It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

December 31, 2012

2012 Goals Recap

Last year I set the following goals for myself.  I thought it was a good list then, and I still think so.  I am happy to say I achieved all but one....but man did I fail on that one.

Goals for 2012
1,  Complete first marathon - Complete!  Walt Disney World Marathon January 8, 2012.  Nothing like accomplishing a major goal for the year 8 days after the new year.

After finishing the Disney Marathon.  Best Day EVER!

2,  Complete first Olympic Distance Tri - Complete!  Kansas City 5150 - May 20, 2012

3.  Complete first Half Ironman - Complete!  Ironman Racine 70.3 - July 15, 2012.  This one was touch and go during the race, and I really didn't think I would end up finishing, but I did. 

4.  Finish a half marathon in under 2:30 - Complete!  I actually managed to finish 3 of my 9 half marathons in under 2:30 this year, which was amazing for me.  My first was 2:29:53, and I also did a 2:23 (current PR) and a 2:28. 

5.  Participate in at least one organized event every month - Complete! I had a race every month besides August, and I did a bike tour that I'm counting that.

6.  Run at least 13 miles once per month - Complete!  With 9 half marathons this wasn't too hard to do, but it was a fun goal to meet.

7.  Run a 5K with an average pace in the 10s - Complete!  I actually ended up doing this at 3 of the 5, 5Ks I did and set my current 5K PR of 10:10 in my last 5K of the year. 

8.  Log 1200 running miles - FAIL.  Last year when I was training for my marathon this seemed like a really reasonable goal.  100 miles a month - approx 25 a week.  But my total mileage for the year fell far short at only 843 miles.  I guess I failed to take into account the added biking and swimming miles as I ramped up my half ironman training.

This is the first year I've really tried to track everything - well swim, bike, run.  I wasn't very good about tracking other types of workouts.  My totals for the year are ok...I think I can do better:

2012 Miles:
Running:  842.86
Biking:  1797.33
Swimming:  26.79

Total:  2,666.98
I am still thinking through my 2013 Goals.  I know what a few will be.  I have only swam 3 times since I'm thinking I definitely need a swimming goal to keep me motivated.  Anyway, stay tuned.........

What do you think..should the pre-race dance be an official 2013 goal??  LOL
How did you do on your 2012 Goals?  What goals are you setting for 2013?

If you missed my actual 2012 it here.

Have a Safe New Year's Eve!!

December 29, 2012

2012 Racing Recap in Pictures

5Ks - 4
10Ks - 1
Half Marathons - 9
Marathons - 1
Trail Races – 1 (5K)
Other Races – 1 (10 Miler); 1 44 Mile Relay

Olympic – 1
Half Ironman – 1
Other – 1 (400 meter swim, 13 mile bike, 7.75 mile run)

Total Number of Events:  21
Total Dollars Spent:  Don’t want to think about it
Total Number of Races with family – 2 (1st marathon with Jim; Half Marathon with Sister Wendee)
Favorite Race:  Walt Disneyworld Marathon
Firsts:  Marathon, Olympic Distance Triathlon, Half Ironman, 2 races in 1 day 10K am and 5K pm, first relay race
Number of races without medals:  6
Number of Medals Received: 16

Favorite Medals (set):

Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disneyland Half Marathon, Coast to Coast medal
Double Sided Medals:

Above:  Marshall Half Marathon; Below:  Flying Pig Half Marathon
Most Functional Medal:

Blues N Brews 10 Miler (bottle opener medal)
Holiday Themed Medals:

Santa Hustle Half Marathon & Halloween Hustle 10K
Hardest Earned Medal:

Ironman Racine 70.3

Biggest Medal:

Little Rock Half Marathon - spinner medal
Other Medals:

Above:  Prairie Fire HM, Rock the Parkway HM, Northface Endurance Challenge HM
Below:  Kansas City Triathlon 5150, Hospital Hill HM, MLB All Star Game 5K

December 26, 2012

Well, Some People Are Still Streaking and Why Vertigo SUCKS!

Well it’s Week 3 in the December 5K a day Challenge and 3 ladies are still holding strong!  Congrats to Raina, Bobbi and Kim!  You ladies are knocking it out of the park!  Not only did you have another solid week, but you are the only 3 ladies left in the competition!

Looks like maybe the craziness of the holidays or this freezing cold weather might have taken a toll on our little group.  In spite of the fact that only 3 ladies “streaked” last week, ten people still logged an impressive 233 miles last week!  Congrats to everyone.  Now let’s finish this final week strong!

Congrats to our Weekly Winner Raina @ Small Town Runner.  You’ve have won these awesome touch screen gloves so you can keep on texting while running even in this cold weather!  Please e-mail me address at and I will ship them right away.

I missed my first day(s) last week.  And I couldn’t have been more disappointed.  If I had just gotten to the point where I was too tired and it had been my decision to miss a day I think I could stomach it more….but I feel like my streak was stolen from me.

If you have been reading my blog awhile then you might recall that I had some issues with vertigo in late July after my Half Ironman. At the time, I thought it was induced by some medication I was taking.  However, over the last 6 months I have had two other “attacks” and that’s really the only way I know how to describe them.

