Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ava Year 7

Happy Birthday Miss Ava!

December 2003

February, 2005

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vegas Race Recap!

I am a little overwhelmed. How do I begin to put into words the events of this past weekend? I had the honor of traveling with Team Challenge Wisconsin to run in the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Half Marathon on Sunday. Not only was it a race with over 30,000 participants. but there were 1700 members of Team Challenge present from chapters all across the country who had collectively raised over 3.3 million dollars for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. It was kind of a big deal.

I joined Team Challenge this cycle for a number of reasons. As I wrote in a previous post, I was inspired by the group I saw run the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon in July. I had never fundraised on this scale before. I do a considerable amount of racing though so I figured it was about time that made that leap. Last, and quite honestly, I thought it would be a really fun trip to take with my friends. My running buddies who had been a part of Team Challenge during the previous cycle all told me that it wouldn't hit me the magnitude of what I was a part of until I was actually there.

I don't have a personal story involving IBD. But every time I would read about other participants experiences in our weekly team emails I would think to myself, "Whoa. This is the right cause to be involved with." I can't imagine having to endure what some of my fellow team members have had to endure and the fact that they were training to run a half marathon in spite of it made be proud to be a part of such an amazing group of people. I've run half marathons and marathons before but because everyone around me was pushing themselves to new limits I felt that it was important to do the same. I set a very aggressive time goal for myself because I wanted to prove to everyone who had donated their hard earned money that this was not something I was doing "just for fun". As it said on my fundraising page: "I AM COMMITTED! I WILL DO IT!" My previous half marathon record was 1:51:07 so I told everyone I was shooting for not only a new PR but also to get under an hour and fifty minutes. Even if it was 1:49:59.

I have to say I have never been in a race quite like this one. Just wrapping my brain around the fact that I was running with thirty thousand other people was the first step. But when a Cher impersonator began to sing the national anthem and the Blues Brothers starting playing after the starting gun went off I knew this was not going to be your typical race. Plus with 1700 other Team Challenge members out on the course if felt like you had an instant friend whenever you came across another runner in a bright orange singlet. And all those running Elvises! (Elvi?)

I'm not gonna lie. I had a tough time out there. I paced myself poorly and had to work with every inch of my being to eek out those last few miles. I could sense my PR slipping away and it made me sad. But then I remembered a part of one of the speeches form the pasta dinner the night before that had really stuck in my head. He said something like "They don't' get to quit Crohn's. And you are not going to quit this race." So I sucked it up. Put all I had into those last miles and dove for the finish line.

Needless to say I was beyond elated but I couldn't rest yet because I now had the job of cheering my other team members to the finish line. A few of us parked ourselves about a quarter mile from the finish and proceeded not only to cheer on our Team Wisconsin-ers, but every. single. person we could find sporting that orange tank top. As each runner or walker completed the race they joined our Team Wisconin pack and we brought home every last participant. And if you think that running for nearly two hours is difficult, try following that up with two hours of nonstop screeching and yelling. I confess I even got lightheaded at one point and needed to sit down and take a breather. Race cheerleading is hard!

Aaaaannd then we partied to Bret Michaels at the post-race concert. Hello 1987!
I would encourage anyone who's considering joining Team Challenge for the next cycle (in Napa!) to stop hesitating and throw their hat in the ring. You won't regret it. Even if you don't have a connection to Crohn's or colitis now, you'll soon realize what an important cause it is and how many awesome, inspiring people there are out there living with IBD every day. For me, Team Challenge was worth giving up sleeping in on Sunday mornings for a few months. It was worth all the worrying over meeting my fundraising goal. (I did.) And it was worth almost puking at the finish line. Because they don't get to quit Crohn's. And I was not going to quit either.
If Team Challenge sounds like it's right up your alley, check out their website here or email Becky Burris for more information.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


1. I reached my fundraising goal for Team Challenge!

2. I'm going to Vegas tomorrow with my running besties!

3. Neener.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What I Am

I am a stay at home mom. You know what I rarely do though? Stay at home. I know, it's probably better than the outdated term housewife but still, it bugs me. I've been thinking about this a lot lately and what seems to be me issues with being unemployed in the "normal" sense and what I've noticed is that there is a big BUT in the room when I describe my life. For example:

Random Person: "So what do you do?"

Me: "I'm a stay at home mom BUT... I do a lot of volunteering."


"I'm a stay at home mom BUT... I run marathons and write for a fitness website."


"I'm a stay at home mom BUT (fill in the blank with whatever makes me seem more interesting.)"

I feel the need to add a "but" to what my number one job is because for some reason I feel like it's not enough. You want to kill a conversation? Tell someone you just met that you stay at home with your kids. You've got to give them something else to work with otherwise you'll get something like, "Oh….that's nice..." as they scan the room searching for someone cooler to talk to. I admit, it's not that exciting on paper but I think I'm pretty darn good at what I do. My job is to make sure my kids grow up to be as awesome as possible and right now they seem to be right on track.

Some people will tell you that they could never be a stay at home parent because it would drive them crazy not having contact with the outside world. If you know me, then you probably already know I don't have this problem. Yes, when the kids were babies and I we lived out in the 'burbs (and before the invention of Twitter!) I did get lonely at times. But now that they are older I find with each passing year more and more things to get involved with for ME. So much that I rarely have enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want (or need) to do. Yes, I run a lot. I write. I'm a Girl Scout Leader, PTO mom and food pantry volunteer. I organize races and run groups. Soon I'll be coaching. This is on top of the usual day-to-day responsibilities of carting the kids around to their various after school activities, homework, housework, and making sure everyone has clean socks in their dresser drawers and their favorite juice boxes for lunch.

I'm a lucky lady. I realize most moms do all this stuff on top of working nine to five every day. And if you ask me, I frankly have no idea how some of you do it. We've been fortunate enough to be able to live comfortably on one income for years now and we have found a system that works for us. I hold down the fort, tie up all the loose ends and try my best to make everyone happy when they're tucked in at the end of the day. It's not glamorous but I honestly and truly love my life.

So why do I hem and haw and make excuses for it? I don't know. Some part of me will always feel like because I don't bring home a paycheck that what I do doesn't have the same value as a person who does bring one home (even if we don't *need* another paycheck.) I feel like I'm always trying to justify myself and needing to prove to people that I don't just sit on the couch all day eating ice cream and watching reality tv. Because of this I tend to overcompensate, over-extend myself and overcommit. It's enough to make me want to sit on the couch all day eating ice cream and watch reality tv.

