One of My Favorite Things

I wanted to share one of my favorite things. This is my Marathon Charm Bracelet. It has a charm to represent every marathon I have completed. Yes-there are 11 charms...I am missing two and have one charm for my HIM. I don't have a charm yet for the Olathe Marathon or Ft. Collins. I'm falling behind! I plan on getting them this weekend at the expo. I think for Olathe I'll get a sunflower or stage coach and for Ft. Collins I think I'll get a beer mug (for the micro-breweries).

They are not in any particular order but I'll share with you what they are:
The cactus is for RNR Arizona.
The cow is representing Mrs. O'Leary's cow that started the Chicago fire of 1871-hence the Chicago Marathon.
The bridge is for the Golden Gate Bridge for the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco.
The moose is for Anchorage.
The guitar is for RNR San Diego.
The rose is for Portland-the city of roses.
The banjo is for Nashville (part of the RNR series).
The race horse is for the Kentucky Derby Marathon.
Mickey Mouse is for the Disney Marathon.
The biker girl is for my Half Ironman in Iowa. This is the only charm that does not represent a marathon-but I believe it was a big enough event to be on my charm bracelet.
The peach-yes-it's a peach-not a butt, contrary to what Doug thinks-is for the Georgia Marathon.

Now...this weekend will be my first repeat marathon (as well as my first repeat state). I think I'm going to continue to get a charm for each marathon-regardless if it's a repeat. I think it's such a fun way to keep track of the marathons I have completed. I just may find a new charm instead of getting the same guitar as I purchased before. I think I going to buy another bracelet to get a second one started-this one will be pretty full once I get the charms on there that I need to get on there!


A Week to Play

I have a whole week to play! No work AND no school. Freedom! I thought the new semester for school started tonight. It doesn't! I'm so excited. There will be no class until we return from San Diego!

Okay-so not total freedom but much more fun then work! Today, I've been running errands, doing laundry and getting things in order for SD and school (as I now know it starts after we get back). It's hard to believe we'll be off again in 3 days. Gallivanting around the country can be very tiring. Whew!

Tonight, we're celebrating a very important birthday with triple chocolate cake, chocolate brownie ice cream and going to see the new Narnia movie. Should be a great evening with the family.

Today-I'm not feeling a run-so I'll do it tomorrow. I should run today AND tomorrow to work off all this chocolate we'll be having tonight...but not feeling it today. Rest is in order and that's exactly what I'm going to do.


Road Trippin' Part Deux

Well...the road trip on the way back wasn't quite as exciting as the way out. However, we did have some fun.

Molly hanging out.

The price of food is going up-or they are selling a different kind of cherry pie here!

This REALLY was taken at a McDonald's!

Windmills in Western Kansas.

Our 60 pound lap dog. Mols hanging out with Doug in the front seat.

I thought it may be pushing it to get a picture of the Nebraska Highway Patrolman who pulled me over. I was ONLY going 7 miles over the speed limit. 82 in a 75...come on! I did ONLY get a warning. I've been told I have a great smile and can bat my eyes like no one! Oh, I had my sunglasses on? Hmm...Whatever works baby.

A fun fact: Doug and I went through Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri in 4 days. Of these 6 states we went through 4 capitol cities (Topeka, Denver, Cheyenne and Lincoln) and actually saw 3 of the state capitols themselves...in Kansas, Wyoming and Nebraska. Not too shabby for long weekend.

It's nice to be back home. I have a lot to do this week. Good thing I'm off all week! WHOO HOO! The countdown to San Diego is on. Luckily we're not headed back to the altitude-even though I do love the mountains. This week we're headed to the Pacific Ocean!

Altitude and Wind and Hills...Oh My!

