Friday, October 19, 2012

TC Marathon Recap #2

Ok, where was I?  Ahh yes, mile 13....

After our quick pit stop we got back to running, my family was waiting for us just around the bend - so we got to high five the kids again.  We headed out and up the "smallish" hill to head to the River Pkwy. 

At this point my legs were definitely feeling the first 13 miles but there was only one option - keep running cause we were finishing this thing! 

The crowd support on the Mpls side was really great - there really was not a quiet spot the whole way.  About mile 14 I saw a couple of our friends with their son - I was so focused on not stopping that I almost missed them!  It's funny how hard it can be to really focus on anything other than forward motion!

We kept fueling and taking walk breaks through the aid stations.  We were letting each other know how we were feeling and vowed to stick together.  We had made it that far - there was no leaving each other at that point. 

Mile 16 - out of the corner of my eye I saw these people jumping around on the side of the road.  All of a sudden it dawned on me - it was my friend Ann and her husband Jay - dressed as ROBOTS!  It was awesome - they had a boom box playing that song Gangam Style and dancing!  Seriousl
y - best thing ever!  We took a picture and then Ann dropped her costume and ran with us for a little bit.  She is such a great friend and I can't wait to be able to jump in and run with her at her marathon some day!


Photo Courtesy of Ann Freeman


A little after that we saw Tracy's family again - it was great to see her kids and see how proud of their mom they were.  It actually worked out really well, our families were about 1.5 miles apart - so we would see her peeps and then we would see mine - it was like having double the support out there!

We saw my kids and family again at mile 18.  I can safely say this was a point where I was so tired and so ready to be done.  But I really tried hard to be tough and positive, especially when we saw our cheerleaders!

 We crossed the river over in to St. Paul.  It was a relief and it made me dreadful all at the same time.  If you have ever run a race on this part of the course you know that this is by far the "hilliest" part.  I just kept telling myself to keep moving.  We were still taking walk breaks through aid stations and listening to our bodies.  Things hurt by the only option was to keep going and get up those final hills to the finish line. 

We ran up the incline at 19-20, and then when the real beast of a hill came up at Mile 20-21 - right before you get up to Summit - we opted to walk, along with the rest of the runners that were with us at that point.  When we got to the top we could hear and see the crowds and it motivated us to get going again.  Now was the time for the real race to start.  Those last 5.2 miles are serious.  That trek up Summit Ave is no joke. I knew that, I have run it a few times, in races and in training runs.  I don't
really think anything prepares you for the last 5.2 miles of a marathon - it becomes a mind game.

Again, the crowd support in St. Paul was amazing too.  The entire way up Summit Ave was lined with spectators - it was really great.  I spotted another friend around mile 23 - she had been there all day cheering on several of my other friends that were running.  It was so great to see a friendly face and get encouragement to finish strong - thanks Amy!  She even had signs with all of our names on them!

Mile 24 - walked through the aid station and spotted my friend Annie who was volunteering - again, so great to see a smiling, friendly face!  And then there was the huge crowd at the TC Running Company's cheer zone.  It was awesome to hear all of the partying and cheering coming from that crowd - and hearing Adam (the store owner and EP Grad) root on the runners! 

It was at this point that my goal of finishing at the 5 hour mark was definitely not going to happen so we just decided to get moving - do whatever we could to get to the finish as soon after the 5 hour mark we could.  Our friend Erin (who had run the 10 miler earlier that morning and had a great race) found us just after mile 24 and ran with us for a little while.  It was great to be distracted from what we were actually doing and hear how her race went.  She kept telling us how great we looked - I am going to suggest she get her vision checked!  :)  But, seriously, it was so nice to see a friend and get so much support. 

The best part of the TC Marathon was coming up to the top of the hill by the Cathedral and seeing all of the people lined up along John Ireland Blvd waiting for the finishers to come down.  There wasn't
much gas left in the tank and it took a little convincing of my legs but we made a strong push down the hill and in to the finish chute.  First we saw Tracy's family and then a little bit further down the
finish area there were my kids and family (complete with my mom, sue, melissa, travis and lyla - who had been with Rob and the kids all day) - we ran by both groups and all we were focused on was the finish line.  There really is no feeling like being that close to the finish and giving it everything you have to get there and finish strong.

Photo Courtesy of my mom

I ended up crossing the finish line in 5:16:20.  We finished, we made it to run another day!  It was a great day - so many great moments and so many moments when I really questioned what in the world I was doing!  It was so wonderful to run with one of my most treasured friends.  To be there for each other - to support each other - to remind one another that we were definitely doing this! 

I am not sure when I will run another marathon - pretty sure it won't be in 2013, but maybe Grandma's Marathon 2014 - a girl could get that crazy again!  I guess I am just proud of myself for saying that I will actually do this again!  Third times a charm, right? 

There are other things I would like to talk about from the marathon but that will be for another post.  There are so many people I want to thank but I would like to dedicate a whole post to that.  I don't think there is enough gratitude and thankfulness in our daily lives so I want to be sure they get the credit they all deserve! 

Thanks for sticking with me everyone!  Live to run another day!  Finish lines are for winners!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

TC Marathon 2012 - Recap Part #1

It's official - I am now a TWO time marathon finisher! 

This marathon was not the same as my first for several reasons:
  • The first one, you don't deviate from your training schedule, EVER. You know that every training run serves a purpose and because you are scared to death you will suck if you don't get them in, you do it, even when you don't want to.
  • First one was in the Spring, I got to train in the fall and winter - which I much prefer for running than the heat of the summer.
  • First one was on the flattest marathon course you can possibly get your hands on in the Midwest, seriously - they use it as a marketing piece to get people to run their marathon.
  • First one I ran completely alone. 
  • First one there were four people I knew along the course, otherwise it was perfect strangers cheering me along the rest of the way.
  • First one I had to travel and sleep in an unfamiliar bed the night before.
So, as you can see there were a couple of differences, some are positives (which they were - did I mention the flatness) and others may seem like they would be negatives.  It's really all in the eye of the beholder I guess.

Bottom line I was not as prepared for this race as I was for Fargo.  I knew it, my friends knew it, my husband knew it, my mom knew it, my Physical Therapist knew it.  But, it didn't matter, I had signed up, paid the entry fee and I was going to run it and I was going to finish - the finish line was the goal - nothing else.

