Year in Review

Friday, December 30, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Like usual, the beginning on 2016 started out very quiet. We spent Valentine’s Day and Easter with Kim’s family.

In May, Kim completed her first solo triathlon. It was a women’s only race and she had a blast. She can’t wait to do more in 2017.

Spring is also graduation time and at the end of May and the beginning of June we attended the graduations for Allista Ward in Pahrump, NV and Ethan Harris in Mankato, MN (Eric’s niece and nephew). While in Nevada, we travelled to the Grand Canyon with Eric’s parents.

Eric’s brother, Phil, and niece, Katelynn, visited in June. Eric and Phil ran the 40th Annual Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. This was Eric’s first full marathon. Kim ran the half marathon. Eric’s sister, DJ, came along to cheer us on. Kim was very surprised at her first mile when she saw her brother, Mike, and his girlfriend, Linda, with a sign for her. They left Arcadia, WI at 2:30am to get to Duluth by 6:30am for the start of Kim’s race. Kim was so shocked and happy they came to cheer us on.

Juliette, Eric’s niece, came up to see us in August and we ran the Minnesota Half Marathon. It was her first half marathon and she killed us, finishing way before us. 

Also in August, Kim’s brother and mom hosted a family reunion for her mom’s side. It was nice to catch up with family.

Our big trip for the year was to New Mexico and Arizona. We drove over 1,700 miles and visited 11 national parks/monuments. We saw cliff dwellings, white sands, caves, petroglyphs and much, much more. We met a new friend, a bull snake, on one of our hikes on our 13th anniversary. We also rafted down the Rio Grande River, watched an Albuquerque Isotopes and an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games and helped Juliette move some stuff from storage to her dorm room. We also had lunch with Eric’s niece, Samantha, and her fiancĂ© CJ.

September was a big month for Kim’s family. The family spent Labor Day weekend at Kim’s niece, Danielle and her husband, Bradley’s house in New Ulm, MN. Followed by a weekend in Milwaukee to see Kim’s nephew, Dylan’s new house. We met his girlfriend, Melissa and her two cats and also ran the Brewers 10K race which started and ended at Miller Park. And the following weekend Kim and her mom went to Austin, TX to see Kim’s sister, Nancy and her husband, Greg and their dog, Frankie.

The last weekend in September, Kim’s friend, Mary Linda came up to Minnesota for a visit. We went to Grand Forks, ND to run the Wild Hog Half Marathon.

We ran quite a few races in October. Like previous years, we ran the 5K and 10K at the Mankato marathon. DJ ran the 10K with us. Phil visited again and ran the marathon along with Eric’s brother, Byron and his wife, Paula. It was Byron’s birthday. The night before we had a pizza party and cake to celebrate. Kim’s family was also there. It was a fun weekend.

We flew back to Vegas in November to run the Rock ‘N’ Roll Las Vegas half marathon. We meet Phil there, he ran the marathon. Our race was great. It was at night and it ran up and down The Strip. It was a lot of fun and our finisher’s medal glows in the dark.

We spent Thanksgiving this year with Kim’s family. We switch Christmas and Thanksgiving this year. We are spending Christmas in Omaha with Eric’s family.

Our last race of the year was in Tucson. Again, we met Phil. He ran the full marathon. We are ran the half marathon. It was hard to leave the sunny 70 degree weather in Arizona for the snow and single digits in Minnesota on our return flight.

We hope you had a great 2016 and that your 2017 will be even better.
Love Eric, Kim and Swirl

Tucson Damascus Bakeries Half Marathon Race Report

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Better than I expected!

Expo, Saguaros and Course
The expo was very small. I was surprised how empty the expo was. We picked up our stuff and bought a tank top and that was it. I thought this was a larger race, I was wrong! After the expo we went to Saguaro National Park and drove the up to the start line of the marathon and followed it back to the finish line. Near the half marathon start we saw some cows and bulls. It was very rural. I was expecting something total different. We got a sense of what we were running and it wasn’t that exciting. I was a little worried about running down a highway but it really wasn’t that bad. Only once I felt like the traffic was too close.

