Thursday, October 25, 2012

Honest Tea Review & Giveaway

Honest Tea (HERE) contacted me recently.  They asked if I'd like to try some of their flavors and give them my HONEST feedback (pun intended).  Sure.  I had seen their bottles at my office as well as the local grocery stores.

I received a variety of Honest Tea and Honest Ade choices.  Unfortunately, only one was "diet".

Honest Tea seeks to create and promote great-tasting, truly healthy, organic beverages. They strive to grow their business with the same honesty and integrity we use to craft our products, with sustainability and great taste for all.

I have a hard time consuming my calories via "drinkable calories".  Unfortunately, the only Diet flavor that I was able to try was the Zero Calorie lemonade.  It was tasty, but had a strange after taste, that I didn't like.  The Honest Ades had 50 calories or less - not bad.

The Boyfriend and I liked the other Honest Tea and Honest Ade flavors.  They weren't overly sweet, especially the Ades, which I really liked.  They were good thirst-quenchers.  The Pomegranate was supper yummy.  I don't like peach flavoring, so the Peach White Tea wasn't for me.  I found that all of the flavors tasted much better, right out of the refrigerator, or over ice.  Not so much after they sat around after an hour of sipping.  I'd really like to try the half-and-half Honest Tea variety - yum!

Stay tuned ... Little Diva and Little Dude will be reviewing the Honest Kids Pouches (HERE) soon!

One lucky winner will win
an assortment of
Honest Tea

(US residents only)


1 – Become a follower of my blog or already are?! LEAVE ME A COMMENT

2 – Follow Running Diva Mom on Facebook HERE. LEAVE ME A COMMENT

3 – Visit the Honest Tea website HERE and tell me what you think is fabulous. LEAVE ME A COMMENT

4 – Become a fan of Honest Tea on Facebook HERE (and let them know Running Diva Mom sent you!). LEAVE ME A COMMENT

5 – Post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter account. LEAVE ME A COMMENT FOR EACH.

Enter now though Thursday, November 8.
[If you would like YOUR product or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

[These opinions are all my own. I received the products/samples for free and was not compensated for this review.]

Girls Can't WHAT? Sweatshirt Review & Giveaway

I was recently introduced to the fabulous site, Girls Can't WHAT? (HERE).  Girls Can't WHAT? is dedicated to inspiring and challenging girls of all ages to break through sexist stereotypes and change the world. They believe gender discrimination can be overcome through education and leadership.  Their awesome website contains amazing stories, tips for achieving your goals and a shop with inspiring gifts for girls of all ages. When someone says you can't because you're a girl, say Girls Can't WHAT? and go change the world.

I love the Girls Can't WHAT? message!  I'm all for getting little girls active, believing in themselves and promoting confidence in young women.  Their efforts are very similar to Girls on The Run, which Little Diva is a currently a participating member of.  She was excited to get a package in the mail recently, with this Girls Can't What? Runner Hoodie / Sweatshirt (HERE).

Little Diva kept commenting on how soft the inside of the shirt was.  Perfect for the cool fall evenings.  She also liked the front pockets.  We've washed it and the color of the image did not fade.

The sweatshirt retail for $35 on the site and these and these would make great holiday gifts for your little runner.  They also sell them in mommy size too, as well as different styles!  These would be great for your little support crew at your upcoming races as well - all while sending a great message to your kids.

They also make tons and tons of different sports, careers and specialties.  Girls Can't What? also sells lots of great accessories and gift items. These would be perfect little stocking stuffers. 


One lucky winner will win a
Girls Can't What?
(Design and Size of their choice)


1 – Become a follower of my blog or already are?! LEAVE ME A COMMENT

2 – Follow Running Diva Mom on Facebook HERE. LEAVE ME A COMMENT

3 – Visit the Girls Can't What? website HERE and tell me what you think is fabulous. LEAVE ME A COMMENT

4 – Become a fan of Girls Can't What? on Facebook HERE (and let them know Running Diva Mom sent you!). LEAVE ME A COMMENT

5 – Post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter account. LEAVE ME A COMMENT FOR EACH.

Enter now though Thursday, November 8.