My best friend from high school, Tracy was also running this race.  She ran TCM many years ago, I think we were in our early 20's, I thought she was nuts back then and really wasn't in to running and races, etc.  I remember her doing it, I recall her training for it and back then she was one of those crazy runner people and I just didn't get it.  Well, as you all know, I now get it.  I am one of those crazy runner people and now we were going to do this together.  We did our 20 mile training run together and we talked about how we would really like to start the race together and stay together as long as possible.  We were both dealing with our own demons on race day so we decided up front that if one of us needed to go ahead, they needed to just go ahead, the other person would be okay with that.  Honestly, the way my legs had been feeling, I was fully expecting to have to send Tracy on her way at some point of the race and I was okay with that. 

Tracy and I made our way to the start corrals on the cold morning - it was 30 degrees at the starting gun.  It actually didn't feel as cold to us when we were lined up - we were blocked from any wind and the sun was shining as we started the race through Downtown Minneapolis.  Those few miles through downtown were the only miles on the entire race course that I had never run before.  Other than that, I had run some form of mileage along all the other parts of the race course prior to that day - either during training or during some other race.  It felt great to be in my hometown running this marathon, there was so much support everywhere.  You really didn't go far without hearing cheers from the side of the streets.  Minneapolis and St. Paul residents really know how to come out and support the runners. 

It took a few miles for my legs to get "warmed up" and my hips to not feel so tight.  About mile 7 is when I recall feeling pretty good and so did Tracy.  We were having a good run, listening to our bodies, fueling when we needed to and enjoying the scenery and the crazy cheering people!  My family and some friends were planning on being on the course around mile 11 so when we crossed that 10 mile mark I started to get excited to see them. 

We came around the corner on the parkway and I knew we were getting close.  And then I saw them, my kids - my girls were seeing me run a marathon!  I was so happy to see them.  I grabbed a jolly rancher from my husband, kissed him, kissed my girls, said hi to my mom and bestie Melissa and we were back on the road!  It was such an adrenaline kick to see them on the course and know they were out there cheering! 

My running wheelhouse is really from miles 7-14, I typically feel really good, legs are loose but not too tired and can usually keep a pretty good pace and rhythm.  This held true for the marathon.  There are hills on this course that you just don't ever really get used to.  But, they were part of the journey so we sucked it up. 

The half marathon mark was on the west side of Lake Nokomis - Tracy took a quick potty break and I took a moment to snap a pic:
After that, we were ready to tackle the hardest part of the course and cross over in to St. Paul.

I will stop here cause the last part of the race is where it gets dicey and I could get long winded (shocker, I know!). 
And, as you may have noticed, mile 13 and Tracy and I were still together and determined to keep it that way!

More later....

Friday, October 5, 2012

2 Days!

Hello my long lost blog readers!  I hope that I haven't lost all of you due to my lack of posting.  The summer has been crazy busy, work has me traveling a lot and training for marathon #2 was all I could handle on top of it all! 

I have missed writing.  I say that every time I come back from a hiatus.  I should really take a hint. 

So, here is the bottom line.  I am running the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday October 7th.  That is a mere two days away.  I am scared, nervous, excited and happy about it all at the same time.  My training for this marathon was not the same as when I trained for Fargo at the beginning of the year.  I was totally immersed in that training cycle - rarely did I miss a scheduled run.  I can not say the same for this training cycle.  I am trying to come to peace with the fact that I am not as prepared for TCM as I was for Fargo.  I let a lot of things get in the way this time - work travel, heat, early morning workouts without enough daylight, time with kids, the list really could go on.  The biggest lesson I have learned is that I was not prepared for training for two marathons in one year.  It's a lot of work - it's a lot of sacrifice that I just wasn't prepared for.  But, it's okay - after Sunday it will be over.  I will cross that finish line - probably quite a bit slower than I did in Fargo, but I am determined to finish.  I am still battling a lot of leg issues - hips, hip flexors, calves - you name it and they get angry when I run for longer than 6 miles.  I have a great physical therapist who is going to help me tackle my running form after the marathon and see if we can tweak some things so that my glutes, etc start taking on more responsibility when I am out there running. 

I am also already signed up to run the Monster Dash Half Marathon on October 27th.  I intend on having as much fun as possible at that race and running it with a couple of close friends.  I have no aspirations of personal records, etc - I just want to really enjoy running again!  One of the other things I have learned over this summer of training - I don't like running in the heat, not even a little bit.  Note to self - spring marathons are really where it's at for me (if I do another one).  I want to get back to the enjoyment of running and I think not having a strict training schedule will really help with that.  Besides, I am crazy, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE running outside in the winter! 

Sunday morning - 8AM CST - I will start my second journey of 26.2 miles.  I still can't believe I am doing this again.  I can't believe that next Monday I will be able to come back here and report that I have completed my second full marathon and I am still standing!  When I start to get down on myself I need to remember where I have come from over the last couple years and cut myself a little slack. 

That being said - after the marathon - I have work to do.  I have about 15 extra pounds that are going to be receiving an eviction notice, I am going to be in the weight room, outside running, maybe find a class or two that I can join, maybe some yoga.  I really need to get back down to my "fighting" weight and stay there this time.  Losing the weight is the hard part, keeping the weight off - that's the HARDEST part. 

If you are so inclined - please send me your good running mojo vibes for Sunday.  I can use all of the extra mojo I can get my hands on.  And if you are on the course - I will be wearing a black UA short sleeve top, black compression shorts or tights with a blue sparkly skirt!  Yell and I will yell back! 

What?  What's that you say?  You want to see a super cute picture of my daughters?  Well, who am I to deny people of their cuteness!  Here they are - photos are courtesy of my extremely talented photographer father - Jim Bayer, Owner/Operator Bayer Photography!

 Ava is on the right - she is 3, going on 12.  She looks up to her sister and has a blast at her one day at preschool during the week.  She is my snuggly, sweet baby...for now.

Zoe is on the left - she is 4 (5 in Dec), going on 25.  She is our fashionista, she is wildly in love with Adam Levine (Maroon 5) and loves the color purple.  She is my mini-me - except I don't know where she gets the fashion, girly stuff from! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Let's Be Real, Really Real

So, if you are a regular here, you may have noticed I pretty much have fallen off the face of the Earth.  Otherwise known as, the dreaded weight gain.  I have gained some weight, completely lost my running mojo and just didn't know what the heck to say about it.  Well, I am done.  Done feeling sorry for myself, done feeling my clothes get tight again, done making excuses for all of it.  I have got some work to do.  I have some agressive goals and plans of action.  I am going to formulate a better post about those later this week.  It's my birthday on Wednesday and I am not going to let that be an excuse for letting my healthy living go to the wayside.  I have got some training runs planned with my running pal Annie on Tuesday and Wednesday morning and will knock out at least one other run on Thursday or Friday.  Then a long run on Saturday or Sunday with Melissa (we ran 11 last Sunday).  I am in control - no more letting other things control my actions and decisions. 
Now I am going to leave you with some pictures from the Fargo Marathon.  I ordered some pics (1st Marathon, had to do it!) and they are providing some serious motivation right now!  It's great to look at them and recall how I felt at that time!  Unstoppable, accomplished, like there was nothing I could not do! 

