{Friday Fab 5}

TGIF!

{#1-The Great Gatsby}

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Ryan and I watched this movie a couple of weekends ago.  I had never read the book before and LOVED the movie so much I watched it again the next day while grading papers.  Just as good as the movie is the soundtrack.  I’ve had some of the songs on my running playlist for the past two weeks.  Definitely check both out.  I just got the book in the mail and am hoping to get some reading in this weekend.

{#2-Autumn Beer}

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I’m a big fan of seasonal beer.  I love Blue Moon’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale, but had never tried the Caramel Apple Spiced Ale until Monday.  The fresh apple juice with cinnamon, nutmeg, and caramel malts is fall all the way!

{#3-Honky Tonk Half Marathon}

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Sunday I’ll be heading to the Honky Tonk Half Marathon.  I know a few of you are racing this weekend.  Will anyone else be racing there or elsewhere this weekend?

{#4-Hitting the Trails}

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After racing this weekend, I hope to continue my goal of hiking somewhere new each weekend this fall.  So far, I’m 4 for 5 of hiking in new places each weekend.

{#5-October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month}

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Now that it is getting colder outside in the mid-west, I am back to wearing hats often.  All of my favorite hats are from Under Armour.  One of them happens to be hot pink and has a breast cancer ribbon on it because part of the purchase price goes to breast cancer research and charity organizations.  Under Armour has some very cute ways to support the cause.  There are also many local races to support the tas’!

Happy Weekend!

{Friday Fab 5}

{#1-Pool Party}

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This past weekend we held our annual pool party. I love hosting parties with a theme and like beer, too. This beer tasting theme was a duh for us. We had snacks like beer bread and beer dip, pub mix, and wings (Honey BBQ and Buffalo) for starters. Later we had potato skins while I was making personal pizza crusts for people. Once the crusts were done friends added their choice of sauce and toppings before putting them on the grill. Dessert was Blue Moon Cupcakes (these were my favorite!) and VooDoo (Guiness) Cupcakes. I used another stout beer, VooDoo, in place of Guiness. I’ve linked the recipes I used in case anyone is interested. We had a great time!

{#2-Ran my longest run yet!}

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It was a slow 7 miles, but it’s good to be going again.

{#3-Honky Tonk Half Marathon}

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This half marathon in Wisconsin Dells has been officially added to my fall racing calendar in an effort to race local this year!

{#4-Back to School}

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This has been consuming all of my time this week. Eeek!

{#5-Juicer!}

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Our anniversary gift arrived this week. I’m hoping we will be able to get it out and juicing this weekend! I have so many combinations I want to try!

Anyone have any great juicing recipes?

Happy Weekend!

{Friday Fab 5}

{#1-Beach to Bay Relay-Corpus Christi}
Ryan and I ran along Ocean Drive for several of our vacation runs. It is a scenic place to run and covers part of the Beach to Bay relay course-the biggest relay in the US. I just learned about this relay from my dad and stepmom (who hands out water at one of the water stops). The relay is held annually in May on Armed Forces weekend to honor those who serve. This May will be the 39th running of the relay with 16,000 runners making up 2,600 teams. Teams run from, you guessed it, the beach to the bay! It sound like crazy fun to me! Check out Beach to Bay Relay for more info!
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{#2-Running New Orleans}
While Ryan and I were stumbling walking out of the bars on Bourbon street we saw this lady. I suppose this would be a scenic route to run, but I’d recommend hitting the trails that line the Mississippi and Jackson square for a more relaxing environment without the crazies and the occasional smell of urine.
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{#3-Moving in Memphis}
This time I’m not talking about running. We skipped running in Memphis, gasp, for a good reason. We were limited on time and I really wanted to visit the National Civil Rights Museum. We were so glad we did! It was way more than I expected. The museum takes you through a short timeline of civil rights before leading you through an in depth timeline of Martin Luther King Jr.’s events in the months, days, and minutes leading up to his death parallel to James Earl Ray and the federal government.

The museum is housed in the very building from which Ray shot Dr. King. You stand in the spot where Ray stood when he fired the fatal shot. Next you walk through an in depth timeline of the 65 day search for who killed Dr. King and see actual evidence collected during the investigation. Then you read through information from three later investigations brought by King’s family and others into whether Ray really was the guilty person. A walk through the last 45 years in civil right progress leads you to the outside of the Loretta Motel where King was shot outside room 608. You walk on the balcony, see Dr. King’s room as it was that day, and stand in the very spot where his life was taken! I usually get into history, but this was so much more. I was overtook by emotion standing in the VERY spot this amazing leader stood when he was fatally shot.

