enjoying every second of life and running


Not an Easy Decision

If you are a regular reader of my blog or a friend of ours you know that I’ve been on the Often Running Racing Team for the last two seasons. It’s been an amazing opportunity that I never could have even imagined possible when I started running back in 2007. Because I came from no running background being on the team had extra meaning to me and with that I put pressure on myself to always bring my best to each race.

However, over the last year my health and schedule has made it hard to get in a good training cycle. It’s affected my blogging, I’ve been a slacker in posting to the blog because I hate feeling negative and I like to keep the blog as positive as possible. Then I started to dread some of my training runs, knowing that they feel completely miserable. 

So eventually I realized that I need to recognize that running may not be something I do competitively right now. I need to be able to let my running and racing happen as it fits my schedule and address my health issues. I need to fall back in love with running than it feeling like a “job” that I suck at.  It was so hard to admit that this is something I’m going through and that it wasn’t going to go away with one race or a training cycle.

I respect what the team stands for and I want them to have someone who can fulfill the duties to the fullest. I look forward to seeing them at the races and cheering them on. They continue to improve and amaze me every season. Thank you to ORRT and adidas for supporting me not only in my racing seasons, but also with this difficult decision.


Jingle All The Way

Today was the local Jingle Bell 5K run for arthritis. I’m in no condition to race, but I can’t say I’m heartbroken since we are under a wind advisory with 45 mph gusts. There is no way the strong wind pushing with or against me running would help my injury. So instead I took the role of helping with the Often Running store set up at the event.

Before everyone arrived, getting things organized.

I started working at 9am and we were busy from race registration at 10 am until race start at 1pm. Time passed quickly and I got to sell some great shoes and accessories, plus catch up with people and meet some new customers. In spite of the weather we had a great turn out for the race, including our Often Running Racing Team. Everyone knew to play it conservative out there. Better to be safe in such crazy windy conditions.

I forced Mitch to take a picture with me. Doesn’t he look thrilled? 😉 We are sporting the adidas ORRT sweatshirt, which is one of my faves.

Congrats to all those that raced in the crazy conditions! I’m sure it was a great strength workout as well as increased mental toughness.

I went home to get in my recovery workout of walking, stretching and P90X Ab Ripper.



2011 Canal Connection – 10K – 44:24

Sunday Rob and I went to Utica, IL to run the Canal Connection 10K. On the way we picked up our friend and my fellow ORRT teammate, Mike. Mike and I are both recovering from soreness, although he can still win races even when not at his best. Mike says he’s willing to hang with me and my tight hamstring. I warn him I may not be a pleasant runner to be near because even my easy runs hurt. I’ve had no speedwork because of trying to recover from my injury so I have no clue if my leg will immediately revolt when trying to 10K. I’m not excited for Mike to potentially witness me at my worst, as I’m sure my attitude will demish with my leg. He says it’s fine and agrees to just stay near and keep any comments/advice to a minimum so I don’t turn into a grouchy pants. To at least try and have fun Mike and I both sported 80s Rayban style adidas sunglasses (it wasn’t sunny out) and white adidas sweatbands on our biceps. Perfect for flexing the guns or shooting hoops afterward, you know.

Rob’s ankle has stiffness, but the soreness is almost all gone. He had taken almost the whole week off and was unsure how his race would go since he has also not had any speedwork.

It was 25 mph winds from the south and around 50 degrees. The wind was ridiculous, but most of this race is along a canal that has some sloped land on each side so essentially you are out of the wind.

After a clunky 2 mile warm up, stiff hamstring and all, we were off. I was surprised that I’m able to keep the pace I want and hit mile 1 at 6:44. Mile 2 and 3 also go off okay and I’m in the 6:50s, which would set me up for a PR. After mile 3 my leg was getting so stiff and ready to be done. Mile 4 and 5 were so annoying that I stop looking at my watch, there is no point as I’m very aware that my pace is suffering.

I only mutter a couple cuss words around this point. It’s so frustrating when my left side is ready to race and my right side just can’t make it happen. Mike gives me the advice to just focus only on the person immediately in front of us. This tip helped me stop thinking about the finish and just on getting to the next person. My leg is screaming tight and I muster through the last mile. Mike makes a gentle comment to the effect of “do you want this” and I’m thinking like “freaking yes I want this, I wish my leg would function”! I come in across the line 1 minute off of my PR with a 44:24 and I am very happy about this. I’m injured, no speedwork and I’m close to my PR. I now feel hopeful that if I can get recovered and focused on my training that I can get back to where I was.

Rob also had a good race, only 30 seconds from his PR with similar issues.

Our race times got me 2nd in my Age Group and Rob 4th in his.

Awards up close.



F 35-39: 2/?


Halloween Weekend

It’s been a crazy busy Halloween weekend. Friday after work we got supplies for Halloween and got ready to run the Screaming Pumpkin Marathon. This course is hilly 6.55 mile loop through a cemetery that has rocky, broken up path. The course opened at 6pm and you could start the course anytime and try to finish as close to midnight as possible.

Rob and I arrived at 8pm, figuring an easy pace will bring a 4 hour-ish marathon with some time cushion for the grinding hills on my recovering hamstring.