But I don't.

*Thanks to Stacy Snook for the lovely photos of my girls!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Chicago Lakefront 50K Race Report (recap from Dailymile)

I had kind of a strange attitude leading up to this race. Even a year ago I don't think I ever would have imagined approaching an ultra-marathon with such nonchalance. But here I was, the night before the race, sitting on the bed in my Chicago hotel room eating a meatball sub and thinking something I had been saying to people for weeks, "Eh, it's only 5 more miles. I'll go slow." Before I left that afternoon I said to Jason "There's really no reason I can think of that I shouldn't be able to finish." He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "There's no reason why you wouldn't be able to run THIRTY-ONE MILES?"

Ye, of little faith.

I parked at he 63rd street beach house the morning of the race and I could see the 50-mile runners who had started already plodding along the lakefront. It was cold and windy! I don't know why I had never considered the wind factor, seeing that I had lived in Chicago for five years, but for some reason it hadn't crossed my mind. I hoped the weather would be better once the sun came up. It wasn't until checked in and got my t-shirt and number that I started to think OHMIGOSH I'M REALLY DOING THIS CRAZY THING. I took a photo of my race bib and stared at it in disbelief for a minute. I waited in my car and caught up on Twitter a bit while I waited for the race to start.

I have to say that for being a race that would be LONGER THAN A FREAKING MARATHON the vibe at the starting line was incredibly low key. There were some small groups of people who obviously knew each other from local running clubs and I noticed one guy with an awesome shirt that read, "I know, I know, I said I'd never do this again." But overall, everything was very understated. First of all, it was a very small group of runners to begin with , and although there were a few people setting lawn chairs ready to support their family members and friends, absent where the throngs of people cheering runners on with cowbells and neon colored signs. It was kind of cool -almost like the people who run this distance are so dedicated (or insane) that they don't even need all the extra stuff. They do it because they love it.

The race consisted of three out-and-backs along the lakefront. Starting at the beach house on 63rd street we ran along Lake Shore Drive past the Museum of Science and Industry about 5 miles and change to the turnaround near McCormick Place. My strategy was to run at about a 10:20-10:30 pace for the first 26 miles. This would put my "marathon" at around 4 1/2 hours. After that I anticipated needing to ease up and I figured even if I ran almost 12 minute miles for the last 5 I would still finish around 5 1/2 hours. This was more of an estimate of what my finish would be rather than a real "goal" since can't say I was actively trying to get a specific time. My thinking was that if my recent marathon finish was 3:58, then slowing that pace down by more than 30 minutes would help fend off fatigue and prevent me from hitting any wall during the first 26 miles. Of course, this was only a guess and i really had no idea how my body would respond, but it sounds like good logic right?

So there were three aid stations on the course as well as the one at the start/finish so we had four places to refuel. I decided that even going at a relaxed pace I was going to stop at them ALL. (Especially because I had opted not to carry my own water bottle this time.) Oh, and the things they have at aid stations in an ultra are crazy! I grabbed what I thought was purple gatorade at the second stop and as I chugged it down I realized it was Coke! At first I was a little grossed out but the sugar hit me pretty fast and I decided that it was genius. As the race went on the stations kept bringing out more stuff- nuts, pretzels, red vines and at one point mini-candy bars. At first I didn't think I was going to go for that stuff but for the first time ever I was having a really hard time eating gels so ended of ditching them and forced myself to eat a small handful of cashews at mile 20.

How hard was it?
Ok, so obviously the first 10-mile loop was easy peasy. And when I got to the turnaround at mile 15 I was really excited because I still felt great. I even took a couple of photos on my phone and posted them to Twitter and Facebook. I had my music blasting and my strategy of going slow stopping at every station was paying off. (The only snafu I had so far was that my Garmin started beeping because it was FULL at between mile 4 and 5 so I had to shut it off, clear everything and then reset it- making the mileage on my watch totally off and forcing me to do math. Grrrr.) When I finished the second loop and had one more to go I approached the race as just getting to the next aid station. In my mind I broke it up into 2 or 3 mile chunks and just focused on one at a time. This was a lot less overwhelming to me and it made it exciting when I would see one of the tents come into view.

I made it to mile 26 without hitting any wall, high-fived the girl at the turnaround and began the home stretch. The Final Five! Now, when I say I didn't hit the wall, it doesn't mean that I wasn't tired. My legs were definitely fatigued and my feet were sore but I didn't have that completely wasted feeling where you can hardly move forward. When I've run marathons there comes a point where my quads start to burn because they are picking up the slack for my completely shot hamstrings that are supposed to be doing the brunt of the work. I was really afraid of this happening early so when I got to 26 without that feeling I knew I would be ok.

On the way back I noticed my pace slowing more to around 11 minutes per mile. It's funny because on a regular run this would feel incredibly uncomfortable running at this speed but at this point I felt like there was no way I could have gone any faster. I also began lingering a little longer at the aid stations. At one I gulped two cups of water before continuing on! On the actual course though, I didn't do any walking. I stayed all the way to the right of the bike path, running along one of the white lines. I just stared at the white paint, putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that it would take me to the finish. During the final two miles I saw some of the 50-mile runners heading out again for what I knew would be another out and back and I was so happy it wasn't me! I had been running for over five hours now and though I was so completely spent I knew I was going to finish.

I saw the beach house come back into view and I was listening to (don't laugh) Bon Jovi on my ipod. I put "It's My Life" on there at the last minute because it was one of my mom's favorite songs and it came on during the last half mile. If you were driving north on Lake Shore Drive at that moment you would have seen a little blonde bun-headed runner having a weepy blubbery moment. I approached the finish area and there was a small group of people clapping for me I can't even tell you from where I pulled the energy to pick up my speed and sprint to the finish. One of the volunteers pointed to the clock which said 5:28 and he said, "That's a GREAT time!"

It really was. :)

P.S. If you are looking to run your first 50K and you live in the Wisconsin/Illinois area, this one is perfect for beginners. For the most part it was flat and it was all on asphalt/concrete. I'm definitely planning on doing it again!

Friday, October 29, 2010


"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."

-T. S. Eliot

I've been thinking about these words all week.

