April 29, 2012

race recap: get in gear half marathon

Oh boy.

For those of you that live in Minnesota, you know what awful race weather we had yesterday. Cold. Wind. Rain. I'll say right off the bat that this was one of the most mentally taxing races for me but I wasn't running this for myself. I was running it for Ann.

I woke up around six before my alarm even went off and met Ann in the kitchen for a cup of coffee to get things moving. (If you were on twitter, you likely saw all the pre-race poop talk.) During breakfast I was trying to decide on what to wear during the race. It wasn't raining yet and I thought that I might be able to survive in just shorts and a long sleeve.  As I was about to walk out of the bedroom, I thought about being rained on, how long we would be out there and how bad it would hurt to chafe. Shorts off, capris on. Best decision ever.

Ann, Jay and I
We got to the race and parked about a half-mile away. At this point it had started to rain and as we walked across the Ford Bridge, I swear I saw snowflakes. I repeatedly cursed myself for not bringing a throw-away shirt and pants or at least a trash bag. Rookie mistake.

we're smiling but we're cold

a shot of the start line mass
In the days before the race, Ann and I had talked about going out at a 13:30 pace, evaluating how she felt around 6.5 miles and potentially picking it up from there. I turned off the auto-lap function on Garm and made the mental note to hit lap at every mile marker, providing a more accurate picture of what our pace was.

with Ann's yellow and my green, we were impossible to miss

pretty view running over the Ford bridge
We were exactly on pace through mile six but Ann was struggling. I let her know we were falling off pace and she asked me not to talk to her about pace any more. Right or wrong, out went the race plan and the only goal became to finish the race and not die from hypothermia.

There were some hard miles in there. I'm not going to talk about what Ann was feeling (you'll have to wait for her recap) but I know that I was freezing cold and miserable. It was literally one of the hardest races I've ever done. I knew that I needed to stay positive for Ann. If I gave in at all, it would've been over. Luckily, we had some awesome spectators, including Colleen, who made signs for us. Here are a few of the blog appropriate ones.

best quote from Mean Girls

her face pretty much says it all

the hashtag is what makes this one awesome
Leaving out all the details that it took to get there (again, it was Ann's race, not mine) we crossed the finish line in 3:08:51 (Garm time). I'm pretty sure I was hypothermic.

Thankfully Kat's husband had parked nearby and was able to give Ann, Jay and I a ride to our car. I could not wait to get out of my wet clothes. I sat in front of Ann's fireplace and I could barely feel the heat. I was chilled to the core. After a latte, a Bloody Mary and breakfast, I started to feel better. I probably spent twenty minutes in the shower when I got home, but even when I got in to bed last night, I was still cold. 

the aftermath
I wasn't as sore as I thought I would be when I got out of bed this morning but I took today completely off. In fact, the only real indication of my race yesterday are the scratches on my chest, which is what happens when you carry a GU Chomps packet in your sports bra for 13.1 miles.

April 27, 2012

week in review and pre-race relaxing

Completely uncharacteristic of me, I have not been home one night this week and tonight I am comfortably at Ann's as we prepare to run the Get in Gear Half Marathon tomorrow morning! (For full details, check out Ann's post from this morning.) After a great dinner, Ann is forcing me to watch Bridesmaids, which I still haven't seen. Yes, I am writing this between fits of laughter and 'oh my gosh'es.

But here's a peek back at my week, complete with phone photos.

monday night
Twins game with Ann, Colleen and AnnMarie. I think we stayed in our seats for like four innings and then walked around looking for Sour Patch Kids. Newsflash: Target Field doesn't believe in selling candy based on my cravings.

tuesday night
Dinner at The Bachelor Farmer with Robert (amazing food), then sign making with Colleen for the race. Actually, I was more like creative support/wine consumer while Colleen did all of the actual art work. Many of the signs border on inappropriate. I'll take pictures of them tomorrow during the race.

