{Back to the Basics}



I never planned to go over three years without running a marathon.  I didn’t know in 2014 that crossing the Missoula Marathon finish line, my second marathon in nine days, would be my last for a while. Two kids later and that’s my story.  With plans to cross another state off of my goal to run a marathon in every state coming in September, I’ve decided to use 2017 as a year of regaining fitness and strength. 2017 will be a year to return to the basics.

Since it’s been a while since I’ve trained for and ran 26.2 miles, I’m going to start small, build strength and endurance, and work up from there.  I’m going to train for a 10k first, something I’ve never done before (the training part).  I know I could run this distance without following a plan, but I want to slowly increase my mileage while letting myself recover from having a baby even more. I wanted a plan that would slowly add in miles and balance cross training.  After completing my 10k plan (8 weeks), I will reevaluate and select a half marathon training plan (12 weeks) and then a marathon plan (18 week).

The 10k plan has me running three days a week, which seems perfect for right now.  I will add in more days as it seems to be appropriate.  Hal’s plans are so customizable and adjustable for every runner’s ability level.  I’ve used many different plans in the past, but often come back to his.  His plans make it possible to adjust midway through to a tougher or easier plan if needed.

I’ve always liked the way a training plan simplifies the process of reaching a distance goal and have used many different versions. I like being able to look at my plan and know what to run and how without having to put too much into organizing these details.  There are so many training plans out there that I don’t need to create my own.  The plan I’m following lets me choose my cross training, which gives me plenty of personalizing (and I’m so excited to mix it up with some fun workouts).  Right now my life is chaotic to say the least so looking at a piece of paper and seeing what my workout is for that day is what I need. Being able to rearrange days is also essential as my days don’t always go as planned.

My 10k plan started last week and will last 8 weeks.  Because gaining strength all over and remaining injury free is my goal, I’m following a novice plan with cross training days being essential.  On cross training days I will continue my workout DVD’s (Knocked Up Fitness and Katy Bowman are a couple I use) and DR exercises from Katy Bowman’s book Diastasis Recti and several I’ve found online.  Cross training will remain a key part of my marathon training.  As I progress in strength and fitness, I will add more running and speed.  I also plan to change-up my cross training as my DR closes.

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It’s been nearly 4 years since I trained hard for a marathon.  I missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 1:36 at the RnR Arizona Marathon in 2013.  Since then I’ve had two babies, which has made it difficult for me to remain committed to my training.  I plan to revisit this goal when I’m in better shape and have more time to devote to it.

Three years is a pretty large gap in marathons and my body is in no shape to be chasing after a PR.  My training will reflect that.  There will not be many speed workouts or tempo days.  You won’t see multiple high mileage weeks in a row.  I won’t be doing several 20 milers or more.  There will not be two runs in a day.

You will see rest days and a gradual increase in miles.  My training plan will in a way follow my baby getting older.  I like that this should prevent me from becoming too overwhelmed and make my small goals lead to accomplishing my big goal.  It really takes the pressure off and lets me enjoy being a mom while letting me do what I love.  It should also set the stage for advancing my training the next marathon cycle.  Why I thought jumping into a marathon training plan after my last baby was the only way to go I don’t know.

This time I feel so much more confidant in my ability to do this largely in part to the progressing plans plan I have.  When choosing a training plan the most important aspect to consider is how it will fit into your life and your current fitness level.  If the miles and workouts don’t match your current life (fitness level, demands outside of running, etc.), then you will have a really hard time succeeding.  Even with the perfect plan will it still be hard?  Yes!  Will balancing training, working, being a mom and breastfeeding still be overwhelming? I have no doubt!  Will some difficult choices and sacrifices have to happen? You bet!  Will it be worth it? Of course!!

If you’re returning to running in any capacity (new, former, had a baby, kind of been slacking) this is a perfect goal for 2017.  Join me in reaching your fitness goals by starting small and working your way to your big goal for 2017.  I will be documenting my training here and on Instagram (sneaksandstilettos) to help myself stay accountable and hopefully get some of you to go after your 2017 goals.

We have to start somewhere; let’s start small.  Baby steps!


{Ghoulish Gallop 10k}

A few weeks ago I ran the Ghoulish Gallop 10k. Since finding out I was pregnant a little over three months ago I haven’t been running as much as I’d hoped to.
A combination of super busy work weeks (70+hours a week) and the first trimester kicking my ass makes for not so many miles. I knew a half marathon could have been possible, but honestly I didn’t feel like running one at all. A 10k was just right. Pregnant running is not the time to go in unprepared.

