Milwaukee Running Festival

This was a fun inaugural raced. I thoroughly enjoyed most of the course. It wasn’t an easy course and I maybe should have actually looked closer at the course, but whatever, you have to run the 13.1 miles whether you know when you are turning or not.

The Milwaukee Running Festival weekend started Saturday morning with the Mile Race and Expo. I was working the Ragnar Booth with Mo and Sara. It was a blast to see all the kids come in after running the mile race. I think it’s great how many of them were all smiles. There are now tons of kids running around Milwaukee in Ragnar shirts.

Ragnar, do it.
Ragnar, do it.
Pre-race movie
Pre-race movie

It was a gross cold and rainy day so being stuck inside all day wasn’t terrible except for being stuck by the door that volunteers were holding open for everyone coming to the expo. After 8 hours of hanging out here a group of us went out for a pre-race meal. It was Halloween so I had to stop by home and leave candy out for the kids. I had two friends staying with me so we went home to prepare for race day. Let’s just say some of us are able to pick out our race outfits easier than others. We settled in for a pre-race movie and took it easy. I set my clocks back so we would be all set for morning. Side note: fall back on race morning is awesome.

We woke up, got dressed and headed over to the start. Parking was easy enough. Not thrilled the ICC charged $5, but not bad either. We parked and found everyone else running. I love how many people I know at these races. Milwaukee has a great running community and I love being part of it. There was a lot of excitement at the start. Sara and I found our place among the pace groups with the plan to not go out too fast.

race_1546_photo_27820525The weather was great and I felt good. We did pretty good not going out too fast. Miles 1-4: 8:50, 8:36 (oops), 8:43, 8:51. We knew about the hill at miles 3-4 and had run it several times this summer to just pushed on through. I saw a colleague at the top out cheering. Always fun to see a friendly face. I loved how the course wandered through the East Side. I never ever run over there. Miles 5-8: 8:24, 8:19, 8:28. 8:40. Going up Wisconsin Ave was a longer incline than I realized. We worked hard to get up that hill and enjoyed the crowd support near Marquette. We split from the marathon around mile 9 and headed south over 94. The bridge wasn’t so great. We chose to run on the sidewalk so as to not trip and harm ourselves.  The awesome crowd support basically died as we separated from the marathon.

race_1546_photo_27764504The last several miles of the course were fairly desolate and there was a really weird turn that I feel could have been eliminated with distance added somewhere else. Miles 9-13: 9:00, 8:38, 8:38, 8:23. I did some really bad running math somewhere around mile 12 and was certain we wouldn’t get my PR. Running math is hard. I ran the .1 at a 6:46 pace and finished 20 seconds shy of my PR and my fastest time in almost four years. I almost cried and then desperately dug through old posts to find my PR. I am over the moon with how this race went. As I stated before, it was not an easy course and we ran it hard. A huge thank you to Sara for running it with me.

All smiles
All smiles

We found more friends and several of us stayed at the finish to cheer for the half marathon and marathon finishers. It was super fun to see Tracey come in all smiles! And then Mo not much further behind, smashing her PR and breaking 4:00 hours! All in all I would say it was a great inaugural event. There are things to improve upon, but that is true of all races. I liked the half course. My biggest problem next year will be deciding between this and Tyranena as they are a day apart instead of six days.


Door County Fall 50

I’ve wanted to run this for a few years and haven’t until this year for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to not living in Wisconsin, travel and injury. 2015 was finally the year. I ran it with the usual suspects: Sara, Jen and Erica


We left Milwaukee in the early evening on Friday, stopped in Sheboygan for dinner, and collapsed at the hotel in Ephraim. It was an early morning and rainy. We checked in, pinned on our bibs, layered on rain gear and headed back to the start.

Eerily similar to the Ragnar start picture.
Eerily similar to the Ragnar start picture.

