Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. - 1 Cor 9:24-27

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My First Half Marathon

After a five hour drive, I met my sister and my mom at the fanciest hotel that I've ever been to, The Inn at Bay Harbor.  The valet took my keys and I wondered what he thought as he parked our 14 year old Chevy truck among all the new high end vehicles.

My sister put together an awesome pre-race surprise bag; though some of the items are for after the race.  An indulgence ... "I've burned over a thousand calories, so I can eat this"
Thank you!  Thank you!

It rained most of Friday.  The forecast for Saturday was rain and thunderstorms.  As we drove to the race, it was raining.  I kept saying that just before the race, the clouds were going to disperse and it would be a wonderful day for a run.  Sure enough, it stopped raining just in time.  The temperature was 65 deg and the humidity was low.

The three of us before the race:  my little sister, my mom, and me
Don't we look super cute in our matching outfits?

Mile 1:  11:15
  My little sister started closer to the finish since she's much faster than us.  Mom and I went more towards the back of the pack.  I warned my mom that we are not starting out fast.  My goal was to finish and try to run 2:30 which means that I needed an average pace of 11:25  At 6:11 into the race, we realize that my mom's garmin wasn't on the training mode; therefore didn't start at the start.

Mile 2:  10:47
  Under 11:00!!!  Are we going too fast?  Will we be walking like some others that we passed?  "See, Mom.  We were smart for not starting out too fast."

Mile 3:  11:01
  My mom exclaims that she just ran her first 5K!  Yeah, go Mom!

Mile 4:  11:12
  The kids at the aid station had water cannons.  One of them blasted me full force in the stomach.  It took my breath away.  This aid station also had licorice and pretzels.  Neither of those sounded good.

Mile 5:  11:30
  Ran on a wooden bridge that lasted for over a mile.  I saw my little sister going the other way.  Gave a big high five.  She yelled that she was beating her virtual partner that she had set up on her Garmin.  Yahoo!  Keep it up, little sister!!

Mile 6:  10:51
  At the half way mark, our overall time was 1:12 ... not too bad for us newbies.  I was worried that I was going to fade.

Mile 7:  10:51
  Under 11:00!!!  My mom slows to a walk saying that she is out of gas.  I continue on.

Mile 8:  11:22
  Back on the wooden bridge.  8.5 miles is the longest run that I've done up to this point.  I'm eating my gel and I look over my shoulder and there is my mom right next to me again.  "Where did you come from?" I asked.  "I ate some beans, so now I'm good," she answered.

Mile 9:  11:01
  Warned the aid station kids not to aim the water gun directly at me but in the air.   This was the first time that I asked for gatorade rather than water.  Wrong choice, it tasted awful.  A lady, who has been running behind us for almost eight miles, informs us that she likes our outfits and finally read what the back of our shirt says.  The back of our tank says, "You're been passed by a skirt."

Mile 10:  10:56
  The next aid station was volunteered by the local fire department.  One lady had a bowl of ice.  I grabbed some and placed it on my neck for a while.  Ahhhh

Mile 11:  11:04
  Back into the local neighborhood.  One house was playing music for the runners.  As I went by, the song that was playing was "We like to move it, move it; we like to move it, move it."  Perfect timing.  I need that one on my playlist.

Mile 12:  11:30
  Slight incline, well compared to my hills at home, next to the local ski hill.  I mention to my mom that I was going to kick it in because I just couldn't have her beat me.  Wrong thing to say.  She increases the pace too.

Mile 13:  10:21
  I just couldn't let my mom out run me.  I started kicking it in at about 1.5 miles to go ... way too early, I discovered.  I could hear her behind me.

Last 0.1:  8:43 pace
  Sprinting to the finish.  My mom is not too far behind.  Must go faster!
First Half Marathon!!!!
2:25:29  -  11:07 pace
 25/31 in age group; 186/243 women; 343/479 overall
1443 calories burned

As you can see in the picture, my mom was right behind me.   She did such a wonderful job running the race.

The course was a beautiful:

Check out the huge medals!

Standing on the working drawbridge.  The race director warned us to be over the bridge ten minutes before the race in case the bridge opened for a boat.

Back at the hotel, we relaxed and walked out our legs on the beach.

No one was willing to play me in a game of chess.

I'm so proud of how much I have accomplished.  November 2009, I could run for maybe 20 minutes.  Seven months later, I ran for 13.1 miles!!  I'm so proud of my little sister who's time was 1:56!!  You rock!  I'm so proud of my mom who just about kicked my butt!

