I didn’t survive the winter

3 04 2014

I mean I did. I’m not frozen somewhere, but my running didn’t. I did good for a long time. I ran in circles at the Pettit. I ran on the treadmill. I wore 28 layers and ran outside. And then I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t handle more cold runs. I had a little mental breakdown over the weather. I hate that it got to me. I hate that I have basically thrown my spring goal out the window, but that’s life. I don’t hate running. I’m not giving up.

I’m still running a half this weekend and another one in a month. I’m not worried about the distance. I just have no idea how long it’s going to take me to run 13.1 miles. I can guess,  but who knows what my legs are going to say once I get out there. I keep adding to my Races for the year so clearly need to do something.

Instead of running I have been enjoying the best sporting event of the year, March Madness. This year has been special, really special. My Badgers are in the Final Four and as I told my brother, I’m a giddy idiot about it.

I'm all set for Saturday!

I’m all set for Saturday!

I have no desire to count up my miles for March because I know it’s a depressing number, but I just don’t care. I had an awesome month that started in Italy with my brother and ended with my team making the Final Four, and lots of crazy/fun adventures in between.

Go Badgers!

Adventures in Italy

10 03 2014

This was one of my favorite international trips ever. This time I was traveling to visit my brother and his fiancé. Levi has been living in Italy for a few years now and I have not seen where he lives or what his life is since he was still in Seattle. This trip was extra special as he got engaged in January and I got to meet her whole family.

P1000878After a ridiculous travel day and a half that included 7 hours at the Paris airport and a bag that didn’t make it to Florence I was greeted by Alix’s welcoming family. They live in a small village about 45 minutes outside Florence. Her mom made a wonderful dinner and I was somehow awake after sleeping on and off all day in Paris. Since I arrived in the dark I didn’t get to see how beautiful the house and setting was. When I woke up the next day at who knows what time, Levi brought me a cappuccino in bed. What a great brother.


Levi and Alix got a new car, a Panda.

I started off my first whole day by going with Levi and Alix to visit a possible wedding location. This is not something I ever imagined doing with my brother. And to be doing it in Tuscany is just amazing. I need to say once more how much I love the girl he has chosen to spend his life with. Alix is wonderful and I’m so happy for them. I hate that we live so far apart, but that just means I have to go back to Italy.

Levi took the week off so we got to explore together. He took me around Chianti in the rain, which was still pretty. He took me to Siena where we had pasta and wine and gelato. We spent a day in Florence where I got to meet one of his coworkers. It was wonderful. I haven’t spent this much time with Levi in years. It’s always so rushed and full of other people. I spent my days with Levi eating delicious Italian food and drinking wine at lunch. In the evenings we met up with Alix and her family. So much good food. And quite nice weather compared to what I left at home.

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After a fun week in Tuscany Levi, Alix, her brother David, and I took the train to Rome. Their other brother lives in Rome and both Alix and David lived there in the past. Rome is a great city and it was so fun to be there with people who knew the city. We played tourist some and met up with friends of theirs. I saw the Pantheon and the Coliseum. Rome was a wonderfully walkable city. I most definitely want to go back.

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I know I will be back in Italy next April for the wedding and my goal is to speak Italian by then. I find I can sometimes understand what is being said, but find it horribly frustrating that I can’t speak a word. I would love to get back sooner, but the airlines want money, and lots of it, for travel to Italy. So arrivederci Italy, I look forward to next time. A huge thank you to Levi, an amazing brother, to Alix, who I can’t wait to have as a sister, and to her whole family for welcoming me so generously.


3 02 2014

Goals. I’m scared of them. I’m scared of failure. I’m scared I put my goal out there. When I first started making running goals I was new to it all and knew that I could cut time, but the faster I got, the hard it got to drop time. I dropped ten minutes from my first half marathon to my second. I broke two hours the first time I tried. It may have been 1:59:54, but that is under. After that I ran several more half marathons and ran quite a few between 1:56 and 1:58. Two years ago I ran a 1:52 in New Orleans. I was trying to break 1:55. I crushed it. I wasn’t planning on anything that day. It just happened. It was a perfect day. The weather was warm, but also cool. The course was unbelievably flat. I felt great.

Fast forward to being 13 weeks out from my first big goal race in a long time. I received the next four weeks of my training last night and promptly freaked out this morning as I was putting it into my calendar. The speed workouts are scary. Thankfully I don’t have distance to scare me when I train for a half. I’m not sure why these workouts are so scary when I hit all of them this past month. I’ve had good speed work and good long runs, but they have all been inside. Mother Nature seems to hate runners this winter. Okay, Mother Nature hates everyone this winter, but I feel like I need more outdoor runs.

Now the fear isn’t making me doubt my goals or reconsider them. It’s just making me scared. And motivated. I really want to hit those speed workouts and really, really want that sub 1:50.

Three Years

14 01 2014

Three years ago I started a new job. Three years ago I was a mess of a person. I was unhappily back in Wisconsin. I was living with my parents (albeit temporarily). I didn’t want any of it, well except for the job because it was going to pay me. I wanted to be in DC. I wanted to be with the friends I made while living there. Three years ago I was injured and hated running. Three years ago all I did was think about moving back.

Three years later I am a different person. I mean, of course I am. We all grow and change. But I really feel as though these three years have helped me figure out me. I happily call Milwaukee my home.  Three years ago I didn’t know all the wonderful people I have met in Milwaukee. I can’t imagine my life without them. Three years ago I didn’t have my mini zoo: my wonderful and crazy cats and dog. Three years ago I never fathomed owning a home.