The rain wasn’t horrible until Jen had to run. Rain and relays have gone hand in hand for her this year. I had the third leg which was the longest one of the race, 7.3. It was partly sunny and dry when I started. I felt good and it was really nice to run through parts of Door County that Mo and I had run earlier this year. I was surprised how great my legs felt and just kept pushing along. Once I entered Peninsula State Park I felt rain and told myself it was tree rain. It wasn’t. I ended up quite wet, but ended with a sub 9:00 minute pace. I did an awesome front seat clothing change without flashing anyone. I wanted dry clothing on asap so I didn’t get cold. We spent most of the exchanges bundled up in layers and blankets waiting for our runner to come in.

The saving grace of the day was how pretty it was in Door County

I swapped legs with Erica since she was sick and her second leg was supposed to have the worst hill in it. The hill was a 14% grade. The booklet said it was okay to walk. I took this very seriously. Once we got to this exchange I realized it was where the Door County Triathlon finishes. Funny how that sticks in my head when I ran that in 2008. It was windy and cold when we were right next to the bay. Thankfully the route quickly got onto a road that was protected from the wind. I was cruising along. I felt great. The first three miles were great. I ran 8:45 miles. And then the hill. Leg 8It was beautiful and steep. Really steep. Everyone was walking. I decided to speed walk it. Running it would have been pointless. That miles was 10:19, which I didn’t think was bad considering I walked a bunch of it. It was misting the whole time. Not raining, which wasn’t horrible. When I got to the top of the hill I reached deep and pushed hard and ran an 8:20 mile. I can’t really believe I ran that. But I was done at that point.

Waiting for Sara at the finish line.
Waiting for Sara at the finish line.

We got to the finish line and once again layered up to go stand in the wind while waiting for Sara to get in. We ran across the finish line as a team and giggled as our team name was announced because we are all 15.


Pretty sweet medal
Pretty sweet medal

The finish line included unlimited pizza and beer. The post race pasty was in two huge tents with music and a dance floor. We didn’t get to take advantage of much as we were heading back to Milwaukee and all wanted to get home. Next year we will be back and will book a room in Sturgeon Bay.

It was a ton of fun and so much less planning and organization than Ragnar. I believe I said it was just like Ragnar except we got to sleep in a bed both nights and there were only four of us. Relays are such a fun part of running. And I have such a fun group of people I get to do these races with. We will be back next year for sure.

Milwaukee Running Festival Half Marathon: Goals and Thoughts

I started writing a recap of the Fall 50, which was awesome, but that will come later. I have the Milwaukee Running Festival Half on Sunday. When I signed up for this a year ago I was just hoping I would be able to run the distance again. Thankfully my foot healed and I am running again. I took this training a bit more conservatively than in the past with my constant fear of injuring myself again, but here I am two days from the race and I’m ready.

mkerunfestThere are a lot of unknowns with a new race, but I trust the race director and his staff. I’m uncertain about the course, but I don’t ever really study courses anymore. There will be plenty of people in front of me and it will be well marked. Run to the finish line seems to be a good plan. It will be fun to run a race through my city. There is a lot I do know as well. I trained hard. I will have Sara by my side so it will be fun if nothing else. I’m ready to test my legs.


  • A Goal: 1:51:59
  • B Goal: 1:54:xx
  • C Goal: 1:57:xx
  • D Goal: 1:59:xx
  • Finish Half Marathon #20
  • Have a good time with friends

It’s going to be a fun race weekend. I have Mo and Nicole staying with me and lots of friends running this event. Saturday I will be at the expo all day working the Ragnar booth with my Ragnar Ambassador buddies so if you want some Ragnar goodies come find us.

See you out there.

Running toward something

wpid-img_20150919_075558263_hdr.jpgI wasn’t running toward something new this weekend. In reality I was running through the past, but with new perspective.

I visited Washington DC this past weekend to see friends and had the opportunity to get in a runs while there. Every time I’m in DC is opens my brain to the stupid What If game. My friends live in Arlington, VA so on Saturday I set out from their front door and went to find the running/biking path. I was warned it was going to be hilly and actually built it up in my head to be worse than it was. I left with the intention to run 4 miles since I had 10 to run on Sunday. Best laid plans can often get thrown out the window and I promptly ignored my garmin telling me it was time to turn around. Thanks to signs on the trail I knew where I was in relation to parts of Arlington and how close to DC I was. I couldn’t help myself. Four and half years after leaving DC and I still love this city so much. The extra wpid-img_20150919_075842994_hdr.jpgmile was worth it. The view on the bridge was spectacular even though it was hazy. Plus the clouds made it not horrible even though it was disgustingly humid. I love the views every time. They never grow old.

