed, we got a text that Eric’s brother Dan had passed away after a long battle with cancer. A sad end to my birthday. I’m grateful he is at peace and no longer in pain. Even though we knew it would happen soon, it didn't prepare me for when it did happen. He will be missed. I have many fond stories of Dan, my most favorite is his inability to use a hammer. I was paired with him to frame windows in the basement remodel. We had fun, he always praised my hammering abilities.  I thank my dad for that…

Speaking of my Dad…
Sunday morning was the Memorial Mass for my Dad. Celebrating his life and death. It has been 8 years. It was a rough Mass for me. I cried for my Dad, I cried for Dan…it was very emotional.

Merry Christmas!

I’m a little late on this but I’m wide awake at 5am in Pahrump so I thought I’d could catch up on the blog. Christmas Eve, after a 4 mile run, we traveled to Eau Claire for a party at my cousin Paula’s house. It was good to see some of my cousins again and the food was good…lots of deserts desserts (I’m in the desert, I got confused on which word)! Thankfully I mentioned that St. Olaf (right by Paula’s house) had 5pm Mass. We were planning on going to the 10:30 mass in my hometown parish. I wasn’t too excited for staying up that late…I’m more of a morning person (which is why I’m up at 5am). I wish I was a night person and could sleep in but alas. I was happy to go the Christmas Eve Mass and see them bless the baby Jesus and the manger. After Mass, we picked up Aunt Bev and took her home. I had an exhausting day and was in bed by 9:30.

Like I mentioned above, sleeping in and me don’t work. I was up around 4am. Mom worked me like a horse…if only I could sleep in. LOL! We had a great lunch. Danielle, Dylan and Bradley came down and Becky, AJ and Trevor (friends of Mike’s, Becky and Trevor lived with Mike for a while). We played 10,000. Becky won the first game and I won the second. It was fun. Everybody stayed around all day. The kids left around 6pm. We picked up some pizzas at Kwik Trip for a late dinner, Becky and gang were still there. They finally left after 8pm. Again we were in bed before 10. Even Eric!

Boxing Day
Ok so I know we don’t celebrate Boxing Day but we basically do…we do what they do in countries that have it…shop, shop, shop! But first I had to make some cupcakes. The woman who was going to make Danielle’s bridal shower cake couldn’t make it because of her sick mom. Mom tried to find a store, Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart, etc…to make a carrot cake (Danielle’s request) but none of them made carrot. So we made cupcakes. At some point I had a lightbulb go off and remembered that my friend made a princess cake a while back and it was in the shape of a dress. So I googled cupcake wedding dress and found many examples. I was so excited. So I made the cupcakes and realized that mom accidently picked up a spice cake mix so I had to go get another carrot cake mix. We swung by Mc Donald’s for a breakfast sandwich and to harass my mom working behind the counter. She looks so cute in her Mc Donald’s hat!  After mom got home from work, we picked up Anna and went shopping. We had to get stuff for the bridal shower including a gift! After all that we picked up Aunt Bev, Eric was blessed amongst women on the drive home!

The Cake!
So after we got home from shopping mom and I put the cake together. Mom is amazing at frosting. I bought some pearl Sixlets for the waist. Here is the final result.

We finished the night at the Newcomb Valley Bar for a Friday fish fry…oh Wisconsin!

Gain, Gain, Gain

Monday, December 15, 2014

I’ve been very frustrated for the last 3 weeks. Since Thanksgiving, I have done nothing but gain weight. I know I’ll get on the horse again and hopefully lose these pain-in-the-butt pounds. But part of me is worried that I won’t and by Danielle’s wedding I’ll weigh 300 pounds. I know that once I get through this Christmas time and get back to work in dreaded January, I’ll be able to focus again and try and lose this weigh I gained plus much, much more.

