Friday, December 31, 2010

December in Review

When I was creating this post several hours ago my phone rang and it was Nikki asking me if I wanted to go running. At first I told her no because I had already showered. Minutes after hanging up the phone with her I knew I had to call her back and change my mind. I mean, seriously it's 50+ degrees on December 31 in OHIO!!! So the kids and I headed to the local track and Nikki and I did a combination of running/walking/sprinting for 3 miles while the kids played on the football field. So glad I changed my mind! It felt great to get out there today!

Now even though I ended up with my lowest mileage month since I started running again in February 2009, I was still sucessful in maintaining my fitness level through my Daily Challenge!

December Stats
33.5-- running miles
2.5-- elliptical miles
0-- bike miles
36-- total miles
150.4- weight as of December 31, 2010

Current 2010 Stats
1,099-- running miles
55.4-- elliptical miles
5.1-- bike miles
1, 159.5-- total miles

All things considered, I am happy with my December. I ran 34 miles, did 2.5 miles on the elliptical and completed all 31 days of my Daily Challenge to the tune of 496 sit ups, 496 push ups, 496 dips, 496 squats, and 496 minutes of jump rope and 10 "boy" push ups today! I am quite certain my December workouts had a little something to do with the numbers on the scale today! I am down to 150.4 from 152.2 on November 30. I would say that is very impressive considering I managed to drop weight during the Christmas season when a lot of excess eating took place!

Marathon training starts in ten days. I am looking forward to training with Jenn! I have a bit of unfinished business with a little thing called 26.2. I will cross that finish line in 2011 upright and smiling with a little help from my friends!!

I will be back this weekend with my year in review post!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday...Maggie

This week's spotlight is on Maggie (here). After you read Maggie's interview head on over and comment on her training!

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Maggie: I've been running for about 2 - 2 1/2 years.

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Maggie: Anytime something negative has happened in our lives my husband (and I) believe the answer is to become physically active and heal through exercise.

Several years ago when my husband was traveling and in Japan I had a miscarriage. Twins. He got home as soon as he could and of course with a lot of hormones, etc. I felt very depressed. So my husband as he always does; tried to fix things. So.... he bought a treadmill "to help me feel better". I got on it each day and slowly increased my speed to running and then hit the roads.

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Maggie: The first race I signed up for was a 5k with a little help from my friends. (sounds like a song) I was so frustrated that I couldn't run the whole thing that I signed up for another and another and another until literally 10 months later I ran an entire race without stopping!

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Maggie: I really enjoy running 10k and/or 15k's. I always have a tough, slow start and it's long enough for me to get my pace going and I often feel energized and refreshed after. Unfortunately there aren't enough of those type races in my area.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Maggie: Finishing the San Diego marathon. My cousin encouraged me to join her and raise money for cancer research. My Father was very sick at the time with non smokers lung cancer and told me that if I did the training and raised the money; he would meet me at the finish line. Together with a lot of help from my cousin we raised over $15,000.00. My Father and Mother who live in the same town as me flew out to California with our kids. When I crossed the finish line I looked into the stands and the very first person I saw was my Dad. His arms stretched out in celebration with the biggest smile I had seen in a long time across his face! It is something I will never forget.

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Maggie: Kiawah 1/2 Marathon. It was miserable. Cold, wet, rain. On mile two I stepped into a deep puddle. So I ran with wet shoes to boot... Which felt like boots! Although I had a personal record, after I crossed the finish line I was ready to quit! Then I met someone who qualified for Boston who said "your not allowed to give yourself any negative talk before, during or after a race for at least 48 hours! Go home and sign up for the next one." I haven't done that yet but I know there will be a next one.

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Maggie: Other than San Diego; the Spinx 1/2 last October. It was in my hometown and I had a great time with friends and family. The atmosphere and weather was wonderful.

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Maggie: A clean bathroom! I actually map out my route to run past clean bathrooms where I can wash my hands, etc. My friends laugh at me all the time!

