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December 25, 2011

merry christmas

Hope your day is as blessed as mine.
(source)

December 14, 2011

yes & no

I got called out this week about how my lifestyle doesn't jive with what I say I want and I suppose this statement has some truth to it. I often put others wants and desires before my own. I hate giving up after working really hard on something, which causes me to stay invested long after I should've thrown in the towel.  If I love (or even like) you, I hate disappointing you. The surest way to get me to do something is to tell me I'm incapable of doing it.

So I say yes when I should say no, which causes me to say no to things that I should say yes to because who has the energy for all of it?

Starting now, I'm going to say yes and no more. As applicable.

In running news, my mind is screaming yes! but my body is holding strong with no. Thank God it's sweater season.

I bought this print this week and love it.
(via)

December 5, 2011

mind vs. body

My head thinks I can still run a 7:30 pace without much effort.

My lungs think that's the most ridiculous thing they've ever heard.

My brain calls it's familiar cadence but my legs can't find their usual rhythm.

Three miles on the treadmill tonight at roughly a 9:30 pace. (That actually pains me to write.)

It's really humbling to have to start again. Here's to hoping it comes back quickly.

And here's what's in my ear as I start to put in the work...

Cults - Abducted from Jonathan Wang on Vimeo.

November 18, 2011

if you were here

Joel Jonathon Wagner
Nov. 18, 2004 - Feb. 15, 2008

If you were here, you'd be seven years old today, and we'd be having a party for you... but we know that anything we could offer doesn't compare to all of the heavenly things you have.

If you were here, we'd make you a birthday cake... but we imagine that Oma found some oven in heaven and made you her chocolate one, probably humming the whole time she was baking it.

If you were here, we'd sing Happy Birthday to you, with Daddy using his really deep voice on the last line of the song like he always does, and we'd all be laughing... but it wouldn't sound anything like the heavenly harmonies that you're hearing.

If you were here, we'd sit as you opened presents that you would inevitably break (you're a boy, after all) or outgrow... but the things that entertain you now are beyond our comprehension.

If you were here, you'd wrestle with your brothers and nephews, and you'd be tired and ready for bed before the moon reached it's place in the sky... but we know you're probably helping to the hang stars.

If you were here, Mom would tuck you into bed, rub your hands until you fell asleep, and kiss you goodnight... but now you are in charge of painting the next morning's sunrise for her, with your favorite colors, blue and orange.

But you are not here, and we are... but we all want to be with you. It's no party without you but we're doing our best to celebrate.

As always: We love you. We miss you. We can't wait to see you.


November 12, 2011

Richmond Marathon- DNS

The Richmond Marathon was run today and I Did Not Start.  Because I had been posting about my training for twelve or so weeks, it only seems appropriate that I'd have some sort of post to conclude what turned out to be one of the more disappointing points in my running life.

I had high hopes in January of this being a good running year for me, setting challenging goals and developing a training plan that I thought would get me there. The road to hell...

Things were going really well for a while but after several weeks of subpar training, getting sick, then getting tackled by a 15 year-old and sustaining an injury that made it difficult to even breathe, my fall marathon dreams disappeared. And while I was disappointed, I was also relieved.

Today was my first run in 23 days. One single lap around Lake of the Isles without my Garmin, not worrying about pace, just enjoying a 63 degree day in Minnesota on November 12th.

It was a good run.

November 9, 2011

where i'm at tonight

Learning to get comfortable in limbo with homemade mac & cheese, wine and this song playing in the background.





Slightly obsessed with the entire Cities 97 Sampler.

November 7, 2011

limbo

No, this post isn't about this...



... but more about how I feel like my entire life is in limbo.

Between the change at work two weeks ago and some stuff going on in a few personal relationships (romantic(!), family, etc.), I'm feeling extremely unsettled. Is it normal to want to move someplace completely new and start 100% over? Am I the only one that ever thinks about that?

It would appear that my affinity for running spills over into many areas of my life.


Image from here.

November 3, 2011

sad face

This came in the mail today.


It's been two weeks since I've run and ten days since I've even attempted to break a sweat.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. 

October 31, 2011

narcotics and not eating candy

Nine days after taking a knee to the boob, I feel like I haven't even started on the road to healing. After going to the doctor on Thursday and refusing a prescription pain med, my pain reached a new high on Sunday. Saturday night I went over to a girlfriend's house and spent much of the night laughing (albeit painful laughter). Whether it was all the laughing, sleeping on it wrong or just the nature of the injury, on Sunday I woke up feeling like I got hit by a truck. I immediately took ibuprofen and waited for it to kick in. After two hours, I felt no difference whatsoever. The pain was affecting my ability to breathe deeply- it was like feeling like you have to yawn but not being able to, sort of a constant shortness of breath.
This is what a good costume idea
looks like when you're on drugs
After consulting with two medical professionals (full disclosure: my mom, an RN and my uncle, a doctor) to see what I should do, I was advised that pain meds would probably be a smart option. I now have two different ones, neither of which do much for the pain but they definitely make me not care about it.

Since any sort of exercise is out of the question, I'm just trying to not get fat. It's not like my appetite has suffered from any of this. All of this Halloween candy is really making it easy.

Keep running for me.

October 28, 2011

if it ain't broke

Perhaps it was the increasing amount of pain I was in or the urge to have a stranger feel me up but last night I went to Urgent Care to have my ribs looked at.

Verdict: Not broken, just a "soft tissue contusion."

In other words, there's nothing I can do about it, save for applying cold/heat, taking ibuprofen, and telling my jerk coworkers to stop making me to laugh.

Laying low this weekend.

October 26, 2011

down for the count

I've been meaning to write this post for a few days but there's been a lot going on.

First things first, I've decided to not run a marathon in 2011. I got sick on Wednesday last week, missed even more training and ultimately decided that I didn't want to push my body for three more weeks to run a subpar race. I’m just really, really burnt out. Running hasn’t been fun for a while now and workouts were something that I dreaded. Decent runs were few and far between. Even though I knew it was the right decision (to not run), I was kicking myself since I had decided and wasn't forced to forgo a marathon.  It wasn’t like I had been injured like Emily or Brady. Then Saturday rolled around...

