Monthly Archives: April 2012

Scheduling – in technicolor!

Once again, my busy life has gotten me in a position that I don’t like.

We have so many things going on this weekend that I am stuck trying to figure out exactly how to do it all.  And the thing is, I don’t really have a choice in the matter.  We have to do it all.  I have to do it all.  I just have to figure out a way.

And so comes the stress.  For me, one of the most stressful things in life is trying to figure out schedules.  How to get one child here, the other there, leave a car somewhere else, drop off a carseat there, and so on.

I thought about listing out all the things that I need to do this weekend, but after typing it all out I deleted it.  There really is no reason to drag this blog post down further than it already is.  What purpose would it serve?  Either it will make me feel like a wimp for being so stressed about it, or it will make me feel worse.

So the dilemma that I’m faced with, that is causing me the most agony, is my 19 mile run.   I was, like the last few weekends, planning to run my long run on Saturday with the LU group.  But we are planning a trip to Chicago for a concert on Saturday.  And it turns out that my husband wants to leave by 9:30 am.  Meaning I would need to have run, showered, and be dressed and ready to go by then.

So I realized that in order to get in 19 miles with the group, I would have to show up at 4:30 am.  That didn’t sound half bad, until I started to realize that I would have to get up before 3:30 am in order to make it there by 4:30.  I’d spend an hour in the car just driving there and back (which is an hour I probably don’t have Saturday morning).  Plus I’d be running with a smaller number of runners who are faster than me.  Even if they tried to hold the pace back, I know I would run faster to keep up with them (and probably would pay for that faster pace at the end of the run).  But I love running with the group.  There is nothing like conversation to get me through the miles.  And when conversation fails, as it sometimes does, at least I have another person to share in the misery.

Option 2 is for me to get up and head out on my own for 19 miles closer to home.  Part of me wants to think this would be a glorious option.  3+ hours of peace and quiet!  3 hours on my own!  Another part of me is yelling “Are you crazy? ”  But, I suppose it would be a good way to test out my mental stamina.  I could practice mantras, visualization, and all the other “tricks” I have read that I will need to get through 26.2 miles.  Or, I could load up 3 hours of podcasts…

My husband suggested I wait and run my 19 miles on Saturday afternoon, after we get to Chicago, and run on the lakefront.  Sounds awesome, right?   Not so much.  I’m not that familiar with the lakefront.  I’m freaked out by strange people, particularly men, when I’m running alone.  There’s no way I’d feel comfortable running for over 3 hours in a strange place alone.  Plus, he and his mom would be out shopping and enjoying the city while I slogged out a 3+ hour run in the mid-afternoon.  Fun for him, not so much fun for me.  I’d love to run on the lakefront.  Someday.  But I think that jumping into a car for three hours, then getting out and running for three more is a recipe for disaster.  I’d much rather run for three hours, THEN have the three hour car ride.

You’re probably asking why I can’t run on Sunday.  Sunday morning is shot as we’re driving back from Chicago, and then we are working at a local 5K race that I am helping organize, so I’ll be tied up with that from approximately 12-3.  And sure, it sounds great to go run 19 miles after driving home and running around for three hours at an event.  I bet my legs would love running from 4-7 pm.  And surely my brain wouldn’t talk me out of it.  Surely not.

I’ve mentioned that I’m an engineer, right?  Yeah.  So you know how engineers solve problems, don’t you?

We make spreadsheets.

I’m not kidding.

And you can probably guess what I sat down at the computer tonight to do.


A spreadsheet.

I actually have a Excel spreadsheet, with color coded fields, that I started to help me visualize the weekend.  I even used a formula to calculate how much time I need to allocate for the run.  (Honestly this is kind of embarrassing.  You should see the spreadsheets we engineers develop.  I need to add more formulas.  This just isn’t quite up to my standards.)

I thought that this would help, but in reality it just made my problem more colorful.

So I’m back to my original two options.  Wake up before the vampires hit the sack so I can run with the group, or get an extra hour of sleep and run alone.  Right now I’m leaning towards running alone, just because it feels like the lowest stress option. No worries that the group will leave if I’m running a few minutes late, and nobody to “keep up” with.  But I still have time to decide.


the route is set!