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Maggie: I am terrible with fueling! I have terrible eating habits. Unfortunately I always seem to get so caught up in things that I forget to drink, eat, etc. I am trying to learn more about it but I'm an auditory learner and if someone is not next to me telling me to 'fuel up'.... I end up running out of steam. It's really been a frustrating crutch.

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Maggie: I wish I could give a really smart answer but as I stated previously diet is my biggest downfall! I try to drink water but often I feel too sick to eat after a race. Perhaps reading up on nutrition will be my news years resolution... after I eat this last piece of chocolate!

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Maggie: My Father. He was an amazing man. Even as a little girl I was in awe of my Dad. I can remember thinking that I wanted to be just like him in everything. As I grew older he became my personal mentor, helping me through a lot of difficulties in my life and my education. When my Dad got sick with non smokers lung cancer he was given a 3 month prognosis. He fought for about 5 years and did every treatment available. It was so difficult for him. However, I used it as fuel for me to keep running. I used to think, "if he can keep going - so can I". On one of the last days of his life - I was talking to him and he asked me how far I ran today and I said 2 miles. He said 12? I said no 2. He looked at me, rolled his eyes, smiled and gave me a thumbs down. It was such a sweet moment. Now that he is gone; I miss him terribly but I have to tell you I greatly admire my Mother as well. My parents were married for 58 years. They had a very strong and loving marriage. The courage, poise and love she has shown all of my brothers and sisters in this past year gives us all the hope and promise that there is life after death. She is indeed the strongest woman I have ever known and I am one lucky daughter to have been born to such an incredible family.

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Maggie: "Take care of yourself first, dear. Everything else will fall into place." Bill Finnell, SR. (My Dad)

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel___________.
Maggie: My Father's presence. His smile and his encouragement. At times during my runs I feel like I can hear his voice giving me advice.

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Maggie: My Mother bought some clothes for me for Christmas that are a bit too small. I was delighted with the size and the thought that she felt I looked good enough to fit into them - So one goal is to fit into those jeans! Drink more water and nutrition.

As far as races - I am not sure. I haven't signed up for anything as of yet. I finished Kiawah on Dec 12th. I would like to run another marathon. I actually have three in mind and not sure which one but I am thinking about the Marine Corp, Chicago and/or Goofy.

Another goal for the coming year is to try a tri. ;-) Someday I have aspirations of doing an Iron Man 1/2.

Jodi: Please feel free to add anything else you feel will help others lace up their shoes and get out there and run!!
Maggie: The first time I heard someone call me an athlete I almost passed out! I still don't feel that I am where I would like to be physically but I think that one of the things that has helped me is to stay consistent. I do something everyday even if it's a sit up or two. Also I have a support team of close girlfriends and family who are faster and better than me - so I often have them in mind as I reach for their fitness level, always trying to achieve to reach them. I work really hard to keep up with an amazing group of women and when I want to stop I think of people like my Father and others who struggle/struggled with their health. Although I continue to constantly struggle with poor eating habits having people in my life like my husband, kids, friends and support like the daily mile who continue to encourage me. In fact, one of my Christmas presents this year was a piggy bank from my kids that they made and decorated themselves - Mom's Marathon Fund.

Yes you are seeing the picture below is in fact SC's First White Christmas and Maggie is in fact dressed to run!!

Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Maggie. Thanks for the great answers. I know your father is looking down on you and is so very proud of everything you have accomplished! Best of luck in achieving your 2011 goals! You will be great!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Maggie YOU inspire ME!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas 2010 was very successful. It has been a great few days for us! The festivities started at our house on Christmas Eve. We had 23 friends and family over for dinner! Over a dozen of the people in attendance were children. Nothing like experiencing the Christmas Magic through the eyes of a child!

Looks like Santa came back after the kids were fast asleep and worked his magic!
Kaelynn and Grant were very excited and were up at 5:30 letting us know that Santa had in fact made it to our house!

