Monday, November 12, 2012

Destined to be Vegetarian?

The other day while shopping with a Vegan friend we were discussing foods that we used to, and still eat, and I began to wonder if I was meant to be vegetarian.  Perhaps this sounds strange, but growing up I hated the taste and texture of ground beef, ham, and pork.  When I ate chicken and turkey I picked them apart, and probably only ate half of what was on my plate, avoiding anything I deemed a funny color or gross.  After years of conditioning myself to eat some of these meats (chicken, ground beef, pork, turkey) I have given up chicken.  Not eating chicken has been far more challenging than anticipated, I sympathize with my vegetarian and vegan friends because I feel like 90% of every menu at restaurants and bars around Southern Wisconsin contains chicken!  I made the decision to stop eating chicken because I had some bad experiences with the meat, but it seems like chicken keeps getting pushed in my face.  My favorite sandwich at Panera Bread used to be the frontega chicken, so I don't eat that anymore, then I found out that a lot of cream soups use chicken stock (dead chicken boiled in water), so why would I want to eat that if I don't eat chicken? So I started to make my own soup with vegetable stock.  The more vegetarian items I eat, the less and less I seem to need to eat meat.  So I wonder, are there things that you never liked, and through eating them over and over began to tolerate?  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fontana Olympic Triathlon

It appears that I had started my Fontana recap and never finished it, oops.  But now I have some fun pictures to add in, so here goes the recap.

Body Marking
I did it! I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon, and I actually felt pretty great the whole time.  Overall, this was the best I've ever felt in a triathlon (I've done 2 others) even though this one was significantly longer.

The day started out with Dixie and Britten meeting me at my apartment around 5am, we loaded up Britten and my bikes, then drove over to Fontana.We saw Matt as we checked in, and Jacky, Jen, Jen, and Kitty before the race.  We took a couple pictures in our wonderful wetsuits, and before we knew it the race was starting.  I was in wave 1, the beach was a little bit rocky, so I took my time walking into the water and let some rambunctious athletes go ahead.  Once in the water I swam about 10 strokes before I had to do the usual "pep talk" fighting off negativity.  I told myself, relax, you have swam much further than this distance, and you prepared well.  After a few more strokes I was able to contain myself.  I kept close to the buoy line, and had a great swim.  The course was short (probably closer to 3/4 mile), but I swam it in 17:42, which is pretty close to my sprint triathlon (1/2 mile) swim time!  As I exited the water I was a little disoriented and thought that I had lost my top as I unzipped my wetsuit, hence this picture...

The bike went well.  I didn't get my Garmin on my wrist before I took off, so I tried to fumble with that a bit, but gave up and just kept it in my front bike pouch.  The bike course had some nice rolling hills.  A couple girls and I had biked the course a few weeks earlier apart from Lake Shore Drive because we missed the slight right turn.  Lake Shore was a bit more hilly than I expected, but I enjoyed getting going downhill.

T2 went pretty well, I took a few steps and remembered that I had left my Garmin on my bike, so I went back and grabbed it.  My T2 time was 44 seconds, not too shabby!  The first loop was a little intimidating.  Up a hill, down a hill, up a super hill, turn around, then do it again. I did run up the big hill and received a nice compliment from a fellow running female commenting on how she didn't know how I was still running up the hill, good work.  At the top I could tell that I was electrolyte depleted so I opted to fill my one water bottle with Gatorade. The second loop didn't seem as bad because I knew what I had ahead of me.  I also had some great friends cheering for me (Jen W, Kitty, and Brad). I knew what the expect (the mother of any hills I've ever run), so I cranked it out and ran that hill!  Before the turn around I dropped off my water bottle to the aid station and the nice guy filled it with lemon lime Gatorade for me.  The rest was downhill (mostly).  I crossed the finish line at 2:58:29.  30 minutes faster than my loosely projected completion time. Olympic triathlon #1 is in the books!

WNB showing off the bling!
 And I finished 3rd in my age group!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ironman WI: From a specator and volunteer

Wow!  What an awesome experience at Ironman WI 2012.  Saturday I ventured up to Madison for the 8am volunteer meeting so I knew what I was doing on Sunday.  The meeting was fairly brief, we checked in and then went upstairs, outside of Monona Terrace so that we could see the bike area. After the meeting the Farmer's Market on the square was going on, so I walked around and got some veggies, then I walked back to Monona Terrace which was filled with tent shops.  Even going up for the volunteer meeting was a ton of fun!

Sunday was the real all day adventure.  My day started around 4:45 when my alarm went off.  I had been somewhat restless all night, and was glad to get up.  I grabbed my breakfast, backpack, posters, and was on my way.  Since I was volunteering I had received a parking pass to the Anchor Bank parking ramp, so I tried my luck there first.  As luck, or planning would have it, I was able to get a spot when I pulled in at 6 am.  I headed for Monona, and stopped for a minute to take in this beautiful sight in the morning...
Shortly after I was making my way through Monona Terrace scoping out the swim.  I watched a few swimmers warming up in the water from the building, then made my way down to the water. Walking through Monona Terrace was like walking through packed sardines. As I exited through one of the doors, I heard my name and saw my friend Karl, and was able to step back for a minute and wish Coach Kitty good luck.  She seemed a bit nervous as I gave her a hug and tried to move out of the way.  I stationed myself near where the athletes filed into the water.  I was watching for my friends for awhile, and hadn't seen anyone, so I directed my attention to the water, then turned around to the athletes again and saw my friend Andrea!  I called out Andrea's name and she saw me, and gave me a biggest hug as I wished her well! At 6:50 AM the professionals had made their way into the water, and began their swim with the sound of a cannon. The sight was one to see, about 32 arms thrashing through the water.  10 minutes later, the remaining 2500 athletes began their Ironman journey for the day.