I'm running a 50K in the morning. And I'm pretty sure it's going be amazing.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Another Long and Winded Race Report: Lakefront Marathon

I needed like a whole day to process the marathon. I read everyone else's race reports, looked through Facebook photos and tried to make a dent in my Twitter and DailyMile thank you list. (Sadly, a small dent will have to suffice for now- though I read EVERY message and was quite frankly overwhelmed by all the awesome support.)


While eating piles of pasta with Marty, Anne and Rochelle on Saturday night I told them that I was strangely not nervous at all- and it was the truth. I was excited because I know how amazing running a marathon could feel and I couldn't wait for it to actually happen but I wasn't "nervous" about the distance anymore. I know I can run 26.2 miles. I've done it a couple of times before. Sure, I had a big new goal of running a sub-4 time but I was pretty positive that after my intense training this summer I would at least have a PR (less than 4:07) and I wouldn't be heartbroken if I couldn't break in to the threes. We made jokes about the 4000+ calories Marty had eaten in that day in preparation (and consequently his growing food baby) and all was relaxed and easy going. I even slept REALLY well which never happens pre-race.

Race day!

Again the school bus ride out to Grafton is the longest trip ever. It finally dawned on my kids just how far 26 miles is when I told them "I'm going to run all the way from COSTCO." Whoa. I still didn't feel really nervous but I definitely got quieter and started to go in to "game mode". It reminds me of back when I was dancing in college and getting ready to go onstage. I would stop talking to everyone and just go into my own world, visualizing what I needed to do. I was happy to have my buddies with me for support but I was already on my way inside my mind. When we stepped outside to the starting line I thought at first that I had made a mistake by wearing a tank top and shorts but once everyone started bunching up at the start I immediately began to get warm. When the national anthem was sung the sun began to peek out of the clouds and I knew right then that it was going to be a good day. I couldn't believe that I was about to run this crazy distance for the third time


I ran with Rochelle and Marty just ahead of the 4 hour pace group for the first few miles. They were planning to speed up at mile 5 and go for a 3:55 pace and I wrestled a bit with whether or not I wanted to join them. I felt so good at the beginning and I wanted so badly to go faster but I ended up keeping myself in check. The beginning of a long race ALWAYS feels good! I didn't want to mess up what I had trained for by getting too ambitious literally at the last minute so when they took off at mile 5 I had made peace with it.

My decision paid off. I realize that a lot of people don't like running races by themselves. (Of course, I know I wasn't technically by myself but with Marty and Rochelle going ahead and Krista and Anne behind me with the 4:30 group I was the only one of our crew running at this pace.) But for reason I think being by "myself" really works on race day. As much as I love chatting away in our group training runs, I am not a race talker. I am ALL BUSINESS. It doesn't mean that I'm not enjoying myself, it's just that I really enjoy cranking up my music, absorbing everything I'm feeling, and focusing completely on my goal. I did turn my music down at most of the larger spectator areas because I wanted to hear everyone cheering and to look for familiar faces. (I know I missed a bunch of you though and I'm sorry! I tried!) But for the most part I just concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and staying on pace. I also spent some time thinking about my mom because I wasn't a runner while she was still alive and I can''t help but think of her when I run races now and how cool she would think this all is.

I do have to say something about the spectators. As in they were SPECTACULAR. Not just the people that I knew either. It seemed that whenever things started to get tough or monotonous there was another stretch of cheerleaders to keep pushing me along. I know I'll forget people if I start naming names but I have to mention how Cheryl ran along side me at one point taking photos! I couldn't have asked for better support. Oh, and a kid dressed like Luke Skywalker gave me a high five and said the force was with me so that was rad.

Wall stuff:

I can't say that I hit the "wall" at 19 but I definitely started to feel worse then. This was earlier than last year but I was running over a minute faster per mile and it was the longest I had ever sustained a nine minute pace before. (I did all my 20 mile training runs at a 9:20-9:30 pace.) The Lakefront course is not really hilly but there are a lot of slow inclines around this point that all culminates at mile 23 at the top of Lincoln Memorial Drive. I knew the big downhill was coming but it seemed to be taking FOREVER and every time I thought I was almost there I was wrong. Crap! When I finally got there at the top of the hill though the crowd was AMAZING and I was so happy to be approaching the final miles that I got all choked up started to lose it. I saw my friend Chris yelling like crazy at me and I and I got a total cry face. Sob!

The thing about mile 23 at Lakefront though is that after all the brouhaha there are still three miles to go after you tear down that big hill. Three. Miserable. Miles. This was definitely wall territory. As soon as I got to the bottom my previous elation faded and it got rough. My pace slowed and I started to worry whether or not I could still make a sub-4 time. I was trying to do the math in my head to figure out just how much I could slow down and still get in under 4 but math is hard and I my mind was all scrambley so I didn't trust anything I was thinking at that point. I was in a total daze when I finally realized that Mark (a.k.a.OBLIVION!) was jumping up and down wearing neon yellow and screaming my name. I was so happy to see a familiar face that I yelled "OH THANK GOD!" at him as I passed by leaving him to wonder why I am such a weirdo.


Even when I got to mile around 25 and realized I had over 12 minutes to meet my goal I still couldn't tell myself that I had it in the bag. Anything could happen! Plus, this was crazy hard! Also, for the record I HATE the mile 25 1/2 marker. I wish I would have given it the finger. But 25 1/2 marker be damned I pressed on, turned the corner and headed down the home stretch. CHEERS! More cry face as I saw the official clock click over to 3:58! Then something that did not happen to me last year came over me: I had energy to kick it up the last few yards! I saw Mike cheering on the left and the rest of my cheering squad on the right and I blew past the two guys in front of me to cross the finish line. That felt good.

Hugs and crying ensued.

And thus ended my third marathon. My official chip time was 3:58:40. I would have been happy squeaking by with a 3:59:59 so I was more than thrilled.

Life is fantastic.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Team Challenge of Wisconsin presents a special screening of Spirit of the Marathon, “The first film to capture the story, drama and ultimate essence of the legendary 26.2 mile running event. As six unique stories unfold, each runner prepares for and ultimately faces the challenge of the Chicago Marathon. More than a sports movie, Spirit of the Marathon is an inspirational journey of perseverance and personal triumph; a spectacle that will be embraced by runners and non-runners alike.”

What: Spirit of the Marathon movie fundraiser
When: Saturday, October 16th at noon
Where: Times Cinema, 5906 W. Vliet Street in Milwaukee
Tickets: $20 in advance or $25 at the door (includes movie, soda and popcorn)

Click here to purchase your tickets now!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Push Ups for Dollars!

