Friday, August 31, 2012

The year of the dairy cow

It’s time for the Indiana State Fair!


It is truly one of my favorite times of the year.  I never went as a child; we only went to the local county fair.  I think the first time I went was when in high school, we competed in the Cheerleading competition.  Which we WON by the way…third year in a row.  WOOT! WOOT!
It’s nice that it’s so close to where we live.  Only about a 30 minute drive.

I have to admit that I think most of my excitement comes from knowing that I get to have an elephant ear.  I’ve gone to other fairs and such and they have their share of elephant ears and funnel cakes but I allow myself ONE a year and it is during the State Fair.  And don’t try to tempt me with a funnel cake.  If I’m going to splurge, I’m not going to waste the calories on that.  BLEH!  And the Elephant Ear must be from the Red Barn.  They have the best; so much sugary buttery goodness.   (I may have just salivated typing that.)  It’s actually our first stop when we get there.
And much to my excitement we were going to go twice this year.  Free passes in the paper on Monday, so I guess technically it does cost $2 and then half price admission coupons from the BMV the following week.  This meant that I could get an elephant ear each time.  I always split it with my Manz so it will be like getting to eat a whole one this year.

The theme of this year’s fair is The Year of the Dairy Cow.  Supposedly you could go milk a cow somewhere but we never found it.  We did go see a milking demonstration.  It was very informative.

Other than that we walk around, look at some of the craft items, cakes, and photos.  It’s one of the best places to people watch and can certainly make you feel better about your own lot in life.  A trip through the Amusement Ride area is a must.  That’s some goooood people watchin’ there.  And if there is someone interesting on the Free Stage we might stop there for a bit. 

And of course, I must stop and check out the baby animals!


Thursday, August 30, 2012


So a friend of mine (SJP) and a group of girls did the Warrior Dash last year and suggested that I do it this year with them.  Okay!
A couple of years ago I wanted to do the Mudathlon but the timing never worked out.  This event didn’t seem as muddy so I felt like it was a win-win; less mud and good friends.  I looked at the course online and wasn’t too worried except for the Great Warrior Wall.  This girl (ME) has little upper body strength so I figured I’d give it as many tries as I could and then if I was still failing, I would walk around it…and hang my head in shame.  However, SJP told me that I might not get my medal if I don’t complete all the tasks.  WHAT?  She later confessed that this was just a joke.
The first obstacle prior to event even starting was finding a pink tutu.  That’s what they wore last year so it was decided to stay with that theme.  I really thought that finding a tutu would be easy.  Oh my gosh…it was NOT.  SJP looked for one at the State Fair which is where we purchased them last year but no luck.  So the day before the race, I am scurrying around town looking for one.  Aren’t all the little girls still wearing these? Or is that the problem, all the little girls have them and the stores are sold out.    Needless to say, it was as I was driving home at the end of the day that out of the corner of my eye, I say a Halloween costume shop.  Of course I wasn’t in the correct lane so I had to drive past it, make a u-turn and head back toward the store.  SUCCESS!  They had one – well sort of.  It was a slip dress with a tutu at the bottom but I felt like it would work. 

Side note: I did buy 3 different “faux” tutu skirt-like items at three different stores throughout the day...just in case.
Race morning, SJP and her husband and KBS met us (me and my husband) at a gas station so that we could all ride to the race together.  In the car, I was given my Hello Kitty Princess Crown and Princess wand and the other accessories; a pink flower, pink wrist band and some awesome knee socks to wear.

