Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wishbone 5K 2014

The tradition continues with the Wishbone 5K Thanksgiving morning run. The beauty of this run is it's simplicity. Registration is $5 per individual or $10 per family (quite the value) and if you pre-register early enough, a long sleeve tee is yours!  Everyone receives a custom race bib--even though we are all number 2014 (obviously it changes with the year)!  Many distance options are also available to encourage everyone to be active before their holiday feast.  The race is not chipped time, but for the $5 registration fee, I am happy to time myself!

Some of the River Runners pre-race!
And then there were the Central MN Bike Club friends...Jan, Jen, Beth, Jason, & I
I had many friends running this year, from those in the local running club to those from the bike club looking for a fun way to crosstrain.  My friend Jan and I stuck together the majority of the race at a nice, easy pace!  The zero degree morning allowed frosty eyelashes, hair, and mustaches to be abundant!  Is there a better way to enjoy the cold, than to be out running with friends!?! ;)

Jen and I showing off our frostiness!

Until next Thanksgiving....

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Since it has been almost a month since race day, I guess I can safely say I've been slacking on my blog!  It's time to get up to date!

After running Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K in the morning, I participated in the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Event. The race started at 10 PM, leading to some meticulously structured meals and naps throughout the day.

Jason, Brooke, and I (along with our support team/cheerers Genna and Denise) parked at Epcot (the finish), from which we runners took a bus to the start at the ESPN Sports Complex. I then met up with a crossfit friend Heidi as we were going to run together. While waiting for race start we were able to snag a picture with Minnie Mouse!  Other characters were available for photo ops as well, but the long lines forced us to choose a favorite. 

If I remember correctly there were approximately 15,000 runners with corrals starting every two minutes.  Unfortunately, the rain started as we were in our corral waiting for our turn to start!  However,  Heidi and I were in good spirits as the warm rain was way better than being in cold Minnesota!  Each corral had its very own fireworks for a grand entrance to the race. 

Once we were off, we ran on the highway for a few miles before coming to Magic Kingdom.  I enjoyed seeing the park in both the daylight and darkness in one day!

As the rain continued to fall, puddles were starting to form, and we were headed out of the park back to the highway. Running became more difficult with slippery pavement and soaked shoes. It felt like a very long stretch on the highway before we finally came to Hollywood Studios. My favorite part of the race, The Spectacle of Dancing Lights, was in this park.  Heidi and I had to stop and walk a few blocks just to take in our amazing surroundings and Christmas lights (they weren't dancing, but all on)!

Once out of Hollywood Studios, we ran on a boardwalk/sidewalk along the river to Epcot (a nice break from the highway running).  Once inside Epcot the crowds and supporters were cheering loudly. At this point it was around to 1 AM and I was very hungry, ready to be out of the rain, and done running. It was a good thing the finishline was close. Heidi and I finished the race together and received our ginormous and extremely heavy finishers medals. And what a story that medal has to tell!

After the race, we took some time to check out the Wine and Dine after party with food and drinks from all over the world!

State #7 of 50 is officially completed!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Running In The Happiest Place On Earth-DISNEY!

I recently had the opportunity to participate in my first runDisney events in Orlando!  And yes, that is plural!  Saturday morning at 7 AM was the start of the 5K and Saturday evening at 10 PM was the start of the half marathon.  Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K will be the focus of this blog.

I have to say the 5K was one of the most laid back and fun races of that distance I have every done. The start line was in the parking lot of Disney's Animal Kingdom.  A snow effect was created by machines sputtering out soap bubbles to ensure everyone was in the holiday spirit. Pre-race activities included pictures with Mickey and Minnie, along with multiple race themed areas to snap photos!

Notice the "snow" on some heads!

Shortly after the sun came up, we were off and running!  The course started around the parking lot and then headed into Animal Kingdom. I was officially partaking in my first Disney experience.  Along the route I stopped for multiple pictures with characters and enjoyed the scenery of the park!  The route continued through the park for just over a mile and then we completed an out and back segment on the back side of the park, before crossing the finish line!

Rafiki and Timon from the Lion King

Everyone loves Donald!

Brooke, Jason, and I
There was not any official timing for the race, which made it even more relaxed and fun!  RunDisney sure knows how to put on a first class race experience. Stay tuned for for my next Disney race blog!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Twin Cities Loony Challenge Day 2

Day 2 of the Loony Challenge brought a beautiful 10 mile run from Minneapolis to St. Paul. Twin Cities In Motion provided yet another well organized race experience. The only downfall of the morning was the lack of a warming tent/building for the thousands of runners waiting for their race to start. A cool 34 degree morning had many people packed into parking garages to seek shelter from the cold and wind. Others, including my friend Jason, rode around on the light rail to stay warm. 