[If you would like YOUR product or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

[These opinions are all my own. I received the products/samples for free and was not compensated for this review.]

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Logging your miles.

Logging your miles can really help motivate you to see where you have had successes.  It can also show you where you may have struggled to "fit it all in" or lost motivation.  Training logs can also help you track mileage on your shoes - so that you know when to trade them in.  You can make fancy graphs and charts and analyze every step you've taken over the past week, month, year, lifetime.

Many of the online logs also let you track other workouts:  cycling, swimming, cross training, etc.  There are many electronic training logs (many for free).  Many of these logs also offer app downloads for your phone.  While some runners still prefer to keep paper training logs, journals or notebooks.

I personally, have been tracking all of my miles for the past seven years over at Runner's World's free online training log (HERE).  I simply track the date and the number of miles I've ran. However, you can get all fancy and record time, pace, weather, conditions, hills, heart rate, weight, calories burned and many other personal notes that we obsessed runners may want to track. You can track routes and when you have PR'd on a training run or race.

Other popular sites that have been recommended to me are Daily Mile, RunKeeper and MapMyRun.  I have accounts with each of these popular sites, but am not active on them.  I routinely use MapMyRun to map out training routes.  It's a super handy tool, especially for my Couch to 5K clients, who are eager to see how far they ran after each session.
If you are into social media, message boards and interacting with other runners, many of these sites also give you the ability to connect with other runners.  These online communities give great motivation to get your butt out the door and also provide instant, virtual feedback after your workouts, which are posted publicly.  Many of these communities will also automatically post your workouts to Facebook, so that you can also share your latest run with non-running family and friends.

Over on the RDM Facebook Page (HERE), I recently asked my readers where they are tracking their mileage.  Just like their preference in running shoes and energy gels - answers were all over the place.  With over sixty responses, here is what they shared. 

Online Training Logs

Daily Mile (HERE) - social experience for active people. Community of people from Couch to 5K to Ultra Marathoners.  The most popular training log mentioned in response to my question.

RunKeeper (HERE) - fun, social, easy to understand, interact with other runners.  The second most popular choice by my readers.

Runners World (HERE) - Log your runs, plus your cycling, swimming, and other cross-training activities. For each workout, keep track of your time and distance, route, workout type, race placement, heart rate, weight, calories burned, shoe mileage, quality and effort, interval times and distances, weather, and personal notes.

Garmin Connect (HERE) - Use Garmin Connect for your daily training log. You can use your device for outdoor GPS enabled activities, or use your device for indoor workouts, especially if you have accessories like the heart rate monitor, foot pod or cadence sensor.

Endomondo (HERE) - With Endomondo on your phone, you can track your running, cycling and other sports. It's fun, it's social and it's motivating.

Map My Run (HERE) - map out routes, share with friends, connect with other runners in your area

RunningMap (HERE) - enter your address and click GO and you will instantly have access to tons of routes in your area

RunningAhead (HERE) - RunningAHEAD's running log is completely free. It is simple and intuitive to use yet allows you to record all aspects of your training. Track your shoe mileage and map your running routes. You can create custom activities and workout types.

Fit Day (HERE) - Create a Goal, Track Food, Log Activity, See Progress

RunMeter (HERE) - Runmeter is iPhone-centric. No Web site logins, no monthly subscriptions, no uploading data, and no ads. Runmeter is a complete solution for tracking your runs on your iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, or 5. It can also be used for cycling, walking, skiing, and more.

iRunner (HERE) - the ultimate running companion

Strava (HERE) - Track all your runs, rides and cross-training too. Upload your activities from your Garmin or smartphone and Strava will automatically log all your workouts.

SparkPeople (HERE) - More than 12 million people have joined SparkPeople.  Get all the tools, resources and support you need to reach your weight loss goals!

SportsTracker (HERE) - By joining Sports Tracker and downloading the free application to your smartphone, you’ll launch your training to a whole new level. Easily track and analyze your exercises and have fun training by sharing your workouts and photos with your friends and other similar-minded people via the Sports Tracker community, Facebook and Twitter. You’ll enjoy monitoring the development of your progress like never before.

