Thursday, June 28, 2012

Morning Run with the Bruegger's Group

7:30 a.m. - met the CBRC Bruegger's group and ran hills. Total distance:  7.4 miles. Total time:  66 minutes. Average pace:  8:59. One could almost cut through the humidity; as you know, it was hot! There was quite a turnout this morning. Grandpa, Jenn, and I ran part of the Bix course backward. We took off from Bruegger's and ran down Middle Road until we hooked up with Kirkwood Boulevard. We then turned onto Brady Street and stopped at Palmer to grab water before hitting the hill. On the way back, we stopped at the Quik Mart gas station and decided to skip McClellan and head straight back to Bruegger's. I was not about to argue with that decision; by then, my legs were just trying to keep up. Grandpa picked it up at the end and I just held on. The air was quite stagnate, making it difficult to breathe at times. That being said, we kept the pace easy and walked through our water stops.

I haven't met up with this group since last summer, and I forgot how much I enjoy not only running with them, but chatting with them afterward. With the Bruegger's group I am "Dave's granddaughter," which is totally fine with me. I get to hear about their running adventures, injuries, and thoughts about life in general. This group is just so friendly and inviting. I'm definitely going to have to join them upon my return.

I spent the day cleaning our house so that David doesn't have to worry about it while I'm gone. I even washed the curtains and cleaned the windows. I have a few things to take care of tomorrow before my departure. Jessica and I got manicures and pedicures today. It's sort of become our thing, and it was pretty relaxing, especially the massaging chair. Jess went with hot yellow on her toes while I went with pink.

Oh yeah. I had a chance to catch up briefly with Chad and Katie G. at Bruegger's. The BGXC team ran from there this morning! As my body is definitely feeling this week's workouts, my plan is to take tomorrow off (or at least not run) and then try to get in a longer-ish run Saturday morning.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

8:20-9:20 - Biked on the trainer for one hour - 14 miles
I watched a National Geographic episode on Netflix about special forces. I like watching military documentaries and information shows because I know I would never make it through most of the training. I've watched a few about the green berets and marines - talk about brutal. I have so much respect for those in the military. I know I should bike outside more often, but I just don't want to. I don't want to have to deal with cars and red-winged blackbirds. That being said, I know I don't put in as much effort on the trainer, especially if I am not biking to a video.

9:30 - got out for a brick run 1.61 miles in 13:09 (8:08 pace)
I ran pretty much around the block. While on the bike, I went back and forth on whether I wanted to run. I made a compromise with myself to run around the block instead of on the bike path; that way I had to complete the route instead of wondering how far I should go. After I took off, I looked down at my watch and was surprised with my pace. My legs didn't feel that tired, but my stride was definitely shortened. I'm happy that I held a solid pace the entire run.

5:00 - swam at Mt. Joy - 500 meters
David talked me into going swimming. He wanted to get out of roofing early and I had mentioned swimming yesterday, so I went. I felt very comfortable breathing-wise. David was a punk and was grabbing my feet at first, but then he swam at his own pace and was gone. I did panic a little at the turn-around because of the weeds growing on the bottom of the lake. Every time I swim in this lake, I think of the merpeople from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; you know, the part where he has to save Ron and uses gillyweed in order to breathe underwater? Yeah. I would rather the lake be pitch black rather than see all of the plants growing from the bottom. I think I might have to find a different place to swim...

Overall, I'm pretty happy with today's training. I feel like I could have gone farther with the bike, run, and swim, but I'm planning on running hills tomorrow with Brother Dave and his Bruegger's running group, so I don't want to overdo it.

Oh yeah. I told you I was going to make homemade granola bars, and here they are:

Cut and ready to package.

Stored in the refrigerator so that the chocolate will harden.
I found this recipe on Pinterest. Here's the link. These actually turned out better than I thought they would. We didn't have regular peanuts, so I crushed up some cashews. I substituted wheat germ for flaxseed and sunflower seeds for crushed almonds. I did not include any salt and used about five ounces of dried cranberries. The thing I like about these, and the energy balls I make, is that I can use whatever ingredients I want. Sure, there is a recipe, but as long as there is enough "stuff" to hold everything together, I can add or subtract ingredients and amounts. I added chocolate chips to the top after I mixed everything, and David M. thinks I added too many. I will have to experiment with this.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Morning Run with Sam

I could not drag myself out of bed this morning for the group run, so Sam and I went out on our own around 8:00. David told me it was 56 degrees outside, but I didn't believe him. No way could it be that nice in the middle of June. Low and behold, it was gorgeous - perfect running weather. Total distance:  6.04. Total time:  51:50. Average pace:  8:34.