Treading water
Off they go
Wetsuit stripping

 Around 8 AM I started to look for my friends, my friend Brad said he expected to swim the 2.4 miles in about 1:15, so I thought he may be faster.  There were so many swimmers coming out of the water around 8:10 it was hard to keep track and look for friends!  I saw Brad at the last minute as he was getting his wetsuit stripped right in front of me, he turned to get up, and was off to the bike.  I had decided I had seen enough wetsuit stripping and had gotten enough water flung at me, so I started to make my way to Monona Terrace up the helix.  I said hello to my friend Karol in the helix and then made my way to the shuttle buses a block away.  On the bus I met some wonderful Ironman wives.  I helped one from Michigan track her husband on the Ironman tracker, and got to talking with another lady, Krista from Ohio.  Krista and I ended up sticking together for the bike course. The bus dropped off in Verona at the 56 mile mark.  We chatted and made fun of the 16 year old "security" kids that provided very little security!  Between 10-11 AM the bikers started to roll in.  It's amazing how practically everyone wears the same thing!  Everyone seemed to wear black, white, and red; or blue, black, and white!  I thought I had spotted Brad, but it was a false alarm, only 7 other guys were wearing the same thing as him before he went by.  But I did end up seeing him bike by at the last minute around 11 AM.  I continued to watch hoping that I would see some more friends, but I had to head back to Monona for my volunteer shift.  I had planned to leave at 11:30, but then saw a girl fall off of her bike coming down the hill, so I waited to see that she got back up, which she did, and continued on.  I waited as long as I could on the bike course, I was having a great time shaking my tambourine, cheering and holding my sign that I did not want to leave.  I made my way back to the bus at 11:45.  I chatted with a lady who sat with me, her husband was doing the Ironman, and she had her 2 kids in tow, then bolted off of the bus when we arrived back by the capital.  Amazingly I made my shift at 12:30.
My Triathlete humor sign for the bike

Bruce happy to see familiar faces
The transition area was pretty slow for quite awhile as the pros started to make their way in.  I started as a bike runner in the back in hopes that I could move up to the front around 2 when I expected to start seeing my friends.  Just after 12:30 as the bike captains had said, a guy came up with his bike asking to remove it from the transition.  He said everything that the bike captain had told us the day before someone would say: "I did the swim, got kicked in the face, dropped out, and now I have people waitng for me and we want to head back to Kentucky." Surprisingly they released the bike prior to 6pm (when bikes are allowed to be checked out). Soon after we experienced our first rush, the bikes were coming in about as fast as we could put them away. Before I knew it, it was 2 PM and I was able to trade out with someone and run bikes near the dismount line.  I was by the chip sensor and had a great time cheering for the athletes as they made their way into Monona Terrace for T2.  After awhile I was moved up to the dismount line and helped bikers off of their bikes.  It was an interesting set-up.  We tried to flag bikers into certain areas. We had 2-3 lines going, but at some times had a rush of bikers and had to jump in and grab a bike where we could.  At the dismount line I saw my friends John and Andrea.  I saw John a little late and shouted for him, but saw Andrea early enough to give her a high-five, even though I'm not sure she knew what was going on!  I continued to bike handle until 4:30 when I needed a break.  I threw my wet, GU (I hope) stained gloves into the garbage, and then found out that they were out of gloves.  So I grabbed a sandwich, relaxed a minute, checked on my friends' race progress, and asked the Bike captain if I could be dismissed.  Aaron and Laurie were now in Madison so we met up, picked a spot of the course where the athletes come out to start their run, proudly donning our signs.  We were able to see Bruce run by, as well as Kitty! After we saw them we started to stake out our spot by the finish.  We tried to bleachers, but it was extremely hard to see, so we made our way to the other side and found someone about to leave and took their spot.
Laurie and I with the signs

Way to go Coach Kitty
At our spot we cheered, watched, and waited.  We were constantly checking online, but some of the run time splits were not registering.  Just before the 11th hour I saw John heading to the finish line.  I screamed for him, but all he could seem to muster was a slight thumbs up.  At 11:25 Brad came by a foot away from my bright orange sign completely in the zone.  Laurie, Aaron, and I made our way to the finish to give our congratulations to Brad and John. 

IMWI Finisher Brad
Janesville Crew
By this time we were all hungry so Aaron, Laurie and I made our way to State Street to eat at Capital Brewery Tap Haus.  We enjoyed some food and Amber beer outside as the runners continued to push on.  We were able to see Kitty, Brenda, and Chris go by.  By now it was 8 PM or so, and I was exhausted!  We walked back to the other side of the capital and said our goodbyes.  I drove home in a daze, and went straight to sleep when I got home.  Monday I enjoyed checking Facebook for photos and videos from the day before.

I never thought I'd say this, but I want to do Ironman in 2014! Mark your calenders!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Practically all summer Wednesdays have consisted of going to work, rushing home, changing, going to Wednesday Night Brick, then coming home for a few hours to decompress.  Tonight's projects were making fresh pesto from my basil plant, and putting running photos I had purchased into frames.  The pesto turned out well, I processed my heart out, until I just used my single cup blender to finish up.  A tip if you are aspiring to make your own pesto.. make sure you splurge on the olive oil!