On-the-Run Tracking

      Garmin (HERE) - Various sized GPS tracking devices that you wear on your wrist or arm.  Different price ranges for each budget.  Prices tend to range fro $130-$400.

Nike+ (HERE) - Nike offers several options, that will please just about every runner out there - from the runner that likes gizmos and gadgers to the runner that travels lightly. They offer everything form apps, to a SportsWatch, SportsBand and out there.

Cell Phone GPS

Personal Tracking

Excel Spreadsheet

Google Calendar

Hard Copy

Paper Calendar/Planner

Training Calendar/Program

Personal Running Folder/Binder

Shoebox for Each Pair of Running Shoes

Where are you
tracking your miles?

How many miles
have you logged
so far this year??

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012 Fall 15K Race Report

This past Sunday, The Boyfriend and I both ran the Fall 15K (HERE).  This was both of our first race at the odd distance ... so we were both going to automatically PR.  The race was equivalent to 3 - 5Ks, or 9.3 miles.  The race was close by, super affordable and it was going to be a beautiful fall day.  Despite all of this, I really didn't feel like getting out of bed on my child-free Sunday morning.  I'm glad I did.  It was awesome.  And, you never regreat a run.

The race started at 9:00 am at the Warner Park shelter in Madison.  Packet pickup ... and restroom lines ... were a breeze.  We ran into our friend, Dwight, and my good friend Sara before the race.  He was running the whole thing with his four-year-old in a jogging stroller.  I did bow down to him after the race.  We got to the startline and there were about 100 people ready to race.  We were off.

I had a feeling that this was going to be a lot of former cross country runners and fast people.  I placed myself towards the back of the pack.  We initially crossed a patch of grass.  The Boyfriend took off ahead of me (we agreed to both "race" the event) and Dwight passed me with the jogging stroller.  We then wound around the park and onto a path.  I was familiar with this area, as I coached a race their this spring.  I knew there were hills ahead of me.

I felt like my pace was great, as I conquered every hill.  It reminded me of the Tyranena Half Marathon course.  Hilly, scenic and beautiful landscape along the lake.  The canopy of half-empty trees were great and I loved the leaves crunching under my feet. 

I carried my handheld water bottle with me, but grabbed three small cups of Gatorade along the way.  I loved the fact that they offered them in dixie cups - much more manageable - and just the right amount of sports drink.  I also sipped on my Mint Chocolate Gu from miles 4-6.

At the "turnaround", the hill was monstrous.  I saw people walking at the top, but I ran the whole thing.  Of course, at my own middle-of-the-pack-kind-of-pace.

I messed with my ipod and played "California Love" about three or four times.  The beat was keeping my feet in a rhythm ... and I felt awesome.  I picked up my pace (or at least I felt like it) the last two miles.  I passed a few runners through the last neighborhood.

I felt fast, though I was constantly getting passed by other runners.  Oh well.  I looked at my watch every mile and it appeared I was even faster than I thought.  We compared notes after the race, and we think the mile markers could be off, because the last .3 seemed extremely long and it all balanced out in the end.

I would TOTALLY do this race again next year.  The price was right.  The location was great.  The course was scenic.  The hills were actually welcomed.  The 15K distance was awesome.  I wasn't sure I'd know how to race a 9ish mile course, but I think I paced myself just right.