Enjoy!


On Course - Mile 22ish I think


Finish Line - My Chip Time was actually 4:44:39


Just after getting my medal -
I was a puddly mess right before this and shortly after this was taken when I saw my husband!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dose of Reality

Reality is....

I trained for a marathon.
I ran a marathon.
I took a 10 day hiatus from running after said marathon.
I have only run a handful of times in the four weeks since the marathon.
I needed a break from training.
I have gained 10 pounds while training.
I am currently at my heighest weight in over a year.
I have had to pay at Weight Watchers for two months in a row because I am over goal weight.
I need to break the cycle.
I need to get back to what I know.
I started fresh on Monday.
I have eaten within my points two days in a row.
I went to the gym on Monday morning and got my sweat on.
I went for a run with a friend this morning.
I sucked on my run this morning.
I am going for another run tomorrow morning.
I need to lose at least 10 pounds over the next 6-8 weeks.
I am a better runner at a lighter weight.
I don't want to gain another 10 pounds training for another marathon.
I need to stop telling myself that I can eat what I want on long run days.
I am taking a break from Caribou - need to lose 5 pounds before I get another tea latte.
I drank 110 ounces of water on Monday and felt so great.
I drank another 95 ounces of water today and feel even better.
I have taken my vitamins for two days straight.
I am stressed out at work.
I am stressed out at home.
I have let myself go back to some old habits.
I need to kickstart training for my second full marathon.
I need to get my head on straight. 
I need to remember that I deserve to eat well and exercise.
I need to not feel guilty about going for a run.
I need my clothes to fit well again.
I want to feel good about who I see in the mirror.

Reality sucks sometimes.  But sometimes it can be pretty great too.  Reality is I have a lot going on right now.  Big deal, everybody has a lot going on.  It's time to suck it up and get back to it.  I am running another marathon in less than 15 weeks and I want to step up to that starting line as ready as I can possibly be.  I want to lose this extra baggage I have picked up over the last few months and rid it for good...again.  I know I can do it, I know what I have to do, so now it's time to do it.  Keep me honest friends!

Be happy and healthy my friends!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fargo Marathon Race Recap

From the day I signed up for the Fargo Marathon I had thought about what I would say after the race.  Would I be glad that I did it, would I say I am never doing that again...the one thing I always knew that I would NOT say...I wish I had finished.  I knew from day one of training that I was going to finish the marathon - no matter what that meant, I was finishing. 

I knew that I put the appropriate time and effort in to my training - even though I may have second guessed myself coming down the stretch.  I arrived in Fargo (with my mom and husband at my side) on Friday May 18th ready to take on the 26.2! 

We arrived in Fargo, headed to the Fargodome, picked up my packet, perused the expo wares and chatted with friends.  Rob's cousins were also in town for the race and we ran in to them which was awesome - they have both been inspirations to me over the last year as I started running and could not have been more supportive of me - Mike and Mary, thank you so much!  I was also lucky enough to run in to some new Internet/twitter friends at the expo - such great girls and I am so fortunate to have met them in person!  Courtenay and Heidi were much better about getting recaps up and you should run not walk to their sites and check them out! 
Melissa and Travis were in town as well, Melissa was taking on the Fargo Half Marathon (her first!).  The five of us went out for dinner, some fro-yo and then headed back to the hotel to settle in for the evening.  The boys ventured across the street for some cocktails, while us ladies got ready to get some rest. 

I woke up the next morning feeling ready to go.  It had been a long 18 weeks and it was all for this day.  I had all of my gear laid out, shirt, shorts, sparkle skirt, garmin, belt, etc.  I got dressed and sent Melissa off (the half started an hour before the full) to her race.  Thankfully, the sweltering heat that Fargo had been experiencing the night before had dissipated and the weather was perfect on Saturday morning.  It was overcast and almost chilly as we headed out the door to the Fargodome.  My mom agreed to take me to the dome and drop me off, then she was going to go back and pick up the boys so they could get to their places on the course to see Melissa and then me as I came through.  I really had no expectations of actually being able to see anyone, not knowing what the streets would be like. 


READY!

I made it in the dome and sat in the stands for a bit watching the 10K finishers come in to the dome.  I found myself getting very emotional as I sat there alone, cheering on the runners.  I had to get up and go out to the concourse.  I made a few visits to the bathroom and found my friend Jenny who was also running her first marathon.  She was actually in my Learn to Run class at the Running Room last year - she is a great athlete, she was battling an injury so didn't know what to expect - but I knew she would be awesome. 

We made our way to the start line.  There was a lot of people - but in comparison to larger marathons - there were "only" 2000 marathoners.  I found the pace group I wanted to start with.  They sent the elites off, the wheelchair racers, and then the gun went off for our race.  We actually were able to start running a lot sooner than I had anticipated - usually its more of a shuffle when there are that many people!  I crossed the start mat and hit "Start" on the Garmin.  I was off - I was running my first marathon!

Miles 1-6: (9:59, 10:27, 9:59, 10:23, 10:56, 9:36)
The first 6 miles I felt great - probably too great.  I stuck with the 4:30 pace group for most of this first part of the race.  It was a bit ambitious but I knew that I could back off if I needed to.  I held my own for awhile.  I ended up seeing Heidi on the course, we ran and chatted a bit.  I was taking the "walk through water stops" option at this point - so I ended up falling behind Heidi - she was on a redemption mission so I was glad she took off! (And redemption was had for her too - seriously, check out her blog!)

Miles 7-12: (10:02, 11:10, 10:31, 9:47, 10:47, 11:48)
I was still feeling pretty decent - I knew I was going to have a pretty decent half marathon time.  My longer mile splits at mile 8 and mile 12 were when I was taking in some Gu.  I had brought my own stash not knowing what they would have on the course (after being burned at Get Lucky, I learned my lesson) and I had gotten some advice to take them early and often - which I did.  At this point my legs were still feeling great, I was having ZERO hip pain.  I mostly was anticipating getting to see my husband and my mom.  I knew that there were aiming to be at the mile 12/19 area.  I looked up and could see my mom in the distance - with her cowbell - it was sweet relief to see a familiar face! 

