15 Things for 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!   We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. This year we came up with the 15 things about 2015. Mostly happy and fun, some sad and a lot is running relate which has pretty much taken over our life!
Love, Eric & Kim
15 Things for 2015
1 – Half Marathon:  In November we traveled to Tulsa, OK for the Williams Route 66 Half Marathon. It had the name Williams in it so we had to run it. Eric's brother Phil joined us and ran the full marathon. It was an amazing experience. We can't wait for the next half marathon on December 27th (yep, Kim's birthday) in sunny California. There was also one baptism, our newest Godchild, Carmen Helen Stayer.
2 – Funerals attended: 2015 started out on a sad note with the passing of Eric’s brother, Dan and just before Easter, Eric’s Grandma Kate passed away.
3 – Weddings attended:  Kim's niece Danielle to Bradley on ultimate pi day (3.14.15). Kim was one of the attendants. It was a great time! Also, Kim's cousin Paula to Tom and Kim's college roommate Angela to John.
4 – Graduations attended:  Eric’s nieces:  Juliette in Papillion, NE; Katelynn in Eugene, OR; Judy in Rapid City, SD. Additionally, Eric finally finished his Master's Degree and graduated in October!!
5 – Races at random distances:  Including 2 relays, an 8K, and 2 15Ks: the Hot Chocolate 15K in Minneapolis and Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago. The Hot Chocolate 15K series is really great. They give awesome medals and finisher jackets as well as chocolate fondue with food for dipping at the finish. Kim runs for chocolate!
6 – Countries Visited:  In June we traveled to Iceland (layover but we actually went outside), United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, and Netherlands with Juliette and Katelynn. We had 4 days in London before taking the Eurostar to Brussels to visit Eric's cousin Elizabeth and her husband, Jim. Elizabeth took us all around the countryside of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. And she introduced us to the BEST BELGIUM WAFFLES EVER! It was an awesome trip.
7 – 10K Races:  Valleyfair Run & Ride Rt. 76 10K, Summer Breeze 10K (in London!), Women Rock 10K (Kim)/Chili 10K (Eric), Brooksie Way 10K (in Michigan), TC 10K, Mankato 10K, and Marine Corp 10K (started by the U.S. Capitol building and ended in Arlington National Cemetery). Eric’s brother Chris ran the 10K with us and Eric’s brothers Phil and Byron and sister-in-law Paula ran the marathon.
8 – Eden Prairie Community Band Concerts:  Kim still plays trombone with the Eden Prairie Community Band.
9 – High School Varsity Soccer Games:  Eric refereed a lot of games during 2015. This fall he refereed 9 varsity high school games. He also refereed 13 adult/youth games during the summer.
10 – Different states/countries raced:  Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin, & United Kingdom
11 – Days off/worked during June:  Kim jokingly said she only worked 5 days in June. Well that wasn't quite true. She worked 11. Eric unfortunately had to work one extra day.
12 – Months in a year:  We have had at least one race a month in 2015. Actually we are going on 26 months in a row with at least one race. We have registered for a race every month through July 2016!
13 – Twins Games:  This was a low attendance year for us. Twins had a lot of games in June and as stated above, we weren't around much in June. We got to one Twins away game this year in Detroit.
14 – 5k Races:  Ok so that is a lie it is actually 18 but we couldn't come up with anything for number 14. We are not going to list them all as you probably don't care.
15 – States/DC visited:  So this list obviously includes the locations listed above for race locations. We traveled the US a lot in 2015 and the states visited include Arizona (Kim)/Colorado (Eric), Nevada, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, DC & Oklahoma.

La Jolla Beach Sunset

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

After running the half marathon, we jumped into the hotel hot tub. It was outside so it was bit cold but the water was HOT it felt great. The pool area was very nice and had a lot of these Bird of Paradise flowers:

We took quick showers and grab some food. After eating I was exhausted and took a nap. We agreed that we would go mini golf at 3pm. So I my sore butt out of bed and we headed to play mini golf. This was our ride for the weekend:

We really didn't want the convertible but after waiting 45 minutes for our bags at LAX, 20 minutes for a shuttle bus to the car rental place and 2 hours(!!)  (only to be told our car wasn't ready and didn't know when it will be ready) we settled for this. It cost us $60 more but I wanted out of LA!

We finished the evening at La Jolla Beach for the sunset. It was amazing. 

