2017 Year in Review

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Our year was quite busy with a lot of travel and races. 

Much of January and February were spent running long miles preparing for my first Marathon in Little Rock. With the cold weather, I spent hours running double digits on the treadmill watching the Minions movie along with others on Netflix. All the training was successful as I finished the Little Rock Marathon on March 5th and received the gigantic finisher medal. It is 8” in diameter and weighs 3 pounds!

We went on our big trip of the year to France and Belgium with Juliette and Michael in late May. We started in Lyon visiting Eric’s “French” sister, Cathy. Cathy was an exchange student that lived with the Williams when Eric was 5. Cathy and her daughters were amazing hosts. We toured Lyon and the Burgundy region. We did some wine tasting, visited her parents and climbed up to Mont-Saint Vincent for some amazing views. After Lyon, we spent 3 days in Paris taking in all the sights. Finally, we went to Brussels to visit Eric’s cousin Elizabeth and Jim. We toured around the country side of Belgium, visiting Waterloo, Chateau Veves, Dinant (the birthplace of the saxophone) and the site of the Battle of the Bulge. While there, we ran the Brussels 20KM race in 90 degree heat and high humidity which is rare that time of year. We finished the trip eating waffles and stocking up on Belgian chocolates.

In June, we met Phil in Seattle for the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon/Half Marathon. We also travelled out to Rapid City for a quick weekend to surprise Eric’s mom for her 75th birthday. July included a quick weekend trip to Chicago to run the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon and enjoy Chicago style pizza.

We travelled to NYC in September for another destination half marathon. We ran the Newport Liberty Half Marathon across the river in Jersey City, NJ. The highlights of the course were running past the backside of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the amazing views of the Manhattan skyline. After the race, we spent the rest of our time in NYC. We went on the Circle Line Cruise to get the best views of the city. We attended the Twins vs Yankees game at Yankee Stadium. We visited the new National September 11th Memorial & Museum. We finished up our vacation with a trip to the Top of the Rock at night. It is a great place to take in the city lights.

October was another busy month. It started off with a bang with the Twin Cities Marathon Weekend. Phil, Byron, Paula’s sisters, DJ and Eric ran the marathon. I stuck with the 10 mile course. Paula, my mom and Eric’s brother, Tim, were our spectators. It was a miserable day as it was rainy, cold and windy but I had a lot of fun. The best part was Phil finished his 50 marathons by his 50th birthday goal!

A few days later we were made “great” by my niece Danielle as she had a baby boy, our first great nephew, Blake. He is a very cute and active boy, rolling over at 20 days old! We have been down many times to visit including his Baptism in late October. Most of my family was there, including Nancy, who came up from Texas, as well as Dylan and his fiancĂ©e Melissa, they were Godparents.

We saw Dylan and Melissa again in November when we travelled down to Madison to run the half marathon. Melissa was a diehard spectator, braving the elements to see us at a couple points along the course. After lunch to celebrate Dylan’s birthday, Mom and I started our drive to Nashville. We spent a week listening to music in honkytonks, touring the city on a trolley and attending some special shows. The highlight of the trip was attending the CMA Country Christmas hosted by Reba taping at the Grand Ole Opry. It was fantastic!

We went to Danielle and Bradley’s house for Thanksgiving. It was a nice crowd including my mom, DJ and Bradley’s family. 

The first weekend in December we flew down to Austin, Texas to see Nancy and Greg. We ran the Rock n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon. It was hot, humid to start and then it rained so we were wet for 10 miles. Fun times! 

My goal of running a marathon before my 40th birthday came 10 months early so I decided I need a new goal – 40 races before my 40th birthday. Eric was annoyed that I decided this 2 months into the year (as we could have done more races in January and February). I’m happy to report that I succeed as race #40 was this past weekend, two weeks before my 40th birthday!

We hope you had a great 2017 and that your 2018 will be even better. 

Love, Eric, Kim and Swirl

40 for 40…Mission Accomplished!

Monday, December 18, 2017

I did it!  I ran 40 races in 2017 before my 40th Birthday!  I’m so happy to complete another running goal!  There were times I was really doubtful I could do it with some of the nagging pains and injuries but I conquered it and succeeded.