Mile 12(ish)



Seeing my mom and Rob was the shot in the arm that I needed.  I knew I was already pacing pretty decently but as I approached the half marathon mark - I noticed that I had just run it in 2:16 - which is not any world records or anything.  But I suspected it might be a little slower than that.  My Get Lucky finish - which was not my best half mary showing was 2:15 so I was pleased.  But I also knew that I needed to dial it back just a smidge if I was going to go the distance and go the distance strong. 

Miles 13-18: (9:47, 10:56, 11:22, 10:01, 11:41, 11:03)
I had lost the 4:30 pace group before I saw my mom and Rob, but it was okay.  My realistic goal was the 4:45 group - and I had met them at the beginning of the race so I figured I would run in to them at some point.  They were behind me (which I would find out at mile 23).  This stretch from 13 to almost 19 was the most brutal part of the course for me.  There was a turn around - or so they said.  I swear I kept expecting it to show up and then FINALLY - the turn around.  Then I knew it would be only shortly before I would get to see my mom and Rob again! 


Water - Mile 19!
Miles 19-22: (10:40, 11:23, 12:36, 11:29)
As I came through the water stop around the mile 19 area I could hear my name and cheering.  All along the course the supporters were great but this was different.  As I rounded the corner I see my friends and family!  Husband, mom, Melissa, Travis, Troy and Jill - all yelling and cheering - it was AMAZING!  I stopped briefly (asking Missy and Troy how the half went) and then I was back on my way - I did still have 7 miles.  The last thing I heard as I ran away was Travis yell - "See you at the finish" - it gave me goose bumps.  I was going to finish this marathon - and they were all going to be there to see it!
This set of miles were tough - I am not going to lie.  There was some walking that happened outside of my water stop walks.  But I never once stopped moving.  I don't equate walking to failing so I was okay with the breaks - but I didn't want to become "okay" with it to the point that it really slowed me down.  They are not kidding when they say the last 6.2 miles of a marathon are the hardest - and I really think it was more mental than anything.  My body was tired, but my legs weren't done, they had 6 more miles in them.

Miles 23-25: (11:58, 11:02, 11:36)
Mile 23 I discovered my 4:45 pace group again - they had caught up to me!  I tried not to get too down on myself for having been caught because realistically this was a good finish time for me.  So, I made a deal with myself - you finish with these people, and at the end you sprint your ass off and make sure you get that sub 4:45 time.  The last few miles were loooong.  But the support on these miles were incredible.  I am sure it was written on most of our faces that we were done and the supporters responded accordingly.  I thanked them all - the "way to go", "you are almost there", "nice skirt" - whatever it was - THANK YOU!  It kept me moving - not always very quickly as you can my mile splits suffered the last 6 miles, but I was moving in a forward direction.

Mile 26 and .2: (10:55, 9:07)
As we came around the corner and were able to see the FargoDome I was not sure if I was going to be able to contain my emotion.  We ran past this huge big screen out on the street - as I saw myself run by it started to get real that I was about to finish my first marathon and I was going to be on two feet doing it!
The .2 in to the finish area seemed to go on forever!  As I came upon the straight away before the curve in to the dome I heard them - my crew!  I looked over and there they were (all but my mom, she was in the dome) yelling and cheering again!  It was all I could do to not break down in tears at that very moment - I had to take a deep breath in because I could feel the tears already. 


Fighting back the tears!

They waved me by and I turned the corner in to the dome.  I started down the decline in to the FargoDome - there were some folks that I had to jump and jive around but I made it in to the dome.  The moment I crossed over the garage threshold I could hear the people in the stands screaming, cheering on the runners.  At that moment I turned it on and started sprinting to the finish. I was so focused on getting there as fast as I could I forgot to look up and see myself on the big jumbotron inside the dome.  I looked up at the clock and saw the 4:46 tick off - and I knew that I had done it (based on how long it took me to get across the start line) - I had to be under the 4:45 mark. 


Sprint to the finish

Marathon FINISHER!





















As I came across the finish - I just melted.  One of the volunteers came over to check on me, I told him I was fine, just emotional.  The tears started instantly and I could barely contain myself long enough to get my medal.  I walked up to the volunteer with the medals, crying, he was very gracious and congratulated me.  I made my way over to the food area.  There was a line up of chocolate milk (two, please), cookies, pizza (nasty), soup, fruit, and beer.  I opted for a banana, couple things of chocolate milk, and a cookie.  Pizza did not sound nor look good to me at that point. 

As I made my way through I saw Rob on the other side of the barrier.  I walked over and hugged him and instantly started bawling.  It felt so good to be done and on the other side of this race.  His hug felt amazing and solidified everything I had worked for the last 18 weeks.  Missy came in to the runner's area and helped me make my way out of there and found everyone else. 

My official marathon finishing time - 4:44:38.  BOOM!  I have so much more to say and things I learned.  But this is already mega long!  I will be back later this week with more!  Enjoy some pics!


Relaxing? Post Race

#1 Fan!

MARATHON FINISHER!







Thursday, May 17, 2012

Two Days....

On December 30, 2011 when I registered for the Fargo Marathon, I really didn't put much thought in to what it would feel like to be two days away from actually running a marathon. 

I started training on January 15th.  So, you can see why it didn't really seem real until very recently.  That was roughly 18 weeks of training for one day - one day that is quickly turning in to one of the biggest days of my life.   Now, I have two beautiful little girls and nothing will ever trump the two days when they came in to the world.  But, with the anticipation and the work that has been put in to this marathon - it's pretty high on the list.

I had thought about writing this whole series of posts leading up to the marathon.  What I was going to wear (UA compression shorts, Team Sparkle running skirt, black tank/shirt, sparkle headband), what I planned on eating this week (pretty much anything I can get my hands on, I kid, sort of), how much water I was going to drink (a ton, and then a ton more), my last visit with my PT Pete (I will indeed write about this because he is amazing!) and oh so much more.  But, here's the deal - I feel like most of that is good information but it doesn't really convey how I am feeling about this whole thing. 

I am not sure how to convey how I am feeling about this whole thing to be honest. 

I am scared.  This is a huge deal, I have not done anything this huge.  Or at least it doesn't feel like I have.  Yes, I have birthed two very healthy babies - but my body was built to do that.  Some may argue that our bodies were made to run also, but I don't think it's quite the same thing! Just my opinion.

I am excited.  I can hear the cheering, I can see the signs, I can hear the music.  I can't wait.

I am losing my mind.  Yes, this is the absolute, freaking truth.  I had envisioned writing this post about how awesome I feel, how I am going to kick this marathon's ass.  Yeah, right.  Maybe if I run a second one I will have all of those bad ass feelings.  But, today - I am simply consumed. 