The next project, picture framing was fun.  I put the Sundown Dash poster into a frame, my Rock n' Roll half marathon picture, and my Crazy Legs photos in frames.  On my half marathon photo I had them imprint the Rock n' Roll logo, as well as my finishing time (2:10), but I was a little disappointed that the date was not on there.  Fortunately for me, the race date was printed on the race bib I was wearing.  Race day was 8.14.11; just over one year ago.  Who would have thought I would do another half marathon, another sprint triathlon, be a week away from an Olympic triathlon, and be considering a full marathon just one year later.  I hope this does not sound like a bragging post, but I am proud of myself when I look back at my accomplishments.  I think a huge thanks is in order for all of my fit friends who keep me going, and keep me challenging myself.  THANK YOU!

If I didn't have the "crazy" friends I do who agree to run 200 mile relays, inspired me to run my first sprint triathlon, and meet me at the pool ridiculously early to train, I don't know where I would be.  I do know where I will be this weekend though... and that is in Fontana swimming 1500 meters, biking 24 miles, and running 6.2 miles uphill.  I'm not sure what the next adventure will be, but I look forward to training for it with my friends.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Some lessons learnt the hard way

Since the beginning of July it's been non-stop race planning and running. July 25th was the Sundown Dash. I wish I had words to describe how awesome it was to put the race together and see the results. Although I was busy planning then, I'm busy training now, I signed up for an Olympic triathlon! Saturday I ran the Milton Mud Challenge; a 5k obstacle course. I thought the course was challenging. It took me 41 minutes to finish the course. However, I do have my fair share of battle wounds from hitting knees and legs on various obstacles. The mud run made me thankful for my non-contact triathlon training!

Today was back to triathlon training. I went up to Lake Ripley with my friend Brad to swim. He helped me get through my longest swim yet, 1.1 miles. Apart from my usual slight freak out when getting into a new body of water it was good. I took a few breaks, but hope to take fewer breaks next time. I also hope to put body glide in all of the necessary places! Tonight I noticed I did not as I was preparing for bed and noticed huge red chafing lines down my shoulders from my wetsuit arm holes. I guess I'll remember to glide there race day!  

(Fontana Sprint and Olympic triathlons are August 25th)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Several weeks ago I completed the Rock Roll n' Run Sprint triathlon in Janesville. It was a lot of fun. I started just before my friend Elizabeth in the swim. It was time trial start, so you wait for the person to type in your number then go. I had the usual mental games of OMG, I'm going to drown, why am I doing this?! Even though I had swam the course 3 times. About a quarter of a mile in I found my confidence. I swam way out away from everyone else, but finished my swim smiling as I saw familiar faces cheering as I exited the water.

In transition I saw Laurie, then took off with my bike to the bike mounting area. The bike course was challenging. There were several large hills throughout. My absolute favorite part was getting some speed going into the big hill on highway h and pedaling down the hill reaching 30 mph! I loved it! I don't think I can explain the pure exhilaration I felt ( I love just thinking about it). As the miles flew by Laurie and I kept leapfrogging each other, which was nice to see a familiar face, but at the same time wanting to gain some time knowing she is a faster runner. I pushed the last couple miles and truly appreciated all of the cheering volunteers coming into transition.

As I transitioned to run I took 5 steps and realized I still had my helmet on so I ran back to toss it with my stuff. Then took off. I passed a few people early on in the run. We ran through the farmers market where Jen was cheering. Then through downtown to the dreaded Holmes street hill, except I don't think I dreaded it enough, it was bigger than anticipated but more bearable with Tawnya jumping around at the top of the hill!

I sweated my way through the rest of the course and caught up to Elizabeth in the run, told her good job, and she took off. I wasn't able to push my sprint any faster so I finished right behind her. At the finish I was so out of it, but got my big hug and medal from Kitty :)

So post race I've been coordinating with some ladies on our next race, perhaps the Fontana Triathlon if I can get more information on it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One week to go

I feel like it's been awhile since I've posted a blog.  My life has been crazy! Tonight was our mini-triathlon for the Great Beginner Triathlon program.  This means the tri is a mere week and a half away.  It went pretty well.  Kitty wanted us to swim 20 minutes, then go to transition.  I started my swim out across Lion's beach, and back, and was disheartened when I was told I had to swim back out, and it had only been 10 minutes!  What?! 10 minutes, no way!  So I reluctantly swam out, not nearly as fast, and turned around where Kitty gave me the okay.  I jogged through the sand up to transition, wiped my feet off, put my socks, shoes, and helmet on, and was off.  We just did a small 2.8 mile loop, but up a rather large hill on Racine.  The downhill was nice, but I'm sure the uphill was more vicious than that downhill!  Next it was run time, I racked my bike, grabbed my water bottle and headed out.  This is where the heat became noticeable.  I forgot to spin in a low gear on my bike before the transition and my calves were screaming at me.  Needless to say I won't be forgetting to do that next time!  It wasn't a race, but I was 3rd back.  Next week is the last week, I'm not sure if I'll make it on time with work and it being a holiday week (4th of July).  It would be nice to get out into the river for another swim.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A few more Ragnar pics

More Ragnar pics

Leg 2 in the books!

I want to start by saying I had an AWESOME 7 mile run this morning, however the road to that run was not so smooth. After leg 1 my electrolytes or something else were far out of check and I had a headache for quite awhile.  I tried everything; Gatorade,  water, salt tablets, the rest of my subway, pretzels, Tylenol, and sleep. No such luck, my dehydration headache would not go away and I was feeling crummy and cold.  And I must have looked pretty awful because my team was worried about me. Jessica gave me a ONE coconut water to drink because of the electrolytes and potassium. I grabbed a banana and slowly made my way the exchange in time for me to throw the rest of the banana and ONE to Jessica before I took off running in my tank and arm sleeves. I was finally feeling better when I took off. I passed 2 people right away and had to roll off my sleeves at half a mile. Mile 1 8:45, mile 2 8:45, mile 3 was around a 9, and I'll have to consult my garmin for the specifics. The miles  were flying by as the sun came up. 6 roadkillz. Just after mile 6 I saw my next target; an athletic male about my age. At 6.5 he was about 200 feet ahead of me and i was slowly gaining. At .15 to go I started picking up my pace to sprint. When I was 4 feet on him sprinting when he turned around and saw me gaining on him; so he started a sprint, we were neck in neck coming into the exchange when I wasn't sure where my hand off person was. I saw her on the left side, handed off then high fived the guy and told him good race. What started off as an iffy run turned into a great one. 5 miles left this afternoon for me!