We boarded our shuttle bus at 4:45am from Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort. It was about a 20 minute drive to our start. I’m not sure why the shuttles started so early, we were at the start line an hour and a half before we actually started! I can say the half marathon starting area was chaotic. Nobody knew what was going on. We could hear the radio communication between the buses and seriously, nobody knew anything!  There were buses everywhere near the start. There was a general confusion as to where the actual start was. It wasn’t marked! LOL! They allowed us to sit on the bus to stay warm as it was in the low 40s. But I had to pee so I hiked the almost half a mile up hill to the port-a-potties. The bag drop was also up there. Nobody knew what was going on with that either. This was not a very comforting start to the race!

Finally we made our way down to the actually start and bang we were off.  The started us in waves of like 200. I can understand why, once we turned on to the main road it was a bit narrow. I never felt squeezed but the field spread out pretty quickly. The course is a point-to-point. We started up the hill and ran down. We had beautiful desert scenery around us the whole way. It was pretty but I can see how some say it is boring.  My first mile was a bit slow, I guess I was warming up? Miles 2-4 were great. There isn’t much to talk about as it was the same thing, slight downhill, desert and cars. My time for these beginning miles were (1-4): 13:19, 12:53, 12:59 & 13:07.

The Middle
Nothing really stands out about the middle miles either. Lol! I kept passing this older woman, “the speed walker” from Maryland. I really don’t know how she walks that fast. Sadly she finished before me!!  A speed walker!  Ugh!  Miles 5 and 6 were still good but like always I start to fall off at mile 7. My time for the middle miles (5-8) were: 13:13, 13:07, 13:23, 13:55.

The End
Around mile 8 I ran into a Judy, a woman from Portland. We started talking and had a great conversation. We talked about everything and the miles kind of flew by. She was 66 years old, she didn’t look that old. I was amazed! Her husband was 70 and running the marathon. By the time I caught up to her, she was mostly walking. I stayed with her the rest of the way. I quite honestly don’t remember much about these miles. I know that I was slower than miles 5-8 but considering we walking more than running, I was impressed my times were still under 15 for most of these miles. This is the first half marathon, since my first one last year that I didn’t have a mile over 15:30. I was very happy with that. I could have left her and kept running but to be honest, she was such a fast walker that I think my time would have sucked more if I continued on with my running. Yeah, I could have had a couple more 13 minute miles but I know that I would have petered out and end up walking 20 minute miles to finish. My time for the ending miles (9-13) were: 14:33, 14:14, 14:51, 15:24, 15:24.

Overall time was 3:02:15. My fastest this year!  I’m happy with that. I don’t have a desire to do this race again. However, I really like this run even though it was lonely for the middle miles. There weren’t too many of us slow pokes and before we got to the finish we were being passed by the really fast marathons.



Share the Warmth 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

Eden Prairie, MN

C'est Noel
Whisper to their Souls
Fum, Fum, Fum
Away in a Manger
A Christmas Festival
Hanuka Fantasy 
Halleluja Chorus
We Three Kings
Variations on a Shaker Melody
A Christmas Portrait

Turkey Trot 6K

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I only signed up for this race because I needed a November race (this was before I knew I was going to do Rock ‘N’ Roll Vegas) and it was the fourth race in the MN Run Series which is required to get the race jacket. So I wasn’t really into this race. It is a 6K (3.7 miles) which is an unusual race distance. Why it is a 6K…I don’t know. We got the race just in time to run to the porta-potty and get started (with the walkers). We were running late thanks to a long line of cars trying to get into the parking garage. This race was along my favorite place (*SARCASM*) in the whole world…Sheppard Road. Another out and back on good ole’ Sheppard Road. I really need to look at my races next year and try and minimize my Shepard Road races. I just dread it, concrete, no scenery, always requires and out and back race. Argh.

