Tag Archives: race

And it begins…

image credit: http://imgkid.com/

Once, several years ago, I took a personality test.  It was in one of those corporate training sessions intended to help me learn about my personal style and how to work better with others.  I don’t remember much else from that course, but I do remember learning one seemingly important thing about myself.

I get more enjoyment/reward out of starting new things, than I do by completing them.

Ever since that day in training, I have over and over again seen this fact demonstrated.

Case in point: I have three knitting projects in process at the moment.  Scratch that.  Two.  I guess I did finish one last week.  Anyway, I keep finding myself looking at new projects I could start and wanting so badly to cast on a new one.  All while this blanket sits in a basket, taunting me with it’s semi-not-even-half-finished state.  I look at it and I just feel guilty for not wanting to work on it, although I do want it to be done.  It just seems like a never ending project – I know that I am not even halfway yet and already I am looking for something new to do.

Case in point #2: I just spent a half hour or more putting together a training plan for the Quad Cities Distance Classic in May.  I had no idea it was 12 weeks away exactly from today.  I have the plan all lined up, and will start tomorrow.  Right now I am excited about it and can’t wait to start.  I am definitely over-optimistic, and I know I probably have put together a much too aggressive plan.  I predict no more than 2 weeks before I miss a training day and start to feel burdened by the thought of following the plan for a full 12 weeks.  I completely wimped out this morning and didn’t go run with my friends.  On one hand I was feeling really guilty for not going (in my defense the windchills were -14 at 7 am this morning), on the other, now that I see this 12 week expanse of training I feel a bit justified in taking one more day off.  I see a lot of treadmill running in my future…and I dread treadmill running (Betty and I are not friends at the moment).  But I don’t know how else to do 400 m repeats in the dead of winter.  Almost all my favorite running spots are covered in snow or ice.  See?  I’m already questioning the sanity of the plan and I’ve only had it for an hour!

Oh, and let’s not go anywhere near the sanity of my goal to run 750 miles this year.  Let’s just not.  Perhaps in a few months I will be able to say I am on track.  Right now, not so much. And it’s only mid-February, there’s still time to correct, right?

How do you stay motivated to complete a long training plan or project?


Mother’s Day Racing – QC Distance Classic Race Report

The Quad Cities Distance Classic is a race that is near and dear to my heart.  It was the first half marathon I ever ran (during training for my “first” half with Team in Training in 2009).  Although I have thought about running it every year since, I haven’t yet been able to.  First I was pregnant, then it was the week after another race, and then last year I was in the clutches of marathon training and unable to think about anything else.

Last week I ran a half marathon in Indianapolis (I promise someday I’ll write a race recap).  I think it was last Friday on the drive to Indy when I asked my husband if it would be crazy for me to run the QCDC the following weekend.  When he told me to go for it, I started seriously thinking about it.

After the Mini Marathon, I didn’t want to think about running another half in a week, so I told him to ask me again in a few days.  And sure enough, after I felt good on Sunday and normal on Monday, by Tuesday I was thinking seriously about running again.

So on Wednesday, I made an executive decision that I wanted to run on Mother’s Day this year.  I decided that running is something I love, and something that I wanted to spend part of “my” day doing.  So I registered late – and I am glad that I did.

I wasn’t sure how well I would run given I ran a half last weekend and ran 6 miles yesterday morning.  So I decided to just enjoy the run and not try and push the pace (yeah.  famous last words…)

When the race started, we hit Mile 1 and I looked down to see a sub-9 pace.  Yowza.  I knew that was not sustainable.  Then we turned to go up the biggest hill in the race (no lie, this one is a killer, but oddly enough I love it!).  We then spend a few miles up on top of the river bluff before coming back downhill to spend the remainder of the race pretty flat.

elevation qcdc

I’m not going to lie.  This race was tough.  I definitely could feel my tired legs!  Somewhere around mile 6 I took my only GU, it was one I hadn’t used last weekend (I am so thankful that I didn’t, or I would have been left fuel-less this weekend!).  I also packed a few Jolly Rancher candies to help get me through.  It’s amazing what a little sugar can do.

Right at about mile 8.5, I think I almost cried.  I had forgotten that the race has two separate out-and-backs.  Actually I knew that the race did, but for some reason as I went out on the first one, I thought blissfully that they had changed the course and I didn’t have to go out for the second one.  I know I said something inappropriate when I saw the runners doing the u-turn to head back down the second one.  It’s funny because I knew how long the race was, and I knew how many miles were left.  I even told myself, “you have to run the same distance whether you’re near the lake or on the bike path…”  But the fact that I still wasn’t going to leave the marina area just hit me hard, since I had convinced myself it was time to get up on the bike path.  But in actuality, this was probably the best part of the race because I was giving high fives and cheering for the other runners the whole time.