By Saturday I was feeling better and ventured out to meet some of my family at a friend’s place. When it came time for me to leave, my 15 year-old brother didn’t want me to and took my keys. He accidentally dropped them and as I rushed to pick them up, he tackled me (yet somehow landed underneath me) and I landed on his bent knee. Hard. By the bruise that quickly formed and then amount of pain I’m in, I think I cracked my rib. I haven't been to the doctor yet because I have very little desire to get topless in front of a stranger and place my boob against a cold metal plate but I promised my mom I would go if I don't feel better soon. (It actually feels like it's getting worse).   I’ve been able to manage the pain with ibuprofen but sneezing, laughing, coughing, getting in and out of my car or using my upper body at all is extremely painful.

To further complicate things, on Monday I was informed that my immediate supervisor was “no longer with the company.” Yikes. I immediately went from moderately overwhelmed to excessively stressed. No sleep was had on Monday night.

All I want right now are tator tots and a bottle of decent red wine. Both are known to speed healing of cracked ribs and ease stress so tonight you'll find my feet moving forward to Bulldog in Northeast.

Run for me.

October 16, 2011

To run or not to run, that is the question

The Richmond Marathon is 26 days away. I ran 16 miles total this week. One. Six. For the week.

It's no secret that I've been feeling pretty run down forever for the past few weeks, trying to keep injuries at bay and battling the general exhaustion that comes with marathon training. Hell every post since the end of August has started with the words tired, exhausted, or run-down. My two nagging injuries (right hip, left calf) started to feel really tight after my long run last week (I still haven't posted a training week recap for it- blogger fail) so I took some time off this week and ran easy in hopes of making everything better.

Ten of this week's 16 awful miles were run today and as I sit here, I can feel pain in my right hip flexor, despite all the stretching, icing, foam rolling. I don't know if I'm going to be able to shake this one.

With my dreams of a 3:10 officially gone and my body beginning to fall apart on me, I'm debating if I even want to muster another 3 weeks of sub-par training, pay mucho dinero to fly to Richmond (haven't gotten tickets yet), rent a car, get a hotel, etc. all to run a sub-par race. There are a few options I'm considering at this point:
1. Calling off a fall marathon entirely
2. Running the Charlotte Marathon (Nov 12, too) instead (cheaper to stay in CLT with friends)
3. Running something in December or January to give me a little time to heal

I'm not willing to admit complete defeat yet, but I'm feeling quite defeated tonight.

October 4, 2011

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 12 Review and some other stuff too

This week marked my 12th week of training as well as the 30th running of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, meaning work was CRAZY. It's a little tough to train for a marathon when you're running (organizing) a marathon.

With the Health & Fitness Expo opening up on Friday, our team moved into a hotel in St. Paul on Thursday. I think I got a combined 6.5 hours of sleep on Friday and Saturday nights. It was a pretty tough weekend. However, with a little planning, I got almost all of my miles in. The one major fail was no long run this week. There was no way it was going to happen on Sunday.

One major highlight was when I met Jeri, Susan and Erika at the VIP reception on Friday, all bloggers, all runners. Aren't they gorgeous? Susan ran a 3:18 on Sunday!

Even though I'm still technically following the 55-70mpw plan from Advanced Marathoning, I've begun to cut down on some of the miles and plan to peak out around 62-65 miles from here until the marathon. This week I should have run closer to 57.  C'est la vie.

Planned: 65-69 miles
Actual: 39.42

Monday
Off
Off

Tuesday
VO2 max 9 miles w/ 5 x 600 m @ 5K pace, 50-90% RBI
VO2 max 9.08 miles w/ 6 x 600 m @ 5K pace, 90% RBI
My first two intervals were a little slow but I picked it up and was able to maintain a pretty even pace throughout the last four. I ran six intervals instead of 5 because I read the schedule wrong. Bonus points.

Wednesday
14 miles
14 miles; 1:53; 8:05 average pace
Glorious early AM run. Seriously perfect morning, though it was dark for the majority of it.

Thursday
AM- 6 miles recovery
PM- 4 miles recovery
PM- 6 miles recovery on treadmill
Didn't want to run the higher mileage this week so cut out a shorter recovery run. Ran this on the treadmill at the hotel. Left shin/calf tight but it numbs out after a few miles. Ran mile 5 at slightly faster than goal marathon pace because I was bored.

Friday
5 mile recovery
5.25 mile recovery, 10:30 average pace
Ran a really easy recovery run with our intern, who had run for several months. Fun run.

Saturday
8K-15K tune up race
Since this clearly was out of the question. To be honest, almost any run today was out of the question but I found less than an hour to pound out a few quick miles. Running in St. Paul is a different and slightly scary experience. We were staying at the Crowne Plaza on Kellogg and someone suggested that I run along the river. The has paved bike and walking trails along it and it's gorgeous but I was immediately confronted with cat-calls and oh yeah, get it girl. The river paths were pretty deserted and even though it was light out, I didn't feel... safe. I hightailed it back to the hotel for 5.17 miles; 37:33; 7:16 average pace.

Sunday
18 miles
0 miles. It was marathon Sunday. I was manning the media tent. It may be an excuse but I think it's a good one.

Richmond Marathon Training Week 11
Richmond Marathon Training Week 10
Richmond Marathon Training Week 9
Richmond Marathon Training Week 8
Richmond Marathon Training Week 7
Richmond Marathon Training Week 6
Richmond Marathon Training Week 5
Richmond Marathon Training Week 4
Richmond Marathon Training Week 3
Richmond Marathon Training Week 2
Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

September 26, 2011

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 11 Review

Okay, it's time to get real. It doesn't seem like that long ago that I was shouting from the rooftops that I wanted to run a sub 3:10 marathon, a goal I knew would be a big reach but feasible if I worked my butt off.

After 11 weeks of training, I think I need to reevaluate.

I haven't been feeling great for the past few weeks and have tried to cut some miles out and modify some workouts to get back on track. It's not happening. I'm exhausted. I'm battling annoying pain in my left calf and right hip. In short, I feel like I'm falling apart.

So here is my Week 11 review. And this, my friends, means you are 100% up to speed on my training.



Planned: 70 miles
Actual: 52.53 miles

Monday
Rest
Rest

Tuesday
AM- 6  miles
PM- 4 miles
0 miles. Had planned to take a break during the work day to run and it was super crappy out so I didn't. I had a hair appointment. And I didn't even feel bad about not running.