This was probably the warmest Thanksgiving Day race we have done at 34 degrees. This is technically our 5the turkey day race. We ran on Thanksgiving the last 4 years and once in 2008. So we started with the walkers which meant a lot of weaving around them for the first mile. My goal for this race was to complete it in 50 minutes. I wasn’t really in the mood to run fast. I tried straight running and that lasted about 5 minutes and I finally said “screw it” and did a run/walk strategy. This wasn’t an important race for me and I didn’t want to run too fast and hurt myself before my next half marathon in 14 days. There really isn’t much to say about the race except that it was almost a quarter of a mile too long (3.9 miles) and there was no water stop. My overall time was 49:38 so I just barely made my goal for under 50 minutes. But if it would have been the proper distance I would have been right around 47 minutes. Once we finished we stood in a long line to get our medal and then another long line for water and food. Overall it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

Edinborough Concert

Rock ‘N’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I did it! I survived! My calf survived! I’m so excited to be on the road to recovery!

I walked Eric and Phil over to the race start. They started an hour before me so I had time to spare (and worry). I hate having to wait! I went back to the hotel for a bit since it was across the street and got my things organized before I headed back to the starting area. I don’t mind running by myself. I actually enjoy being alone but before the race, I don’t like being by myself. It is very lonely. They close the starting area 20 minutes before the actual race. That is a bit annoying! I sat on a truck bumper just taking it all in. This was the largest race I have every participated. There were over 10,000 people in my starting coral and we were the third corral! I talked to a nice lady from North Dakota for a bit. It was her first half marathon. As the race time grew closer, I started making my way into my corral. I talked to a bunch of people from Canada. They were from British Columbia and Yukon.

The Start
By the time we started it was dark but still warm. I’m not a big fan of running in the dark but I had 3+ hours to get used to it. When it is our time to go, the start banner shoots off fireworks. Cool! The first mile was heading south towards the famous Las Vegas sign. We made a turn around and finally were heading toward the strip. I don’t remember much of the first mile. It was very crowded and there were a ton of walkers in my corral so I was constantly weaving and stopping. I ran the first 5 minutes slowly and felt good. I had various run/walk strategies that I contemplated. But I eventually settled on 1 minute run, 30 seconds walk for my intervals and adjusted as I see fit. I did that for the first 2 miles until I ran into some ladies form Seattle. I kept passing them and they kept passing me. Finally one of the ladies asked if I was doing intervals. I told her what I was doing. They were doing 30 seconds and 30 seconds. I thought, you know what, I’ll run with you guys for a while. It was nice to talk to somebody and it kept me accountable. When they ran, they ran fast, well faster than I have been running the last 3 weeks. Ha!  During mile 4 we ran past Bellagio and the water show was playing. It was one of my favorite songs, Con Te Partir.  It made me so happy. I ended up staying with them through mile 4 and I had to let them go. If I wasn’t injured and worried about finishing, I would have stayed with them. I think if I would have been properly trained I could have kept up with them most of the race. Funny thing is they made a pit stop during mile 5 which I didn’t notice and the passed me again. It was so nice to hear somebody yell my name as they ran past me. The first 4 miles went better than planned. I hoped to keep them under 15 minutes and I was successful.

Miles 1-4 were 14:09, 14:13, 13:19 & 13:33.

The Middle
After I said goodbye to my friends from Seattle, I slowed down quite a bit. I tried to keep my miles around 15 the best I could. I figure the longer I can stay at or around 15, the better my chances of finishing would be. During the whole race, I kept thinking about my calf and wondering when it was going to blow out. I had done all that I could to heal it but I still was fearful. I’m such a pessimist! Mile 5 was past the Mirage (and finish line) and the Venetian. The smell of chlorinated water filled the air. We also ran past the Wynn hotel. They too have a water show but not on the same level as Bellagio. Mile 6 was kind of blah. We ran past Circus Circus and the SLS. In our sight most of the way was the Stratosphere which we finally got to during mile 7. This also meant we were getting close to the bad part of the race. If you been to Vegas, you know what I mean. It is the area between The Strip and Downtown. The sleazy wedding chapels, the crappy motels and seedy pawn shops.  Most of mile 7 and mile 8 were not a highlight of the run. LOL! As you can see by my times, I was pretty close to my goal of 15 minutes miles.

