Mini I Challenge Weekend

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Well, the 3 weeks of running fun have started!

Today, I’m working until about noon and then I’m off with my friends to Urbana-Champaign for the Illinois Marathon Weekend.  I graduated from the University of Illinois in May 2008, but I have only made a handful of trips back to my college town since then L.  Once my sister and I became runners, we heard about the Illinois Marathon Weekend.  We had briefly discussed going in 2014, but it was the same weekend as the Nike Women’s DC Half (looking back, I’m so glad we did DC because now it’s no longer around!).  This year, we never really discussed going but my two best friends from college who are not runners were talking about going and wanted to see if I wanted to go with them.

I was already signed up for the Indy Mini the following week and seriously considering running the Flying Pig Full, so there was no way I’d be able to run the half marathon.  But my training program called for a long run of 7 miles that weekend if I did the half-full the following weekend.  I decided it was meant to be for me to do the 5k with one friend and the 10k with the other friend.  I’d only need to run an extra .8 miles to get in my 7 miles on Saturday.  And I would get the Mini I Challenge medal (5k on Friday and 10k on Saturday)… so i’ll be going home with 3 medals :)

There are no time goals in mind as I’m doing these races to encourage my friends to embrace the sport that I already love!  I’d love to come back at some point to run the half with Lauren…maybe for the 10 year anniversary in a few years!

I’ll be back next week with a recap of the weekend!

Kathleen

Race for Jane 5K Recap

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Last Saturday, I ran in the Race for Jane 5K. This race was in the park that I always run at, so I was really looking forward to running a course that I was very familiar with. The race was also for a great cause. The organizer was the Jane Doe Advocacy, which according to their website:

Jane Doe Advocacy Center is a legal service center for issues relating to sexual violence and public health. Through unique services and programs, Jane Doe brings the tools and resources of the legal system into the hands of individuals.

Throughout the course of our work, Jane Doe strives to ensure that individuals are empowered to claim justice, rebuild dignity, and experience a sense of compassion through the legal system.

I picked up my packet the night before, and received a nice purple race tshirt and blue water bottle. On our race bib instead of numbers, there was a typed up story about a “Jane Doe” who experienced sexual violence as a young child. Each person’s race bib had a different story, and we were all running in honor of the survivors and victims of sexual violence. It was very powerful.

I awoke early the next morning for the race. I love races so I was excited and ready to go at 6AM, the only problem was – the race wasn’t until 10AM. I knew the time of the race, I was just all ready to go very early and it felt like forever for 10AM to get around! Around 9:20, I left the apartment and walked across the street to the start of the race. I was surprised to see there weren’t very many people running, probably only around 50. This was disappointing since this race was supporting such a great organization, but it was still nice to see everyone who was there excited to run and the weather was beautiful for the race.

I met my friend Richelle there and she picked up her packet since she had problems getting it the night before, and then we went over to the start line. I knew pretty quickly that I had a good chance to place in my division because there were so few people and a lot of people that were there were walking.

The race started right at 10AM, and I was in the lead for about the first .5 miles!! It was a really strange feeling and I was kind of relieved when 2 guys passed me because 1) I didn’t want to take a wrong turn and throw everyone off, and 2) I was going way too fast and knew I couldn’t keep up with that pace for long!

I was still in third once we reached the turn around point and I was shocked when I turned around that the rest of the pack was really far behind me! I was easily in third and it was very exciting!

I ended up crossing the finish line at 23:00, which was a PR for me for the 5K. I got third overall and first for the women and received a special medal at the end!

Receiving my medal!

Receiving my medal!

Justin came to see me at the end and for the pancake breakfast! Richelle and I were very excited about the free pancakes after the race, and they definitely lived up to the hype! They had brown sugar to sprinkle on top which I had never tried before, but now I don’t think I will ever eat pancakes without it because they were delicious!

It was a fun morning at my favorite park and I am definitely looking forward to the next time I get to race in the park again.

Lauren

Summer Goals

With summer quickly approaching (my pool that I manage opens in about 30 days), I decided that I needed a few fun goals for the summer :)

1—PR in 5k and/or 10k

— First off, I’ve never actually “raced” in a 5k.  I’ve only done 2  5ks and both of them were pretty slow since I was resting for races the next day.  I’d love to actually run in a good 5k (no glow races, foam, or other silly tactics) to get a decent 5k PR time.