I haven’t given up on the running so that is good. I am very excited for the 2015 race schedule. I have 22 or so races I’m planning on doing. I’ve only registered for 5. Some aren’t open to registration yet and some I have some time before the price goes up. I need to spread out the spending on these since it will be well over $1,000 for registration fees alone…just for me!  Bold ones are already registered so I have a race in each of the first four months of the year:

1/1/2015              Commitment Day 5k
1/25/2015            Lake Minnetonka Flurry Scurry 5K
2/14/2015            Valentine's Day TC 5K
3/1/2015              Frosty Foot 5K
3/7/2015              Hot Dash 5K
4/11/2015            Goldy's 10 Mile Relay
4/18/2015            Hot Chocolate 15K
5/3/2015              Minnetonka Half Marathon
5/17/2015            Esprit de She Lakeville Duathlon
6/13/2015            Summer Breeze 10K
7/4/2015              Red, White & Boom! Half Marathon Relay
7/22/2015            Torchlight 5K
8/22/2015            Maple Grove Triathlon
8/29/2015            Women Rock 10K
9/12/2015            Suds Run 5K
9/13/2015            Sioux Falls Marathon Relay
9/27/2015            The HealthPlus Brooksie Way 10K
10/3/2015            TC 5K
10/17/2015         Mankato 5K
10/18/2015         Mankato 10K
11/26/2015         Joslyn Castle Turkey Trot 5K
12/5/2015            Reindeer Run 5K

As you see, I’m already registered for a 15K and I have half on the list. I guess we will see. I ran 6.5 miles on Saturday (after which Eric asked “Why didn’t you go 7?” and I replied “Shut Up!”). After that I thought to myself, crap, how am I going to do 3 more miles…or worse double that effort? What have I gotten myself into????

Life and Lights
We had  a nice weekend in Mankato. I helped Danielle on the wedding invitations and Eric and Bradley helped DJ fix things in her basement.  Q and Pumpkin were very cuddle on Saturday…not so much on Sunday.  

We had dinner at Applebee’s and walked through the Lights at Sibley Park. It really is quite a lot of lights!

Sunday we did more stuff in the basement and went shopping. It was a nice weekend away.

The Williams Family Through the Years

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Everybody in the Williams family is posting pictures of Dan and many of them are family photos. I love these since I haven't really seen any pictures of Eric as a kid.  He was always a dorky kid...
I did my best on the years. Some I know because the person posting them listed them, others I based on who was the baby. LOL!
Back: Bonnie holding Felicia, Phil, & Tim
Middle: Judy holding Eric, Terry  holding Adrian,
Front: Dan, Tracie, DJ, Chris and Matt

Back: Terry, Tim, Judy Phil
Middle: Adrian, Bonnie, Matt, Dan Chris, Tracie
Front: Eric (on Bonnie's lap), Felicia and DJ


Back: Tim, Phil, Bonnie, Tracie
Middle standing: Dan, Matt, Felicia
Front: Adrian, Chris holding Elaine, DJ, Eric (nice red pants), Craig, Felicia

This picture includes all the Williams grand kids. Eric is in front with the yellow shirt. 


Back: Matt, Phil, Tim, Dan, Chris
Middle: Felicia, Tracie, DJ, Adrian, Bonnie
Front: Eric, Elaine, Terry holding Byron, Judy, Carrie and Craig
Back: Phil, Matt, Tracie, Dan, Chris
Middle: Eric, Adrian, DJ, Craig,Felicia
Front: Elaine, Terry, Carrie, Judy holding Byron


Back: Phil, DJ, Dan, Matt, Tim, Judy, Chris, Adrian
Middle: Eric, Bonnie, Terry, Craing, Felicia, Tracie
Front: Carrie, Elaine, Byron

1989 Bonnie and Hiram's Wedding
1995 DJ's Wedding
Eric, Felicia, Adrian, DJ, Terry, Judy, Tracie?, Dan, Bonnie?, Phil
Craig, Elaine, Carrie, Byron