On Friday night while in a dead sleep I woke up to the entire room spinning.  This isn’t the type of mild dizziness that we all experience occasionally.  This is heart racing, extreme dizziness to the point where you can’t stand up.  It’s so intense you can even “hear” it inside your head.  It’s like there’s a helicopter in your head.  The intensity luckily only a short period of time, but it leaves you with moderate dizziness for a long period of time.  The first time I had one of these attacks I was dizzy for about 6 weeks, the second time it was about 3 and I don’t know how long this one will last.  Each day it gets a little better, but it’s always there. 

So, not only could I not run on Saturday morning, I literally could barely get out of bed.  The best thing to do is just to lay still and hope it passes soon.  As the weekend progressed I felt better, but even today I am still very dizzy and just do not feel “normal” at all.  It really sucks.  If you’ve never experienced it I truly hope you never do. 

I went to see my primary care physician after the 1st time who told me it was basically something I was going to have to live with from now on.  I’d just have the occasional “dizzy” spell.  But after this third episode I’ve decided to see an ENT to see if there is anything else I can do.  A full day in bed approximately every two month, followed by a month of dizziness is just way too much.  It just doesn’t feel normal.

So there you have it.  I have done a couple of walk/runs since then, but I just don’t have the focus to really run right now.  I was on such a roll too!  I did manage to run 20 consecutive days, which was definitely my longest streak ever.  I’m happy about that.  So maybe I’ll try this again next December.

On a happier note, my parents were in town for Christmas.  I haven’t spent a Christmas with them in about 15 years I think.  It was nice to have family around.  I got to spend good quality time with my parents and sister, as well as my step kids and grandson and of course Jim.  We had a great Christmas and I got him the BEST Christmas gift ever. The Jim Bobble Head…Oh yes, it’s mini Jim.

I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas.

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

We hope everyone has a beautiful Christmas Eve & Christmas.  It's been another terrific year and we are so glad to have all our blogger friends as part of our lives.

December 21, 2012

Santa Hustle Half Marathon

Late race report so I’ll keep this pretty short.

3 of many Santas. Me, Jim & Coy

I wanted to do one last half marathon before the end of the year.  Finding one in the winter is not easy.  We came across the Santa Hustle Half Marathon in Indy and I was sold immediately.  You got a Santa shirt, hat, and beard as well as Christmas music, cookies, and candy along the course.  And the best part was that it was only a 7 hour drive for Jim and I…not bad really, and a 3 hour drive for my friend Coy of First in Philly so she decided to do it with us.

Coy & I exchanging gifts.  Merry Christmas plate

The gift that keeps on giving...a photo of yourself :)  (pic of Coy and I at the Flying Pig Half Marathon)
We got into Indy late Saturday and enjoyed some dinner and the Christmas lights.  Indy was nicely decorated for the Holiday.

The next morning we joined a few thousand other Santa’s for the race which consisted of a 5K or a Half Marathon.  I think more people were doing the 5K than the half, but there was still a nice crowd.  The race area was full of Holiday cheer with a giant blow up snowmen, reindeer and Santa.  They also had a few real life reindeer on site.

Jim doing his best Santa impression - hard to do when you have zero belly fat.
The course itself was not that exciting, but it was fun to run with my good friend Coy.  Running with someone makes the time go by so much faster.  Coy and I decided to take it easy and enjoy the race, especially since we are both doing my 5K a Day Challenge and we had put in quite a bit of mileage leading up to the race.  We did a run/walk ratio of 5 minutes run and 1 minute walk.  This seemed to work well.  And honestly if we hadn’t stopped twice for the bathroom, our total time would have been closer to 2:30 instead of 2:36, which is about where I’ve been all year.

Time flew and before I knew it the race was over.  I did partake of a few cookies and some M&Ms along the course….of course.

The race swag was good, but there was no crowd support and very little volunteer support.  The tables were full of water and Gatorade and cookies and candy, but they were usually just piled up on the table with 1 or 2 people manning it.  This was a little disappointing.  But overall it was still a good time and I would recommend the race to others.  They did offer a buffet after the race but only from 11-12.  If you didn’t make it by noon, they offered fresh warm pretzels instead.  We did get either, but I suppose it was a nice perk.

After the race we showered and had lunch and then jumped in the car for the much longer 7 hour
drive home so we could be back at work Monday morning!

December 18, 2012

December 5K a Day Week 2!

Well, we are 16 days into the December 5K a Day Challenge!  And I have to say it's proving difficult for me, and a few of the other ladies as well! 

I don't know if the spreadsheet has not been updated or if we had several people fall off the wagon this week, but only 4 people "streaked" in week 2.

Congrats to Meg, Raina, Bobbi and Kim for not only streaking all of week 2, but also keeping their streak going since the start of the challenge.  I am happy to say that I am still going strong as well!!

We still racked up some major mileage in week 2 with 11 of us posting an impressive 266 cumulative miles for the week.

The winner of the week 2 prize is Kim from ilaxSTUDIO!  Congrats Kim!  You've won a pair of Speedlaces iBungee Reflective Laces.  You have your choice of colors:  Black, Pink, Royal Blue, White or Yellow.

Kim, please send me your choice of color and shoe size so I make sure to order the correct length.  E-mail me at

Remember, to be eligible for the weekly prize make sure the spreadsheet is updated each Monday with your mileage from the previous week.  Even if you forgot to update your mileage last week and weren't eligible for this week's prize, please go ahead and update your mileage now so you will still be eligible for the final prize.

