Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Boxer

My health is holding up & I ran 5 miles for the first time in I don't know how long just yesterday! I don't mind saying that I have Crohn's disease  (a chronic inflammatory bowel disease) & life has been really hard for me for last year or so. I actually think it all started back in December of 2010 if you haven't read this post. I am in remission now, so I'm just watching what I eat, making note of things that don't work, & trying to stay healthy! I love to run & have been so sad not to be healthy enough for daily running. I can say now that I can't remember a recent day that I haven't run :)

Today, I just ran 3 but I focused on form & purposely had negative splits. It felt great to run with purpose again instead of just starting from zero.

Anyway, I feel great & with nearly 500 miles on my Newton's I just ordered a new pair. These have been the answer to all my running prayers as they are flexible & have plenty of cushion & a durable tread in that forefoot so I don't go through shoes like water anymore. Awesome!


If you are interested in this sort of thing, here is what the treads look like on the bottom of my Newtons after almost 500 miles. Not bad at all! You can see I've worn through to the cushion on the
left shoe, but that's typical for me.


As you can see, I don't wear the heel like most people, so these shoes have been perfect for me. I won't wear anything else, & don't mind paying the extra money. If you are a forefoot striker, these shoes are well worth the price tag.

We are about to go camping, so I thought I would just check in & let you all know that I'm still running! I'm planning to run out there in the country, & I hear it's really hilly. Bring it! I'm ready to go another round :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Driver, Surprise Me

Yes, another song title for a blog title. Hey, I really just love music (& maybe I'm too lazy to think of my own title). haha  
Just wanted to give a quick update that I'm being consistent with my running & cycling, eating healthfully, & getting enough sleep. It's absolutely wonderful to get back to being myself! It's been snowing here for a little more than a week, so I've been riding the bike on the trainer, but outside running has been just perfect. I don't know what I've done differently this time, but somehow I'm being consistent & it's working! Sometimes I surprise myself. My mother is gone, but I LIVE.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Big Girls Don't Cry

One of my favorite sayings when a friend is having a difficult time is to tell them to "Put on your big girl pants & ..... (insert appropriate verb)". Pretty good advice, I'd say. Since my mom's death (October 10. 2011 - yes, Chicago marathon weekend for all you runners out there) I haven't been able to follow my own advice. I have not found joy in the things that I love to do, like running, cycling, yoga, eating well, & keeping fit. Everything has been hard. I'm working through it though, & every day it gets a little easier. I have felt as though I went from an infant, to a child, & am now in my "adolescent" phase (if that makes sense) & am able to get out more & even do some things for myself that I enjoy again. It feels pretty good to have "me" back again. We don't have very deep snow here, so I've been running in it no problem with my YakTrax. For those of you who know me IRL, I LOVE to run & play in the snow. It's so much fun charging & jumping on top of the snow banks, hurdling the small ones, & just having a good time. When the snow first begins to fall I have to get out there for a run just so I can run & sliiiiiiiiide :-) So much fun!


I've been running (a little), doing some yoga, & doing easy trainer spins on the bike (sometimes). Things are going pretty well & I'm excited to be able to say I have "base miles". Not quite yet though. It's sort of hard for me when I don't have a focus. My husband & I are doing the Innsbrook triathlon in July, but other than that I've had no idea.

My cousin (who is brilliant) has decided that we should run a marathon. I never thought that I'd ever want to run another one of those (terrible) things (haha), but I am excited to say that we are running Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 2, 2013! Yay! For those that have read my blog in the past, I have run this before & it didn't go well. I tore a muscle in one leg, & severely injured the lower part of the other leg. Yep -- I came home on a walker. Humbling. I ran 4:03, which is my PR for the marathon. Now I'm not saying I want to try to run sub-4:00 or anything this time. In fact, I don't plan on taking a watch. This is such a pretty course, & I plan on just enjoying it for the pure fun of running. Imagine that! Here I am running in Indianapolis in 2010, I believe.

I'm looking forward to getting back to the things I love, & now that I have a focus it has truly lit that fire in my belly again that I thought was forever burned out. Time for me to "put on my big girl pants". :-)

Sunday, April 29, 2012


After a long, & much needed, break I have once again returned (I hope!) to the racing scene! My life leading up to, & following, my mother's death in October has left me feeling pretty quiet, anxious, sad... I just haven't been myself. I truly did not know what a profound impact grief would have on the physical body. I've had a lot of ups & downs, & have even had some health problems as a result. I know my mom would just be beside herself if she knew that I was hurting this badly, so I have decided to take charge of my own grief & do my best to move on. I would highly recommend that anyone who has a terminally ill loved one (or has recently lost someone) speak with a grief counselor. Even if you think you're OK & you don't need it, you are probably pretty far from OK. Lecture done. :)

So yesterday my husband (who has had to put up with my ever-changing moods & variations of Kerrie) decided that what I needed to do was sign up for a race... & that we could do it together... & that it would be "fun". I thought it was a terrible idea since I've only been running when I feel like it, with no consistency or focus, & I believe my exact words were, "I don't find it 'fun' to go see how out of shape I am." I thought about all the other times he had been right, & eventually I agreed (so as to not lead him to think that he is, in fact, mostly correct... ... ... See what I did there?) He signed us up for the Friends of Kids with Cancer 5K here in town, which is a great organization, & it actually did look like this so-called "fun" he was speaking of. ;)

We got a little warm up jog in while running the course backwards to see what that was about. It was rather hilly & featured an up-hill finish. "Fun". Riiiiiiiiight. Personally, I was thinking of a different "F" word. ;-) We lined up at the start, & I did not see a single stereotypical, fast, runner girl so I put myself behind a few of the guys in front & was ready to go. Glancing over my shoulders, I still did not see any of these girls. Where were they? You know the type: Slender, long legs, sports bra in 40 degree weather, split shorts (or track briefs!), arm warmers... Intimidating! They mean business.

The horn sounded & we were off. I brought no watch, so wasn't sure how I was pacing (& let's face it - it had been a while). I could feel that burning in my throat, where you can feel your heart racing, & I figured I had just gone out a little too fast, but it stayed with me the whole time. Not sure what that was about, but probably just a reminder that I was a little out of shape. I kept waiting for a stray long-legged runner girl to pass me up, but she never did. Sure enough, after 2 hilly loops I crossed the line & knew I had won!!! Generally a time of 22:35 doesn't get you a win. Usually that track brief-sporting runner girl comes in under 19:00 & that's that. Luckily, for me, she never showed up! 

So here we are, post race (hey Bryan, your shoe is untied). I was very surprised not to have gotten a medal, but to receive a gift card to Dick's sporting goods for $100!!! Stoked. I went immediately & got some things, not for running, but for yoga :) One of the things I started doing to manage my stress & grief has been yoga & I love it! I cannot imagine my life without it. It's great for overall strength, balance, & flexibility as well. What did I buy, you ask?

I thought I did pretty well! A yoga top, mat, & sling/strap combo (to carry the mat & to use for deeper stretching), a swimsuit, & some Big League Chew for my kids (& for nostalgia purposes). I would say that this race, & subsequent WIN!, has my new chapter of life off to a great start :) I also choose to publicly admit that my husband is wicked smart, & clearly has my best interest in mind at all times :) Went out & had a blast with old friends last night (love you guys!), & am just going to take today to get ready for the week ahead.

 Remember all those months ago when I said that I wanted to train specifically for the mile? Well it is upon us, & I will be hurling myself around the track with middle school boy-level intensity twice a week until the Macklind Mile on June 30. I am quite looking forward to it, as long distances (& the loooooong training that precede them) do not appeal to me at this time.

Next weekend I'm all set to ride the midi distance at the Vino Fondo Saturday, May 5th. I'm pretty stoked because this is the ride I really wanted to do last year, & couldn't. It's a timed bike ride (though they say not a race) beginning & ending in Augusta, MO. It's going to be a hilly & challenging ride, & I'm not sure how ready I am for it, but I intend to show up & suffer :) I have been training pretty consistently, but my long ride has only been 75 miles (the race is 86.5). We'll see after it all goes down next weekend! Either way, it's a good way to see the beautiful countryside & enjoy the day, so I am looking forward to it. I have a lot to learn on that bike, so I'm sure I'll come back with a lot more knowledge on the subject, if nothing else. So that's it! I'm back :) I hope...

Now the moment you've all been waiting for: cheesy photos of me doing yoga :) Props to my oldest daughter for coming to do yoga with me, & then taking the pics.



We call this

We couldn't take a good picture of Tree since I have to stare at the camera, so we made up

Monday, November 7, 2011

"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"

I wanted you all to know that for some reason, blogger isn't allowing me to post comments to my own blog (??) Not sure what's going on here, but I appreciate all the comments that you have made, I just can't respond to them (trying to figure this out...)

It's been a while since I've been able to update my blog. So much has happened! For those that haven't read my previous post, my mother has been very sick with terminal cancer, & we actually lost her on October 10th. Taking care of her in those final months, & her eventual death, have been the hardest things I've ever had to go through in my life so far, & I'm still dealing with it every single day in my own quiet way. It's very hard for me to talk about, but I seem to be working through everything on my own & talking to my husband a little bit as I need to. For some reason I've been quite content to just sit & quietly mull it over. So unlike me to be quiet!!! ;-)

Life will never be the same...

As far as my training goes, you can imagine that it was quite hard to be consistent. Last year, I ran the St. Louis Track Club half marathon in 1:42, so this year I wanted to try for 1:40 (which is a 7:38 average pace). I didn't realize that grief would have such a profound physical impact on my body. I was crying all the time & had a constant lump in my throat, & my blood pressure was sky high, even before she died. Running, or exercise was very difficult to nearly impossible for me. I was the only family member living here in town, so was doing all that I could for my mom, & was still maintaining the fact that I need to also take care of myself in all of this or I wouldn't survive it. I did the best I could, being that taking care of my mom & my kids were my top priority. I was still following my training plan, & things were really looking good, but there wasn't enough time for me to get to the gym to do my strength circuits (& let's face it: I really didn't want to fool with it). I wound up going 1:45:40 yesterday, & that's all there is to it.

I went ahead & ran the Rock n Roll St. Louis half, with the 1st 3 miles being warm up & the final 10.1 at tempo pace, two weeks ago & wound up at 1:47:54. It felt great & was pretty easy. The following weekend I raced the Gumbo Flats 5K, & was determined to come in first! I could not, for the life of me, catch up to the 14 year old girl who came in first, & I wound up second, the same as last year, but came out with a one second PR of 21:51. I'll take it ;-)

There I am in the middle (new hair!) with Jamie (The Original Running Buddy), & Chris, my official pacer (he is running a marathon next month & needed to go slower than his normal half marathon race pace, so figured why not!). He did a great job setting the pace, but unfortunately my legs didn't rise to the occasion.

We had a whole team running with us at the beginning, but somewhere around mile 6 the wheels just fell off completely. Katie, who we started with & who I ran with last year, did wind up making it in 1:40ish!! I couldn't hang, that was for sure. The whole thing was so weird, because usually I'm a total head case, & it winds up being my brain that hinders me from doing my best, so I really thought if I had Chris & Katie I couldn't go wrong. Not the case here. I couldn't make my quads go until adrenaline (& a nice downhill finish) set in at the end, along with Chris shouting encouragement. The course was the same as last year. It starts pretty much downhill for about 3 miles, then does 2 hilly loops through Forest Park, & the final 3 miles back to Shaw Park are practically uphill, with a nice downhill finish. Here are my splits:

Mile 1 - 7:34
Mile 2 - 7:33
Mile 3 - 7:25
Mile 4 - 7:31
Mile 5 - 7:41
Mile 6 - 8:08
Mile 7 - 7:37
Mile 8 - 8:12
Mile 9 - 8:23
Mile 10 - 8:25
Mile 11 - 8:50
Mile 12 - 8:50
Mile 13 - 8:24
.18 - 1:11

That's an average of 8 minute miles (ouch!), & was officially very hilly, windy, & difficult for me this year.

That photo pretty much sums it up :-) Me chasing Chris with my eyes shut. lol

The difference? Last year I had just done a century ride the month before, so my legs were plenty strong. This year I had a lot going on, & maybe should have gone a more conservative route, but there is no failure in trying :-) I had a ton of heart rate to play around with, & I took 2 HammerGel's, so the only explanation I have is that my legs just weren't strong enough for these hills. I plan to get myself back to the gym, effective immediately, so I can get myself ready for the Frostbite Series, which starts December 10th with a 12K, & features a half marathon in January. Last year, I didn't run the whole series but did the 10 miler, & my husband did the 4 miler. I love the course & am really looking forward to it!

I've already starting knitting a very festive hat for the Frostbite Series to be revealed at a later date ;-)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

August Races

My husband & I had a great time at the Flat Five in St. Charles two weekends ago. It's an annual event in which each finisher receives a trophy with their finishing place on it. Sweet! Being early in August, it was really hot already & I remember the news said humidity was 92% that morning when I was getting ready for the race. I haven't been keeping up with speed work, but have been continuing my long runs, along with weekly base miles, so I wasn't expecting miracles here, again. We were just out to have a good time, & get our trophies!

No surprises on the course, there is a short hill about a quarter mile in, just as there is every year, but the rest of the course is flat & finishes up on the Katy Trail right in front of the river in downtown St. Charles. The heat & humidity were hard to push through near the end, & there was a guy who nearly passed out with a quarter to go. I ran back & brought him some water, but there were already 2 guys doing the same thing so I let them handle it. Poor guy was out of it. We suffered no ill effects from the heat, & crossed the line to receive our trophies.

I finished in 37:14, & have no mile splits to give you because I have become the Anti-Garmin. I think I'm doing a great job just feeling it out as I go, & results have been pretty consistent with what I'm capable of. I'm taking the pressure off myself & having fun. :-) There's a time & a place for the Garmin as a training tool, but I'm done using it for every run or ride.  

I was 5th last year, so even though I was slower by 13 seconds this year I went 4th overall! That's what I call raising the bar. Next year I will really have to work on it to get 3rd.

I was also asked to join a women's tri team, since they lost their runner, so I headed to O'Fallon to race the Alligator's Creek sprint tri with Alyssa & Amy last Sunday. Even though I was just doing the run, I wore my tri shorts & top so I could blend in.

I felt sort of silly standing there by the pool, & here's a shot of me trying to see my teammate Alyssa in the pool.

It was a serpentine pool swim, & she had to swim 300 yards, I believe, then run up to the transition area to tag Amy who would ride her bike through a hilly 18 miles. This was a tough course.

The run course was just as tough. Hilly, windy roads so you had to be careful to run a straight line. My dumb shoe came untied (which never happens) before I was even a quarter mile in. No way was I going to stop to tie it, so I got on with it, hoping I wouldn't sit & dwell on it the whole time. I soon forgot about it, so all was well.

I didn't wear the Garmin to this either, so I have no splits, but I can say that I did my best to not redline on the uphill & just plowed down the downhills not really giving any recovery time. It was just not an easy course. The weather was perfect, & there was beer at the end :-) I finished the 3.1 mile run in 22:54, for an average of 7:23 minute miles. Ouch. I'm not too broken up about that, & I did tell them I would probably be in the 22 minute range with the hills. Cutting it close.

We took first for women's relay teams & each got a trophy.

These aren't the official results, but it shows our splits. Well done, girls!!

Apparently, I will be doing a little mini tri this weekend. a tri-snack, if you will. It will be interesting to see what happens here, as I only have 8 laps in the pool (200 meters), 3 miles on the bike, & a one mile run. I may throw up. lol


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Luck in the Land of Lincoln

My husband & I were able to get away for the weekend (thanks mom, uncle Tom, & aunt Paula!), so we headed to Springfield, IL to the Springfield Tri Fest. We needed a break from life, more than anything, & neither of us had really trained specifically for this, so we were just looking to have some fun. 

I knew I could cover the distance, with my recent bike ride of 40ish mile (plus weekly riding base), last weekend's long run of 10 miles (plus weekly running base), and I had also recently covered the 1500 meter swim distance in the pool (as well as 2 recent 1000 meter open water swims). Not perfect, but I figured I would make it through OK, so I decided on the Olympic distance (appropriately named "Iron Abe" - swim 1500 meters, bike 24.8 miles, run 6.2 miles).

My husband is in the middle of marathon training, but has had some bike miles recently, & figured he could get through the swim, so he went with "Stone Man", the sprint distance (swim 500 meters, bike 12 miles, run 3.1 miles). We both had pretty good races, all things considering.

I was registered as a male for some reason, so was given a pink swim cap (for men ages 39 & under). I didn't realize until I was standing in the water getting ready to go that all the women had green caps. It makes for a good photo opp though, so there I am above in the pink cap amongst the other women in green. I didn't hear what the water temp was at the pre-race meeting, but I woudn't run my bath water that warm. About half-way through the swim I could feel my face starting to get really HOT.

I didn't take into account that in the pool I get to push off from the wall every 25 yards, so the swim felt REALLY long. I had some soreness in my right arm as a result that has lasted all week, but I made it through in 43:00.8, with the 2nd to last swim time in my age group. Ouch! I'm a slow swimmer for sure, but I just don't like it well enough to work on it. I've tried, but I just can't get in to it. Talk about endurance sport: about mid-way through the swim I started to wonder when this torture was going to be over, & I just simply endured it. I blocked my mind & started singing songs in my head like "All out of Love" by Air Supply. Don't ask me how I come up with these gems. It's a gift ;-)

Anyway, I made it, & my transition 1 went smoothly with a T1 time of 1:27.5 so I could put on my helmet, sunglasses, cycling shoes, & race bib. This is definitely improving, though I would love to get that time under a minute. Maybe I will skip the socks next time since they are always just soaking wet anyway.

The bike went pretty well for me, though my arms were very sore from the swim & I just couldn't get comfortable. I changed positions a lot, & spent a lot of time thinking about it. 1:20:26.1 was my bike split for 24.8 miles, at 18.54 mph that's a little slower than I know I can ride on a fairly flat course. Just a few weeks ago I rode 20ish miles & held just over a 20 mph average speed. I'm not too broken up about it though. Every experience is a learning experience.

I think I need to do some lifting for my arms, because something just wasn't right. I had started a lifting program, but I'm not at the gym often so I wasn't consistent with it. Next week I will start though, & just make it a point to go.

I did another good transition, as T2 was 1:09.3 so I could put the bike back on the rack, get the helmet off, & change into running shoes.

I raced in my Waterloo Flying Dogs tri suit, which a good friend gave me. In this area, they probably thought it was a cycling club from Waterloo, IL, but they are actually from Canada!

Weather was absolutely perfect. It was barely 80 degrees, with overcast skies, & it started to rain a little toward the end of the run. I feel like it was wasted on me though...

The run was the sort of devestating part for me. Usually, in a tri, my run split is in the top 3 overall for women. This just wasn't the case. I don't think it was a fuel thing, since I hydrated on the bike & took a HammerGel but my legs just wouldn't turn over. Usually, when running off the bike, it takes a little bit of time for your legs to realize what's going on, but for me that day it just never clicked. I think I've only done a handful of brick workouts the whole summer, so it's no surprise. Just a bummer. I was hoping to really do well on the run, but finished in 53:45.8 with an 8:39 average pace. :( That's pretty harsh, considering that, according to race results predictors, I am in shape to run 45:47 for a 7:23 average pace. I mean, I carried a 7:49 pace for a half marathon... It just wasn't my day... I was really surprised it wasn't slower than it was, actually, since I was sure I was running 10 minute miles.
I need to find a 10K to run on its own before giving the olympic distance another tri, so I can get more comfortable with this distance. Afterall, this was my first ever 10K!! I'm not counting though, since it sucked ;-)

I finished the whole thing in 2:59:49.5 (not bad for my first olympic distance, & fourth triathlon ever!) & was very surprised to finish 2nd in my age group! I was lucky, really, because this was not an outstanding performance.

I also learned, by looking at results, that if I had registered as Athena (which I qualify for) I would have won by quite a bit. I feel like I've come a long way, with weight loss, & discovering that I can compete athletically & I somehow just don't want to put myself in that category, not that there's anything wrong with it. It makes sense, really, that at 5'8" & 153 pounds I'm just not the same size a your average female triathlete. I feel like I'm at a very healthy weight for my body, so I'm not complaining, just at this stage I'd rather try to get age group awards.

Abe Lincoln himself presented the awards :)

It's a really cool iron rendering, & the finisher's medal is similar & doubles as a keychain! Pretty cool, since none of my other medals can actually be used.

My husband & I both did the Stone Man distance last year, & I was thrilled to get to come back since this was such a well-run event with great food, lots of volunteers, awesome race timing with immediate results scrolling on a flat screen monitor, a great course (with the swim in Lake Springfield), & a dri-fit shirt. I also love that they keep consistant with the theme (giant chocolate pennies, iron/stone awards/medals, etc). A very cool event that I hope to do again next year!

We are running the Flat Five in St. Charles, MO this Sunday, so hopefully with cooler temps (& while not being preceded by a swim & a bike ride) my legs will get a chance to redeem themselves :-)