Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Two-time half marathoner here!

Both times I ran the Des Moines Half Marathon, on basically the same course (with minor changes to the start and finish due to construction), the distances were the same, but the races were totally different. Last year I felt almost giddy the entire time, and this year I was emotional. Last year, I got tears in my eyes during the Star Spangled Banner at the start of the race, while that didn't affect me hardly at all this year. What did get me were two signs. One was close to the start and said "I don't know you but I am so proud of you". The one that really got the waterworks flowing was inside of a mile from the finish line and said, "The person who is finishing this race is not the same person who started". I'm really glad I was wearing sunglasses.

Last year I ran with my sister, Jeanie, and this year with my daughter, Erin - and I couldn't be prouder of both of them. We all trained hard; many hours and many miles, and we have the medals to show it. (But as our friend Steve asked, "Is this one of those things were everyone gets a medal?" I told him yes, but you actually had to finish.)

Being surrounded by over 10,000 athletes was incredibly uplifting. Again - hours and hours and miles and miles of training. Multiply what I put in by 10,000 (and even more for those running the full marathon), and it's fairly mind-boggling. What is more inspiring are the different ages and body types represented. There was an old lady who was wearing jeans and an old guy in trousers. There are the Kenyans, who run sub-five minute miles FOR 26 MILES without looking like they're even working, there are those who just "look" like runners, and then there are the rest of us. You wouldn't look at me and think, "Runner". You would think "My, she's awfully sturdy". But you know what? I have two half marathon medals.

Guy in front of me at the start - check out that tat. He is running his TENTH marathon!

I can't thank our support team enough - Dwight, Tim, Emily, Tony, Katie, and Riley the dog (in her party necklace).

They were there at four different points with loud cheering, Twizzlers, and the best signs! They were so good (and this is my favorite story from the race) that one lady told them her 65-year-old dad was running his first marathon and didn't feel very good, and would they mind staying and cheering him on? Of course they stayed, and I guess Mike was pretty surprised to see all of these random strangers yelling for him! That is the thing about marathons - it's just a feeling of - for lack of a better word - oneness. If you have the opportunity to be a spectator, by all means, GO. You will never know how much your support for people you don't even know will mean to them. And bring a cowbell and some silly signs. You know the only cure is more cowbell...

Here are some photos from our official race photographer (and best husband ever):


About halfway through and feelin' pretty good
Might be a smile. Might be a grimace. I know I was crying by then.

Two happy and hurty women!

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I'm ready to go:

I pretty much have everything covered: running tights and capris, short-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt,  cover up, warmer cover up, throw-away gloves, Garmin, Spibelt, sunglasses, Road ID, headband, sports bra. Oh, and shoes. I had everything all packed then realized I had forgotten to put my shoes in the suitcase! That could have made for an interesting run! 

I know I packed too much - my prediction is that I'll wear the capris, short-sleeved shirt and lighter cover up tomorrow, but just in case, there are warmer clothes. (Like anyone cares. I'm just rambling to pass the time so I don't drive myself crazy!)

Getting pretty excited - and nervous. This time tomorrow I will be enjoying a wonderful post-race meal surrounded by most of our family (minus the Michigan branch). The weather is supposed to be great: 42 degrees at race time, about 10 degrees higher at the finish, 0% chance of precip (phew!), and a wind from the south at about 10 mph. My body feels good, although every little twinge or cough this week had me feeling like it could be season-ending. When we were at the play the other night, the guy next to me kept cough and blowing his nose - I scooted over so far from him that I was practically sitting in Dwight's lap!

[And speaking of the play:

Before the show, just waiting for salvation.

WONDERFUL! Naughty (putting it mildly), profane, but sweet and uplifting at the same time. Does that even make any sense? Absolutely loved it!]

Emmy is cooking us our pre-race pasta dinner tonight, since every restaurant that serves anything with carbs will be full. Dwight said that we'll bring the wine. So basically, we're having pasta, salad, and garlic bread, and the non-racers will have wine.

I'm looking forward to uninterrupted time with my Erin tomorrow, having some Twizzlers during the race, and getting some cool jewelry at the end. Think thoughts of endurance tomorrow beginning at 8 AM CDT!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tapering week

For some reason, tapering for this half is not as bad as the last time. Maybe it's because I know what to expect. Maybe it's because, as my friend Kathy said last year, just trust in your training and the hours and miles you put into it. Maybe it's because I'm only a few days into the week. Probably the latter. I fully expect to feel anxious and fat later this week. There's something about logging miles and miles and miles (and know I'm burning calories), so that when I put the brakes on I feel I'm just sitting around. My two mile run yesterday was almost laughable. Almost a waste of a clean workout shirt.