Keep it up Ladies!!  You are doing a GREAT job!

Coming Soon.....Santa Hustle Half Marathon race report....or you can just read Jim's.  It will be pretty close to the same thing.

December 11, 2012

We're Going Streaking!

WEEK 1 of the December 5K a Day Challenge was a HUGE success!  In the end I had a total of 11 awesome ladies join me in my challenge.  So, including myself we have 12 people!  Almost everyone "Streaked" last week, running at least 3.1 miles each day from Dec 3 - Dec 9th!! And some people killed their mileage for the week, with three ladies (Karen, Raina, and Rachelle) logging over 50 miles for the week!  As a combined group we logged just over 395 miles last week!

Way to go ladies!  Way to start December off on a high note!  Below is a list of all those who participated last week whether they ended up with a "streak" or not! 
As promised, everyone who completed the challenge last week (ran at least 3.1 miles each day last week), your name was entered to win our first weekly prize.  And the winner for week 1 is...........

Bobbi @ Zero to 26.2.  Congrats Bobbi!  You've won this Jillian Michael DVD!  Please send me your mailing address to!

Again.  Great job ladies!!  I am so proud of all of you!  And if you didn't streak last week.  Don't worry about it.  Get out there and get it done this week and you could be our next weekly winner!

If you haven't noticed yet, I have added a "Week 2" tab to the Tracking Spreadsheet.  Please track this week's mileage there!

I don't know about the rest of you, but the challenge is more difficult than I thought it would be.  I'm hanging in their so far, but you've definitely got to work for it.

Keep up the GREAT work!

December 10, 2012

Chica Band Winner

And the winner of two awesome headbands from Chica Bands is ........

Carrie at Family Fitness Food

Congratulations.  Please Email me your contact info at

December 07, 2012

Four For Friday

1.  Hot Yoga is AMAZING.  I have done it before but it's been awhile.  I did a 1 hour and 15 minute class last night and it was just great.  Really helped stretch out those tight, sore muscle.  I would highly recommend.  I'm planning to try to go at least once a week from now on.

2.  It's the last few days to enter my Chica Bands Giveaway.  Contest ends Sunday.  Please carefully read the required rules.  So far there aren't too many people who have met the requirements that have entered.  So you have a REALLY good chance.  If you already entered...take a peak back at the rules to make sure you followed them.  Only 2 simple requirements :)

3.  December 5K a Day Challengers - Don't forget to log all of your weekly mileage on the Tracking Spreadsheet by Monday to be entered for the 1st weekly prize!  If for some reason it's not working for you please just e-mail me your mileage or leave me a comment.

4.  It's not too late to join the 5K a Day Challenge.  While you likely won't be eligible for "grand" prize.  If you start on Monday you can still be eligible for one of the weekly prizes.  Leave a comment below if you would like to join in. 


December 04, 2012

Meeting Strangers in the Dark

So this morning I was out for my morning 5K, as part of my December 5K a Day Challenge.  It was about 5:30 am so it was very, very dark...but there were street lights.

Anyway, coming up the street who do I see, but my husband - you know Jim.  I see him coming for probably a 10th of a mile or so.  I smile and say "Hi".  And what does he do?  He runs by me, gives me a head nod and says "Morning" and keeps on running.

He has NO IDEA who I am.  Just says "morning" to me like a complete stranger.  Say what???

I turn around and watch him run past me and I just say "dummy".  It never even registered to him that it was me.

I guess I understand, heck we've only been married 7 1/2 years.


For future reference sweetie, I'll generally look kind of like this when I'm out for a run.


 Have you entered my Chica Bands giveaway.  It ends Sunday!  And so far you have a pretty good chance!

December 02, 2012

Dec 5K A Day Rules (and there's still time)

Have you heard about my December 5K a Day Challenge?  I had originally said if I had 10 people sign up, I would make it an official contest.....but I changed my mind.  I had 9 inspiring ladies agree to join me on this crazy challenge, so I decided that was enough to make it totally official. 

It kicks off Monday, December 3rd - so you still have time to sign up, and even if you don't start on Monday there will still be ways to join in.  So here's who's in and a few rules.