Medicine Bow Half Marathon Report

  • The most scenic race I've run inland.
  • The toughest half marathon I've run.
  • The race started at 8723 feet. It's been a long time since I was that close to God.
  • It was windier then the Olathe Marathon-just not in your face-it usually was a side wind whipping you around.
  • The hills were crazy. One right after another. And the last mile seemed to be straight uphill.
  • They started the races with a prayer and a moment of silence for those who have and do fight for our country-very cool.
  • The race temperature at the start was 33 degrees. By mile two-I was sweating-very strange.
  • The first 6ish miles, Doug and I ran together until it was time for him to continue on without me. Again...the course was tough. At that altitude I felt like I had another 50 pounds on me.
  • We would be walking...and it felt like I needed to stop to catch my breath.
  • You could smell pine trees everywhere. Ahhh...
  • The 'trail' was a gravel road, not the rocky, rooty trails like WyCo or SMP which is way okay considering the other elements we had to deal with.
  • Would I do this race again? Probably not. Is it worth doing once? YES! It's beautiful. The pine trees, the HUGE granite stone formations, the blue blue sky, the snow, the streams and so much more. It was worth every breath I did not get to take!

A granite monument of Abe at the rest area where the races started.

Granite formations.

The trail.

  • I finished in just under 3 hours. I think 2:57 is the time they recorded when I came in.
  • That's about an hour sooner then what I thought my finish time would be when we first got started!


One Wild Ride!

HOLY MOLY! Our road trip last night was horrific! We were cruising along singing to the radio when we came upon some storms that looked to be rather daunting. We turned the radio to a local station and they had tornado warnings out. Not knowing where we were, as we didn't pack a map, we had no idea how near the warnings where in relation to us. We (Doug) decided to keep on going so that's what we did. We kept watching the sky as close as we could to keep an eye out for tornadoes, but the sky was so dark, it was hard to see any formations. We continued to head down I-70 Westbound through the pounding rain, hail and wind. Off to the North, we could make out the sky was green. For those of you not familiar with tornadoes, green skies are not a good thing. We continued driving and the wind picked up, but not the side to side shaking you would get from a wind coming from South to North-in one direction. This wind was a swirling wind. A scary wind-very scary. It was also so loud, Doug and I could hardly hear each other speaking in a normal voice tone, we had to almost yell to hear each other.

There were cars everywhere pulled over on the side of the road-and some even in the middle of the road-stopped. Every overpass had a car that was hiding out underneath it. You could see emergency personnel and storm watchers at several ramps on the highway.

Doug and I looked over to the North of the highway to see a huge black mass just hundreds of feet from the car. At that time, Doug nor I said anything to each other about what we saw. We just booked it down the road. Not three minutes down the road, there were 3 semi trucks toppled over on their side. It was at that point in time, we both knew it was a tornado we had just witnessed.

It was then the radio had confirmed there was a tornado that had just come through Ellis-the exact point we were. They had no power, there were power lines down across the highway and emergency personnel was flying down the highway Eastbound to get there.


Once we got through the storm, we continued on into Colorado. We pulled over at a rest stop to get some zzz's for a few hours and then continued on to Wyoming this morning. We went and checked the marathon course out. It's beautiful. 100% of the half marathon is trail and 77% of the full marathon is trail. I think for Doug tomorrow, running the full, the wind might be a factor-like the altitude isn't enough. It was windier then all get out today. There is still even some snow up at 8900 where the races start.

We just got back from the pasta party. The race director spoke and went over the 'rules' of there are no aid stations on the course-they are re-filling stations. He said he would be happy to listen to any whining anyone might have, but his motto is, "where the race director promises nothing, and he delivers!" He also asked for those that were doing the marathon to raise their hands, many people did. He then went on to say, "so you all are doing the fun run then huh?" Everyone laughed as besides the half and full marathon, they are having a double marathon. We sat with two people that were doing the double tomorrow. Good luck to them! Whew!

This race is held every year on Memorial Day weekend, and the back of our shirts are very fitting for the weekend. They say, "honoring all Americans who died for their country. Their sacrifice lets us run free". Amen to that.

So that is it for now. I am exhausted! I'm so glad I'm doing the half tomorrow!

A race report should soon follow as well as any adventures of our trip back as well. Hopefully it's not near as exciting as our trip out!


Another Life Lesson on My TNR

Two Thursdays ago I learned that clouds "look like mashed potatoes". This Thursday while I was running I passed...yes passed...okay...it was some girl walking...that had on a shirt that read, "It's not how you start, but how you finish." Isn't that the truth? The quote led me to think not so much of training but of life...