Wednesday
15 miles
0 miles.
Couldn't get out of bed this morning and had a work meeting at night. I felt a little bad about not running.


Thursday
5 mile recovery
AM- 10 miles, 1:18:34; 7:51 average pace
Slow start to this run but finished up under a 7:30 pace. Left calf sore.
PM- 5.15 miles on the track
Got a few more miles in with my sister on the track. She's training to ace her PT for the FBI. Yep, the FBI. She had four different tests to do with a 5 minute break in between. I ran through her breaks and pace her on her runs. First 3 miles at 7:05 pace, last 2 miles at 8:05 average pace. Felt okay but legs got really tight when I stopped for a minute.

Friday
12 miles w/ 7 at half pace
11 miles w/ 7 at almost half pace
Another treadmill run. Ran a 3 mile warm up and set my speed. I made it through the first 2 miles okay (7:02, 7:04) but I started to feel pretty awful. I told myself to make it at least halfway through and I could take a break (7:14, 3:35 for half mile- 7:10 pace). After 3.5 miles I jogged for a quarter mile and then took off again, this time feeling worse than before. 7:33, 8:50 (walked!) 7:14 and 3:34 (half mile, 7:10 pace). Half mile cool down.

Saturday
5 mile recovery
6.1 miles; 56:39; 9:17 average pace
Ran with my sister and her dog around Calhoun. Stopped at a dog park for a while, too. Nice, easy run.

Sunday
22 miles
20.28 miles; 2:42:52, 8:02 average pace
I went into this only planning to run 20 miles. 22 miles just seemed excessive, especially in light of my body's rebellion. I felt pretty good all throughout this run and only stopped once to refill my bottle. Additionally, I didn't realize until I was on my way out the door that I only had one GU left. So I only ingested 100 calories over 20 miles, which explains why I was so tired. It was a gorgeous day, though. Great for a run.
 
In case you missed it:

Richmond Marathon Training Week 10
Richmond Marathon Training Week 9
Richmond Marathon Training Week 8
Richmond Marathon Training Week 7
Richmond Marathon Training Week 6
Richmond Marathon Training Week 5
Richmond Marathon Training Week 4
Richmond Marathon Training Week 3
Richmond Marathon Training Week 2
Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 10 Review

Recovery Week. After how awful I've been feeling the past few weeks, I went into this week with the plan to run my important workouts but allow myself to cut some miles/take days off if needed. I was hoping that it would refresh me a little for the coming weeks.


Planned: 58 miles
Actual: 42.5 miles

Monday
Rest
Rest

Tuesday
9 miles
9 miles; 1:12:06
Ran on the treadmill. Had to stop a couple miles in to rub out some shin pain. It starts in my inner left shin and then sort of radiates around my calf and up the back of my leg, ending up in my butt (that's definitely NOT wss).


Wednesday
9 miles w/ 6 x 800 meters @ 5K
7 miles w/ 6 x 800 meters
Meetings at work tonight so left the office in the afternoon to head to the gym. Traffic was really bad once I got there so I was super crunched for time. Calf hurt again but made it through all of the intervals with pretty consistent effort. Jogged 90% of time between intervals.

Thursday
6 mile recovery
0 miles. No running today.

Friday
11 miles
11.5 miles, 1:28:37, 7:42 average pace
Woke up early to run before work and felt pretty good for it. It took a few miles for my legs to loosen up but after they did, I cruised through the rest of my miles.

Saturday
8 miles w/ 10 x 100 meter strides
0 miles. We had packet stuffing today and I had to work from 7- 3:30. I was on my feet all morning and all I wanted to do was nap when I got home.

Sunday
15 miles
15 miles; 2:05:54, 8:23 average pace
Cold. Windy. Misty. Stomach problems the last few miles. I have no idea why I've started to have problems with this. I never have in the past and haven't been eating any differently than I have in the past.

In case you missed it:

Richmond Marathon Training Week 9
Richmond Marathon Training Week 8
Richmond Marathon Training Week 7
Richmond Marathon Training Week 6
Richmond Marathon Training Week 5
Richmond Marathon Training Week 4
Richmond Marathon Training Week 3
Richmond Marathon Training Week 2
Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

September 19, 2011

Time for a Change

I'm going to completely deviate from normal running posts to bring you all in on a really important decision. I have a haircut/color scheduled for 7:30 tomorrow night. My current feeling of restlessness is about to get taken out on my hair. Here are the facts:

1. I'm a natural blonde and have never dyed my hair darker. I do get a highlight/lowlight combo like twice a year.
That's me in the background in all my baby blonde glory.


















2. My hair is usually shoulder-length or below. It's been as short as having to my chin (jr. high) and as long as being able to cover my boobs (high school when I was a hippie).

Most recent picture of my current hair style. Blonde. Layered. Long bangs that I usually pull back.























3. I've had bangs a few times and sort of like them.
Bangs circa 2007

























4. I'm a wash-and-go kind of girl so anything that's high maintenance is out. I can't even use a round brush without disaster.

This is at a wedding I went to this summer. I think I put my hair up when it was still wet. Style fail.


















5. I have very fine hair that doesn't really hold any type of curl for an extended period of time. It's naturally stick straight, no flat iron needed.


6. I was recently in my hometown and ran into someone I hadn't seen in a while. He told me I hadn't changed at all since high school. It would have been better if he had said "Wow, you haven't aged a day but look so much more sophisticated and sexy than you did in high school." Time for a change.
Yep, that's me in high school, sans the wrinkles that have since taken up residence on my forehead.
























Here are the really diverse options I'm considering:


Dark and short. Because "Go big or go home" has always been my slogan. And someone once told me I'd look good with short hair.


Not as extreme as the first photo.
Via



























Shorter blonde with bangs. Because who doesn't want to look like Heidi?
Heidi Klum Model/host Heidi Klum of Project Runway poses backstage at the "Project Runway" Season 4 Fall 2008 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2008 at The Tent at Bryant Park on February 8, 2008 in New York City.
Via


Emma Stone Red. Because I'm pale and have green eyes.
 Via


Thoughts? Help me out.

September 15, 2011

Ragnar Recap

This pretty much sums it up. 
I know this is pretty late- Ragnar fever is over and you all are fully recovered. Maybe this will help you relive some of the excitement. I wasn't as late with the recap that I posted on the TCM blog. You can read my Lessons from Ragnar post over there.