Miles 5-8 were: 14:41, 15:00, 15:07 & 15:07.

The End
Continuing with the crappy miles, mile 9 was just as bad as 7 and 8. This part of the race you turn away from the excitement of Fremont strip and head into an industrial/government building type of scenery. I dreaded this part of the race from the moment I signed up. It was very dark on these side streets and they did their best to put lights up but it was not fun. A black woman was live on Facebook and she was cracking me up. She saw that I was laughing and asked me to come on over and say “hi” to her followers, which I did. It was really the only highlight of mile 9.  Mile 10 we eventually made it to Fremont Street but turned just before the cool part. Boo! As you can see by my times, this was a rough patch. My time slowed considerably. But since I couldn’t train for 3 weeks and my longest run was a 10K 4 weeks ago, it doesn’t surprise me. We were finally back on The Strip heading towards the finish. The entire mile 11 had the Stratosphere in our sights. It was nice to see it but for some reason I never seemed to get any closer. LOL!  It was during this mile I started talking to a couple from Chicago. I had been piggy backing them since like mile 5. They would get ahead of me and then I would past them only for them to past me again. I finally started a conversation. They started running 2 minutes, walking 2 minutes. By the time I started talking to them they were on running 1 minute and walking 2. They were tired too. Also during this mile I made some women very happy. They were talking about how they can’t believe how long mile 10 has seemed. I looked at them and said that were over a half a mile past the mile 10 marker. They were relieved. They missed it. HAHA!  I finally made it to the Stratosphere at the end of mile 11. I was so happy to be back on the fun part of The Strip. So much so I said “Fuck it! I’m walking” And so I did for mile 12. I was exhausted and really didn’t feel like running. I did a few short bursts here and there but really I just walked it. It was starting to get interesting. It was around this time the marathoners rejoined us. I was amazed at how fast they were running but it didn’t encourage me to run. Ha! I kept my head up and just took in the sights. It was fun to just not care anymore!

Miles 9-12 were: 15:32, 16:21, 16:19 & 17:23

The Finish
Mile 13 was really slow. I don’t remember much about the last mile. I was just focused on finishing. I know we ran past the Wynn again, and again their water show was going. We ran past Treasure Island Casino and I thought to myself that the Mirage was much closer than it actually was…but maybe that was my runner brain. I got close to the finish line and saw the Volcano was erupting at the Mirage. Always a fun thing to watch. I was kind of in LaLa land. And there it was the finish line. I could see it and I was so excited. I got a bit emotional and started crying. I haven’t really cried at a finish line since my first half marathon but I think it was overwhelming feeling of “how the heck did I complete this considering the pain I suffered the last 3 weeks?” It was the amazement that my body was able to carry me this far even though it was so broken. What can I say, I was an emotional wreck!

Mile 13 was 19:01. My overall time was 3:24:25. I did it!

After Party
I have to say for the amount of money I paid for this event, the food afterwards was terrible. The bananas were just mush, you couldn’t eat them. There wasn’t much else for food. They had chocolate milk, yuck! And Gatorade, Yuck! But no chips or other fruit, come on not even oranges? It was very disappointing.

We waited about 45 minutes for Phil to complete his marathon before made the long, slow, painful process of going back to the hotel. It took us quite a while. We stopped at the food court in Bally’s for some pop. I was waiting to get back to the hotel before I was going to eat food. We eventually got to the hotel, it was almost midnight. I had a cheeseburger and fries for a midnight snack before turning in for the night.

