Monday, May 20, 2013

Sundown Dash 2013

It's that time of year again, I am doing 50 things at once and planning the Sundown Dash :o)  The Sundown Dash is a 5k run held on the last Wednesday night of July this year (July 31st). The same as last year we are working to raise funds for Chasing Chad, a great local organization that raises money for brain cancer research.  The route this year will be the same flat, out and back course with chip timing! Although, the race does have an option to not be timed. I'd love to see a turnout like last year, so get registered here! Or e-mail me with any questions on here or at

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Road to the Wisconsin Marathon

Two days later, I am still in disbelief that I ran 26.2 miles.  I never thought that I would do one, and had my doubts after facing a knee injury that kept me from double digit runs for 4-5 weeks.  Thankfully 5 weeks ago I was able to get back into double digit runs without any pain.  I was able to get in 18 and 20 mile training runs in the following weeks with the support of some awesome friends.  The next two weeks were taper time already, with shorter runs of 12 miles, 5 miles at Crazy legs, and a 4 mile on Sunday, per the advice of Aaron "It is better to be over rested".  The taper weeks held their own challenges as this seemed to hurt, or that seemed tweaked, when it was probably just me getting inside of my own head.  Friday rolled around and it was time to head to Kenosha.  Aaron, Laurie, and Mike picked me at around 1, and we headed out.  We checked into their hotel, spent some time browsing the Kenosha Prime outlets, then headed over to my hotel for packet pick-up, and check-in.  Then we headed over to Hu Hot for dinner.  After my experience eating rich pasta at the Hot Chocolate 15k, I decided it best to avoid an excessive amount of pasta and tried to load up on veggies.  Around 6pm my mom and younger sister Caitlin met us at the restaurant, then we stopped at Panera so they could eat, GFS for some bottled water, then headed to the Best Western. However, I told my mom we were at the Best Western Harborside, but she had put in the wrong address, so we laughed as I told her we were in the wrong place.  We made our way to the correct hotel, got settled, and then headed down to the packet pick-up again to meet Britten and Dixie.  Britten asked if I could braid her hair, so they came back to the room, and we chatted for a bit.  They left, then I got all of my running gear in order for the big day.  I plugged my iPod and Garmin watch in, pinned Hammer gel to my fuel belt, picked out my socks, thought about which headband I wanted to wear, and gave my  mom and sisters items I thought I may need.  Eventually I settled down with an issue of Runner's World, which had some great advice on staying positive. As expected, I slept alright, but got up a few times to turn up the heat or just because.

Some of the ASR group
Finally 5:30 am arrived, and it was time to get up!  I got up and dressed, and fought back some nerves.  I waited for my mom and sister to get ready, as I ate some leftover pizza, and then a peanut butter sandwich when I didn't think my stomach was going to handle the pizza very well that day. Then we went down to the continental breakfast for a little bit, and met a Marathon Maniac, Chris, who was on his 3rd Marathon in 3 weeks (I don't think that many marathons consecutively is ever a good idea!).  We chatted for a few minutes, then mom, Caitlin and I made our way to the start line to find the ASR group.  We took a couple of pictures, and wished each other luck, then made our way to the start area by our anticipated pace.

Mile 4, downtown Kenosha
Last year I started too far back between 9-10 minute miles, so this year I started at the back of the 8 minute mile group.  We observed a moment of silence for Boston, the star spangled banner was sung, and then the count down to race start, with a man who simply said, "GO". Since I was in the 8 minute area there were probably a few hundred runners in front of me, so it was slow to get to the actual start line.  We started to jog a little, but then slowed down to a walk, but was able to start out at a nice easy pace.  The minute I crossed the start line I had a feeling that I really needed to pee!  I told myself to keep running and it would go away.  Thankfully, by mile 3 it did go away, and I started to get into my groove. My plan for the marathon was to keep between a 9:15-9:30 minute mile the first half and see where I was at for the 2nd half.  I did pretty well maintaining this goal for the first 4 miles, but then I sped up for miles 5-10 to around a 9:10.  I think I just got excited when I was seeing my friends on the course (Aaron, Steve, Dixie, Britten, Gary, Jennifer, Aimee, and Mike).  I ran with Mike, who was running the half, for a bit, and gave him some advice to stop looking at his watch and asked him how much steam he had left.  He said a lot, so I told him at 10 miles he needed to pick up his pace for the next 3 miles, but I needed to maintain pace.  Around 10 miles he took off as I told him to.