[And speaking of workout shirts, Erin and I have matching Under Armours for the race. She said hers is so much nicer than the Target shirts she wears that she almost doesn't want to blow her nose on it. I guess I haven't found a workout shirt that is too nice for that yet.]

My last long run before this race was six miles on Saturday. I had planned to go twice around the little lake at Zorinsky (6.2). It was a beautiful day - cool and sunny. I had to take a picture of the trail ahead:

I love autumn!

I got another mile down the trail and there was a deer standing right in the middle of it, so of course I had to stop for another photo. Right then a runner came by and didn't think the sight was as spectacular as I did so therefore didn't stop, startling the deer so she moved into the woods - but I still got a photo:

Objects are closer than they appear!

So I am out enjoying the beautiful weather, my spirit was uplifted because of the deer, when about a quarter of a mile down the trail something made me feel my Spibelt and I realized that the little "wallet" where I keep my driver's license, health insurance card, ICE info, and $10 had fallen out when I took my phone out to take the picture. I didn't know I could run so fast as I backtracked! I knew exactly where to look, and as I got to the spot, there was a cyclist who was looking through something - my wallet. Luckily I came upon him the exact moment he had found it. What a nice guy - although he did make me identify myself. Which is exactly what I would have done. So already my run was a little bit disrupted, not to mention my heart rate. I finished the little lake and went around the big lake far enough to make six miles, and then just headed home. After all, we were having friends over for dinner that night and I had work to do.

Again, I love autumn!

At least the six mile run gave me a little leeway to enjoy the German dinner I fixed that night, with much phone help from my German mother-in-law: rouladen (meat...wrapped in meat, as Alex says), spƤetzle, and red cabbage. And for dessert, kuchen that Dwight had bought when he was in Eureka and had been in the freezer for a few week. And wine. Lots and lots of wine. Which led to lots and lots of naps on Sunday!

To take my mind off tapering, we have fun plans tomorrow night. Several weeks ago I came home to an envelope on the kitchen table - containing Book of Mormon tickets! They were a total surprise to me; Dwight had gotten them because he knew I wanted to see the play. I knew long ago that I had chosen wisely in the husband department, but this guy keep affirming it. We just have to find a good restaurant for carbo-loading...


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Swing thoughts

When I golf, I have a few swing thoughts in my head, such as "Slow backswing", "weight behind the ball", and "hit the shit out of it". If I manage to do all three, I can more often than not hit a decent shot. After all this time training for the half-marathon, for the most part solo, I've come up with some running swing thoughts. The main one has to do with breathing, as I find my lungs wear out faster than my legs. I need a good tempo for my breaths, so my mantra is, like my Bondi headband, "Suck it up, cupcake." It goes like this:
   *inhale*  "suck it up"  /  *exhale* "cup-cake"

Each inhale and each exhale is for a count of two footfalls. And when I find myself getting really tired, I just think "one foot in front of the other". Whatever works, right?

I had a 7-miler yesterday in cooler weather than I'm used to:

This is when I finished. Subtract a few degrees for the start time
I figured that since it was in the high 40's, I'd warm up plenty (big sweaty girl, you know) before too long, but at the last minute I grabbed a warm-up jacket. What a good choice! That wind was brutal. The part of Zorinsky I dislike in the summer (the deep woods) because there isn't a breath of air that reaches back there was my salvation yesterday. The high dam across the east side of the lake seemed to take forever, even with the wind coming from over my left shoulder.

Cold - but beautiful!
But even with the cold and wind, it was easily the best run (walk) ever. And I don't know why. But I sure kept talking about it all day - poor Dwight! I guess it's a good thing that with the race less than two weeks away, I feel ready for it.

I got a hole in my shoe yesterday, and since I don't want to be the person who shows up at the start line with duct tape on her shoe, I went shoe shopping today. My first pair of running shoes were Asics 2000 (which I loved), then these cheap Asics I let the guy at Dick's talk me into last year (not even good enough to be mowing shoes), then my new Asics. I tried out Cumulus, Nimbus, and Kayano. The Cumulus felt like rocks, the Kayanos felt stiff, but the Gel Nimbus 15 felt juuust right. (And sound most like shoes Harry Potter would wear!) I've been wearing them around the house this afternoon and still love them, so I guess I'll take them outside tomorrow and see how they feel for three miles. After weeks of my short runs being four miles, I drop down to three this week. That is going to seem so easy!