The experience was way more important than a run that morning. The only message more powerful than the history itself was the importance the museum put on educating young people of the cultures and people in the world around them. Yeah, for this museum. If you are ever in Memphis plan to visit for 3-4 hours!
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{#4-Running St. Louis}
Thursday we started our last day on vacation with a run around the arch. The shade and scenery were great. The stair workout was a plus!
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{#5-Dances With Dirt}
On Saturday Ryan and I are off to run our first true trail race-the Dances with Dirt Half Marathon. No bike paths, not a couple miles off the beaten path; we are talking all off road and hills. The drop in temperature from vacation should make this a race way more tolerable than any runs we’ve had recently. So looking forward to not being drenched with sweat until a few miles in. Full race report to come after!
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Happy Weekend!

{Race for the Heart Half Marathon}

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Lately I’ve been working on eating local and unprocessed foods. I decided to translate that to running races this year, too. After traveling around to races over the past few months, most of my races will be close by this year. I’m running local!

By racing local I don’t always have to stay in a hotel, which is easier for my schedule right now and my wallet. I also get bored by the monotony of running the same paths for long runs and am really trying to run at least two long runs a month somewhere new and unexplored. This keeps running fresh and exciting. By signing up for races I also ensure I get all of my long runs done. I don’t have the I-want-to-sleep-in opportunity and then it gets too hot to finish every mile. It also prevents last minute plans from interfering. Races hold me accountable. They also stop me from having too many beers the night before. Been there, done that, learned that lesson.
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Whenever I run a new race in Wisconsin I always get excited to explore new parts of the state, see new trails, and experience the diverse beauty of our state. On Saturday, I raced in Wisconsin Rapids. I had been to Wisconsin Rapids once before when I was in middle school, and drove through it a few years ago. So basically I knew nothing about this city. When looking at the race overview a few things attracted me to this race: 1-distance from my house, 2-the course (all bike path trails), 3-SHADE, the course was mostly shaded (amen in the summer), 4-it supported the Boys and Girls Clubs, 5-price (it was only $35) which included a t-shirt. When I picked up my packet I was surprised to see some other great swag for such a small race. Often small town races don’t offer anything which I understand. The juice, chapstick, granola bar were all unexpected, but awesome additions.

Great race swag for a very small race.

Great race swag for a very small race.


I worked the night before getting home around 11:45. I was in bed an hour later and you guessed it-didn’t get much sleep. Five hours later the alarm went off and I was up to get ready. Same old story, just a different race it seems. BUT the totally new thing! Wait for it, wait for it…I was not running late for the race. I go to the race 30 minutes before the start. While this may not even be close to enough time before a big city race, it is LOTS of time before a small race.

Speaking of small, I knew the racing field would be small, but I had no idea just how small. There were 41 of us a the start. No I didn’t count as the national anthem was being sung, I looked at the race results. The 5k which started an hour later had many more runners and walkers. Don’t get the small size thing wrong; the race was very well organized and had many features of a larger race such as an official start and finish, well marked course, very well aided water stations, and medical people always nearby.
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My goal for the race was to treat it like a long run and run smart. I was not running this race to race, but rather as a training run. By running smart I mean, not start too fast like I’ve started doing recently. I needed to remember when I got the urge to go faster that when I crossed the finish line, I was not finished. I would have three more miles to go. The last five miles I had planned to run at goal marathon pace or faster as my training schedule dictated. I wanted to run comfortably fast.
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The race started outside the Rapids mall along the Wisconsin River. Mile one took us along the Wisconsin River and then mile two led us out onto the shaded bike paths. The bike paths are part of a larger system of trails along the Wisconsin River.
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It had been raining until about an hour before the race, but the clouds stuck around for about 3/4 of the race. Mother nature must have been on my side that day. Mile 3 continued on the bike path leading closer to the city of Port Edwards.

mile 1-8:20

mile 2-8:41

mile 3-8:47

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Miles four and five we passed through Port Edwards via the bike path. At one point there was a family standing on the bike path cheering runners on. Their young daughter said as I passed, “She’s running really, really, really, fast.” I smiled and thought to myself, thank you small child! Your view of the world is so awesome because in truth I am not running really, really, really fast.

mile 4-8:41

mile 5-8:47

Mile six and then the turnaround at mile 6.5 were in Nekoosa with a turnaround in Riverside Park. One thing I love about out and back courses is you can see the competition as it is coming back after they’ve turned around. Around mile six I started counting ladies to see what place I was in. At the half way point I was the sixth female in the race. I had stuck to my race plan of running this like a long run. I was feeling great.