I don’t like running at night but this race is the exception. I wouldn’t want to run this course during the day. It would be hot and not as exciting. It is definitely better as a night race. I had the normal pains afterwards. Surprisingly, my left ankle hurt the most. My calves were not too sore. I guess the compression sleeves did their job! Obviously it wasn’t my best race but considering what lead up to this race, I’m happy with my time. I told people it would probably take me most of the 4 hours. Well it didn’t I had 36 minutes to spare.

The Slow Road Back

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

21 days ago, my running dreams came to a crashing halt at 9:25pm. A simple jump in a volleyball game and my calf felt like somebody hit me with a baseball bat. I could barely walk and it hurt like hell. I did absolutely no running or unnecessary walking for 5 days. I proceeded with R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). During this whole time I have fallen in love with compression socks and sleeves.
On day 6, I went for a brisk 2 mile walk to test out the calf. I jogged three segments of about 100 feet each. I didn’t want to reinjure it so I took it very easy on the jogging segments. No pain but I felt a “tugging” sensation.
On day 8, I repeated what I did on Day 6 except I went 2.6 miles and run 4 segments. There was some soreness but I did a quick soak in Epsom salt and felt better.
On day 12, I added more running on my 3.9 mile walk. I would run every couple of minutes for like 30 seconds and walk for like 3-4 minutes. I’m slowly making improvements but I’m still very scared to run hardcore again. I took about 4 days off after that to make sure I don’t do anymore harm.
On day 17, I went for a legitimate run/walk interval run. It was 4 miles and I walked more than I ran but I tried to do 30 seconds of running to 2-3 minutes of walking. Still walking more than running. I started to feel some tugging, but I really didn’t hurt.
Last night, on day 20, I went for a “harder” 3 mile run. Basically, I ran between 30 seconds to a minute and walked an equal amount. I was able to keep my pace just under 15 minutes per mile which isn’t fast at all but considering I’m still nursing an injury I’m happy with it. Today I have some soreness and it freaks me out a little bit.
My biggest concern is this, “Is what I’m feeling normal or not?” I never paid attention to my calves. But now, it is all I think about. Is my slight tugging sensation I’m feeling today a bad thing or a normal thing?  It doesn’t really hurt but feels weak.
Will I be able to finish Vegas Half Marathon in 5 days and 4 hours?? I really don’t know (I say with some tears in my eyes). 

TC Summit Challenge

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I’m not letting my calf injury get in the way of planning 2017 races. Just today I signed up for the 2017 TC Summit Challenge (the MNy version). It consist of 4 races: 
- Valentine's Day TC 5K on February 11
- Hot Dash 5K on March 18
- Red, White & Boom! 5K on July 4
- Medtronic TC 10 Mile on October 1
In the past, the thought of running the TC 10 miler was an unrealistic dream. My coworker and I talked about doing it 6 or 7 years ago but it never happened. Back then, I honestly didn’t think I could do it…wow how times have changed! I have completed 7 races in the last year that were 10 miles or longer!
I signed Eric up for the TC Ultra Summit Challenge. He has the same races as me except his distances are longer. He is doing the Hot Dash 10 mile, Red White & Boom Half marathon (half marathon in July, no thank you!) and the Twin Cities Marathon. 
Also on the race schedule…
So far, with the registration today, we have six official races in 2017. The other two are Goldy’s 5K, 4th annual for us, and our third running on the Hot Chocolate 15K. 
I haven’t signed up for any half marathons yet but I’m eye up five of them including the Mankato Half in October. I have professed my love for the Mankato 10K race for the last three years so it seems odd that I’m switching. But watching Phil, Byron and Paula run the last part of the full marathon made me a little jealous and I want to run that course (just not the full marathon). So that is in the plans for next year. Also I would like to run the Oshkosh Half Marathon in late April. I haven’t registered yet, but I should. I have our hotels booked already so I don’t know why I’m dragging my feet on registering. Maybe because I spent $500+ this morning on our challenges? Running is expensive!