Time moving splits (There stop lights I had to stop at so I think it's fair to use these times!!):

Friday, June 8, 2012

5.8 to go

Leg 1 is done! 5.8 of 17 miles done! I wish I could say it went really well but it was a huge mental battle for me. I started out too fast at a 7:30 pace, and decided to slow at half a mile. I didn't take music and there wasn't anyone near me for most of the run.  At mile 2 my wonderful teammates were on a trail intersection to cheer me on, it was great.  Then soon after my lower left leg started to cramp, I talked myself up, and pushed through. Then I saw a shiny little packet on the trail, I stopped, went back 2 steps and found myself a full gu. I immediately took the gu and kept on going. The scenery along the trail was absolutely gorgeous. A river along the trail with a grassy bank. I tried to keep my pace under a 9:30, which was difficult at times. A couple runners passed me but not before we had some friendly exchanges. The first guy to pass I asked what he was hoping to pace and he said he didn't know so I asked if it was around 9 and he said yes so I tried to keep up with him for a bit and pushed my average pace down. The next couple to come by made comments about the bugs; there were a ton!  Then finally there was a water station at a mile to go.  I felt pretty good so I started sprinting  to the finish to hand off to Andrea.

4 done

We are currently on runner 5. Caleb is on the road and we are waiting around mile 3.7 of 6.3. We are having a good time. We stopped at subway for some fuel. It's kind of hard to give updates while driving a van and stopping here and there.

We saw Caleb at mile 3 he was looking well at a good pace. We are now waiting at Nathan's mile 2 of 10.9. Then we will be heading to our exchange point to get van 2 rolling (or running)

Some pics

200 Miles to go

Today is the much anticipated Ragnar Relay Chicago race!  30 hours and 200 miles to go.  I'm super excited to have the best team ever, team Green Machine with van 1 Spike, Cassie, Caleb, Nathan, Travis, and Steve; van 2 Britten, Dixie, Andrea, Maria, Jessica and myself.  I hope you follow us on our journey, I will try to post plenty of pics.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Triathlon Training Week 2

Today was week 2 of the Great Beginner Triathlon training program.  I started the day off by meeting Elizabeth and Laurie at the Janesvillle Athletic Club at 5:45 for a swim.  This was Laurie's first swim, and she did great.  She reminded me a lot of myself when I first started swimming; the thought of "what am I doing?!" entered my head several times in my first few swims I'm sure.  I remember training for my first triathlon; I struggled through the swim, but one night it all clicked and I was able to swim the 18 laps at Marshall for the half mile. I enjoy seeing how far I've come, before I struggled to breathe and swim 25 yards, now I have no problem doing sets of 80 or 120 yards. 

After an eventful day of work pre-Holiday, I skipped my last stop to rush home, throw my bike rack on my car, change, grab my bike, and run out of the door.  I was very glad that I had already picked out what I intended to wear to tri class, otherwise I would have been more flustered and late to class!  At practice Kitty talked for a bit, but I was ready to get out there for a bike and run!  We did 2 sets of bike and run brick workouts totally about 3 miles, and then had a bike clinic.  Corey showed us how to change a flat tire, and then it was our turn.  I payed close attention as he was showing us what to do, but it turns out I was not very good at changing my tire!!  I felt like everything I was doing was incorrect and I struggled through.  I did manage to deflate my tire with no problem :)  After that I tried to put my tube in backwards and blow my tire up with the valve closed.  Someone should have been videoing me for comic relief.  Nonetheless, I did manage to change the tire, and if in dire need I bet I could do it again!  I took both the front and back tires off, I sure hope my bike functions alright the next time I go for a ride! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Neighborhood Meander

Tonight I couldn't decide between a bike ride or run. I wanted to get a bike ride in, but I don't like to bike by myself, and it can be a chore to take the bike downstairs and get everything ready. I also had a pretty long day at work, and wanted to do some sweating, so I decided on a approximately 3 mile run.  I took my usual route to the trail, but then decided I wanted to go run through the neighborhoods along Milwaukee road.  The weather was great, and the houses were beautiful.  I ran up a street, then decided to turn right when I saw a school I recognized that is on the trail, and just kept turning whenever.  I found my obtainable dream house, and also some gorgeous, unobtainable (for now) houses.
It's amazing to me how sometimes awesome places can be so close, yet you've never experienced them before.  It makes me look forward to biking because more ground can be covered more quickly!

Tomorrow I will be covering the swim (at 5:40 am with Laurie and Elizabeth), and the bike and run at Tri practice.  Hopefully I can enjoy all as much as I did my run tonight.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Swim, Swam, Swum

I did my first official swim of the triathlon training tonight. It went really well.  I was supposed to swim 50 yards, and rest 45 seconds to 1 minute based on my ability. Well, I was a bit of an overachiever, I swam 80 yards (2 laps), and then took 30-45 second breaks.  It was nice to get into the pool and swim short bursts with resting time.  I didn't feel as tired or bored as when I go out and just swim for 20-30 minutes.  I think I will modify the swimming plan a little bit to increase distance, and speed. 