Colleen was attempting to unclog the gel pen w/ the corkscrew. 

wednesday night
New Runner Night at Marathon Sports. The topic was Your First Race which essentially just allowed Ann and I to talk about running for an hour  After the class Ann, Annie and I went for a run around Harriet and Ann absolutely rocked it!

thursday night
Art in Bloom at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here are some photos to clue you in.

of course i'd lead off with a religious pic

loved the colors in this

Mark in museum pose

awesome exterior

Relaxing. Race planning. Hydrating.

PS- If you think all this night-time socializing prevented me from getting out of bed for a run in the morning, you're totally wrong. I was three for five this week, allowing me to greet the sunrise. Here's evidence.

April 23, 2012

my first race & other weekend activities

Saturday was the first time I've pinned on a race number since Ragnar Relay last August.

I ran the the Trail Mix race at Hyland and I found three other poor souls to do the 50K relay with me. Relay is misleading because it's not a relay at all, rather a team event where everyone runs the 7.75 mile loop together and then all our times are added up.

Because I haven't been running much lately, I wanted to run this just for fun and stayed with my brother the whole time. We both crossed the finish line at 1:13:29, roughly a 9:27 pace. Since we had speedy dudes on our team, we ended up finishing 22nd overall (out of 95 teams) and 5th in our division of uneven mixed. Not too shabby. 

Team "Three Men and a Lady"
It was actually a great day for the race weather-wise but by the time I got home, my sweat had cooled me down significantly and I was freezing! I spent a good twenty minutes just trying to warm up in the shower before jetting off to see my two little brothers in a play at their school. 

After watching a wonderful performance- and getting a lesson in morals (it's Catholic school, after all)- I went to one of my favorite places in Northeast MSP, Pyscho Suzi's for Krisi's birthday. I had a drink called 'one-eyed willy' which is like a coconut version of a Long Island. Warmed me right up. 

extra points if you noticed my finger in his nose
The festivities continued as I ventured to Colleen's to "our" housewarming party. (I'm there so much they made me an honorary roommate.) There were burgers. There were drinks. There was magic... like literally magic because I became animated enough to bust out some card tricks and then sing this song when they would ask how I did it. 

I returned home from my magical evening to discover the Lindsay Lohan had passed away. It's true: I couldn't keep a fish alive for a week. Sad day. She was buried at sea.

Despite Saturday night's activities, I was still able to make it up and out the door for a short shakeout run at 7:30 the next morning. Church, lunch, a movie with my little sister, and a sushi dinner rounded out my Sunday.

Right now my biggest struggle is trying to find a balance between running and the rest of my life. I think I'm currently skewing a bit towards the "life" part. This week: Breathing. Refocusing. Moving forward.

April 17, 2012

so many exciting things

Let's start with tonight and then backtrack:

I had a meeting at work tonight that got out earlier than I thought, which meant that I had a decision to make: Gorge myself on leftover cheese bread and wine at home OR go for a run (both stress relievers, obviously).  I weighed those two options on the way home and thought seriously about how I'd feel after each. Verdict: The run won and I ran my quickest miles in a long time, all sub-8.

Earlier today, though, Chilly Billy's Two Punch Tuesday sounded a siren call and I found myself face down in this:

more candy than fro-yo

But backing up to last night, this:

this is Ingrid Michaelson, my best friend

Ingrid Michaelson! She played at the Guthrie, on a stage set for I don't know what play, but it incredible. By the end of the show, I had decided that we were best friends.

The concert was preceded by dinner at Yum! Kitchen and Bakery, which is just a short walk from my apartment. It was a blonde girls night with Colleen, Krisi (my brother's girlfriend), Kristi and her sister Julie.  Both Krisi and Kristi have birthdays tomorrow and Thursday, respectively, which happily coincided with Ingrid coming to town.

Prior to dinner I had been at work, and absolutely nothing about that is worth noting.