Gastrocnemius Tear (aka my poor calf)

Friday, October 21, 2016

So I came off the high of a great running weekend…3 amazing races. And feeling great! I decided to do my speed work out on Tuesday at the wildlife refuge since it is a fairly straight, flat road. My work out called for 2 x 1 mile sprints at 12:15 pace with a minute rest between. Those went great. I was supposed to follow that up with 2 x half mile sprints at 6:00. Well that didn’t happen. Nope, I didn’t get hurt, just tired and I thought to myself I’m not going to get hurt trying to do something I just couldn’t do today. So I walked to cool down and went home. I was happy with my mile sprints and was feeling good.

I ate dinner and went to my 9:15pm volleyball game. I hate 9:15 games. Ugh. So I got there and felt fine with a twinge of pain in my hip but that always happens to me after speed workouts. It was in the first game, actually I think it was the first point. I jumped and pop goes my calf. I struggled through that point and had to walk off the court. I had the worse searing pain in my calf that I have ever felt before. It was incredible. I tried walking and it wasn’t happening. I thought crap, I just blew out my calf…how am I going to run in Vegas in 25 days?

Even though I felt like crying, I held it in. I was devastated. The other team gave me an ice pack and I iced it the rest of the first game but after getting up, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to play at all. I drove home and Eric helped me up the stairs and I elevated it and iced it all night off and on. I was miserable. Damn you volleyball!

The next day, I was pissed. I went to work and elevated my leg and iced it every 2 hours. I could walk but it was painful. I was starting my long painful recovery. Eric told me absolutely no running for at least 2 weeks. That was such a blow but I could barely walk so I understand no running. I was so depressed I actually suggested we go to Pizza Ranch for dinner buffet. As I told Eric, I can’t run so I might as well gorge myself and gain 100 pounds. I’m so dramatic. LOL!

Yesterday was a little better, I continued to ice it every two hours but also wore my compression sleeve. That helped a lot with walking. I am slowly making strides to heal this dang thing. I have done so much research and I have a plan to get back to running. I looked at the Rock N Roll Las Vegas website and saw the time limit for the half marathon is 4 hours. That is little over an 18 minute mile. I might not be able to run but DAMMIT, I’m walking the half and getting my damn glow-in-the-dark medal. I paid a lot for this race and I want my bling!!

Today is much better. I’m still wearing the compression sleeve and I can barely tell my calf hurts. Occasionally when I walk, I’ll feel a tug. I’m going to listen to Eric and everybody else on the web and no run, even though it feels fine.

I’m going for a sports massage tomorrow and I might do that a couple more times before Vegas to break up any of the scar tissue while my calf heals. I’m going try and get out for a nice walk on Sunday. I think I’m ok to walk if I don’t have pain. I hope so as that is my “training” plan for the next 23 days.

So to all the various people at work who kept telling me that running isn’t good for me and I was going to hurt myself…F&(K Y0U people, running didn’t hurt me VOLLEYBALL DID!!
Can you tell I’m annoyed? :)

Running Weekend

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I’m very late in my reviews of the races this weekend. I had 3 races and they were all fun!

Running the River 5K
The first race was the inaugural Runnin’ the River 10 Mile and 5K. Since we had to pick up Phil at the airport, we had to do the 5K for the sake of time. It was in Huber Park in Shakopee at 9 am so we felt like we had to do it since it was down the road from our house. The run was supposed to go towards Chaska but with all the recent rain, the river was flood and the course had to move to plan b which was running towards Valleyfair on my normal running course. Awesome! The 5K race ran from Huber Park to Memorial Park and then back. When we had to run up to the bridge, I almost ran down under the bridge (my normal training route). Oops!  My goal with this race was to run it sort of fast but not too fast for the other 5K later in the day. As long as I was under 39 minutes, I was happy. On the way back to the finish we had to run on a portion of grass. Of course I found the one large rock and snap, my ankle was on the ground. Crap that hurt, what did I just do?? It hurt like heck but I was pretty sure it wasn’t broken, just sprained maybe so I ran to the finish. I went up to the chiropractor who massaged it and then taped me up for my other races this weekend!  My time was 38:32, a 12:26 pace.