Also, I’d really love to break the hour mark for the 10k!  Right now, my 10k PR is 1:03:20… so just to break that would be great, but if I can get under 1 hour, I’d be super happy.

Time to start looking for something local and flat to get these times!

2—Strength Training!

— I’ve really been sucking on my year long goal to cross train.   Marathon training is no joke—especially when I’m also running a half the day beforehand.  Since I’m not running any huge distance between Mother’s Day to Labor Day, I’m going to have the time to do other things!  Therefore, I really want to start strength training… my legs look awesome from running, but the flab on my arms is horrible!  I need Michelle Obama arms… like now.  I’ll start working on strength training starting in June once my pool gets open and I don’t have to be there 24/7.

3—Enjoy summer!

— Last year, my summer was pretty strange.  The first half of the summer, I was still working at the golf course—which meant I was working all the time, trying to run on minimal sleep, and was pretty depressed.  The second half of the summer, I got my new job which I love, but since it was a new job, I was working a lot, but was able to finally manage life, running and work a bit better.  This summer, I’m still super focused on my job, but I’ll be able to make time for other things besides work and running!  Hopefully, my sister and I can do something fun….maybe a festival or a return trip to the IL State Fair?  I’m pretty sure I’m going to see my favorite singer Kelly Clarkson here in Chicago in August.  I’m also planning on some home improvements—new drapes and blinds among other things.  And also I’ll be gearing up for my end of the summer trip to Disneyland for the Dumbo Double Dare :)

Kathleen

Weekly Recap

weeklylauren

Monday, April 13th: Rest Day

Tuesday, April 14th: 2 miles running

Wednesday, April 15th: 5 miles running

Thursday, April 16th: 6 miles running

Friday, April 17th: Rest Day

Saturday, April 18th: Race for Jane 5K

Sunday, April 19th: 8 miles running

The beginning of this week was ROUGH! I was super sore from my half marathon and was worried I had pulled something in my hamstring and one of my calves. But after some ice and rest on Tuesday night, I was finally feeling like normal on Wednesday! I am not sure what caused my pain, but it might be because of my shoes and probably from insufficient stretching after my half (shame on me!).

Saturday I ran in a local 5K that was across the street in the park. It was SUPER small (around 50 people) but definitely boosted my confidence because I ran my fastest 5K ever! I will recap this race later in the week.

This week, I am focusing on getting all my runs and cross training (workout DVDs and walks) in. I really want to continue to get stronger and faster so I am really committed to following my training plan! I also am going to try to eat healthier this week. Last week I had so much junk food and definitely was dragging most days. I am going to make an effort to make healthier choices and not snack as much during the day.

I have no races this weekend, but then I do have races the following 4 weekends! The weather has been great and I love the Spring season because there seem to be so many awesome races to participate in!

Have a great week!

Lauren

Weekly Recap

weeklykathleen

Monday, April 13th: Rest Day

Tuesday, April 14th: 4.14 miles treadmill running (10:51 pace)

Wednesday, April 15th: Rest Day

Thursday, April 16th: Rest Day

Friday, April 17th: 4.13 miles treadmill running (10:53 pace)

Saturday, April 18th: 6 mile run OUTSIDE (9:57 pace!!)

Sunday, April 19th: Rest Day

This week has got to be my favorite week of marathon training in recent memory as my “long” run was only 6 miles!  I love it!!

It’s great that I didn’t have too many miles this week because I was busy!  I feel like a broken record and I know everyone is busy… but sometimes it gets to be a bit much.  Wednesday and Thursday, I was in an Aquatic Facility Operator class (super fun stuff let me tell you… I’m surprised any pools are open with how much math/science goes into chemicals in the pool) and then I passed my test on Thursday afternoon.  After I got out of my class, I ran back to work for our annual volunteer reception where I had to give a speech to present the volunteer of the year for our recreation department.  It was so fun to see all of my volunteers and get to surprise our volunteer of the year.