Jumping back to Sunday night, Colleen made me a pet owner by giving me a red beta fish that I promptly named Lindsay Lohan. She lives in a vase and doesn't photograph well.

what a diva
I may have pre-written her obituary. I can't even keep plants alive.

April 15, 2012

make it count

Here's to making it count this week.

Make It Count from Casey Neistat on Vimeo.

April 13, 2012

off and running

I've gone running the last 4 out of 5 days. Every fiber of my being is so grateful that I am able to do this again.

On Wednesday night I went for a run with Ann.  It was one of those glorious spring nights; cool, but sunny enough to make you want to stand with your face turned up to the sky just to capture its warmth. The trees are budding and the grass seems so vibrantly green after our white winter melted to reveal a brown earth. All of this, though, will soon give way to a muggy summer. For everything there is a season...

After our run- where three miles on Ford Parkway flew by as we chatted about training, running shoes, running injuries, upcoming races and jobs- we sunk onto Ann's basement floor for a little foam rolling and stretching. Biscuit the dog helped.

We're best buddies, though he refused me puppy kisses.
Ann gets credit for this photo, which I stole off her blog.
Aside from Ann being one of the most genuinely nice, awesomest (it's a word) people I know, she also expands my vocabulary to include phrases like rage stroke and hunger terrorist. That night she taught me how Lund's has sushi for $4.99 on Wednesday nights. Wine, cheese and soup made the meal. After all was said and done, it looked as though a food massacre had occurred on Ann's ottoman, which was littered with empty sushi boxes, soup containers and a tipped-over wine bottle. It was awesome.

What's not awesome is how easily I'm bruising, a side effect of keeping my blood oh-so-thin. After a night of vigorous foam rolling and stick usage, I have several bruises appear on my legs, including the one that's visible in the picture above on the front of my shin.

Last night, though, no running for me. I got out of running attire and went Full Time Fancy for a show at the Guthrie. And it was lovely.

ETA: Sorry if you're seeing this same post multiple times.  I was trying to multitask from my phone while waiting for my INR today and it wasn't exactly successful. Happy Friday!

April 10, 2012

goals update

In early January I posted 12 goals for 2012. Here's an update on where I am.

1. Do something ridiculously nice for someone.
Rest assured that I'm making very intentional efforts with this. I'm just not going to write about it here, at least not yet.

2. Make cards and mail them to people who make my life awesome.
I made one for my brother in January and totally dropped the ball in February and March. I have some catching up to do.
3. Try new restaurants.
I made it out a lot in January but spent half of February out of the country and most of March as an invalid. I did make it to Spoonriver (good food) and Northeast Social (totally my vibe) in February and I think I ventured out to The Lowry (average, but it's in my neighborhood) in March, too.  I might have to be more intentional about this one, especially since I'm still searching for the perfect Gimlet.
4. Read books.
I'm making progress with this! I read Crazy Love last month and now I've moved on to Bloom. It's an incredible story and the pictures are amazing. If you want a little preview, watch the book trailer below or check out her blog.

one time deals
I have made zero progress on any of these.

5. Paint something to hang in my apartment.

6. Get a tattoo. (This one is on hold until I'm off blood thinners, per the doc. After much help from a very resourceful friend, I do have the design that I want.)

7. Skydive.

8. Go one week without buying anything.

9. Expand my vocabulary.
I picked up this fun game a few months ago and stumbled upon this website (careful, it's addicting). I've all but kicked my cursing habit, too.

10. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
I have a pile of stuff in a corner of my apartment that I want to donate. Making progress.

11. Travel.
India is going to count for a while, though I sincerely hope it's not my only trip of 2012.

12. Get faster, stronger and healthier.
Now that I'm officially cleared to run, I'm starting a real training schedule, one that will hopefully get me on track to run a fast half come late winter or early 2013. Training plan to come.

April 7, 2012

rookie running mistakes

After my busy week left no time for running, I decided today would be the day I would kick off more serious training since being cleared to run. The weather was rainy and cold and I reminded myself that April showers bring May flowers as I threw on a pair of shorts, grabbed a hat, windbreaker and my Garmin and hit the road for three miles.

