{Better Late Than Never-2014 Review}

Some say better late than never. I suppose this is true for looking back on last year. I almost didn’t write a review as I felt like I had little running wise to share. Then I remembered I ran my butt off the first half of the year running a half marathon, three marathons and a 50k in a two and a half month time period. After finishing the year running 2 5k’s, 2 10k’s, 1 half marathon, 3 marathons and my first ultra marathon (50k), I’d say I ran plenty. Here’s a look back at a few running highlights from 2014 in top ten style!

#10-Running another Color Run
Always fun and a great way to take the seriousness out of your training and racing.

#9-Running solid miles all winter

Last winter was brutal for training in Wisconsin. We had school cancelled in my district four days because of the cold (windchills of -30 to -50 below). I still managed to run 100 miles during each of the coldest months of the year as I trained for my busy spring and summer racing schedule.

#8-Running a 10k at 15 weeks pregnant
Running pregnant has been a whole new world of unexpectedness. I’m embracing it as best I can, and I am super proud of this hilly 10k I ran at 15 weeks while still experiencing all day sickness, pressure on the bladder and tiredness.

#7-The Big Ten 10k
This was such a fun weekend and race for the husband and I to combine two of our loves-running and Wisco sports.

#6-Signing up and completing my first obstacle course 5k
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Sometimes I’m scared to try new things, but this is one thing I’m so glad I followed through on. It was a blast and I can’t wait to run another.

#5-Running the Med City Half Marathon with friends
It’s not often I get to run with a group of people. Especially those who made this race so much fun. I hope someday they would like to run another half together or perhaps a Ragnar Relay.

#4-Cross Training and Overall Cardio
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While I didn’t come close to meeting my running mileage goal for the year, I’m going to chalk that up to getting pregnant. Despite missing out on some miles on foot, I still managed to cardio my way to almost 1000 miles. I biked more this year than any other year. I hiked well over a hundred miles this year. I went to yoga more times than any other year before. I’m proud of my cross training efforts and nearly reaching 1000 cardio miles.

#3-Completing two more states in my journey to run a marathon in all 50 states.

Going West on a road trip was the perfect opportunity to complete two more states. Add to it that the races were nine days apart and you have an extra challenge. Even more crazy was I ran my first ultra marathon just a month before the first of my go west marathons.

#2-Completing my first ultra marathon (50k)
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This was one of the scariest things I’ve done and never before have I doubted myself more. In the end it made the finish that much more rewarding. Having run a marathon and a half marathon the month before only made me stronger. Not sure when the next ultra will be, but I’m guessing it will happen.

#1-Running with my husband as he completed his first marathon.
As it would turn out, my favorite running memory of 2014 has little to do with my own races. Training and running 26.2 miles with the husband in his quest to complete his first marathon was more rewarding than I could have thought possible. I was so proud of him and excited for his accomplishment that it trumped any I could achieve. I still look back on this race with pride as he really didn’t ever want to run a marathon except to do it for me. Now he says he done forever, but the pride of finishing your first lasts FOREVER!

What 2015 holds exactly is a bit of a mystery. I’m sure there will be ups and downs, miles and missed runs, and new firsts abound. 2014 was a great running year, but I can’t wait to see what the next year holds.

Happy 2015 everyone!


{Dirty Girl 5k Mud Run}


The first Saturday in August I had the chance to run my first mud run, the Dirty Girl 5k. A friend had asked if I wanted to join her.  In the spirit of trying new things and taking advantages of opportunities, I of course said yes. We signed up for a later in the day wave since we were going to be out and about having fun the night before and up late in a city that was an hour and a half away from where the race was being held. The race was held in Blaine, MN just outside Minneapolis.




For race day we tried to match, but didn’t really plan ahead other than stopping at Target to see what we could find. I had read in previous mud run suggestions not to wear cotton, however I refused to ruin a moisture wicking shirt at a mud run. We instead opted for the clearance tanks at Target (this was the right choice as both of mine are ruined.) The shorts made it out ok since they were black.


We knew going into the mud run there might be some confusion and strange things as the event company that originally ran the Dirty Girl 5k is filing bankruptcy, and a new event company picked up the Minneapolis Dirty Girl 5k a couple of weeks before the event. We had already been told there would be no t-shirts. I was bummed, but was more in it for the experience. When we arrived to park they had directions handy, lots of signs and polite volunteers running the event.

We checked our gear and headed to our start corral. We had packed a clean shirt, a towel to sit on on the ride back to her house, a pair of shoes for after (actually I forgot mine-oops!) and our id and phones for safe keeping.  When our start began they read us the safety guidelines and we were off. The race is a 5k with obstacles throughout the course. The obstacles you would find at a Dirty Girl are explained and pictured on their website, but to save you the time I borrowed their photos (read: all obstacle photos are from the Dirty Girl website) and posted them below.

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All of these obstacles were at our race.  There was also a super thick mud obstacle they gave us the option to run through it (the harder choice) or roll over it (that’s how thick the mud was.)  Of course we chose run through it.  After taking two steps our legs were stuck and we were in thick mud up to our hips.  This was the only scary/hard part of the race.  I could not get my one leg free.  My friend was stuck, too.  There was no way anyone ran through that.  The guy working the obstacle had to dig us out.  I started to get claustrophobic since I was stuck and may have begun to silently freak out.




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Right away they get you all muddy at the first obstacle!

For anyone feeling nervous about doing an obstacle course this is a great introductory race (just roll through the thick mud obstacle.) This is not a Tough Mudder or Spartan race, and I don’t believe any additional or specific training needs to be done to complete this event if you are in shape to some extent. Some girls walked during the event and every obstacle gives you the option to go around the event if you want. Although, how can you say you completed the event if you did this? Just my opinion. 🙂

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I mostly run with very little cross training and found the course to be easy. None of the events were too challenging or overwhelming at all. It actually confirmed that I want to do a Tough Mudder someday for more of a challenge. Based on my experience this would be a great obstacle course/5k to make your first.

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Completing this race was a blast! I literally forgot I was running at times having a friend to run and talk with throughout the race. I didn’t look up any of the obstacles in advance so anticipating the next obstacle was fun and a great change-up to the pace. I think I laughed most the race. This is also how I go mud in my mouth, but this also seems inevitable as it is a MUD RUN. Simply put, this is super fun race and all about a good time rather than competitive/strict paces. They don’t even time the event.



After running the race we grabbed our gear which had security workers confirming you were who you said you were, visited a photo area for some post photos, and hit the shower off area. Here we donated our shoes to be cleaned up and past on to those in need and began the fun task of getting the mud out of and off of every part of your body. Seriously, EVERY PART of your body.

Finally we headed to pick up our free drink. This is where I was bummed as they said they were done giving out drinks. The race was still going on and our registration claimed we would get a shirt and a drink and we got neither. I’m willing to give this new event company the benefit of the doubt since they just picked up the race two weeks before it was held, but I was bummed. They did offer all participants a super cheap registration for next year as a consolation.

Bummed that we didn’t each get Razberita’s like we thought we would, we did the next best thing-went out for Mexican food and had a giant margarita…still muddy and in dirty bottoms (we changed our shirts.) So maybe that was better in the end.

If you get a chance to do a mud run your only answer will be yes. I know you’ll love it!



Dirty Girl 5k

No paces, places, age groups or times.  Just lots of mud, fun AND free race photos which were taken by Gameface Media!  There photos were amazing.  Thanks, Gameface Media!