Packet pickup was a breeze and it wasn’t long before we would start.  My husband became our pack mule, carrying all of our items back to the car once the race started.  A few pictures and it was time to start.  Technically, I wasn’t supposed to start until 11:30 because I registered later than they did but there was no way that anyone would have known that.  The countdown begins, flames shoot up in the air and we are off.
It was crowded and we had to wait for some of the obstacles. Saw some guy that looked like he was running in nothing but a pair of Underoos.  At least he didn’t look too bad in them.  Some of those mud hills you were merely a passenger for how and where your feet wanted to take you.  The Rio Run (crossing the creeks) wasn’t bad but sadly because we have been in some serious drought conditions. The first “real” obstacle (in my opinion) was Storming Normandy.  We had to crawl on our hands and knees under barbed wire.  The ground was hard and knee pads would have been a good addition for this one but at least it wasn’t muddy.  My tutu got caught on the barbs at one point so I had to keep my butt lower. Next were the Trenches.  Welcome to the mud portion of this event.  This was another area where we had to stop and wait our turn to go through. This was another crawl and I was in mud up to my elbows.  So gross!  Next we encountered Mortimer’s Crossing which was a rope tight wire kind of thing.  Afterward there was a small creek to cross.  This would have been the perfect opportunity to wash some of the mud off until I saw SJP doing it and some dude jumped in the water next her completing splashing her.  Not. Cool.  She was not pleased to say the least.  Next was the dreaded wall – The Great Warrior Wall – would this be my nemeses? I went to the end hoping that I wouldn’t be in the way if I had to make several attempts.  Plus, there was no one on that rope.  Let me tell you this…I ROCKED THAT CLIMB!!  One attempt and I was over.  I actually sat at the top for a moment to bask in my glory.  The Mud Mound was next.  The only fun part of this was watching KBS "butt-plant" into one of the mud pits.  (I’m sure she did not find this the fun part.)  Then it was on to the Leaders Ledge which we renamed the Wipe Out Wall because that’s what it reminded us of.  On to the Chaotic Crossover, a rope climb thingy and then Road Rage which was hay bales and old boats to climb over.

We were getting close to the end of this thing.  And I’ll admit I was sort of ready for it to be over.  Then we come up on an unexpected twist – a swim event of sorts.  The Capsized Catamaran, you had to swim out to this platform, climb up on it and then back in the water.  UGH!  I didn’t realize that this would be there.  Obviously, I didn’t look at the course map closely.  We get in the water and you can’t touch!  I felt like I was wearing cement shoes.  Luckily, the girl in front of me let me know that there was a rope that I could hang on to.  I think this rope was actually a marker but so many people were hanging on to it, it was completely underwater.  I seriously thought that I was going to drown!  I got to the platform and held on.  I tried to pull myself up but couldn’t.  It seriously felt like I was living a scene from the Titanic.  I “yelled” that I needed help and someone pulled me up.  I’m sure it was a very attractive sight.  I had to sit there for a minute and get my head back in the game.  I saw my friends on the left so I got up and walked that way but going to the right would have been better.  Finally noticing that on the right side, you could touch once you got back in the water.  I was so glad when I was back on dry land.  Another obstacle Cargo Climb and then it was time for what I had been waiting for – the Warrior Roast!  The three of us girls held hands and jump both fire strips together.  SO FUN.  This would have been the perfect obstacle to end on but nooooo, there is one more mud pit, the Muddy Mayhem.  I was so over the mud.  But we did it and we locked arms for the final photo.
Getting clean was no easy task.  It was either back in the pond or the freezing water from the fireman’s hose.  I tried to tolerate the water from the hose but it was way too cold.  So I did the best I could in the pond.  We forgot to tell my husband how long it would take us and where we should meet up, so it took some time finding him.  They all got their free beers and then it was back to the car to put on clean clothes.  We sat and chatted for a bit and then headed to a Mexican restaurant. 

When we got home, I thought I’d never get all that mud out of my clothes.

For SEVERAL days afterward, my upper body was so sore.  My lats and delts and everything up there that had never been used in those ways – so sore.  But it was fun and I’m glad I did it but not sure I’ll do one again.  If there is something out there that has less mud but challenges me overall physically, that’s the event for me.




Sunday, August 26, 2012

The right thing to do

At the end of July the local new stations were reporting on a blood shortage in Indianapolis. 

In the summer of 1978, I had to have a blood transfusion so I really felt like I should donate and “pay back” this debt that I had.