This will be a short post…

I was really excited to get in two runs while I was staying at the hotel this week.  A 5 miler and a 4 miler, both on the dreadmill treadmill.  The key to getting through more than 30 minutes?  Watching a movie streaming on my Kindle Fire.  It’s now a requirement that hotel fitness centers have free Wi-Fi.  At least they all should.

Oh, and if you haven’t watched the documentary “Food, Inc.” I highly recommend you do.  It will change how you think about your food.  

In other news…the Minneapolis Marathon just announced the final course for this year’s race.  I still can’t quite believe I’m running 26.2, but here is what it will look like:

Okay, I promised short and that is short.  Off to bed, I have to work tomorrow.  Yes, I realize it’s only 9:30.  Yes, I am a wimp.  But in my defense I get up at 5:15.

Team JDRF Virtual 5k

A shameless plug for a friend.  Please consider signing up for a virtual 5k this weekend! Money goes to the JDRF and you can run the 5k as part of your training run! I’m signed up to do 18.6 miles…surely you can do 3.1 🙂

You can run, walk, or crawl.  We don’t care.  And there are tons of great prizes!

Run for Renewal

I’m still not sure how some bloggers do it, to get a post out every single day.  It’s hard for me to get even a weekly post out, not to mention a daily post.  Which probably says more about me, my life, and the crazy stuff I have going on than anything else…but still.

This week I took a 25 hour trip to Washington, DC.  Yep, I flew to DC on Monday night, got to the hotel around 10 pm, slept, got up, ran on the hotel treadmill, went to a meeting with the US EPA, went to the airport, changed out of my suit in the airport restroom, and flew home.  Back in time for dinner with the kids…

Sadly that was my only run for the week until Friday.  Luckily I’m trying to make up for it this weekend, and even more luckily this was a cut-back week…

As I type this I have a load of laundry in the wash, two more (wait, maybe three) queued up, a load of diapers in the dryer that need assembled and folded.  I can hear the kids in the living room with their dad, and I know he wants to go for a longish run today.  I also know that I have to get everyone loaded up and get to the grocery store this morning before our soccer game at 1.  We’re bringing snacks and drinks, which I haven’t yet purchased, so it’s a must-do.

Why am I always finishing up things at the last minute?

This weekend was the second of the LiveUncommon race team events, the Run for Renewal 5k.  It was a hilly, challenging course (the “short” hill they mentioned in the race description?  Straight upwards.  Felt like I was rock climbing.  I’m not exaggerating!).  But it was a really fun race.  I considered pushing myself and trying for a PR, or at least to see how I could do.  But in the end, it was a lot more fun to run with a couple of teammates, talking with them the whole time.  In the race picture below that’s exactly what I’m doing…

There’s a second, much more unflattering photo.  I won’t link to it, because I look scary in it.  Crazy scary.  Or scary crazy.  Okay, fine.  I’ll link to it if you can find the link in this sentence, you’re welcome to look at it.  But don’t say you weren’t warned.

All in all, it was a good race, just a shade over 26 minutes (which would have been unthinkable for me a few years ago).  After this race I headed down to the bike path along the river to try and get in a few more miles.  I was hoping for 10, but at mile 2.5 I could feel the blister forming on my toe.  I stopped to check, and sure enough, a bloody sock again.  If we’re counting, this is 4 for this training cycle.  Rather than make it worse, I headed back to the car.  5 miles for a total for the day of 8 miles.  I’m planning to head out and get some more today, but it’s my husband’s day to run long, so we will see how and when I can get out.  That pile of laundry isn’t getting smaller, and snacks for the soccer game are still unpurchased.