The course was mostly an out and back for the half marathon with a split at mile 11.5.  Luckily I was still feeling great around 11.5 so I didn't even attempt to cut it short.  I was still feeling pretty good into miles 12 and 13 but knew that my pace had slowed.  I had planned to take a Hammer Gel vanilla at 6, 12, 18, and 24. I took my gel at 6 and 12, but didn't get the same boost I had gotten at 6, but I knew my mom and sister were supposed to be at 16, so I told myself to push for 3-4 miles.  I rounded the corner around 13.5 miles and there were my mom and sister!  Caitlin ran up to me, and I exchanged water bottles with her, took half of my half peanut butter sandwich, and asked for an extra Hammer gel.  Caitlin ran back to my mom and sprinted barefoot back to me to hand-off my gel as I reached back. We had to have looked ridiculous, but I loved it!

At this point I just listened to my music and kept moving my legs.  I had some Clif Shot blocks to alternate with my gel, so I picked mile marks in between gel, and told myself just 2 more miles, or 1 more mile until shot block time!  I took a couple of shot blocks around 16, and told myself only 2 miles until gel time!  Miles 14.5-18 were pretty tough as they were on mostly gravel roads.  Somewhere in there I saw Aaron, and he was asking thumbs up or down, and I gave him the thumbs up!  Around 18.5 we were finally back on some pavement.  I could see the 19 mile marker with a timing mat, and I was thankful for that timing mat, because I saw a guy cut out around 15 miles, and I was going to be very angry if he also got a medal that I got and he did not run the whole thing!  A quarter mile later I was making the turn to head back, and remember a friendly volunteer and blow-up cow sitting there.  Just after I crossed the mile 19 marker I saw Deanna.  I was quite shocked to see her because I figured she was ahead of me. Seeing the familiar faces seemed to help me out.  I got a 2nd, or 3rd, or 4th wind and started to pick my pace back up slightly.  By mile 20 I literally said to myself "hmm, I don't think this is so bad!" There was no self talk about how I was never doing this again, only positive thoughts.  Soon after I think I passed the multi-marathoner I had met that morning, he was walking. On mile 22 I remember feeling fantastic and passing probably 4 or 5 people who were spaced out.

Super Cheerleader and Videographer Caitlin
Then there was mile 23... my runner's high diminished some, and my body started to give in.  My IT band was feeling a little bit of discomfort.  I had read that the mind is the greatest tool that you have in your last 6 miles, so I decided to test that theory.  I briefly closed my eyes and imagined the weight of my body being lifted.  Basically, I pictured myself being lifted up into a bubble, and you know what, it worked, so think I'm crazy if you must :o) I was able to pick up my pace for mile 24 over mile 23's pace, but then mile 25 was my slowest mile of the race.  The spectators and volunteers on the course were truly awesome.  I think after mile 20 they knew that we (the runners) needed them.  There was nothing but encouragement and "you are looking great", "home stretch", "keep it up, shoulders relaxed" and "you rock", along with humorous signs.  Mile 26 had 3 race photographers, so I made sure to smile, wave, or give a thumbs up to each, so I hope I get some good shots!  At 26.1 as I rounded the final stretch I saw my mom to the left, screaming "yea Kayla!" so I knew it was time to kick it into high drive.  I moved my legs as fast as they would go to finish out that .1 as I passes people.  I crossed the finish line, looked to my right and see Caitlin with two cell phones held up, which I was assuming that she was taking pictures on both; nope, even better, she took pictures, and a video!  In the video you can see the moment that I spotted her because I have a big ole grin on my face!  Overall it was a fantastic day, and I'm glad that some friends and family could share it with me.

Mom and I

May 4th, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Taper time

The miles have been run, the injuries overcome, and I feel like a bum!  That means that it is taper time.  It's hard to believe that it was 4 or so months ago that I started to plan running a marathon.  Overall the training had its up's, then a few large downs, and has been back on the up, with a few bobbles here and there.  Post knee injury I have been trying to be very careful and pay attention to what my body is telling me.  I felt a small twitch in my foot again a week ago, so I taped it overnight, and it felt great the next day, and I haven't felt much knee pain if any on any runs lately.  This taper stuff is hard, I want a big confidence boosting run, but I know that the rest of the runs (Thursday) should just be easy.  It's hard going into the weekend knowing that you want to run 26.2 miles, but it has been 2 weeks since you've had a really long run.  I feel like my confidence comes and goes, a lot of friends have been telling me that I am ready, and I will do great, but right now my nerves may be winning.  Today I got my e-mail with the race details and I was instantly anxious. I need to tell myself that I have my plan in place, I've done my training, and hope it is enough to get my 26.2.  I mean after all, you run the first 10k first, and follow it up with a nice 20 miler ;o)