This week had ups and downs with training runs.  Unfortunately, it was WAY too hot on Friday to run outside after work (I got sunburned last week and I don’t want to repeat that) and on Tuesday, I wasn’t really wanting to run much (I was still tired after the 30 weekend miles) so I decided to watch tv on the treadmill.  My treadmill runs were just ok. So on Saturday, I knew I had to get outside.  The weather was ideal—63 degrees and little wind.  Lauren got me a shirt at Run the Bluegrass (we know how obsessed I am with that race, so I was so happy!  I’m signed up already for 2016!) so I wore that and put on my visor so I won’t add to my peeling sunburn.  Around 2.5 miles, I stopped my watch to adjust my hair tie and it BROKE!  What?!  That’s never happened to me on a run!  I literally had to tie it together—wasn’t ideal, but it worked (now i know my lesson– have a backup).  Then the crappy socks I put on (I knew they were bad… but I couldn’t find any others… I forgot to look in the dryer) had caused my foot to start bleeding!!  I’ll have to make sure to tape up the backs of my feet so my upcoming races are not affected.  With all of that, I had an awesome outdoor run!  I’d really love to get under 1 hour for a 10k potentially this summer… and now I feel like I’m pretty close to that goal!

I’ll be back on Wednesday with my summer goals (I’ve decided to come up with some fun summer goals for myself and with this weather, I feel like it’s time to get ready for summer!) and Friday I’ll look forward to this weekend’s races!

Enjoy the week ahead :)

Kathleen

GO! St. Louis Half Marathon Recap

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I have lived in St. Louis a little over 2 years now and ever since I started running around that same time, I have been familiar with the GO! St. Louis organization and the various races they put on throughout the year. Last October, I was able to run in the GO! St. Louis Halloween 10K race and I had an amazing time so I couldn’t wait until my next GO! race.

So earlier in the year when I was looking for potential races for the year, I pretty much immediately signed up for the GO! St. Louis Half. I was even more intrigued by the race because this was the 15th anniversary and they were promising many exciting changes.

One of these changes was huge – a new race course! This course has been notoriously hilly in the past and I have heard many people say that they didn’t especially love the course. So I was very happy when I got the email with the changes and found out we were going to be racing in 2 states – of course Missouri, but also would be crossing the bridge over to Illinois!

I picked up my packet for the race on Friday at Chaveitz Arena where SLU Basketball plays. This was my first time to the arena and I was really impressed by it. The packet pickup was quick and painless and we received a nice navy tech shirt. There were many different vendors at the expo, but honestly I didn’t spend much time looking around because I didn’t want to spend any money!

The race was on Sunday bright and early at 7AM. I woke up at 5AM to get ready and was really feeling tired. I’m not going to lie, in the days leading up to the race I wasn’t feeling very positive. My runs had been slower ever since the Run the Bluegrass Half and I truly think I was still tired from all the hills there! But there was no turning back now so I knew even if I was tired I needed to push through and give it my all to try to get a new PR.

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Before the race

My parents came down for the weekend to watch me in the race which was really awesome. They came to our apartment at about 6AM and Justin drove us down to the race start. Justin had to do some other things so he was going to pick us back up after the race, but my parents were staying downtown and just stopped at Starbucks while I was running.

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With my mom!

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With my dad!

It was a perfect morning for running. It was around 55 degrees and I felt pretty comfortable in my shorts and short sleeve shirt. I crossed the start line a little after 7AM and immediately felt a surge of excitement about the race! There were so many people cheering us on and it really felt amazing. This is probably why I started off WAY too fast! My first mile was 7:35 which I knew I could not keep up with. My calves started to really hurt and I experienced some shin splints for about the first four miles. It was really painful.

We crossed the bridge around mile 2 and ran a little bit around East St. Louis. You can tell downtown East St. Louis used to be a cool place, but it is so rundown now that it was a sad sight to see. It was really nice though that right when we crossed into E. St. Louis there was a church group that was greeting us and giving us high fives. That was so nice of them to come out to support all the runners! I think it was around mile 3 or a little after when we crossed the bridge and went back to St. Louis. Around this same time, a runner behind me tripped on my shoe and almost fell right into me! Luckily he was smart enough to grab my shirt and keep me up and apologized profusely!