We made it to the airport in time to pick up Phil, ok we were a little bit late thanks to my injury. We stopped for some breakfast before making it home so he could take a nap. After an hour or so we drove down to Mankato. We checked into our hotel, went to the expo and got ready for the 5k.

Pork Power 5K
This is my second pig related race in less than a month. Again my goal for this race was to keep it under 39 minutes and not kill myself for the 10k on Sunday. This is the third year of running this event but my first time actually running it. I walked with Mike the last two years so this was going to be a PR for this race no matter what. My ankle felt ok so I decided to run it. I did struggle a little bit and had to walk some but overall it was a good race. Alec ran it and of course he took off at the beginning. I caught up to him after mile 1.3. He was telling me how he was beating Eric by 15 minutes. Funny kid. I told him we had only been running 15 minutes so he could have done that. He was also saying he was a faster runner than me. Oh those are fighting words boy. He may be able to run faster than me but I have endurance and can run longer. I beat him by over 10 minutes and when was coming into the finish I asked him what happened to him since he was so much faster than me. Haha! My time was slower than the first one, 38:55, a 12:33 pace. I kept to my goal of finishing under 39 minutes…barely!


After the race we had a birthday party for Byron. His birthday was the next day. We got pizza from Pagliai's, the best pizza in Mankato! Most of my family was there, including Danielle. And DJ, Abbie, Byron, Paula and Phil from Eric’s side. There were 14 of us. It was a nice dinner. Mom made Byron a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for his birthday. There was also a decorated cookie that Paula bought. I found a card that said “Tomorrow I will start running” at work on Friday and thought it was the perfect card since he was running a marathon tomorrow. We all signed it. It was a good time. After everybody left I went into the hotel for a bit. It was nice. There was a guy in there bragging that he was going to finish the marathon in 3:15. Well he didn’t finish. He got the half way point but never finish. Haha! I love braggers that get it in the end. Ha!

Mankato 10K
This is by far my favorite race of all time. This was my third time running and I just love the nice long downhill at mile 3.75. I just struggle through the housing development until we pop out on Stolzmann Drive for the long (half mile) downhill sprint. DJ, Eric and I ran this race. Eric was long gone and so was DJ. I eventually caught DJ before the hill. It took me almost 4 miles to catch her. I went back to the 45 seconds running /15 seconds walking intervals. They seem to work the best for me at this point. I kept a very consistent pace for the first 3 miles: 12:40, 12:36 and 12:38. Most of mile 4 is down the hill so my pace was 12:05 and some of the mile 5 is also on the hill but I slowed down once I reached the bottom 12:28. Mile 6 was terrible but at this point I was just wanted to be done. Mile 6 is the worse of this race because I sprint so fast down the hill because I don’t hold back and I get to the bottom and I’m dead. It took me 13:27 minutes to run mile 6. DJ and I sprinted to the finish, I managed to beat her by one second! Ha! My time was 1:16:05, a 12:15 pace according to the official results. My watch said the course was short and my pace was 12:36. Either way all three races this weekend were very consistent. A success in my book!

After our race, Mike picked us up and we went to Cub for some donuts and back to the hotel to pack up our stuff. We dropped DJ off at mile 11 of the marathon where Abbie was volunteering. After eating donuts and saying our good byes, we picked up DJ and went looking for our marathoners. We saw Phil running around mile while we were driving to our first stop, Mile 17. Soon after we got there we saw Byron and Paula. They looked good, keeping a 10 minute pace. I wish I could run that fast! Ha! Phil came by 15 minutes later. He didn’t look as great as Byron and Paula but was still trucking. We stopped again by mile 21. Abbie met us there. We saw Byron and Paula and gave them some water. Abbie ran with them for a while. Not long after that Phil came by. I got a video from Susan to show him and we gave him Gatorade and water. Abbie ran with him for a while. Almost to the finish line! I think he appreciated it. He looked better at mile 21 than he did at mile 17 so that is good! Eric and I got the finish line in time to see them all finish. It was a great day!