My legs felt it today - my mile times were pretty consistent except for mile six; I slowed down to 8:46 pace going up my hill to finish. I'm thinking of either running or biking later tonight. It didn't hit me until yesterday that I am leaving on Saturday for three weeks. The plan for today is to go shopping for the necessities (shampoo, snacks, etc). Laundry has begun, and I still have a few more books I need to read. Oh - I found a recipe for homemade granola bars. The ingredients are very similar to those I use for my energy balls, so I plan on whipping up a batch. I'll let you know how they turn out.

This is what Sam does after our runs.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

LSR - Dedicated to Jessica

Okay, so I made it out the door this morning a little after six. I decided to take Sam since she has not been running for a while, but I went toward Bettendorf so that I could bring her home earlier in the run if needed. David joined us on his bike about two miles in. Total miles run:  9.21. Total time:  1:27. Average pace:  9:31.  Looking at my mile splits, I stayed pretty consistent, about which I am happy. I actually picked it up the last two miles or so (that could have been because of the light rain and thunder!).

Overall, the run was uncomfortable. I woke up this morning with what felt like a giant air bubble between my ribs and it never went away. In fact, it caused a side cramp under my left rib that was present the entire run. It was tolerable but undesirable. That being said, my legs felt good and I could have kept going. I appreciated the fact that David rode to keep me company and provide water for Sam and me. I thought I would get in more like 9.5 miles, but my ability to calculate distance while running is lacking. Oh well. I plan on getting in one longer run before my trip.

This run is dedicated to my younger sister - by two years - Jessica. She went to Iowa State (boo - go Panthers!) and graduated with a degree in biology. She then went back to school, earned her master's degree, and will begin her first year of teaching this fall at PV Junior High. Yep - we are not only in the same district - we are at the same school. My dad once asked, "So, how do you feel about Jessica being at the same school?" Honestly? I'm really looking forward to it. I will finally have someone with whom to sign-up for treats! Ha. Jessica and I worked together a year ago and, while I was hesitant at first about her being there (you know, there is the whole you're encroaching on my domain-type thing), I really enjoyed having her there. Unfortunately, I am moving classrooms, so I won't be just-down-the-hall.

Jessica has completed two marathons and a handful of half marathons, as well as plenty of triathlons. I thought I was going to beat her at last year's QC Tri, but she passed me on the last mile. I plan on seeking revenge next year. We have ridden parts of Ragbrai together the past two years and always enjoy a nice run together. We've traveled together to Pennsylvania, D.C., Florida, Minneapolis, Champaign, and St. Louis. Our friendship has grown stronger with age, as many sister friendships do. When we were younger, we really didn't have much in common. I was the nerdy, bookworm, I-follow-every-rule child while Jessica was the I-do-what-I-want child. But somehow, we have ended up becoming the best of friends. Now don't get me wrong; we don't always get along - we are still sisters - but we understand each other.

On today's run, I thought about how much I am going to enjoy living closer to Kyle and her (and Ledger and Jefferson Starship). Blah, blah - enough sappy stuff. You get it.

I leave in less than a week for my Holocaust Teachers' Program. Lists have been made and laundry has begun!

Jessica and me at Honeymoon Island - Florida 2012

Torchlight Parade! - June 2012

Jessica and cousin Cameron
I had to add this! We found Brother Dave at Jessica's Bachelorette Party - Moonlight Chase 2011

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6B46 - Run Dedicated to Emily and Phil

This morning, I woke up and said to David, "Maybe I will run in an hour." I then thought about it realistically and realized that this would never happen. People were meeting at the Bettendorf Y and I needed to be there. Emily, Phil, Chad, Jay, and I cranked out six miles before six o'clock. As a matter of fact, I looked at my watch at 6::02 and thought I'm so glad my workout is over! Total miles: 6.15. Total time: 53:10. Average pace: 8:38. Emily and I ran together, and I felt like we were going faster than that, but I am really happy with the run. My legs were pretty stiff from yesterday's track workout, which means I need to do more stretching after my runs. Today's run is dedicated to Emily and Phil. We run together often. I met Emily through Live Uncommon and the 6B46 running group. Emily actually just finished her master's degree and has run a 4:01 marathon. She's currently training for the QC Marathon and has really dedicated herself to her training. Phil is the tech guy in my district, and I actually met him through my husband. Phil introduced me to the 6B46 group, so I suppose I owe him! He keeps me updated on running groups and people around the Quad Cities. Phil recently completed TOMRV and is a talented and dedicated photographer. Both Emily and Phil are hard-working and dedicated. I feel fortunate to have them as part of my support community and the LU race team. Keep running!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Track Workout - Dedicated to Brother Dave

After taking off yesterday from running, I was so ready for this track workout. The plan was to meet Emily at the BHS track at five. It was much more difficult getting up this morning than usual because we had no air conditioning last night and so I feel like I slept very little (it's fixed now!). My mom reminded me today that people have survived for centuries without air conditioning, usually sleeping naked under an open window, and that only made me appreciate it more.

