Tag Archives: Running

Race Recap: Lake Country Half Marathon

This was my fourth half marathon, and honestly, it was a lot harder to train for this one than any of the others I’ve done. I’m going to blame the whole going from 1 kid to 2 kids-thing. People aren’t lying, it’s nuts! But after months of training and even getting my sister to come over and watch the kids early on a Sunday morning so I could get in an 8 mile run, finally race day arrived.

Derek had also been prepping for this day, to run the 5K. While pushing both kids in the double jogging stroller. Yes, he’s crazy. We figure combined they weigh 60 pounds, plus the weight of the stroller meant he was probably pushing an extra 75 or 80 pounds. Tough daddy!

The other wrinkle that was kind of stressing me out was the 7 am start time. Believe me, it was for good reason because Saturday turned into a hot, humid day. But I really wasn’t looking forward to waking up when it was still dark, getting myself ready, then waking up a 4-year old and a 1-year old to get them ready and out the door.

Charlotte hadn’t been sleeping the best all week and she woke up at 3 a.m. I couldn’t get her back to sleep and was still awake at 4. My alarm was set for 5:20. I think I fell asleep for about 45 minutes before my alarm went off. Not cool!

But even though I was sleepy, I was really excited! I haven’t run an actual race in a long time, so I knew this was going to be fun.

We got ready, gathered the troops and headed off.

Yes, it's still dark out. Yes, he's excited.

Yes, it’s still dark out. Yes, he’s excited.

We got to the race site in about 35 minutes. The Lake Country Half Marathon is on a beautiful course through Oconomowoc’s scenic lakefront area. We ran around Lac La Belle, through nice, ritzy neighborhoods, through regular neighborhoods, past corn fields and through Oconomowoc’s downtown area. It’s SUPER well organized, great volunteers and plenty of water and gel along the course. If you’re in this area and are looking for a half marathon, THIS is the one you want to do. I’ve done it three times before and it’s been awesome every time.

Anyway, this year, they were starting the half marathon and the 5K at the same time. Not sure if it was because it was a smaller turnout this year or what, but Derek and I snapped a quick selfie, I kissed him and the kids goodbye, and was off.

I'm gonna go run for 2 hours! Weeee!

I’m gonna go run for 2 hours! Weeee!

The run started and I felt good. The run kept going and I felt good. I’ve been having shin splint issues so I was nervous about how I would hold up on this run, but I felt so good. I could tell I was running slower than I did pre-baby #2, but that was fine by me. My best half time is 2:05, and I would love to run a sub-2:00 half marathon. That will happen someday, but not right now. And that’s fine by me.

My friend Julie showed up along the course to snap some photos and bellow, “GO CHERI!” which was pretty much awesome. Her husband, an amazing runner and my “running coach” came in third overall. UNREAL!

derek runningIt’s a small pic from Julie, but you can see Derek pushing the gigantic double jogging stroller. Woohoo!

This race seemed to go by really quickly for me. Before I knew it, I was at mile 10. I hadn’t taken a walk break (except for grabbing some water at the water stations), so I was not about to start at mile 10. My goal was to finish this thing without walking.

Before I knew it, I passed a volunteer who said I had a mile and a half left. Really? That’s it? I felt so good, so I decided to pick up the pace. I passed people who had passed me earlier in the morning (the tortoise and the hare, baby! Ok, not really).

Finally, I could see the finish line and hear the music. I scanned the crowd and saw Derek, Riley, Charlotte, my mom, and Craig and Julie. I high-fived Derek and Charlotte, yelled to Riley and crossed the finish line.

It’s such a good feeling to be done with a half marathon. The jello legs. The salty skin. The relief that it’s over. The sense of accomplishment. It’s all great. It’s also great to let your 4-year old wear your medal.

The sweaty fam.

The sweaty fam.

Quote of the day: “Mommy, you were running a long time,” says Riley. True, kid. Very true.






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The Last 3 Weeks

Well, hello blog. Sorry for my absence. Being a full time working mother of two is hard, yo. This is my third week back at work and it’s been eventful.

Having your client come to town during your first week back at work after a 10-week hiatus is crazy. My first week included busy days and one late night out on the town with the client. My poor boobs almost exploded in downtown Milwaukee.

Speaking of, pumping at work sucks. I’m grateful that there’s a private room where I can do this, but really. Not enjoyable. I am able to come home on lunch and feed Charlotte (hallelujah!), but I’m still pumping twice a day at work. I just hate having to reschedule meetings and disappear for a while to do this. But I feel strongly that breastfeeding is important, so I will endure.