If you’ve made it this far in the blog post, you are about to be hit with another request.  Fair warning.  At yesterday’s race, I was struck, profoundly, by the kids there.  They were, in a word, amazing.  These are kids who may not have a positive home life.  They may not have much of a home at all.  Project Renewal provides them a safe place to come, to have a family, to get a meal.  I don’t know what I was expecting as I drove up yesterday.  A business building?  An office?  Something.  What I didn’t expect to see was a tiny white house.  This house is a place where these kids come to feel welcomed, loved, and safe.   I saw these kids yesterday.  They were running (many ran the 5k).  They were playing.  They were volunteering.  All of them there, to help this charity that helps them so much.  And they were wonderful kids!  I wanted to give them all high fives (and I did give many of them as they finished the 5k!).

I know that LiveUncommon is fundraising to support Project Renewal.  And of course, by supporting me on this journey you are supporting them indirectly.  But what I’m asking you to do is a bit more.  Go out to the Project Renewal website.  Look around.  Then go look at the pictures of these kids running in yesterday’s race.  And ask yourself if you can spare a few dollars to support them.  I’ve already decided that I am going to send them a personal donation.  I wish there was more I could do, and I’m going to keep trying to think of ways to support them, but this is the best I can do for now.

This week will be another travel week (when did I start traveling so much?).  I am hoping and praying for trails, or at least an outdoor running path.  Cross your fingers for me!

Sie rennt

Today I have such a jumble of thoughts I’m not sure where to start.  I suppose the best place to start is with a recap of the week’s training, then perhaps it will lead into something else.

This was a really good week of training for me, which is not nearly half of what some would put in, but for me running three consecutive days, in the evenings, is something I struggle with.  I had 3, 4, and 5 mile runs this week.

This morning I met up with the Live Uncommon group for my planned 18 miler.  I was hopeful that someone else would want to go the distance, but I had also decided I would be okay finishing up alone.  Typically we’ve been doing these 90 minute loops, so I figured I would be able to run one loop with the group, maybe catch a few more miles with anyone who wanted to head back out, then finish up the last few miles on my own.  I had a goal of getting done by 9 am, since I needed to be home before a soccer game at 10.

But 90 minute loops and long 18 mile runs weren’t on anyone else’s schedule today.  Most of the group was planning for shorter runs of 11-13 miles.  And there was a different course, rather than heading to the Duck Creek bike path, the group was heading down the hill to the Mississippi river bike path.  As we ran down the hill towards the river, the group broke up into a few separate groups – the head group was on a much faster pace, there were a few in the middle, and I was bringing up the rear.  I knew I had 18 miles ahead of me and did not want to push it.   As we reached the bottom of the hill, it was just Josiah and me.  Nobody else was even in sight.  I think far up ahead we could see Katherine and Stephanie.  Knowing that they were heading toward the bike path, we just followed where we thought they had gone.

It was just about at 4.5 miles when we hit the bike path.  Josiah had mentioned that he was just going to get in whatever he could today, so I kept expecting him to turn around.  A few minutes later we ran into Jen and the Leadville guys on their way back.  She asked if we were heading back up to the cars, and I decided then that I was going to go out the full 9 miles so I had no option but to finish the 18.  To my surprise, Josiah said he was going to stick with me.  (THANK YOU JOSIAH!)

Poor Josiah hadn’t brought any water, and one gel, thinking he’d run for 90 minutes then head home.  He hadn’t planned for a 3 hour run.  I felt bad for him, as we checked every restroom and water fountain looking for a way that he could get a drink.  Finally he relented and took a drink from my water bottle.  Don’t worry, I unscrewed the cap so we didn’t share cooties. 

We turned around just past the ballpark.  In the distance, the I-74 bridge looked impossibly far away.  Knowing that when we hit that bridge we still had 4.5 miles to go made my brain hurt.  But, there was no way to get back to the car without running, so run we did.

I have to thank Josiah for running the distance with me.  We talked about just about everything – minimal shoes, our respect for Pete at Runblogger (turns out we’ve both turned to Pete for shoe advice), soccer games, scheduling of kids’ sports, fueling strategy, and probably so much more that I have forgotten.  Half of the time it was him talking and me half grunting out “yeah” or “cool” as I puttered along…

I will admit that when we hit Devil’s Glen for the long climb back up to the cars, I was tired and definitely not looking forward to the hills.  Following Josiah’s bouncing (where he gets the energy I have no idea) helped keep me moving – I tried not to let him get too far ahead.  Pace slowed down here, but I wasn’t looking at my watch.  I got back to the parking lot, ran past my car until the Garmin beeped, and was really happy to be done.  It was a good run (much more so now that I’m done!).