15K finish time

Saturday, October 20, 2012

2012 Cupcake Classic 5K Virtual Race Report

I few weeks ago, I registered for the fabulous Run with Jess' 2nd Annual Cupcake Classic 5K (HERE).  Jess is a relatively "local" blogger and the 5K helps reward all of us that try to lead active and healthy lifestyles for our families.  Jess was running a small race in Illinois, but thousands (yes thousands) of us were running a "virtual" 5K anytime this week.
Little Diva has been training for her first 5K (three weeks away!!) through the local Girls on the Run program.  Her little friend has been following the program at another location.  And, the mother is one of my Couch to 5K participants.  With everyone training for their big events, I thought it would be a fun idea to run this virtual race together - have fun with it - and see where everyone was at with their training.  And, there is no better way to motivate two eight-year-old girls than with cupcakes.
I printed off our race bibs and picked out some pink cupcakes at the grocery store.   Not exactly Cupcakery quality -- but yummy, pretty and pink.
Little Diva and I dressed in similar ensembles.  The leopard print skirts were worn by both of us at the Disney Princess Half Marathon events, back in 2010.  We were both somehow still able to squeeze in them two-and-a-half years later ... LOL!!
We decided to ride our bikes over to the next neighborhood, to meet our friends at the "start line".  Little Diva loaded up her bike basket with the cupcakes.  They encountered some bumps along the way -- but yummy pink cupcakes are yummy pink cupcakes.
We met our friends and started with a warm up walk.  It was 8:30 am and a bit chilly.  We encouraged the girls that they would be warming up quickly -- and all the more reason to run -- and run fast to get those cupcakes.  We ran and walked through the two neighborhoods.  It took us 54 minutes to complete our route.  We cooled down with a walk and some stretching.  Well, actually the moms stretched.  The girls ran inside to down their cupcakes.  Cupcakes for breakfast; I can't blame them. 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Tiny Prints Holiday Cards Giveaway ($50 Value)

I'm such a planner and am already think about getting my holiday cards created and in the mail.  I was so excited to find Tiny Prints and their awesome holiday card line (HERE).  I always love doing photo cards.  Last year, I did an entire collage of photos of the kids and I from our fabulous year of 2011.  I can't wait to pick and choose from our 2012 collection of photographs and experiences together. 
I love the Tiny Prints collection.  The colors, the shapes, the simplistic, yet bold designs.  I love the rounded corners and the ability to personalize over and over again.
I can't wait to get started on my Tiny Prints holiday cards.
Interested on saving on your holiday cards or perzonalized gifts for the holidays?  Check out the Tiny Prints Specials (HERE) for some great discounts.
Better yet ... ENTER NOW ... to get a $50 Tiny Prints gift card, to use on your holiday cards this holiday season!!
One lucky winner will win $50 e-card
to Tiny Prints
Good towards your holiday card order

1 – Become a follower of my blog or already are?!  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

2 – Follow Running Diva Mom on Facebook HERE.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

3 – Visit the Tiny Prints website HERE and tell me what you think is fabulous.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

4 – Become a fan of Tiny Prints on Facebook HERE (and let them know Running Diva Mom sent you!).  LEAVE ME A COMMENT

5 – Post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter account.  LEAVE ME A COMMENT FOR EACH.

Enter now though Monday, October 29th.

[If you would like YOUR product or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

[These opinions are all my own.  I received the products/samples for free and was not compensated for this review.]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You're not alone.

Last night, I sent out an email to a Couch to 5K group.  I know that several women were going to be absent, due to conflicts.  Then, came the rain.  I worried that I would be running alone and that they would be scared and miss their workout.  I let them know that we were still meeting - despite the rain.  (I'm sure that that there may have been some slight disappointment on the receiving end of this email.)  Only lightening or hail would keep us from the first workout of week four.  They were going to be running 5 intervals of 5 mins running and 2 mins walking.  I pulled into the parking lot and surprisingly, half of the group was waiting for me in the rain.

We ran/walked for more than a half hour.  We maneuvered a lot of pretty steep hills.  The group is pretty spread out in pace.  But everyone seems to have a running buddy at a similar pace.  Usually, I try running and back forth between intervals, making sure everyone is in-check with their pace ... and their attitudes.  However, last night, two ladies in the back were really struggling.  It was more of a mental barrier that they needed to break-through.  They were concerend that it wasn't as easy as they thought it would be.  They didn't like that they were slower than the other ladies.  They were struggling to catch their breath.  I walked them through lots of questions, worked on breathing techniques, distracted them with personal stories, and gave them minute-by-minute countdowns. 

One of these ladies has a daughter in the Girls on the Run Program.  Little Diva is enrolled as well.  We are both going to be running buddies with our daughters on race day.  Their practice races are next week and the mother is worried that she will not be able to keep up with her daughter.  So, the four of us will be training together this weekend.  I look forward to giving all three of them some additional confidence.