Today I performed one push up for every dollar donated to Team Challenge up until 8pm. How many did I end up having to do? 76! I figured I should provide some sort of documentation so I did the first six in the office in front of the web cam. Plus, Karla wanted to make sure my nose touched the floor for her dollar. (Let's just say that my form on the later ones wasn't quite as good. I need to do more of these!) Thank you so much to those of you who have supported me. Go Team Challenge!

Still want to donate? Click here for more info.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chapter One

It’s a Saturday morning in May. I’ve got my iPod on, a new cute running top, bright white sneakers and some shades. I burst out the front door of my house on a mission: I’M GOING TO RUN. I’m tired of looking on wistfully at all the local runners with their nicely toned legs as they stride down by the lake like gazelles, sweat running down their backs. I’m headed down to the neighborhood park and I’m going to make myself a runner if it kills me. I tear down the street at top speed with a carefully selected Run Playlist pumping through my headphones. This isn’t so bad! I pass other people walking their dogs and I start to feel a little self conscious. Can they tell I’m not “really” a runner?

Uh-oh, my legs are starting to hurt. I turn the corner and enter the park and my lungs begin to burn. I get a stitch in my side. I look down at my stopwatch to see how much time has passed.

A minute and a half.


Fast forward to a little over three years later. This morning I registered to run my first ultra-marathon.

Yeah. Anything is possible.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Change is Hard

Miss Lulu Gessner
July 31, 1999- September 1, 2010

Jason and I brought Lu home in a cardboard box. A co-worker at the restaurant I worked at in college had a bunch of kittens she was giving away after her cat had babies. I remember the exact date they were all born because I was so excited to get another kitten. We waited a few weeks and then picked Lulu out from the litter. Her name at the time was Phoebe but we knew that name wasn't right. We immediately began calling her Lulu, Lula or BabyLu. We already had two other cats in our house. Sailor, (a.k.a. "Po") our big orange "tiger," and Spike our sleek, black-and-white guardian cat. Don't ask me how I convinced Jason to get a third one but somehow I did. I had always wanted a white kitten- probably a holdover from my ponies and unicorns phase as a child- and Lu fit the princess bill quite well. (The joke was on her though since she had the most unfortunate grey spot on her nether region that at first glance looked like something else entirely.) The evening we carried her home in the box she nearly jumped out of the top and ran away as we crossed a busy street on the way back to our apartment. I had to hold the top closed as she pushed against it with her tiny head. Luckily, she got home safely was a part of our family for the next eleven years.

Lu was an odd duck. Jason likes to say that she didn't bake quite long enough. I have a feeling that we took her from her mother a few weeks too early because she took to Sailor like he was her mama. She used to suck on his belly like she was trying to nurse. Ew? For some reason this was endearing to us at the time and Po didn't seem to care either way so we let it go on. In fact, she seemed to always prefer the company of the other two cats to us humans. They were her boys and they took care of her. Even when she started to get sick and lost interest in cleaning herself, the other two did their best to look after her and keep her clean. When she was younger I used to wonder how she would go on if the older cats died first. I don't think she could have taken that.

Two years ago I found out that Lulu had developed diabetes. They told me that with twice daily injections and the proper food that she could still live a happy life and I know in my heart that I tried my best. We noticed a change in her immediately after she got on insulin. Suddenly she was much more affectionate towards Jason and I, like she was grateful that we had helped her feel so much better. Never a cat to purr, she developed the tiniest little rumble during the past two years that would pop up now and again. This would always surprise me. Even though there were ups and downs with controlling her disease, I feel like I connected the most with her during this time. She still loved curling up with the big boy cats but every once in a while she would come rub on my leg, nudge my face or do something to let me know that she loved me too. Though she still would never sit on my lap. She was prissy like that.

So goodbye, sweet Lulu. I will miss your sound of your voice when I walk into the kitchen, your shaky little tail, and even the way you woke me up at night, howling while you played with the rolled up socks in my laundry baskets.

You are loved.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mopey McMoperson

Ever feel like you want to hide from everything in the world? I'm not one who like to spend a lot of time sitting around talking about my feeeeelings but honestly things have been getting straight up bi-polar around here lately.

Anniversary! Fabulous! Fun! Schmoop!

Juliana's 10th birthday! Sob! Wah! Where did my baby go?

This is followed by hours of poring through old photographs and videos and wondering where the past ten to thirteen years of my life have gone. Seriously, I look at some of those photos and I can hardly remember when life was like that anymore.

Is this what happens to everyone as time goes on?

Now this week my 11-year old cat Lulu- who has been suffering from diabetes for a couple of years now- has gotten very ill. She's actually the youngest of my cats but she's always been the one with health problems. I've been spending the past two days bringing her back and forth to the vet so they can pump her full of fluids since she won't eat or drink, all while scouring the net for info on feline ketoacidosis treatments and if they are A. effective and B. worth the exorbitant cost of hospitalization. It turns out any intervention at the point she is at is pretty much a last ditch effort and won't be able to help her anyway.

All during this I'm trying to get the kids ready for their first day of school tomorrow and Jason is out of town until next week. And did I mention it's about 98 freaking degrees in my house?

Sniff, whine, complain. Rinse and repeat.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Year 10

Whoa, this one was hard. Not just because she's in "double digits" now but more because it's pretty slim pickings when it comes to photos and videos of an almost-ten-year old who doesn't like having her picture taken. We both agreed that this is probably her last year for the birthday video thing because of this fact - and also bowing out when she doesn't completely hate them yet is probably an ok way to go. This year I had to do a "before and after" theme and dig through some older footage to get enough material for the song. Rewatching the baby/toddler videos I made so long ago just about killed me dead this week. So of course I thought I'd re-share them with you as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Throwing My Hat in the Ring

I'm in. Are you?

I've joined Team Challenge Wisconsin to help raise money and awareness for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. Huh? What does that mean? Well basically it means that for the next three months I'll be working my tail off to fundraise for CCFA all while training for the Las Vegas Rock & Roll Half Marathon.

Ok, maybe some of you are thinking, "Only a half marathon this time? What gives?" Hey! I counter with this: There is nothing "half way" about running 13.1 miles. But maybe you're wondering why a half marathon is such a big deal to someone who is currently training for her third full marathon. Well, lemme tell you something. The people who come out and train for this event through Team Challenge are not only a big deal, they are the Real Deal. Starting next week, I'l be spending my Sunday mornings with not only seasoned runners but with people who are running or walking their first race ever. I'll be training with people who are dealing firsthand with the effects of Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis. When I watched the members of Team Challenge at the finish line of the Wine Country Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon this past July, I knew that this was an organization that I wanted to be a part of. From the top finisher to the very last walker it was an inspiring thing to watch and I am proud to be raising money for such a great cause. And pardon my French, these really are crappy diseases.