Anyway, I met Emily at the track and did a one-mile warm-up. Phil joined us, and I cranked out 4x800 repeats:  3:39; 3:45; 3:41; 3:38. I stopped myself at four, and I'm glad I did because I was definitely feeling it on the cool down. Total mileage for this workout:  4.5. Pretty solid for a track workout. So, Emily explained the Yasso 800's to me and I tried to follow it, but at the same time, I didn't. My goal marathon time is around 4:40, and I can run 800's much faster than that (obviously). So, do I stick to the Yasso plan or run them harder yet more conservatively? Let me know what you think. 

I was able to get in a workout, go grocery shopping, and get dinner in the crock pot - all before 7:30 this morning. While I don't enjoy waking up at the butt crack of dawn, it does feel good to be uber-productive in the morning. Sunlight was just starting to fill the sky while we were on the track, which made for a beautiful morning. 

Today's workout is dedicated to my Grandpa Zimmer, otherwise known as Brother Dave. I thought it fitting to think about him during my 800's as he is the one who got me into speed workouts as an adult. He is an active member of the Cornbelt Running Club and talked me into doing their track workouts on Tuesday nights a few years ago.

Truth time:  My grandfather is a stud. He is a superstar. He could run circles around your grandpa (okay, I had to say that!). In all reality, he really is special. The first time I met Ernesto, I told him I was originally from DeWitt. He proceeded to ask me if he knew Dave Zimmer. What a small world! My grandfather is know in the QC running world and that makes me proud. Everyone I talk to about him says how nice, hardworking, and dedicated of a person he truly is. I strive to live up to and carry on his reputation. 

My grandfather has been running since the age of 44. He got the nickname "Brother Dave" during Ragbrai 2010 because "Grandpa" seemed like too old of  reference; he wanted something cooler. We have run together on trails in Colorado, at Distance Classic training runs, at CBRC track workouts, at local road races; we have biked to Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park and on Ragbrai, and we both enjoy making fun of David Mulfinger at Saturday morning bike workouts; and I have competed against him in various triathlons.

We have talked about the sport of running and about one's ability to get burnt out. After all of these years, after ups and downs, injuries and lack of motivation, he is still going. One thing he really enjoys doing is volunteering for the Firecracker Run over in East Moline. If there is someone truly living uncommon, it's him. He is a father, grandfather, husband, brother, mentor, goofball, and so much more. As I've grown up, I feel like I've gotten to know him better, and that is all thanks to running (and a little biking. Okay, and a little swimming). So, the next time someone mentions Dave Zimmer, know that he is my grandpa, and that makes me proud. 

Grandpa, Dad, Erin, and me - St. Patrick's Day Race 2011

David and Brother Dave - Districts 2011

Grandpa and Grandma - State Cross Country 2011

At Jessica's wedding - they are the best dancers! I think all of those dance lessons help :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

LSR - Dedicated to Erin

Okay. So, the plan was to run 12 miles this morning and I talked Erin into pushing back her long run and going with me. I had an awesome but crazy weekend (David's brother Dylan got married in Sioux City), so I only got in one run. I thought this would be a good thing as my legs would be fresh. That didn't make any difference. Friday morning I was able to hop on the treadmill and got in three miles. I figured this was better than nothing! I had every intention of getting up earlier on Saturday morning and logging a few more miles on the treadmill, but then I figured it would be bad-news-bears to wake everyone up with my pounding on THE wedding day, so I abstained from running. Sunday morning I was a bit tired from all of the running around and dancing the day before, so I slept in and didn't run. Anyway, I count dancing as a workout!

Michelle, Dylan, me, and David - We're so happy for them!

Erin and I went out around 5:45 and it was already 77 degrees. Things went well until mile 9; it was then that my body wanted to stop. I was dehydrated, I started getting cold, and my legs and butt hurt. We ended up taking walk breaks every half mile or so. I told Erin that if she hadn't been with me, I would be laying down at mile six eating gummy bears! It was a miserable run to say the least. But, we got it done.

I am currently reevaluating my goals for this year. Erin pointed out that I have yet to have a decent run in warmer weather, and that's something I had not thought of lately. In reality, the last longer run in warmer weather I remember going smoothly was back in 2009 when I ran 16 miles at night with Adrienne biking along as support. I had to stop at mile 19 at the QC Marathon in 2009 because it was really hot and I was dehydrated. I was sick at the Des Moines Marathon, but I don't remember it being too warm. The QC Distance Classic this year was hot, and I died. Maybe it's a mental thing, but I just feel like I perform better in cooler weather. Shorter road races aren't quite as bad, but it is brutal to try and push for ten more miles.