After the race, I called the hubby and the kids.  They survived the night without me and gave me permission to stay one more night.  Thank you so much for giving this mom a huge R & R!!  A huge thank you to my hubby on distracting a 15 month old who still nurses at night.  A huge thank you to my hubby for getting all the kids to soccer practice and to church.  Juggling five kids by yourself is no easy feat!

My 'running sponsor' awarded me with my own pair of Vibram Five Fingers - KSO style  Thank you!!

Sunday, I attended Mass with my mom and little sister.  I didn't have to worry about keeping kids quiet.  I could focus all my attention on Jesus.  Thank you for keeping us safe on the drive to the race, during the race, and on the drive home.  Thank you for a family who wanted to run 13.1 miles with me and is considering doing it again next year.
St. Xavier Catholic Church in Petoskey, MI

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Half Marathon; Here I come!

Tomorrow, I leave my five kiddos and hubby behind.  I'm meeting up with my mom and my little sister in Charlevoix, MI; about five hours from home.

We are all running the half marathon on Saturday.  It'll be my first half, my mom's first race ever, and my sister's second half.

I'm so excited.  Pray for me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

GO - Get Outdoors

GO - Get Outdoors celebrates outdoor recreation.  Our local state park provided opportunities for the family to fish, learn to tie knots, kayak, make a campfire dinner, listen to Indian stories, and archery.

When we arrived, the kids headed straight towards the kayaks.

Lil' Chef taking her dad for a cruise on the lake

Brother's turn to take dad for a cruise:

Next, we learned all about great horned owls.  Thanks Journey (the owl)!

On to fishing....
Looks like Trouble caught something!
 She was so excited.  Trouble was jumping up and down, clapping her hands, and saying, "I caught a fish, I caught a fish, I caught a fish"  A small bluegill is what she caught.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Keyes Peak Trail 10K Race

The night before the race, I picked up my packet and the person right behind me in line was no other than ultra runner, Eric Charette!  He was kind enough to shake this newbie's hand.

I didn't sleep well the night before.  My three year old decided that she wanted to scream for an hour before going to sleep.  Then in the middle of the night, my son was screaming from having a nightmare.

For breakfast, I ate a whole grain bagel with Nutella.

On the drive to the race, I realized that I wasn't wearing my heart rate monitor.  Ugh!  I also forgot to eat my SportBeans before the race.

I debated if I should wear my visor again or try to wear sunglasses.  I thought that I would try the sunglasses since it was very sunny.  Visor next time though unless I am blessed with some "running" sunglasses.

This is also my first race running with my ipod.  I usually don't run with my ipod except on my long runs.  I haven't decided if I like running with it or not.

The last trail race, I used my waist pack to carry the water bottle on my back.  Today, I wanted to try the handheld.  I did use it on a training run, so it wasn't new to me.  I'm undecided on which to use during my first half marathon next weekend.  I like them both.  Any comments would be appreciated.

Let the fun begin:
Mile 1:  11:25
The start and the finish was at the bottom of the ski hill ... so the entire first mile was up hill!  I was surprised at how well I did in the first mile.  I guess this was a 'fast' start for me.  I conquered that hill!

Mile 2:  9:50
Now, my garmin data says that this was downhill.  I remember it as mostly flat.  So maybe it was a slow descent that seemed flat to me.  I really opened it up.  My first mile ever under 10:00!!!!

Mile 3:  12:14
The scenery was beautiful.  A green canopy kept me shaded and cool.  One runner was 'relieving' himself on the side of the trail.  A little more modesty, please.  I had confused runners coming towards me.  They somehow missed a turn on the course ... not sure how they did that.  At the first aid station, I didn't stop; I didn't need to.

Mile 4:  12:26
Went through a puddle that stretched the entire trail.  I was able to pass a few ladies on the way up this hill.  Guess the hill training paid off.  =)

Mile 5:  11:06
Had a bit of relief from the hills.  

Mile 6:  13:04
This mile had hills that were the steepest of the course.  I had a hard time breathing.  My ears hurt.  They felt all plugged up.  I also felt a little dizzy; not quite sure what that was about.  I made sure that I kept drinking my powerade that I had in my handheld.  I ended up walking some of this part; guess more hill work is in my future.

Last 0.43:  10:15
This was the fun part.  The last stretch I jumped down into the snowtube run and really opened up my stride and let gravity help me down.  It seemed like I was flying to the finish line.
Coming down the snowtube run:

Coming into the finish:

This race was very well organized.  Everything was done online ... green, you know. 
The trail was marked well.  All I had to do was follow the blue flags and make sure that the blue flags were on my right.  Apparently, there was a group that lost their way and ended up doing the loop twice.  Ouch!