We got back to the park and ... you know what??? ... they finished.  After the run, one was crying out of frustration ... and the other out of joy.   So many emotions that I still feel ... even seven years after starting. 
What advice would you give these two dedicated ladies?

I asked just that on the RDM Facebook page (HERE) and was truly moved by the response and support by other runners.  Many of them, my former clients.

Don't give up! Just don't stop and it he's easier I promise!'

The thing that helps me most is to be reminded that we ALL started somewhere. No one has ever taken their first run and thought, "Wow, that was so easy, I feel great." We all started slow, had pains, and felt like we were not a "runner" and some how we all stuck with it and it became easier.

It doesn't matter how slow you run, your lapping the couch potato!! You go girl!!

Keep pushing thru the pain it will pay off in the long run its all about Mind ,body and soul .. Keep pushing thu the runs

You're not alone.

Everyone has a starting point. And unlike a whole bunch of people who are sitting on the couch you actually went out and did 5k. When you go home you can say I did it! Not I want to do, not I'm gonna do but I DID!

Just keep going...now matter how slow the feeling of completion is like no other feeling...

Ditto Candie, and remember WHERE you started. One step at a time.

That both these reactions are totally normally at any level, any size. They will also both come and go. An enormous feeling of gratitude, and of self hate. You need to work through both. Accept both and ask why your feeling that way.

Not every run is great, but it's great that you're running. I did that plan not being able to run 2 minutes straight, seriously. IT WORKS. It can be hard and frustrating. But forget this run and focus on the next. It only gets easier!!

I believe that couch to 5k has you walking 3 min & running 60 sec in the beginning. I started at walking 3 min & running 30 sec. Now up to 4 1/2 to 5 minutes at a time! Maybe shortening her run time will help!

I am not a coach, or a veteran runner. I am new at this and have found that when you truly stop listening to your mind, your body can do it. I did it and just hit another mile, added one more on top of my 3.1 on Tuesday. Furthest ever, just listened to my music and ran. Running Diva Mom quotes push me and inspire me, you are blessed to know her and run with her! My advise is, don't give up, you got this! ❤

Run with your heart and soul, not your legs. That's how I get through it.

Not every run can be a good run. A bad run is better than no run! Everyone, from beginners to elites, have bad runs & races. Some are better than others. Just keep at it and don't give up! You'll always be moving forward, or even if it feels like you're not making progress, you're not going backwards!

I always think of Forrest Gump. He only got better because he kept on running!

Like one of your quotes you've had on your page: I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday. :)

You lapped the person sitting home on the sofa

Everyone feels that way from time to time! Just keep moving!

The couch to 5k is how it all began for me. I took the class 3 times before I had enough confidence to do a race on my own. 2 yrs later I have ran more 5k's than I can count, 4 or 5 10k's and I am on my 3rd half. At 38, I feel better than I have in my whole adult life. I have been both of those ladies. I am STILL, at times, BOTH of those ladies I just don't quit. I do just as someone said before...I remember where I started and how far I have come!

keep your eye on the prize and never give up on yourself. we are all rooting for you.

Keep on going! Woohoo

Couch to 5K is what got me started as well! Stick with it, dont give up....its the bad runs that make the good ones so great!

July 29th 2012 my first couch to 5k class with Jamie. I could barely run one minute and walk one minute for 20 minutes. trust me it gets better. every week brings a new challenge and a new victory. now I can bang out a 5K. not the fastest but I cross the finish line with my head heald high and setting my sights on my next 5k. when I cross that line my sights will be on my next 5k. it just becomes your nature. I will be proud to sign up for a 5k with any of you anytime!

2 years ago I was running 5k's now I am training for my 2nd marathon. You have to find the joy in just being out there. It is your time, make the most of it even if it isn't what you want at the moment. Keep at it and don't be afraid. One day you will look back and see what a learning experience it was. Good luck and enjoy the journey.

once I learned how to zone out...not pay attention to my feet, my breathing, my pain, etc and really get into a pure mental zone

it all clicked for me.

I totally understand crying out of both joy & frustration while running! Don't beat yourselves up. Like others have said, you're out there challenging yourselves & doing something that is new & probably a little scary. Don't give up. Just know that this is part of the journey. Congratulate yourselves on taking positive strides toward better health!! Keep up the great work!!!!