I remembering sitting in an interview for this job and got that stupid “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question. Come on! Who knows where they will be in five years? And in all honesty I did not see myself still at this job. But the job has evolved and I have evolved and here I sit three years later. I never imagined most of what happened in the last three years and while it hasn’t been all happy moments it sure has been pretty great.

How can I predict where I will be in five years? I don’t know where I will be in six months. So here’s to the next three years. May they be filled with great people and fun adventures.

2014 Racing

12 01 2014

I’m trying something different this year. I’m racing very minimally. My next race is the Wisconsin Half in May. I am doing this for two reasons: 1) racing is effing expensive and it’s an easy way to cut some costs and 2) I really, really want a sub 1:50 at the Wisconsin Half.

I am going to disregard that I have already run two races this years. I ran the Polar Bear Dash on New Year’s Day. It was really cold and snowy and slushy, but I ran it. I was hoping to race it to see where I was at for a 5k, but Mother Nature has been a bitch lately. We bundled up and made it out there to start off 2014 running straight at Lake Michigan. I wouldn’t say this was the best race every, but we did it.

Sara, Jen, Me, and my mom

Sara, Jen, Me, and my mom

My mom and I both placed third in our age groups!

My mom and I both placed third in our age groups!

And then three days later I ran the S-NO-W Fun Run in Lake Geneva because it is awesome. Not the run, the party. At least it was a bit warmer for this one. Really snowy though. It felt like running in sand. And because I make bad life choices I ran 8 miles at the Pettit in the morning and then drove to Lake Geneva to race 5.

At least I dragged these awesome ladies along with me.

I dragged these awesome ladies along with me. They might have all been cursing me at the start.

We found Mo and her friends who drove up from Chicago. She and I decided to run together which was fun. Finish line was just as we remembered: full of shots of schnapps. We each had one peppermint, one of Rumchatta and one Root Beer. Then we found beer and food while waiting for others.

As with two years ago the after party was awesome. We had beer, we danced, we swam, we ordered late night pizza and passed out in some really comfy beds at the Grand Geneva. Lots of fun photos, but I’m not about to share those ;)

So a fun first week of the year and now it’s time to hunker down and train, which would be great if we hadn’t hit ridiculously frigid temperatures. I have been running almost solely on the treadmill and at the Pettit. So many circles.

I’m using the Wisconsin Half and Ragnar Chicago to get me through it and finally got to run outside today. Bit by bit I will get to May.

Goodbye 2013

31 12 2013

I wasn’t going to write an end of year post this year, but as I sit here today and look at photos and read other ones I want to reflect on the year. As any year, 2013 brought all kinds of ups and downs. I got to take the trip of a lifetime with my best friend.

Carnival, Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Carnival, Rio de Janiero, Brazil

I hated running. I loved running. I had many running adventures. I bonded with my couch. I ran 609.55 miles this year and I’m completely okay with that. I have exciting goals for 2014 and I’m ready to start them with my 5K tomorrow.

January 1, 2013

January 1, 2013

I adopted a dog. A wonderful, sweet running buddy. I ran 167 miles with her and adopted her in July. Rosie is wonderful and I don’t regret bringing her home at all.

We lost my Granny this year. But it brought the whole giant Hill family together. She left behind 8 children, 19 grand children and 10 great grandchildren.

Hill Family

Hill Family

I celebrated a bunch of friends get married, which meant travel to West Virginia and Cleveland. It meant fun dresses and fun parties.

Thank you to all my wonderful friends and family. Looking forward to 2014 and what that may bring.

Winter Running

21 12 2013

Winter running is running in the cold. Winter running is running in the snow. Winter running is running indoor on a treadmill. Winter running is running in circles at the Pettit National Ice Center. I think I have done all four of those this week. You have to be flexible. You have to wear seven layers one day and shorts the next. Whatever it may be I love winter running. I love snow runs. I love getting outside time when most people don’t want to go outside.

Rosie loves the snow. She made her own track in the back yard so she can run laps.

Rosie loves the snow. She made her own track in the back yard so she can run lapeople think it’s too cold to go outside.

I don’t run outside when it’s frigid or icy, which is how I ended up running 36 laps at the Pettit. I ran into some friends today and was chatting about how luck we are to have this place to run when it’s unsafe to run outside. Milwaukee is a sheet of ice. I don’t think I would have made it off my block. I also didn’t think I would make it past 6 miles on the treadmill. Thirty-six laps is 10 miles. While what seemed like half the runners in Milwaukee were running in circles there were speed skaters, figure skaters and hockey players out on the ice. With two rinks, the speed skating lanes, and the wonderful new track, that is a lot of space for people to be out being active on a cold, icy Saturday.

The nice thing right now is I am enjoying running. I am enjoying it in the cold, in the snow, on the treadmill (well sometimes), and running in circles. I love taking Rosie out in the snow. I have never seen her have as much fun as she did bounding through the snow the other day. I am excited for my spring race even though it is five months away.

I started back up with my running coach two weeks ago. I’m quite happy I did. I like getting the workouts and pushing myself more than I would otherwise.

New Year’s Day Polar Bear Dash 5k is on the horizon. I won’t be one of the crazy ones who goes in the water though. I don’t go in Lake Michigan when it’s warm, why on earth would I do it in January? I haven’t decided what my goals are yet, but I would bet good money it’s faster than any other 5k I ran this year, which were all slow and/or in the heat and I was out of shape.