As I was swimming I noticed another swimmer that was swimming and then resting, so I asked her if she was also doing the Great Beginner Triathlon training, and she was! I was about done when she was just getting started, but I watched her for a few minutes and was able to let her know that she was bringing her arm all the way around when she was breathing.  We talked a little bit, but then I was done with my swim so I took off. 

I'm pretty optimistic that this triathlon will go MUCH better than my first!  For my first triathlon in 2010 I did the Trek Triathlon Series in Pleasant Prairie and just about quit after being in the water for 10 yards.  I didn't get any open water training in, and freaked out in the water!  I was so excited to get going that I neglected to mentally prepare for my long swim across the lake.  I feel that if I am able to maintain my running from my half marathon I should not have any problem with this triathlon.  I am looking forward to gaining knowledge from coaches Kitty, Cory, and Jessica at SBR Coaching

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Switching gears

Run Kayla, run has officially become swim, bike, run Kayla for the summer. Tonight was the kick-off of the Great Beginner Triathlon 8 week training program put on by SBR coaching in Verona and headed up by the lovely Kitty Cole. Tonight was pretty simple. We began by going over the group training schedule for the next few weeks, and then got the bicycles out. We rode a few laps around and then got some training suggestions based on what the coaches were seeing. Rule #1 I have to work on: look ahead, not at your feet when you take off (no starring at your feet even when clipping in or putting your feet in the cages).  Rule #2 that I struggle with is keeping my shoulders relaxed. How can one really relax their shoulders when crouched over a bike?! Those were my big areas to work on for biking.

Next Kitty discussed road etiquette. Some of the info I was already aware of; always pass on the left and let others know you are coming up on them, and obey traffic rules. I did learn that once stopped at a red light with no traffic, you are free to cross after 45 seconds because you on a bike will [hopefully] not trigger the light sensor. I also learned that you cannot ride your bike in a cross walk, it has to be ridden outside of it or walked.  Next we did a mini running clinic. We ran a third of a mile as the coaches watched. It turns out I don't swing my arms enough. I'm not sure how this happened, but I'll sure be working to fix it! I'm not sure if it's from my previously injured and weaker shoulder or my heart rate monitor rubbing on me. Anyways, good to know. Overall it was a nice class with cooperative weather. I'm hoping to get in full tri swing by swimming tomorrow. Here we go triathlon 2012!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Highs and lows

It's been 2 days since my half marathon, and since I did not get out yesterday for a recovery run, today seemed perfect.  I got off of work early because of a cancelled meeting, got some things done around the apartment, and took off wearing my new Road ID on one wrist and my Garmin as usually on the other.  The run started out great for the first mile, I was pacing faster than I thought I would be able to, and then I started to have pain in my lower leg, so I stopped to stretch. I started runing again, but now much, much slower and not feeling well at all!  All I wanted was to get home, but I decided I would adjust my attitude and do what I set out to do: enjoy the beautiful day with a nice relaxing run.  I struggled through mile 2, and as I was heading back I decided to take a detour down a road I had never been down.  I took a left, started looking around and became distracted looking at houses searching for "my future house".  I saw 3 cute houses for sale, although the caution tape that seemed to be on the ground from one kind of frightened me! I took a right, then another right, then a few more turns. Before I knew it I was at 3.78 miles turning back onto my street. As I ran down the street a little girl on a tricycle asked me "why are you running?" I shouted back to her "because I like to run", apparently my answer was not good enough for her because as I was getting my mail she rode over to me and asked again :o) I told her this time that I loved to accomplish goals, and would have told her all about my half marathon, but I didn't think she could fathom the distance.  So I switched the topic to shoes, and soon after she rode back across the street and I ran towards my building to finish out at 4 miles. It's amazing how one run can go from high to low, to high with the right attitude.  At 1.5 miles I was sure I would be done for in a mile, but I changed my attitude, went further, and enjoyed the run; even if it was slower than normal.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wisconsin (half) Marathon

I did it! I completed my 2nd half marathon, and felt better than expected.  I enjoyed running the course today, and felt refreshed after the horrendously bad Friday I had!  Almost everything that could go wrong on Friday did, I was super stressed out at work, I didn't get done until after 4:15, and I told Jessica I would pick her up at 3, and then on my way rushing out of my apartment I left my purse.  Luckily Jessica was able to save the day and buy me dinner and my granola bars for pre-race.

This morning I woke up at 5:20 to prepare for the 7am start time, and almost immediately Aaron informed us (Laurie, Jessica, and I) that it was raining outside, so much for a 10% chance of rain.. But after my terrible Friday I set my mind that absolutely nothing was going to ruin my day, and definitely not a little cold and rain.  Around 6:20 left the hotel to head to the race start, and find our fellow ASR friends for a quick picture. 
Before we knew it we were being told to line up.  It was nice how it was set up, you didn't have a specific start corral, but you could start wherever you wanted based on your pace.  I wanted to run between a 9 and 10 minute mile so I started with the 9 minute mile group.  I think next time I would start futher up, I was passing a lot of people at first and had some trouble passing people up the hill on mile 8 or 9.  I started out with a 9:15 min mile, and decided I would try to maintain a pace around there as long as I felt good.  We looped down by the Lake, and then swooped through some really nice neighborhoods before we ran through the downtown (one of my favorite parts!). There were a ton of people lining the streets cheering us on, making the run go by just a little quicker.  That was about mile 4 and I was feeling great so I decided to take my GU to avoid a crash.  The GU must have worked because I ran mile 5 my fastest pace at an 8:47 minute mile.   Soon after that the police escorts came through on their motorcycles with the lead runners starting to loop back around, we all had to then stay to the left of the cones, which caused a little bit of congestion for most of the race remainder.  Running miles 6-8 I was still feeling great, but was having a little trouble passing runners in the narrower lanes.  Right around 8 miles I saw Nathan, Laurie and Aaron, it was nice to see some familiar faces in the mix.  Then as I decended a hill I saw Britten in a zone, but I got her attention.  At the bottom of the hill turning left I saw Tom and shouted out to him and waved.  4 miles to go.  And then I hit a bit of a wall at mile 10.