Kaelynn was so excited to find a digital camera in her stocking. She loves taking pictures so she asked Santa for a camera of her own!
Grant was very excited about his Mario pajamas that he had asked Santa for!
After all the presents were opened and breakfast was served it was time to pack for PA! The original plan was to be on the road by 10:00 AM. We were out the door just before 10:30 AM. Not too bad in my book! Yesterday was the first time in over 8 years that we have been home on Christmas Day. I am pretty sure it was the best Christmas present my mom has ever received. Although she was very excited about the Zumba for the Wii we purchased for her as well!
The grandkids were spoiled as usual. Here they are with the stockings their Pop Pop made for them! Doesn't he do amazing work?

The afternoon was spent visiting with aunts and uncles and eating way too much food. I am pretty sure my mom and stepdad thought they were cooking for an army but the food was fantastic as usual! Later in the evening one of my best friends and her family came over and the kids continued to eat more. Oh the fun you can have with a mint chocolate chip drumstick. Grant was not real happy with the camera by last night which is quite evident in this picture!

We finally headed to bed sometime after 10:30 last night. The good news is the kids slept in which enabled the parents/grandparents to get a little extra shut eye as well. So what does one do the day after Christmas? Well a little bit of this:

and if you have committed to a Daily Challenge...a little bit of this!
Yes, I am in fact jumping rope with no shoes on. My hubby decided it would be funny to take my picture during my 26 minute rope skipping session. I would have looked at the camera but my mom insisted on talking to me the entire time. The good news is talking with mom made the time go pretty fast!
Aside from my workout, I have spent the entire day in my pajamas as have the kids and we have loved every minute of it!
On a completely different note, marathon training starts in 15 days and I am seriously looking forward to it. It will be nice to have a structured workout schedule again. It has been nice winging it these past two months but I have to admit I love routine! It's just my style!
Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday...Brian A

This week's spotlight is on Brian A (here). After you read his interview head on over and check out his training. He is one impressive fellow!

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Brian: I've been running all my life and used to run home from school to ensure that I arrived on time to babysit my younger sisters before my father left for work on the night shift.

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Brian: However, I didn't formally use running as a training vehicle until 1996, when I turned 30 after gaining a ton of weight in my 20's and needed to battle the pounds. Within 6 months, I lost 35 pounds after tightening my diet and running about 30-45 minutes 4-5 times a week.

Running's impact after that initial training and weight loss period has stayed with me ever since: run regularly--Brian's not fat; don't run regularly--Brian's fat. There's no middle ground to retreat to; running and other phyisical activity is essential as air and water for me.

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Brian: I didn't formally begin "racing" until the fall of 2007 when I ran in a 5k charity event we sponsored at work. I was fighting off injuries and hadn't formally trained for the 5k, but I ran it in 26:21 (8:28 pace). The following week, I ran/walked the 2007 Chicago Marathon on a dare from a friend who decided not to run in the event, but didn't want to waste his bib.

I didn't realize it at the time, but those events would be my high-water marks until 2010, as I broke my left ankle before the 2008 Chicago Marathon and spent 2009 battling injuries, inconsistent training, and mounting weight gain.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Brian: Before 2010, my response would have been the 5k, but I've fallen in love with half marathons after never running in one before this year. 13.1 mile events require a delicate balance of speed, endurance, determination, and patience that works well for me. My worst half performance of 2010 was 1:59:38 in 90 degree heat and a heavy downpour of rain in the middle of the event. I found out a lot about myself that hot day in Minneapolis: finishing counts and a true competitor has a responsibility to finish strong.

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Brian: In October, 2009 I returned to the charity 5k that kicked off my racing career after fighting off injuries for more than a year and proceded to put in my worst performance ever: 28:40 (9:13 pace).

My legs were dead after the first mile, but I kept chugging along until the 2.5 mile mark when a colleague from the office running in his first race saddled along my left side. He and I exchanged a few pleasantries and I blasted off in an attempt to finish the event before he did; which I accomplished, but he still beat me by 24 seconds overall due to chip timing.

That event was a wake up call for me; I wasn't even the best runner at the office anymore. Something had to change.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Brian: A year later (October, 2010), I returned to the charity 5k, but as a different runner and person on the heels of losing nearly 60 pounds and participating in 16 events in 2010.