Cabrillo National Monument

We had some time on Saturday before the half marathon to tour San Diego. Eric and I have done San Diego quite a bit so there wasn’t much we had to see. Eric, however, made it clear he hasn’t been to SeaWorld. So I guess we have to go back for that. Anyway, we headed to Cabrillo National Monument. To be honest I really didn’t know much about this place. It has always been on my to-do list but I had never managed to get over to it. Boy, we were missing out! 

The first stop was the top of the hill with great views of the San Diego Skyline. It is so nice! We saw the monument to Cabrillo himself. In 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped into history as the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States. There was also a light house: 

Next we travelled down to the tidal pools. Parking was a nightmare down there. Eric dumped me off and eventually found a parking spot. We saw some sea creatures and some beautiful landscapes:

More pictures at Cabrillo National Monument

San Diego Holiday Half Marathon

Monday, December 28, 2015

#2 was harder but also easier. It wasn’t as emotional as the first one but still I felt accomplished.

This race was smaller than Tulsa. The start was literally 100 feet from our hotel room. I woke up 2 hours beforehand, not by choice. But I was grateful to clean the system before the race. The last thing I want to do is use a port-a-potty during a race. I had my half bagel with Nutella and a bit of a bad banana. My nerves were just as bad as the last race. I know this race was mostly downhill but the day before we drove up the one big uphill and that made my nerves a bit rattled.

The Start
We started in waves. We were in the 3rd and last wave. There wasn’t much fanfare at the start. We ran down a small hill, turned the corner and ran up a small hill. They advertise this race as a potential PR as there is over 700 foot elevation drop and only one real hill. Well that hill was quite the hill. It started just after the half mile mark and topped out at just over a half a mile later. The climb was 125 feet.  Mile 1 was during the hill and I finished at 12:00. Considering the hill, I was surprised that I was that fast. I was relieved to get to the top and start the downhill sprint. Even though I walked up a lot of the hill, my mile 2 split was only 10 seconds slower than the first at 12:10. We had our first water stop at mile 2. It was a welcome stop. I ate some sport beans and drank the water and made the turn to get on the running path. The first 2 miles were on a rough road. It was around this time we saw the first causality…a girl puking. The start of mile 3 had another hill. This hill was only about 50 feet but considering I was thinking it was downhill from the high point, that was a bit deflating. Haha! Mile 3 came in at 12:38. A little slow but mile 4 made up for that!

The Middle
Mile 4 was fast. It was almost entirely downhill. We were literally flying down the hill. I should have held back a bit but I didn’t.  Our pace during the mile at one point was under 10:30 but I slowed a bit at the end and came in at 11:19. Mile 5 had some rolling hills and we had another water stop with more beans.  It wasn’t that exciting of a mile. Mile 6 was entirely downhill however the pitch was very slight. The pace came in at 12:11. My 10K split was close to my Twin Cities 10K race time which was really good. Mile 7 and 8 were generally downhill with a few rollers here and there. I was very consistent as both miles came in at 13:20. A little slower than I would like but oh well. Eric got me through mile 9 at a respectable time of 12:58. This stretch was by a residential area. It was very quiet. I was starting to fade and knew that I couldn’t keep up with Eric’s pace. After the water stop at mile 9.3, Eric left me. I pulled out the M&Ms and ate half the bag while drinking the water. It was a welcome relief as I was hungry.

The End
As expected, mile 10 was slow, my slowest. From this point to the finish, there were no big downhills,  just rolling hills. I used mile 10 as a recovery. I walked more to stretch out the shins which were mad at me after all those steep downhills. I was also having hip pain. I don’t know what that was about. I’ve never experienced that before. Oh and lets not forget the 3 rolled ankles. I was beat up! When I saw my pace was starting to plummet, I told myself that I couldn’t let my pace go over 13:00 if I wanted to finish faster than Tulsa. So I did a lot more run/walk segments during miles 11 and 12. I would walk for a bit and when my average pace get close to 13 minutes I would start running again. This went on and on for two miles. In the middle of that was the last water stop. I finished off my M&Ms. I was happy to have them. Mile 11 and 12 were close in time at 14:10 and 14:09. After a slow mile 10, it was nice to be a bit faster. Once I got done with mile 12 I knew that I was going to PR this race unless something terrible happened. I knew that I had to keep my pace under 13:10 to be faster than Tulsa. I continued to do the run/walk thing but this time I allowed my pace to go a bit over 13:05. I finished at 2:52:31, a whole 2 and half minutes faster than Tulsa. 