Again, speaking of, …two Saturdays ago. Ugh. Where do I begin. We woke up Saturday morning and I looked at Charlotte in her basinet next to our bed and noticed some brown on her jammies. I had gotten up to feed her twice during the night (yikes) but I didn’t notice anything strange. Except for some seriously bad nipple pain (sorry to any male readers). Then I realized, that brown on her jammies is blood mixed in with spit up. THAT’S NEVER GOOD.

I had a brief heart attack at the thought of my newborn baby spitting up blood. Then I had a realization. She wasn’t bleeding, I was. Apparently when you go from rarely pumping to pumping at least twice a day for 5 days, your nips don’t really like it. Ouch.

Since I couldn’t feed Charlotte while my nip healed, I had to pump and dump all weekend. Doesn’t that sound like a fun, wild weekend? Well it sure was! But it gets better!

In the midst of super duper sore nipples, Derek disconnecting our washer and dryer to drywall the laundry room, I got a cold. Yes! Because that’s what happens to me.

By Tuesday, I felt like death. So even though I was just off of work for 10 weeks and had only worked 6 days, I had to come home early and lay on the couch. However, children don’t really get the memo when you’re sick. Big whoop. Mommy’s sick? I should take a long nap? Nope!

My second weekend wasn’t much better. Still no laundry room while Derek tiled the floor in there. Oh, the laundry pile. It was epic.

And I think it may have been that laundry pile that morphed itself into the straw that broke the camel’s back. Me being the camel, of course. By Saturday night, I was spent. Would you like to know why? Well sit back. Here is a bulleted list:

  • The previous night, I was up every single hour with Charlotte while she experienced her first cold! Unbelievable! Riley never got sick until he was 9 months old. Again, thanks for bringing home those preschool germs, son! All night her poor nose was so stuffed up that she couldn’t breathe. Babies don’t know how to breathe out of their mouths, apparently. So all night she snorted and chortled and coughed. It was so sad.
  • Also, Friday night, Derek’s band played so he didn’t come home until 3 a.m. And Charlotte and I were up to greet him. He set up the humidifer for her and we all settled in for a nice four-hour stretch until Riley woke us up at 7.
  • For some odd reason, it took my handyman of a husband 8 hours to tile a tiny laundry room. Therefore, I was alone upstairs with the kids while he worked. All day. Have I mentioned I was sleep-deprived?
  • I had cleaned the house that day, gone grocery shopping and taken both kids to the farmer’s market. A relaxing weekend? Of course!
  • Again, by Saturday night, I was so completely fried that there was a 100% chance of mental breakdown. And that’s what happened. No one prepares you for how overwhelming it is to become a mom for the first time. And no one REALLY tells you how overwhelming it can be to have two children. And work full time. And still try to have your own identity.

The next day,  I took a long run and felt instantly better. I’ve written about it before, but running is so therapeutic for me. Derek and I have figured out a game plan so I can run at least 3 times a week. And suddenly, I feel more like myself.

And to end on a happy note, look at my beautiful children. I love them so much, that’s overwhelming.

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On Running

Last fall, I hurt my knee while training for a half marathon. I ran it anyway. Yeah, probably not too bright, but meh, I worked towards that goal and dammit, I was accomplishing it.

Afterwards, my knee started feeling worse and worse, so I stopped running. A few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. Due to that fact and the fact that my knee needed to heal, I hung up the ole running shoes. And high heels. For a good 10 months.

But those days are over. Two weeks ago, I started running again. And it feels glorious.

I think it’s safe to say that if you don’t run, then you just don’t get it. I know I didn’t get it before I started running.

It’s a relatively easy thing to do. One foot in front of the other. No fancy equipment. No fuss, no muss, just RUN.

But it does something to my head. It clears out my brain for a while and gives me time to think about all sorts of things, or nothing at all.

Having not run for several months, I’ve been getting back into it very slowly. Run three minutes, walk two. Run three minutes, walk one. Lather, rinse, repeat. I thought I’d have to remind myself to slow down and take it easy since I don’t want to aggrivate my knee, but believe me, it’s slow-going. Not running for months on end will do that, apparently. I used to pride myself on my endurance. I could talk your ear off at mile 10. But the first couple times I ran, my lungs burned. It was not pretty. But by my run yesterday, my lungs felt good. Not burny. Hooray!

I guess more than anything, while I’m running these days, I feel a little bit more like myself. I think when you become a mom, it’s hard to maintain your identity. Am I more than a butt-wiper? More than a milk machine? More then a boo boo kisser? When I’m running, I definitely feel like I am. And that makes every drop of sweat and ache and pain worth it.