Here's a recap of my legs:

First Leg

Desperately seeking water

HOT and humid leg. Full sun on fresh black top. It was so hot that I actually removed my shirt. If you know me at all, you know what a big deal that is. My Garmin said 6.09 miles in 45 minutes for an average pace of 7:24. I finished this leg feeling really bad about how I had run and not really looking forward to my other legs.

Second Leg
Check out that elevation profile.


I started this leg around 11:30 p.m. so it was dark. Like pitch black dark. And I was scared. So I ran as fast as I possibly could. I saw my first miles tick off in 6:59, 6:49 and 6:47 which is pretty  much faster than my 5K splits from a few weeks ago. Then I hit the hill and started to climb (7:41) and kept climbing. I was completely alone and my only goal was to make it to the top of the hill. (8:48- ouch!). And then came the fun part- the downhill. 7:00, 6:19, 6:41 and finished the last quarter mile at a 6:27 pace for a grand total of 8.24 miles in 58:32 for a 7:07 average pace. I was pretty pleased with that.

Third Leg

This leg started around 7 a.m. after a night of almost no sleep. I felt awful and didn't know how fast I was going to be able to go. I was worried this would be my slowest leg. Despite a decently long hill, I was still able to pull off 3.9 miles in 27:01 for an average pace of 6:55. This is the longest that I have ever held a sub-7 pace- or have even attempted, for that matter.

We ended up taking first in our division of mixed team and were the 8th team overall. Pretty awesome.

Team Show me the Bunny post-race

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 9 Review

Week of September 5- 11

TIRED again this week. I think I need to cut some miles out.  

Planned: 67 miles
Actual: 56.25 miles

Monday
Rest
Rest

Tuesday
AM- 6 miles recovery
PM- 4 miles recover
AM- 6 miles, 47:48, 7:57 average pace
Didn't run again today. Tired again.


Wednesday
14 miles
9.5 miles, 1:19:09, 8:27 average pace
Hyland with R.E.D. Major stomach issues. Spicy green curry at lunch. Enough said.

Thursday
6 mile recovery
AM- 7.20 miles
PM- 5.3 miles
Tried to make up for missed miles yesterday by tacking on some extra today. Neither run was great.


Friday
13 miles
13 miles, 1:45:16
Ran before work and was exhausted.

Saturday 
16 miles with 12 at Goal Pace
16 miles with 12 at sort of goal pace
Flip-flopped my Sat/Sun runs. Did the Capitol Run with Life Time. It got sort of hot out and I wasn't carry fluid with me. I was also running alone for a lot of the time. I definitely did not hit 12 at my goal pace but I did get 12 in at a 7:26 pace. I'm beginning to reevalute my goals for the marathon. 3:10 isn't looking so feasible any more.

Sunday
7 miles
Off. I went to a wedding on Saturday night. I'm pretty sure I was the reason why they ran out of wine.

In case you missed it:

Richmond Marathon Training Week 8
Richmond Marathon Training Week 7
Richmond Marathon Training Week 6
Richmond Marathon Training Week 5
Richmond Marathon Training Week 4
Richmond Marathon Training Week 3
Richmond Marathon Training Week 2
Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 8 Review

Late again. Week of August 29- September 4

I think last week marked my last decent week of training. I had just come off of my highest mileage week and was feeling great. Now I'm exhausted. All. The. Time.

Planned: 66 miles
Actual: 56.25 miles

Monday
Rest
Rest

Tuesday
AM- 6 miles recovery
PM- 4 miles recover
AM- 5.75 miles. Didn't run again that night. Exhausted, body hurt.

Wednesday
14 miles
9 miles, 1:18:58, 8:48 average pace
I'm pretty sure my lack of miles today and my pace says it all. Sucked.   

Thursday
5 mile recovery
5  miles, 38:33; 7:42 average pace
I may or may not have been hungover when I went out for this run. And in a hurry.

Friday
11 miles with 6 miles at half pace
11 miles with 6 miles at half pace
Ran to the gym for a warm up and did my half pace miles on the treadmill. Halfway into the miles, I didn't know how I was going to hang on. But I DID. 7:00, 7:02, 7:01, 7:01, 7:01, 6:59. Couple miles cool down to round this run out.

Saturday
6 mile recovery
6 mile recovery on treadmill.
Watched that design show on Bravo with Heidi Klum. I seriously cannot think of the name of it and I'm too lazy to Google it. Anyways, it made the slow run go a lot faster.

Sunday
20 miles
20 miles; 2:43; 8:11 average pace.
It was humid today and I was not in the mood to run. Nothing exceptional. 20 miles done.


In case you missed it:

Richmond Marathon Training Week 7
Richmond Marathon Training Week 6
Richmond Marathon Training Week 5
Richmond Marathon Training Week 4
Richmond Marathon Training Week 3
Richmond Marathon Training Week 2
Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

September 8, 2011

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 7 Review

I know I'm super late with posting these. To backtrack a little, this is from the week of August 22-28.

This training week marked my highest mileage ever. I spent a lot of time this week thinking about how 40 mile weeks used to seem tough. Now I eat 40 mile weeks for lunch.

I feel like my body has responded really well to the increased mileage. I've been conciously running my recovery runs as recovery; slowing my pace down, sticking to flat trails, etc.

Planned: 68 miles
Actual: 68.41 miles

Monday
Rest
Rest

Tuesday
10 miles w/ 5 miles at half pace
Another run to restore my faith in my ability to maintain my goal marathon pace of 7:15. It was pretty humid so I ran from my apartment to my gym as a warm-up and did my tempo miles on the treadmill. My legs were pretty sore during the warm up and I actually rolled out a little on the foam roller once I got to the gym. For my tempo miles I used the whole set it and forget it- sort of. I felt so good during them that I actually increased my pace for the last miles. Tempo miles- 7:08, 7:01, 7:03, 6:56, 6:50

Wednesday
14 miles
14 miles, 1:54, 8:09 average pace.
Hyland with R.E.D. Ran 3 on my own as a warm up. Legs were still sore from Ragnar so I took it easier on the trails. Ran 2x around Normandale to round out the mileage.  