I was in the last corral to start the 10 mile race and we were off around 7:20 AM. The first three miles were very congested, with little room to pass those around you.  The course was very beautiful leaving downtown Minneapolis along the river and heading by the University of Minnesota. Just past mile 4, the route crossed into St. Paul and continued along Summit Avenue to the capital.

My legs and hip flexors were sore but I persevered through the 10 miles and completed the Loony Challenge (5K, 10K, and 10 mile)  My official 10 mile time was 1:45:08!

There was lots of swag to accompany the Loony Challenge. Three shirts, four medals, and two pairs of FitSoks!

The race expo was also a blast and I did find a couple items to purchase. 

1.  Sure Sport Compression Foot Sleeve ( to help support my foot and ankle. 

2.  RooSport Fitness Pouch ( with a super powerful magnet to hold money, credit cards, phone, nutrition, etc on the inside of my running pants when I don't have pockets in my running clothes. 

Wow!  What a great weekend and first class race experience!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Twin Cities Loony Challenge Day 1

Today I completed the first two races of the Twin Cities Loony Challenge race series--the 10K and the 5K.  The 10K started at 7:30 this morning followed by the 5K at 9:00. Both races were out and back courses along Summit Avenue in St. Paul, making for great scenery and fall colors. The morning was mostly overcast with the temperatures in the 40's.

I was satisfied to have completed the 10K sub one hour, with an official time of 59:54.  After the 10K I had about a half hour to refuel and stretch, until I was back out running the 5K.

Mom and I ran the 5K together, this is actually the first race we have done together. Our finish time for the 5K was 37:35, only four seconds slower than mom's PR.  Not to shabby with the hills on Summit Avenue.

Tomorrow morning I will be up bright and early to run the 10 mile from Minneapolis to St. Paul (the shortcut to the capital)!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Surftown Half Marathon, Westerly RI

This Surftown race blog post is long overdue, but I have crossed another state off of my "Do A Race In Every State" list!  Two weeks ago, I participated in the Surftown Half Marathon in Westerly, RI. I was in the area for a family wedding and there just so happened to be a race being held (with a super cool medal as a bonus)!

My friend Jen joined me for the trip and participated in the 5K. We were able to do packet pickup on Saturday for the Sunday race, and stayed only a few blocks from the start line and oceanside at the Pleasant View Inn.  The race was put on by Hartford Marathon Foundation Events and capped at 1800 runners for the half marathon and 600 runners for the 5K---and it was sold out a few weeks before race day!
Jen and I pre-race on a beautiful morning.

Packet pickup on Saturday was at the Knickerbocker Cafe downtown Westerly. The cafe was very poorly lit inside and my friend Jen and I both felt as though packet pickup was a little disorganized and confusing. However, we secured our appropriate bibs and race swag!


Race morning was beautifully sunny and cool!  Air temp was around 50-60 degrees--my kind of racing weather!  The half marathon began 15 minutes before the 5K, and headed out along the coast. Unfortunately, the coast was not visible the whole run as sand was piled high on the beach blocking the view. Regardless, there were some breathtaking views of the ocean and beautiful Cape Cod style homes.  The website described the race as flat and fast. However, I would beg to differ!  There were certainly hills, but nothing out of this world. Watch Hill was by far the toughest climb of the race, around mile 10.  Miles 11 and 12 were kind of monatanous and felt as though I was running on a country highway in MN. Maybe it was because I was ready to be done running.  Thankfully, there were plenty of water stops, music, and entertainment throughout the course.

The home stretch!

I ended up with a time of 2:20:25. Certainly, this was not a PR for me. However, considering that my training wasn't quite where it should be, that I was exhausted from all our travels and exploring, and that I was dehydrated from the wedding festivities the evening before, I was happy!  Also, this was the longest distance I have ran since my injury in April. Most exciting of all is that my foot and ankle seem to be back to "normal", without pain. 

Love the surf board mile markers!

Post race there was quite a spread available including clam chowder, fruit, granola bars, and more!  Racers also received a free beer at Paddy's Beach Club and free admission to the Misquamicut Fall Festival. 
Post-race at Paddy's with our complimentary beer!

