Monday, May 31, 2010

The French have all the fun

I asked Tim what he wanted for lunch today.  He said grilled cheese.  Then changed his mind to french toast.  Then he said he wanted both....together.
May I present, the French Grilled Cheese:

Served with syrup.

I told you it was hot

I'm glad that I only ran the half marathon yesterday.  There is no way I would have been able to do the full marathon.  Race officials actually closed the course after 4 hours.  Check out this article for the details. 

I finally saw my official time on the website.

I will always remember my first half marathon.  And, I'm already looking forward to the next one.  (and that upcoming marathon)  :-)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Madison Half Marathon

Today got off to a very early start with a 5:30 wake up call, quick shower and delicious oatmeal breakfast before Tim and I got int he car to drive to the start of my first half marathon.  We had a bit of a slow time finding a parking spot and by the time we got to the starting line, I was out of time for a bathroom stop.  This would prove to be problematic later.

The announcer told us that there were 5100 runners in the half marathon!  Wow.  That is a lot of people. 

There were pace groups lined up at the start.  I lined up between the 2:10 and 2:20 pace groups, but once the race started, I had no idea where the pacers were.  I'm glad I didn't sign up to run with the pace group.  It would have been very hard to know where they were.

The first couple miles went pretty well.  I felt good.  The roads were really crowded and that made it a little hard to get into a rhythm, but I just went with the flow.

I first saw Tim about 5.25 miles into the race.  As you can see, I am slightly behind the two guys dressed as ketchup and mustard.

Tim was kind enough to hand me a bottle of water.  There never seems to be enough water stops for me on these races.  I always feel like I need more and more water.  Today I was lucky to have a great 'crew' to support me with cheers and water bottles.

I took my GU around mile 6.5 and then saw my aunt Sharon (with another bottle of water) around mile seven.  I probably should have had another GU or some other form of fuel.  The weather was extremely warm and I was burning more calories than I usually do on my training runs.  I will definitely learn from this experience.

Just before mile 9, I HAD to stop at the porta potties.  There was just no way around it.  I had been passing them up for miles and I knew that I wasn't going to be able to make it another 4 miles without stopping.  So, I picked a line that only had one person in front of me and I was able to get back on the road in about 3 minutes.

I saw Tim again right after the bathroom stop and he had more water for me.  Unfortunately, the cap fell off and I drank some of the water, but then I didn't feel like carrying the empty bottle so I left it behind.

We ran along the Monona Terrace.  It was gorgeous, but because it was so hot, it really smelled like fish.

There go ketchup and mustard.

I saw Sharon again around mile 11, and after that I was on my own until the finish.  The last mile was uphill and really, really hard.  My legs felt like bricks.  I think I may have been slightly hyponatremic.  I was starting to get a little dizzy.  Another lesson learned: mix water with gatorade.  I'll remember that.

My mantra for running up that last hill was "I can do anything for one mile."  I must have said that a hundred times, and I'm still not quite sure how I actually made it to the finish line.  But I'm so glad I did.

But, I did get beat by condiments.  Humbling.

Here is the video of me crossing the finish line. (click here)

I tried to make it through the finish chute in somewhat of an orderly manner.  I remember some nice girl cut my timing chip off.  And someone else handed me water.  And I got my medal!  (It is my first one!)  They were also handing out chocolate milk.  It is supposed to be the perfect recovery drink.  The best blend of protein and carbs.  I took a couple sips and almost threw up.  It was so thick and disgusting.  I don't know how people were drinking that right after the race.

As far as the race course, I was pretty familiar with most of it.  The first few miles were basically like running Crazy Legs backwards.  So I knew that part.  After that, we ran a good section of the Lake Monona 20K race course; also backwards.  But I have to say that the uphill climb at the end was completely unnecessary.  And just plain mean.

I do have to give credit to the people who put on the race.  I can't even imagine how much work goes into the organization of this event.  The volunteers were great.  They were so friendly and encouraging.  Even the traffic cops at the intersections would take time to cheer on the competitors.

There were two times in the course where the full and half marathons converged in a way that allowed us to get passed by the men's leaders.  These guys are so impressive to watch.  They look so graceful and natural.  They make 26.2 miles look completely effortless.  It was inspiring to see that.

The other inspiring thing that I saw, that almost brought me to tears, was was leader of the wheelchair division.  He had a bicycle escort to get through the crowd.  As he was racing through, he just happened to be passing the apartment of a mentally and physically handicapped man who was also in a wheelchair.  It appeared that this man had been sitting on his patio for much of the morning watching the runners go by.  I had heard him clapping and cheering as I approached.  But when that wheelchair racer went by, this man yelled and whooped and cheered so loudly.  It was almost as if he was somehow living through the accomplishments of this handicapped athlete.  He was clapping and screaming and pounding his fists on his chair with so much excitement and vigor.  It was a very moving moment and one that I will probably never forget.