I told myself it was ok, and I opened my GU Chomps. I had told myself I had a goal of 9:30 minute miles, when in reality I wanted 9:12 (yes, a random number, but that was actually my average pace for a really great 12 mile training run I had a few weeks back), but either way I had a little cushion since I had run an average of about 9:05 thus far.  So I told myself it was ok to slow down, I concentrated on breathing in through my nose, and out through my mouth to try to lower my heart rate, and was able to maintain a an average pace around 9:18 or less.  Mile 11 was a slight uphill through part of the downtown with an out and back turn around at mile 12.  As I ran towards 12 noting that I could possibly finish in less than 2 hours, and working on my pacing plan I saw Jessica run by, then Aaron and Laurie.  I hit mile 12 with just under 10 minutes until the 2 hour mark, so I decided that I was going to start pushing at 12.75 miles and hopefully have enough gas in the tank to make it.  So around then I started to push my legs to move faster, checking my watch every minute to see how close to goal I was.  As I was sprinting in with 40 seconds to go until 2 hours I started counting down, and I knew I had slightly missed my new goal.  I heard my name announced as I was crossing the finish line, and then saw Bruce and Kitty cheering me on at the end.  I immediately stopped my watch at 2:00:30, and noticed that my distance was 13.2, so in fact, I did run a half marathon in under 2 hours, the course is just slightly off, or I did not take every corner hugging the inside.

Mission accomplished! I look forward to seeing the official race results later tonight.  Where's the next half?!

My Half Marathon Splits

WI Marathon by kayj0486 at Garmin Connect - Splits

Thursday, May 3, 2012

T Minus 2 days

As you may have guessed from the title I am 2 days away from my second half marathon!! I am going to be doing Wisconsin Marathon, half marathon.  I'm ready to get out there and see what I can do.  Originally I was hoping for a run like I had a few weeks ago with the ASR (All Season Runner ) crew at an average 9:10 min/mile pace over 12 miles.  Since then I have had a few rough runs, and a few great runs, so now the new goal is under 9:30 min/ mile, which would put me right around the 2 hour mark.  I hope all goes well, and I can meet this goal.  My first half marathon I ran an average of 10 minute miles, and felt pretty tired for half of it.  Either way I'm sure I will have a great time with great friends.  Laurie and Aaron are leaving between 1-2, and then Jessica and I are heading to Kenosha after 3, and meeting them for dinner at HuHot.  It looks fun, it's a Mongolian grill, which I've never been to before.

Alright friends, wish me luck, I must go pack now!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Central Park

I had a wonderful time running through Central Park April 8th. I had to stop my run to get this photo though :o)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Strength in numbers

Today I set out to do my second week in a row with a 10 mile run.  Last week I ran by myself in the afternoon instead of with the ASR group because of a schedule conflict. This week I dragged myself out of bed, respiratory cold and all, and met the group. I knew I probably wouldn't have someone going my pace today since I planned to take it slow and see how I was feeling. I actually wasn't too far behind the fast group by mile 3, they were about a quarter to half a mile ahead, so o evaluated how i was feeling and told myself I should keep going as far as I could to get to 5 miles before turning around. At my 4 mile mark I started seeing fellow runners encouraging me on, letting me know I was doing great, so I pushed on at my somewhat leisure pace. On my way out I saw 2 individuals and 1 group on their way back, all cheering me on. On my way back I was lost in my music and somewhat startled when I heard a voice say "hey Kayla", it turned out to be Adam, we chatted briefly then he was on his way. After I saw Adam I decided I was feeling alright so I picked up the pace. Soon after I ran into a few people still on their way out, so I tried to encourage them as others had done for me. Despite not feeling the greatest having others out running with me kept me going. I'm glad to have such great people to run with.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The miles are adding up

Here is my training overview from December to current from Daily mile.  I love how the miles are noticeably see the miles increase.  It will be fun to see the miles increase as I add biking and swimming for triathlon training. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What I love about running

The other night I had indoor co-ed volleyball, and we were playing the team that had beat the #1 team in all 3 games, so naturally everyone on my team wanted to do well and beat this team. Unfortunately the games did not go as well as planned.  We were close in the first game, but then fell apart when the other team had a great server.  Going into game 2 was not very pleasant then, and we choked ourselves.  Then game 3 came along, and we pulled our game together "had fun" and won.  I was happy that we won one, but at the same time I was SO frustrated that I considered going home at 8:30 pm for a run to blow off steam, so this got me thinking about what I love about running.  Everyone has their own reasons for loving (or not) running, here are mine:
  • There is ultimately 1 person who controls how far you go and how fast, that person is me!
  • The competitive side of me wanting to catch up to whomever is ahead of me
  • You can run alone
  • You can run with friends
  • Improvement is measurable through heart rate, pace, distance, etc.
  • Tons of other people also run, you automatically have something in common
  • Stress-relief!
  • Sometimes you just want to get away from everyone
  • The adrenaline rush after a good sweaty run
  • Carb loading
  • Sharing runs on daily mile
  • Meeting new people
  • Staying fit
  • The sense of accomplishment
  • I have a reason to buy new shoes!
  • You're a mini-celebrity when you are in the local paper ;) !
These are just some of the reasons I now love to run, what are yours?

ASR winter group run.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Sundown Dash is in the works!