That being said, I am thinking about doing the half marathon at the QC Marathon and completing a full marathon with Erin in early November (right now I am signed up for the QC full). I won't lie - I am worried that it will be warm in September and that I  won't be able to finish. I don't want that to happen. It's the last race in the LU Race Series and I want to do well. This schedule would work better for me as I wouldn't have to worry about getting in an 18-miler overseas. If I push back my marathon, I think I will register for the First Central Crossroads Triathlon. I have completed this for the past couple of years and enjoy finishing at my old high school (which is now renovated). Any thoughts are welcome.

Today's run is dedicated to Erin. Erin is my older sister by two years. She was born a runner. We were on the same team in high school for two years, and then she went on to run for UNI for a season. She now lives in Minneapolis and takes me on all of the trails when I visit. It sometimes drives me crazy because no matter how hard or long I train, I have yet to beat her in a road race. My best chance was at this year's CASI St. Patrick's Day Race. I had trained all winter and she had just started training. We ran together toward the beginning but, like usual, I went out too fast and ended up paying for it at the end. One of these days I will catch her!

Erin is also a teacher, but she is a teacher of history as opposed to English/Language Arts. She had the opportunity to work at the National Museum of American History (one of the Smithsonian museums) when she lived in D.C. and I just found out tonight that while there, she saw Ben Stiller, Jon Bon Jovi, and she met Jimmy Smits. Pretty cool. She is a fabulous cook and excels at making and decorating cakes. She actually made the cake for Jessica's wedding. Random fact:  Erin prefers homemade cake and frosting to store-bought. She also has one of Sam's sisters - Buttercup. We enjoy getting them together so they can play, although Sam has a tendency to pick on Buttercup and try to cause trouble. I am so happy to have an older sister who can give me advice and provide a different perspective. So, here's to Erin, who can get me through any run alive!

Cheering on David at a cross-country meet

Me, Adrienne, and Erin

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Don't Even Need to Question if Roofing is a Workout...

Well, yesterday I took Sam for an easy four miles just to up my mileage for the week. As stated before, I would like to get to forty miles a week by the end of the summer. After plugging in the numbers, I feel like this will come when my long runs get, well, longer. I tried a two-a-day on Tuesday and found that it's probably not such a good idea to do after a track workout. Anyway, as I was running yesterday, I questioned even going four miles. My legs were tired, and I wanted to get in a long run of twelve miles today.  Looking back, I should have just stayed home. Here's why:

Jessica and Kyle are having their roof redone by none other than the family. My dad loves doing construction work. (No really, it's what he enjoys. Unlike education, where one might never see the impact one has, one can see exactly how much work was put in when tearing off a roof and putting a new one on) Well, this is one heck of a roof. The first section was completed over the weekend. Kyle rented a lift because the roof is super far off the ground and is too steep to stand on without a support.

With David and I having some time off, I offered for us to go to their house early on Wednesday and start tearing off a section so that when my dad and Kyle got there, the roof would be ready to have shingles laid. We got there around noon and, after trimming some tree branches with a chainsaw, David was ready to go. We hauled out everything and got to work. Since the roof was so steep, we start out on ladders. I'm a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to heights, so after five minutes I told David I would pick up the shingles he tore off and put them in the dumpster. He actually moved quickly enough with tear-off that this worked well. I did make him build a support because he was crawling around the roof and I was afraid he was going to slide off.

Fast forward to nine o'clock at night, when we were just finishing. Dad said something like, "Climb up that ladder a few more times and see if you get a run in tomorrow!" I just laughed and told him I would get in a long run regardless. Ha. Look who's laughing now! My alarm went off at 4:30 so I could meet the 6B46 group and I could not move. Even now, when I think about running, my lower legs turn to lead. I got used to going up and down the ladder, so I became the gopher. I took up cut shingles and got tools out of the garage. This doesn't sound like much, but I was constantly moving and now, I am paying for it. (And I wasn't even on the roof!)

Therefore, there will be no run today. David's brother is getting married this weekend, so we are heading to Sioux City today. I don't want to make my running inconvenience others, so I am only planning on getting in shorter runs. My twelve-miler will just have to be pushed back to Monday. So much for lofty goals!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Run Dedicated to Grandma Simkins

Total distance = 3.03 (8:39; 8:32; 8:25)
Total time = 25:52 (8:31 pace)

My family began Wednesday-night dinners at my Grandma Simkins' in 2008 as a way to ensure we saw each other regularly and had something decent to eat at least once a week. Once-a-week became a bit too hectic, so we backed off to once every other week. This week, dinner was moved to Tuesday night, which worked just fine for me. On the menu tonight:  chili, lasagna, potato-beef casserole, bread, and cherry pie. Yes, this is a lot of food! My grandmother loves trying new recipes, but when she is afraid they won't turn out, she makes something as a back-up.