I completely understand what both of them are going thru. I have been there. I am there now. I have lost some of my motivation myself but I still went out and did a run tonight. I have signed myself up for a10k in two weeks.I am really nervous about it too.

Stick with it and absolutely NEVER GIVE UP!!

Six months ago, I set a goal for myself to participate in a race once every month...and this past Sunday, I have kept to my goal and completed my 7th race...I finished my very first Half Marathon. SO PROUD!!

Candy you can do anything you put your mind to! You have always been a strong person in my eyes!

Don't quit! Big emotion means something good is happening.

Being mentally tough is just as difficult as physically stuff. Always think you can do it... you will, and you will surprise yourself and push farther! you did it!

Ragnar Fitted Performance Jacket Winner ...

I was recently given the opportunity to write about running gear for Ragnar Relay Series. You can read all about it HERE.

There were 309 entries in my recent giveaway for a Ragnar Fitted Performance Jacket. One winner was chose at random.
Random.org chose ……..

Mo's Mama @ Quest 4 Good Health (HERE)
Congratulations!!! Please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) with your name, email and mailing address and size preference. And, I will get you your prize!

Thank you for following my journey!!

[If you would like YOUR product or website featured on Running Diva Mom, please email me at ( runningdivamom at yahoo dot com ) ]

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012 Haunted Hustle Half Marathon Race Report

Back in January, I received a free race entry for a Haunted Hustle event.  I ran the half marathon in 2010 and the full marathon in 2011.  I opted to sign up for the full marathon, knowing that I could easily downgrade to the half marathon if I wanted to.  Well, back in February, I also signed up for the Chicago Marathon (before all 45,000 spots sold out in a day or two).  I didn't realize that the Haunted Hustle Half Marathon (HERE), which usually fell around Halloween, actually was moved up by a few weeks.  It fell on Saturday, October 13 -- less than a week after Chicago Marathon.

I ran a good race in Chicago last week on Sunday.  My legs were trashed through Thursday.  I coached three nights that week and those 1-2 miles each night were the only miles I ran all week.  I wanted to rest up.  By Friday, my legs were fine.  I toyed with the idea of running the full marathon.  I had several friends running the 26.2 mile event.  The half and full marathon courses were both changed from previous years, but there were still a lot of hills ... a lot.  The forecast for Saturday looked terrible.  60% then to 90% chance of SEVER thunderstorms.  I had several folks trying to encourage me to do the full ... it would be epic ... two full marathons in less than one week.  I knew that I could run/walk the whole thing and finish in less than 6:00 hours.  However, I didn't know if I wanted to be hobbling along, out on the country roads (and hills) in the pouring rain and mile 18.  I spoke with a volunteer/coordinator at the expo on Friday and she gave me a pep talk and helped me make my decision to switch to the half.  They had me trade in my blue bib for an orange one and I was all set.

I had decided to meet up with the Sweet Julia, who is an RDM reader.  We met briefly on the hot Madison Half Marathon course back in May, when she introduced herself.  We met up outside of the expo on Friday, along with my less-than-enthusiastic Little Dude, and wandered the small expo aisles.  He was a trooper, though and was gifted a new Lego set at Toys R Us on the way home.  Julia and I were really thrilled about the pink race shirts and the purple (they had other colors, too) backpacks they were handing out.

When I approached the Bondi Band booth, I saw Christina!!  I followed her over to another table, while she was browsing.  This was such a treat.  Christina was one of the first participants in my Couch to 5K groups.  Then, earlier this year she participated in the 10K group and now she was picking up her 13.1 sticker and would be running her first half marathon the next morning.  She is a doll, so committed, and is always rocking the Bondi Bands now!  We had a little emotional pep talk before I headed out and left the expo.  Love that girl. 

I set the alarm for 5:50 am on Saturday morning.  The full marathon started at 7:30 and the full at 8:00.  It was raining lightly outside and it was dark.  I opted to let the kids stay home and not put them through a could and wet morning of spectating. 