This year, event organizers held both 5k and 10k events, where 5k competitors completed a turn around and had to sprint past 10k runners to return to the start/finish line. The event was held a week before the Chicago Marathon and I was in primo condition, so I flew past a long line of competitors in the fastest mile split of my running career; my colleagues from the office saw me and voiced their approval.

I finished in the top 4-percent of that event; winning a silver medal for my age group. But it meant more to me than anything that my colleagues saw me at my best that day and that a commitment to change fostered success.

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Brian: I've been carrying water bottles in training runs and events ever since the beginning. A close second are my running watches (I usually wear 2 in events; one as a backup).

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Brian: I usually don't eat in events, but I add a sodium/electrolyte mixture to my carry-on water bottle to replace mineral loss and stay hydrated.

What is your favorite post race snack?
Pancakes and waffles. I know; pretty generic. But that's usually what I crave for after big events.

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Brian: I admire individuals who have a strong sense of mission and destiny, who harness their energies to achieve their goals.

I've recently used John Adams as an example with a colleague at the office. One of the reasons Adams was such an influential leader at the beginning of the American Revolution was that he knew the passions of the general populace due to his travels as a lawyer and businessman on horseback. He went to the business; not the opposite. That wasn't the case with many of his contemporaries.

The same could probably be said of Kelly K and Ben W who founded the Daily Mile online community. There were a number of individuals who were posting workouts/event results on Twitter, Facebook, and independent blogs, but Kelly and Ben had the courage, foresight, and vision to build a community; validating the adage from the film, Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come."

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Brian: "Every man dies. Not every man really lives." William Wallace, the character Mel Gibson played in the 1995 movie "Braveheart," has been credited with saying that.

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel ______.
Brian: Alive.

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Brian: My biggest goal for 2011 is to qualify for Boston in 2012. I may have stated that in 2010, but it was more aspirational than reality. My training and race performances have brought me to the point where a BQ marathon performance is within my grasp if I stay the course and keep injuries at bay.

My second biggest goal for 2011 is to finally win an event before year's end. It's taken several years, but I know what the "front of the pack" looks and feels like now; I'm not afraid to mix it up in races anymore.

Jodi: Please feel free to add anything else you feel will help others lace up their shoes and get out there and run!!
Brian: My biggest hope is that strong athletes will work harder to spread the joy and accomplishment of running across the globe. It breaks my heart to see a runner run 15 miles and post a frowny face to describe the workout on Daily Mile. You're kidding me? There are runners who have never run that distance; what do they make of runners who post frowny faces or describe indoor runs on the "dreadmill."

That's not what William Wallace, John Adams, Kelly K, or Ben W would do.

"Joymill" not "Dreadmill," let's spread the word and build a healthier and more positive world to live in.
What Thumbs Up Thursday would be complete without photos? I give you Brian A!!
Brian's before and after comparison 2009 (left) vs. 2010 (right).
Brian in the closing legs of the Twin Cities Half marathon in July.

Daily Mile Meetup before the Chicago Marathon with Barry L, Barry's wife Doris, Tom W, Jill B, Brian A, and Max W.

Brian prior to crossing the Chicago Marathon Finish Line.
Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Brian! You have an amazing outlook on life! Thank you for sharing your story with us! Best of luck in achieving your 2011 goals!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Brian YOU inspire ME!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I haven't done a lot of running in December however, I have kept up with my daily challenge so far! In fact, I will be doing 20 sit ups, 20 dips, 20 squats, and 20 minutes of jump rope shortly. With that being said, I thought you might be interested to see what we have been up to in December!!

Kaelynn and her Aunt Kourtney at Higgins Christmas
Grant giving his Aunt Kourtney a smooch at Higgins Christmas

Kourtney and I at Higgins Christmas

Grant and daddy making Grant's wish list on the Polar Express

Kaelynn and Grant with their best buddies Ellie and Andrew on the Polar Express

Grant waving to the camera at his Pre-K Holiday Program

Kaelynn singing at her 3rd grade concert

Kaelynn at ice skating lessons wearing her favorite blue skating outfit!