Double out-and-backs

Double out-and-backs 

The wind was pretty brutal in miles 9-10, as we ran back up the river bike path right into the wind.  It was a beautiful day (it still is) but that wind was vicious!  I think that those seem to be two of the worst miles in a half marathon, and to run them into a cold headwind was like torture!

Somewhere around mile 8, I turned off the Garmin pace display because I realized I was checking it way too often.  So I was pretty surprised when I finished around 2 hours – would have expected it to be a bit slower, especially considering that I walked a few times. Oh, well!

splits qcdc

So there it is:  My 8th half marathon, complete.  Now:  time to relax and do nothing the rest of the day.

Oh, wait. I’m a mom of three. I’m sure I will have to do something. 🙂



In fact, it’s time to go round up the little one for a nap he doesn’t want to take.  Wish me luck.


I have not run every day this week.  Not even close.

Okay, now that’s out of the way.

It’s been a heck of a week here in the world.  Here in my neck of the woods we’ve had torrential rains, record flooding, and snow.  Beyond this area we had the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas.  Ricin sent to the president.  And Boston.  I’m not going to get into what happened in Boston, or how I feel about it, because it’s all been said so eloquently by others already, and I don’t feel I can add much to the discussion.  I can say that I am beyond glad that law enforcement identified and captured the suspects within a week.  It just goes to show how much we can accomplish when we put our collective effort towards a common goal and purpose.

This weekend I had 11 miles scheduled.  Originally my two older boys were supposed to have soccer games this morning, so I planned on getting up early and running alone.   Then, when the soccer games were cancelled, I took the opportunity to sign up for a race, the Project Renewal Run for Renewal 5k.  This was one of my favorite races last year, and I had really wanted to run it.  But due to soccer (because, well, my kids have to come first…), I had thought I wouldn’t be able to run it.

I also needed to get in those 11 miles.  So I kept the original plan to wake up early, head out and run alone.  I got up at 5:40, got dressed, and headed out to run 8 miles in the early morning sun.  It was beautiful, but cold.  My legs felt like lead, and I didn’t have a lot of energy.  I didn’t eat anything before heading out, and that was probably part of the problem.  But I got through it, and stopped home around 7:30.

Waiting for me was a chocolate chip pancake.  yum.

As I was eating it, I realized that the Project Renewal race was about a 40 minute drive away, and packet pickup ended at 8:30.  It was 7:45.  I rushed out the door with a cup of coffee, and headed out to the race.  I arrived at packet pickup to find a long line of people waiting to pick up their race numbers.

LiveUncommon did a great thing this week.  They decided that to honor the runners in Boston, and to show solidarity, that they would cover the cost for anyone to run the Project Renewal race (and a later 5k race that I wasn’t able to attend due to a family event).  So, rather than the almost-200 runners from last year, this year’s race drew over 500 runners.  It was amazing to see all these runners out this morning, all out to rUN UNdaunted.  It was a great morning for a race.   I ended up running with Josiah, and enjoyed the entire run, even the massive hills.  It was such a blast.  I’m so excited that I was able to do it, and I am feeling refreshed and energized.

It was a great way to honor Boston, by getting together and doing what we do.  And what is that?


not fresh legs

Wow.  I am so very tired.

This has been a busy week.  I “failed” at the consecutive day challenge.  But, my reason for that is totally justified.  My sister had her baby boy on Wednesday after being almost a week overdue and spending two days in the hospital being induced.  So I spent most of the first half of the week anxious for news and the second part of the week checking in.  The day I missed my run was Wednesday, the day he was born, because I went to the hospital to visit him instead of running.

Yesterday was also a busy day, with soccer games, appointments, and yardwork, so I was only able to eke out a mile of “wogging” (walk-jogging) on the treadmill.  So today I needed a long run.

Boy, did I need it.

But…the wind was pretty brutal even at 8:30 am, as I ran headfirst into it, and so my 10 mile run turned into 9, then 8, then I settled for 7 when at 3.5 miles my legs told me that they didn’t want to keep going.  I turned around, and of course the return 3.5 was much more comfortable.  But my legs were still telling me they were tired.  After 14 days and only one day off (granted I have had some very, very easy days of 1-2 miles) my legs were tired.

Step Into Spring Awards

This afternoon I worked at a 5k.  It’s a huge  fundraiser for our elementary PTA’s (one of the LiveUncommon race series races this year), and it was our second year for the race.  I was on my feet from 12-5:30, and the race was a great success.  But I’m bone tired, a bit sunburned, windblown, and just plain worn out.  All I wanted when I got home was a beer and a hot bath.  I’ve had the beer, the bath has to wait a bit longer.