If you are looking for a great race in Rhode Island, give Surftown Half Marathon a thought!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Franny Flyer 10K

At the last minute, I realized the Franny Flyer 1K, 5K, and 10K was happening locally and I had an open schedule!  Who doesn't want to sign up for a race with a fun name like that!?!  So off I went race day morning, signed up, and took on the 10K challenge. The Franny Flyer is only my third "stand alone" 10K race that I have participated in.  A challenge it was!  The heat and humidity made for a doosey of a race and I certainly didn't PR...but I did get in one stellar workout and finished the race!

The mismatched running clothes are a result of needing to do laundry and a last minute decision to race!  :)

The race was hosted by St. Francis Xavier and coincided with their parish festival!  T-shirts (super soft, cotton ones at that) were guaranteed to those preregistered and I also received one on race day!The chip-timed 10K course was well laid out, sending runners through quiet neighborhoods and on bike paths. The volunteers on the course were amazing and made it impossible to take a wrong turn. Four water stops along the way kept me hydrated and cool.  Age group awards/medals were handed out three deep in each 10 year interval. Of course, I held my coveted 4th place finish with a time of 1:02:56!  I would highly recommend the Franny Flyer to anyone looking for a fun, inexpensive, and all around wonderful race!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Winding Down The Season With Graniteman Big Lake

I finished off my triathlon season this year with Graniteman Big Lake. This was the fifth and final (unless my arm gets twisted to do another) triathlon of the season. The Graniteman course was great! My favorite component was the fast bike course, which headed out on quieter country roads and traversed some beautiful pine stands!  The sky was overcast with a few spits of rain here and there--it felt great and kept me cool.

Paula and I!  This was Paula's third triathlon and she rocked it!

Not sure why I stripped my cap and goggles before the wetsuit.  Photos are a great analysis of a race!
Here are my results:

Swim:  13:00 (.33 miles--although I and others felt the swim course was a little on the long side)
T1:  1:08
Bike:  46:11
T2:  1:12
Run:  30:05

Total:  1:31:35

Loving the bike course!
I was very happy to have maintained a sub 10:00 min/mile for my 5K run. The only glitch I had in the race was regarding my timing chip. And no, it didn't fall off!  After completing the race I did not have a finish time that registered. The individuals in the timing van reassured me I would have a time eventually. Well, after two days I received my final finish time. Of course this wait was hard for me as I am typically close (4th, 5th, or 6th) to the podium in my age group and I am very competitive with myself.  I ended up 6th in my age group and was thankful to receive an official finish time.  Therefore, I no longer was on the DNF list. :)

A very photogenic day for me with smiles all around!
I had some great fan support/photographers at the race as well!  Thanks Jill, Jason, Genna, Jackson, and Heather!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Heart Of The Lakes Triathlon

The Heart of the Lakes Triathlon (HOLT) in Annandale, MN was my fourth triathlon of the season. I enjoyed participating in a local race, as the three other races were a 3-8 hour drive away.  HOLT was the first triathlon I conquered in 2010.  Who knew it would lead to my current triathlon addiction, lifestyle, and friendships?  This year also marks the third time I have participated in the sprint course, making it fun to compare stats from each race!  I love the course because it is one of the shorter sprint courses around with a 0.25 mile swim, 9 mile bike, and 2.5 mile run.  Also the small town feel, stellar volunteers, and great organization keep racers coming back as well!

My friend and training partner, Jill!

Overall, I felt great during the race. I even posted my best run time since my injury.  I'll take it even if it was only for 2.5 miles!  My finish put me 5th out of 30 in my age group!  Here is the breakdown...

Swim:  10:13
T1:  2:35
Bike:  28:04
T2:  1:47
Run:  23:45

Total:  1:06:27

I was only 15 seconds off my PR for the course--1:06:12 in 2012!  In 2010 I posted a time of 1:12:50 in my first HOLT race!

Pre race shenanigans!

A couple items that would make this race even better would be a finishers medal and an on course photographer!  I guess I can hope that next year for the 30th anniversary of the race directors will add these details!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ITU World Triathlon Chicago

On June 29th, I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in ITU World Triathlon Chicago!  Chicago is only the third city in the United States to host the eight race international series, to determine a world champion triathlete (the other cities were San Diego and Washington DC)!  This trip was my first time to Chicago (except for multiple layovers spent in O'Hare), and what a unique way to experience the city. I traveled by car with friends and great company Jason, Genna, and Jackson!  The trip was fairly quick as we left Friday early morning, explored the city Saturday, participated in the sprint race on Sunday, and drove home.  Nutrition on race day was a little tricky as the sprint distance race didn't start until 11:45 AM. I am used to starting my races anywhere from 7-9 AM, so I had to incorporate a larger breakfast that was easy on the stomach.  Also starting the race later in the day meant the Windy City had become very hot and humid by race time. 