The husband came along and took in the gorgeous neighborhood in the peak of fall colors with me on the run. While I was unprepared for the constant hills in this neighborhood, the distance felt good and I felt mostly strong. Despite feeling like I had to pee from mile two on I’d say this race was exactly what I was looking for.

My current paces are whatever I feel like that day. Sometimes in the 8’s, other days in the 9’s, occasionally in the 10’s and sometimes I just walk. I totally listen to my body and am doing what feels right. Race day was no different.

Post-run we enjoyed a delicious brunch…
Before heading to a nearby state park for some fall hiking fun.


Now that my energy is coming back, my nausea has subsided (mostly) and I’m done coaching, I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine. Any pregnant running tips?? Pregnant running gear??

Ghoulish Gallop 10k
Time: 1:01:30
Pace: 9:53

{Big Ten Network Big 10k}

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With so many races ran in a month it is hard to keep up with the recaps. Runner problems! 🙂 Two Saturday’s ago the husband and I ran the Big Ten Network Big 10k in Chicago. If you read along with my blog then you know we are both big Wisconsin sports fans (and no, not everyone in Wisconsin is.) This race was all about supporting your Big Ten school and FUN! I loved so much about this race, the swag, and the sights.




We headed to Chicago the day before, picked up our packets, and did some sightseeing. Having been to Chicago several times before I know my way around for the most part, yet I don’t get sick of the windy city.


In packets each runner received a BTN Big 10k technical t-shirt that resembled a football jersey specific to the Big Ten school they declared their team at registration. Each runner’s shirt came in their school’s colors and had their school’s name on the front and back. I loved how they were specific to each runner’s favorite team and different rather than everyone getting the same shirt. This also made picking the race outfit super simple as I had looked at past year’s race photos and noticed that most people wore their shirts to the race.

The race began at 7:00 a.m. which was perfect because it was 70 degrees and quite humid. After the HOT races I’ve run lately though, this was nothing. We Hotwired our room per the usual which means we had a general idea of the area when we registered and knew the star rating of our hotel, but wouldn’t find out the exact location until after our purchase of the room. I reserved the room before the race course map came out, so we ended up being about three miles from the race start. Driving and parking in Chicago is disastrous and super pricey so we knew we were either taking a taxi or public transportation to and from the race start.

While exploring the night before we saw Divvy bikes all over the city. After reading the details and looking up a map of the locations (there is an app for that), we decided this would be a fun, active and quick way to get to the race and back. No hailing a taxi or switching buses.

Just a few Divvy locations in Chicago!  (Photo from divvybikes.com

Just a few Divvy locations in Chicago! (Photo from divvybikes.com

The next morning we paid for our Divvy bikes ($7 per bike for unlimited use during the next 24 hours as long as each ride is less than 30 minutes. If a ride is longer than 30 minutes you are charged an extra $2 for the next hour, and so on.) and headed to the Field Museum where we would drop off our Divvy bikes and walk the couple of blocks to the start next to Soldier Field.


One wrong turn later and we were on our way. We started getting a bit nervous when we didn’t see the Divvy bike stop near the Field Museum, but breathed easy after going around the entire museum and spotting it on the last side we rode by.



After dropping off our gear we lined up in our race corral. Corrals went from A-M, and we were in E based on our 10k time we entered at registration. I am always honest about my times and never enter a time I hope to run unless my training has told me I can run that time. Big Ten fans were everywhere and school songs echoed off the speakers. After the elites took off the corrals got going and we began our 6.2 mile journey on the course below (image from btnbig10k website).

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The course was nice and the atmosphere fun. During the first mile we went through this long underpass part and there was lots of school trash talking echoing off the walls which added to the fun and excitement. The bad part was it was congested. I feared not as most races thin out after the first mile or two.

This is the part where I’m torn about what I think. I loved getting to run along the lakeshore on the paved bike path for half the race, BUT having 9,000 runners narrow onto a paved bike path when the larger road was congested was really frustrating. The husband and I were passing people the ENTIRE race. I swear we must have passed our entire corral before the race was over. Either people lied about their 10k times or I hit a wrong button because we were definitely not running with the people in our corral. Aside from this it was pretty along the lake although difficult to enjoy.

The husband and I were both feeling great as we ran, but the mental work of continually passing people and never settling into a groove were a challenge. As we neared mile four I absolutely could not believe how freakin’ fast this race was going. I guess I’ve got big time marathon race length distortion going on. I think that is a technical term! 🙂 I could definitely tell the hot weather marathons were extremely helpful in making me feel comfortable during this race.

We cranked it as much as we could the last mile with people to swerve around and jams playing on speakers. We both said we could not have run this race any faster than we did because of the congestion. I did not bring my Garmin so we didn’t know our time until later.