Grant showing good sportsmanship at his last basketball game!
Happy Holidays!!
Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday...Brian

This week's spotlight is on Brian (here). After you read his interview head on over and say hello and check out his training!

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Brian: I started running in January of 2010

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Brian: Toward the end of 2009, I was feeling pretty down on life. I was smoking a 1/2 to a full pack of cigarettes a day and drinking 5-6 nights a week, often in excess. I don't want to come off as someone who was down and out. I was doing well at work and had plenty of friends, but in general just wasn't very happy with my life. I had been a smoker for 10+ years and just sick of it. Constantly partying just wasn't doing it for me either. It was also in late 2009 that I started reading and following the Run for Dom efforts of Joe (here). The cause was a no brainer to support and after making a gift, Joe and I did some emailing back and forth about running and Pittsburgh. I had told Joe I was hoping continuing to follow Dom and his journey would inspire me to lace up and get out there. To make a long story short, I made the decision that I was not only going to sponsor a RFD (Run For Dom) mile, but i'd run that mile at Pittsburgh as well. I started training shortly after the new year. My first run was two miles, it took me 20 minutes and I wanted to throw up when I was done. I decided I must be crazy to think I was going to be able to run 11.1 more on top of that in just 5 months, but I stuck with it, slowly started adding a mile here and there and before I knew it I was crossing the Pittsburgh finish line after running for 1:53, covering a distance farther than I had ever run before. My longest training run for that event had been 10 miles. The last three miles of Pitt were tough. When I crossed that finish line I was exhausted and really didn't think I ever wanted to run another step. Within an hour of finishing though I was already thinking about what I would do differently next time I ran the distance, I was hooked! I took a job transfer from Ohio, to Arizona in June of this year and the move to sunny Tucson has only increased my love for the sport. For a born and bred Ohio boy, getting to experience 55-69 degree weather most days in December is heaven. Being out on the roads and trails with blue sunny skies and mountain views is something that I don't think will ever get old. I just broke 800 miles for the year on Tuesday of this week. Oh, and I'm happy to say I am still smoke free too!

Brian's 800 miles

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Brian: As I just started running this year I'm really new to racing and haven't come anywhere near being competitive. I've ran two 5-K races, a 10 miler, and two Half marathons this year. That has really been the extent of my racing.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Brian: As I currently only have three distances to choose from right now, I would pick the Half marathon, probably because just last month I ran my second half and demolished my old PR by over 11 minutes.

Brian at the start of his 2nd 1/2 marathon

Brian at mile 9 of his 2nd 1/2 marathon

Brian at the finish of his 2nd 1/2 marathon

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Brian: I think running the Pittsburgh Half will always be at the top of my list. Getting to be part of RFD and that weekend is an experience I will never forget.

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Brian; I have been fortunate so far in my running career. While I have only raced five times, I have had pretty positive experiences at all the events. I'm sure that rough day is looming out there waiting though.

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Brian: I set a shiny new PR of 1:41:37 at a local Half last month and while that felt great, the final miles of Pittsburgh in the heat, humidity, and rain was so much more difficult. Thinking back to how I felt and knowing I gutted it out that day still makes me pretty proud. Those were to this day probably the toughest three miles I have ran to date.

Brian finishing the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Brian: I have always been a music lover, so there is no better feeling than running with music. I have forced myself to run silent on several occasions, but I am really much happier if I have my iPod.

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Brian: I've only fueled mid-race during the two Half Marathons. I used Mountain Berry Clif Bloks for Pitt and I used Caffeinated Orange Gu for the Fleet Feet Half last month. I actually now prefer the Gu and really haven't tried anything but the Orange Caffeinated ones, but they treat me well.

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Brian: I seldom find myself very hungry right after a race, but always enjoy a good smoothie.