There were other moments too.  I saw an elderly couple sitting in lawn chairs at the end of their driveway.  They had an old card table between them on which sat their breakfast.  Cereal, fruit, juice and coffee.  They cheered and ate and read the newspaper, just like they probably do every weekend.  This time they just happened to be doing it at the end of their driveway while thousands of people ran by.

I have to also give credit to the people of Madison.  They are pretty used to people running through their streets.  (Zoo Run Run, Freeze for Food, Crazy Legs, Lake Monona 20K....and these are just the ones I have run in the past year.)  They are out in full force cheering on the runners.  They show up with beer and bloody mary stations at the ends of their driveways.  They come up with some very clever signs to motivate and encourage everyone to do their best.  But today, I appreciated them more than ever before.  Today there were many people who were standing at the end of their driveway spraying their garden hoses into the street.  Others had their sprinklers set up in the street.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much I LOVE these people.  I will say it one more time:  it was HOT today.  And those quick showers helped to cool down a rapidly rising body temperature.  I saw two different people who collapsed on the course, probably from a combination of the heat and dehydration.  I wasn't about to become another casualty of the heat.  I took advantage of every garden hose and sprinkler.  And I made sure to thank the people on the other end of the hose.  I think it is important to thank the volunteers and fans.

Here is what the course looked like:

You can see the spot in the middle where I had to stop to use the bathroom.  There are a few other spots where I had to walk the water stops.  And then there is that awful hill at the end.  Boo!
Here are the stats:
Mile 1: 9:43
Mile 2: 10:10
Mile 3: 9:54
Mile 4: 10:47
Mile 5: 10:41
Mile 6: 10:37
Mile 7: 10:21
Mile 8: 10:23
Mile 9: 12:00 (included bathroom break)
Mile 10: 10:42
Mile 11: 11:14
Mile 12: 11:22
Mile 13: 12:00
Mile 13-13.18: 1:59 (11:09 pace)

Total: 13.18 miles: 2:21:49.  10:45 pace.
I know that I put everything I had into this race.  But I also know that a couple weeks ago I ran 14 miles in 2:23 (10:14 pace).  Granted, that was Colby and there really aren't any discernible hills here.

So, I need to work on my endurance so that my pace doesn't completely take a nose dive.  I can't even imagine doubling this distance to run a full marathon.  But, ask me in a couple days and I'm sure I'll tell you that I am up to the challenge.  :-)

I need to thank my wonderful 'crew' for supporting me.  Thanks Tim and Sharon!!  You guys are the best.

Next race: Bellin 10K on June 12th.  It will also be Jaden's first ever race.

EMT test

Now that I have had a day to decompress, if that is what you call running a half marathon, I can begin to process the fact that I passed my EMT practical exam.

And I believe the rest of our class passed as well. 

(Brittany is updating her facebook status between stations.)

MSTC provided free pizza for everyone.  I chose to not have any.  Not exactly what I wanted to be eating the day before my race.  And I don't like pizza anyway.

Here are the four most beautiful almost-EMTs in central Wisconsin.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


The practical portion of my EMT National Registry Exam is now in the books!  I am so excited.  The tension was almost unbearable this morning.  There were about 45 people sitting in the lobby of Midstate Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids, anxiously awaiting their number being called so that they could go to one of the six different stations that were set up around the campus.  I felt like the process took forever.  I prayed before going into each station that God would give me confidence and a sense of calm about the section I was going to test on.  After each station I felt that I did well.  I never felt that I had missed something or did anything wrong, but it still didn't alleviate any of the nerves I was feeling.  I was a sweaty, nervous wreck.  But, it is behind me now and the next step in the process is to take the written exam.  I am hoping to do it in mid-June, but I will need to check my work schedule to see if there is a day that works for me to take off.

After the test, I met Tim in Marshfield and we headed down to Madison.  I was really looking forward to the expo for the Madison Marathon.  It is my first ever half marathon and my first real expo.  There were a lot of people, a lot of vendors, and a lot of great products.  I could have spent several hours and many hundreds of dollars, but I managed to restrain myself.  I wanted to get some cool shirts, but the prices were a little steep.  I ended up getting some GUs and a couple Bondi Bands.  I've heard good things about them, and they are so much cuter than the bandanas I usually wear.

Now we are at my aunt's house about to have dinner.  I am hoping to eat and relax tonight.  I'm really excited about tomorrow and I can't wait to run my first half marathon.

NREMT practical exam

This morning I will be spending my time taking the practical portion of the test to get my EMT license.  I will be going through 6 different stations to prove my aptitude in different patient care categories.  To say that I am nervous would be an understatement!  I am freaking out!

I am trying to trust myself and I keep reminding myself that I know this information.  I just need to be able to perform in a very high stress situation.  Which, is not unlike what EMTs are called to do every day.  But for some reason, I feel more comfortable actually helping a patient than talking my way through a scenario with an evaluator.

I have been reciting the registry checklists in my head.  I go over them in the shower, while I'm driving to work, during down time at work, before I go to bed.  I'll go over them on my drive to the testing site. 