I'm not 'finished' with life by any means (God willing) but I am 'middling' up pretty well. I feel I have been blessed with a lot of things, but also know I've worked my tail off to achieve things I've wanted also. I learn so many things on my Thursday Night Runs!

Training-Uggg...I'm going to chalk this week up to a rest week. Yikes! I ran Saturday and yesterday. I did walk the dog several times this week. I know one time being 3 miles and another being 2 miles. I really don't count that as training-but I did do a little something.

After work (and probably/hopefully early!) we're heading to Wyoming. I hope everyone has a good weekend and great races! Have fun!


Life is a Highway

Or at least it will be in two days. Doug and I are road-trippin' to somewhere in between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming. Details...Details...those are for Doug. We're tossing Ms. Mols in the rented minivan with us and cruisin' West to the mountains. I love to road trip. It's so fun!

Been busy shopping for road trip food (twizzlers, beef jerky, Gatorade, all the nutritious stuff you need before running), doing laundry (where do the hangers go? We NEVER have enough hangers-could it be because we average bringing home at least 4 new shirts (if not more) a month from races we've been in?), learning the soundtrack from Wicked so I can sing it to Doug on the way up and walking the dog. She thinks she is entitled to a walk every night now and she usually wins. Last night we only walked two miles-she wasn't so much impressed with that.

So this weekend Doug is running the marathon and I'm 'just' running the half. I know, I'm whimpy whimpy whimpy. But...I'll be running the Rock 'N' Roll San Diego Marathon the next weekend-so does that nix my whimpiness?

I want to give Lily a GOOD LUCK on her FIRST marathon this weekend-the ING Ottawa Marathon! Have a GREAT time. Enjoy every minute!



What Is This? Like the walking shoes aren't ridiculous enough? Now we have FitFlops?

It's supposed to be "a complete workout in a shoe, containing a sole that functions like a mini wobble board, forcing you to constantly readjust your balance as you walk, thus burning more calories and toning your leg muscles. " For real? If you 'think' this is fitness, you probably can't bend over to paint your toenails so you really shouldn't be wearing flip flops (or FitFlops) anyway! Okay...yes...that may have been a little harsh. Sorry. But for real... And not quite sure I want to be on a 'mini wobble board'-sounds to me that could break an ankle. If I want to be on a mini wobble board, I'll go do some exercises on the Basu ball.

However, they are kinda cute huh? Except the white-which I would get nasty dirty in no time. I'll stick with my Reefs and get in my exercise on the side.


Wickedly Amazing

Wicked was Wicked! I've seen my share of musicals and this is THE MOST AMAZING musical EVER! If you get the chance to see Wicked-do NOT pass up the opportunity.

It stirred so many emotions to making me laugh to making me cry. I didn't want to blink because I was afraid I might miss something. To the colors of the costumes, to the ever changing and mesmerizing set and to the cast that was amazing-this was something I could not have dreamed of anything bigger or better. I continued to sit in my seat after it was over to soak up the energy in the air. I wanted to remember every single detail.

I loved EVERYTHING about Wicked-except one thing...it ended. I want so badly to see it again! I hear Chicago calling my name...


One Wicked Weeked That Has Already Started

Today has been declared BFF Day (for you boys out there-Best Friends Forever)-at least it is in my world! Karen and I are starting the weekend off right. We are taking the day to celebrate our friendship and some girl time. We will be 'doing' lunch at Mc Coy's in Westport for the BEST mac 'n cheese ever! Mmm...it's going to be a perfect day to loiter on the patio and bask in the sun and then it's off to Christopher Elbow's for some drinking chocolate and chocolate gorging...I mean tasting. A pedicure again this year? Sounds plausible. What a great way to start the weekend!

And since it is BFF Day-be sure to let your friends know how much you love and appreciate them. They are treasures and I am lucky to have so many in my life.

A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are- Unknown

SWAK Baby!