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RIP – Running

So, my knee has been giving me problems since the day before I completed the Lake Country Half Marathon. And yes, I know it’s completely stupid to have run 13.1 miles on a bum knee. But I did it anyway.

So since then, I’ve been taking it easy. Wearing flats, not heels. No running. Keeping my leg elevated, ibuprofen, lather, rinse, repeat.

But it’s been 5 weeks and it STILL HURTS.

Two weeks ago I contacted my friend who is a physical therapist. He suggested I try KT Tape. His diagnosis (over the phone)? Patello Femoral Pain Syndrome aka Runner’s Knee. Lovely.

So I used the tape basically to support my knee cap. This stuff is nuts. Remember the Summer Olympics a few years ago? This is the stuff that was all over those ripped female volleyball players.

So for a few days, the tape helped and my knee felt better. I went to the gym and did the elliptical. I wore some low heels to work. I ran.

Big mistake. One step forward, two steps back. My knee hurts again.

This may be hard to understand if you don’t run, but I’m really sad. I feel lost. I really enjoy running. The weather is 75 degrees and sunny all this week. Winter is coming and I don’t have many days left to run outside. And I’m injured. I’ve been really, really lucky as far as injuries are concerned, so I don’t really know what to do with myself.

But I did 2 half marathons and a few shorter races this summer. I’ve been running 4 times a week since April. Maybe that’s too much for my 32-year old body. And frankly, that really pisses me off.

But there’s not much I can do. I need to take it even easier than I have been. I need to hope for the best. I need to stay positive. But that’s hard. Especially when you come home from a painful run and your dog, chasing a fly through the kitchen, slams her head right into your hurt kneecap. And that is when your 2-year old sees you cry and says, “Mommy, you crying? Don’t cry, Mommy!” Which just makes you cry harder.

Damn you, knee. Damn you!

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2011 Lake Country Half Marathon Race Report

I did this race last year. In fact, it was my first half marathon ever. And it was a success!

This year’s race was also a success, but do you ever feel like all signs are telling you that you should not be doing something? Well, that’s how I felt about this race. Let me back up for a minute…

On Friday morning, I woke up and went to the basement to do laundry. Ah, the life of a working mom. Doing laundry at 7 a.m.  Anyway, as I was walking back up the basement steps, I noticed that my left knee felt weird. In fact, it was cracking with each step that I took. I thought it was really odd because I ran the day before and was perfectly fine. As a former competitive figure skater, and now a runner, my knees have definitely been used a lot, but I have never had knee trouble before. And I’ve been thankful.

So Friday, the day before my half marathon, my knee hurt. It felt really tight and I couldn’t bend or straighten in the whole way. But if there is one thing I am not, it’s a quitter. Yes, it sounds cliche, but it’s totally true. I’m competitive and determined, almost to a fault. ALMOST.

So that was sign number one that maybe I shouldn’t be running this race. Then, sign number two came upon me at 5:30 a.m. on race day. In the form of lightning, thunder and torrential downpour.

I jumped out of bed (carefully as my knee still hurt) and checked out the radar, the news, the race hotline and any other form of information I could get my hands on. They all said the race was still on. So on I went.

I lined up at the starting line with barely enough time to stretch or get excited, but I made sure I had time to go pee. There’s no way I’m squatting against a tree during this race.

Before I knew it, we were off.

Remember how I told you about the torrential downpour early that morning? Well, the skies cleared up, thankfully, but the storm was strong with high winds, and because of that, the roads were completely littered with debris. Tree branches, sticks, leaves, and whole entire trees were everywhere during the race. And then it happened.

Before I even hit the damn ONE-MILE marker, I accidentally stepped on a stick and rolled my ankle. I heard a snap and I could not physically put any weight on my ankle. Disbelief is an understatement. A guy running next to me grabbed me so I didn’t fall and a lady behind me asked if I was ok and said she saw what happened. I told her I was ok even though I didn’t know if I was. And then, being the determined, competitive person I am, I walked it off. Or, rather, ran it off.

Yes, God, I hear you loud and clear, but I don’t want to stop this race before I even ran one friggen mile. So I had a come to Jesus moment. I hoped and prayed and crossed my fingers and asked that I finish this race successfully. Without knee or ankle injuries, without getting struck my lightning or hit by a car. I said that I didn’t need to set a PR, I just wanted to finish in one piece.

And that’s exactly what I did.