Who's in so far?
  1. Run or walk at least a 5K (3.1 miles) each day beginning Monday, December 3rd through Monday, December 31.  It can be on a treadmill or outside it doesn't matter, but it has to be a run or a walk.  No biking a 5K cause that's just not worth any one's time...and no swimming a 5K cause that would just be crazy.  You can run more than 3.1 miles, but you must run at least 3.1 for it to count for this challenge.
  2. I had someone ask if the 3.1 miles had to be at one time.  While I would encourage you to run 3.1 in one run, technically the rules say 3.1 miles per day.  So it's up to you how you reach those 3.1. 
  3. The Challenge will be broken into 4 weeks:  December 3rd-December 9th; December 10th-December 16th; December 17th-December 23rd; and December 24th-December 31 (the final week is 8 days).
  4. Log your miles on the handy dandy Google Doc attached here:  Tracking Spreadsheet.  You can track daily or weekly, but mileage for the previous week must be logged by the following Monday.  For example, Week 1 will be due on 12/10.  Just click the link above and enter your information.  There is no "save" button, just enter your information and then close the window.  It will save.  If it doesn't work, please contact me and I can log your data for you.  Please make sure you are on your own name and do not delete or change someone else's data.
  5. I have already included the your name and blog name for those of you who are already signed up.  You will notice by my sample mileage that each time you put in a distance of 3.1 or greater, the block will turn light green, and if your weekly mileage is above 21.7 the block will turn dark green.
  6. Each Tuesday I'll post results for the previous week and let you know who streaked the previous week!  Anyone who had 7 consecutive days of running at least 3.1 miles per day will be entered into a drawing for that week for a small prize (not sure what it will be yet - sorry).
  7. At the end of the Challenge ONE Winner will be announced.  Everyone who ran at least 3.1 miles for 28 days straight will be entered and a winner will be chosen at random.  If no one completes the challenge, the person with the highest number of total days of running during the challenge period will be named the winner.  If there is a tie, the winner will be chosen at random. 
  8. So what can you win?  The winner will receive bragging rights of course, and a $25 gift card from Amazon!
  9. The Challenge is open to anyone.  You do not have to be a blogger to enter.
  10. BE HONEST.  Remember this is just a fun and friendly competition.  
What happens if I miss a day or want to get started after the deadline?
  • If you miss a day or don't get started on day 1, don't may still have a chance to win.  As you can see in the rules above, anytime you have a 7 day consecutive running streak (according to the weekly challenge periods) you can still be entered for a chance to win a small prize for that week.  And if no one is able to complete the challenge, your number of days may still be the most and you could still win!!
So, it's not too late!  You still have time to sign up for the challenge.  If you aren't already on the list leave me a comment below and I'll get you added to the tracking spreadsheet. 

And don't forget my Chica Bands Giveaway.  You get 2 bonus entries if you are doing the 5K a Day Challenge!! 

Good Luck EVERYONE!  We Can Do This!

November 30, 2012


REPOSTING - So after posting this I had 4 people say they'd like to join in the challenge with I said below if I get a total of 10 I'll make it an "official" challenge where you can actually win something...totally awesome, don't know what yet :)  So, if we want to make this official I need 6 more people to sign up for the challenge are you in???  You must let me know you are interested by no later than Monday, Dec 3rd when the challenge starts.

Also, check out my Chica Bands Review and Giveaway - if you are participating in the 5K a Day Challenge you get 2 bonus entries too!!  It's a Win-Win.


I don’t know about you, but I have never had a consecutive running streak.  Sure, I’ve done 4 or 5 days in a row, but I’m talking about a real running streak.  I’ve seen lots of people who have ran 100 days or more in a row, but I’ve never given it much thought for myself.

They say consistency is the key for improvement, and I’ve known people who have committed to a consecutive running streak to improve their running times… I was thinking…maybe I should give it a shot…start small.  December is a tricky month for working out.  We get busy with the holiday hustle and bustle, it’s cold out, etc.  There are lots of excuses and reasons to skip your workout.  You work out hard all summer and get in great shape, only to see it slip away in the winter months.

So, I’ve decided to try to motivate myself to stay active next month with my December 5K a Day Challenge. 

What is it?

Well, it’s basically just what it sounds like.  Starting on Monday, December 3, through Monday, December 31, I will attempt to run at least 3.1 miles every single day and earn my first 29 day running streak.  Why am I not starting on December 1st?  Because I’m weird like that; I like my weeks to start on Monday’s not on the weekends.  I’m not saying I won’t run those days, because I probably will…they just aren’t technically part of my “challenge”.

So would anyone like to join me?  If you would like to participate in the December 5K a Day Challenge, leave a comment below.  If I get at least 10 people who say they are interested in participating by this Friday, I will make this an official contest and have some kind of prizes, and official rules, etc.  But even if I don’t have an official contest, you can still participate informally….and feel free to blog about it or leave me a comment on your progress and I’ll include you in my blog.  I will be providing weekly updates on my progress.  It will be motivational to me if I know there are some of you out there who are joining me!

So, questions for you?

1.     Would you like to participate in the December 5K a Day Challenge?  If so please leave a comment below.
2.      Have you ever had a consecutive running streak?  If so, how many days?

So, help me spread the word.  Blog about it, tell a friend, etc.  Let’s get people moving in December!  Hurry I don't have much time to pull this thing together :)

December 5K a Day Challenge

I don’t know about you, but I have never had a consecutive running streak.  Sure, I’ve done 4 or 5 days in a row, but I’m talking about a real running streak.  I’ve seen lots of people who have ran 100 days or more in a row, but I’ve never given it much thought for myself.

They say consistency is the key for improvement, and I’ve known people who have committed to a consecutive running streak to improve their running times… I was thinking…maybe I should give it a shot…start small.  December is a tricky month for working out.  We get busy with the holiday hustle and bustle, it’s cold out, etc.  There are lots of excuses and reasons to skip your workout.  You work out hard all summer and get in great shape, only to see it slip away in the winter months.

So, I’ve decided to try to motivate myself to stay active next month with my December 5K a Day Challenge. 

What is it?

Well, it’s basically just what it sounds like.  Starting on Monday, December 3, through Monday, December 31, I will attempt to run at least 3.1 miles every single day and earn my first 29 day running streak.  Why am I not starting on December 1st?  Because I’m weird like that; I like my weeks to start on Monday’s not on the weekends.  I’m not saying I won’t run those days, because I probably will…they just aren’t technically part of my “challenge”.