I am doubting my training.  I followed a great plan - Hal Higdon is a genius and I don't doubt the plan he wrote.  I doubt how well I executed it.  Did I run every prescribed run - nope.  Did I run every prescribed run in the manner it was supposed to be run - nope.  I made modifications - I listened to my body when necessary.  But, two days away, I question if I put enough miles in.  Somewhere in my brain, I know that I did.  And according to my PT, my body is physically ready for this challenge.  I just need to listen. 

I am proud.  I am going to be able to say that I ran a marathon.  That's kind of a big deal, right?  I think so.  If you had asked me last January when I started running, if I wanted to ever run a marathon, I would have laughed at you and I would have laughed loud and hard.  I just wanted to be able to run a 5K without walking.  Proud.

I have run roughly 400 miles in the last four months.  That is a drop in the bucket for a lot of runners.  For me, that is a lot of miles.  There were weeks during my training that I ran 30-35 miles.  For me, that is a lot of miles.  There was this one day when I ran 20 miles.  For me, that is a lot of miles.  On Saturday I am going to run 26.2 miles.  For me, that is a lot of miles. 

My mission is to run the majority of those 26.2 miles with a smile on my face and with pride in my heart.

There are some people in my life who have been very pivotal in making sure I made it to this point. 
  • My husband, who every Saturday for the last 18 weeks took care of our kids while I hit the trails, sometimes for hours. 
  • And my kids, who can't be in Fargo, but who have been my best cheerleaders, I love you both so much!
  • My best friend Melissa, who faithfully took those to trails with me and who is going to be running her first half marathon in Fargo, I could not be more proud of you! 
  • My mom, dad, step mom, and in laws - who all took turns watching the girls for me during the week so I could get a run in -whether it was at the lake, at the gym or at the local high school - you all made it possible for me to log the miles and for that I am forever grateful.  
  • My running friends - the one who encouraged to me to start in the first place and the ones who kept me going.  The running community is a neat place and I am so honored to be a part of it.
  • To my friends and family who have checked in with me, come to other races to cheer me on or race with me, and have loved me and believed in me even though I may not have been the most attentive these past few months.  You are my rocks and I thank you all so much!
  • Every person who has logged on to this blog, followed me on Twitter and Facebook, and left your words of encouragement, you have all continued to inspire me with your own badassery - thank you, thank you, thank you. I will think of all of you during the race on Saturday.
  • And, to all of my friends I have met through blogging who tirelessly encourage and support me.  There are sometimes people who scoff when you say you have met a friend online - I think they are missing out.  Some of you I haven't even had the privilege of meeting in person yet, but you support me no matter what.  I am eternally grateful to all of you!
I love you all so much and I run this for me, but I will be thinking of all of you as I check off each mile.  You will never know the impact you have all made to my life!

This last 18 weeks has taught me so much about myself.  I am a runner.  I am strong.  I am capable of doing hard things.  I have the ability to push myself farther than I knew possible.  And most importantly, I am loved. 

The next time you read this blog it will be authored by a marathoner. 

(I just re-read that last line)

Yep, I guess that is pretty badass after all!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Great Stepback Week!

24 days - but who's counting, right?  Yeah, right! 

This last week I was in Las Vegas all week for work.  The work was great - very productive, lots of great things on the horizon.  The workouts, not as great.  I ran.  Once.  On a treadmill.  I dislike treadmills.  Especially when I have been able to do the majority of my training runs outdoors lately.  Treadmills suck, but they are necessary at times.  Needless to say, with my work schedule and being exhausted, I only made it to the gym one time for a pretty decent 5 miler. 

I had a very large travel debacle.  Our flight was cancelled and I spent the better part of 40 hours awake, trying to get home on Friday morning.  I made it, safe and sound, thank goodness I had my mom along for a travel companion or I may have lost it even more so. 

Saturday I had planned to run 12 miles (step back week on the training schedule).  I was tired, too tired.  I made the grown up decision to push my long run to Sunday morning.  I ended up going out for my 12 miler solo.  I love running partners, but I secretly like to spend time solo on runs every now and again.  It gives me an opportunity to really focus on what I am doing and what I am trying to accomplish.  I have kind of fallen in love with the Midtown Greenway, Cedar Lake Trail, Minnesota River trail that can get me all the way from South Mpls to Hopkins/Mtka area past 494.  It's a great trail, lots of other peeps out there enjoying the trail so you never feel alone.  And at one point in Hopkins (I think) the trail turns to dirt for awhile and I LOVE IT!  Maybe trail running will be in my future at some point.  It feels good to switch from pavement to dirt for a bit. 

I am so glad I waited until Sunday to run - I thought it was going to be bad since I ran so little during the week.  But, I think my legs were actually pretty happy about the extra rest.  I felt great from mile one.  My breathing was on point, my legs felt strong (tight, but strong) and my head was in the right spot.  I decided before I started that I was going to run this as close to my marathon pace as possible.  I ended up running it even a little bit faster than I plan on running the marathon.  I got to mile 9 and felt so good I actually contemplated tacking on a few more miles, but instead I decided to push the last three miles.  I ended up running the last 6 miles of this run at negative splits.  It felt amazing.  I wore my Camelbak again and it was perfect, enough water, holds my Gu, keys and phone - best purchase I have made lately!

Take a look at these splits - I was having fun! (Tried for so long to copy the details from Garmin Connect - could NOT figure it out!)

Split   Time    Distance
1        9:49.3  1.00
2        9:55.9  1.00
3       10:23.9 1.00
4       10:34.7 1.00
5       10:12.5 1.00
6       10:47.2 1.00
7       10:32.7 1.00
8       10:05.5 1.00
9        9:56.9 1.00
10      9:51.8 1.00
11      9:48.5 1.00
12      9:21.0 1.00
Summary Time 2:01:26 Miles 12.01 Avg Pace 10:07



This run really made me feel confident in my ability to push myself and keep a decent pace (for me!) for 12 miles.  I can only hope that it translates well to my 20 mile run this coming Sunday and then ultimately the full marathon at Fargo. 

I am pretty sure this smile says it all!