Adrienne and I went out around 5:00 and ran three miles. I love running in Eldridge now because of the new bike path connecting Eldridge and Long Grove. Before, I would run from her house to Highway 61 and then make my way back going through neighborhoods. Now I can run a more direct route and go as far as I want. The plan was to run with Adrienne, but Sam was being a bit of a pest and she pulled me for a good mile and a half. When we turned around we waited for Adrienne (well, it was more of Sam refusing to move forward until Adrienne got to us) and ran back with her. We went much faster than I wanted, but I kind of just wanted to finish and get Sam off of the leash.

My legs actually felt good; I definitely could have kept going. I'm trying to up my mileage and two-a-days every once in a while seem like a good way to do it. An easy day tomorrow should lead to a solid long run on Thursday. The plan is to run 6B46 and then get in six more miles. I want to get in my long run early so that I don't have to try to fit it in this weekend because I know that if I save it, I won't get it in.

The run this evening is dedicated to my Grandma Simkins. She is my mother's mother. Grandma lives in Eldridge and likes to sew/quilt and bake. She and my mom made me a t-shirt quilt for my high school graduation and then made me a beautiful purple and green quilt for my wedding. Most of my pot holders and towels, and all of my table cloths, are homemade by Grandma. She has made us girls purses, reusable grocery bags, wallets, pillow cases, you name it. She also has the greatest recipes. Looking for a delicious dessert that can claim to be somewhat healthy? Try her chocolate zucchini cake and/or bread. (It has zucchini, which makes it healthy, right?) Looking for a warm, hearty meal during the cold winter months? Try her potato soup. (No really, it's super good.) She is amazing.

When we were younger, my sisters, brother, and I would go to her house every Christmas and make cookies - waffle cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter temptations, chocolate crinkles, kolachips, and dipped Ritz crackers. Yum. She lives along the Moonlight Chase course in Eldridge, so before we were old enough to run it, we would sit in lawn chairs and watch the runners go by while eating popsicles. Grandma and I have traveled to Florida for Natalie's graduation and to Pennsylvania for Gary's and Brian's graduations (once with Erin and once with Jessica).

One thing I love about my grandmother is that she is a strong woman. She doesn't take crap from anyone. If she has something to say, she will say it. I admire her for this. I love hearing stories from when she was younger. One time, when her children were still living in the house, there was carpet in the living room that she absolutely despised. She told my grandfather (who is no longer living) that she was going to get rid of it, and one day while he was at work, she tore it up and threw it out the window!

So, here is to my grandmother, who is always there for her children and grandchildren and who shows me that things in life come through hard work.

Grandma with the Zimmer female grandchildren and Mom.

With Natalie and Adrienne.

My mom and grandma. This is one of my favorites.

Morning Track Workout

This morning I got up and met a group at the Bettendorf Y at 5:00 a.m. to complete a track workout. I felt like I was cheating on the regular running group because they also meet at the Y at 5:00 to complete their 6B46 run. A special shout out to Phil P. for inviting me to this workout. As I said before, I had been going to the Augustana track and doing the CBRC track workout on Tuesday nights. That wasn't really working out for me too well, so this was a welcomed alternative.

We left the Y and ran a warm up to the Bettendorf track = 1.38 miles at 9:15 pace
Dave J. had the workout for us, and he divided the track into thirds. It was basically a fartlek workout; run fast, slow jog, run fast, etc. We did this for two miles, taking a break in the middle. 2.05 miles at what turned out to be 7:54 pace
Cool down back to the Y = 1.36 miles at 9:12 pace
Total miles = 4.8 (roughly)

I actually really enjoyed this workout. The miles flew by because the distance was broken up. Before I knew it, we had run a mile. My legs are a bit tired. I could tell my body is not used to running so quickly, and it took me a while to warm back up after the break.

I feel like I am more dedicated to my running, and I see that in others with whom I run. While at the track we ran into John Byrnes and his running partners who were completing a stair workout. I have run with him a few times on Saturday mornings. He and Rick Fountain are training for Leadville. Anyway, this lead me to think about the running community that surrounds me. Everyone is so supportive and friendly; when out running, people say hello and catch up a little bit. I love that there are so many options for early morning runners. Just today, one could run six miles continuously, complete a track workout, or run stairs at the Bettendorf track. Jay  G. actually took part in all three!

While on my way home, I felt like it was already eight o'clock when it was really just a little after six. Getting up early and completing my workout leaves the entire day ahead of me. I have decided to go with a mix of things for marathon training. Rather than go out and buy another training book, I am going to modify Jeff Galloway's plan.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Run Dedicated to David

Sam and I went for an easy four miles this morning. Boy was it humid! This was a watch-less run. I got a Garmin Forerunner 310XT for Christmas last year and it has been a saving grace. I am able to better pace myself and know exactly how far I have run. Before, I would run only routes I knew and guesstimate on my time. On the bike path, I would ride my bike and use the computer on it to determine distance. But doing that, I was limited in how far I could run. Being a bit anal about getting my distance down to a T, I would have to round out my miles.