I’ll admit, the prospect of daily runs from now through the end of April is now pretty daunting.  Where last week I felt great and was full of excitement and energy from the daily runs, today it feels pretty darn overwhelming.  I’m sure it’s because I am just.so.tired.  Hopefully a good night’s sleep and I’ll be back at it.


Last night while lying in bed I realized I have a race in less than 100 days.

I guess I need to get back on the bus and start training regularly. Hopefully I can use this blog again to keep me honest.

I’ve been trying to think about what I want this blog to be, and I have decided that it doesn’t have to be all running. That’s a lot of who I am, but it’s not all of me. So I am going to try to do a better job of posting more often (famous last words!).

Maybe if I get some time today I can work on a training plan and post something about that. I think that would be a good idea.

Guts, Heart, and no Glory (or, how not to pace a 100 mile race)

Last weekend I had an experience that I have had a hard time putting into words.

My friend Tara was running a 100 mile race, the Heartland 100, and I volunteered to be on her support crew and pace her for some of her run.  It had to be one of the most inspiring things I have ever witnessed.  I knew I was in for an experience I wouldn’t forget, but I had no idea just how memorable it would be.

Before I get started, I want to link to Tara’s race report here.  There’s no need for me to rewrite everything she’s already said.

I’ll start with the obvious.  Tara didn’t finish the race.  But, this was not her first 100.  In fact, I think it was her fourth.  She had never had a DNF (Did Not Finish) in a race before.  But this wasn’t like any race she had ran before, either.

The race weekend started with a pre-race briefing the night before the race.  When the pre-race meeting includes instructions to the runners on what to do in case of severe lightning, torrential rain, strong wind, hail, and TORNADOES, you know you’re in for an interesting race.  (And really, when you’re running a 100 mile race, with aid stations spaced 15+ miles apart, what exactly should you do if there is a tornado???  Apparently just get down in a ditch and pray.)

Tara started out and rocked the first 50 miles.  She was in a groove, the crew was loud and boisterous, (and soaked, and coated in mud), and we were having a blast.  We were the loudest crew on the course.  It was so much fun every time we saw that gold shirt and pink skirt on the horizon, we’d shout and yell as loud as we could for Tara.  The weather alternated between fair, bad, and horrible.  She ran through torrential rain (as promised), sky-to-ground lightning (as promised), and 25+ mph winds (as promised).   I’m not sure where the hail and tornadoes were.  I guess I’m glad they didn’t show up.

But when she came in after 64 miles, we knew there was something wrong.  First of all, she was walking.  Second, she said she had never felt this bad in a race before.  What we didn’t know is that she hadn’t been able to eat (I would find that out in a few more hours).  It was my turn to head out, and I was planning to pace her for 11 miles.  We got her changed into dry clothes, tried to get some food into her system, and when she said she was ready, we headed out.  For the first hour we jogged when she felt like it and walked when she didn’t.  I kept up a running conversation as long as we could, trying to keep her thinking of anything other than the race.  An hour into the segment, she started to tell me her stomach wasn’t feeling right.  I figured that it was something we could work on at the next aid station, so we plugged away until we got to the Teterville aid station.  In retrospect, we should have never left, but I knew she wasn’t ready to quit and I did not want to be the reason for her quitting.  Again we tried to get some food and fluids into her.  Although I had originally planned to stop after 11, at the pace we were going I figured I could walk 8 more miles, then Joanne could take over to get her the last 17 into the finish.  We were still planning to finish.

1.5 miles later, we were talking about whether to head back to Teterville.  Tara wasn’t feeling good, and wasn’t sure whether to continue.  Knowing she was so competitive, I told her we’d go another quarter mile and if she wasn’t feeling like continuing then, we’d head back.  When we hit that point, she told me that we would keep going, so we did.  A mile later, I think we both had started to regret that decision.  Tara couldn’t eat anything, and she was starting to not be able to drink any water.  I gave up on trying to distract her from the race, and just continued to talk to her about anything and everything, including how much the race sucked.  We were at the point where we couldn’t turn back, and we couldn’t stop, so we just had to keep moving, no matter how slow, and so that’s exactly what I told her.  I kept telling her we’d just get to Lapland and the aid station, and we’d regroup there, try to get some help from the medical staff, and then decide what to do.  Although I knew we’d probably never leave Lapland, I felt it was important to keep that thought alive.

Four miles into the 8 mile segment, we realized it wasn’t going to happen.  We weren’t leaving Lapland.  The focus shifted from getting through Lapland to getting to Lapland.  We both knew that once she stopped moving for a length of time, Tara would be done.  But we also knew that we had no choice but to get there, because we were three miles from any support.