Saturday afternoon brought a wonderful backyard barbecue where I got to see a handful of my friends. I love that I go back and have so many wonderful people to visit. It’s not so much visiting as falling back into a different piece of my life. As this is a very active group of individuals it was lots of catching up on What are you training for? How’s your running? How far did you run this morning? and I’ve never been happier responding that I’m training for half marathons and it’s perfect for me. I don’t even feel the pull of the full marathon anymore.

On Sunday I went for another run. I had 10 miles to do so we drove to the Lyndon B Johnson Memorial Grove and cut over to the Mount Vernon Trail. As I was slugging along in pretty decent DC weather (warm, but not hot or horribly humid) I realized that six years ago I was running the same trail training for my first, and only, marathon. Those six years have flown by. I have no idea where that time has gone. When I was talking with friends on Saturday none of us could believe that I have been gone from DC for almost five years. I had no idea who I was and no idea what I was doing as a runner. I’ve come so far in so many different aspects of my life. DC will forever hold a special place in my heart. The run itself was nothing memorable and nothing special. I got 10 miles done, but I was running toward something, be it a memory.


Sunday afternoon was one of the most perfect days in DC I’ve had in years. Thai Phi and I went into the city to eat and walk around with no plans. We walked and talked and talked and talked. I miss having her so close, really miss it. It’s strange, especially considering we have spent more years of our friendship in separate cities, but it never feels like that. She’s an amazing friend who I can’t imagine my life without. I will forever be grateful to her for being such a great host for every trip I make back.image

I used cry every time I left DC, but thankfully have moved beyond that. I have a lot to come back to in Milwaukee. DC was an integral part of my life and always will be. I said goodbye knowing I will see my friends in less than two months. The emotions hit me 24 hours later when I was reading Thai Phi’s blog while grocery shopping. I sometimes say I hate my emotions, but I’m mostly okay with being a sap. I mean, no one needs to be tearing up in the frozen food aisle, but I think I handled it okay and kept it to myself. I got to thinking about my life in DC and my life now and our discussions on Sunday. I love my life in Milwaukee and very honestly said I probably never would move back to DC, but there’s still a part of me that wants to even if it’s a fantasy and not a real desire, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want it. I guess I’ll just keep on visiting.

Running buddies in Madison. Life doesn't get much better.

Back to Racing: Madison Mini Recap

I don’t think this race could have gone better for me. It was a litmus test of where I was at, but I still had goals and ideas of how I wanted it to go. I had the best race buddy ever pushing me along the whole way. There is no way I would have finished with Mo, who literally yelled at me during the last mile when I wanted to give up. She’s the best. I’ve lost count of how many races we have done together. Many we have just both run and many we have very literally run the whole race together.

I met all my goals! I didn’t die or cry. I broke 2 hours. I had fun. I finished another half marathon.

We went out too fast, but I don’t think that was terrible. My worst mile was Mile 10, but I was able to dig deep and finish strong even though I wanted to die. The Madison Mini was exactly one year after I ended up in the boot, which was kind of a weird coincidence, but I’d say it ended well.


The boot sucked. The months of no running sucked. The recovery took forever, but on August 22, 2015 I ran 13.1 miles with one of my best friends and that beats everything.

Beer. Madison. Glitter.
Beer. Madison. Glitter. Photo Credit: Nicole of Nixietale

In addition to running the race I got to hang out in Madison with my friends. We had a blast: beer at the Memorial Union Terrace, pool time, pizza, and Exploding Kittens. It was an absolutely great weekend and I’m pretty sure we all put the 2016 date on our calendars.