Speaking of Bondi bands, if you need to keep your hair (and sweat) out of your eyes, you need to get these. Don't be fooled by the thin, slippery ones, though - get the "heavy sweat wicking" ones. There are a bunch with fun sayings, like "in my dreams I am a Kenyan", and one I got for my friend Bobbi, who is sure she can survive a zombie attack, "training for the zombie apocalypse". I have several - the aforementioned "suck it up, cupcake", one that says "13.1" (because I did it!), one with snowflakes (wishful thinking in the middle of summer, or if you live in Rapid City right now, like my friend Tom), a black one with pink polka dots, one with a shamrock in diamonds, and my new favorite one, which sums up my running career:

What I would have said if anyone ever told me I'd be training for my second half-marathon!

I was going back through some blog posts the other day and realize I haven't been posting many meals or recipes lately, probably because they have been so non-descript. But I thought I'd start doing it again, just so I can look back and see what worked when.

So on that note, here is what I had after my run yesterday.

2 eggs scrambled with 1/4 avocado, some mushrooms, and a bit of grated cheese. And chocolate milk, which we always have in the house because apparently I am married to an 8-year-old

What I really wanted was to stop at Arby's, as I did after my 8-miler, and order the new brisket sandwich they are advertising on TV. It may have been the fact that I was starving then (as I seem to be after all my long runs), but that sandwich was the best fast food sandwich I have ever eaten!

Last night we went and saw "Gravity" with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. What a good movie - they should just hand her the Oscar now. The 3D was underwhelming, though. Alex heard that they way to see it is in 3D on an IMAX screen. Now that would be an adventure! We went to J Coco for dinner, where I may have had a burger and truffle fries with a side of Brussels sprouts -  but hey, I just ran seven miles!

Breakfast today was cereal, but lunch was a recipe I saw on Iowa Girl Eats last week. Kristin has a great blog, and invents wonderful recipes. They are for the most part pretty healthy, and all involve real food. I hate when recipes call for weird things that I'm not even sure where to find in a pretty big city, or else try to make it "lighter" by substituting out the good stuff. This is the apple orchard panini - click on the link for the recipe. I don't have a panini press, but as she mentions in the recipe, a George Foreman grill works pretty well. And it did. These were delicious.

Her pictures are way better than mine, though, so if you want to be impressed, look at hers

New favorite snack, courtesy of Genola:

Almonds + dark chocolate + sea salt, + and turbinado sugar = YUMMY

It has been cold and drizzly all day - in other words, perfect pot roast weather. So guess what we're having for dinner?!?! Can't wait!

And just to leave you with a smile, I put out our Halloween decorations the other day, and look what I found in the box. For all of you who had small children in the late 80's-early 90's, you'll recognize these Happy Meal toys:

Have a great week, y'all!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Turns out you CAN go home again

So I'm a reunion crasher. Last weekend, I attended Aberdeen Central's Class of '73 40th reunion.

As I mentioned earlier, I went to school with this class grades 1-8, and then switched to the Catholic high school. There is something about being around people who knew you way back when. Man from U.N.C.L.E. fan club? Check. Candy-stripers at St. Luke's? Building forts under the dining room table? Tree house? All those things. With few exceptions (hi Jane!), in high school we didn't spend much time at each other's houses. I think the reason I felt so close to my friends from w-a-y back is that we spent so much time with each other without the distractions of jobs, boys, sporting events, cars, and since it was South Dakota in the early 70's, 3.2 bars. Kid days back then were being outside from after breakfast till dark, only going inside for lunch and dinner. We biked all over town (Southside Pool!), and when we got too cool for biking, we walked downtown. Anyway, it just did my heart good to reminisce. 

I have known these girls since I was SIX!
Here are some photos of my trip down memory lane:

The first house we lived in when we moved to town in 1961. By the time we moved, we had 6 kids in the fam

Our second house. We moved here the summer before 9th grade, and there was yet another sib added to the family
My high school - less than a block away from where we lived. Convenient!
Where almost every teenager worked in high school. Or college. As you can imagine with those demographics, more than a few hook-ups happened here.
A Kessler's specialty: basically raw ground meat with onions and spices. I remember it being delicious on Club crackers, but I'm not sure I'd eat it now.

If you were raised Catholic, you know just how much time you spent in church. (I remember growing up and going to 8:30 Mass in the middle of winter. In northern South Dakota. In a miniskirt. With vinyl car seats). But I also remember thinking that Sacred Heart was the most beautiful church, and while I don't darken the doors of too many churches these days unless it's to attend a wedding, in my memory, my childhood church is still the prettiest. I asked Genola if she'd mind if we stopped by, and it is every bit as lovely in real life as in my mind:

Look at that sky! These are just iPhone photos, so imagine how beautiful it would be with a real camera.

Confessional. Shivers! Really - what sins can a 7-year-old have?

Back to real life after the sanctity of Sacred Heart. Oh yeah:

The theme of the weekend. Oh hell, of life in general:

We did our best to comply!

On a totally different note, the half-marathon is in two more weeks. Only seven miles tomorrow!