So would anyone like to join me?  If you would like to participate in the December 5K a Day Challenge, leave a comment below.  If I get at least 10 people who say they are interested in participating by this Friday, I will make this an official contest and have some kind of prizes, and official rules, etc.  But even if I don’t have an official contest, you can still participate informally….and feel free to blog about it or leave me a comment on your progress and I’ll include you in my blog.  I will be providing weekly updates on my progress.  It will be motivational to me if I know there are some of you out there who are joining me!

So, questions for you?

1.     Would you like to participate in the December 5K a Day Challenge?  If so please leave a comment below.
2.      Have you ever had a consecutive running streak?  If so, how many days?

So, help me spread the word.  Blog about it, tell a friend, etc.  Let’s get people moving in December!  Hurry I don't have much time to pull this thing together :)

November 29, 2012

Chica Bands Review and Giveaway

In October, Jim and I headed to the Kansas City Marathon expo.  We weren't actually running the KC Marathon this year, but since the expo is just a few minutes away from where both of us work, we decided to stop by on our lunch breaks.  The expo for this race is usually pretty good and being avid runners we are always excited to browse through the many vendors.

While shopping the expo I ran across Chica Bands head bands.  I have seen running head bands before, but have never really thought about purchasing them. I figured they'd be no different than what you might buy at Wal-Mart or whatever...which would mean they would either fall out, or I'd have to put 10 bobby pins in them to hold them in.  But yet, I found myself drawn to the booth with all the sparkles and color. 

I looked at a few of the head bands, but decided I wanted something pretty plain and chose a thin sparkly black Chica Band (shown below).  Chica Bands retail for about $12-17 dollars, and the particular one I was buying was $14 if I remember correctly.  I was having a hard time deciding if I wanted to spend that much and the sales lady told me "It will be your favorite head band, I promise".  So with that I decided to go for it.
Me wearing the black one I purchased before the North Face Endurance Challenge Half Marathon

Let me just tell you that I literally wore it almost every single day after that.  I wore it to run, I wore it in races, I wore it to my boot camp class, I even wore it around the house or to wash my face.  I wore it all the time.  Jim even joked one night when we were headed to dinner and I was wearing my Chica Band "Man, you really love that head band don't you"?  "Yes I do" I replied. 

It was then that I decided to contact Chica Bands and ask if I could do a product review for them.  They gladly said yes, and shipped me two Chica Bands.  A thin sparkly pink one, like the black one I had already purchased and a thicker pink camouflage one.  I didn't get to pick out my colors, and I have to admit I probably would not have selected the camo one for myself, but that aside I love them and they have hundreds of different colors and styles to choose from.

The two Chica Bands I received
Chica Bands aren't just for race day.  Wear for a comfortable all day look.

Chica Bands are awesome because they stay in place.  I have long bangs and it's often difficult to pull them back.  I usually put 2 or 3 bobby pins in when I'm working out or running.  But with Chica Bands, all I have to do is put in a single band and I'm done.  My hair, especially my bangs stay completely out of my face and the band literally does not move.  I have worn them for a couple of half marathons now, as well as a super intense cardio class.  I have even worn one while being interviewed by the local news!  They are super cute and can be worn for athletic events or even just out for the evening.

Before the Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day 5K

My Chica Band, still in place after the race - and while being interviewed by Fox 4 News KC

So now, for the best part.  One of my lucky followers will win a set of two Chica Bands.  So what do you have to do?  Just two simple things (both are required).

  • Be a follower of my blog and leave a comment below saying you are entering the giveaway.
  • Like Chica Bands on Facebook here and leave a comment on their page about Slowly Tri-ing!
Bonus Entries: 
  • Post the giveaway on your blog and leave me a comment telling me you did so.
  • Sign up to participate in my December 5K a Day Challenge (that will get you 2 bonus entries)
That's all you have to do.  One person will be chosen using  Contest closes at 11 pm CST on Sunday, December 9th.  Winner will be announced on December 10th.

In the meantime, feel free to shop the Chica Band website.  Tis the season.  These would make GREAT Holiday Gifts!  AND, Chica Bands is kicking off a "12 Days of Christmas" promotion on December 1st.  They will be offering freebies and some percentage off discounts.  So check them out!

Disclaimer: I was sent two Chica Bands for free for this review however, I was not paid to review this product or asked to provide a positive review. The opinions contained in this post are my own.

November 24, 2012

A New PR & a TV Interview at the Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day 5k!

OK, before you get too excited for me it was a 5 second PR, but hey it was a PR right??

The last few years Jim and I have actually decided to eat Thanksgiving dinner out.  I know, for many that's homemade stuffing, or pumpkin pie etc....but it is super relaxing.  I have nothing to make, no grocery shopping to do.  We just show up and eat; which means it totally frees of Thanksgiving morning.  So, since we had time, we decided to do a local Thanksgiving Day 5k.  We've done one before but it was no fun because it was just completely overcrowded and you really couldn't run it at all.  After that experience we pretty much avoided the Turkey Day race.  However, last year, a new race began in KC -The Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day 5K.  This run is only in it's second year, but it still draws a crowd - almost 2000 runners, but doesn't seem overly congested.  I had read online that it was supposed to be a great race.  Your entry fee got you either a nice long sleeve technical tee or a pumpkin pie.  We both chose the need for a whole pie between the two of us.