I was very excited to get to the finish. It had warmed up a lot and I was hot. The food at the finish area wasn’t as great as Tulsa. A lot of stuff was already out. The bananas were green and they ran out of water. We stood in a long line for the shuttle back to the hotel. It was a successfully race. A great birthday present!

Reindeer Run 5K

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It has been a busy week that I forgot about the Reindeer Run 5K race report. Hopefully I remember how it went!

This is the 3rd time we have run this race and this year was warm for a change!  The first year was 5 below and snow and ice. Last year it was like 18 degrees but windy and icy. This year was perfect, 36 degrees with a light wind and no ice! I was very happy. Sadly I couldn’t match last year’s PR. I haven’t run that fast in a long time. But I did run it a second faster than the last race at Lake Harriet, the Terror Trot on Halloween. Whoopy!

Nothing really stands out about this race. I ran up all the hills in the first 2 miles. I walked a bit during Mile 3. My mile splits were very consistent at 11:4811:52 & 11:45. All under 12 minutes, that is considered good…lately. My sprint to the finish was an 8:07 pace which is respectable.  It wasn’t my best run but it wasn’t horrible. I would say it was consistent. Consistent is good, right? 

Rededication of Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

On Sunday was the Rededication Mass of Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church. The La Crosse Diocese Bishop was on hand. Also Monsignor Kunz, Monsignor Malnar and other priests special to SSPP. 

The church was closed in July so they could repaint. It hasn't been painted in over 30 years. I actually don't think it has been repainted before in my life time so this is a big deal. It is truly amazing inside. I wish it looked like this when Eric and I got married 12 years ago. In addition to the painting they "cleaned" the stain glass windows. They are so bright now. 

Joslyn Castle Turkey Trot 5K

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

It wasn’t as cold as in the past two years but it was very windy and poured! It sucked. 

The number of participants was a lot smaller this year. I’m not sure if more had registered but didn’t show up because of the rain. I have a feeling that is the reason. Since we are veterans of this race we knew better than to show up super early. There was no reason to. There is plenty of parking and it is not a big race. We go there with 10 minutes to spare. New this year they had opened one of the buildings for us to hang out in beforehand to stay warm and dry.  That would have been nice previous years when it was so bitterly cold!

The course was exactly like last years. We started downhill, half way around the loop out of the park and up a hill. Considering I was coming off a half marathon just 4 days before I knew my time wouldn’t be the best. I was still kind of stiff from the half and the 6 hour car ride on Wednesday to Omaha didn’t help that. I walked a lot more of the first mile that I would have liked. But my legs didn’t really like that first uphill.  My first mile was 12:04. Not bad considering it had 111 foot climb. 

Just after mile one is a downhill that is nice but immediately is followed by another uphill. I kept pacing with an older guy wearing a turkey hat. I really wish I could get into dressing up but I don’t. Mile two was way slower than I would have liked but I walked a bit and I was struggling to take my cheap rain poncho off.  Right before the end of mile two was a water stop. I really didn’t need any but I have it engrained in to my head to always grab water. I also dumped my rain poncho off.  Mile two came in at 12:37. Ugh!

Mile three and the finish were pretty good. I like the last mile of this race because you get to make up for all those up hills in mile one and two. After the water stop there is a short, steep 137 foot downhill. It is awesome. I passed a ton of people. I love running down hills and this hill has been one of my favorites of all the races I have done…Mankato’s 10K hill is my favorite. I walked a bit up the hill before another downhill into the park. The cruel thing is the finish is up the hill we ran down in the beginning of the race. I didn’t sprint up this like last year but I still managed to run it even with wonky legs. Mile three was my fastest in a long time at 11:12. My overall time was 36:39. Not my fastest, obviously, but considering I ran a half marathon four days before and didn’t get a run in in between, I think I did pretty good. 

I didn’t talk much about the rain but it was there the whole race and sometimes it was coming down pretty hard. I’m glad I wore my new “Tulsa Runner” hat. It made a huge difference. Eric and I headed to Starbucks for some warm refreshments and a couple donuts from Hy-Vee. It was so nice to get back to Bonnie’s house and take a long hot shower.