I tried to donate once.  We had a big blood drive at work after 911 but my husband and I had just been on a cruise and one of the ports-of-call was Haiti so we weren’t eligible for a year.  And I guess after that there was (for some reason) a fear in me to donate.  I had just finished my run challenge in July and I was going to do more cross training.  My husband donates frequently and never has a problem.  So this seemed like the perfect time. 
Well, the first “bump in the road” was that I “disclosed” that I had a blood disease in 1978.  No one had heard of it but after several internal conversations and a call to a doctor, I was told that I could donate.  Since my weight was close to the minimum requirement, they decided they would take less than the 1 pint that they normally get from someone.  They also asked me to try and eat something before we started.  Both of these things, we certainly come in to play later.

I got “hooked up” and although it wasn’t the most pleasant experience it wasn’t too bad.  I was squeezing the ball as I was instructed to do.  I’m not sure how much time had passed but all of a sudden – bam – everything felt like it was starting to close in on me like.  I felt like I was going to pass out.  I just wanted to close my eye but they wouldn’t let me and they kept trying to talk to me by asking questions about my family, my job.  They said I turned completely white, my BP dropped, and I started shaking.  They started putting ice packs on and around me.  They wanted me to eat cookie and drink a soda but I opted for water and some fruit snacks instead.  They decided that they had gotten enough blood, even though it was less that the (lower) amount that they going to take anyway and unhooked me.

It was very discouraging.  I was there for almost 2 hours.  I sat in that chair and watched people come and go.  I’m going to chalk it up to the fact that maybe since I was close to the weight minimum and the fact that I eat 5-6 small meals it affected my ability to donate.  I later learned that it’s better to eat a meal high in protein prior to donating.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m very glad that I donated blood.  It’s the right thing to do and it you are able to, I strongly suggest that you do so.  But I think I’m one and done.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Setting Goals

At the end of June, I set a goal to run 100 miles during the month of July. 
When I got my most recent pair of running shoes, I started tracking my miles so that I would know how long they were lasting.  Also I had been reading this amazing blog by a runner in Colorado and she was tracking her miles.  I'd never thought about doing that just to do it.
At the time, it didn’t seem like such a daunting task.  After all there are 31 days in July so that was only 3 ¼ miles every day. I don’t think I realized what EVERY DAY would take but maybe it was a good thing that I was a little na├»ve.

There were 2 days that I (legitimately) didn’t have time to run and there were 3 days where I was just lazy and did nothing. Then I had that little “hamstring thing” for almost a week that I needed to work through. But I completed this goal and I did so a day early. And I have to say that I’m sort of proud of myself for doing so. Never before have I set that type of goal for myself but I’m glad I did. It was tough but it also taught me a lot. 

SUCCESS = 104 miles


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hotter than a Firecracker!

July began right where June left off....HOT-HOT-HOT!  So gosh darn hot that it's been unbearable.

But at the end of June, I set a personal goal to run 100 miles during the month of July.  I had never really tracked my training miles before but I had been trying to do a better job of tracking how many miles I was putting on my new shoes so it felt like it would be fairly easy to do.  I also thought (naively) that 100 miles wouldn't be that big of a deal.  I didn't have any half marathons scheduled but there are 31 days in July so that's just a little under 3.5 miles a day.  Piece of cake, right?   More on all of that later.

At the last minute I heard about a race taking place in downtown Indy on the 4th of July.  It was a 6 miler and fairly inexpensive to do, so I signed up the day before.

It was perfect, the starting line was a block from where I work so I was able to use my building parking garage.  The event was a called the Firecracker 6 so of course rather than a starting gun they set off firecrackers!

My first mile felt good; even Kenyan like for me but it came to a crashing halt after that.  All of a sudden my stomach started giving me fits and all I could do was frantically start looking for a bathroom.  Of course none of the buildings downtown were open since it was a holiday so I started walking.  Made it to the aid station just after mile 2, took in some water and Gatorade and continued walking.  Eventually I started feeling better.  Maybe I just wasn't hydrated well enough.  But the damage was done and I'd lost my mojo for this race.  It was nice that we ran down toward Fountain Square; I'd never participate in a race that took me in that direction before.  And a big shout-out to the aid station after mile 4, they had the COLDEST water and it was fabulous.

Maybe about a 1/4 of a mile before the finish line, they had volunteers handing out American flags.  I take my flag and notice the girl next to me start to pick up speed.  Well, she was NOT going to cross that line before me.  We really pushed each other to the finish but I'm happy to report that I did beat 8 seconds!