There were tons of people in costume at the race.
Jim and I got up and were both feeling a little grumpy for some reason.  No way to start Thanksgiving.  We did our pre-race dance to put us in a better mood.  Which of course worked and we headed out the door for our race.  As we were leaving I said "man I don't feel very festive, I really wish I had gotten a turkey hat or something"....oh well.

Pre-race......already thinking about lunch!

The race didn't start til 9am, but we got there at 8am hoping to exchange our shirts, as they apparently ran very, very small.  My medium and Jim's large were both very we stood in line and exchanged, with at least 15 other people all saying the same thing I need a bigger size.  I never wear a Large, but I was glad to exchange it because I really did like the shirt.
Although the weather was an unseasonably warm for the end of November, about 60 degrees, there was about a 15 to 20 mph wind, so it was still cool when just standing around.  Jim wanted to warm up so I opted to hang in the car awhile longer.  In just a few minutes Jim was at the car to tell me "Hey Karli Ritter is here.  I just talked to her, she's really nice".  Karli Ritter is a local TV meteorologist for Fox 4 Kansas City.  We both watch Fox 4 religiously in the morning.  Karli is the morning weather person.  We love her, and the whole morning crew!  Jim left and I made my way down to the start area, where sure enough there she was.  I went over and talked to her and told her how much Jim and I loved the show.  She was super, super nice.  Karli is also a runner, so she was doing live coverage of the race and running it as well.  I wished her good luck and got ready to start the race.  It was so cool to meet her.
Jim & I with Karli  Ritter after the race
The course is just a simple loop and the first mile is a slight downhill which is awesome.  The problem with downhills is you know they will of course, go back uphill.  My first mile was FAST...well fast for me.  I did a 9:22 pace.  I knew the uphill wouldn't be that fast, but I thought if I could just have a decent 2nd mile, I'd kick it in during mile 3 and have a really strong race.  I was really wrong about this theory.  For some reason I had it in my head that mile 1 was downhill, 2 would be uphill, and then 3 would be flat and finish on a downhill.  No, this was not the case.  It was pretty much uphill from 2-3 and with the howling winds it didn't make things any easier.  There was no push in me during that third mile, and it was my slowest of the 3.  Finally the last little bit was downhill and I really pushed here knowing that I was close to a PR.  I crossed the finish line in 31:35 a 10:10 pace and a 5 second PR.  I was hoping for better, but was still happy.
Approaching the finish line for a new 5K PR
I found Jim.  He finished 3rd in his AG.  Dang, he always finishes in the top 3.  He's an amazing runner.  He said "let's go get a pic with Karli she's still here".  We walked over to her, and it looked like she was setting up for a report.  We asked if we could get a quick picture and she said "Yes, I'll trade you a picture for an interview".  I was like huh, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to do an interview or not...but thought it would fun. I just didn't want to look like one of those idiots they usually interview on TV.

So here you have it...mine and Jim's awesome TV interview with Karli Ritter of Fox 4 KC.  The video is just a few seconds long.  And once Jim mentions the turkey hats our part is over.  The quality is terrible because Jim just videoed it from the TV off of his phone, and there are people talking in the background, but it's still kind of cool huh??  Man I wish I had put on a little make-up or something that morning!

After our interview we headed home for our Thanksgiving Day dinner.  We had a wonderful and memorable day.  Who knew a 5K would end up being so fun.  Running and triathlon have brought me so many happy memories, and I'm so lucky to have someone like Jim to share them with!

Post race, cleaned up and ready for something to eat!
BTW, I apologize to those of you who read both of our blogs, I'm sure you get a little tired of the same stories and pictures :)

November 22, 2012

The North Face Endurance Challenge Recap

Last Saturday, November 27 was The North Face Endurance Challenge in Kansas City.  If you are familiar with the North Face race series it usually involves trail runs.  Well, Kansas City isn't exactly known for their trails, so it’s actually the only road race in their series.  The race consists of 6 events:  a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon, a marathon relay, a full marathon and a 50K.  So, pretty much no matter what distance you like to run, they have a race for you.

I did the 10K last year and really enjoyed it, so I was excited to sign up again this year.  If you upgrade to the half marathon or a longer distance you got a pair of North Face arm warmers, so of course I signed up for the half.  I knew it would be a challenge for me because I would be doing the Marshall University Half Marathon the previous Sunday.  Six days between half marathons was a new record for me.  I know some of you practically run a half marathon a day (or wait maybe that’s just my husband Jim), but for me it would be a challenge, but I was kind of excited about it.

Me & Jim in 

Jim and I got up Saturday morning to get ready and of course get our pre-race dance party on.  Jim would JUST be doing the 10K since he just did a marathon the weekend before – Wimp!  While I would be pushing myself and doing the half marathon.  Ha, this doesn’t happen very often – and maybe this was the first time where I was actually running a longer distance than him.

It was a pretty chilly morning, but not freezing.  It was about 40 degrees, with fairly low winds.  It was still cold enough for me that I wore full tights and a long sleeve shirt.  I was never hot during the race so I know I made a good decision on my race attire.