Thursday
5 mile recovery
5.06  miles, 42:14; 8:21 average pace

Friday
11 miles
11 miles; 1:24; 7:38 average pace
Ran with a guy who's a lot faster than me so I attempted to save face by running this a little faster than I should have. The humidity put me out a little. Ended up miscalculating mileage and walk/jogged another 2/3 of a mile home.

Saturday
7 mile recovery w/ 10 x 100 meter strides
7 miles, 53:51;  7:41 average pace
No strides. Ran a hilly route out from my parent's house. Most of it was on gravel and I just felt like I was working a lot harder than I normally would on a recovery run like this.


Sunday
21 miles
21 miles; 2:43; 7:46 average pace.
This was my longest long run ever- by a mile. And not a freaking step more. It had it's low points but after I got over the feeling of cement in my legs, I actually felt really good.


In case you missed it:

Richmond Marathon Training Week 6
Richmond Marathon Training Week 5
Richmond Marathon Training Week 4
Richmond Marathon Training Week 3
Richmond Marathon Training Week 2
Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

August 23, 2011

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 6 Review

Holy wow. Six weeks in already.

Planned: 55 miles
Actual: 43.5 miles

Monday
Rest
Rest

Tuesday
8 miles plus 10 x 100 meter strides
Stuck to the roads around the lakes to hit some hills.  Did strides on flat path by my house and felt like a freak sprinting back and forth while bikers and runners were going by. I need a shirt or something that says "Not crazy, just a runner." But maybe we're all crazy.

Wednesday
12 miles
12 miles, 1:30, 7:33 average pace.
Cooler night with almost no humidity. Nights like this are why I am a runner.

Thursday
5 mile recovery
5 miles, 45:46; 8:33 average pace
Easy run around Isles.

Friday & Saturday- RAGNAR RELAY
10 miles and 5 miles recovery
18.24 miles total over three legs. Full recap to come.

Sunday
15 miles
Off. Rest. Sleep. Food.


In case you missed it:

Richmond Marathon Training Week 5
Richmond Marathon Training Week 4
Richmond Marathon Training Week 3
Richmond Marathon Training Week 2
Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

August 17, 2011

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 5 Review

Planned: 63 miles
Actual: 63 miles
Monday
Rest
Rest

Tuesday
9 miles w/ 5 @ 1/2 pace
9 miles, 1:09; 7:40 average, tempo miles at 7:03, 6:55, 6:48, 6:52, and 7:04. Not a very evenly paced effort but it was decent.

Wednesday
14 miles
14.16 miles, 1:55, 8:07 average pace
Trails at Hyland with R.E.D. Ran the trail loop faster than we'd ever done and my legs were trashed. Did two laps around Normandale to round out my mileage for the day.

Thursday
5 mile recovery
5 miles, 38:35, 7:43 average pace
Easy AM run around Calhoun.

Friday
12 miles
12 miles, 1:33, 7:44 average pace
Ran Greenway to Lakes to Parkway. Out and back. Took hills on the route when I had the option. Tired.

Saturday
5 mile recovery
5.17, 47:20; 9:10 average pace
Ran with my brother. Easy, conversational run.

Sunday
18 miles w/ 10 miles @ Goal Pace
18 miles, 2:23; 7:58 average pace
Goal Pace Fail. I knew right away this was going to be a bad run. I could barely hold a sub-8. I briefly ran some miles in the 7:30-7:40 range but backed off. Just not my day and didn't want to push it.


In case you missed it:

Richmond Marathon Training Week 4
Richmond Marathon Training Week 3
Richmond Marathon Training Week 2
Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

August 16, 2011

Running Makes Your Boobs Sag

On Sunday this gem landed in my possession:



That's the Le Sueur News Herald. And that's the front page of the sports section. I was pumped because I didn't have any pictures from the 5K I ran.

Now you can see why Fast Girl looked so intimidating.
I was exclaiming, "Oh, sweet!" as I unfolded the paper and saw this below the fold:


Uh oh. We all know how I can't take a decent race picture to save my life. I was scared to look closer.

Heel strike much?
Ugh. What a horribly awkward photo. I don't even know where to begin with this.

The icing on the cake was my mom calling me yesterday morning:

Mom: Hey, you're on the front page of the paper.
Me: Yep, I know. It's a horrible picture.
Mom: Yeah, when I was watching you run I was thinking you need a tighter sports bra. Your boobs were moving.
Me: Yeah, well, they're pretty big. I already have an industrial strength sports bra.
Mom: It looks like it hurts when they move that much. Doesn't it hurt?
Me: I'm not really thinking about my boobs when I'm running, Mom.
Mom: But do you want your boobs to sag? I mean, they were really bouncing.
Me: Thanks for noticing, Mom. I'll double up next time.

I think the picture further confirms bouncing boobs. It almost appears that they are trying to exit stage left off my chest. It also confirms that I don't make running look sexy or fun, just painful.

I hope I have more to show for all this running than saggy boobs.

August 13, 2011

How Not to Win a 5K Race


The Green Giant and I had a brief
love affair last summer.
Okay, as promised, my 5K race recap from the Giant's Valley 5K I ran last Saturday. This is another one of those small town 5Ks. I grew up in Le Sueur, the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant. It's our only claim to fame.
Last year I was the first female with a time of 21:06 so I felt like I had to go back and defend my title.

Pre-Race
I hadn't registered in advance so I got there at 7 a.m. to register and begin my warm up. When I was walking out to my car to drop off my stuff after registering and saw a girl warming up. She. Looked. Fast. Really thin, hot pink sports bra and short shorts, doing drills. If you're doing drills and strides before a 5K, you generally know what you're doing. Mind you this was like an hour before the race started. She was there to win. Eesh.
This is the participant shirt. I think the art is really creative.

I ran my warm-up with a friend and then left him to do drills and strides myself. I wanted my heart rate as high as possible before I started running.

The Race
I lined up at the front with a bunch of guys and Fast Girl. I told myself that no matter what happened, I needed to keep the first mile slower and not burn out on the hill. The gun went off and Fast Girl and the guys took off. I stuck with a pack about 20 feet behind and worked my way up the hill.

By the time we reached the top of the hill she had slowed considerably and I was on her heels. And here's where I started running scared. I didn't want to pass her and risk burning out, even though we were running well below my 5K ability. I expected her pace to quicken on the downhill but we actually slowed a bit. I stayed just off her shoulder.