The facts: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Crohn's disease is a chronic (ongoing) disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Although it can involve any area of the GI tract, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon. Ulcerative colitis on the other hand, affects only the colon. There are no areas of normal intestine between the areas of diseased intestine. In contrast, such so-called "skip" areas may occur in Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis affects only the innermost lining of the colon, whereas Crohn's disease can affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall.

It is estimated that as many as 1.4 million Americans have IBD; however, many more suffer in silence due to potential embarrassment and alienation. Crohn's disease may occur in people of all ages, but it is primarily a disease of adolescents and young adults, affecting mainly those between 15 and 35. However, Crohn's disease can also occur in people who are 70 or older and in young children as well. In fact, 10 percent of those affected -- or an estimated 100,000 -- are youngsters under the age of 18. On average, people are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in their mid-30s, although the disease can occur at any age.

You knew this part was coming:

Can you help?

I have set a fundraising goal of $2500. This will not only allow me to travel to Las Vegas with the team, but more than 80% of your donation goes directly to research, education, and support services to help CCFA find a cure.

Please click below to check out my fundraising page:

You've probably heard stuff like this before but every dollar really does count no donation is too small. If I can get 100 people to donate just $13.10 I will be more than half way to my goal! My Team Challenge running buddies and I will be planning some fun events between now and December so stay tuned for other ways you can help. (Save the Date: Super Awesome Rummage happening on Saturday, 9/25. Email me for location details or to donate items!)

Thank you so much in advance for all your support for me and my team as we plan to "Leave the Craps in Vegas!"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Little (Plastic) Piece of My Heart

Oh, Internet. I have a problem.

I mean, I have lots of problems because I am very much a less-than-perfect person but I have one problem in particular. A problem where I'm uber-attached to a piece of my past and I can't let go of it no matter how obvious it is that I need to do just that. What am I clinging to? A piece of plastic. A very large piece of plastic but nonetheless it is indeed a plastic toy. To be more specific it is a Little Tykes Cozy Car toy that I purchased for Juliana at a garage sale about eight years ago when she was a toddler.

The cost? One dollar.

To this day I still say it was the biggest bang for a buck I ever got. For one dollar she rode around in that thing for years- long after it was painfully obvious that she was much to large to sit inside of it anymore. And of course after Ava was born the baton was passed and she pushed her little sister down the sidewalk in it as they both squealed with delight. A couple of years ago when even Ava started to outgrow it I toyed with the idea of putting it out in a rummage sale but just couldn't do it. "What if we have guests? You know, lots of little baby guests who would love to play with something like that? I'd really kick myself for getting rid of it." (Because we often entertain groups of toddlers right? They're such a large part of my social circle.) I even had this idea once that I would put it in the garden and plant flowers inside of it somehow. But instead it just sits there through the seasons, covered in dirt, collecting rain water and in the winter it sits under a mound of perfectly rounded, fluffy white snow.

I know in my heart that I should just put it out on the curb and let some other little kid in the neighborhood enjoy it. But something about giving it away means that I'll be saying goodbye to that last piece of babydom I've been hanging onto. It's been years since I've gotten rid of the highchairs, the playpens and squeaky baby toys. I haven't been sentimental about the bigger "gear" I've passed on to other friends and families with little ones who need it more than I do. There's something about this one item that I can't let go of.

For many years I got used to being the one with babies. I was the first of my friends to get pregnant (in fact I was one of the only ones kids for a very long time.) Even when we moved to Milwaukee and Juliana started kindergarten, Ava had just turned two years old and she was still at an age where I took her with me everywhere I went. I called her my Mini Me. They are both so much older now even though my brain knows this I sometimes I forget that I'm not the one with the babies anymore. I'm still getting used to it and figuring out what my identity is outside of that. And this silly car reminds me of the time when being the one with the babies was my identity.

So... I'm not sure what my conclusion is. As of now I'm not selling it but I figure at least I'm aware of what my underlying issue with holding on to this hunk of plastic is. Until then, anyone have any creative ideas for using this as a landscaping piece?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This Photo is the Best Thing Ever

The End.

What I Did on my Summer Vacation... So Far

Over the past two months I've had a bajilion blog posts pre-formed in my head that never made it onto the screen so instead of slogging through them all one by one (which face it, will never happen) I've decided to do a a "Summer Recap" of sorts to bring everything here up to date. I feel like so many things have happened the past eight weeks that if I wait until the actual end of summer to recap it will go on for days and days. Now, where did we leave off? Marathon time? Ok, ok, here we go:

The Great Milwaukee Race

The scavenger hunt race that Fit Milwaukee organized with InStep was rad. We had 50 teams (nearly 200 people) sporting our colorful shirts as they ran to various downtown landmarks, solving clues and playing games. Sure, it was a hot, miserable day but it ended with beer at the Ale House! The race itself drew lots of attention and we're already planning for it to be many times larger next year. It looked so fun that I actually kind of wished I could have run in it- but luckily a similar-style race has since been announced and the all of us GMR organizers are planning to participate. The Beer Runner wrote a really nice recap of our race if you are so inclined to check it out.

Chicago Mini-Trip

Because my sister-in-law Michelle is a saint who apparently loves having her house overrun with children, she offered to take my kids not for one week but TWO weeks this summer. The first week was in June and though Jason and I didn't plan a large vacation for this one we did spend a few days in Chicago. I drove in and met him at the Google office and we headed down to Millennium Park to catch a free show by The Books. The next day I got to spend a little time shopping on Michigan Avenue where I bought toys for the girls. Because when I finally get a break from my children I immediately miss them and need to buy them stuff. We also spent some time at the Lincoln Park Zoo. But the highlight of the trip was a meal at Graham Elliot. We had seen him on Top Chef Masters and were excited to finally make it to his restaurant. We had heard that in addition to offering a more laid back, accessible way of fine dining, he also likes to incorporate thing like candy into his dishes. Yes, weird but intriguing. I actually had pea and mint marshmallow soup and it was divine. I also ordered a lovely Alaskan Halibut dish and some sorbet for dessert. Yum, yum and more yum. AND, the restaurant had rock and punk music playing the entire time. Win!