Be happy and healthy my friends!
Jen

Saturday, April 21, 2012

4 Weeks!



One month/4 weeks/28 days/672 hours....however you break it down, that is officially the time remaining until I run my very first full marathon!  I am here to tell you that I am officially nervous, like stomachache inducing nervous.  My training has been solid - I have had a couple of rough patches with some nagging body pains but nothing I haven't been able to work through.  This last week was not real good - I was in Las Vegas for work - I only had time to run once so I am behind on my weekday mileage.  My long run this weekend is 12 miles (step back week after the 19 miler last weekend) - I normally do my long runs on Saturday mornings.  My return trip from Las Vegas was a debacle and I ended up being awake for almost 42 hours straight - I had no interest in getting up at 6:30 on Saturday AM to run so I have pushed it until tomorrow.  Which is totally fine and ensures that I get two nights of decent sleep under my belt before running a longer distance.  The biggest reason I didn't make more time to run during the week - all I could do is run on the treadmill.  Tuesday afternoon after working I headed to the gym, jumped on the tready and recalled how much I HATE it - I logged 5 miles and promptly got off that darn thing.  I just could not drum up enough motivation to hit it up again two more days.  When you get off the tready for a bit and then have to use it, it's even worse.  I just don't have a good relationship with the tready - I swear I am always more sore and in pain the days after a treadmill run - in my head?  Possibly, but I still don't like it. 

So, my head is spinning.  Examining the remainder of my training calendar and figuring out what I need to do to get to the start line in 4 weeks ready and healthy to run that 26.2 miles.  This coming weekend I am running the Get in Gear 10K with Melissa on Saturday morning.  Then, on Sunday I will be logging my 20 miler - the longest training run I will have before the marathon.  I have started to wonder if I am going to regret using a training program that doesn't believe in running the actual distance prior to the race.  But, I can't go back now and change that.  Honestly, I think once you have run 20 miles, the remaining 6 will come, I reckon it's the .2 that is going to kill me! 

I am excited, nervous, scared, unsure, and super psyched to run this marathon.  I am not sure how healthy it is to have such a mixed bag of emotions but I suspect it's pretty normal for runners attempting their biggest goal.  A little over a year ago when I started running, if you had told me I was going to be running a marathon on May 19, 2012 - I would have laughed in your face, and not even politely - I would have belly laughed all over you!  I continue to be amazed at my progress through training and the way my body has really come through for me. 

I do not have an official time goal for the Fargo Marathon, I just want to finish upright, maybe even with a smile on my face.  I would be lying if I said I didn't have any sort of finish time in my mind - but it's not a thing that will devastate me if I don't get it.  I really do just want to run this race, have a great time and know that I did everything in my power to properly prepare myself for the challenge.  And, I would be kidding myself if I didn't say that I am already contemplating whether or not I will run the Twin Cities Marathon.  I have told myself that if I make it through Fargo and there are still spots in the TC Marathon - I will do it.  Oh goodness, did I just say that out loud!?!?!? 

I will check back in later this week.  There are so many things I want to write about - it's just about making/taking the time to do so. 

Be happy and healthy friends!
Jen

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Get Lucky Half Marathon Recap

I ran the Get Lucky half marathon almost three weeks ago - so this recap is quite overdue.  As most of you know, I am over half way through training for my first full marathon on May 19th in Fargo (it makes me shiver just to type that out, if we are being honest).  So, midway through my program Mr. Higdon suggests actually running a half marathon race - suggesting that this will give you a good idea of your progress on training and a guideline for a potential marathon finish time.  I am not overly concerned about trying to predict a potential marathon finish time - I am overly concerned with FINISHING a marathon so testing my training progress was key. 

The Get Lucky is a pretty big event with a half marathon race and a 7K - it draws a lot of runners and this year happened to actually fall on St. Patrick's Day.  Melissa ran the 7K along with 8,700 of her closest friends over in Minneapolis.  I ran the half with about 2,500 of my closest friends in St. Paul!  I told you - it's a big event. 

Ready for the big race!
I headed to St. Paul on my own Saturday morning - and my mom met me at the race start.  I ran in to a friend at the start - it was actually the best meeting possible - as we started talking I looked at his wrist and saw his Garmin and it sent an immediate chill down my spine - my Garmin watch was STILL IN MY CAR!  Conversation cut short - I ran back to my car and threw on my Garmin with plenty of time to spare before the race started..  So, thank you Jason P. for being my reminder that I didn't have on a piece of my race gear before it was too late to run and grab it.  
I decided before the race that I was going to try and stick with the 9:09 pace group as long as possible and then fall back if I needed to.  That plan lasted for about 5.5 miles.  According to my Garmin splits - I ran the first 5 miles in 45 minutes and the race group was in my sites the entire time.  One thing about Saturday that I will remind you of - it was warm, borderline hot, and it was humid.  I don't typically run races with my fuel belt - I really wish I had on this particular day.  It was hot and humid on March 17th and I personally don't feel like they accommodated the race course with enough water stops for the weather situation.  But, I am not going to dwell on that.  I learned a valuable lesson on this race day - sometimes you just need to carry your own water so you can make sure you properly fuel yourself. 

I hit the turn around of the race (6.55 miles) and was actually still keeping pretty decent pace.  My time at the turn was 1:01 - so, if I had been able to keep that pace - my time would have been PR crushing - but alas, that was not the outcome.  I will tell you that miles 8-11 were rough.  As in I had to take a few walk breaks rough.  There were a few reasons I think that I struggled - the course is hilly, it was hot and humid and I was not properly fueled.  These are things that I had some control over and some that just happen.  I am not going to dwell on this race - it actually taught me a lot.  My finish time was not what I was hoping for - I ended up coming in at 2:14 (which was 8 whole minutes slower than my first half).  But, the fact remains that I finished and I finished strong.  My legs were tired - they felt like they weighed about 100 pounds a piece at times during the race.  I would be lying if I said I didn't think about just quitting more than once.  But I didn't - I ran, I didn't stop.  As my good friend Ann says "I can do hard things!"

Mere feet from the finish!  Thank goodness!
The best part of the race - seeing Ann and Hannah at about the 3/9 mile marker and then seeing my mom, my husband and my two girls just before the finish line.  The girls were far more interested in playing in the dirt - but I did manage to get my oldest to look up and see me when I ran by!  The crowds were so great and supportive on the race course - if you ever go to a race, please know that as runners your cheers, hoots and hollers mean the world to a runner on the course.  There can be dark moments during a race and a cheer from a perfect stranger can actually snap you out of it and be just the boost you need. 

I will admit that my immediate reaction to this race was not a positive one - but then my mom reminded me that I finished, I made the most of the situation and finished strong - she is right.  I didn't PR like I was hoping to - but I did finish, my girls got to see my cross a finish line of a half marathon on a really rough day. 


My support system - My Mom behind the camera too!

The best reasons to finish a race!





















Now, onward with my marathon training.  As of today, there are 45 days separating me from the Fargo Marathon start line.  Holy wow!  I best get running! 

Be healthy and happy friends!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Whoa! Where did I go!?!

Hello my faithfuls! 