Running buddies in Madison. Life doesn't get much better.
Running buddies in Madison. Life doesn’t get much better.

Madison Mini: Goals and Thoughts

It’s been a long time since I’ve written one of these posts. In fact I don’t remember the last time I did. But Facebook or Timehop linked me to my post from three years ago, the last time I ran the Madison Mini. Sometimes those stupid apps remind you of good times and not random stupidity or things that you don’t want to remember. Another fun find was this:IMG_20150817_081249I can’t really believe it was six years ago I ran my first half marathon. It’s been fun to think back on what I have accomplished, people I’ve met, races I’ve run. And that’s just the running part of my life.

Race Day Goals

  • Run another fun race with Mo
  • Don’t die or cry
  • Goal: Sub 2 hours
  • B Goal: As close to 2 as I can get
  • C Goal: Finish Half Marathon #19

Jen and I enjoyed a fantastic sunset at the Terrace already this year.The best part is that Mo is going to run with me. Over the last six weeks I have only done one long run alone and it was terrible and horrible and miserable. The rest were done with either Mo or Sara. I kind of assume after surviving the Cudahy Classic 10 miler, Mo and I can do just about anything. I have started stalking the weather now that it’s only five days out and so far so good, but I’m not an idiot and know it will change 100 times before Saturday.

The other best part about this race is the finish line. We finish at the Memorial Union and then get post race beers on the Union Terrace, which is one of my all time favorite places in Madison. I can’t wait to run through one of my favorite cities and see all my Madison running friends!

Bacon Race 2015

Year 4 of the Bacon Race!

I’m finally back to signing up for races and participating in these events. I have yet to really race one as I’m still terrified of reinjury. I have not run a 5k since the Bacon Race last year. I sign up for these things to have fun, to test myself, to run, all kinds of reasons and yet haven’t actually raced something in so long I almost forgot what it was to do that. Once the forecast for the race came out I changed all goals to don’t die. I think this is a pretty valuable and attainable goal.

The Bacon Race is held in a park not far from my house. In fact the start line was probably 100 yards from where the start line was on Sunday when I ran (almost died) the Cudahy Classic. I never had any intention of racing that. Basically I just wanted the water stops on my 10 mile run. This may not have been the best idea and I was rudely reminded why I don’t do my long runs on Sundays, but I did survive and then promptly did nothing else that day.

The Bacon Race is always a Thursday evening during the hottest part of the summer. You would think I would remember this from year to year, but apparently I block it out. Since I’m kind of in peak week of my non-training plan for the Madison Mini I decided I needed more than three miles on Thursday. Sara agreed and with the summer weather we are finally having we decided to run an easy three before work and then the 5k in the evening. As we got closer to the race the weather seemed tolerable as in not humid and not horribly hot. There was a breeze, not a cool one, but moving air. The shade was downright pleasant. The sun was not.

Sara and I took off and I was kind of impressed with how I felt. I was also thinking I should have actually warmed up, not just walked back and forth to the car. When my watch beeped at mile 1 (8:00), my initial thought was “shit, I should not be going that fast.” We avoided the bacon stop around mile 1.5 and kept on trucking forward. I did not check my pace, but paid attention to my legs. Mile 2 beeped in at 8:16, which I felt better about. Still much faster than expected. I started hurting and Sara was still pushing ahead so I just dug deep and kept up with her. Mile 3 was the slowest, but that’s okay (8:31) and we were able to finish strong at a 7:21 pace. We crossed the finish line and I wanted to die. We got our bacon and some water, found the shade and waited for my mom to finish. She looked strong coming across just under 30! Yay mom! She got 3rd in her age group. I ended up 10/69 in my age group so I’m pretty thrilled. Sara and I realized it was our fasted Bacon Race since the first year, also exciting.

88 Degrees – 3.1 Miles – 8:14 pace – 25:45 – 10/69 AG

Post race was fun per usual. Lots of bacon snacks and some beer. There was a fun band and lots of friends to chat with. I’m sure I’ll run it again next year. I just can’t stay away. I do need to find a morning, fall 5k though.

Next up: Madison Mini