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Brian: My grandfather has passed away, but he will always be someone I admire greatly. At a young age, my grandfather had a stroke and paralysis of his right side resulted. Despite being disabled for over half his life, I don't ever remember seeing my grandfather upset or angry. He had a hard time speaking, but lived his life in a way that taught me a very valuable life lesson. My grandfather was dealt a pretty rough hand yet had an outlook on life more positive than many people I know. Whenever someone asked Bob how he was doing, he only ever had one response, EXCELLENT! Life's too short to spend it being upset about inconsequential situations and I will always admire my grandfather for teaching me there is no sense being down about what you don't have. Spend life being thankful for what you do.

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Brian: I just read this quote for the first time last week, but it's a favorite of mine right now: "Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness."

Another favorite of mine is: "If you set out on an adventure, and you're completely convinced you're going to be successful, why start"

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel_______.
Brian: Clean: I first heard Kristin Armstrong use the word "clean" to describe how she felt after running, so I am stealing it from her, but I think that sums it up pretty well.

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Brian: The Half Marathons have been fun, but I decided I was ready to join the big leagues a couple months back and go for a full marathon. Deciding which marathon I wanted to run was an easy choice. Some runners are into the Rock & Roll Marathon series but I am a fan of the Run for Dom Marathon series and the next stop on the RFD circuit is Austin 2011. I'm currently in my 10th week of my cycle and so far training is going well. This past weekend I set a new distance record with an 18 mile training run in 2:45. The training cycle is flying and I can't believe that in just 10 weeks I am going to be toeing the line in Austin. If training keeps going well and I can stay injury free I am feeling pretty good about a solid marathon debut. My goal is simple, finish, but I hope to do so in under 4 hours without walking as well.

Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Brian. Best of luck achieving your current goal of finishing the 2011 Austin Marathon. As I see it, you are going to fly right through it, sub 4 hours and all!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Brian YOU inspire ME!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thirteen Minutes of Jump Rope and Counting

If you follow me on Facebook or Dailymile you know that I have given myself a challenge for the month of December. It is simple the same number of exercises as the day of the month it is. When this challenge started it was pretty easy....most people can do 1 sit up, 1 push up, 1 dip, 1 squat, and 1 minute of jump rope with out too much of a problem. Fast forward to today (day 13) and I am still doing just fine with the sit ups, push ups, dips, and squats but let me tell you...the jump!! I didn't realize how much of a workout jumping rope could be. Thirteen straight minutes of jumping rope, during which time I was questioning my sanity for coming up with this challenge, and I was sweating like I had just run a 5k! Speaking of running, I need to get back on track. I need to find my groove again. I ran a whole 3 miles last week...yes T-H-R-E-E and that was only because I was so stressed out that I knew I had to get outside and escape it all for a little bit. Thank goodness for awesome friends who willingly took my kids so I could make it happen. I think the 1,000+ miles I have run so far this year are catching up with me. In fact, I recently shared with a friend that I was feeling burnt out from running. So my goal for the rest of December is to take my workouts one day at a time.

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday...Colleen

This week's spotlight is on Colleen of IRONDIVA (here). After you finish reading her interview, head on over to her blog and say hello!

Jodi: How long have you been running/swimming/biking?
Colleen: I played soccer through college so I’ve always been active, but I started running in 2003. I decided to train for a half marathon. Shortly before my race, I met my now-husband who was a runner and he convinced me to sign up for a marathon that fall. I ran for 2 years, occasionally biking, but started dabbling in tri’s in 2006. I was bored with the monotony of running alone and liked mixing it up.

Jodi: Why did you start running/swimming/biking?
Colleen: I started running to lose weight. I had been on weight watchers and needed something to help me earn more food points in the day! :) After running exclusively for a few years and battling a few injuries, I decided to take up biking. My inlaws are big bikers so they got me into it. My father-in-law is a 10 time Ironman and the thought of a tri intrigued me. I taught myself to swim and then just put it all together to keep things interesting.