Here are the stats:

Types of races
Of course, I ran mostly 5Ks but my second most was half marathons. So that is cool. I had approximately 270 racing miles this year alone.
Races per month
I decided to do this challenge in March so the first 2 months of the year I didn’t do too many races. And it was winter so there are not many races to choose from. August had the most races followed by July which is odd because it is my least favorite time of year to run. Ha!
It is no surprise I like to travel and what is more fun than traveling to races???  My farthest race from home was Brussels, Belgium. But I also got to cross of 6 more states on my 50 States goal. So that was cool too!
Well my rough estimate of just race entry fees for my 40 races was $1,870. Of course there were hotels and flights and other travel related expenses that are not added it…this was an expensive goal!

Would I do it again?  
Absolutely. It was fun. Maybe I should do 50 for 50…I have 10 years to figure that out.

What’s next?
For 2018, I’m running a lot less races. I will keep up my “One Race a Month” goal. I’m currently at 50 months straight!

I’m already registered for 5 half marathons:
Montgomery Half Marathon
Rock N' Roll Raleigh
Colfax Half Marathon
Rock N' Roll Dublin Half Marathon
Madison Half Marathon

And I have plans to 3 other half marathons but I can’t register for them yet.

I’ve also registered for Grandma’s Marathon. It really hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m running another one. I hope my time is better.

Happy Running!

Rock 'n Roll San Antonio Half Marathon

Friday, December 8, 2017

Hot, humid and slow

It was the worst half marathon since my injured race in Las Vegas last year.

The weather was hot and humid to start. I wasn't sure I would make it after the first couple miles.

Then floodgates opened at miles 3 and 4. I was cursing myself for not wearing a hat. It was miserable but at the same time a relief because it cooled it down for a bit. Mile 3 was my fastest mile and that was over 13 minutes so you can tell this race sucked.  We also ran past the Alamo during this mile.

At the start of mile 5, a guy stopped to light up a cigarette. No, seriously, he started smoking mid-race. LOL! The people around me looked at him like he was crazy. I found it humorous.

During mile 6, I bit my tongue. I'm not really sure how. I wasn't eating anything but I was chewing gum. Very odd. It hurt like hell and I actually cried from the pain. Most people have cramping issues or strained muscles...I bite my freaking tongue. Days later, the only lingering pain from the race was my tongue. ha!

Mile 7 is the blue mile where they have pictures of military members who were killed. It is a very sad mile and I tried to keep my emotions in check but the pictures of guys with their babies or young kids get me every time. More tears.

Miles 8 and 9 were not very memorable other than running through mud and puddles from the rain that happened earlier in the day.

Mile 10 is when I started having issues with my shoe insert. I think running 10 miles in wet shoes and socks was the reason my insert was slipping and folding on top of itself. I stopped a few times to fix it. Finally I got fed up and took it out. Yep, I carried that insert for 3 miles. It is even in my finisher photos. LOL!  I struggled with this mile trying to determine if I should take the other one out too so I'm not running "uneven" but I was too tired and lazy to do that.

Mile 11 was the Mariachi mile. There were bands every 100 or so feet. It was needed as this was the only major hill of this entire course. Yep, the major hill was during mile 11. Mean!

Mile 12 is where the sun came out and the got hot fast. I was so relieved to be almost done! I also felt sorry for the marathoners who had to keep going straight while we turned to run to the finish.

Mile 13 I met Nacho. I can't remember his really name but everybody calls him Nacho. This was his first half marathon, he lost 100 pounds this year and ran the race to celebrate. That is my kind of guy! I ran with him most of the last mile.

Overall, I finished 2 minutes faster than I anticipated so that was cool. 3:13:41!

Nashville 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Mom and I drove down to Nashville for a week of fun. We had a great time walking around Downtown, listening to music, riding the trolley, and exploring the parks. We had a great day at the Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium. We drove up to Mammoth Cave. The highlight was the CMA Country Music Christmas Show.

Madison Half Marathon

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I had so much fun, I’m signing up for next year’s race on Black Friday!

I was little worried about this race after my disastrous 10K the week before. My quad was mad at me all week and I was taking all measures to get it up to running 13 miles. Ice, Advil and KT tape were my friends leading up to this race.