We arrived at the race start and there were tons of people buzzing around.  Jim and I split so he could do his pre-race warm-up and I just kind of wandered around.  In a few minutes Dean Karnazes (famed ultramarathoner) walked by and I just said “Hey Dean”, like a I was just seeing a friend walk by.  He said Hi, Good Luck today or something like that, which was kind of cool.  I’m a dork.  Dean is a North Face athlete and spoke at the race expo.  He was also there the previous year.  I’m sure he ran one of the races, but I’m not sure which one.

Since there were 6 separate races, the races were each supposed to start at a different time, and in fact the half marathon was supposed to start in 3 waves.  I was in wave 3.  I got in line around the 2:30 pacers and figured that should put me roughly in wave 3, I really didn’t know.  Then the gun went off and WE STARTED.  I have no idea what happened…I’m not sure why we started with everyone else but we did….so anyway, I was off and running…….running up a big hill!!  I expected this one, I remembered it from the 10K the previous year.  You start straight up a hill.  No fun.

When you say Kansas City – most people immediately think Kansas.  And while there is a Kansas City, KS, when most people talk about Kansas City they are talking about KC, Missouri.  Anyway, when you think Kansas City – and Kansas most people think FLAT.  Let me just tell you that Kansas City is not FLAT.  And this race was a KILLER!!  I guess since it’s not on a trail, they specifically tried to make sure they ran you through some of the hilliest streets in downtown to make it an “Endurance Challenge”.  I looked back through my Garmin and this was by far the hilliest half marathon I have done to date. 
My legs weren’t fully recovered from my half six days prior so this hilly race was tough.  There were at least 4 times during the race were you had 130-180 feet climbs over about a mile. The nice thing of course was that you also had some nice downhills.  My Garmin splits were all over the place alternating paces in the 10s and then the 12s every other mile during a long stretch of the race.


Other than the hills the race itself was fairly uneventful.  I felt pretty good during most of it, but did have to walk a few times up some of those major hills.  The most interesting part of the race was that their mile markers were a half mile off starting at mile 5.  I run with a Garmin so I usually know about where I am.  Of course, my Garmin is always a little off and I usually end up running about a .10-.20 miles more than 13.1.  I know this is common.  But in general your Garmin will match up with the mile markers pretty well and I did for the first 4 miles.  Then all of a sudden I hit mile 5 and see no marker.  I didn’t think that much about it, until I suddenly saw the Mile 5 marker.  I looked at my Garmin and I was at 5.45.  This continued for the rest of the race.  All the mile markers were consistently about a half mile off.  As I was passing the mile 10 mile marker, I passed another runner with a Garmin and said – what does your Garmin say – he said “10.5 miles”, I said “ok, mine said 10.5 too”.  He said “yes, it’s been off since mile 5”.  I don’t know what happened, but I was starting to get worried that the race was going to be a half mile long.  I finally reached the 12 mile marker and I was still a half mile off.  Then, my Garmin beeped to alert me I was at mile 13.  Only .1 mile to go right – well……I couldn’t see the finish line anywhere in site at that point, but I still knew it had to be fairly close, so I increased my pace and passed a few people at the end…that’s always fun.  I saw Jim and gave him the fist pump and crossed the finish line. 

In the end my Garmin distance was 13.38 miles so almost .3 miles long – but at least not a full half mile I suppose, but still longer than most races.  I heard a few people complaining about it at the end and one girl even asked me what my final distance was.  I wasn’t that concerned by it though.  My Garmin time was 2:34:09, an 11:32 pace.  Not too bad for me.  This was only a minute longer than my race the previous week and it had been pancake flat…and this course was long.  Also, compare that to the North Face 10K I did the previous year where my pace was 12:02 (of course the race was also in August last year and it was HOT).  Although, I’m still slow, my race paces really have improved this year.  When I got my final results they showed 2:35:05….again I got a gun time, and no chip time, even though there was a timing mat at the beginning of the race.  This is just weird though and was my second race in a row where I got a gun time…starting in the back of the pack definitely adds time.  This is totally not fair.
Rawk Fist, that's how I roll.
Overall I had a good race and was happy with my results.  North Face gives you a nice t-shirt, medal, and like I said already arm warmers for the longer distances.  What they don’t give you is any food whatsoever!  They have food trucks on site, but you have to pay for them.  You do get one free beer…which I know a lot of people love, but the last think I want is a beer on an empty stomach after a long race. 

North Face Arm Warmers - nice race swag!
I met up with Jim after the race, who did not have a great race experience…you can read his recap here.  But in spite of that he was really happy with how he raced.  We hung out for a few minutes and headed back home.  Another race under our belts. 


November 17, 2012

Marshall University Half Marathon - Delayed Recap

Finish line at the Marshall University Half Marathon
The Marshall University Half Marathon was last Sunday.  What a whirlwind it has been since then.  I sit here writing this recap now, with fresh pain in my legs from my most recent half this morning - that's two half marathons in 6 days.  That is a new record.
Fun with leaves, just because
Jim and I headed for Huntington, WV on Friday, Nov 9 for our respective Sunday races.  Jim would be doing the full and I would be doing the half.  Huntington is a small rural town in WV and is actually only about 40 minutes from where I went to High School in KY.  It is best known for the true story and movie "We Are Marshall" starring Matthew McConaughey that took place during the 70s when their football team was killed in an airplane wreck.   It was kind of nice to drive through all the familiar locations.  I had high hopes that I would see some of my family, but I didn't.  I was really disappointed by this, and even had a little breakdown/cry on Saturday in the hotel.  I'm not sure why I got so emotional, but it was just so weird to be so close to "home" yet so far away.  I always use "home" loosely when I talk about KY because I only spent 12 years there, but it is where my major formative years were I suppose since I was there from 8th grade through college.  Anyway, although I was only about 40 minutes from home, the majority of my family that is still in the area lives much farther away.