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Colleen: I’ve been running for 8 years, biking for 7 years and doing tri’s for 5.5 years.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Colleen: I love half marathons when it comes to running. I feel like I can push the pace a little and it’s still strategic in terms of pacing, but when I’m done, I can still function. In terms of triathlon, I’d have to say that my favorite distance is a half Ironman. It’s not a full out sprint, but your still racing hard for 5+ hours. The distances also seem just right… you never get bored.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Colleen: Crossing the finish line of Ironman Florida 2008. My entire family was there (17 people) and I literally smiled for 13 hours and 22 minutes. My cousin ran a few miles at the end with me and left me with one mile to go. I literally cried the entire last mile as people said “you are going to be an Ironman today”. I felt like I was floating. It’s amazing how light you feel that last 100 yards of an Ironman and how you can’t hear anything!

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Colleen: Ironman Louisville 2010 – it was 97 degrees and they ran out of water from miles 60-100 of the bike. I ended up getting super dizzy and couldn’t get my world to stop spinning. After walking 9 miles in 3.5 hours, I pulled myself from the race, knowing I wouldn’t make the finish line. Since I pulled myself out of the race instead of medical pulling me, I live with a little bit of doubt each day that I should have tried to keep going.

Jodi: What is your proudest running/swimming/biking moment to date?
Colleen: I think it would be a toss up between finishing my first marathon hand-in-hand with my future husband which seemed like such a daunting task at the time and crossing the line at the Ironman which seemed daunting to all of my supporters.

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run/swim/ride?
Colleen: I actually have three things – one for each sport. Running, my SPI belt to carry my nutrition, mp3, keys, etc. Biking, my pink sunglasses or else my eyes will water like crazy. And swimming, my SWIMP3. I’ve even started using it in the open water swims that I do during training at the lake.

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Colleen: Recently, it’s been oatmeal cream pies. Horrible, I know, but I have a hard time stomaching a lot of the gels and whatnot. I find that I like solid foods when I race and these seem to give me that calorie boost I need and are easy to digest. On shorter runs or rides, I stick with sports beans (watermelon and cherry are my favorite)

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Colleen: I’m always craving french fries. It must be something with the salt that I love.

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Colleen: My husband. A year after we met, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, leaving him insulin dependent for the rest of his life. At the time, he was training for his 7th marathon and wanting to get into triathlons. While so many people told him that he couldn’t do endurance sports anymore because of his disease, he’s gone on to finish dozens of tris, a half a dozen marathons, four Ironman races, and be part of a world record Team Type 1 Race Across America team for two years. He’s never let someone tell him he can’t do something. And he’s my biggest cheerleader.

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Colleen: I can, therefore I will.

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run/swim/bike I feel ________.
Colleen: Invincible.

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Colleen: I’m looking forward to 2011 as a speed year. For the past 3 years I’ve been deep into Ironman training so I find that it’s a lot of long slow miles. This year, the longest race is a half Ironman so I’m hoping to just get faster. I have three time goals – a 1:45 half marathon, a sub 4 marathon, and a sub 5:40 half Ironman. Anything else will be icing on the cake!

And of course one of the best parts of Thumbs Up Thursday...the pictures!!

Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Colleen! Best of luck achieving your three time goals for 2011 and may you also get the icing on your cake!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Colleen YOU inspire ME!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reindeer Run 5K Race Report

Woke up Saturday morning and put on the cold weather running gear and then went into Kaelynn's room to help her and the following conversation took place.
Me: Make sure you put your long johns underneath your running outfit.
Kaelynn: Mom, it's just not comfortable. It hurts me. It doesn't feel right.
Me: Kaelynn it is cold out you have to wear your long johns.
Kaelynn: But mom it's not fair, you don't have to wear anything under your running outfit.
Me: Actually I have my Underarmour tights on underneath these pants.
Kaelynn: But mom yours are comfortable and cool. Mine aren't cool.
Me: Just put them on we need to get to the race.
Kaelynn: Fine!