I was going to wear a costume to the race, but opted to save my $40 for another race entry fee or just save it.  I didn't want to waste my money on ruining it if there was a downpour.  I was a bit disappointed, because I loved running a costume for the full marathon last year.  A totally neat experience and the comments and laughs had really kept me going.  I opted for all pink and wearing the race shirt.

I drove by myself to Middleton to catch up with all of my peeps before the full marathon started.  I parked in the parking ramp at Greenway Station and there was an excited knock on my window.  It was Julia!  She, her dad and I walked to the Hilton to warm up and use the restroom.  I then ran into Missy from high school, who was also running the half marathon.  Julia and I snapped a shot before she was off for her 26.2 mile journey.

I was headed to the 4:00 pacers, to see if I could find some blogging friends.  Then, I heard my name and it was Ruth, who is an RDM reader.  I also had ran into her at the Womens Half Marathon in Minnesota in August.  Her friend, Mary also reads my blog.  So, it was fun to say hi and wish them luck on their race.

I made my way through the small group, waiting to run the full marathon.  I saw Amy, my Ragnar teammate and friend, from Running is Cheaper than Therapy (HERE) and our blogging buddy, Bill from Love 2 Run (HERE).  They both had connected through the blogs and have been training together the past year or so.  They are both from the Milwaukee area ... and a lot faster than me ... LOL.  I said hi to them quickly, and exchanged hugs, as they were setting out on their pacing experience.  I was crossing my fingers for all of us that there wasn't a downpour ahead.

I ran my camera and things back to the car, used the restroom again, and then headed to the half marathon startline.  Many more participants were running the half.  Soon, we were off.  There was some rain at the start, which decreased to a slight drizzle.  Then nothing.

The experience was a lot different than a week prior.  Very, very few spectators along the course ... and there were hills.  The spectators that were there were great though. 

At mile 2 - my legs were tight, stiff and sore.  My left leg was especially giving me a lot of trouble.  I was sooooo happy I didn't try to do 26.2.  I was clipping at 9:10 for the first 4-5 miles, then slowed down, as we approached the turnaround.  Looking for familiar faces in the crowd on the out-and-back was a helpful distraction. 

The route was a lot different this year, and was an out and back - through residential neighborhoods, some of he paved Pheasant Branch Conservancy and then some additional residential neighborhoods that had mongo hills.

At mile 9, the 2:00 pacer passed me, through the Pheasant Branch Conservancy.  Yep - not in the cards today.  But, I was just trying to keep a constant pace and not slow down too much. 

I took one gel at miles 4-6, which I sipped on.  Consumed water and some icky lemon-lime Gatorade the rest of the way.  I just couldn't stomach any more energy gel - after doing a marathon only 6 days prior.  I did have enough energy to carry me through, thankfully.

My legs were TRASH, but I was going to do this.  You know it.

After the second to last hell-of-a-hill, we ran through the last residential neighborhood.  I had been getting passed all morning and personally passed very few runners.  I saw a guy walking very slowly and he was hobbling.  I gave him a Pat on the shoulder and told him to "Come on".  He told me his calf was sore and that this was his first marathon.  I told him that we were on the last hill and that it was all downhill from here.  He thanked me and said he would try to keep up. I told hime that my legs were trash from Sunday and that we could hobble it in to the finish line together.  After a 1/4 mile, he gave up and said he had to walk.  I told him to keep going, as he took a break.

I ran down the hill and passed a gal that was grabbing her side.  We had about 3/4 mile to go.  I asked her if she had a side cramp and she said it wasn't getting any better.  I asked if it was better when she walked.  She said "no". So, I asked her why she was walking then!  She laughed and started running slowly again.  We ran together a bit and then I headed in towards the finish line.

I picked up the pace, as the clock was approaching 2:06.  Me and my trashed legs ran across the wet timing mat at 2:05:52.  I'll take it.

One of the best parts of the race ... the pink shirts for the women and the Halloween-themed finisher medal.  The other part was finding Christina in the finishers tent and giving her a great big hug.  Can't wait to see that 13.1 sticker on your car, Christina!!

9:36 Pace
49 / 165 Age Group
(F 30-34)
582 / 1,240 Overall