The swim was 800 meters (0.5 miles) in Lake Michigan along the lake wall.  Five minutes before the in water start of my wave, we could jump into the lake and get used to the water temperature (65-66 degrees F). The cool water was much appreciated after waiting in the hot sun and humidity with my wetsuit on. We treaded water in the lake until the countdown and we were off. A protective berm surrounded the Monroe Harbor and it's yachts. The berm also helped keep the waves down during the swim.  My sighting was pretty accurate as my Garmin read exactly 0.5 miles on the straight swim. (Much better than the Olympic 0.9 mile distance I swam the week before that turned into a 1.1 mile swim in the Dells)!  The race officials warned to not get to close to the lake wall as the zebra mussels sit on the wall.  A brush against them would instantly lead to cuts on your hands and feet!  Yikes!  I made sure to keep my distance!  Once out of the water there was a significant run under Lake Shore Drive to my bike in the transition area of Grant Park.  I'm guessing the run was around 0.25 miles.



I totally loved getting on my bike outside of transition and looking up to the Chicago skyline. The bike route consisted of two loops closed to traffic. It started on Columbus Drive and then headed into the Lower Wacker tunnel. Going from the bright daylight and sunshine and into the darker tunnel took some time for my eyes to adjust. The shade and cooler temperatures of the tunnel felt wonderful on the 20km bike course.  Once off the bike, I had quite a significant run back to the transition area as well!


The run consisted of a 2.5 loop 5K course that circled around the Buckinham Fountain, a block off the lake. (I had many thoughts of jumping into the fountain to cool off on this hot day).  Evidently, many athletes were disqualified for not completing the 2.5 laps, instead they only did 1.5. Initially, I was confused at how the 2.5 laps worked. However, I made sure to study the maps and listen at the athlete meeting so I wasn't DQ'd.  The run was a little bit of a struggle in the heat of the day, and I stopped to walk a couple times.


Race Results: 

Swim:  19:12
Trans 1:  06:00
Bike:  36:42
Trans 2:  5:11
Run:  36:58
Total: 1:44:01


I am so thankful I took advantage of the opportunity to participate in this race. The course was very unique and it was awesome sharing a race weekend with the pros!  Chicago ITU was a great introduction to the great city of Chicago!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rev3 In The Land of Waterparks and Cheese!

Wow!  What a wonderfully fun race weekend in Wisconsin Dells!  I traveled with friends Jason, Genna, and Jackson to participate in Rev3-Wisconsin Dells Olympic distance triathlon. We started our trek Friday afternoon and arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn that evening. After a good night of rest, we had Saturday to enjoy the Waterpark Capital of the World!  

Breakfast was first thing in the morning, and then a game of checkers was in order with Jackson (and boy does that 11 year old rule the checker board)!  Next, we walked to the race expo and packet pickup.  Endless Pools had a swimming machine set up that Jason and I tried (think a swimming treadmill), which was an unique experience.

Noah's Ark Waterpark was our next destination (also within walking distance of hotel). Rev3 teamed up with Noah's Ark to give us 25% off admission as well!  My first activity on the zip line at the park was a bust, as I fell into the water right after leaving the platform.  I certainly didn't want to try again as I might get sore arms for my 0.9 mile swim the next day! ;)  The other memorable water ride of the day was the Stingray. I see now that it has been rated one of the scariest rides on the park--I certainly understand why!!  The half pipe water slide created quite a rush and my heart rate still increases when I see pictures of it.  Thanks Jason for talking me into that one!!  The Moosejaw Pizza Company provided our pre-race meal and a few tastes of microbrews!

Now onto race day!  Once again our hotel was in a wonderful location, within walking distance of transition and the finish line. Due to the close proximity, the race morning was very relaxed.  We could set up our transition area and then head back to the hotel before race start.  This race was only my second official Olympic Distance race, so I appreciated the relaxed morning. 