I am trying to put together a plan (hello, Type A!), but it is difficult because I don't know which station I'm going to have to do first.  I don't know how much time I will have between stations.  I don't know when I will be done with the exams.  It is very difficult for me.

Just thing at a time.  That will be my mantra for the day.

And, as soon as I get done, I can meet Tim and head to Madison for the race expo and enjoy the running part of my weekend.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Today's thoughts

It has been a while since I've shared my random thoughts.  Here are the things that are running through my head today.  Go ahead and fill them out.  I'd love to know your random thoughts.
What I'm thinking: A lot of the things I have been working toward for the last several months will come to fruition this weekend.  And I'm nervous about them.
What I'm reading:  Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult
What I'm listening to:  Christian radio
What I'm learning:  patience and trust, but those are life lessons that I will always be working on
What I'm watching:  who knows?  Now that 24, Lost, Heroes and Flash Forward are all off the air, I'm going to have to find something to do with my time.
What's cooking: tonight's dinner will consist of nut butter coated parsnip fries, and something else that is still to be determined
What I'm buying:  hopefully a Bondi Band at the race expo tomorrow evening.  I know that there will be a ton of other things that I want, but I will have to exhibit some restraint.
What I'm thankful for:  all the training I put in leading up to my half marathon and all the studying I've done in preparation for the National Registry Exam
What I'm creating:  all sorts of vegetarian meals in my head.  I am really enjoying making meatless meals.
What I'm praying:  that all my studying will pay off during tomorrow's practical exam.  I am very much looking forward to being an EMT
What I'm planning:  my summer racing schedule.  I'm hoping to get a couple more half marathons, my full marathon and maybe a duathlon.  Stay tuned!
What I'm looking forward to:  crossing that finish line on Sunday completing my first half marathon
A picture to share:

Photo from Jaden's preschool picnic this week.  We had so much fun.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You're getting warmer...

It seems that everyday, when I look at the race weather for Sunday, the temps keep climbing up. 
71 degrees
76 degrees
82 degrees
85 degrees

It appears that it is going to be a warm one, folks.  I will be guzzling lots of water and I'm lucky enough to have a couple spectators who will be showing up at strategic points on the course to supply me with extra water.  After my 20K at the beginning of the month, I have learned not to depend on the water stops for sufficient hydration needs.

On the race website, they list all the water stops and what will be available: water, gatorade, GU, or bananas.  I am going to try my best to plan my race and my fuel and hydration needs appropriately.  But I know that things could always change.  I'm Type A, I need a plan.  I feel like I'm floundering without one.

I really hope that the temps don't get too warm.  Even though the race starts at 7:15, I know that it will warm up pretty quickly, especially with all those people running.  I've got my list started of all the things I need to bring with me.  My Garmin is charged and I've been working on my ipod playlist.  Now I just need Sunday to get here!!

But, first, I have to pass my NREMT practical exam on Saturday.  That is another issue entirely.

Hope you are all having a great Thursday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

EMS call

I went on my second EMS call in Colby tonight.  Obviously, I can't give any details, but I can say that I am learning more all the time and that the Colby EMT's are a good group of people.  I even got an offer for sponsorship for my running.  Of course, it was from a meat processing plant, and I'm a vegetarian; so that won't work.  :-)

I was really excited that the pager went off and I was able to go on the call.  It is frustrating to hear the call and not be able to go.  I've even stopped turning on the pager if I know I won't be able to go, because I will just be disappointed.  So, tonight was great.  I was able to finish dinner with my family and be home in time for dessert and some TV with Tim.

I got some great encouragement from the EMTs for my upcoming registry exam this weekend.  I am still going back and forth on what I should be more nervous about: my NREMT test or my half marathon.  I think I'm even nervous about being able to properly fuel while I'm stuck at the testing site all day Saturday.  And I'm hoping that Tim gets done with work early enough to meet me after my test to go down to Madison.

Preschool picnic

Today was Jaden's last day of preschool for the year.  I can't believe how big he is getting!
He was really excited to see me when I went to pick him up.

He knew it was time to go to the park for his picnic!  The other preschool that he went to this year, was having all the families get together for an end of the year party.  And the weather was perfect for it.  We met at Red Arrow Park in Abbotsford for food, fun and bubbles.

He found a feather when we got there and the first thing he wanted to do was to find his friend Josie and tickle her with it.

She's pretty cute.  I'd tickle her too!

Yes, I am wearing pigtails; as every self-respecting 32 year old mother should.  Don't judge me!  :-)

Jaden was very excited that daddy got done with work early and came to the park with us.

There was much bubble chasing!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jaden vs. the frozen yogurt

Jaden took on the frozen yogurt pop for dessert tonight.

I love how big his eyes are.  He has been wanting this since we put it in the freezer yesterday.

He actually couldn't finish it.  Maybe I need to keep the yogurt in the freezer to prevent him from eating 4 of them in one sitting.