When we hit a flat portion of the course, I pulled up along side of her and asked her what she wanted to run. 19 or 20, she said. We were nowhere near that pace and I probably should've dropped her at that point but I was scared. I thought she was sandbagging and if I took the lead, she'd kick toward the end. Soon enough, her pace slowed even more, giving me no choice but to move to the lead just before the 2 mile mark.

My mom had come to watch me run and was on the course. When  I reached her I asked her for an update on where Fast Girl was and she told me I had half a block lead. At this point my stomach was starting to hurt and I kept burping up almond butter toast that I probably ate too close to the start of the race (lesson learned- allow at least 2 full hours for digestion. Not an hour.). My mom actually got  in her car and started driving along side of me, asking what pace I was running. I knew I was slow but hadn't look at my watch at all since the first mile. I looked down and saw 7:15(!!) for my projected mile pace. Um, what? Then my mom said, "You've lost some ground." and I'm thinking, "Well yeah, cause I'm running marathon pace and I feel like I'm gonna hurl" but instead I sucked it up and started moving faster.

I just concentrated on moving my feet as fast as possible the last 1/2 mile. And I'm not going to lie, I was totally thinking about beating Fast Girl. I knew I wasn't going to PR so I wanted to win and the finish line couldn't come fast enough. I kept listening for breathing or footsteps behind me but they never came. I was the first female across the line in 21:14, 8 seconds slower than last year and 50 seconds off my current 5K PR. I was not happy.

Post- Race
I took off to run a cool down and when I was on my way back, I saw Fast Girl running her cool down and stopped to tell her good race. She said that she was having stomach issues, too. Must be something in the water...

I found my mom at the awards ceremony and she knew I wasn't happy with my time. I asked her about when Fast Girl was closing the gap and she said, "No, I said SHE lost some ground." It's probably a good thing I misunderstood otherwise my time would've been more pathetic.

I did get this cute medal for winning my age group. I should probably mention that Fast Girl turned out to be 16 years old and finished in 21:56.

So lessons learned: Don't run scared. Don't eat an hour before you're going to race a 5K and don't be intimidated by people who look fast. You never can tell.

Splits: Mile 1 (uphill portion)-  6:41; Mile 2 (w/ downhill portion)- 6:50; Mile 3 7:05; last .1- 38 seconds (5:36 pace). Clearly I've come a long way since April.

August 8, 2011

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 4 Review

Four weeks down already. I wish I could say that I was feeling better about how my training has been going. And the first week of August is gone. How the heck did that happen?

Planned: 62 miles
Actual: 58.75 miles

Monday
Rest
Did core and some upper body in my apartment, mostly because I was feeling lazy. It's hard to completely rest!

Tuesday
9 miles w/ 10 x 100 meter strides
9.15 miles, including warm up and cool down
Track workout. 6 x 800 meters at half marathon pace (6:50) with quarter mile jog in between intervals. I'm not going to lie, this was too easy a workout for me. I didn't get the memo that R.E.D had moved their workout to St. Paul so I ended up on the Edina track with just one other person. I gave him the choice between mile repeats and 800s. He chose the 8s. We should've been running them at tempo or interval pace but it was nice to get the rhythm down for what my half pace will need to be come fall.

Wednesday
14 miles
7.3 miles, trails at Hyland
Met R.E.D for their weekly trail run. The trail loop we run is really hilly and I ran the downhills pretty hard. I had planned to add on some extra miles after the run but my foot was pretty sore from last week. I called it a night.

Thursday
5 mile recovery
5 miles, 42:50, 8:31 average pace

Friday
11 miles
AM- 8 miles, 59:44, 7:28 average pace
Quick run around Isles. Stopped twice for water but felt decent with the quicker pace.
PM- 3 miles, 24:52, 8:17 average pace
Shakeout run in preparation for a 5K that I ran on Saturday morning.

Saturday
5 mile recovery
5K race, plus warm up and cool down for 8.29 miles
Yep, I ran another 5K. It was the Giant Day 5K back in my hometown of Le Sueur. I was the first female last year so I had to go back to defend my title. To give a brief recap, I ran a really terrible race. Terrible. But I still won. Full race recap to come.

Sunday
18 miles
18 miles, 2:34; 8:34 average pace
This was more like a death march. We had a work event that I had to be up for at 4:10 AM so I didn't start my run until close to 2:30. I made the mistake of eating eggs at brunch, thinking that it's been a fluke that I've gotten sick the last four times I've eaten them. Make that five, now. I could barely keep water down on the run and only took one GU 12 miles in. It wasn't pretty but I finished it.

In case you missed it:

Richmond Marathon Training Week 3
Richmond Marathon Training Week 2
Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

August 1, 2011

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 3 Review

Alternate title: The Week of Almost No Running

So this week wasn't so great. This has been the lowest mileage week I've run in a couple months, though not by choice. I feel a little guilty for not spending more time in the gym but I think the mental break did some good, too. I'd much rather take a few days now than a few weeks later on!

Planned: 58 miles
Actual: 33 miles

Monday
Rest
Rest. Easy peasy.

Tuesday
11 miles
Track workout with R.E.D. 16 x 200 meters @ 45 seconds, 200 meter jog recovery. Kept all of these slightly under goal pace. It was easier than I thought it would be but the last few were still tough. Added a longer cool down on to get mileage up to 10.5 for the day.

Wednesday
13 miles
Since I was planning on running the Rice Street Mile, I wanted to break my mileage into two. I went out for 7 miles at an easy pace (7:55 average) in the morning. Throughout the day, my right hip was really tight so I decided to forgo a second run in favor of a bike ride at the gym. It was when I was leaving the gym that my foot started to hurt.

Thursday
5 mile recovery
0 miles
After a lot of frozen water bottle rolling, an x-ray and some instruction to stay off of my foot, I went home and ate my feelings. No running, no gym. Just a pity party. Sorry I didn't invite you.

Friday
9 miles w/ 4 miles at 1/2 pace
0 miles. Hard intervals on the bike. My quads burned!

Saturday
5 mile recovery
0 miles, no gym. I did practice my endurance drinking, though...