*Photo by Rebecca Anne.

San Francisco

I am so lucky. Not only did I get treated to an excellent dinner in Chicago but in July we planned an entire weeklong vacation around food! Good thing I packed my running shoes. Michelle took the girls for week number two and we headed out to California. I have to say that this was probably the best vacation I've ever taken. Since the girls were born we've only ever gone away for a few days at a time without them and those vacation have always seemed sort of rushed. It's always go-go-go-hurry-and-fit-everything-in. (And truthfully, before they were born we were probably just too poor to travel anywhere.) This week we were able to take our time and lounge our way around San Francisco. We visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Cartoon Art Museum, shopped in the Haight, ran through Golden Gate Park (well, I did), and had fabulous food and drinks while visiting fabulous friends every night. (Recommendations: Michael Mina, Fleur de Lys, Bourbon & Branch, and Comstock Saloon.) Heaven. I can't remember when I felt so relaxed. I even found time to work out every day but since I wasn't trying to squeeze it in alongside a thousand other things I still felt at ease. Then for the weekend we headed out to:

Wine Country!

See now why this is the best vacation ever? At the end of the week we trucked up to Geyserville, CA to stay at a bed and breakfast. We were given probably the most embarrassingly large rental car in California and we tackled the long, winding road up the coast, We even stopped at the beach in Point Reyes National Park where I got my first look at the Pacific Ocean. Yes, ever! The Hope-Merrill Inn in Geyserville was adorable and we spent the weekend touring a winery, going to local tastings and yes, eating. I'm tempted to say that I had the best meal of my life at Cyrus in Healdsburg- and that's saying a lot because I'm a spoiled brat who eats a lot of good food. I even went for a beautiful (although HOT) 8-mile run on Saturday alongside the fields of grapevines. This all led up to Sunday and the

Wine Country Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon

What's this? A race I didn't run in? Well, a bunch of my bestest running buddies were at this race. They were a part of Team Challenge Wisconsin and fundraised for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America for months, culminating with the half marathon in Napa. My awesome friend Amy, who just began her fitness/weight loss journey in January ran/walked the entire 13.1 miles- her first big endurance event- and since we were "in the neighborhood" I was dying to come cheer her on at the finish. I have to say watching all the walkers finish after three or four hours out in the heat was kind of more inspring to me than seeing the runner who won. Not that running a half marathon in 1:04 isn't impressive (because Holy WOW!) but I found myself tearing up seeing the back-of-the-pack runners and walkers who were completing the distance for the very first time. Plus, the large presence of Team Challenge for CCFA got me all worked up to join the team for the next round in Las Vegas.

Rochelle, Sarah and Amy at the finish.

So, I'll say it again: I'm the luckiest of ducks and this summer isn't even over yet! We're headed to Maker Faire in Detriot this weekend and then in August it will be lucky anniversary #13 for me and Jason, followed by Juliana's 10th birthday. All the while I'll be training for the Lakefront Marathon in October. All I have to say is, keep it coming.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Hard Lesson

Do you remember the first time in your life that you realized you had totally wasted your some of your hard earned money? Maybe you saved up for some hyped up toy with all kind of bells and whistles that turned out to be a piece of junk? Or maybe you simply bought an ice cream street from a street vendor only to drop it on the ground and watch it melt in a puddle of goo. I think many of us have an experience like this in our memory where we've built up something in our minds only to have it come crashing down before us. Yup, learning these lessons as a kid can be hard.

Case in point: Last week was the book fair at my girl's elementary school. Now, I'm not a fan of sending them with cash and an letting them let loose buying whatever they want. I find that at these book fairs (as well as most book stores) it's very easy to buy everything BUT a book. There are toys based on books, sticker books, trinkets and jewelry, journals, stationary and pens, and then my favorite- books about tv shows. I don't know about you but when I take my kids out to a bookstore I'm looking to buy BOOKS. However, it seems I always get harassed to buy anything but that.

But back to the story.

Ava kept asking me to give her cash to go to the book fair even though I had already stopped in with her after school one day and bought a small stack of books for her and her sister. Of course, this told me that she had her eye an additional non-reading material purchase that she knew I would not approve. After much whining, I said I would consider stopping in to look again as long as it was a BOOK that she wanted me to buy. This was followed by a big, dramatic *SIGH*.

That day when I picked her up from school she had a happy, yet somewhat suspicious smile on her face. As she packed all her things into her backpack I caught a flash of something pink stashed away with a Hello Kitty logo on it.

"What is THAT?" I asked.

Her head dropped. Suddenly a smudge of dirt on the floor became very fascinating.

"Weeellll..…….'" she trailed off.

"Let me see it! Where did it come from?" I asked again.

"……………. thebookfair." she said in the tiniest, mumbliest voice you can imagine.

Ava then reached into her backpack and pulled out a brightly colored Hello Kitty computer game. She handed it to me remorsefully, her head still bowed down and her lower lip sticking out.

"Ava, how on did you manage to pay for this?' I demanded.

"From my piggy."

From what I could remember, all she had in her piggy bank was a bunch of change- no dollar bills. Which led me to my next question:

"Uh, how much was it?"

"Seven dollars. I put it in an envelope." was her solemn response.

So now I'm picturing her going to the book fair, walking up to the mom who was volunteering that day and dumping a pile of quarters, nickels and dimes on the table and having her count it all up. This makes me stifle a giggle.

"Ok, well as long as you spent your own money I suppose it's ok. I just wish you would have told me. You shouldn't feel like you have to be sneaky, Ava. It's not nice."

"I know," Ava sighed.

I then take the game from her and turn it over in my hand, looking at the description on the back. I wonder what kind of computer game only costs seven dollars. I examine the front of the box again and then my eyes finally fall upon the little symbol in the lower left corner that read: "PC only"

We have a Mac.