The start was a bit cold. Eric and I stopped at Walmart the night before to buy some cheap sweatshirts to wear while waiting around to start. I actually kept mine on until I warmed up during the first mile. The race starts by running around blocks by the state capitol. It was mostly downhill and my leg held up pretty well. I don’t remember much about the first 3 miles. I was running with the 2:45 pacer for a while but couldn’t keep up with her. Every time I took a walk break she got further and further away. There was a speed walker who said he was using me as his pacer. I think that is hilarious, I would love to be a pacer but I’m not consistent enough yet. :(

However, this was probably my most consistent race yet. My first mile was kind of fast and mile 9, with the nasty hill, and mile 11, when I walked with Melissa, were slow, but the rest were very close. So 10 miles out of 13 is pretty good.

I saw Mom, Dylan and Melissa at just after mile 6. Dylan and Mom got cold so they ditched Melissa at Mile 11. She had other friends running the race too so she got there in time to see us all. That is part of the reason Mile 11 was slow. I was walking and talking with Melissa for quite a while.

During Mile 8 I ran into a fellow Run the Year person (Facebook group). We ran together some and chatted. She ran ahead of me, I’d run ahead of her. It was like this all the way to the finish. When we got close to the finish, we run in together. She is the other woman in the picture below.

Overall this was a fun course. It was hilly but the up hills had good downhills after them. I’ve learned that hilly courses are best for me. Who would have thought that?

My time of 3:05:10 was faster than I expected! This was my 6th best half marathon out of the 15 that I have ran. Yay! Back-to-back good half marathons!!

New Carpet, a Baptism and Racing

Wow, the time has really sped past since my last post!  It has been over a month and boy, has it been busy with a new carpet install, 5K race, a baptism, 10K race and another half marathon (but I’ll save that for another post.)

The day following my amazing half marathon finish in Mankato, we had our new carpet installed. The installers worked fast and were done in less than 4 hours! Crazy!  We replaced the carpet upstairs and the stair well and man is this new carpet nice and soft. It feels like walking on a cloud and no stains (yet) which is awesome too. It was quite the hassle to get this done. We had rent a storage unit for all our crap. And all our crap is still at the storage unit so the bedrooms are very bare. LOL.

Six days after my amazing half marathon finish in Mankato, I had another incredible run. We ran the Minneapolis Halloween 5K. This marks the first time in over a year that I had a mile under 12 minutes, an overall pace under 12 minutes and finish time in the 37 minute range. Woo Hoo! I feel like I’m starting to get back to my faster paces. I have a long way to go but I’m getting there!

After the race, we traveled down to New Ulm for dinner with my family. My entire family was there for Blake’s Baptism. My sister came up from Texas on the Thursday before. The baptism was at the same church Danielle and Bradley got married. It was a very nice day and it was good to see Bradley’s family again.

14 days after my amazing half marathon finish in Mankato, I had a terrible run. It was the Chocoholic Frolic 10K. I had many issues with this race. One was the temperature and wind. It was very cold! Also, I couldn’t run fast for some reason. At the mile mark, my quad started barking at me and at the 3 mile turnaround, I was in pain and basically walked it in. I had DJ to keep me company. It was just a horrible run. When we were finished and received our “dipping” chocolate it was hard. I ended up scooping it out of the container and just eating it like a chocolate. It was very disappointing when the entire race you were looking forward to warm chocolate to dip your banana but all you got was two stale graham crackers and hard chocolate. They didn’t even have bananas!  I don’t think I’m running this one again. All around disappointing time. But I don’t let bad runs scare me anymore. I know that another good one is around the corner!

Mankato Half Marathon

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

It was a perfect day for racing. It was cool, not much sun and no wind. It was a great day.

After running the Mankato 10K for the last 3 years, I bumped up my game and did the half this year. I was very familiar with the course. I have watched people run the full before and the half runs on the same course except for the crazy first loop. The course is mostly flat or downhill with some inclines. I lost 582 feet but also gained 372 feet.