I almost made my goal of finishing by 9, it was 9:15 when I got into the car to head home.

18 miles in 2:55.  Not bad for someone who wants to finish 26.2 in under 5 hours.

I got home, and had a few of these (OMG they are so awesome.  MAKE THEM TODAY) and a cup of hot coffee, followed by a hot shower, and I’m feeling tired but overall pretty darn good.  I’ve got quite a blister forming UNDER a callus (someone want to tell me how that happens?), and my IT band is a tad bit sore, but other than that I feel great.  I missed the soccer game, when I got home there was one 6 year old ready to go play soccer and two little brothers in PJ’s.  So I got to take a leisurely shower and blog while the little one rests in bed (I don’t think he is asleep) and the 5 year old gets some video game time.

Oh, and I suppose I should explain the title of this blog post?  I’ve been taking German classes online through work.  I’m only through lesson 2, and one of the first things we’ve learned to say is “Sie rennt.”  Quite literally, “she runs.”  Seems appropriate.


Avg Pace
Summary 2:55:00.8 18.00 9:43
1 8:46.5 1.00 8:47
2 9:11.2 1.00 9:11
3 9:32.0 1.00 9:32
4 9:36.8 1.00 9:37
5 9:24.0 1.00 9:24
6 9:37.3 1.00 9:37
7 9:41.8 1.00 9:42
8 9:29.6 1.00 9:30
9 9:58.9 1.00 9:59
10 9:32.7 1.00 9:33
11 9:49.9 1.00 9:50
12 9:42.2 1.00 9:42
13 9:42.1 1.00 9:42
14 10:21.8 1.00 10:22
15 10:03.0 1.00 10:03
16 10:00.6 1.00 10:01
17 10:40.3 1.00 10:40
18 9:48.1 1.00 9:48
19 :02.0 0.00 7:56

You can never eat too many jelly beans. Really.

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for three days.  I’d like to say I took that much time to write something meaningful and really insightful, but that would be a lie.

I’ve just been busy. (yeah, yeah, heard that before!)

This last week was Spring Break for the husband and kids.  So we had epic plans.  The week started with me working on Monday, which I don’t usually do.  (My part time schedule has me off on Mondays and Fridays.  I know.  You can hate me.)  I worked Monday, then left directly from work to travel to Chicago for meetings on Tuesday & Wednesday.  My husband picked me up in Chicago and we spent two days on a beer tour of Michigan with some friends.  We drove home late Thursday, and I enjoyed Friday at home with the kids.  In all those days I ran a total of 3 miles.  Sad.  Pitiful, even.  In my defense, those three miles were three miserable miles on a hotel treadmill dreadmill, facing a mirror (you know, because we all love to watch ourselves run), with a single TV tucked in a corner behind the treadmills, out of sight.

So I headed into Saturday’s scheduled 17 mile run with what should have been pretty fresh legs.  I was expecting to be a whole lot more nervous about this run – 2 miles longer than the last “longest run ever” (which also left me feeling, well, not so good).  But I wasn’t nervous, just ready to go.

And it was a good run.  I experimented with “not experimenting” – I returned to my old strategy of fueling every 5 miles, with a gel at 5 miles, jelly beans at 10 (which I ate slowly through the next 4 miles).  I also carried water with nuun, my favorite hydration beverage.  And no lousy stomach!  So it was a success, therefore I will go back to what works.

I’m still a bit in awe that I ran 17 miles.  Unlike the last few weeks, my legs were sore afterwards, and on a family run/walk at the bike path on Sunday evening, I was still feeling a bit sore.  But today I was able to get out for a quick 3 miles and hopefully shook off any lingering effects.