Dressed and ready to roll. I went with adidas Bostons for more support, capris, long sleeved shirt, Boston jacket, gloves, hat, head lamp, glow stick, glow stick necklace, and headlamp. It was in the 40s when we started, but I get cold easily so I opted to over dress. This turned out to be a good idea because around 11pm the temps dropped into the 30s, a light drizzle and light breeze started.

This race is mostly folks doing a relay so there was a lot of bonfires and tailgating as people waiting for their runner to return. Rob and I got started and immediately noticed that glow stick necklaces and running don’t mix. After they bounced around and hit us in the chin repeatedly we had them off within .25 miles.

The course is unlit and very dark. The direction is marked by glow sticks lining the way, keep the glow sticks on your right and you are heading the correct way. I have to say that running in the pitch black with only glow sticks light the way was a very cool look. Since the course is very hilly you would see handfuls of runner lights bouncing up and down the cemetery at different points in the distance. Such a cool thing to see.

We had no timing devices, but we are familiar with this course from the half marathon and there are some parts of the road spray painted with mile markers. So it was amazing to see how the miles seemed to quickly pass by.

The road was very uneven and rock in parts, which is hard to manage in the dark. They had marked as much of the course as they could with red glow sticks to note places to avoid, but Rob and I found some locations they missed. We each tripped a handful of times pretty hard, luckily neither of us falling to the ground. The bad part was the tripping would cause my leg to pull back funny, upsetting my hamstrings but at least I never face planted.

We were back to the chip mat at 6.55 Miles and time felt like it was flying by because we were so entertained by the course. We were running very easy and were able to just pass the time chatting. On our way back into the cemetery and up to the first hill the coolest/scariest thing was a very large deer passed right in front of us. It was freaky cool to see this large dark mass pass right in front of us because it was scary at first to try and figure out what it was in that split second.

This would be a good time to mention that our headlamps may be decent enough for our street lit neighborhood, they were not match for the complete darkness of this run. The light was just soaked up in the darkness and the headlamps were really more for identifying us to other runners than lighting our path, which made tripping all the more likely. I had no idea that our headlamps weren’t the best until we saw examples of other runners who had heavy duty lights. IF there is ever a true night race that we run again, we will need better headlamps and perhaps little flashlights.

Into the next set of hills around mile 8-ish Rob had a very bad trip that rolled his ankle and made a popping sound. He was stopped instantly and assessed the situation. We walked a bit and it was hurting badly. He wanted to continue, but now his  ankle would be in pain the rest of the way. We slowed our pace and stopped anytime the pain was too much. My hamstrings weren’t loving all of the hills either so taking it easy was fine by me. The second loop, even with the injury stop somehow felt like time went by faster.

Into the third loop of the course and the temperatures drop. Rob feels like his ankle is swelling and he is tolerating the tightness and pain. We are only around mile 15, so much more to go. We start to question if it’s worth it since we were out just for the fun. The fun was quickly fading.

Back for our final lap, time passing slowly since we are taking it super easy. 19.55 miles and back out we go. However Rob’s ankle is hurting even on the flat portion of the course. Around mile 20 or 21-ish and we start weighing if it’s worth tackling the hills again. His ankle is so sore that we could get into the deepest part of the course realize he can’t go on and not make it back in time, are we willing to take that risk. Rob would do it for me, but it just wasn’t worth it. We decided to bag it and walked the mile back to turn in our chips. We made the right call. As we were walking back Rob’s ankle began hurting worse that walking was a challenge, there was no way more hills would have helped.

We are happy that we did get to have a hilly long run at night. However it wasn’t worth Rob’s ankle injury or the risk of falling multiple times. I think we will stick to this course in the daylight. If we ever do another really dark race we will make sure that we have better lights and that the path is more paved than rock.

We headed home to finally have dinner and weren’t in bed until after 2am, what a long day!

Saturday was a lot of Rob icing his ankle and then we joined ORRT to help with a local 5K. Me faux running through the finish chute. Yeah I’m easily distracted from my duties.

The kids run was an obstacle course and we got to pass out candy and prizes. Then for the 5K we managed the finish chute and announced awards. Afterward we headed home so Rob could get back to icing his ankle. The swelling has reduced so I hope a few more days of rest and ice will get him back to new again.


Movie Night


Monday (10/17):

5 Miles Easy (Treadmill, 42:21, 8:29 Pace)

9.2 Bike Easy (Trainer, 40:00, 13.8 mph)

Tuesday (10/18):

4 Miles Easy (Treadmill, 35:14, 8:49 Pace)

Tonight after work Rob and I helped out with Often Running’s movie night. Every year they host a running movie at the historic uptown Normal Theater. This year’s movie was Lady Warriors. ORRT accepts food donations for the mission as admittance. The area school track and cross-country teams attend with their coaches, some of them who are on ORRT. The make up most of the crowd, but the community and the local running club also attend. adidas sponsors the event which means lots of cool freebies for attendees (socks, shirts, headbands, etc.) and drawings for free shoes.

After the movie part of our team walked over to Medici for a drink before heading home.

It was such a nice night, I just wish it was the weekend!