Let's just say this is an incident she will not soon forget.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Long and Winded Race Report: Rockford Marathon

Ok, so I'm finally getting around to my race report. Honestly, I've been on this high since yesterday morning and I've just been soaking it in until now:

I have to say that the finish at this race was even better than my first marathon finish last fall. I don't know if it was because of the PR, it being in my hometown, all my friends screaming with their super awesome "Robot Lady" signs, or the fact that I ran it all alone and stayed mentally strong despite being pain for a longer amount of time than at the Lakefront Marathon. WHATEVER. All these things simply came together for me and made a moment that I keep replaying in my head over and over again. *Sniff*

THE BAD: PAIN. I had a good amount of lower back pain pretty much the entire race- I think from sleeping on an uncomfortable bed the night before. I stayed at my Dad's house so I wouldn't have to make a super-early drive to Rockford and he had this weird memory foam stuff on the bed i slept in ( which I initially thought would be nice.) Turns out I couldn't get comfortable all night. At first I thought it was a case of nerves but in the morning I woke up and my lower back was totally scrunched. Oh noes! I didn't want to freak out too much so I just stretched for a good twenty minutes or so and told myself that it would warm up once I started running.

Unfortunately this was not the case. I was able to put it out of my head for a fair amount of time but it kept steadily getting worse after around mile 7 and every time my feet struck he ground I could feel it. Crap! In cases like this it makes me so happy that I practice yoga because I really felt like my ability to keep my breath slow and even and focus my mind. I was running this race by myself so I was able to crank my music, disassociate myself from the pain and focus on just moving forward. (Luckily, I didn't disassociate so much that my pace slowed. I must have checked my Garmin a hundred and fifty times through the race!)

THE AWESOME: My friends. They kept showing up again and again and it lifted my spirits each time like you would not believe. I first saw Amy and Emily (who got started driving at 3:45 even though they weren't even racing!) around mile 6. Then whole crew of girls showed up around mile 19 after they all had finished the half. I was pretty sure everyone would head back to the finish at this time but they surprised me by showing up not once, but TWO more times along the course and at one point even flew by me cheering out the window of the car! Plus, Krista and Rochelle jumped in and ran with me for a bit around mile 22 and when I heard about how ALL of them had PRs at the half it raised my spirits like you would not believe. After hearing this I headed into a mile long stretch of wooded trail where I was pretty much alone and I had kind of a rush where I ran with my arms out to the side and felt like I was flying. This was one of the high points of the race.

Then I got to mile 23. I was holding a pace between 9:10 and 9:30 all the way until this point but the pain in my back was starting to spread through my hips and down the side of my leg- especially on the left side where I'd been having some recent trouble with my IT band. I knew that even if I ran 10 minute miles until the end I would still make my goal of sub 4:15 so I didn't let it bother me that I had to slow up. Turns out I stayed at a sub-10 pace but it felt like I was trudging through peanut butter. Strangely enough I didn't feel out of breath at all but my lower body had had enough. I was thankful at this point for the volunteers along the path. Although I had my music pretty loud I could see their mouths moving with encouraging words and I thanked almost everyone I passed at this point (probably speaking way too loud because of my earphones. Ha.)

The last mile of the race I noticed so many people walking. It was strange because I felt like I was the only one left running at the point (even though I know it wasn't the case.) I was glad that I didn't overdo it so much that I had to walk as well but I could feel their pain every time I passed someone. As I came up to mile 26 I saw one guy who was walking stop and stretch as he got ready to make the turn around the corner to the finish. It made me laugh to think about "putting on a show" for the spectators at the end. But you've gotta finish strong, right? :)

THE PART THAT MAKES IT ALL WORTH IT: I had been thinking about this for miles. (Ok, months. I admit it but I kept visualizing it over and over during the race in order to get me through.) I had a cheesy, inspirational song blaring on my ipod (Melissa Etheridge singing "I Run for LIfe") as I entered the final stretch. I came around the corner and scanned the crowd in the distance until I saw my bright colored signs in the distance again. OMIGOSH. I won't lie, I totally started to cry. It kind of felt like a movie with the sweeping soundtrack blaring as I waved my hands around in the air. If I could have done so at this point I would have leapt, jumped up and down or done some kind of crazy dance. The finish was on a slight downhill so I got a huge burst of energy as I made my way toward the crowd. Whenever I finish a race I feel kind of disoriented by all the people so I didn't get a chance to take in everyone who was there but I do remember deciding to focus on Krista and Amy who were in the middle of the road cheering me on along with RANDOM STRANGE DUDE who joined in on the fun and started screaming my name like a lunatic. Thanks, random strange dude. I high-fived Krista and flew to the finish with a smile so big my face actually was hurting later. On top of my buds being there I also had my husband Jason and our two girls Juliana and Ava, my Dad, my Aunt and Uncle, my brother in-law Dan (who finished in 3:28!), my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and my three little nieces and a nephew. Whew!

I'm going to have a hard time topping this one. Of course, that doesn't mean I won't try. My next goal is to finish the Lakefront Marathon with my group of awesome ladies who totally rock my world like you would not believe. Everything I'm doing now is so different from where I was even a couple of years ago and I am so, so grateful. I always say that marathon running is similar to childbirth in that you are so elated with the result that you forget all the pain you had to endure and you tell yourself it would be an awesome thing to do again.


9:18, 9:09, 9:12, 9:14, 9:20, 9:10, 9:02, 9:18, 9:14, 9:21, 9:16, 9:30, 9:25, 9:08, 9:30, 9:17, 9:30, 9:24, 9:32, 9:21, 9:19, 9:20, 9:42, 9:40, 9:58, 9:53

6 Miles- 55:57
13 Miles- 2:01.30
20 Miles- 3:07:45
26.2 Miles- 4:07:42
9:28 pace

Look how happy Krista is to see me!

For some reason the clock is wonky in this photo and it's missing the seconds. My official time was 4:07:42

Thursday, May 6, 2010


One of my favorite parts of spring is when our crabapple tree blooms. This was taken a few days before the peak. Since then the pink petals have already begun to drop. I only wish it would stay like this all summer.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Nine Years Later

Today is the ninth anniversary of my mom's death. The day she passed away I couldn't imagine what my life would be like nearly a decade later. Juliana was barely eight months old and Jason and I were scraping by somehow in our "charming" little apartment on Chicago's northwest side. I was finally getting into a good routine with the baby and really enjoying being a mom. I can remember that morning sitting at my dining room table while Juli napped. It was one of the first warm spring days of the year and I had the windows open as I sorted through the mail, paying bills. Mom had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks and they were trying to figure out what course of treatment to take next for her cancer but I had just seen her the day before and I really believed in my heart that she was going to get better. I remember sitting there next to the window and feeling the breeze flow through the room and I thought to myself, "Wow, life is really good."

Then I got the phone call.