And then I'm getting the broom out! It's going to be One WICKED Weekend! Saturday night I have the sinful pleasure of seeing Wicked. The musical is about the friendships and lifes of the Witches of Oz-Glenda the Good Witch and Elphaba-the Wicked Witch of the West.

My mother came across the book years ago (way before the musical) and loved it. I read it and fell in love with it too. I'm so glad it has finally come to Kansas City so I can take her to see it. I'm hoping the musical is just as magical for us as the book. From the reviews and people I've talked who have seen it-it's going to be!

I can be a good witch...or a bad witch...depending on the day! Today, I think I'll be a good witch.

Backtracking...Wednesday and Thursday I didn't run. Last night, Doug and I decided to take Ned...I mean Molly out on the trail again to walk the loop they have bulldozed thus far. So I did do something...just not my run. So this morning, oh how beautiful it is out! The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the temperature is in the 50's right now (perfect running weather) and it's supposed to get up to 75! So I got up and ran the three miles I missed yesterday on my trial-again, not a peep on the trail. I know it has to end sometime-but I'll enjoy it while it lasts. It just starts what I know is going to be a perfect day even more perfect. There has been one downfall to the morning...as I threw on my trail shoes, Mols got all excited-hopping around and flailing in the air like a marlin. She thought she would get to go too-since now she thinks she gets to go everywhere. So...now I'm going to lace up an old pair of running shoes and take her for a W.


What I've Done and What's to Come

Last night after taking my last final for the semister, I came home and decided to immediately head out for a run before starting my last homework assignment (for another class) for the semister. I was afraid it was going to rain and I really wanted to get in a run. I laced up my trail shoes (yea!-found a missing sock) and headed out on the new trail (pre-pavement). Right at mile 1, I hit the (real) trails into Ernie Miller Park. I ran them for a mile and then headed back to finish up my three miles.

Meandering thoughts on my run:
Everything is way pretty greeeennnn.
I love the smell of honeysuckle. Had to stop to smell some. Isn't that what life is all about?
Deer at Ernie Miller are not as 'tame' as they are at Shawnee Mission. They are a bit skittish.
The sprinkles felt great.
Ernie Miller is rocky, rooty and hilly.
What a great feeling to be the ONLY one on the trail for 3 miles-didn't see a soul.
I bet I look like a real dork to others as I wear black socks with my shorts and trail shoes. However, if you've done any trail running-you know it's a must.
When not running on a hard paved surface-it really kicks your butt when you're not used to it. A twist to 'regular' running. I LOVE IT! Luckily-no twists of the ankles tonight.
I probably should have put on mosquito /tick repellent.

So...this week...what I've done and what's to come...
Saturday: 8 Miler
Sunday: Rest
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 3 Mile Trail Run
Wednesday: May get together with a group out at Shawnee Mission Park-may hit the trails again and then BBQ-should be fun. Probably a 4 Miler
Thursday: Weight Training Class/Thursday Night Run-3 Miler
Friday: Can I make it to Pilates?
Saturday: 8 Miler

After last night, I have almost hit the total mileage I ran in April.


AND...Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to Karen, me and work! Karen and I met 15 years ago today on our very first day at work in a training class for the company we STILL work for today.

15 years with the same company.
15 years with the same best friend.
Happy Anniversary!

Love you sweetie! You're the BESTEST friend EVER!

Happy Trails

Whooo Hooo! Doug and I took Mols for a walk last night into some uncharted territory. Recently some land around our house has been bulldozed and Doug was hoping they were going to put in a trail . We found out last night that is exactly what they are doing!

From our house we head down the street just a bit, then North into a stretch of land where a lot of deer like to hang out, it goes under Santa Fe, behind the new Walmart they are building, along the back side of Ernie Miller Park (which you can access their trails from this trail!!) and the trail loops up into the ballpark. We are SOOO excited. We didn't travel the full trail last night because of the mud, but we were able to get two miles in. I think with the completed trail, we'll surely get a new 3 mile loop-if not farther! Plus with the Ernie Miller Park trails-we'll have all sorts of options!

It looks like they are also going to extend South too! Perfect!