Running through the cold rain, the kind of weather that makes your bare legs turn pink and shocks your skin, made me feel tough. I cruised through my first quarter mile at a 7:10 pace before catching myself and slowing down. Rookie mistake #1: Going out too fast.

I severely underestimated how hard it was raining. A mile in, my coat and shorts were absolutely soaked, causing me to move my car key fab to an inside pocket in a vain attempt to keep it semi-dry. Rookie mistake #2: Not dressing for the weather (and thinking that windbreaker and raincoat are one in the same).

By mile two I was just praying that I'd make it to mile three. That's when I started a hill climb. And started walking.  Yes, after hammering 7:55 and 8:09 miles, my final mile was 8:39. Rookie mistake #3: Not pacing properly.

As I sit here now, with tight calves and tired legs, I'm reminded what I love about running: No matter how experienced or inexperienced a runner you are, each run teaches you something. I'm so looking forward to my next lesson.

laying on the floor seemed like an acceptable cool down
And that vase that's in the upper right corner? Filled with these:

love them

April 6, 2012


What a week. What a month. What a year! 2012 has brought with it so many surprises, some good, some bad. India. Pulmonary embolisms. And now this.

Last Sunday marked the first day in April, so when my dad's message began with I'm on my way to the hospital...  I'm thinking Ha ha, April Fools until he said ...because Grandma fell and broke her hip.

My Grandma Geri is 83. She and my Grandpa have been married 60 years. Here we are (some of us) celebrating their anniversary in October.

About two years ago she was diagnosed with dementia and the progression of it has been shockingly rapid. She lives at home with my Grandpa and has been able to take care of herself, but even tasks like cooking and laundry are challenging. Her short-term memory is literally nonexistent but she remembers us and past events just fine. Her breaking her hip will undoubtedly be a turning point in their lives.

I went to the hospital on Sunday to see a very foggy Grandma. Four people came to the hospital that day with broken hips so her surgery would be delayed until Monday evening. When I got to the hospital on Monday night, we all chatted in her room as we waited for them to come take her away. I knew I wanted to pray for her, out loud, with my family before she left but boldness is a skill I'm still cultivating. And so I waited.

Before I knew it, two nurses came in to take her down. Wait, wait, I told them. We're going to pray for her. Now God had an even bigger audience. Grandma, I'm going to pray for you, okay? And then the sweetest words from her: Oh, I wish you would.  So my dad and I laid hands on her, with my Grandpa standing at the foot of her bed and nurses standing silently in the corner. And I prayed for protection, for wisdom for the doctors and peace for Grandma, while my knees and voice shook. Amen.

After they took Grandma, we went our separate ways for dinner and reconvened in the waiting room to hear a post-surgery update. When I sat down next to my Grandpa, he put his hand on mine, eyes full of tears and said Hannah, that was the most beautiful prayer. Thank you for doing that. Those words pierced my heart.

The doctor came and said surgery went well, that she'd be in the hospital for 3-4 days before moving to a rehab center for a few weeks. It was 10:30 before we saw a very confused, very agitated Grandma. Her hands had been restrained to keep her from pulling out IVs. Oh my. My protective instincts went into overdrive and all the knowledge I gained from being in the hospital with Joel came to mind.

The nurses told us she had been asking for two things in recovery: Jim (my grandpa) and when the bible reading was. I am beyond blessed to have been born into a family filled with incredible love and unshakable faith.

I stayed there that night, sitting on a chair next to her bed, holding her hand, and reassuring her when she woke up. By 6:30, I was exhausted but wide awake and my dad came to relieve me. I slept for an hour before going into work.

The past few days have been filled with PT and antibiotics and xrays and blood draws. Grandma is still in the hospital but we hope to move her today to a rehab center. I go see her everyday and I know the minute I walk out the door she doesn't remember that I was ever there. But I remember and will never forget.