That being said, I started to rely a little too much on Garmin. I would always run based on time rather than on feel. My easy runs would turn into more tempo-style runs because I would want to bring down my time. Now, I try to leave my watch at home for my easier, shorter runs. This allows me to run completely based on how I feel and really enjoy my surroundings and my run in general.

Today Sam and I ran four miles on the bike path. We went toward Davenport and turned around by the golf course right before the little bridge. I like this route because there are not as many hills as there are going the Bettendorf way. The first hill is Kimberly Road followed by the hill by the golf course right after the turn-around. Then it's fairly flat until I get off of the bike path onto Parkway Drive, and I finish running up Olympia. I suppose this is good for me in the long run, finishing running up a hill, but I curse our house location every time I am on my way back from a run. Why the hill? Why?!

I'm planning on hitting up a track workout tomorrow morning with a group that meets at the Y. Phil P. suggested I check it out. I have been going to the Cornbelt Running Club track workouts at Augustana College on Tuesday nights, but the track is being torn-up so they are running elsewhere and the I-74 bridge is awful to cross at that time.

Today's run is dedicated to my husband David. I thought about him a lot on this run because A) I was running with Sam and she always reminds me of him, and B) he worked hard all weekend helping my sister's husband roof his house. I got to sleep in, but he had to be at work in Clinton at six this morning.

David and I were married almost four years ago. (Wow. That sounds like a long time. Okay, maybe not to some of you, but I am still coming to grips with the fact that I am a full-fledged adult.) I remember when training for my first marathon, David was the water man. He rode his bike all over the bike path bringing water to my sisters, my mom, my dad, and me. Needless to say, he is happy that I have a group with which to do my longer training runs so that he won't have to do this every weekend. Since we have been married, David has come to a number of my races as support. He helps me set up at triathlons and is there with a smile and a hug at each finish line. He puts up with me obsessing over my runs when we travel, especially when we go to his side of the state (Sioux City area). David really enjoys running with my aunt Kelli (who just had a baby) and my sister Jessica (who is going to have a baby in December). He and Kelli ran every morning when we were on vacation in Colorado, and he and Jessica run every other Wednesday night when we go to my grandmother's for dinner. One goal he has is to complete a half marathon, and he is looking at the Des Moines half marathon in October.

David is a techie. He loves building things and figuring out better ways to make things work. When we went to the Trek store to buy me a new bike, I was looking for a good color while he was checking out the components. I won't get into everything, but I will give you a few examples of what he has done around our house. 1 - we have a media center computer hooked up to our television so that we can listen to music, watch Netflix and Hulu, and view pictures right in our living room. 2 - Our agreement for the basement is that once it is finished, David gets triple monitors so that he can game in style. 3 - I have a carputer in my Saturn. This allows me to control music, GPS, movies, etc. using a touch screen attached to my dashboard. 4 - He built his own speakers for the basement and sometimes goes over to "the speaker guy's" house to compare their speakers. I think this is awesome. I like to give him a hard time about how nerdy he is, but really, this is something for which I admire him. If we were stranded on a deserted island, David would rig up a way to make contact with others and then we would wait in style. He listens to Stuff You Should Know often, so he is full of random facts and knowledge. It's funny because, being a tech-guy, he despises Macs, but I got an I-pad for Christmas and so he has come around to the idea of having Mac products in our home.

To thank David for his hard work, this is what I made him for dinner tonight:

It's chicken and rice made in the Crock Pot. I must say, it looks delicious, and it doesn't taste too bad either (David really likes it). Notice the liner used for easy clean up.

David has a great sense of humor and is usually able to put a smile on my face. Wow. Okay. This post is longer than I had anticipated. Sorry about that.

David and me at the Torchlight Parade.

At Jessica and Kyle's wedding. I think Kee Ann will appreciate this!

At Courtney and Rob's wedding in April.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

LSR - Run Dedicated to Adrienne

I got up this morning and was off and running at 6:30. The plan was to meet my mom and Adrienne at the end of the bike path on State St. I wanted to start at six, Adrienne wanted to start at seven, so we met in the middle. It was decided almost immediately that we should have started earlier. My thermometer read 73 degrees at six o'clock and it only warmed up from there.

Sam came with me and I was feeling pretty uncomfortable about her running in the heat, so Adrienne and I agreed to take a detour from the bike path and drop her off at my house. This was an excellent decision; we got a water stop and Sam got a short run.

My legs felt great and I was mentally prepared for this run. I was planning on going ten miles but we ended up going nine in 1:26 (9:33 pace), which is totally fine with me. We ended up walking a few times, but I was able to run again just fine. Usually, I have a problem walking because once I do, I find it more difficult to run the rest of the way. I don't usually do long runs after races, but I needed to get in more miles this week and I want to make my legs stronger by running after races. My goal pace for the marathon in September is 10:00 per mile, and this run felt comfortable; Adrienne and I were able to converse without a problem. As David's brother is getting married this coming weekend, my plan is to get in a twelve-mile long run on Thursday. My mom ran 6.2 miles, which is awesome, and after the run we went to Bruegger's for breakfast.