For now, if it doesn't rain before I get home tonight, I would like to put my trail running shoes on and hit it before it gets paved. My trail shoes miss me dearly.

I'm so happy for new trails! Happy Trails Until We Meet Again...


Happy Birthday to Jgurl!

Happy Birthday Jgurl! Hope you're having a great day!


A Note from the Trails

Last night I had the pleasure of running with my Thursday Night Run Group. We met up and headed out on the trails. I was enjoying the warm weather and the sweat rolling down my face when I came upon a whole field of little ones at 'practice' for soccer and flag football. There were coaches yelling here and there, "pay attention". It made me laugh. But what really struck my fancy was seeing one coach 'trying' to talk to a set of 3 or 4 boys who were 6 or 7ish maybe. As he was facing them trying to talk to them, there was one little boy who had his flag football belt on with the flags hanging down to mid calf, he had his back turned to the coach, looking up at the beautiful cumulus clouds pointing to them with one hand, while the other hand was not picking, but digging up his hiney hoser as he shouts out, "those look like mashed potatoes!".

It cracked me up! I have not once thought of those fluffy clouds as mashed potatoes. I thought we were supposed to find turtles, horses, and flowers in the shapes of the clouds-not food!

Averaged an 11:46 for my 3 miles.

Have a great weekend!


What? It's Thursday?

Not sure where the week has gone. Don't feel like I've done much thus far but I guess I can fall back on the excuse of rest and recovery? Gotta love excuses! Gag me with a pitchfork!

Sunday: 26.2 miles
Monday: Got back from CO/Walked the dog-does that count for something?
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Yoga
Thursday: Walked the dog-still doesn't count? Fine...Weight Training Class (my legs were screaming to stop-but I won out) and tonight is our Thursday Night Run
Friday: Not sure what I have in store. I would like to hit Pilates class.
Saturday: 6 or 8 miles (in taper mode til my half in WY and marathon in CA)

So all in all...not too shabby for the week post marathon.


Alrighty Then!

Awww man...if I thought the altitude at Ft. Collins (at the start of 6108 ft) was bad, I'm in for a world of hurt in a couple weeks when we head to Wyoming. Looks like the start is at 8723 ft!

For this little gem-since I'm only doing the half-we get to head down then up-turn around-back down and then back up-as this is not a point to point race. Doug on the other hand is running the full. Know that I'll be waiting for you at the finish line honey!

This is going to be fun-if I don't need an oxygen tank! 100% of the half marathon is on trails (77% of the full marathon is on trails). Which brings me to the question of-do I bring my trail running shoes or my regular running shoes? I don't think these trails are anything like what we're used to running out here. I think they are mostly dirt roads. I'll bring both and then decide after speaking to others or checking out the course.

We have to provide our own water bottles (already have our hand held Nathan's) as they will not allow cups on the course. We will fill our water bottles from 5 gallon jugs at the rest stops that are 4 miles apart. Kinda like hiking-pack out what you pack in. You will be disqualified if you are caught throwing down your GU packets. Makes sense-after all we will be in a National Forest. Just hope those empty GU packets don't slow me down!

It looks like last year they had 27 participants for the Double Marathon, 65 for the Marathon and 57 for the Half Marathon. This should be a fun, tiny race. It'll be a little different the next weekend when we head to San Diego for the RNR Marathon-I'm expecting a few more participants there.


Ft. Collins Memories

Scroll over a picture to get the caption.


Whew...Who Knew Downhill Could Kick Your Butt?

Ft. Collins-What a great town. I could see myself living there. Everyone was out riding bikes and/or walking their dogs. They would ride their bikes to the breweries...they would take their dogs to the ice cream shops. It was so fun, so laid back and so beautiful. The weather was perfect. It was sunny in the high 60's to the low 70's with no rain!

Doug and I took a trip up through the Poudre Canyon to get a feel of the course Saturday. Strawberry Hill Runner-you were right...amazing. When we got up to the start line, we ran into two bikers that had biked UP the canyon. One of them was the race director that makes an annual bike trip up the canyon the day before the marathon.