The time trial start swim started off the Tommy Bartlett stage, into Lake Delton.  I struggled a little bit with sighting on the 0.9 mile swim, as there were not many intermediary buoys between the large buoys. I was very thankful to get the swim out of the way and jump on my bike.  However, once on the bike I realized I was in for quite a hilly, challenging course as well. Thankfully, cycling was my strongest discipline at the moment!  The course headed around Lake Delton and then out into the quiet Wisconsin countryside.  After 25 miles, a 6.2 mile run was ALL I had left...and also about ALL I could handle. Uff da!  I dug pretty deep on the bike traversing hill upon hill, and realized I had left next to nothing for my run.  The run course was also hilly, hilly, and more hilly!  I decided my strategy was going to be to walk up the hills and run was much as I could on the downhills and flats. There was no sense using the little energy I had left to run uphill. After a lot of walk/running (sometimes much more walking than running), I came up to the final corner to see my friends Jason and Genna cheering and running with me into the final stretch.  Thanks guys, I needed that final push!  Finally, the chute was in sight and my second Olympic distance race was in the books!!!!

After crossing the finish line a volunteer immediately wrapped a wet towel, straight out of and huge ice bath, around my shoulders!  BEST POST RACE ITEM EVER!  (The day started comfortably warm and quickly went to very hot and humid with stale air on the run.)  Of course the "cheesy" medal and finisher visor were even more coveted after working so incredibly hard to earn them. 


Swim (0.9 miles):  39:24
T1:  3:24
Bike (25 miles):  1:32:07
T2:  1:36
Run (6.2 miles):   1:16:05

Total:  3:32:37

My goal was to finish the race and I did it!  I can honestly say this was the hardest race course I have participated in to date. It would be interesting to see how my results would compare on the same course if I had properly trained and had not been working my way back from an injury. Amazingly enough, I still ended up 5 of 10 in my age group. 


-I would highly recommend a Rev3 race to anyone
-Very well-organized
-An elite-feeling race experience (tattoo body marking, personalized name/number plates in transition, personalized bibs, photo from packet pickup on the big screen when crossing the finish line)
-Great swag (long-sleeve dri-fit tee, Rev3 satchel, Rev3 Buff, Rev3 finishers Headsweats visor, finisher medal, free finishline photo download, Rev3 sticker, and other race nutrition goodies)
-A fun and free photo booth with instant uploads to social media
-The course was well marked, although a few more buoys on the swim would be helpful
-Great, helpful volunteers

Thanks Rev3 and Wisconsin Dells for the positive and challenging race experience!  Also, thanks to Jason, Genna, and Jackson for allowing me to be a partner in crime in the Dells!  ;)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Trinona: A Race To Experience!

Well folks, I believe I am safe to call Trinona my favorite race after participating the past two years!  The triathlon was this past Sunday, June 8th and was AWESOME!  The Trinona venue is a beauty to behold, in the Mississippi bluff country. The swim starts in Lake Winona, with Sugarloaf Bluff visible in the distance. The bike is an out and back format into bluff country--the way out is a bit of a climb, but after the turnaround the decreasing elevation helps to ramp up some serious speed on the way back.  Finally, the run course winds around Lake Winona and allows for an excellent view of the bluffs!  Of course, the picture perfect weather made for an even more fabulous day!  We had sun and blue skies, low 70 degree weather, little wind, and 72 degree water temps!  A huge thank you goes out to the weather gods for providing us with such a glorious day.
Posing With Sugarloaf Bluff Pre Race

As far as my race goes, I was definitely more nervous than I normally am.  The combination of healing from injury, hoping my foot would tolerate the race, and the minimal training I had done made for a few butterflies!  However, considering all those factors I had a satisfying race and FINISHED!  A goal I had started to take for granted pre-injury. 

Time Trial Start

Heading into transition from a bike in the bluffs!


Swim:  9:27 (27 seconds faster than last year)
T1:  2:00
Bike: 38:01  (41 seconds slower than last year)
T2:  1:51
Run: 32:07  (6 mins and 13 seconds slower than last year)

Finish Time:  1:23:25

I am pretty excited that my swim and bike times were very similar to last years race even with my lack of training!  I also expected my run time to be significantly slower due to injury, so that was not a surprise.  However, I still placed 10th out of 23 people in my age group.  And did I mention it felt great to be out competing again?

Mom and I post race!

Some serious hardware!

On a side note, the finisher medal we received last year had a misprint and declared the race "Battle For The Buff" (which I thought was hilarious)!  However, this year they got it right with awesome hardware declaring the race "Battle For The Bluff"!  

If you have the opportunity check this race out!  You won't be dissapointed.