Under the Sea Corn Maze

Saturday, October 20, 2018

I love the them this year!  It is very cute. Sadly, this is the last year of the corn maze by our house. They are moving. :(

Sever's Corn Maze is moving in 2019!

Nebraska Half Marathon

Monday, October 15, 2018

Cold, Wet, Miserable
Those are the best three words to describe the Nebraska Half Marathon.

The race started out in our favorite running spot in Omaha, Turner Park at the Midtown Crossing. We have run three Turkey Trots there, so we know the place well. Bonnie was a huge sport and drove us to the race and even brought her skeletons to cheer us on. Being this is a new race, it was very small. The start was cold at 37 degrees and misty.

The first couple miles went well for me. I kept close to my predicted pace and didn’t have any problems. There was a nice downhill and a short up hill. The windy wasn’t as noticeable when ran around downtown Omaha. Mile 4 had a nasty uphill that slowed me down and the corresponding downhill didn’t help.

During mile 5 we ran by the TD Ameritrade Park where the College World Series is played. It looked like a nice place. This meant we were around a lot of empty parking lost so the wind was really pounding us. And the rain started to get hard too. I’m so glad I wore my hat. I almost gave it Bonnie before I started.

Miles 6-9 were in the Lewis & Clark Landing and Heartland of America Park along the Missouri River. It was an out and back section which I love so much (just kidding). The highlight of this section was running around my nephew, Michael’s apartment building. Bonnie was out with her skeletons cheering us on. She said that some runners stopped to take pictures of them. Haha! The best part of out and back sections is realizing there are still people behind you. Yay for not being last! Also during this stretch we ran past the finish line twice. Such a mean trick they play!

Mile 9 is when the sleeting started. Oh how much fun that was. Sleet/ice pellets and 20+ mph north wind, doesn’t that sound pleasant? I had to deal with this crap the rest of the race. Mile 10 was a water stop and I spilled the cup all over my gloves. I was already freezing as the temperature kept dropping and now this. I spend the entire walk (because at this point I was too frozen to run) across the Missouri River (which will now be referred to as the “Misery River”) Pedestrian bridge to Iowa whether or not to take the gloves off. My hands were frozen and I’m not sure if the gloves helped but if I took them off there was no way I could get them back on. After so much struggle I left them on.

The Iowa portion of the race was the most miserable. I was slow because I think I was fighting hypothermia and the nonstop ice pellets were hurting my face. We got to the turnaround point for the half and I pitied anybody running the marathon. It had to be awful! I prayed to God, Jesus, Mary, anybody who would listen at this point help me finish this thing. You know it was bad if I resorted to praying for 2 miles! 

The last 2 miles were the worst. By this time it was at the freezing mark and I was running straight into the ice pellets. I would have been dead if where not for my visor/hat. I put my head down into my chest and let the ice just bounce off of me. I got back across the “Misery River” bridge and shortly was at the finish. I don’t remember much about the finish other than I tried to run in even though I couldn’t feel my feet, or legs or really any part of me. I got my medal, a couple brownies and bottle of water and high tailed it to the warm car. I shivered all the way back to Bonnie’s house even though I had three jackets on.  I think I took at 30 minutes HOT shower and put on several layers and eventually I was warm again.

I learned from this race I need a running rain jacket. If I had been able to stay dry during the 7 miles of rain, I wouldn’t have been so cold when the temperature drop. This is a first for me. I actually got colder as the race went on, not warmer. Very odd for me.  The starting temp was 39, 3 hours later it was 32. I think it dropped 7 degrees in the last hour of the race.

Blake's First Birthday Party

Dylan & Melissa's Wedding

Cheyenne Half Marathon

Monday, September 24, 2018

Half #22, State #17!  Elevation killed me!

This past weekend was my first true test to see if I could run 2 half marathons 2 weeks apart. My goal in 2019 is to run half marathons in back-to-back weekends in New England so I can cross two states off my list.