This race had timing chips.  The results were posted online the same day!

01:14:32 PR
7.27/K or 12:00/mi*
9th out of 21 females
1st in age group!**

*Yes, the route was a bit on the long side by 0.23 miles.  My true 10K time would have been 1:11:47 with an overall pace of 11:35, which is what my garmin shows.  Yes, it's a PR (Personal Record), because it's my first 10K ... but which time do I use?
**There was one other female in my age group, but she finished 1st overall.  Since I was the only one in my age group then, I finished first in it.

My award for finishing first in my age group:  pure Wisconsin maple syrup, YUM!
My goal was to beat my pace of the last trail race.
Mission accomplished!

Remember the ultra runner, Eric Charette ...
He won the marathon with a time of 3:19:55!!!  How awesome is that time!  Great job, Eric!
He was so gracious to allow a picture with him.  Thanks to Laura his wife for taking it.  Super nice couple!
Here's a recap of the marathon.

My three year old took this picture of me stretching after the race:
I ate three bananas (that I brought) after the race along with a large dose of mangosteen juice.
No leg cramping here!

For the runners, there was a lunch of bison burgers; but by the time it was ready, the kids were antsy.  Maybe next year, I'll get to eat the lunch.

My son took this picture of me soaking in the local lake (modified ice bath):

Garmin data:

Friday, June 18, 2010

An Encounter with Paleo Joe

We are so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet a paleontologist.  Paleo Joe gave a presentation at one of our local libraries.  He engaged the kids on being a detective to determine if the dinosaur was a meat or plant eater by looking at their teeth.  Of course, he had dinosaur teeth to show.  Mr. T is holding a model of the largest T-Rex tooth.

He gave an interesting discussion on whether the T-Rex was a scavenger or a super predator. He showed a model of the T-Rex brain which is very small compared to his head.  Plus, the largest portion of the brain was related to smell; the brain is very similar in shape to a vulture's brain.  Super predators have very large eyes compared to the size of their heads and they would use their arms to bring food to their mouth.  The T-Rex has neither of this attributes.

At the end of the presentation, the kids were able to ask questions.  "How do you know how old a dinosaur was when it died?"  "How do you know what a dinosaur eats?"  "What inspired you to learn about dinosaurs?"  "How do animals change into different animals?"

From one of his books:
PaleoJoe is a real paleontologist whose recent adventures included digging in the famous Como Bluff for Allosaurus, Camptosaurus, and Apatosaurus.
A graduate of Niagara University just outside of the fossil rich Niagara Falls and Lewiston area of New Your, Joseph has collected fossils since he was 10 years old. He has gone on digs around the United States and abroad, hunting for dinosaur fossils with some of the most famous and respected paleontologist in the world.  He is a member of the Paleontological Research Institute and Society of Vertebrae Paleontology and is the winner of the prestigious Katherine Palmer Award for his work communicating dinosaur and fossil information with children and communities.  He has given over 300 school presentations around the country.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Three Things Thursday

  1. I'm excited for my second trail race on Saturday.  A 10K.  My goal is to beat the pace that I ran during my first trail race.  The best part of it is that I may get to meet an ultrarunner.  How cool is that!  An ultrarunner will be at this small town race!
  2. My first half marathon is in 9 days!  Plus, I'll be running with my sister and my mom.  Most likely, I'll be running with my mom, because my sister is super fast.  Also, I will be spending my first night away from the kids and hubby.  A girls' weekend!
  3. My three year old has had nine straight days of 'bathroom' accidents.  I haven't figured what is up with that yet.  I've been giving her extra attention (of the positive kind) to see if maybe that's what is lacking.  She's been potty trained for the last two months.  There hasn't been really any change at home, besides the fact that school is now out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Easy Run PR

There are days when I am discouraged.

"I am not a very fast runner.  Can I run a half marathon?"

When these thoughts enter my brain, I've been trying to stop them and replace with positive thoughts.

"I am strong.  I can run 4 miles without walking.  I have discipline.  I can do anything with God's help."

Monday, I ran my normal easy four mile run.  Lately, I've been trying to beat my virtual partner that's on my garmin.  I should come up with a name for my vp...  Anyway, some runs I do well, other runs, not so well.  I was a worried that this would be a difficult run especially after my very slow 8.5 mile run on Saturday.

Monday, I set a new PR (Personal Record) for myself.