Upon crossing the finish line you can pick up water, Gatorade and bananas. You get your medal (very cool!) and then head to the after race tailgate party. This part was so fun it kind of made you forget about the race congestion. We headed to gear check to pick up our bags and there was absolutely no line for corral E. Corrals A, B, and C had lines going a block. We watched around as we enjoyed the tailgate party seeing very few bibs with an E before their numbers. I later looked up our registration email and I did not mis-enter our time, nor did we run any faster than I entered. We were in fact 45 seconds slower than my typical 10k time.

Here is my soapbox runners: be honest about your times. Don’t enter a time you hope to run unless your training has shown you are capable of running that time. I respect all runners no matter their pace. Own your pace and be proud, but stay out of corrals you don’t belong-it makes a better race for everyone! End rant.



Back to the tailgate party. This was great. The husband exchanged his too small race shirt for a larger size, we enjoyed the Wisconsin tent where we picked up a trucker hat specific to our school (all runners got one) and took pictures with the border battle ax, and then hit the food and beer area.





After enjoying some delicious chicken sausages (so yummy), we hit up the bean bags. All different types of tailgate games were going on and samples of stuff were being given out. We did have a wedding to get to so we couldn’t stick around too long. We headed back to the Field Museum, got a new code for our Divvy bikes and biked back to the hotel.


Overall this race was a blast. The atmosphere and swag were fantastic. The course pretty and well-marked. My only complaint was the congestion. If we do this race again I will consider this when entering my 10k time and be prepared to be packed in. Getting a photo with Bucky and free Wisco swag makes it all worth it!  Bring on football season!

This race also reminded me how awesome shorter distances can be. I’ve never raced a 10k meaning I’ve never trained for the distance or done speed work or entered a 10k when I’ve been in great shape. Currently my endurance is definitely up having ran two marathons and a 50k in 36 days, but my speed is for sure lacking. The previous 10k’s I’ve run have always been near the 4th of July when I have not been running anything other than maintenance miles, and all four have had finish times within a minute and a half of each other. Last fall when I ran my PR half marathon I ran a five mile Turkey Trot without a watch in 39:15. I’m positive I could have beat my 10k time by minutes had there been one to run. I’m curious what I could run a 10k in if I trained and raced? Hmmmm….a new goal perhaps. I’m not committing yet, but perhaps.


Big Ten Network Big 10k
Time: 52:57
Pace: 8:32
Overall: 1926/8996
Gender: 504/4916
Age Group: 91/819

Ran: 6.2 miles
Biked: 7 miles

{Friday Fab 5-Summertime Fun}

Good morning, peeps! Today was one of those mornings when you wake up and are in an awesome mood. Gosh I wish that happened everyday. Every single day.

This week flew by and I had planned to do another post with vacation photos, but decided to save that for another time. I don’t know about all of you, but this summer is just flying by. I’m trying to get all the sunshine I can out of it, so this week I did all the things you dream about on a cold, snowy winter day. If you haven’t had the time to savor summer, make the time. No excuses. Just do it!


Last Friday I mentioned I was at the lake. I was with some amazing friends from college celebrating life, summer and old times. Our crazy group gets together every summer at one of the guy’s cabins and has a blast. While we see each other a few times throughout the year, this summer weekend known as Rendezvous is one everyone makes unless they’ve just had a bundle of joy.

{#2-Noah’s Ark with my sista}

My sister was home from Texas where you cannot step outdoors without sweating a gallon and frizzing up the hair from the humidity. She came to Wisconsin to stay cool! Of course what do you do in the summer in Wisconsin…well many people visit what claims to be the largest water park in America-Noah’s Ark. Water slides galore, sunshine and fun. It was a perfect way to spend the hottest day our area has seen this summer-88.

{#3-Pettibone Beach}

I've mentioned Pettibone before as a place to run in La Crosse, but it also has a beach frequented during the summer months. For the husband’s birthday on Wednesday we wanted to be outdoors and near water so we headed to the beach with my family.

{#4-Boating on the River}

After some beach time we met up with friends and boated on the Mississippi River. A bunch of people water skied, while I simply relaxed on the boat. I just wasn’t feeling the water that day. It might have something to do with the gnat bite I got on my left eyelid that made my entire eye swell shut, made my eyebrow look like a Botox injection gone wrong, and gave me the puffiest under eye I’ve ever seen. It is still swollen today, but is getting better. Or maybe I was just lazy that day.