Outside of the football stadium
We stopped at packet pick-up on Saturday which was on the University campus.  It was a small pick-up area and we were in and out in just a few minutes.  There was no expo, but there was a local running company there.  Jim of course picked up a shirt, but I didn't get anything.  Then we walked across the street to have some Giovanni's pizza for lunch.  This was a staple in my small town and I was so excited when I saw it. They have DELICIOUS pizza and sandwiches.  Jim ordered an entire pizza, but I just opted for a pizza bread.  So good. 

Kissing the Bison for good luck.

Notice Jim's whole pizza to himself.
After lunch we walked around the beautiful university campus and took some photos, and then it was back to our hotel room for a much needed nap.  Later that night we had dinner at another little local place Decades Italian.  It was kind of cool because each area of the restaurant was decorated in a different decade.  We had the 1950s.  I tried to be funny and told the waiter there was no way we could eat our dinner in the 50s he was going to have to seat us somewhere else....but apparently no one thought this was funny.  After dinner we headed back to the room and got ready to race the next morning!

Jim sporting his new Brooks jacket - great race swag!
We woke up bright and early on Sunday.  It was cool, but not cold.  It was in the mid 40s with no wind, and the temperatures were supposed to rise into the 50s during the race.  I opted for capri tights and a short sleeve shirt and gloves.  After Jim's disastrous race in Wichita, we have re-instituted the pre-race dance pics.  So we did our pre-race party and then headed to the start.  I was super excited to catch up with my wonderful friend Coy Martinez of First in Philly.  We had  hoped to have dinner together the night before, but she had to work late and didn't get into Huntington until late.  We got a couple of photos and chatted.  Coy was running the full marathon with her friend Tami - it was Tami's first!  Coy was also with a smaller group of people, and it was the first marathon for several of them.  They were all excited and ready to get moving.

pre-race dance channeling my inner bison

It was finally almost time to start.  We walked the 10 feet to the start line.  That's the great thing about a smaller race like this.  You can practically part on the start line.  The gun went off and I started out by walking, waiting to cross the timing mat.  Finally after I had walked a minute or so I realized there would be no timing mat at the start!  HUH???  Anyway, I turned on my Garmin and started running.  The sun was coming up and I felt great.  I tried to tell my self to start slow, but in typical fashion I probably started out a little too fast.  This course is flat, flat, flat which is awesome.  I found myself running comfortably for the first several miles.  From miles 6-9 you run on a gravel path along the river.  It's a really beautiful area to run and I didn't feel like I was struggling, but apparently the change in surface had some kind of impact on me because I felt like I was running faster, but as each mile ticked away each mile was slower than the next.  Miles 6-10 were my slowest of the race.  Finally around mile 10 or 11 I saw Jim pass by me.  I gave him a high five.  He looked great.  It's always fun to see people you know in a race.  During those last three miles I felt like I still had something left and I picked up the pace.  It was so nice not to crash at mile 9 in this race like I had in Wichita.  I felt strong throughout the race - really in spite of many miles lately.  My Garmin hit 13 miles and I knew I was close, but when I reached the Marshall University football stadium I was a little unsure of where to go.  The course ran on the sidewalk around the stadium...and there were spectators and visitors everywhere all over the sidewalk.  You had to weave in and out of people and I wasn't sure if I was even going the right way.  I must have had a very confused look on my face because another runner who had already finished told me to keep running and make my first right!  Thank goodness.
Jim, me and Coy
I turned and entered the Marshall University stadium. This part was really cool.  You were running on the AstroTurf and there were a few people in the stands and around the stadium.  Just a few feet from the finish line they throw you a football - if you want to carry one with you to the finish line.  This was fun. I felt great at the finish and I rolled right through there with my football.  I crossed the finish line in 2:32:16 on my Garmin...although my official race time would be 2:33:05.  With no timing mat, those at the back of the race got gun time and not chip time, which kind of sucked.  It certainly wasn't my best or fastest race, but honestly I was super happy with it and felt like I had a good race.

Overall this is a great small town race.  It's super flat, and you get a nice technical tee and medal.  If you do the marathon you also get an awesome Brooks jacket!  And it is awesome!

I waited for Jim to cross the finish line.  He came across strong and had a great race too!  Then we headed back to the hotel for showers and check out.  We came back to Marshall just in time to see Coy one last time.  They were done with their race and had done so well!!  She decided to grab lunch with us before we headed on our way back home.....back to Giovanni's.  I think Jim could live on pizza. 

Jim finishing strong!
We got home Monday afternoon - just in time for me to pack and head to DC for work the next I said at the beginning - whirlwind.  I would come home from DC Thursday night, go back to work on Friday and then do another half marathon on Saturday...but that race recap is coming soon!