Oh, and my 17 mile run counted for both the 13.1 and 3.1 portions of the Jelly Bean virtual race!  I had really hoped to get in the 10k also, but with the traveling this week, it wasn’t meant to be.  But, since I fueled with jelly beans during my long run, and also since I have eaten way too many of these Starburst jelly beans the last two days (darn that Easter Bunny!), I think I should get bonus points for that.

Jess?  What do you think?

Maybe not.

Oh, well, it was worth a shot.


Is a jellybean coma a valid excuse for staying home from work?  


tummy troubles

Wow, what a week.

Warning:  There is a discussion of my digestive system coming.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I debated whether to even post this.  But, if this is to be a record of all my training, then I suppose I need to document it.

The week started on such a high, with last week’s amazing 15 mile run.  What I didn’t mention last week is that that run also left me with such painful GI distress that I spent four hours running to the bathroom.  In fact, I didn’t even make it home from the run before having trouble.  There’s a Shell gas station that I may not want to visit again.  Just saying.

I have never had trouble with the “running trots” (No, I won’t provide a link here.  You can Google it if you really need to know) in my life.   But, I also had never run 15 miles in my life, and certainly hadn’t run any half-marathon distance quite that fast.  So I thought the run and the illness might be related.  Luckily it cleared up shortly after lunch and I was feeling better Saturday evening.

I spent the next few days trying to identify if something might be the cause.  I thought about my Friday dinner (pizza, hasn’t been an issue before), my mid-run fuel (GU, also never bothered me before), and my breakfast (a bowl of cereal).  I wondered if it was related to fuel/water timing .  Generally I have taken a GU every 5 miles or so in my long runs, so for 15 miles I would have at least two.  During this run I had one at 7 miles.  I hadn’t carried water, so I had only had a drink at mile 7 and after the run.  And I drank only water, not my beloved nuun.  Although I find it hard to believe that not taking enough fuel would cause this, it’s possible.

Tuesday night I had a dinner meeting.  I’m the chair of a local chapter of our ASABE engineering society, and this was our winter awards meeting.  I was also receiving an award, but that’s not important to this.  What’s important is that at exactly 2:45 am, I was awoken by cramps and the need to rush to the bathroom.  I spent the next 2 hours running from my bed to the bathroom.  Needless to say it wasn’t a great night.  I’m thinking food poisoning, although to date, I haven’t heard that anybody else reported a similar issue.  Regardless, I didn’t start feeling normal again until Thursday afternoon.

Yesterday I met up with the Live Uncommon and the “crazies” for another run.  Some of the group actually was meeting up at 4:30 am (check out John’s blog here, he will probably post pictures of the groups shortly).  I suppose training for Leadville makes you do strange things.  But maybe it’s just running in general, because now I’m actually thinking my goal this training season should be to make it for one of their 4:30 runs.  They were doing 3-90 minute loops, so I opted for the much more reasonable 6:00 am loop.  When I got there we had over a dozen runners ready to head out in the dark.  I love this group!

I was anticipating that this wouldn’t be a great run, since I hadn’t felt so good all week, and had run hill work outs (albeit short ones) on the treadmill on Thursday and Friday.  But I wanted to try to get in 13 miles, so off I went.  I had a new water bottle, so I filled it up with water and nuun, hoping that taking sips of it throughout the run might help with preventing any possible dehydration and stomach trouble.  This course was hilly and more challenging than the last few weeks (yay for river bluffs!) so it was definitely a challenge.

We did about 10 miles in the 90 minutes, and my legs were ready to quit – the long slow hill back up to the parking lot about did me in.  Also, in those last two miles, my stomach again started to complain.  I hadn’t had any gels, just the water.

But when I returned and saw the giant group of the PV high school runners, it felt like cheating to stop when I only needed three more miles to get to 13.  So I went ahead and took a GU, then headed back out with over 20 more runners.  I got in my last three, finishing up with Josiah (read his recap here) and Jay.

So I avoided the serious GI distress of last weekend but I did feel it again.  Looks like more experimenting is on the way, since I think next week is probably 16 miles or so.

Have a great week friends!  It’s Spring Break here!


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