{#5-Big Ten Network 10K}
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Way back in February the husband and I registered for this race for our Valentine’s Day gift to each other. Nothing says love like running a race together. I had dreams of racing this 10k, but as the legs let me know on a run yesterday-WE ARE STILL RECOVERING. DO NOT MAKE US RUN REALLY FAST. They spoke loud and clear, so I guess I will probably listen. We are headed to Chicago as I type to run this race tomorrow morning. I love Chicago. I love the Badgers. It’s a perfect match…me and the husband that is. Then it’s off to another iconic summertime tradition in Wisconsin-summer weddings.

Anyone racing this weekend? What is your summertime fun?

Happy Weekend!


{Friday Fab 5-Running Route Art, BTN 10k, Truths, Words to Think About, …}

{#1-Running Route Art}
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Monday I wrote about the awesome running app I use each week, Runkeeper. Statistician, Nathan Yau, from FlowingData gathered data about running routes in major cities using public information from the Runkeeper App. From the data, maps were created of various running routes. The darker or thicker areas of maps represent more popular routes, while lighter or thinner routes are less traveled. Check it out for your next vacation or to hang on your wall.

{#2-Words to Think About}
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Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of excuses from people. I can’t do this because… It won’t work out because… I was going to, but then… What if we forgot all those reasons, and we just did it? Accomplished it. Achieved the goal!

{#3-More Picky Bars}
This week’s new flavor I tried was Lauren’s Mega Nuts. If you like peanut butter, then you’ll love this flavor.

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{#5-Big Ten Network 10k}
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Nothing says love like running together. Since the husband and I are both big Badger fans, and I love Chicago, this race was a perfect one to add to the race calendar. I first heard about this race through Run with Jess‘s blog. Her goal to run a half marathon in every state is inspiring and she is midwest Badger fan! The registration fees were part of our v-day gifts for each other. Over the past few years we are much more interested in buying experiences to do together for holidays and birthdays rather than a material gift. I CAN’T wait to run this 10k. It looks like so much fun! Go Bucky!

Anyone have any fun races you’d recommend to others?

Happy Friday?

{2013 Running Review}

In the blink of an eye 2013 is over. The below link pretty much sums up my running over the past 365 days. The photos below are a glimpse of the year that was 2013.
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What did you do this year that you are proud of? Excited about? Worked hard to achieve? Where did your run that you’d recommend to others? I’m always looking for new routes and destinations to run.

{Motivation Monday-It feels like the first time…}

Two weekends ago when running the Glow in the Deke 5k with my best friend I got to experience the race from a perspective I haven’t been in a while…for the first time. My friend ran her first 5k without stopping to walk or take a break. She was someone who had been a non-runner just months before. I’m talking someone who always said she HATED running. I was sooo proud of her!

While running with her I reminisced over what it felt like to run two miles and three miles for the first time. It reminded me of what it felt like to run when a couple miles was the most I’d ever ran, and when I finished my first half marathon, and 16 miler, and 20 miler, and marathon. And guess what? The feeling is the same no matter how many miles you run. Anytime you run a distance you haven’t before, the pride you feel when you hit stop or cross that finish line are the same. You feel so accomplished, prideful, emotional, excited, and tired.
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“At mile 20, I thought I was dead. At mile 22, I wished I was dead. At mile 24, I knew I was dead. At mile 26.2, I realized I had become too tough to kill.”

My friend shared how she felt emotional as she came around that last corner of the track thinking about how she was finishing a distance she had worked hard to complete. I didn’t tell her, but those emotions are not just something she experienced. Stand at the finish line of most races and you see it in people’s faces and body language-emotions. I once read somewhere that a marathon finish line is a melting pot of emotions, and I couldn’t agree more.

Some people are running for others who can’t, in memory of a significant person in their life, to overcome, to succeed, to move on, to start new, to test their limits, and for reasons we can’t begin to understand. Running races and finishing new distances makes you feel real and raw in a different way hence the wide range of emotions. Take two minutes of your day and check out the raw emotions this amazing photographer caught at the finish of this year’s Twin Cities Marathon earlier in October. I promise it is worth it; I teared up and couldn’t stop smiling at the same time!

Many a times I’ve fought back tears when crossing the finish line whether it is a new distance, an especially challenging race, or being so overcome with joy and pride at something I worked so hard for. Many times these emotions are strongest the first time and we forget the feeling of being a new runner. It was great to be reminded of those challenging days when you never knew how a run would feel or if you would survive it.
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I loved being around other runners who seemed to be new to running, too. I was overcome with pride for them. Seeing others do something I love and watching them experience it in a positive way makes me so excited. While most of us wouldn’t want to go back to the very first time we ran (or a first time at a distance), this week run for the first time. Run a new distance, a new route, with a new friend, or at a new time. Take a run around a route where you first began to run and reminisce of over those first miles where you became a runner one step at a time. Take those first steps or celebrate how far you’ve come!
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“The person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race.”

Happy Monday!