Since then I have been very cautious about letting myself think, "Wow, life is really good." Of course, I KNOW that I have a good life. I am incredibly lucky. However, something about totally surrendering to that feeling and having that "perfect" moment is a little bit scary for me because I feel like the second I do it will all be taken away. I am GRATEFUL for what I have but very careful not to get too comfortable and start taking things for granted. Over the past year in particular, as I've started to develop new friendships in Milwaukee and begun to feel like I've found my place here I've been flirting with this feeling again.

When I was out running the other day I kept thinking about how amazed my mom would be if she could see what I am doing now. It's not that I was a couch potato when she was alive but even running a 5K was unthinkable for me back then so a full marathon? GET. OUT. She was always my biggest fan back when I was dancing in college and she came to see every last performance I was in, no matter how small it was. In fact, my very last show at Columbia College she wasn't feeling very well and called to say she wouldn't be making the drive in. I was ok with it but it turned out that she went back and forth about it all day- wondering if she had made the right decision- and then at the last minute ended up driving nearly two hours into Chicago to watch me perform. I think the piece I was in was about ten minutes long. However, it was my last performance before I left to have Juliana and she said she just wasn't sure if she'd ever get the chance to see me dance again. Turns out she was right. She wouldn't.

I'm not dancing on stage anymore but I know that my mom would be my biggest cheerleader at every race I run now. When I run the marathon in my hometown of Rockford, Illinois next month I'm going to picture her at the finish line and maybe for that one short moment I'll be able to close my eyes and think to myself, "Wow, life is really good."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Missing in Action.

Ah, yes. My poor little neglected personal blog. It's not that I don't have anything to say. In fact, if you search the internet for me you'll find I have much to talk about- to the point that I'm probably a wee bit annoying. I've mostly been blogging like a madwoman over at my baby, Fit Milwaukee. I'm also trying to keep up with about a bajillion friends on Daily Mile (where I'm an "ambassador") while still squeezing in a little love for Milwaukee Moms. And if you haven't heard by now, I'm helping organize a little shindig called The Great Milwaukee Race. Basically, on June 19th Fit Milwaukee and Instep Running and Walking Centers are going to be putting on a ginormous scavenger hunt through downtown Milwaukee and the Lakefront area. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit scared. Four of us are planning everything- from the locations and clues to the challenges and puzzles the participants will be performing at each destination. We've got a ton of interest so far and a handful of teams have already signed up so I'm hoping we can pull off something FUN for everyone. If all goes well I'm looking forward to organizing more Fit Milwaukee events and expanding our empire. World domination folks. (Or at least semi-local.)

Oh, and I was on television again. What is up with that?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hey Look! I Was on the TeeVee Again!


I never realized how funny those filler "action" shots are of people doing random stuff are until I had to do it myself. "What do you mean you want a shot of me hanging out and using my laptop?" Weird. Being interviewed was easy but having them film me reading a magazine in my kitchen was hard.

Also, I shall henceforth be referred to as Busy Mom of Two and Fitness Nut.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One Day She Will Look Back On This and Laugh

...I hope?

Translation: "There are only 2 states in my Uranus. And there are 7 colonies. The 2 states are not named! And the Uranus that is mine has only the typewriter to write with. My Uranus."

Ava, age 6

I'm not sure why Uranus is using a typewriter. Take it up with her.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Running: It Does a Body Good

Today's theme on Daily Mile was before and after photos. Everyone was posting photos of themselves before and after they started running/working out. Ok, so technically I was 9 months pregnant in my before photo and I've never been that size normally but still- LOOK HOW HUGE I WAS! I had totally forgotten. The "after" photo is from before this morning's run. (Don't worry, I wore more clothes than this outside.) I've actually dropped 16 pounds since the beginning of December when I decided to start food journaling in addition to running and my average pace has improved immensely. Imagine running with two eight pound weights in your hands. I got to ditch those.

Monday, February 8, 2010


While out on my snowy 8-mile run this morning one thought kept going through my head: Someday I will become an ultra-runner. I don't know necessarily when, but someday-hopefully in the near future- I WILL complete an ultra-marathon. I want to be that hardcore. And you know, I like to get what I want.

Carry on.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Marathon Relay Recap

*Repost from

What's that you say? How did the marathon relay go? Well if you managed to avoid our bombardment of tweets and Facebook statuses this weekend I'll recap a bit for you. First of all, the race was an absolute blast. Our two teams ran strong the entire 26.2 miles. Fit Milwaukee Team 1 had a finish time of 3:32:34 and Fit Milwaukee Team 2 came in at 4:04:01- 28th and 49th places respectively out of 68 teams. Not too shabby! Combined together we make two lean, mean, marathon running machines. What was so special about this event though, was that it didn't matter whether you ran a 6 minute mile or a 15 minute mile- the spirit of camaraderie at the Pettit Center was absolutely contagious that afternoon. Sure, there were elite runners there who blew our times away but the great thing about the sport of running is that ANYONE can participate. All levels of runners were there and they were all incredible.

For the race, each team member was responsible for completing just over 6.5 miles. Our strategy was to break this down even further into two 3.25 mile legs. This way it wasn't as daunting to those who had never ran that far yet and you also got a good amount of rest in between the two sets. 3.25 miles worked out to 12 laps around the track- which meant 12 times by the awesome Fit Milwaukee cheering section. The support from the people who came out to cheer us on was amazing and gave each runner an undeniable lift. When the last couple of runners crossed the finish line the feeling in the room was electric. I have no doubt that some of those great individual pace times would not have been achieved without the energy from the crowd.

All in all this was a fantastic race and you can be sure that Fit Milwaukee will be there next year as well- hopefully with even more teams. Much thanks to The Pettit Center and race director Chris Ponteri for putting on such a fantastic event. And also thanks to our official race documenters, Jim Raffel, Scott Feldstein, Brennan Stehling and Kay Collins for the photos and videos. Speaking of which, you can check out the lot of them here:

Race photos from Scott Feldstein
Race photos from Kay Collins

JIm Raffel's video mashup of the indoor marathon relay:

Jim also had some kind words about Fit Milwaukee in general that you can view here.

Once again, congratulations to everyone who participated and let's keep the movement going!

This is my "How many laps do I have left? face.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Speedy McGavin

Running my first leg of the indoor marathon relay at the Pettit Center yesterday. Thanks to Kay for the photo!

Hopefully I'll get some photos of the whole team up soon. Yesterday was a totally awesome Fit Milwaukee lovefest. I am a lucky girl.