Sunday
15 miles
12 miles; 1:38:11; 8:10 average pace
Went to the gym to test out my foot in hopes that I could run. It felt tight at first but loosened up after a few miles. After hitting the max time limit on the treadmill, I opted to quit for the morning. People were starting to look at me weird because I was sweating so much I could literally wring out my hair.

I ran Calhoun  (3.04 miles, 23:22; 7:41 average pace) later in the evening and jumped in the lake to cool down.

Here's to what I'm hoping will be a kick-ass week of running!

Onward.

In case you missed it:

Richmond Marathon Training Week 2
Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

July 28, 2011

Really, foot? Really?

How quickly the tides turn!

After my track workout with Minnesota R.E.D on Tuesday, I left thinking I would join some of them for the Rice Street Mile that was run tonight. Yesterday I had 13 miles on tap but decided to break it out to 7 in the morning and 6 later that night. However, after my AM run, I was having a lot of hip pain. Given the fact that I was planning on racing a mile, I figured I'd hit the bike at the gym instead.

As I was leaving the gym, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in the ball of my foot, kind of like a charley horse. It got worse and worse on the walk to my car. I figured it was just a muscle spasm and thought that it would feel better by the time I got home.

It didn't.

After icing and ibuprofen, I went to sleep hoping that I'd feel better in the morning.

I didn't.

Not willing to admit defeat, I packed my running gear in hopes of still making it to the Rice Street Mile just in case I miraculously recovered. I spent all day at work rolling a frozen water bottle under my foot. The ice felt great but as soon as the numbness wore off, the pain would return.

After talking with my coworkers at lunch, I decided to see if Lyn Lake Chiropractic had any openings. In addition to being the official chiropractor of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, they are also the official chiropractor of Team USA Minnesota. In short, they get runners. Also awesome: they could see me at 3:30 today.

After some chatting about what happened, and a lot of foot touching (ew), and the mention of the dreaded SF words, I found myself under the x-ray machine for a few photos.

After a meticulous inspection of my bones, I was deemed to be SF free... for now. However, I was warned that stress fractures, especially in their early stages, are difficult to detect by x-ray. After that I had some STIM (electrical stimulation therapy), massage, ultrasound massage (?) and was taped up and told no running until I could do so without pain.

Considering that it hurts to push my gas pedal, I think I'm going to be off of it for a few days. (Thank God it's only week three of Richmond Marathon Training!)

I hate it when my body thinks it's the boss.

July 25, 2011

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 2 Review

This past week in my training can be summed up with this photo:
Post long run Sunday morning

Planned- 55 miles
Actual- 56 miles

Monday
Rest
Took an Intro to Yoga class.


Tuesday
8 miles w/ 10x100 meter strides
Set out early in the morning and knew almost immediately it was going to be a bad run. It was really hot and I just wasn't feeling it. I quit after 5 miles and hit the treadmill at Life Time Fitness that night to finish up my three remaining miles and strides.

Via
Here's the thing: Running fast on a treadmill (sprinting) is HARD. I think my balance needs work because I always feel like I'm going to fall off.  Any tips?

Wednesday
12 miles
12.17 miles; 1:37; 8:03 average pace
Got an early start and ran the lakes to ensure that I'd have enough water. Struggled on this run. Combo of heat, lack of sleep, not eating beforehand and mental stress. Ran the second half faster than the first, which is always good.

Thursday
5 mile recovery
5.53 miles; 47:42; 8:37 average pace
Met up with fellow TCM staffer Jeff (a 2:30 marathoner!!) for an easy morning run. Even at this recovery pace, the run still felt hard. Probably because Jeff is so boring to be around (kidding).

Friday
9 miles
10.12 miles; 1:16:14; 7:32 average pace
Guess who got lost on her run? Yep, this girl. I ran the lakes and thought that the southwest side of Harriet would spit me out on a different road. I picked up the pace to get home in time to shower and get to work.

Saturday
5 mile recovery
4.11 miles; 34:27; 8:24 average pace
Felt super crappy on this run. Decided to cut it short since I was up on mileage for the week, thanks to getting lost yesterday.

Sunday
16 miles w/ 8 miles at goal marathon pace
16.03 miles; 2:02:47; 7:40 average pace
This run went surprising well. I was nervous about the miles at goal pace but I was able to come in comfortably under the 7:15 pace. After a 4 mile warm-up, my pace miles were 7:14, 7:07, 7:09, 7:08, 7:10, 7:10, 7:19, 7:30 (huge hill!). A 4 mile cool down followed.

Just a little snack for God.
image via
Thank goodness this week was over. It was uber hot and humid, like God was trying to bake us.

In case you missed it:

Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

July 24, 2011

Don't watch this if you hate laughing

Forget the Richmond Marathon. I'm totally doing this. 

July 21, 2011

Truth be Told

Some things have happened over the last couple weeks that have me thinking a lot about honesty. In particular, a good friend of mine has found herself in a rather unsavory situation, all because she chose to ignore the warning signs and red flags she saw.

For a while I questioned how she could be so stupid. Then I got a slap in my judgemental face when I realized that I am guilty of doing the same thing. Quite simply, it's denial.  

Denial: An unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings. (source)

Essentially it's like you're lying to yourself but deep down, you know. You know.

Admitting it means that life will change, usually not in a pleasant way. And often the fear of that change overwhelms the desire to move out of a place of half-truth.

Here's to moving forward.

July 18, 2011

Richmond Training: Week 1 Review

Off the recommendation of several people, I picked up the book Advanced Marathoning a few months ago.  I love reading about anything related to running or training so this book was a welcome addition to my ever-growing library of Runner's World, Running Times, Women's Running, and essentially any book that has "run" in the title.

For the past two years, I've been writing my own training plans. In all of my prior marathon training, my weekly mileage never surpassed 50 miles a week. I also wasn't cognizant of my pace during runs and would run all of them at the same speed. With the goal of running a sub 3:10 marathon this year, I knew that I would have to shake something up with my training.

For the past few months, I've been working on building a consistent base of 45 miles (+/-) a week. I've been feeling really good and decided to start the 55-70 mpw plan with the hope that the additional miles will bring my fitness to a higher level.  I'll make some modifications to the workouts to account for other races on my schedule, but stick to it for the most part. Here's a look at how Week 1 shook out.