After she finally gets dressed and ready we head out to drop off Grant at a friend's house. I get on the highway with my directions in hand and follow them exactly. Only problem is the road I need to get on is closed. I call Jenn (here) in a panic explaining to her that I am lost. She is using the GPS in her van to help me as well as her I-phone. I am feeling terrible because I have her bib and jingle bells with me because I did packet pick up for everyone on Friday night. I end up getting lost two more times and making two loops in the same area while apologizing to Jenn over and over again. Once we finally park and Kaelynn and I start running to the start line we see the race has already started. We catch up to Jenn and we all run back to the start line to register our shoe tags. I apologize to Jenn yet again and she tells me not to worry about it. I also tell Jenn to feel free to run ahead of Kaelynn and I and we will see her at the finish but she decides she is going to stay with us! Awesome! This is going to be a fun run/walk today! Jenn and I also had a chance to talk a little bit about our upcoming marathon training as well!

In true Kaelynn form she sprints for awhile then stops and walks for a bit. She pretty much does this most of the race. Jenn attempts to get a picture of Kaelynn and I running together and after many tries she finally succeeds!
After this photo I decide I am going to attempt to get a few pictures of Kaelynn running. Only problem was that I would run ahead and then Kaelynn would sprint up on me before I could snap the picture. I was successful eventually.

Shortly after these photos are taken I point out to Kaelynn that the lead runner is heading back on the course. She seems less than impressed by his speed. Although, I give her credit for her intelligence because she is quick to come up with the following statement: "Hey mom, can we just cut over and head back to the finish". Of course I said no. I reminded her that would be cheating and her response was: "I know mom". We finally hit the 1 mile marker. Jenn points out to Kaelynn that we only have 2 miles to go. Ironically at that very moment Kaelynn points to the ground and says: "I wish the finish line was right here".

Two seconds after this she decides she is thirsty and starts asking if there is water on the course. We see it up ahead and she is very happy. She grabs a cup of water and acts like she is going to dump it on her head and Jenn and I yell no in unison! Kaelynn was just kidding of course, phew! See how happy water makes her?
Right after I took this picture, the water stop volunteer offered to take a picture of all of us.
During the last mile of the race Kaelynn kept asking for a popsicle. Jenn and I found it very comical since it was really cold out! I told her she was crazy and that perhaps hot chocolate would be the better choice. We finally got to three tenths of a mile left to go and Kaelynn started jogging again. She was slowing down and wanted to stop but Jenn and I encouraged her to run it through to the finish and we all crossed the line running together in 44:27.
Kaelynn and I went into the pavilion after the race while Jenn used the restroom. I ran into Connie (here) so I took a minute to introduce Kaelynn to her. Connie did a great job and took home second place in her age group! Way to go Connie. Kaelynn and I headed back out to talk to Jenn and this is when we discovered she had lost her key fab to her van. Unfortunately, the porta-potty found it. Jenn called her hubby to rescue her. In the meantime Jenn walked back to the truck with Kaelynn and I so she could grab her race t-shirt. As we are walking Kaelynn decides she is going to wait for the bus to take her to the truck because her legs hurt and it's just to far to walk.

We finally get back to the truck so Jenn can grab her shirt and we head our separate ways. Of course in true Jodi fashion I get lost yet again! I sent Jenn a message about that one and she had a good laugh! Finally heading in the right direction Kaelynn starts yet another conversation with me.
Kaelynn: Mom, are you upset that I didn't run the whole way?
Me: Not at all Kaelynn. What matters is that you finished it.
Kaelynn: I couldn't run the whole time because I had to go to the restroom.
Me: Why didn't you tell me?
Kaelynn: Mom, there were no restrooms out there!
Me: Good point. Did you have fun?
Kaelynn: Yes!
Me: Did this make up for the Gobble Wobble?
Kaelynn: Yep! Can I have hot chocolate AND Subway?
Me: Why don't you pick one? We only have a little bit of time because you have ice skating lessons.
Kaelynn: But mom, it's such a hard decision because I love Caribou's hot chocolate and I really like the subs at Subway.
Me: Okay, we can do both quickly but we will have to leave free skate early.
Kaelynn: Ok, thank you.
It was definitely a FUN run!!
Oh, I bet you are all wondering if she ever got her popsicle.....she did not have a popsicle but she did have a slushie at the ice skating rink.
Keep running, you're simply the best, and Kaelynn you certainly inspire me to RUN FOR FUN!!