Glad I did this event.  And I even beat the finishing time that (in my mind) I had set.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

June Recap

June 10th - John and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary.  YEA!!!

June 22nd, we loaded up the car and head to the state of Wisconsin for the Summerfest Rock 'n Sole Half Marathon.  Not a far drive (which is good) but we still had to stop 3 times on the way up.  And as usual, traffic in Chicago was a mess.  We stop at a gas station/convenience store just in ide of the Wisconsin state line and the first thing you and cheese options for you to buy!

We checked in to the Pfister Hotel and then set out to find the Expo and check out where we thought the race would be starting and finishing.  We didn't take the most direct route to get there but the Expo was just a short walk from the hotel and we could see that they were well on their way setting up the finishing area.

Found an Applebee's to have dinner at and then back to the hotel to get everything ready for tomorrow and just relax.

Race morning was foggy and even though the forcast last night said the temps would be cool this morning, it didn't feel too bad.  Just a short walk to the start line, our traditional prerace photo and then we get in out assigned corrals.  I had no idea how this race would go for me and didn't even have a finishing time in mind.  I might have been intimidated by the bridge so my goal was to just finish.

I thought about trying to use the bathroom one more time but the line was long so I would just keep an eye out for the first porta-potty on the course.  Naturally it wasn't until after the first up and over on the bridge and the line was still long.  I may have lost three minutes there!  And I screwed up my watch on the stop so the rest of the race I had no idea what my time was.  Grrrr. 

Point of interest - bathroom break completed and I'm heading back up over the bridge and in front of me I see a lady run/walking with the use of a walker/seat thingy.  First of all...good for her to be getting out here and doing a race even though she must have some sort of disability.  If I had to guess, she was probably just doing the 1/4 marathon which had the same route as the half until after the second pass of the bridge.  But secondly, how is this person in front of me?!?!  I'm hoping that it happened during the bathroom stop.  No disrespect but obviously I must pass her.

It really started warming up and the bridge (which obviously had no shade) was taking it out of me.  I knew that I was toast already and it was only 5 miles in to the race.  I begin to worry that John will be waiting for quite some time at the finish line for me.  But I keep pushing on.  There was another hill around mile 7-8 and other than that this course is a bit of a blur.  I do remember this nappy looking homeless looking mascot thing on the course.  I did not want to even fist pump him/her. 

Then later I saw a girl dressed as a penguin.  It looked like we were near a fraternity/sorority area of town so I wondered if that was their mascot.  I did high-five her.  Pretty area (from what I remember) and then on past a golf course.  The path really narrows here and if there race gets much bigger, they may have to rethink this portion.  Then I have another mascot sighting.  WHAT?  This one is a polar bear and is actually competing.  Again, how is this person/thing in front of me and God bless them for trying to do 13.1 in that outfit AND head.   Needless to say, the goal was to pass him/her and to stay in front.

As we near the lake again, it smelled bad - almost like a cross between a old musty basement and a porta-potty.  NOT GOOD!  I can't imagine wanting to swim in that.

The aid station near mile 10 was Christmas themed.  The volunteers were wearing Christmas vest and sweaters and they were playing Christmas music and had a Christmas tree set-up.  Fun.  Wish I had taken a picture but I already felt so slow and since I had no idea what my time was, I didn't want to waste even a few precious seconds.

With on 3/4 of a mile to go, you have to run behind the Summerfest area.  It would have been nice if they had some encouraging crowd support there; it seemed desolate and barren.  It might have seemed worse to me because I was hot, tired and ready to be done.

I turn the corner and can see the finish line.  I pass some other mascot that is giving High-Fives to people and he/she "clocks" me in the head.  I see the guy that is calling out people's names as they get ready to finish and I yell my name to him.  Then he says it over the PA system.  I found out later that John hears it so he's pretty sure that I'm about to finish. 

I easily find him at the finish line area and we get out picture taken together - another race tradition for me to have done.

We didn't hang around much after the race; just headed back to the hotel to shower and then take a nap.  After that we roamed around downtown Milwaukee a bit and had a nice lunch and people watched. 