While the course didn’t take us into Nekoosa the Swiftwater Mural is a unique work of art in the city.
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mile 6-8:27

mile 7-8:36

Mile 8 marked the last six miles of the race, so it was time to pick up the pace to my goal marathon pace or faster for the rest of the half marathon. This is when I began passing other girls.

mile 8-8:21

mile 9-8:20

mile 10-8:15

Mile ten I was in third place for females, and I could not see the first two women. I was running just barely comfortably fast. It was warm enough out that I didn’t have a dry spot on my body. Mile ten I passed a man in his sixties who was movin’ butt. I love how the sport of running can be so humbling. Here I am 30 some years younger than this man and he has been ahead of me for ten miles. He was awesome.

I started to get a bit tired around mile 11. By mile 12 I didn’t have a lot of gas to go much faster. I had stuck to my plan, maybe a bit quicker. I didn’t need to go faster, but the inner competitor just makes me. It’s like it takes over your brain and body and you CANNOT stop it. Your legs just go faster, your arms pump harder, your brain focuses harder. Even if you’re tired, you still find a way to go faster.

mile 11-8:10

mile 12-8:00

mile 13-7:51
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I crossed the finish line as the 3rd female. I had hoped to be under 1:50, but just missed it. Overall I was super excited about how I ran, where I am at in my training, and how I handled the very humid and warmer day. Normally I really struggle when it gets in the 70’s and/or is humid. Today I didn’t. In a race that I kept the pace comfortable during most of the race ended up being my third fastest half marathon. I feel my speed coming back. Maybe I’m turning over a new leaf.
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Either way I wasn’t done with my run. I was pretty sure one of the first two runners was in my age group and they only gave awards to the winner of each age group, so I had a small bottle of water which they handed out at the finish and continued on for my last three cool down miles in the opposite direction of the race.
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I ran along the Wisconsin River, past the “wisconsin” rapids, and turned around. It was a gorgeous day with great trails. How lucky these people are to have shade available all summer long. Experiencing a new city was just what I’d hoped it would be. It adds a bit of adventure to the everyday. And Cran-Grape never tasted so good after a warm long run.

Race for the Heart Half Marathon
Time: 1:50:17
Pace: 8:25
Overall: 9/41
Gender: 3/22
Age Group: 1/6*

*As I wrote this post and looked up my results, it turns out I did win my age group. I need to enjoy this last year in this age group all year. Next year it will be a different ball game.

{National Running Day}

Today is National Running Day!  Even if you are not a runner yet…below are some of the best reasons to start-TODAY!  If you’ve already been running, then today is your day to celebrate your accomplishments.  How will you celebrate?  Perhaps you might celebrate by registering for a race!?  Running in the USA is my favorite place to search for races.  I’ve also always loved Rock n’ Roll races (half or full marathons) for their fun and destination races (just my opinion).  Today only they have a $20 off coupon good for any Rock n’ Roll registration.  Arizona, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Virginia Beach and so many more places to race with 27 destinations to choose from.

What are you waiting for?

Happy National Running Day!

{Trailbreaker Half Marathon}

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On Saturday my husband and I had a surprise party to attend in Milwaukee. After RSVPing yes to the party a few weeks ago, I checked http://www.runningintheusa.com to see if there were any races to run on the way and there was!

The Trailbreaker Half Marathon was Saturday morning in Waukesha. The weather was not supposed to be so great. When I went to bed the night before the forecast said there was an 80% chance of rain and 20 mph winds on the docket for race time. Lets just say I had about ten outfit combinations ready to go!