Man, have I missed this place.  Life is crazy right now.  Work is stressful, I took a new position about 6 months ago and it has challenged me in ways I have not been challenged at work before.  I have a sales quota and that adds a whole new dimension of stress and pressure that I have not had before.  It has opened up a whole new earning potential for me so that is great, but it definitely takes more of my time than work had been taking previously.  I have been traveling more for work and while I love that part - it's so hard to be away from my family and my routine. 

I am in my 8th week of marathon training.  I really dropped the ball in blogging about that every week.  But, seriously it is all I can do to get the actual workouts in right now - to blog about them on top of it is just too much right now.  Training is going really well.  I am having kind of an off week right now actually.  I had a great run on Tuesday afternoon in the beautiful sunshine and 54 degree weather.  I have not run since.  Ouch - that is hard to say "out loud" - I had every intention of running this morning - I even tweeted my friend Ann that I would be up running at the same time as her in the morning.  When my alarm went off, I was just not feeling 100% - my head hurt, my body ached and I was just tired.  Normally, all three of those reasons would have been the exact reason I would have gotten out of bed and gone to the gym and got the miles in.  For some reason, this morning was different and I opted to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep for a bit.  I know that a lot of people say it's good to listen to your body and slow down every once in awhile - but I am just not very good at that.  Besides, I have a marathon to run in 72 days - this isn't the time to slack off.  But, I am going to give myself a break - I am going to pick myself up and get back on track.  I have 15 miles planned for Saturday morning - and they are going to be 15 wonderful miles.  I have really come to love my Saturday long runs - my best friend Melissa comes along and we push each other - it's great.  I have a feeling I am going to need the extra push this week!

My husband and I went on vacation to Arizona last week with Melissa and her husband Travis.  We left our children at home in the trusted care of the grandparents and took off.  Melissa's dad has a house in the Sun City area with his wife so we stayed with them.  They were the perfect hosts - there was cold beer upon arrival, a wonderful meal for dinner that first night and it was so great to catch up with them while we settled in.  The next day the guys went golfing early in the day and us ladies hit the pool deck!  It was a little bit chilly and windy but we made the most of it - we got in plenty of delightful AZ sunshine before we met back up with our husbands. 

We had another great meal at their house that night to prepare for a long day on Saturday.  Saturday morning we got up and headed to the desert for an ATV tour through the desert and canyon.  It was so much fun - Rob and I had never done anything like that before and it was so cool.  The scenery was amazing and the company was even better.  And there were no snakes or spiders spotted so that was even better! 

Rob and I on the trail - nice helmets huh!?!?

Missy, Merilee, and Me - ATV Babes!
 Sunday was another day of golf for the boys which meant long run Sunday for Melissa and I.  It was so great to put on a tank top and capris and hit the road.  We went 13.3 through the Sun City community and had a great time. 


Half way point of our 13 miler!
We met back up with Melissa's step mom and we hit the pottery shops - did some girly stuff while the boys finished up golf.  We all reconvened and hit the pool up again - it was a great 80 degree day and it called for the pool most definitely.  Our last night in town we went to this restaurant called Dillon's - it is actually located at the Wildlife Zoo - our table was conveniently located next to the shark aquarium so we got to watch the sharks while we ate our delicious dinner!  The kids would have LOVED it!
Shark Aquarium at dinner at Dillon's
 It was such a great trip and it was so fun to finally travel with Melissa and Travis.  We are already looking forward to next year! 

Missy and I at Dillon's

the four bandits on the ATV tour - Florence, AZ
 Being back to reality has been a shift the last couple of days.  I came back to work yesterday, unburied myself here and pretty much hit the ground running with girls when I got back on Monday. 

I have felt a little out of sorts the past few weeks.  I think I am just struggling with marathon training, pushing to hit a number at work, being in the moment with my girls and husband, and trying to have a little fun mixed in there.  The scale has not moved in a couple of months - which, honestly, I am perfectly okay with.  I still struggle with my eating at times, I have definitely loosened the reins the last few weeks.  I full intend to tighten them up a bit going forward and really focus on being as healthy as I can be and fueling my body properly while I am training.  I am averaging about 30 miles of running per week right now - which for some runners is a drop in the bucket, for me, it is a lot.  You can't be too restrictive while you are putting that much effort in - but it will be good to just concentrate on putting the right stuff back in. 

So, there you go - that's where I have been.  I know I say this every time I am absent for awhile - but I do really want to get back to posting regularly.  I still haven't figured out how to do that but I am going to try! I hope that you are all doing well out there. I have a lot of catching up to do on the blogs I read!  I feel like I need to go out and grab a little extra motivation right now!  My mind and body are not really in sync right now - so that is first on my priority list!

Be happy and healthy friends!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Running for Sherry

This morning was the Virtual Run for Sherry Arnold.  Melissa and I had 11 miles on the training plan for our long run today.  It was cold this morning in Minnesota.  We have had a pretty mild winter so far but the temps were low and the wind chill was negative today.  But, we had a bigger reason to get out there today - it was more than just logging the training miles.  It was so we could help make the Earth move in honor of our sister runner Sherry Arnold.  There were people all over the world walking/running/spinning/etc in her honor today.  This story has touched my heart from the minute I heard about her disappearance, so it was important to me to get out there!

Our run this morning was pretty tough - we ended up running 6.75 miles (distance of two of the Mpls lakes) outside and then decided to head to an indoor running track to finish off the 11 miles.  Our hands and faces just could not be spared from the wind and it got harder and harder to keep warm.  Frostbite was not on the agenda so we made the choice to head indoors.  We finished our mileage off strong.  We had a lot of time to reflect and talk this morning.  We talked about Sherry and how it was a good feeling to know that we were part of a larger movement running in her honor and to remind the world that we are runners and we will not be scared away from our passion. 

I had a major fail this morning and we didn't get a picture taken.  But, I do have a picture of the two of us from a run last month that I will share - you get the idea! 

Beth at Shut Up and Run has posted an update today - I encourage you to head over there and read about the run they had in Colorado today.  She also has several pictures up from the run in Sherry's town in MT. 

I never met Sherry - but my heart breaks for her family and friends who miss her dearly.  Today and everyday I will remember her and not take for granted my ability to get out there and run.  I will take the measures possible to ensure that I am as careful and safe as possible each time I head out to pound the pavement.  Get out there and move people - in any way that you can!