Yesterday started out on the right foot.  I went to bed early Wednesday night and woke up somewhat early Thursday, went to work to drop off a couple of checks around 7am, then decided to go turn in the event application for the Sundown Dash to Leisure Services.  Sundown Dash is the race that will be replacing the Twilight run this year in Janesville.  The people who ran the Twilight run were unable to continue the event this year, so Tawnya and All Season Runner wanted to take the event over to keep the fun run in the community.  So far step 1 down, we picked a new name, and have submitted our application.  We will be on the agenda March 26th for City Council to vote on.  Cross your fingers there are not any questions and it is approved! Step 1 down, many more to come! I'm very excited to be working with Tawnya and Steve on putting this race together.

Mark your calenders July 25th 7pm Monetery Park

After e-mailing Tawnya and Steve the good news that the application was submitted, I decided it was going to be a great day, the sun was shining and I was in a great mood already!  I'm glad I had the positive attitude yesterday because I encountered some negative feedback from a customer and was able to turn it around with some compromising.  The continued to go well, so I told myself I was going to rock the run tonight.  6pm came around and we took off on a "pub run" from Orileys.  I started off running with Laurie and Aaron, then Jacky and John were running with us.  Jacky turned around to get 4 miles in, so I ran with John.  I was feeling pretty great the whole time.  I ran 5 miles in 46:42 (probably a little further actually, my garmin was slow to start). That's an average pace of 9:19, a personal best for 5 miles :)

It's amazing what a little postive attitude can do, I thought it was going to be a good day, and it was.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Last night was the All Season Runner run and whine series "hearts on fire" run. The run was complete with several hills, and a "treat" from Kitty, which happened to be a trick.. 2 hill repeats up Lawrence street by the Rock County courthouse, that definitely pushed me. It was nice on the 2nd repeat to hear encouragement from Kathy and Jacky behind me saying "come on Kayla" when I started to slow down. The rest of the run was a breeze after those hills, we sped down main to Milwaukee and headed back to the store. My run measured in at 4.27 miles. At the store there was plenty of fruit, crackers, cheese, and wine to go around. I hung out for awhile, and then headed to Marshall for co-ed volleyball league. So needless to say, I got my workouts in! You would think today I would have taken a rest day, but no... I came up to volleyball in Edgerton to relieve some stress. At volleyball we had 7 on our team, so we were subbing players out. Halfway through the night I decided that when I subbed out I would do wall squats. I feel that I've never been very good at holding squats, but tonight I felt as though I could hold that squat for twice as long as I'd previously been able to. Thank you Jillian abs and hill runs! It's a small, but huge victory when you see improvement; a much needed sign of improvement after a week of what felt like runs recovering from a cold.

Monday, February 20, 2012

13.1 here I come (again)!!

Today I was e-mailed a badge for Ragnar Ambassadors, so while I was on the basno site I realized I had 2 other fun badges.  One of them is the above, Rock n' Roll finisher.  I thought I would post it on here to brag a little, and announce that I am all signed up for the Wisconsin Marathon (for the half marathon) May 5th.  I've been running 4-6 miles pretty consistantly twice a week, so I'm excited to step it up a little and push myself.  Hopefully by the end of this year you will see badges for Ragnar Chicago and Tough Mudder!  If Muscle Milk offers up another free entry to the Rock n' Roll again of course I'm in for that too :o)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Big Plans for 2012

Last night I was filling out survey and realized that I hope to do at least one race every month from May-September.  Here's the proposed schedule for this spring/summer/ fall, subject to additions of other races of course ;)  I was actually quite surprised I had so many I want to do!

March 18th Rockford Shamrock Shuffle 5k- Let me know if you would like to come with me!!!

April 28th Madison Crazy Legs

May 5th Kenosha Wisconsin Marathon (half marathon for me)

June 8th-9th Ragnar Relay Chicago

June 16th Janesville Pancake 5k Race to end racism (first race I ever did)

July 7th Janesville Rock Roll n' Run Triathlon

August 26th Pleasant Prarie Danskin Sprint Triathlon with Elizabeth

August 18th- Up in the air.  SWAT for Ragnar Great River, or Warrior Dash

September 8th Cascade Tough Mudder?

September 9th Madison Volunteering for Ironman WI

Wow, it looks like this is going to be a busy summer!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ragnar Relay One Tough Challenge

Here is an article from the Gazette that I was featured in January 31st.

Ragnar Relay FLK

Here is a letter that I wrote to a friend documenting my experience running Ragnar Florida Keys between Miami and Key West:

I don’t recall if I told you about my Ragnar adventure I was about to embark on back in the beginning of January. Well, January 4th I flew down to Miami to meet up with 11 strangers, run a Ragnar Relay, and I had an absolute blast. My teammates were a lot of fun. We stayed down in Miami for a couple days before the race relaxing, playing shuffle-board, volleyball, and went out in South Beach Miami one night (holy expensive!!) At the bar (Mango) a drink cost me $11.25 (not quite the J-ville 3.50 I’m used to!!!)

We had the next day to relax after. We ate dinner at Ocean’s Ten. It was their “happy hour” aka half off of drinks. I got a 32oz strawberry daiquiri, complete with fireworks for 15$. Conor’s margarita was pretty awesome… fireworks plus two coronas tipped upside down slowly seeping into the margarita. A_M_A_Z_I_N_G.

So let’s not forget the whole reason that I went to Florida in the first place, to run a 200 mile, 12 person relay race from Miami to Key West! So I started the gang out Friday morning at 9:30 AM with a 5.7 mile run. It was honestly very rough to get into running after enjoying the weather so much the days before. I ran over a big bridge about 2-3 miles in, and finally got into my groove on the downhill of the bridge. It was pretty awesome to have random vans driving around and honking for you. I wore my running shorts, superman underwear, and suspenders… our team name was Full Frontal Nerdity.