After we drove the marathon course we met up with Steff and Steve at New Belgium Brewery and then hopped over to Odell Brewery. One of my co-workers who lives in Denver and went to school at Colordo State was advising of places to visit while in Ft. Collins. Of course, he mentioned the micro-breweries, and then he mentioned the Anheuser-Busch brewery. I was like, you have GOT to be kidding me. First, to get me to drink that crap at home, I would have to run out of water and be on my death bed, and two, being in Colorado, that is the last place I would visit with their great micro-breweries. Needless to say-we didn't visit. So after the two micro-brew stops, we headed to a great little Italian joint and then it was time for the sack as buses would leave for the start at 4:00 am Sunday morning.

It was an early morning as we jumped on a bus and headed to the start. It was a long, dark trip up the canyon so Doug and I decided to catch some zzz's. Once we arrived, the sun was up and we hung out with Steve until the race started-or at least I did, Doug was in the crazy ass porta potty line. As the gun sounded, I took advantage of the no lines at the porta potty and then made my way down the canyon. I had a great 11 miles. I did all of my first 13 miles except for one under a 12 minute per mile pace. Once I hit 11 miles, some demon somewhere strapped 2 fifty pound weights onto my legs. My legs were lead. It was at the snap of your fingers-it was almost instant. I was out of gas. Sidenote: I had a rough time when I did the Ogden, UT half marathon because of the altitude and I think that's what did it this time too. With the altitude, the dry air, maybe being a little dehydrated, sweating like a stuffed pig and picking dried blood boogers out of my nose(because it was so dry) I knew the last half was going to be tough-and boy was it. I also over dressed as I thought the canyon would have been cooler then it was. Once the sun came up-it warmed up and warmed up fast.

The run through the canyon was spectacular. And we ran next to the river the entire way. It was amazing to see and hear the water rushing across the rocks for nearly 26 miles. It was nice coming around the bend when Steff met up with me about a quarter mile out and ran me in. Doug was at the finish line cheering me on and ready with a salty smooch. I finished in 5:39. I'm sore and can't remember the last marathon I felt this sore after. I think it was a combo of everything (mostly altitude) that kicked my butt-but...will soon recover and am looking forward to our next trip already.

We received handmade ceramic medals. The half marathoners didn't receive a medal which I thought was interesting as this is the first race I had been to that did not have medals for the half marathons.

We stopped off in Denver for some shopping at REI (a stop I have to make everytime I head to CO) and then ate at the best little burger joint around the corner. On the plane ride back, Steff pulled out some Christoper Elbow Chocolates for us to celebrate our great weekend. Leave it to Steff!

A tough course. Great company. Fabulous weather. A fun trip!

And...it was so great to walk in the house and see Ms. Mols so excited to see us. I think she was afraid after Game Plan left her, we had done the same. She has never been so happy to see the two of us. And now, she will not leave our side.

I would post pictures, but the computer is not cooperating so I'll post when I can. Til then...happy trails.



The month of April ran me over like a Mack Truck. With my mom being in the hospital and us having to put down Game Plan-it was difficult. I only got in 40ish running miles in April but did enjoy several fun races. It'll be nice to head out of town for a bit to recoup and relax. Running marathons doesn't get me worked up like it has in the past. I used to get nervous and on edge but don't anymore. I know I can finish and I'm out there to have a good time and enjoy every minute.

May is going to be a busy with heading out of town three different times to three beautiful places. I'm really looking forward to it- but am pondering what my mileage will look like for May. With a race here and a race there-here a race-there a race-everywhere a race race...it'll be interesting to see if I get in all of my weekday runs or if my body will need to refuel and rest for the next one coming up. I don't have anything set in stone and we'll play it out week by week.

The forecast for Ft. Collins is looking up. I think they have taken the rain out of the forecast! Whoo Hoo! However, today they are calling for snow and wind gusts up to 80 mph! YIKES! Steff might REALLY blow away-no kidding! Sunday for the race looks good-a high around 67 I think...great running weather.

Here's to May flowers!


Denver Snow

These pictures were just taken of a co-worker's parking lot in Denver.
It's MAY!
We might be snow shoeing a marathon Sunday.
Global warming 'eh?