Be happy and healthy my friends!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Beautiful Girls - Turner Syndrome Awareness Month

If you know me in real life and have met my daughters you know that my husband and I were blessed with two perfectly healthy little girls.  I had no complications while pregnant and in fact, rather enjoyed the experience so much so that if we could have afforded another child, I likely would have been just fine being pregnant for a third time.  We have been so fortunate that our girls are healthy and we have only had a couple of scary moments with them in their young lives.  Zoe got croup a few days before her first birthday and required an ER visit and Ava got a UTI at four weeks old that required a three day stint at Children's Hospital.  But, when I tell you that those things are so minor it's because I have friends that have experienced far greater with their children.  I know that I am lucky and I try to never take that for granted.  To fear for your child's health is something no parent should ever have to go through. 

Which brings me to the reason for my post today.  I have a friend that I met through this wonderful blogging platform.  She is my Weight Watchers idol - she lost over 100 pounds and reached her lifetime status last year.  She also just had her second baby about 4 months ago.  She had a rough pregnancy and she blogged all about it - I would read her entries and my heart would just ache for her.  However, Sarah ended up giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, Lily, who was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome at birth.  I did not know a whole lot about TS before and I think that is the case for a lot of people.  I will not attempt to tell you all about the statistics of TS (Sarah does a great job on her site with all of the facts) - but, I will tell you it only affects one in 2,500 female births. 

February is Turner Syndrome month and Sarah is blogging every day in February to help bring about more awareness of TS.  I wanted to link to Sarah's blog today so that we all can gain more awareness of these adorable and beautiful girls. Please go to her site and read her posts this month and tell all of your friends to go there too. 

Click here for awesomeness! 

Sarah - You are one of the strongest women I know.  You were tested all through your pregnancy and I am so happy for you and your family that you have Lily in your life.  And the TS community is so lucky to have you in their corner and bringing awareness to these beautiful girls and their journeys!  You are a wonderful mom and a wonderful example of strength - even if you don't always feel that way! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

The reasons I run...

I have begun reading many a running blog.  I have seen a few bloggers post about the reasons why they run.  I really hadn't thought about it much before, I started running because I had weight to lose and it was the quickest and most effective way to burn the most amount of calories possible.  But, I have kept running for many other reasons.  Without further ado: my list of why I run! 

  • I run because I can.  Until about a year ago, I honestly didn't think I could run.  I didn't want to run.  But now that I know I can, it seems silly not to.
  • Running makes me a better mother, wife, sister, daughter, employee and friend. - my mood is much improved after a few miles - just ask my husband!
  • I want to be faster.  It's a lot to ask for, but who knows, it could happen!
  • Running makes me feel strong - I like to feel strong
  • Running has taught me things about myself that nothing else ever has before
  • Running helps me to be healthy enough to chase around my children and hopefully my future grandchildren!
  • When other people talk about running marathons, I would like to be able to participate in the conversation.  I can't wait until I can call myself a marathon finisher!
  • I really want my daughters to look up to me and want to be like me - there is nothing that makes me more proud than when one of my kids says they are proud of me and love me!
  • I really like making new friends that love running too - they get the madness that is running
  • I run so I can inspire others to do the same - I had someone that inspired me and I hope to be able to return the favor someday
  • I run to have quiet.  To quiet the voices in my head that tell me I can't do things and that I am not good enough.  Running reminds me that I can do anything I want and that I am indeed good enough.
  • Not one time have I ever regretted getting up and going for a run - not once!
  • Running is my time to be just Jen - I don't have to answer to anyone.  I can reflect on what is going on in my life or I can talk to my girlfriend while we are out for a long run on a Saturday morning.  Just be me.
  • Running has become the one true thing that I do for myself.  Running keeps me sane.  It reminds me that I can do anything.  It reminds me that I am a strong woman.



Two of the best reasons I can think of to keep running and fighting for my health!

This is just a spattering of why I get up at insane hours of the day and slip on my running shoes.  It would be impossible to be able to capture all of my thoughts on "paper" because some of them are not easily articulated.  Anyone that has been out running knows exactly what I mean.  Everyone has their own connection to running - why they do it, why they started, why they keep going. 

What's yours?  Tell me why you run. 

Be happy and healthy my friends!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mother Runner Sherry Arnold

For several weeks I have said prayers and thought about a woman who is/was a complete stranger to me.  But, for many reasons she really is not a stranger.  She was a mother, a runner, a wife, a teacher, a daughter, a cousin - she was so many things that so many of us are.  She was a woman who loved to run, loved her family and on a Saturday morning headed out for a run in her small town in Montana.  The part where it becomes different - she never came home.  She was abducted by two men about a mile away from her home.  One of the men has confessed to killing her but all they have been able to find from that dreadful day is one of her running shoes. 

I have prayed on more than one occasion since I heard about her disappearance that there would be a miracle and they would find her safe and sound.  Unfortunately that is no longer the case and they have officially declared her deceased.  It breaks my heart that she will never be able to tell her kids and husband how much she loves them and hear those words back.  From what I have read about Sherry Arnold - everyone in her life knew just how much they meant to her. 

A year ago this story would have made me stop and think for a day or so and then I likely would have moved on and not thought about it again.  Now as a fellow mother runner, this story has touched me very personally and has actually made me second guess my own training habits and running alone in the dark.  I never met Sherry Arnold or her cousin Beth who writes at the blog Shut Up and Run - but I have cried for them on more than one occasion. 

Beth has set up a virtual run in Sherry's honor on Saturday, February 11th at 9AM MST.  I will for sure be running in honor of Sherry that morning - I have a long run planned already but will definitely be printing out one of the bibs and wearing it as I run.  One thing I have learned over the last year is that runners are a tight bunch - and one of our fellow runners needs us - we show up and do what we can do.  I am proud to call myself a runner especially when I know that it means I get to be included in this amazing group of people.  I have met so many wonderful and supportive people over the last year and the least I can do is dedicate my run next Saturday to honor the amazing and caring woman that Sherry Arnold was.  You can find much more information about Sherry and the run on her cousin Beth's blog at Shut Up & Run.  Beth is an amazing writer/runner/mother and has done a wonderful job of spreading the word about Sherry and the virtual run. 

For me, one of the biggest take aways from this tragedy will be to more careful when I run and always that much more grateful when I am able to go out and return safely from a run.  I have never run outside with music and this cements that decision so that I am more aware of my surroundings.  I refuse to completely change my life because of the evil that exists in this world, but I will most definitely always put my safety first and make smart choices when it comes to running alone and/or in the dark. 

If you end up running/walking in honor of Sherry on the 11th - take a picture and send it to me or send it directly to Beth at beth@shutupandrun.net.  She will be posting pictures on her blog so that Sherry's family can see all of the people that went out for a run/walk in her honor. 

Be happy and healthy my friends!