I think I finished my 5.7 with under 10 minute miles, so I was pretty happy with that. Leg 2 was around 7:30 PM. Since I was runner 1, I waited for runner 12 from van 2 to arrive at the Miami Homestead Speedway. I talked to a few other runners prior to departing and freaked one out because I had my directions in hand. I took off before she did, but she caught up to me, and we started running together. Her name was Nicole, and she was a stay at home mom in Utah (previously from NY). It was great to have a running buddy through some of the sketchy neighborhoods and people waiting at bus stops. She had a Garmin watch, which I want! Her Garmin watch would beep at every mile, so we knew how far along we were, and our pace. We were pacing about a 9:15 min mile until we hit the “gravel road”. OH MY GOSH, the vans were not allowed on the road because of potholes the running guide stated.. that was sure an understatement, we were literally dodging huge puddles and potholes while trying to run at one point! Once again, was very happy to have someone to run with through this part of the leg. It was also nice, when her van was stopped on the side of the road to support her they gave us oranges and Gatorade. We finished our leg of 8.8 miles in 1:27, and burnt over 1,000 calories according to the watch!

After my run, it was all supporting teammates with cheers, and bringing them water along the course. Then off to a major exchange to try to get a few hours of sleep. The gym at the high school that we were at was apparently all full, so my teammates opted to sleep outside which I guess would have been considered the schools hallways, it was all open and reminded me of a school out of a movie. What we did next is a bit of a blur (must have been the fatigue). We drove down to the next exchange, which was in Marathon (one of the Florida Keys), which I am a little familiar with because my grandpa doesn’t live too far away from there. I got to run my last 3 miles through Marathon, it was a very hot run. It was Saturday afternoon, and about 75-80 degrees. It was nice, my mom came up to Marathon and cheered me on along the course (sidewalk). As much as I wanted to push my 3rd leg, my body wasn’t allowing me to. I was definitely warmer than it wanted to be, and I couldn’t make my legs move any faster if I wanted to. I’m sure my heart rate was pretty high, and I kept splashing water onto my wrists to keep from overheating. When I got to where my teammates had stopped with my mom to give me water I dumped it over my head! At the exchange point, I came in finally able to sprint, but then I had no teammate waiting to hand off to! She was in the port-a- potty. So after passing off to Cassie, my part of the race was over. I was a little sad, because I felt like I could have pushed myself a little harder, or trained harder. I’m pretty proud of the 8.8 miles though for the limited amount of training I had time for. So in all actuality I should have been done after my 17.5 total miles for Ragnar FLK, but we got stuck in traffic as runner 3 was on the road, and then decided we should go back to give him water if needed. Well, this posed a problem because the next runner was in our van, not at the exchange point and she had the use the restroom. We would have headed to the next exchange but then got a text from our runner saying he needed GU (energy gels) and water. I bit the bullet and volunteered to run back water and GU to him, so I ran about 3/4th of a mile on the course to him, and then to the exchange for probably an additional 2 miles. The next major exchange was another school, complete with locker room showers for our use, which was wonderful! People are super disgusting though, the shower room was full of random loofa’s, underwear, soap, etc that people just left behind, gross! (sorry about the over-share!). Even though the showers turned into a scolding stream of water after a minute, and had to be constantly turned back on, it was great. After 19.5 miles of sweating I bet you can imagine the necessity of a shower. After cleaning up we headed towards Key West to our designated parking area.

We waited a bit for van 2 to arrive, joked a bit, and waiting for our last runner to come in (he is a super fast 18 year old!) When he arrived the team threw some nerd gear on him, and we ran to the finish together. Unfortunately it was pretty dark by the time we got to Key West, but we still got our team picture taken, and I got my 2nd medal, for running another Ragnar in 2011, and FLK which was the season opener. Afterwards, 5 of us stayed in the heart of Key West and found a nice outdoor restaurant to eat at, while the others went to Outback Steakhouse, but I was in Key West for real fish!! After we located our car I drove us to Sugar Loaf Key to set up tents, my exhaustion really kicked in as I started to drive, I was running on adrenaline and had a hard time driving the 20 minutes to the campground. In fact, I fell asleep in the van as the tents were being set up and woke in the morning still in the van. The team then drove me to my grandpa’s house in Big Pine Key, they hung out for a few minutes, and then they left for WI, and I went upstairs to sleep for 4 hours.

I stayed in Florida until Monday when I drove my mom’s car and her to the airport, and she drove back down to Big Pine. I suggest avoiding the Miami airport and American Airlines at all costs! It sucks, they made me check my baggage, even though I didn’t need to on the way down, and then when I arrived in Milwaukee, my baggage had been left in Chicago where I had connected flights. It was a mess, and took 24 hours to get my bag back. I don’t even want to get more into it, because it will infuriate me. I got back Monday night around 11:30PM to my apartment, and woke up at 5:40 to get to work. Luckily I turned my work cell phone on, because when I got out of the shower I had a text message that said I had a 6:30 am sales meeting to be at! It was one long day back! 2 weeks later, I think I am almost caught up. Being back and getting tagged in a ton of pictures on facebook was also fun. One of the girls also did a You Tube video with some footage from the race, it’s a lot of fun.

Other than that, I’m captain for Ragnar Chicago which is June 8th-9th, from Madison to Chicago through Milwaukee. We will be team Green Machine. I randomly selected the name when I saw a lot of St Patty’s garb in Shopko when I was working. I figure that we can either change our name later or figure out something fun to do with the name.

I hope you enjoyed my recount of Ragnar FLK.