4.00 miles
10:59 pace
154 avg HR

First time that I broke the 11:00 / mile average pace!

Garmin stats:

I'm looking forward to my speedwork tomorrow.  The plan is:
7 miles
1 mile warmup

1 mile 10:22 pace
.5 mile jog
repeat two more times

1 mile cool down.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Blueberry Ridge 12K Trail Race - Update

The 'official' results are posted.

My finishing time via the organizer's stopwatch was 1:28:11

I was in the back of the pack at the starting line.  So, can I subtract a bit?  =)

There were 21 women who ran the 12K.  If my math is correct, I placed 5th in my age group (out of 7) and 16th overall for women.  There were 21 men who ran the 12K.  Overall, I was 36th out of 42 runners.

I'm still really proud of myself for running a trail race.  Sure, I was at the back of the pack, but only 42 crazy people raced that course!

Next up:  Keyes Peak 10K Trail Run and then my first half marathon

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blueberry Ridge 12K Trail Race

A nice cool morning for a race.  The rain had finished and the temperature was 57 degrees.

After picking up my race packet, the children asked if they could race too.  There was a 1 mile fun run scheduled just before my 12K race.  How can you say no to this:
The kids at the starting line:
Mr. T was the first to make it to the finish line.  He sprinted at the end to pass a girl.
Squeaker was with him the entire race.  You can see her in the picture behind the boy in the upper right hand corner.  My husband didn't get a picture of her coming into finish.  He was surprised that she had kept up with brother the entire race.

Lil' Chef coming in.  I was so proud of her.  She really struggles with exercise.  She said that she was getting side stitches.

The kids with their finishing 'awards' (tomato plants).

Hubby took a picture of me getting ready for 12K of hills.  The trail is used for classic skiing in the winter.  The majority of the runners ran the 5K event.

I even saw a barefoot runner.  He was going to run the 12K, but his daughter wanted to run; so he ran with her on the 5K route.  I didn't get a chance to chat with him after the race; hopefully, he'll be at the next trail race.  I've been reading a lot about barefoot running lately.

The event was to raise money for a local charter school.  There was no timing equipment, just a lady with a stopwatch.

The first three miles were all hills.  Up and down, up and down, up and down.  At a few of the hills, there was a sign at the top saying, "Caution, steep descent".  The first time I saw the sign, I was chuckling ... yeah, right.  Well, you could have almost jumped down from the top, the descent was that steep!  I had at least four of those type of hills.  I prayed my knees would hang in there on the way down.

Here is the elevation chart from my garmin:
The stats from my garmin stated that I was on flat ground 17% of the race.

The satellite image of the race:
The trail was beautiful.  I was glad that I didn't bring my ipod.  It was so peaceful to be out there running, looking at the trees, and hearing all the birds.

I had my Virtual Partner set for 11:45 pace.  I would stay close to my goal pace and then lose a bit of ground on the hills.  I was alone for most of the race.  At mile five, I started seeing more runners and passed a few of them which felt good.  For the last two miles, I kept my focus on the lady ahead of me.  I was slowly closing in on her but ran out of miles.
I don't know my 'official' finish time and placement as of yet.  My garmin stats were:
7.33 miles  (12K should be 7.456 mile)
11:46 / mile
938 calories

Almost beat my virtual partner!  =)  I received a lily for finishing.

After the race, we met a wonderful family with six children.  The mom and the older two kids had run the 5K.  They graciously invited us over for lunch at their house.  I hope that we can return the favor after the race in our town.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pre-Race jitters

My first trail race is tomorrow.  Currently, it's raining and the rain is predicted to continue most of the night.  I would imagine the trail will be muddy tomorrow.  This will be my second race.  I'm already missing my two comrades who raced with me last time.  They were willing to listen to me jabber on and on about how excited I was to run in a race.

I am excited.  If it's raining tomorrow, it will not dampen my excitement.  I've ran in rain before.  Since reading the book, "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall, I've been intrigued by trail runs.  For training, I've ran on the snowmobiling/orv trails near my house.  Some of the trails are all sand; other parts of the trail are rocks and hills with tree roots running across.  It will be fun. 

My gear for the race:
Tank top
Running Skirt
Moisture wicking socks
New Balance Trail Shoes
Road Id  (I do not run without it!)
CamelBak Hydration Belt
Directions to the race
Post run outfit
Mangosteen Juice (to drink afterwards => helps reduce inflammation)
Picnic lunch for the family after the race before shopping at Menard's

Mmmm, what am I missing?

Hey, I have four followers now.  Cool!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010