Planned- 54 miles
Actual- 56 miles

Monday
Rest
Rest. I like how my official training kicked off with this. Done and done.

Tuesday
9 mi w/ 4 mi @ half marathon pace
Track workout with Minnesota R.E.D. 2 x 2 mi @ tempo w/ 5 min RBI and 3 mi @ goal race pace.
First set- 6:53 (too fast!), 7:00; Second set- 7:08, 7:03
For the 3 miles at race pace, we did two laps on the track to get our pacing down, then left to run the rest on the road. 7:16 average (just a touch slow, should be at 7:14). I was running with two others and our Garmins were disagreeing on our pace so we slowed. We shouldn't have. Great workout, all in all.

Wednesday
11 mi
Trail run w/ R.E.D. at Hyland. 7.3 miles of trail plus a warm up and cool down around Lake Normandale for a little over 11 miles total. Went out with the fast group that I can't keep up with on the track. While they were running at a pace that was conversational for them, I was working hard. I kept up, though, mostly because I didn't want to get left alone in the woods to be eaten by bears.

Thursday
5 mi recovery
An easy 5.25 at an acceptable recovery pace (8:35). I was bored out of my mind but kept reminding myself that recovery is just as important as the hard workouts.

Friday
9 mi
9.5 total. Ran the first 4 on my own a little too fast (7:28 pace) before meeting up with a friend to finish it out around a more acceptable 7:55 average.

Saturday
5 mi recovery
5.39 miles on a very humid Saturday morning. Ran this a little too fast for recovery but it felt good.

Sunday
15 miles
Most. Humid. Day. Ever. (We're having a heat wave here in MN if you haven't heard.) I have never been so sweaty in my entire life. Literally wringing out my short, shirt, hair, etc. Even my shoes were squishy. Ended up with 15 miles in 2:08. Glad when it was over but didn't regret getting out the door.

On to Week 2.

July 17, 2011

Status Updates

I have the awful habit about writing about dilemmas and then never writing about resolutions. So here we go:

The Shoe Situation
Status: Solved, sort of
I've been running in the Saucony Ride for over a month now and I do like them, but I'm not sure that they're exactly what I need. Compared to my beloved Mizuno Riders, these feel like pillows on my feet. I'm not the type of gal that needs a lot of cushion so this is neither good or bad. Next on my shoe list is a pair of racing flats because then I might actually beat 90lb high school girls in my next 5K.

The Work/Life Balance Problem
Status: In Progress
I think it was pretty safe to say that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed a while ago. Many things were piling up, both at work and in my personal life, and it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But This too shall pass. And it did. I'm still trying to find a solid equilibrium between all the time-sucks in my life but saying "no" is helping a lot.

Marathon Training
Status: Awesome
My training for the Richmond Marathon officially kicked off this week and I have to say that it may have been the best week of running in recent memory. I didn't miss a run, I ran all of them at the assigned paces and am feeling good. (fingerscrossedknockonwood!) I'll write a recap of my first training week soon.

I have, however, been sucking it up big time on warming up, cooling down, and getting enough sleep. One day at a time...

July 16, 2011

The Genius of Running

I read this quote in the gym the other day and it resonated with me. I'd like to think it applies to marathoners or any distance runners. Enjoy.

Perhaps the genius of ultra running is its supreme lack of utility. It makes no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame frequently not even the approval of peers. But as poets apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time there is more to life than logic and common sense. The ultra runners know this instinctively. And they know something else that is lost on the sedentary. They understand perhaps better than anyone that the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running such long and taxing distances they answer a call from the deepest realms of their being – a call that asks who they are…
– David Blaikie

July 12, 2011

The Bear Run Race Report

Last Thursday night I ran The Bear Run, a 5-mile race up Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC.

This is Grandfather Mountain. It's supposed to look like the side profile of a man's face: his chin at the bottom, nose, eyes and eyebrows. Use your imagination. Anyway, it's roughly 1540 feet up from where we start in the town of Linville.

I ran this race two years ago while I was living in North Carolina. At that time, I did some intensive hill training with a local running group and thought that I was as ready as ever to run. That year I ran the Bear in 53:00 minutes.

This year I hadn't done any specific hill training, at least not regularly, and therefore didn't have any goals for this race. I was just running for fun.

The race started at 7pm and had over 800 registrants trying to get into two parking lots at the base of the mountain. Thankfully my habit of being ridiculously early to races paid off and we were one of the first cars in the lot. Spectators were allowed to go up the mountain and walk roughly a mile to the summit to watch.
This was the line to get up to the mountain. I was already waiting at the start line.

View from the top of the mountain. The parking lot below is where spectators were allowed to park.
I killed an hour before the start talking to some old running friends and meeting new ones. Soon enough the gun went off and we were moving. From what I remembered of the the course, the first mile is really steep, the second and third miles aren't too bad, and the fourth and fifth are killer. I made a plan to take the first mile easy, hammer out the next two, and just try to survive the last couple.

I'm happy to say that I stuck to my race plan. While everyone was flying up the first mile, I stayed slow and soon was passing everyone who had already begun to walk. I felt good but my hips were really tight.

The course gets pretty tough after three miles and that was the first time I walked. I would walk the switchbacks and run the straight-aways, chatting with other runners who were feeling the same pain. Soon enough I could hear the cheers from the finish line.
Hey, that's me! Green shirt, bottom right on the road.
Almost to the finish! Green shirt with the pack.
The final climb was the worst. I'm pretty sure it was the steepest part of the course but spectators lined both sides of road. This meant no walking or else you'd look like wuss. I may not have much but I have pride.

About ten feet from the finish. I'm jealous because that guy's legs are nicer than mine.
I was also thinking about food.
Get this: 48:28. Nearly 5 minutes faster than 2009. Yeah, I'm as surprised as you.

They moved the finishers through a long finish chute where they gave out medals and water. Most surprising, though, was the fact that I got this:
This mug is given to the top 10% male and female finishers. Um, what? I have one word for that: sweet. And two more: slightly pathetic. I almost didn't want to take it because I didn't feel like I earned it.

          They also give out one of the cutest medals.

What can I say, I've become a swag whore.

Shirt. Mug. Medal. Courtesy of my super crappy camera phone
It's pretty safe to say that I'll be back to the Bear next year and will actually train for it. The only place for me to go is up. Pun intended.