Okay, this run is dedicated to my sister Adrienne. She will be a senior at the University of Iowa. I actually ran into her at the Race for the Cure; I had no idea she was running it and we found each other at the finish line. It turns out that she beat me! I keep saying that I will beat her next time, but when I think back to all of the races we have run together, it is me who is playing catch-up.

One thing I love about my relationship with Adrienne is that we can always catch-up with each other on a run. Most people agree to meet over coffee or dinner, but Adrienne and I usually find ourselves meeting to do a track workout or run on the bike path. I've even gone to Iowa City in order to do a long run with her. We enjoy going to Airliner to get wings and pizza, and I have traveled with her to Florida, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C. We've run marathon relays together, competed in triathlons, and trained for a marathon. Adrienne talked me into going with her to get a tattoo. She loves to travel and get out there and do things. I have no doubt that whatever field she goes into, she will be successful. So, here's to Adrienne - you make me want to train harder so that one day I can beat you in a race!

Resting during RAGBRAI 2011. 

Adrienne and me at Jessica's wedding.

In Florida, March 2012.

Harry Potter World! Florida, March 2012.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Run Dedicated to Live Uncommon

Today was the Race for the Cure. Overall time:  24:44. Average pace:  7:48. Mile one: 7:35; mile two: 7:48; mile three: 8:01; .17: 7:42. I feel like I ran this race backward. I was hoping my first mile would be around 7:50 and then I would pick it up from there. However, I have a tendency to go with my adrenaline and pick up my pace at the beginning only to fall apart later in the race. I need to do a better job of slowing myself down at the beginning. Side note:  my brother said he completed a Kenyan run today at practice and this is exactly what he worked on - going out conservatively and then picking it up intentionally. 

I can't say I am disappointed in today's race. I perform better in cooler weather, and I felt like I pushed myself the entire race. One thing I would like to practice is my kick at the finish. I always tell myself that I am going to push it at the end, but mentally, I don't pull through.

It was great to see so many people out supporting the Race for the Cure. I have dedicated this run to Live Uncommon and the LU Race Team. My enthusiasm for running has been rejuvenated by this group. I remember going to races last fall and seeing people with these "Live Uncommon" shirts. They were so positive and smiley. At the QC Marathon, I happened to be running the same relay leg as Maddie Reynolds, so we had a chance to talk and she told me about LU. However, it wasn't until early 2012 that I decided to join.

To be honest, having been a part of athletic groups around the area in the past, I was pretty skeptical. I am not fast, and I'm not really good at meeting new people, so I never really felt like a part of these groups. I found that Live Uncommon is totally different. What I love about it are the core values:  family, work ethic, fitness and health, giving back, balance, and excellence. It's not about just being uber-fast or competing. To me, LU is about bettering myself in all aspects of life. Through the race team, I am able to help my community, make friends, and better myself health-wise. If not for LU and the Race Team, I would not have run the Race for the Cure and I wouldn't be committed to running a marathon in September. I wouldn't be raising money for great causes around the area. I would not have met this awesome group of people who make me want to be a better person and represent LU well. I realize that sounds mushy, and if I am anything, I am not mushy. But, that's how it is.

Not having any pictures from the race this morning, I will share a few from the Torchlight Parade.

Our group "running." Okay - I made them stage this one!

David and me afterward.

My sister and her husband (Jessica and Kyle), David and me, and our friends Mike and Molly.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Is Painting Considered a Workout?

With the Race for the Cure tomorrow morning, I debated running today. I thought about getting up this morning, but after finishing a run last night around nine, that was not going to happen. So, I figured I would get a  head-start on painting the basement. For those of you who don't know, David and I bought a house three years ago and have been working on it ever since. We have redone the roof, put in a new water heater and furnace, totally redone the kitchen and living room area, and are presently working on the basement. We have added a full bathroom down there and just got primer on the walls yesterday. I started painting at eight o'clock this morning and finished around six. I had a few breaks in there (contact checkup, packet pickup, lunch), but I would say I painted for at least seven hours. That being said, I'M FINISHED! The downstairs closet and main room have two fresh coats of paint. It's a great feeling to know that I never have to paint a space that large again (well, in my own house). Brother David was at our house and could have helped, but I am a bit anal when it comes to things like this; I would rather do it myself and know that it's how I want it. David was great. He encouraged me to keep going, and he cleaned up the laundry room. That doesn't sound like a big deal, right? Well, we have kind of let it go, so he had much vacuuming to do, and he also switched the washer and dryer hookups so that when the doors open, they don't hit each other. 
One corner in the basement-demolition.
The same corner with fresh paint. (Notice the new ceiling!)