Once we both realized that the race was over, I asked Tara if I could use her cell phone to call our crew chief, Tracey, and see if we could get a ride.  I thought there was no sense making her walk another four miles if she didn’t need to.  Sadly, the race officials at Lapland wouldn’t allow Tracey to drive out to pick us up.

While I was talking to Tracey, Tara sat down in the middle of the gravel road, in the mud.  I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get her back up.  But I gave her the bad news that we weren’t getting a ride, and sure enough, she got up and we pressed on.

About a half hour later (at least it seemed like a half hour), both Tara and I noticed what looked like a flashing strobe light in the distance.  This white flashing light was like nothing we had ever seen before.  I even asked her if she saw it too, and commented that if we could both see it then at least we weren’t delusional.  As it got closer and closer, we even started to laugh at the absurdity of this bizarre light in the Kansas prairie.  And sure enough, as the light got close enough, we realized it was a person with a super bright handheld light.  When this person yelled out “Hey Ladies!” was one of the best moments of the night.  It was Joanne, she had headed out to join us for the last few miles.

Joanne took Tara’s pack (as I wondered why on earth I hadn’t thought to take it from her already), and we pressed on.  A few minutes later I noticed headlights in the distance.  Thinking it was probably one of the race officials, I wondered if they might stop to help us.  When the car finally got up to us, the windows rolled down and Tracey yelled, “Need a ride?”  Our journey was finally over.  Tracey had called the race director and told him that she was going to pick up Tara, and he finally allowed it.

Now this could just be a story of another person who got into a hole and didn’t finish a race.  If you read Tara’s race report, that’s pretty much what she says it is.  But that’s not what it was.

Anyone who attempts a 100 mile race already knows, before the start, that they are in for a hard time.  It will be a painful race, and many of them will not finish.  Tara knew this.  She has already finished several 50 and 100 mile races.  Tara knows what it means to hurt, to break a bone in her foot and keep running, to crawl just so that she doesn’t have to quit.

Tara is not a quitter.

But Tara was in a hole.  She hadn’t been able to keep any fuel in her system for 9 miles.  She was feeling (in her own words) the worst she had ever felt in a race, and yet she still went out and covered 18 more miles, over 6 hours.    That’s 6 hours of feeling worse than she had ever felt before, yet she still pressed on.

When she could no longer even keep water down, did she quit?  No.  She covered at least 5 more miles.

When she couldn’t walk a straight line, did she quit?  No.  She pressed on and held onto my arm for support.

When we realized she wasn’t going to be able to finish, did she quit?  No.  She pressed on and kept walking until help arrived.

Tara never talked about quitting.  When we realized she wasn’t going to finish, we didn’t talk about quitting, we talked about making it to the next aid station.  It was my suggestion that we call for support, because I didn’t want her hurting herself more than she had to.

Tara has guts.

Tara has heart.

Tara deserves glory.  Since she didn’t finish, she didn’t get an award.  But she has my respect forever.

Tara, I said this to you at about midnight on Saturday night, and I’ll say it again.

I’ll death march through the pitch-black Kansas prairie with you any time.

Name the time and place. I’ll be there.

Fall racing update

I haven’t really felt much like posting lately.  That’s probably evident to anyone who was reading this blog and waiting for a race recap from last week’s half marathon.

So I’m sorry, I guess.  But the last thing I’ve wanted to do this week was sit at the computer.  And I don’t really want to be here today either…

So this one will be short and sweet.

I did enjoy the Quad Cities Half Marathon – I ran most of it with Jen from the LiveUncommon Race Team and we finished in just under 2:00, which was my goal, so I was really happy with that.  And I must have reached a new level in my running, because I didn’t feel like I needed much time to recover at all.  I ran a little bit Tuesday night and was tired, but really wasn’t hurting at all.  This was the last race for our race team, and I think this year was a huge success.  I really enjoyed getting to know this group of runners and they really pushed me in my running this year.

Today I ran in a local 5K for John Deere employees – called the John Deere 5K Fall Classic,  it’s one of my favorite races each year.  It’s limited to employees, family members, and retirees, so it’s not a huge race, and it runs right around the corporate office.   It’s hilly and challenging, and once in a while I even place in my age group!  This year I ran the race in just under 26 minutes, for an 8:17 pace.  I didn’t place this year, I was 5th in my age group – but that’s okay.  This will be my last race in the 30-34 age group, because I turn 35 in a few weeks (yikes!).

I also got to run the 1 mile race with my 7 year old son.  He did great – although suffered again from going out too fast and having to walk more than he would have liked.  Our “stretch” goal was to finish in 10 minutes, and he finished in 11:23.  So, I think it was a success.  We just have to work on pacing…

I’m going to go shower so I can put my feet up and watch some football at least until the youngest wakes up from his nap…oh, and do laundry…

%d bloggers like this: