To live a better story: do SOMETHING every day.

I’ve learned a lot about myself in the past few months. I’m learning how to live a better story from Donald Miller.

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A big part of that story {at least, a part that is on my mind a lot} is health and fitness. Specifically: the kind of “character” I am in my own health and fitness story. A character is what she does. What am I doing?

The last time I blogged, I had just started on the 30 Day Challenge with my Team Beachbody coach, and friend, Krystal. I completely forgot that I had blogged about it. So: update. I completed the challenge– replacing one meal a day with shakeology and working out 3-5x a week– and although I didn’t see a change in my weight, I *did* see a change in my body. My *after* pictures showed some definite progress. {Still not sharing them, though. Sorry.}

Ever since March, I have been replacing one meal a day {usually breakfast} with Shakeology. April was pretty uneventful– I tried to continue with challenging myself and doing more T25 and running– but I didn’t have the same kind of drive as I did in March. Then May came around and my husband decided we should do an Ab Challenge. It was simple: do 75 crunches a day. I made a little calendar and stuck it on our fridge and every day that we completed the challenge, we marked it off on the sheet. Well– I totally beat him. By quite a few days! {Thursdays really killed him.}

Here’s the thing, though: I found something that worked! A little homemade calendar with a challenge/goal– something visual to which I was accountable. I also started recording my measurements weekly and continued with Shakeology. June, however, was not as successful as May. I tried to be specific– run 3 days a week, yoga 2 times a week. It didn’t work as well, and I found it really easy to get discouraged on down on myself. It was easier to skip days and make excuses.

 

My July schedule is working much better though. The goal was simple: do SOMETHING every day.

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It’s simple, and it’s worked. Sure, there have been a few days that I haven’t– but if you compare July to April or June, you see far fewer “Rest” days. {AKA: Nothing Days}. Especially in the last two weeks.  I was motivated by someone on a podcast– I wish I could be more specific but I can’t remember which celebrity or which podcast– who said that their goal is to simply do something active every day. I thought to myself: “they have no excuse to not work out if that’s their goal…” and suddenly, that was my goal. There have been a few days where my “active” is walking all day around the zoo (it counts!), but really, I love that I can choose what my activity is for that day. Something about not having a predetermined workout for me just works better. If I notice that I’ve only run once already that week, it’s easier to decide that I should run that day. I’m running closer to my goal of 3x a week, without telling myself I *have* to run 3x a week. I also started PiYO this week– which is awesome.

 

Moving forward in August, my goals are very simple: lose weight and get ready for half marathon training. {Have I mentioned I’m running a half marathon? My friend, Katie, convinced me that a 1/2 marathon would be a good idea by packaging it as a “girls weekend away.” I bought it and although there will be six of us girls going, only Katie and I are running… Hmmm…}.

I signed up for the Veteran’s Day 10k again this fall, so by November I should be up to running 5 miles consistently- which is where I need to be to start training for a half. I’ve already decided on the reward I plan to give myself for completing the half:

Isn’t it cute? I love AMR.

It’s funny that even though my weight hasn’t changed since March, I feel good. I feel healthier. Sure– I wish I could get rid of some of this– and I’m sure I will… but for now, I’m celebrating my progress. I feel good. And that’s that.

I plan to continue with the same plan: do SOMETHING every day. I’ll be getting back to work, so it will get more challenging. But when your goal is to just “do SOMETHING active,” it’s easier to find the motivation.It works for me, any way.

 

I think the health and fitness story I’m living is getting better all the time. Stay tuned.

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30 Day Challenge: Day 1

My friend and fourth cousin, Krystal, is a Team Beachbody coach and invited me to participate in a challenge she’s doing with some other ladies. I’ve been wanting to give Shakeology a try and this seemed like a great opportunity to do so.

 

Why the challenge?

I lost all of my baby weight while I was breastfeeding, but after I stopped, ten of those pounds slowly and steadily crept back on. I’m well aware that I can afford those 10 pounds and I probably get some eye rolls when I talk about wanting to lose a few pounds, like I’m Regina George or something. But seriously: I’m just not happy about it. If I were honest, what I’m really not happy about is how inactive I am– especially in the winter. I made a big deal about doing Insanity in January and February, and although I did a few times, it wasn’t a consistent thing. There’s something about doing a 30 Day Challenge that appeals to me though. I think it’s biggest appeal is that it’s a finite number of days. It has a start and an end. What happens at the end? Well, hopefully the weather is warmer and I can start training for my multiple 5k’s I’ve already signed up for. In any case– I can do anything for 30 days. If I just decide to make a weekly routine, which is the approach I’ve been taking for a while, it doesn’t seem to work as nicely. I feel like I can talk myself out of exercising a lot easier that way. “There’s always next week…”  I give myself too many outs. With a challenge, and a support group that I am supposed to “report” to, I’m more apt to care.

Plus, it has the added bonus of being a challenge. I found myself really looking forward to it. Having specific goals is always a good motivator, but having a time frame and plan of attack helps. So Krystal invited me to the challenge– it’s simple: you need to replace one meal a day with Shakeology and to workout 4-5 times a week. From there, I determined the best days (and times of day) for working out with my schedule, and the best meals to replace on a given day. Most days will be breakfast, but there are a few that will be dinner shakes! My plan is a semi-flexible schedule that fits in two rest/cheat days.

 

Progress

I’m hoping that by the end of this challenge, I’ll be on my way to where I want to be.  Today was Day 1 and the weather is actually warm, so I had planned to go for a run. Well, my son picked up a nice contagious illness that was going around his school, so my morning to myself disintegrated. I did T25 cardio instead, and I’ve just been staring longingly out the windows all day. There’s snow coming tomorrow… but I know that Spring is coming. Today helped remind me of that. FOCUS T25 is kind of awesome, and I especially love that it’s only 25 minutes. How can you talk yourself out of it? Everyone has 25 minutes.

I took some “Day 1” pictures this morning, and while I don’t think they’re horrible, I’m not brave enough to share them. Here’s to hoping my Day 30 picture will go alongside and will be an improvement worthy of throwing up on the blog. 🙂 Ha!

 

Until next time, aloha!

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We run to get to another place.

“That’s what we writers do. We write to get to another place.”

-Delia Ephron

I listen to NPR in the car. Now, most people listen to NPR to get their news… I, on the other hand, mostly listen to NPR for the smart quiz shows, pop culture commentary, and stories about this american life. (I say mostly because I do, in fact, listen to the news as well.)

Most recently I was listening to the newest episode of “Ask Me Another,” a quiz show with puzzles and word games, and their VIP (Very Important Puzzler) was Delia Ephron. The host was asking her about writing her most recent book, in which she writes about the period of her life in which her sister, Nora, died. She was asked if that was difficult to do. I loved her answer.

Delia responded that yes, it was hard, but she was so lost after her sister had died that she had to write about it. Because that’s what writers do- they write to get to another place. For her, and for many other writers, this meant moving to a place in which she could process and heal. This resonated a lot with me. I find that I am most motivated to write when I need to process something. When I need to work through an issue, an emotion, a state of mind/life, or an idea to the very end. It’s just something I do, and it’s why I feel accomplished after writing a blog post or short story or essay. I worked it out, and now I’m in a different place than I was when I began.

This is true with running as well, which is probably why this blog is tied really closely to my running. When I decided to undertake the goal of running 365 miles last year, one of the first and best ways I knew to tackle that goal would be to write about it along the way. Because that’s what writers do.

That’s also what runners do. In both a physical and metaphorical sense, runners run to get to another place. I run for many reasons, but the end goal is typically the same– I’m in a new place at the end, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. There have been many days where I have battled my way out the door, but once I return 30-40 minutes later, I am a new person. Or, at least, a better version of myself.

Running and writing take me to new places, both within myself and within my world, and I think I understand why my success at both is often tied together. I get ideas for writing when I run. I run to get myself to a better place to write. I was writing a lot more when I was first learning to run, because I had more time to think, more time to breathe, more energy to get it done. I was going new places, becoming a better version of myself along the way. And the best way to process this journey? To write about it.

As I sit here in the never-ending-and-coldest-winter-ever, I am inspired to go new places. I have goals this year for both my running and my writing, and I hope to be able to work on both at the same time– and I seem to be built for doing just that.

So here’s to new journeys. To going to another place.

So far, in 2014…

I have run two miles so far in 2014. Yes, just two.

I live in Wisconsin, and in case you’ve been living under a rock, you should know about that thing called the Polar Vortex. We had some historically-record-low cold days in January. I already dislike running in any weather colder than 50 degrees… and even the most die-hard runners don’t run in sub-zero temps. I was able to escape the arctic weather in the beginning of the month. I was supposed to return to work for two days before taking off for our family vaca, but thanks to our Polar Vortex friend, my winter break was extended by those two days (and my resulting break was three and a half glorious weeks) and we headed south to the Caribbean. Our family went to Beaches Turks & Caicos, and it was amazing. My family had been before when I was in eighth grade, but the place was twice as big as the last time we were there. It was relaxing and beautiful and perfect.

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Any way, I packed my running gear with the intention to run at the resort. And I did. Once.

The fitness schedule at the resort had three different runs on it. All in the morning at 6:00. Two were “trail runs” and one was a beach run. I already knew I wasn’t cut out for beach runs. I don’t like the uneven terrain. I got out of bed for one of the two trail runs, though, and had high hopes. The unfortunate part was that the resort’s trainer runs a 10k in my average 5k pace. So he is literally twice as fast as me. There were only two other resort guests on the run, and they were able to keep up with him pretty well. And me? I lost them about a mile in, and I was ready to die– because I started way too fast.

I’m usually pretty good at amping up my speed when I’m running with people who are faster than me, but these people were way too fast. I finished the first 2-mile loop (at least I think I did… I had to guess what the second half of the loop was, since I lost the group), and I went back to the room to get breakfast with my boys. I didn’t get up for the second trail run.

 

Well- I returned to Chiberia, and rather than resign to the dreaded treadmill, I have been doing some Insanity workouts. They’re really challenging and I feel good when they’re over– just like running. So I’ve decided rather than do one of two things I despise– run in the cold or run on the treadmill– I’ll do Insanity (which really lives up to its name- FYI) for January and February, and then run in March when the weather gets nearer to the 40-degree mark. I’m making the determination now that 40-degrees is acceptable. (And after the winter we’ve been having, I’m sure that first run or two will feel downright tropical).

In related news, I have about ten pounds of post-baby weight hanging around. I had made it back to my pre-baby weight around Skip’s first birthday, but slowly over the course of the next year, by his second birthday, I had put ten back on. I’d like to lose at least half of that. It’s not necessary- I’m not overweight- but it’s a personal goal. For starters, I decided I’d log my calories every day. I use the My Fitness Pal app, which gives me a realistic calorie goal to healthfully reach my target weight. I haven’t done much to change my eating habits quite yet- they aren’t necessarily horrible to begin with- but awareness of what your food is actually “worth” towards your daily total is a fantastic place to start. I’ve already altered the way I approach certain meals, especially lunches, with the mindset of what I’m in the mood for at dinner. A la, “can I afford (calorie-wise) this?”

 

I’m making progress on my goals to be a #FitMom in 2014.

{Other than the four brownies I ate at our Marriage Retreat we went on this weekend… but those calories don’t count.}

I have already signed up for the Color Run, and I’m making a decision as to what my first 10k for the year will be– I’m debating a few. I look forward to the warmer weather (I’m sad that I’ve resigned to 40 degrees being acceptably “warm”) because I’m itching to run. Until then, I’m letting Shaun T. challenge and motivate me.

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End of 2013 Progress Report / Plans for 2014.

My last post was in July. I have been incredibly busy since then trying to figure out being a full-time working mama. It has been difficult and has left little room for things like blogging on my own blog and reading for pleasure and grocery shopping on Tuesday mornings (I sorely miss being able to do that last thing!).

So here’s a quick recap of how I finished out the last quarter of the year:

August

I ran the Electric Run (which I’m sad I didn’t get to blog about– if you’re curious, let me know. I don’t think I’ll be doing that race again.)

Ran a total of 22 miles.

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September

Started a running Growth Group with my friend Katie. This forced me to run on Tuesdays, which is the only days I ran in September as the start of school is really, really taxing.

Ran a total of 8 miles. (Hooray for those Tuesdays!)

October

Continued with the Growth Group. Got used to running in the dark! Katie’s got a nifty head lamp thing and knows how to make a lantern out of a water jug.

Ran a total of 8 miles.

November

Ran my first 10k! It was the Veteran’s Day 10k which benefits the Wounded Warrior Project. It was cold, it was WINDY, and I walked a lot more than I would’ve liked. But I finished!

Ran a total of 12 miles.

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December

Did not run one mile in December. Not one. Too cold and too busy.

My goal for the year 2013 was to run 365 miles. I ended up running about 180- slightly under half of my goal. Do I consider this a failure? Abso-freakin-lutely not. My goal, really, was to run more. I wanted to set a measurable goal that would give me a reason to tie up my pink shoelaces and get out there.

At that, I was successful. I also ran my first 10k, which was not in the original plan.

SO, for 2014, here are my more measurable running goals: I want to run two 10k races and at least three 5k races. (one Spring, one Summer, one Fall). Once my friend (and unofficial personal running coach) Katie pops out baby #2, we’ll plan my first half marathon as well.

I’m already signed up for the Color Run again this year, so that takes care of my Spring 5k, but I’m open to doing MORE than my goal this year.

{I have to make up for my slack from 2013 some way!}

Here’s to continuing the drive to be a #FitMom in 2014.

Progress Update: June

We’re already well into July, so I figured I better get my June progress update up. Why has it taken a while? Well, for starters, I have been busy this month getting HIRED. Yep, that’s right. I got a job. I’ll be teaching third grade this fall, and I am super excited about it.

The other two reasons I have for lagging behind in getting this posted are:

1. We went on vacation at the beginning of the month.

2. It’s embarrassing, like usual, to admit that I didn’t meet my mileage goals.

 

There are 30 days in June, but I did not run 30 miles. I did, however, start training for a fall 10k. My friend and super-runner, Katie, wrote me a training plan to have me running 6.2 miles by November– and this helped me log some consistent miles at the end of the month. Alas, my total for June? 19 miles.

 

I’m starting to realize that I probably won’t meet my 365 goal, but I’m letting that realization sit in the back of my mind so that I don’t lose motivation to keep going, keep running. The goal of the 365 miles wasn’t just to log miles, but to get me running more often, and at that, I have succeeded so far. And I’m always getting better. So, even still, I am proud of myself.

 

So far in July, I’m doing well, just battling with the heat. Some of my runs have been hot with a capital H. It’s a tremendous advantage, though, to have someone sending me my runs for the week. It was something I was having a hard time recreating this year. Training for my first 5k was “easy” when I had an app telling me what to do on every run– the only mind game I had to play was getting myself out the door. The mind games doubled when I was no longer doing the program, because not only did I have to get myself out the door, but I had to give myself some sort of “objective” for each run, and that’s difficult when you’re struggling for the motivation to just DO IT in the first place. Katie has taken on this role for me and is the one telling me what to do every week, and it’s a big help.

{Thanks, Katie!}

Here’s to July, the heat, and adding some miles. Cheers!

 

2013 Miles Goal: 365

Miles Run So Far: 102 (three digits!)

Miles to Go: 263 (I’m pretending this isn’t real life.)

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5k Review: Dirty Girl Mud Run

In January, as a way of motivating myself to keep up with my mileage for the year, I made a list of 5ks that I wanted to do. One of the first races I put on my “list” was the Dirty Girl Mud Run. By the time I had learned of this race last year, it had already happened, and I was determined to do it the following year.

 

I made an event right away in January, invited everyone that I knew, and got excited. I figured I was giving everyone as much notice as possible (I mean, six months? That’s a lot of notice!) and since it was taking place the day after my birthday, I decided this would be my way of celebrating my birthday this year.

 

Well, you all are LAME because they only person who actually signed up to do it with me was my BFF, Katie. Boo to you all. Boo.

 

Any way… We signed up for the 4pm wave, because I prefer to run in the afternoons. The 4pm wave ended up being the very last wave of the day, and it was a very tiny wave! In addition to our 2-person team, there was a team of maybe 8 girls and another two teams of two. It was like having the entire course to ourselves.

Pre-Dirty Girl Mud Run

Before the race!

Katie and I made our way through slowly. We did a little jogging, but we mostly walked between obstacles. This was partially due to the fact that we didn’t know how much energy we should save for the obstacles and partially due to the fact that the race ground was entirely uneven. If we were to run between every obstacle, there were a few places where I am sure we could have twisted an ankle or something. I’m talking deep grooves in the mud, loose gravel, and running on an angle. I think the ground between obstacles was more dangerous than the obstacles themselves!

 

I was anticipating the obstacles being really difficult, but they weren’t. The first was an inflatable– no mud yet– and I was scared on the way down, but mostly my fear came from someone falling down on top of me. I was nervous that I’d really strain myself, because I have such limited upper body strength, but I didn’t struggle physically with any of the obstacles. Some of the mud pits were chilly– the day was chilly– and the muddy water was gravelly. I have a hard time with texture, so mentally, I struggled with the texture of some of the mud pits.

 

Also, there’s a big slide towards the end– I was pretty excited about this one. Since Katie and I had the course to ourselves, we had one half of the slide each to ourselves. I thought this was a good idea until we got to the top– then we were both terrified. The slide was really high up, and there was a muddy pit at the bottom that you couldn’t tell how deep it was. I counted really loudly to three and we slid down– that was probably the hardest, mentally, to do!

After shot!

After shot!

At the end of the race, your shoes are pretty trashed. I had planned all along to donate my shoes at the end. I wore a pair of shoes that are a half-size too small for me, and even though we didn’t run much, I definitely felt how snug they were. I’m glad they’ll go to a developing country somewhere– complete with my Sweat Pink shoelaces. 🙂

 

We had a great time and I’m so glad that I did it. It was a lot of fun. The pros to the experience are all wrapped up in getting muddy and having fun with a great friend! There were a few notable cons to the experience though. Here they are:

-They didn’t have any small t-shirts left– which is pretty lame, because they have you select a size when you sign up for the run. If they can’t guarantee the correct size, they shouldn’t even ask for you to specify. I got a medium and hopefully it shrinks.

-I don’t know how they screen their volunteers, but there was a creepy guy at one of the obstacles that asked each of us: “You like getting dirty, don’t you?” in a super pervy tone of voice. I could’ve done without that…

-It was pretty cold for a late June day. The weather was chilly for most of the day, but by the time we went, the sun was out for most of the course. It would’ve been a little better if the weather was warmer, but it wasn’t TOO cold. The worst part was rinsing off with the ice cold water in the rinsing tent afterwards.

-They promise a “festival vibe” but that’s not really what you get. Yes, there’s music and MC’s… but there’s just ONE station for food and drinks and not much else is going on.

-Finally, I thought the obstacles weren’t that creative. They promise 12 obstacles, but a few of them were repeats. There were quite a few mud pits– which is fine– but a few of them were just kind of out in the open, and Katie and I were like, “Ok… so what are we supposed to do? Walk through? Crawl through? Mud fight?” I would’ve loved a few more challenging obstacles.

 

So there it is.

I’d love to do this race again, but there are two major things I’d change for next time:

1. Do it with a larger group. Katie and I had a lot of fun, but the obstacles aren’t that creative or challenging– but I think they’d *feel* a little more challenging if you’re doing it with more people.

2. I wouldn’t do the final wave. When I signed up, they had waves after ours, but I’m assuming no one signed up past 4pm, so ours was the last wave. Being in the last wave was both awesome and kinda weird. It felt a tad like a ghost town, and even though some of the workers still had decent energy- you could tell they were just waiting for us to finish so that they could tear down. Which is kinda silly.

 

All in all, I had a muddy good time! It was great, and I’d do it again.

Up Next: MRTT Summer Virtual Race: Running Mad!

 

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5k Review: The Color Run

The last weekend in May, I crossed off a race on my Bucket List of Races: the Color Run!

First, I must talk about the SWAG.

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I have never participated in a race with this level of swag. Included with the race price, you get a t-shirt and a sweatband, but when you pick up your race packet, there are TONS of additional items to purchase. There are tons of different shirts (which are super cute, by the way), and socks, sunglasses, shorts, sweatshirts, tutus, etc! It’s all rather reasonably priced, too. I purchased a pair of sunglasses (I chose PINK because I’m a Sweat Pink Ambassador) and I also purchased a pair of plain white knee-high socks. They had two other pairs to choose from– a cute striped pattern and polka-dots, but I thought I’d stick with the plain white canvas. {I snuck in some #sweatpink with my sunglasses and shoelaces, though.}

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Thankfully, this race was held right in the town that I live in (well, technically, adjacent-to) so even though it was a morning race, which I hate, I didn’t have to drive far or get up way too early.

I always have anxiety the night before a race. The anxiety isn’t about anything other than the fact that I have to wake up early the next morning. I’m not nervous about the race, I’m not nervous about pace, I’m simply dreading the early wake up call. This is why I prefer to run in the afternoon/evenings.

This wasn’t too bad, though. My body woke me up at about 6am, and I decided that I could allow myself a small cup of coffee. I wasn’t racing for over two hours, so as long as I drank a bunch of water as well, I figured I was alright. I also drank one of my Bolthouse breakfast smoothies.

{Quick side note: I should probably buy stock in Bolthouse. I tend to clean out the grocery store’s supply of Chocolate and Breakfast Smoothie every few weeks.}

It was really nice to not wake up to an alarm that morning, and to have some time to myself to relax. I left about 40 minutes before it was line-up time. My friends live about two blocks away from the race start, but I didn’t show up early enough to park in front of their house, apparently. I ended up parking about six blocks away from the race start.

I realized I had to use the bathroom the minute I got out of my car. That’s another thing about racing in the mornings– I have to pee like ten times. Especially before a race. I have a nervous bladder, I guess. So I stopped at my friends’ house anyway to use their bathroom, then I headed off to meet my bff Katie. I knew quite a few other people running the race, but I didn’t think we’d be able to locate any of them. There were a LOT of people there! I was used to races with lots of people, but this was in my small town in Wisconsin! Plus, the fact that everyone was wearing crisp white clothing from head to toes made the mass of people look even bigger.

Surprisingly, I was able to locate two friends almost immediately! We jumped in line with Kelly & Ryne and waited. The race was released in a series of waves, and even though we were in the middle, but towards the front of the pack, we were in wave eight or nine! The event officially started at 8, but we didn’t start until closer to 8:40!

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Once we started, I understood why they only allowed so few people through at a time. The race took us through downtown Racine, and portions of the track were pretty narrow. It was an all-ages run, so there were tons of kids and lots of different people running who had either never run a race before or just didn’t care very much about protocols or anything. I say that because even though it had been said multiple times across multiple mediums, people just stopped in the middle of the street to walk. The majority of people in this race were walking– which is fine, of course– but the runners had to bob and weave through the masses of people walking because the walkers didn’t move to the sides of the street like you’re supposed to.

Given my bladder, I had to pee not even ½ a mile into the race. So that first mile or so was pretty painful. Katie was running the race drugged– she was on antibiotics for a sinus infection– so whenever she wanted to walk, we walked. We got through two color zones before we saw port-a-potties at the halfway point. I had to stop! There was a line. In a normal race, this would’ve been ridiculous, but given the nature of this race- it wasn’t a big deal.

Which brings me to this point: this isn’t a race. It’s just a fun way to travel 5 kilometers. You could walk the whole thing and still have a stellar time. It’s not timed, so you don’t feel pressured to finish within a certain time frame. You travel between color zones and get colored chalk powder thrown at you along the way. It’s a lot of fun!

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{I must’ve been having a great time, because my smile is obnoxiously cheesy in every picture we took.}

You don’t get very colorful during the race part itself. The real colorful part comes at the end. After you cross the finish line you head over to where they have a stage set up, where they’re playing music, people are dancing, they throw out a bunch more color packets, and periodically, they have one big moment where everyone throws color packets in the air. THIS is where you get drenched in color.

Pre-Harlem Shake

Pre-Harlem Shake

Post-Harlem Shake

Post-Harlem Shake

For our “big moment” we released our color packets during the Harlem Shake. It was pretty silly, but lots of fun. In that moment, you can’t see anything as you’re engulfed in the rainbow fog.

The only real negative was the temperature that day. It has been in the high 70’s for most of the week leading up to the race, but of course, race morning it was much chillier and cloudy. The wind coming off the lake was brutal, too. I definitely would’ve preferred a warmer race day! That’s really my only complaint, though. Even the walkers didn’t bother me THAT much. We walked quite a bit, too, so they didn’t really slow me down. It’s just the impoliteness of it that bothered me. Midwesterners should know better.

Customary Shaka Photo

Customary Shaka Photo

So is it the happiest 5k on the planet? I haven’t run all of the races on the planet, but I’d guess that the answer is probably yes! I’ll definitely do it again next year.

Up Next: Dirty Girl Mud Run on June 29th!

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Progress Update: May

May started out great. My goal was to simply be on par for the month: 31 miles in 31 days. I wasn’t too concerned with getting ahead just yet. It was simply important to not be behind for yet another month.

 

That lasted for most of the month. I was ahead or right on track up until the Color Run. I ran the Color Run (review coming soon- it was awesome!) on the 25th and the last run I clocked for the month was the next day, the 26th. Then I fell off the metaphorical wagon.

 

I have no excuses. I could blame my husband for being extraordinarily busy and away from home for the last week of the month, but I know there was at least one afternoon in which I had an hour to myself and could have gotten a short 2-miles in. (BUT, this day happened to be my and Jonah’s anniversary, and I had worn a dress to work. I was having an exceptionally good hair day– which is rare– why would I screw that up with getting sweaty and having to shower again?)

 

I’ve worked a lot in the past two weeks, too, because the school year is coming to a close, and with the end of a school year comes the end of sub jobs for the summer. These are just excuses, though, and really, I just got into a spiral of laziness that often seems to accompany running a race. I’ll take the next week “off.” I tried to counteract this with a run the very next day, but it didn’t help much. I still took the last week of the month off.

 

So my total for May was 22.25 miles. That’s 8.75 miles less than what would’ve kept me on track for the month. Not terrible, but not great, since I’m already so far behind for the year.

 

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the first week of June has been cold and rainy and a huge motivation killer. I have a plan to get back on track for the month. I just need the weather to cooperate.

 

I’m just waiting for it to feel like summer. I’ve never been more motivated to live somewhere other than Wisconsin than I have been this “Spring.” We’re lucky around here if we get a full three months of summer. I’m so done with this weather.

 

I am not done with running, though. So here’s to a good June– I’m behind, but I’m not out of the game just yet.

 

2013 Miles Goal: 365

Miles Run So Far: 83

Miles to Go: 280

5k Review: Race to Wrigley

I am a baseball fan, and even though I live in Wisconsin, I am an Illinois sports fan. This is perhaps an extension of being raised in a home in which the Dad insisted that we love the Bears and the Cubs and marrying a man who feels the same, but as a free-thinking woman, I happen to love the underdogs, and Chicago* teams are not exactly known for being big winners. This doesn’t bother me. Winning isn’t important to me when it comes to sports. I like all of the things that make baseball the American pastime that it is: the camaraderie of the fans, the ambiance of a classic field, the beer and the hot dogs and the peanuts, the 7th Inning Stretches, the roots for the home team. It’s a good thing all of this appeals to me– baseball is really important to my family: my brother is kind of a big deal in Wisconsin for High School Baseball– he’s having record-breaking week, as a matter of fact. However, even if it weren’t a mandate that I love baseball in my family, I would still love baseball.

 

All that to say: when I started running and looked around for 5ks in my area, the Race to Wrigley was kind of a “Must Do!” I mean, how cool?! You run around Wrigleyville and end back at the field– you even run through the lower concourse on the way to the finish line. If that’s not a motivator to run to the very end, I don’t know what is!

 

I didn’t sign up right away. The race was scheduled for May 11th, and I knew that we would be heading to Hawaii sometime between the end of April and through the month of May. I didn’t know how long we’d be there, and most importantly, I didn’t know our dates. Jonah had his dates for Hawaii in the middle of April: it would be the first two weeks of May. So that ruled out the Race to Wrigley.

Well, we had different circumstances surrounding my trip to Hawaii this time. We didn’t know where we’d be staying, and Skip is old enough now that we’d need to purchase his own plane ticket to bring him with, and so it wasn’t even decided how long I’d be going out to Hawaii until it was about a week before I left. I didn’t want to leave Skip for the entire two weeks Jonah would be out there, so I can back on the 6th. I didn’t even think anymore about the Race to Wrigley, because I had already crossed it off my list of races to do this year.

 

Thursday rolls around and my cousin gave me a call– someone they were supposed to run the race with wasn’t able to make it now and did I want to take her place? Uh, yeah!

 

So Saturday morning, at the ungodly hour of 5:49 am and all geared up in cold-weather running clothes (it was only in the 50’s. Boo.), I found myself on the train headed down to Chitown. Woo!

Race to Wrigley

 

We were doing the “Fun Run” group for the race, not the timed group. This was more than fine with me– I had spent the preceding four days in a foggy, jet-lagged stupor, so the fact that I wasn’t being timed appealed to me. I didn’t want to worry about timing, I just wanted to worry about running the whole thing.

I hadn’t run since the following Sunday– in Hawaii– and I wasn’t trying to push myself to do anything more than enjoy the race.

 

I succeeded at doing just that!

 

Race to Wrigley 5k

You start the race right out front of Wrigley Field– which is a cool place to be just about any day of the week. The course ran a couple blocks West, then a couple blocks North, then headed East back to Wrigley. The Lakeview/Wrigleyville neighborhood is really pretty– lots of that windy city charm. For most of the race, I found myself comparing the houses– playing a game I used to play in the car as a kid to pass the time: I’d compare the houses on the street and say “yes” or “no” to whether or not I’d live there.

 

A short way from the Water Station, I slowed to a fast walk. I hadn’t had enough water that morning, and I was cramping a bit. I did what Jonah taught me– continued breathing deep and lifted my arms up. I grabbed some water, sipped at it, and kept walking until the cramp subsided. I probably walked for 2/10ths of a mile, maybe. Not too long. It hurt a bit when I started running again, but when I saw the 2-Mile marker, I couldn’t let myself stop. Just over a mile to go? I could do that.

 

Right where I decided to start running again, there were trees with little white petals snowing off of them. It was picturesque! I felt like I was running through a movie set.

 

I got super tired in the middle of Mile 2. I overheard a man behind me telling his kids, “You see that building with the flags on the top? Once we get there, Wrigley is just a block away.”

I give myself mini-goals whenever I’m setting about to accomplish pretty much anything, so I determined that I was at least going to make it to that building, then maybe walk until I could see the field.

Well, I got to that building and couldn’t stop: because I could already see the field. Once you got to the field, you ran the last leg through the lower concourse. Running on the old stone floor of Wrigley Field is so cool. It was a short portion to run through, but still: cool. The finish line was just outside where you exit the building. I felt GREAT.

 

My last race in Chicago was the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5k, and I felt like garbage after that run. After this run, I felt awesome. I felt like I had challenged myself just enough, and the best part? I happened to look at my time on my Nike app: 36:10. I’m pretty sure that’s my best time yet. My other runs have been around 38 minutes.

 

I know that’s not exactly “fast,” but hey, whatever. I’ve never really focused on timing; I’m more concerned with mileage and running more than I walk. In my mind and by my standards, I’m winning.

 

One of my favorite things about running this course was the neighborhood people who sat on their front stoops and cheered us along– the ones shouting “great job, runners!” and the kids who came down and held out their hands for high-fives– it was awesome.

 

The Verdict: I could’ve done without the waking up before 5am and the chilly weather, but the good outweighed the bad for this race, as it usually does. Chicago is such a fun city, and I loved getting to run around– and through– one of the best, most classic ballparks. I hope to do it again next year!

 

{Special thanks/shout-out to Ashley, Traci, Toni, and Christiaan for a great time!}

 

Next Up: Color Run – May 25th. This coming Saturday!

*It should be mentioned that even though we are “Chicago Teams” fans, we are not White Sox fans. As Judy Miller so aptly put it on an old episode of Still Standing: “The White Sox are NOT from our town!”

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