This was my third half marathon and dare I say it, they’re getting …sort of….easy. I know, I can’t believe it either! In fact, before I knew it, I was at the 8 mile mark. And then the 10 mile mark. And then the 12 mile mark and I was all smiles. Really, a volunteer even exclaimed, “look at that smile!” as I ran past. “Woooo!” I shouted and she echoed me.

The course is beautiful, around lakes, through tree-lined neighborhoods and I would recommend this well-organized race to anyone. Plus they give out nice finisher medals. However, there is a biiiiig hill at the end of the race. But by that point, you’re so full of adrenaline, you can’t help but run your heart out and finish strong.

And happily and luckily, that’s what I did:

Finish: 2:06:52

A new personal best by 9 minutes. Methinks a sub-2 hour half marathon is in my future. As long as my knee doesn’t decide to turn its back on me completely. I’m icing it right now so it knows I’m sorry.

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The Wisconsin State Fair

Aaaaah, state fair. Where you can see cows, pigs and other smelly animals, all while nibbling on a deep fried heart attack on a stick. The new attraction this year, however, is racially-motivated flash mob beatings! I totally thought flash mob meant jazz hands and impromptu dancing. Apparently it actually means getting beat by 15-year olds for the color of your skin.

Anyway, on the last day of the fair this year, we ventured there to take in all things livestock and deep fried. And it delivered. We went last year when Riley was under 1 1/2 and he loved it, but considering it was 90 degrees and smelly, we didn’t stay too long. This year, we made the intelligent decision to go to the fair early on a Sunday morning. Derek and I high-fived each other the entire time we were there because it was cool, not crowded and actually enjoyable. Yes.

First up, the giant slide. That I have distinct memories of riding when I was a kid.

The boys embarked on a state fair tradition. The father-son slide.

And if there is any doubt as to whether or not our 2-year old enjoyed this. Look at this picture:

He’s literally clenching his fists and walking on his tip toes because we just cannot handle the joy that the giant yellow slide has given him. And he screamed, “AGAIN!” and tried to run up the steps. Sorry, kid. Next year. (Obviously, his crab shirt is hipster ironic as our child is anything but a crab. No, he does not get that from me.)

Afterwards, we traveled to another Wisconsin State Fair landmark – Herb Kohl’s Milk Stand. Yes, our state senator has a flavored milk stand at our state fair. He also used to own a grocery store and Kohl’s department store. Any other questions?

So for 75 cents we sampled plastic cups of chocolate, strawberry and banana flavored milk. And it was glorious.

Riley proved that he is his father’s son (whew!) by claiming chocolate milk as his favorite. I was partial to strawberry, myself. Banana was just weird.

So we pet TWO cows and one HORSEY! and then decided it was time to get our eat on. Our deep fried eat on, of course. Here’s what we chose:

I give you- the Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger, the world’s saltiest fries, and a deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich. On a stick, of course.

Since I am a health conscious vegetarian, Derek ate the cheeseburger himself.

“It tastes like I’m eating a cheeseburger and a donut.” Really? Wow, dear, you should be a food critic.

I embarked on the deep fried pb&j:

Disregard my face in this photo, because it was actually pretty good! I don’t, however, recommend running 8 miles after eating one. I did that and it twas not pleasant. Actually, in hindsight, I think the three different kinds of flavored milk may have been the bigger problem.

I will remember that next year…

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Yes, I officially a suburban mom. I tried ZUMBA! (That is the only way you can refer to this form of exercise – all caps and an exclamation point). My sister begged me to sign up for this class with her through the rec department and since my half marathon is this Sunday (HOORAY!) I figured, fine, I’ll do it so I have something other than running for the rest of the summer.

So tonight we went. And our teacher was skinny, peppy and had a long blonde ponytail. I’ll just say it was a far cry from the Boot Camp class I’ve been taking for a few months. But maybe I’m a fitness snob.

I had no idea what ZUMBA! even was. I thought it was a dancey-type aerobics class, and really, it was. But there was some weird salsa/bellydancing/walk-like-an-Egyptian thing going on, too. Oh, and lots of that booty shaking that Beyonce does. Apparently it’s a good core workout. All I know is that it felt completely and utterly ridiculous to be popping my booty in a middle school gym with 25 other women (and one man) of varying ages and body sizes.

I came home and did a Google image search for ZUMBA! I think these photos sum up the experience nicely:

Yeah! Thrust!

Please tell me this guy was in a 90’s boy band.

All in all, I can see why people would want to do ZUMBA! if they have never really exercised before, or if they just want to have fun. I don’t consider myself to be in tip top shape, but honestly, I never was out of breath during the entire 1-hour class. And I am not sore at all. I think I’ll stick to running and when I want some pain, I’ll go back to boot camp.

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