Monday, October 10, 2016

Meh! Everything about this race screams a great time. The weather was cool, there was no wind, and it is a course I know well as this was my third time running it. But I just wasn’t feeling it on race day. I made sure to line up in front of the kids (which caused me problems last year). I didn’t think about all the walkers too. Doh! This race has a lot of walkers, which, as I have said many times before is GREAT! But don’t line up close to the front and don’t take up the whole damn road! ARGH! The first mile of this race is tough. Besides weaving around walkers, kids, and strollers, there is the BIG hill. You run from the Minnesota Capitol up to the top of Cathedral Hill. It is a half mile up hill. It sucks…literally the wind right out of you. I got to the top of the hill and I could not find my stride. I thought I was giving it my all but my pace doesn’t reflect it at all. There were more ups than down during mile 2 but not nearly as bad as that hill in the first mile. I’m not sure what happened to me but mile 2 was worse than mile 1! I just couldn’t run and spent a bunch of time walking. But like I said, I know this course. And it is an out and back which mean what goes up, must go down. I hit the two mile marker and I put on the gas. This time I know that I was cruising as my pace finally reflects it. It was slower than I wanted but I was still happy that I was well under 13 minutes for mile 3. Once I hit the downhill, my pace never got slower than 12 minute mile pace and I even sprinted to the finish with a pace around 9:35. That is fast for me. I saw that I was close to hitting 39 minutes and I said to myself, I’m not getting a time over 38:59! I’m not getting into the 39s. And I didn’t. 38:56.
I started slow, got slower but finished strong and fast. I look forward to next weekend’s races, we have three! A 5K Saturday morning in Shakopee, a 5K Saturday afternoon in Mankato and the annual 10K in Mankato on Sunday morning. I love this 10K course as it has a nice long downhill. Hopefully I do well but based on recent poor performances, I don’t expect much.

The Neti Pot Saved Me

Thursday, October 6, 2016

So it started on Sunday morning…sore throat and feeling spacey. Thankfully I had nothing on the agenda for Sunday so I mostly just watched TV on the couch and we went for a ride. I started to feel stuffed up Sunday night so I pulled out my trusty old Neti Pot and rinsed out my sinuses. It is a gross process but it really helps me breathe. I took some Nyquil and went to bed. I woke up feeling not so great on Monday, again I used the Neti Pot and went to work. In hindsight, I probably should have stayed home. Tuesday morning I felt like crap, the worse yet. I could breathe, thanks to the Neti pot, but my body ached and was exhausted. This time I stayed home. It was so nice to sleep in, Swirl didn’t wake me up until 9am. Again I just sat on the couch and did nothing but watch TV. I finally started to feel better by Tuesday afternoon. I truly believe the Neti Pot saved me and is the reason why my cold only lasted 3 days. 

Vikings 5K

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Me and 5,000 of my closest friends ran from Lake Street to the new Viking stadium. It was a great day for a run. The weather was perfect the course was flat, I should of had a stellar day. But it was a week after a half marathon so I wasn't quite ready for a 5k race. My first two miles were great. Both were under 12 minutes. Mile 3 was a bit of a challenge but still under 12:30. I had a nice fast sprint to the finish. My overall time 37:32. My overall pace was under 12. That always makes me happy! I finished in the bottom 35%. After the run, we toured the Vikings locker room. Raided the food line and went home. I also had a classic moment on the Vikings phone slipped out of my running pouch and of course it landed face down on the concrete. Shattered. ARGH! Not cool!