Sioux Falls was a great race for me two weeks ago. Cheyenne prove to be more a challenge. The biggest thing was E-L-E-V-A-T-I-O-N. Running at 6,200 feet is no easy task when you are not used to it. I knew I was in trouble in the first .15 mile when I struggled to breathe running up a tiny hill. I had to slow down to walk to control my breathing. This was not going to be my day. Thankfully I had 8 years to complete it. Ha! Well no, I actually had less than that because I had a plane to catch in Denver.

It was the inaugural year of this race so there were a few hiccups as you can imagine. But nothing major. The biggest thing was more water stops and maybe some sports drink for those that need it.

The course was ok. There some nice parts but quite a bit was on busy roads or next to busy roads like the long stretch along the interstate. Not so much fun.

The first three miles were tough on my breathing. Mile 4 I finally had a mile under 14. Woo hoo! So different from my last half. After that “spectacular” mile, I tried to keep as many of my miles under 15 as possible. I didn’t do so great at the goal.

During mile 6 the course wanted us to turn left. Well this woman in front of me (who drove me nuts the entire first 6 miles) didn’t turn. She went straight. At first, I was concerned for her that she got off course but what she really was doing was cutting the course. Seriously!  I saw her later and she was easily a mile ahead of me. We figured she cut about a mile. Argh so annoying.

We made our way around downtown Cheyenne. The silly capitol building was under scaffolding, so we couldn’t see it. :( The finish was at the cool old depot. But there wasn’t much fanfare. I got my medal, my banana and was on a bus back to our car.

It was an ok race. I’m not sure I would come back. I’m also glad to get another high elevation state out of the way. Idaho, Utah and Montana scare me. Hopefully I can find a race with a good time limit…I need it!

Finish time: 3:19:35. Only 35 seconds slower than I predicted. I’m getting pretty good at predicting my time. ;)

Kayaking Down the River

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

We spent one of the few weekends that we were home to go kayaking. We have been wanting to go down the Blue Earth River all summer, but we didn’t have the 2-3 hours it required so finally we go out on the river. It was a very fun float. DJ joined us too. It was a pretty hot day so the cool water felt good. I spend the last half going along the shore line where there was shade because I could tell I was getting burned…even though I wore sunscreen!

It seemed like there were a lot more rapids this time. We had a lot of rain recently so I’m sure that is why. The last time we did this we had to avoid a lot of rocks, this time we just went over them. It was a lot more fun this time.

We saw some eagles and other random birds but the best was the blue heron that was just perched on rock looking at us and as we went past he took off. So amazing!

It took us just under 2:30 for the 9 mile run.

Sioux Falls Half Marathon

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Half #21, State #16

As I mentioned in the previous post the expo was very boring. They need to get more vendors. But it was quick in and out which some people prefer.

DJ came with us to the start. We started was inside the Danny Sanford Premier Center. That was a bit annoying because there is no way our running watch GPS could connect. Thankfully it was just short jaunt out the big door and on to the street.

Overall it was a very nice run. We went through some parks, include Falls Park. We ran past the Cathedral and the amazing old houses around it. We ran along the Big Sioux River. It was really a pleasant course.

Hills?  Well there was two big hills, but nothing like Dublin! The up hills were followed by really nice downhills. I got a little worried about the one down hill because I knew we had to run back up in during mile 10. But the course is slight different on the way back so we didn’t have to climb that entire downhill. Thank Goodness!

Byron and Rio caught to me around mile 7 or so and they ran/walked with me for a couple miles. It was nice having somebody to chat with. Byron said I was a lot more fun to run alongside than Eric. Eric doesn’t talk, I can’t stop. LOL! Byron left me at the bottom of the up hill.

I saw our friends, Kevin and Jana and their kids around mile 10. They even made us signs! How cute!  And of course DJ was there too. I think she like spectating more than participating. Ha!