The Start
DJ hung out with us at the start of the race which was nice because I could keep my “throw away” hoodie on up until we started running so I didn’t get cold. And since I didn’t have to toss it along the route, I get to keep it for another race. Not much fanfare at the start of this race. Heck I didn’t even hear the national anthem. I started in the back like usual which means I actually passed quite a few people. The first mile was flat and I’ve ran most of it before in the 10K race. I didn’t take my first walk break until 5 minutes in. It was still crowded and I didn’t want to skirt around people to get out of their way. I think that helped me get a 12:35. Mile 2 was also flat and I managed to get a 12:47. Mile 3 was where we had our first noticeable hill but I kept my time under 13 minutes with a 12:58. Once we go to the end of Mile 3 we turned right on to County Road 90. I should point out that most of this race is on county roads in the country. If you like city running, this race isn’t for you. Ha! County Road 90 is out in the open on top of the hill which means it tends to be very windy. Thankfully there was no noticeable wind. Mile 4 again was flat and I slowed down a wee bit and even though I ran hard the last bit of the mile, it was just over 13 minutes at 13:02. Bummer.

The Middle
Mile 5 was the start of the awesome downhill section of this race. With the 125-foot hill, my time again was under 13, and close to my first mile time with 12:36. I knew I would have a good mile here but I was very surprised that it was that fast. I was happy. Mile 6 was very hilly, both up and down, we lost 170 feet but climbed 101 feet. The downhill was in the beginning of the mile and the uphill was at the end so I even though I tried to get another under 13 mile, it was 13:11. Mile 7 flattened out a bit and my time was a consistent 13:07. My time through 7 miles was so much faster than I had predicted, I was so happy. And I was right on track for an under 3-hour half, something I haven’t accomplished since 2015.

Mile 8 was another uphill. I had run on this part of the course before so I knew what to expect. I knew this is where my time would plummet and I was right. Miles 8 and 9 were both over 14 minutes. Boo! But as I did the math, I knew I could beat 3 hours if I really tried the last 4 miles. But what came ahead was Sibley Park and more hills…uphills.

The Finish
Just after mile 9 we headed towards Sibley Park. At this point, we saw the faster runners coming out of the park and heading to the finish line. Lucky ducks. It is kind of demoralizing to think they are over 3 miles ahead of you and less than a half a mile from the finish. It was during this time I was passed by the first marathoner. I knew it would happen, I just thought it would be after I hit mile 10, not before it. Funny story, he passed me just after a water stop. I threw my cup towards the garbage can and hit the lead biker. There was no warning that the first marathoner was right there. It really took me by surprise. Mile 11 was the start of the death march to the finish. We looped around the park and there was a dreadful uphill and then a steep downhill. There was another water stop in there and then it was up the hill again to the running path. At this point I was being passed by quite a few marathoners. There were still a lot of us slower half marathoners too so I wasn’t alone.

When I passed mile 12 my overall time was 2:43. That left me just under 17 minutes to get to the finish to get an under 3 hour half. I really thought for sure today would be the day I get under 3 again. I was so excited running/walking my way to the finish line. I got to the last uphill just before the end of mile 13 and I turned the corner and saw the finish line. My excitement turned to disappointment when I realized that I will not make it. I knew the distance to the finish line and I knew that I would have to run a 9 minute pace to get there under 3. I was really deflated. This course was .15 long. When I passed 13.1 miles my time was 2:59 but that extra .15 put me over 3 hours. My finish time was 3:00:27.

27 fucking seconds. Dammit!

I’m disappointed that the race was long so my official time is over 3 hours. But I’m very happy with my race. I did way better than I had anticipated and I came oh so close to getting a 2:XX time again. And I beat the first female marathoner. Woo hoo!

Sever's Corn Maze & Lantern Light Festival

Friday, October 20, 2017

We spent this beautiful, mild (75 degrees) October Friday night exploring some of the fun activities in this awesome town I call home, Shakopee. I always tell people I love living here because there is always something to do.

Sever's Corn Maze
First stop was the corn maze. This is an annual event for us. This is the first time we went by ourselves!  It was so much fun to go at sunset. Overall it was a great time.

Lantern Light Festival
 After Sever's we went to the other side of Canterbury Park's parking lot for the Lantern Light Festival. We have driven past this a few times and it looked interesting so we finally paid the exorbitant fee  ($24.50 each) to see this display. It really was cool.

Blake Adam Dobie

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My First GREAT nephew!
Born October 9, 2017
8lbs 6 oz.
19.75 inches

I'm in love