The next several miles were a bit of a struggle because I was trying and failing to keep up with an 8:15 pace. Once I got to mile 10 though and passed the Anheuser Busch Brewery I gave myself a bit of a pep talk. I knew I only had a 5K left and this was no time to slow down. I could rest later. I actually started to pass people instead of being passed by people so that was a good feeling.

Around mile 12 I passed my parents which gave me a surge of energy I needed to finish the race! I crossed the finish line and the clock said 1:52 something so I was pretty confident that I had gotten a new PR. Luckily both Justin and my parents were receiving text alerts so I found out pretty quickly that I had achieved a new PR- 1:51:51! I was very happy with this because even though I wasn’t feeling speedy, I still got a new personal best. We received a really pretty medal at the end and then there was also tons of food available to the runners. I grabbed a water, banana, this awesome graham cracker sandwich filled with PB and jelly, a protein bar, and of course a Ted Drewes ice cream sandwich!

My race bib with my awesome new medal!

My race bib with my awesome new medal!

This race was full of ups and downs but at the end of the race I was very content. It was awesome to have my parents there to watch me and I always love running in St. Louis. I will definitely be back to this race for hopefully years to come!

Final results!

Final results!

Lauren

Crazy 3 Weeks!

Well, after this weekend, the next 3 weekends will be absolutely hectic in terms of running!  I’ll be doing 3 states in 2 weekends… and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

It will start next weekend on Friday April 24th with the Illinois Marathon weekend.  I’m running in the Mini I- Challenge which is the 5k on Friday night and the 10k on Saturday morning.  This worked out great for my marathon training schedule as the long run for that weekend is 7 miles (I’ll do a .8 mile warm up before the 10k).  It’s another 5k that I won’t be racing—perhaps this summer I’ll look for a 5k to actually race!  I’ll be doing both races with two different friends who will be doing their very first races!  I told them that I won’t be leaving them in the dust and I’ll stick with them the whole time to encourage them along.  Someday, I want to go back to the Illinois Marathon weekend to do the half marathon as Champaign is SUPER flat!  I know Lauren would like to do it someday and I know she’ll get a HUGE PR!  That girl has been getting PRs left and right on hilly courses… I think she could be wicked fast on a flat course.

The following weekend is the BIG weekend… Half Marathon Saturday and  Full Marathon Sunday.  After I was done with Disney in January, I decided I wanted to take on another challenge.  In hindsight, I must have been delusional and high on Disney goodness.  I was already signed up for the Indy Mini (I’ve been signed up since May 2014), but I always wanted to do the Flying Pig in Cincinnati.  I had planned to do the half marathon in Cincinnati at some point, but the full marathon medal was hands down more amazing than the half.  I know medals are trivial, but when you’re a bling junkie like I am… a white ribbon with the race printed on it and a medal that’s super small for a half are just not going to cut it.  So, I made the decision to run the full in Cincinnati.  I figured out a plan that worked with my work schedule, my other 3 halves that I had scheduled from February-April, and I put the plan into motion.  I’m happy to say that I successfully completed 6 back to back running weekends (I never skipped a Saturday or Sunday run!) and I’ve gotten everything done!  I’m just ready for this weekend to be here and over with so I can focus on just one race at a time.

And finally six days after Cincinnati, I will be headed to Kansas with Lauren to run Running with the Cows Half Marathon.  First off, I was able to work it into my hectic schedule.. so why not?!  Also, I absolutely loved the medal last year and the race promised tons of food at the end!  I’m not expecting much time wise from this race (I’ll probably be running on dead legs at that point), but I’m just expecting a good time with my sister!  Sadly, we usually only get to run one race together a year and I thought Disney was going to be our only race of 2015.  But when I figured out that the race was only 4 hours from St Louis… I asked Lauren if she could take off work on Friday and join me!  She made the request that evening and by the next morning, it was approved!

And then folks, it will be crickets on the half marathon front for me until Dumbo Double Dare in September in Disneyland!  I was considering trying to run a race in Montana in July, but it really is expensive and I would like to enjoy Disneyland, finally get some patio furniture, get a bedroom set and purchase new drapes in the next six months.  After Dumbo, it will be pretty tame with possibly the Chicago Marathon, Des Moines Half (I can drive) and then the Route 66 Half in Oklahoma in November.

Kathleen