The 3 hour pacer annoyed the heck out of me. I finally caught her around mile 5. I ran with her for bit but she stopped on the narrow bridge crossing the falls to take a picture. Really? I had to stop because I couldn’t get around her. I was a little irritated by that. I ran ahead of her but eventually she caught me and then I never saw her again. Eric said she finished 3 minutes early which is a means she is a really bad pacer!

I crossed the finish and was still feeling great. DJ and Kevin and company were there to cheer us on. The after food was good. The tri-tip sandwich was pretty good.

Overall my time was good for me. It was about what I expected. I had some great early miles but later in the race I was starting to get tired. I need to get back into marathon training shape!

Time: 3:07:24

Family, Friends, Soccer Games and a Half

Monday, September 10, 2018

We spend the beautiful weekend in Sioux Falls.  We meet up with some friends and family and of course ran a race.

We started our trip down to Sioux Falls after work on Friday. We picked up DJ on our way, getting into Byron’s house at around 9:30. Theo, the baby, was still up! It was his 7th month birthday.

Saturday morning, we meet Eric’s childhood friend, Kevin at his kid’s soccer game. Kevin is the coach, so we didn’t talk to him until after the game but we sat by his wife Jana and other son Isaac. Isaac was getting bored with the game, so Eric kicked the ball around with him. After the game we went to Fuddruckers for lunch and went to Isaac’s game afterwards. That was a hoot!  It was 4 on 4 on a very small field (5-6 year olds). There was a lot of hugging on the field. Little boys are so funny! Haha. Isaac has been watching too much World Cup because he tripped and fell and immediately got up and said “Come on, he pushed me” with his hands held out. Just like the pros. The thing is there is no refs on these games and no fouls. Haha! After he scored a goal he did the running slide on his knees…just like the pros. It was hilarious.

After that we went back to Byron’s and the entire family went to the Expo to pick up our packets for the race. It was a very sad expo. Hardly any exhibitors. :( We got our stuff and started to head out the door when we saw the 605 Running Company contest. You get your picture taken with a dry erase board with your estimated finish time. Whoever is closes wins a pair of shoes.  I wrote down 3:07:25. I had predicted a 3:07 finish anyways which is 10 minutes or faster than my other halves this year (except for my amazing first half at Grandma’s Marathon).  I will write a separate blog on the race, but my finish time was 3:07:24…I was one second off. I’m still waiting to see if I won. Fingers crossed nobody got right on the nose.

We went to Red Rossa pizza for dinner. I love traditional thin crust, wood oven Italian pizza. We did some grocery shopping for the race and spend the rest of the night hanging out at the house.

Sunday was another early morning. The race started at 7. DJ was nice enough to come with us. We started in the Denny Sanford Premier center. That was nice since it was kind of cold outside. The race was ok for me, not my best but hopefully I got the shoes mentioned above. Eric had a pretty good race, almost beat 2:30.

Kevin, Jana and the boys meet us at mile 9 and then saw us at the finish line. Adam was really interested in running and races now. He wants to go watch us at all our races. Haha.

We went to Perkins for a late breakfast…oddly enough, I was craving pancakes!

After breakfast we went back to Byron’s to watch the Vikings game and eat some nachos. It was good. We stuck around until 6pm because Eric’s brother Chris was driving through on his way home to Omaha. He and his daughter, Banyan were in Rapid City for the weekend.

It was a long ride home, we didn’t get in until after 10pm. I’m exhausted today! Ha!

Dublin Trip Review

Friday, August 24, 2018

August 9 – Dublin City Tour & Guinness Storehouse and Brewery Tour 
We started our day in Iceland and a 2 hour flight later we were in Dublin. Another 30 minute bus ride and we were finally at our hotel. Thankfully we were able to check in immediately and dump our bags in our room and out the door. Rule #1 of international travel is to keep going even if you are exhausted! We walked to McDonald’s for a quick lunch and on to a Hop On Hop Off tour. These tours are like most of the HOHO tours. The guide had interesting jokes and some history. We stopped at Guinness Storehouse and Brewery Tour. Thanks to our Dublin Pass, we walked right in…the line was crazy long. Yay Dublin Pass! The tour was interesting, we learned a few things about beer and ended up at the top floor Gravity Bar for our free beer (or soda). I went for soda, Eric had the beer.