No run for me, but that's okay because I had an uber-productive day.

p.s. I know some might be wondering why I would possibly want to create a blog. I really don't have that interesting of a life, but there are some things I want to share. First of all, I like explaining my running/workouts. Secondly, I am going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip this summer and want to be able to share my experience with others who are interested. I applied for and was accepted into the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers' Education Program. I will be gone for three weeks this July and will travel to Washington D.C., Israel, Germany, and Poland. You can view last year's itinerary here and for more information, go here. Right now, I am preparing by reading. I just finished On Both Sides of the Wall, which was sent to me by the program director. Vladka Meed, the author, actually created this program. She lived in the Warsaw Ghetto but was able to escape and live on the "Aryan side," acting as a liaison between resistors in the ghetto and resistors on the outside. Currently, I am reading The Nazi Conscience by Claudia Koonz. Koonz takes a look at what life was like in Germany leading up to and while Hitler was in power. Jim Russell lent me a book called All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein that I finished a few weeks ago. I will comment on the Holocaust and my experiences as I travel, but one thing I have noticed in my reading is the consistent mention of citizens and countries doing absolutely nothing. It wasn't that the German Nazi Party had an abundance of support; it was that no one was willing to stand up to them. Victims could only do so much, and they thought for sure that their neighbors and friends (and democratic countries) would be outraged at their treatment. However, support came from few people and it was quite far between.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Run Dedicated to Sam

My run tonight went pretty well. Six miles. I had every intention of getting up this morning to run with the 6B46 crew, but the alarm went off and I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed. Since I had to be at the AEA all day, I knew the run was then going to get put off all day and would loom over my head. We are in the process of remodeling our basement and, with the help of my brother David, got it primed and I tried out our paint color in the closet. Eight o'clock rolled around and my run still was not even begun, so I put away the paint and got to it. Other than being buggy, the run went just fine. My right leg below my knee was tight, but nothing too terrible. I love vacation, but there is something to be said for routine. I really feel out-of-whack right now. My body is trying to get back to normal eating and exercise. I knew that if I did not get in this run I would regret it big time. I have been getting in around thirty miles a week and would like to work up to forty, so I need to stick to my running plans. Marathon training has begun, but I am still in the process of finding a plan. I have a Jeff Galloway book,  but I have heard good things about Hal Higdon and his running plans. Let me know if you have a suggestion. Less than sixteen weeks!

Okay, so I will explain more about my overall reasons for blogging later. For now, I would like to take a page from other runners' books and dedicate tonight's run to my consistent running partner - Sam. I know, I know, Sam is only a dog. But, lacking offspring at the present, she is like my child. David and I got Sam fifteen months ago from a farm outside of Welton, Iowa. My sister Adrienne actually found her and picked out one of her sisters for my sister Erin. When I heard about this, I knew I the time was right for us to get a dog also. I am not a split-decision type of person; I take quite a while to make a decision. Not this time. I left school right after the students left and David and I drove and picked her out. She was the last golden retriever there, so I like to think it was meant to be.
Sam when she was really little. Now she will eat shoes on a whim.

On our way home, David and I realized we had absolutely no way to take care of a dog; we had to buy food and a kennel. I sent David into Pet's Mart and he came out with the largest kennel available, saying, "Well, the lady said she would grow into it!" Sam shook the entire way home. It was her first time being away from her family, her first car ride, and she had her first bath. We tried to get her to sleep in a clothes basket, but to no avail.

David and I had no idea what to do with her the next day. We both had to work, and so I left her in her kennel with no food or water because she wasn't house broken and I didn't want her messing up her kennel. (At this time we still did not have a name for her!) My sister Jessica, who worked at the school with me, told me I should have at least left her with water because she would get really thirsty during the day. Well, I thought I had made a terrible mistake, so I called Adrienne and begged her and Will to hang out at my house with Sam so that she wouldn't be lonely. Needless to say, I learned that she is perfectly content not having food or water during the day; she doesn't even eat treats I leave for her.

So, that was the beginning. Jump ahead a year and Sam has become my best running partner. Truth be told, sometimes I skip out on group runs because I know she needs the exercise and one of the reasons I got her was to be my running partner. That being said, I have a feeling that if we ever got attacked, it would be me protecting her; she is afraid of loud, sudden noises, large bushes, unfamiliar places...most things that present themselves while running. Sam is the reason I ran this winter and often becomes my excuse for going out for a run after a long day at work. Sometimes I wonder if we would be better off without a dog; we certainly would be richer. But she adds enjoyment to my day and brings a smile to my face (and hopefully to others as her entire body is out of the window while going to the dog park!). No matter if we go three miles or ten miles, Sam is always up for a run.

Sam and her sister Buttercup. BC lives in Minneapolis.

Sam and me getting ready to go running!