Ryan and I got up early and headed east. The weather was cloudy and windy, but luckily rain was no longer in the forecast. I wore my only wind repellent jacket which was great for blocking the wind that morning. Per the usual, we arrived at packet pickup and the race three minutes before the start of the race. Ryan dropped me off and headed to find a place to park and nap. With windy, cool weather and no great places to view me running by, we had decided he might as well catch up on some sleep while I ran. I hurried to get my race bib and shirt, and was still pinning on my bib when the race began. I took the shirt with me and hid it behind a column of a restroom in the nearby park when we ran by. I was disappointed to risk losing the shirt, but did not want to run with it for 13.1 miles. I hoped it would be there after the race.

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The first mile of the race I was crabby about running behind, having to hide my shirt, and not having time to get ready before the race. It was also hard to get around people because I didn’t arrive early enough to move ahead. I felt frazzled!

All that thinking and talking in my head, made the first mile fly by. The first mile took us through a park in town on some bike trails and then headed to the Glacial Drumlin Trail. A couple miles in a light rain began. I was not too disappointed by the rain because it wasn’t raining hard and it enhanced the experience by making it smell like SPRING! I’ve been soooooo looking forward to winter ending, and I’d really missed that smell. This brightened my spirits and made me forget all about being late.

mile 1-9:34

mile 2-9:10

Miles 1-2 on course.

Miles 1-2 on course.


mile 3-8:50

mile 4-8:48

Glacial Drumlin Trail

Glacial Drumlin Trail

The bike trail was fun to run on. I love being out in nature and enjoy both big city races and runs on trails away from it all. This race was perfect for letting the mind wander and enjoying outside after months of being trapped indoors (except for running). The course was an out and back route with a turnaround at mile 7. This threw me off and made me scared thinking that the race might end up being 14 miles. I pictured the course map in my head and thought I might have remembered seeing this longer out part, but it was concerning.
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mile 5-8:33

mile 6-8:34

mile 7-8:32

On the Glacial Drumlin Trail

On the Glacial Drumlin Trail


Once I’d reached the turn around point, I decided to pick up the pace a bit. I couldn’t believe how good my legs felt considering I’d felt terrible on all of my runs last week. My legs wanted to go faster which was an awesome feeling. I love how once the weather warms up it seems the legs want to go faster.

mile 8-8:19

mile 9-8:06

mile 10-8:23
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I hadn’t been doing much running this past six weeks, and the runs I did go on were not long. I ran just short of 7 miles a week ago, which was my longest run since my double weekend in mid-February. I felt good considering this. I had some major muscle memory action going on. Despite this, I did start feeling tired during the last three miles. By the finish line, I was glad to be done.

mile 11-8:17

mile 12-7:59

mile 13-8:07

mile 13.1-7:24

I loved this race. The city and trails were beautiful. The packet pickup, race, aid stations, and finish were so organized and easy for runners. Running near the river and the parks were great with spring finally here.* I’d highly recommend adding this race to your spring calendar. It is always hard to find races early in spring and this one was great. They also have a full marathon which goes off the paved paths. I’d love to try that one someday. Visit http://www.runthetrailbreaker.com/ for more information!
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Trailbreaker Half Marathon
Time: 1:52:27
Pace: 8:35
Overall: 158/588
Gender: 40/329
Age Group: 18/91

The supportive husband and I.

The supportive husband and I.

*I wrote this post on Sunday after grilling out. I thought spring was here. The Weather Channel forecast has made me rescind my previous comment about spring being here. I guess the word is still out on that.

{Friday Fab 5}

This week was super busy and crazy, so I will let the photos do the talking! Sorry no new recipes to share this Friday!

{#1} I love this time of year, spring weather or not, because of March Madness! My husband and I always wager a bet on our brackets against each other. Last year I won; this year we will see! Who do you have winning the championship this year?

Go Louisville!

Go Louisville!


{#2} I did catch a great sunset on my way home from a run this week. Who would have guessed it was 20 degrees with 20 mph winds making it feel like 7 degreees?

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Running around Lake Tomah.

{#3} I finally got caught up grading by staying late at school one night this week. Notebooks are graded! Don’t you love the feeling of being caught up at work! Amen!

Almost 120 science notebooks!

Almost 120 science notebooks!

{#4} I love trying new flavors of coffee from different coffee shops-especially on cold days! Mom and I grabbed coffee at Grounded on Main Street in La Crosse before watching the St. Patrick’s parade. Yum! Any places you’d recommend?
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{#5} I signed up for another spring half marathon in April. What races are you doing this spring?
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Enjoy your weekend!

Sarah