After that we finished the hop on hop off tour and had a quick dinner before crashing for the night.

August 10 – College, Cathedrals, Vikings and a Castle
We slept in a bit and went to Starbucks for breakfast. Our first order of the day was packet pick up at the Expo at Trinity College. Trinity was a very cool campus. We walked through the campus The Expo wasn’t really an expo like we are used to but it was quick to pick up our stuff for the race. I bought new backpack…just want I need, another bag. But it is so cool, haha. We dumped our stuff and did more touring. We started at the St. Patrick's Cathedral, then to Christ Church Cathedral, Dublina (Viking Exhibit) and Dublin Castle.  We eat lunch at a local pub. I had a flat iron steak, it was delicious. The potatoes were very oniony, yikes! We swing by the Ha Penny Bridge o our way back to our hotel. Another fun filled day      

August 11 – Rock of Cashel, Cork City & Kissing the Blarney Stone
We had an early morning wake up call for our first bus tour of the trip. We had a great tour guide/bus driver. It was a long drive to the first stop at Rock of Cashel. It was an interesting stop but we could get inside.  We had a quick lunch in Cork before the boarding the bus for the highlight of the tour, Blarney Castle. The day was cloudy the whole day but really didn’t rain until we got Blarney Castle. We immediately stood in line for the climb to the top of the castle so we can kiss the Stone. It was a very tight spiral staircase. Shirley and Betty, our new friends from California, were in front of us. They were so cute. They were in the upper 70s and had some issues climbing the steps. We finally get to the top and it starts pouring. Yep, we kissed the stone in the pouring rain. Ick!  I didn’t actually kiss it, I just acted like I did.  After we climbed down we walked around the grounds before boarding the bus back to Dublin. Another long ride. We didn’t get back until 8:30. We stopped at Ray’s Pizza, a local place for a thin crust pizza…a pre-race tradition.

August 12 – Running Hills, Eating in Church and Stephen's Green Park
Another early morning wake up call for our half marathon. I had a few bathroom issues but thankfully I got it resolved before the race (the port-a-potties didn’t have toilet paper!). I went into the medic tent for some tissue…thank God they had a big roll of tissue!  I started near the back like always. The start was very slow like normal for Rock n Roll races. This race had mega hills. It sucked and my time was terrible but I didn’t care, I had fun.  After finishing, getting a ton of food from the volunteers, a new finisher long sleeve shirt we waited an hour for a tram to our hotel. We met a nice couple from Philly. They actually invited us to stay with them when we come out to run Philly. We aren’t but that was cool. We took quick showers and ventured to The Church for a late lunch. Eric had Irish Stew and I had the roast beef dinner. We had a nice conversation with the people sitting next to us. They were from Austria.  We went from there to Stephen’s Green Park to check out the beautiful green space of the city.

August 13 – More Castles and Cliffs
The last bus tour of our trip was way longer than the first. We had a driver and tour guide for this trip. I can see why because the roads were crazy narrow. Our trip didn’t start out great…our bus driver backed into a car. That was at least a 30 minute delay. We stopped at a Castle, went to see some baby cliffs and the best thing of the entire trip, the Cliffs of Moher. They were amazing. I would say these are a must see and if I had to chose between that and the Blarney stone, the Cliffs win hands down. We had another late return to our hotel. I quickly packed our bags and went to bed…another early morning wake up call to catch our flight.

Ireland was amazing!

15 Years of Wedded Bliss

Thursday, August 23, 2018

2003 Death Valley

2004 Washington DC


2006 Maine

2007 Arches National Park, Utah

2008 Lake Michigan

2009 Lake Michigan

2010 Great Smokey Mountain NP

2011 Chicago


2013 Texas

2014 Greenland


2016 Saguaro National Park, Arizona

2017 New York City

2018 Target Field