Later in the evening, we went upstairs to the Blue Lounge so John could have an adult beverage and we ordered the delightful chocolate fondue.  SO GOOD!

We had a really good view of that darn bridge from up here.  I didn't care for that bridge to say the least!


So aside from the bridge and the warm temperatures (it went from green flag to yellow flag conditions), this was a pretty good race.  We got lucky, I guess they had lots of problems last year for the inaugural running. This year there were plenty of aid stations, misting stations (which I always avoid) and a fun finishing area. 

For those of you following along - I had four mascot sightings/encounters during this race.  That's a record.

Wisconsin - you are crossed off the list!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Merry Merry Month of May

The month of May kicks off with the One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon.  Both John and I have done this race several time and I had not signed up to run it this year.  The exciting thing about the race this year was that my brother Kevin was doing it.  This would be his very first half marathon.  Kevin ran cross country & track in Jr. High and High School but health issues and life had put running on the back burner for him.  He's been doing a great job with his training and I'm so proud of him that he was doing this for himself.

Hannah (his daughter) and I spent the day together and took lots of pictures.  We made it back to the finish line area just in time to see John finish and then not long after that, Kevin crossed the finish line as well.

He did great!  And of course John rocked it again this year as well. 
(Sadly I have no photos of John)

Two weeks after the mini was the Geist Half Marathon.  Not only do I hope to run a half marathon in every state, I have a sub-plan to run all the half marathons in the state of Indiana.  So, Geist was up next.  This course had lots of rolling hills plus a big one between miles 7 & 8, so I wasn't expecting much with regard to my finishing time.

The course was tough and it was a hot and humid day but it was my third fastest half marathon (which isn't saying that much) and my 15th half overall!

On the same day as the race up in Geist, John was back down in Crane, IN participating in the Ride 2 Recovery which he did last year.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Things are looking up

March finds us heading to Dallas, Texas for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon....AND we get to see one of my BFFs Jeanne!  So. Freaking. Excited.

We left waaaaay to early in Thursday morning and we made great time in the air.  Jeanne picked us up at the airport and then we met her parents for breakfast.  They've been like a second set of parents to me since high school.  The three of them went above and beyond while we were there.  Such amazing people and friends.

We sang Karaoke Thursday night.
We "cheesed around" on Friday
Then went to the Expo on Saturday.

Since the race was on Sunday, we stayed downtown Saturday night.  We had dinner with a friend of John's (and SigEp) and his wife.

All I really have to say about this race is that - lack of training and preparation will equate to a poor finishing least for me.  With everything that had been going on last year and the fact that it had been winter, I didn't do much running so I struggled.

There were no shuttles back to the hotel after the race.  I found out later that they suggested that you park near the finish line and they would shuttle you to the start line.  Ooops.  Supposedly it was only 1 1/2 miles back to the hotel. We think it was A LOT longer.

Showered and checked out of the hotel then Jeanne picked us up and we had dinner with her and her parents.  We relaxed at their house until it was time to head to the airport.

Flight was delayed over an hour and we didn't get back home until after 1:00AM.  I was hoping that they wouldn't expect too much from me on my first day at my new job!


Back to racing

John did two of the Sprint Triathlons at Eagle Creek and also did the Ride 2 Recovery which benefits injured veterans.

In September, I did the Inaugural Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon.  It was HOT!  The best part was that John had volunteered and was the one to give me my medal at the finish line.  YEA!

I also did the Inaugural Greater Indianapolis Half Marathon in October.  It was a very small race.  Although I felt like I was experiencing some difficulty with my Achilles around the 5 mile marker and had to walk a bit, John got to the finish line just in time to see me finish.

AND...I finished 3rd in my age group!   Who cares if there only happened to be 4 people total in that group.  That's a podium finish people.  WOOO HOOO.

On October 15th, we both participated in a Habitat for Humanity 5K where John's bank was one of the sponsors.

The last race of the season took us to St Louis which was good since we were also able to spend time with John's brother Mike and his family.

Rock 'n' Roll St Louis was on October 23rd.  John had originally signed up for the full but opted to do the half.