{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
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Always fun and a great way to take the seriousness out of your training and racing.

#9-Running solid miles all winter

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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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.
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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!

Sarah

{Friday Fab 5-Snicker Chex Mix, Map Art, Chester Woods 50k, Slow Cooker Lasagna,…}

{#1-Snickers Chex Mix}

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Last weekend for the Super Bowl we had a few friends over. I love any opportunity to make new recipes and the husband loves Snickers, so I knew this would be a good one. It ended up completely exceeding my expectations. Amazing! Seriously-go to the grocery store and get the ingredients to make this NOW! Definitely a treat not to keep in the house all the time as it’s addicting. I took the rest of ours to share with other teachers at school. The husband got home on Monday night, saw the empty container, and demanded to know where the Snickers Chex Mix was. He was mad that I took it to school. It is that good. Another favorite of the night was the Feta-Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Meatballs I made. They were yummy!

{#2-Lululemon Keep It Up Jacket}

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In a Wisconsin Marathon Training post a few weeks ago, I mentioned my new favorite running jacket. When I bought the jacket I wasn’t completely sure it was worth the money (I put my x-mas gift cards towards the purchase of the jacket). The jacket seemed so simple, almost a bit boring.

Shockingly, I don’t own another black running jacket for cold weather so I decided to keep it. Taking it out for its first run, it was love at first mile. The jacket stays put, the soft shell blocks wind and repels wet snow without trapping heat, and keeps me warm. The hood isn’t annoying, you can button the hood without wearing the hood providing neck warmth, and remove it completely if you want. As you run and warm up a mile or two in, you can hold the jacket open in place with magnetic fasteners on either side of the zipper. It is easy to layer under and does look stylish, too. If you’re looking for a new jacket to wear in the winter weather that has been colder than most for many, this is a great choice.

{#3-Slow Cooker Lasagna}
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Hate making lasagna because of its time consuming layers? Then try this super easy to make, fast cooking time, and delicious to eat version. Plus, there are so many ways to personalize this dish to your liking; you can choose your favorite sauce, cheese(s), veggies, and even pasta type if lasagna isn’t your thing.

{#4-Map Wall Art Project}

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I have an obsession with daydreaming about travel. Wanderlust gets the best of me at least once a day. I’m grateful of the places I’ve gotten to visit despite my not-so-full Passport. I love reminiscing about the places I’ve (we’ve) visited, the food and beers I tried, and the sights of each place.

To remember and revisit these memories, spend more time cherishing the travels I’ve made, and to remain inspired to enjoy the journey-I created this map art project. Each pin represents a place the husband and I have been either together or on our own. The purple pins represent my travels and the teal pins represent the husband’s travels. Most of the pins represent OUR travels.

One of my favorite things to do with the husband is travel as he is my favorite travel companion. We simply have so much fun exploring together, talking, and life dreaming. It’s our philosophy that {Home Is Wherever I’m With You}. The song Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetics Zeros is basically our theme song! πŸ™‚

To make the larger map I purchased a map that was appealing to my eye and matched the colors in our family room. I then glued the map to foam board that the husband cut to size with an utility knife.

Then came the fun part-putting in our pins. Reminiscing over our travels before we were a twosome and after was a great way to spend an evening. We then put the map in a frame leaving out the glass. Each time I look at our project on the wall I’m reminded of travels past and coming in the future, and my heart skips a beat.

The last step of the project is putting the black and white photos taken from our different travels on the wall surrounding the map. I’ll be sure to share a photo when this is complete. All we have to do is hang the photos.

{#5-Chester Woods 50k}
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I officially registered for my first ultra marathon (50k) as of a few weeks ago. I had a race schedule change to the Chester Woods 50k rather than the Kettle 50k. The Chester Woods was closer, half the cost, and in the morning-all logical reasons to switch. Plus I’ll need the husband’s support, so it worked better for him, too. So scary, but so excited for this next adventure!

Anyone have a new distance on their race calendar this year? Don’t forget…get Snickers ingredients NOW. It is worth the break in clean eating.

Happy Weekend and eating of Snicker Chex Mix!

{3,2,1…Happy 2014 Goals}

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Here they are…my fitness related goals for 2014!

{#1-Run my first ultra marathon}

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So this is a big one for me (and a scary one)! I’ve been thinking about going longer for a few months. Registration for the Kettle Moraine 100 opens Tomorrow and I’m signing up. I’m not totally cray cray though…I’m signing up for the 50k (31 miles) in honor of my 30th birthday the weekend before. I’ll save the 100k and 100 mile races for when I really lose it.

{#2-Run more trails}

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This goal goes with goal #1 since most ultra marathons are on trail systems and the 50k is no different. I’ve been liking the trails more and more for the private conversations with nature (not literally) and their scenic beauty. Getting state park passes for Christmas from the in-laws seemed like the ultimate sign. Plus with our amazing road trip this summer I have a feeling there will be some great trail runs!

{#3-Cross off two more states at minimum towards reaching my 50 in 50 ultimate goal}

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I’m registered for both of these races. I’d love to run more than two this year, but alas I don’t have an unlimited racing and travel budget. Without a sugar daddy for a husband, I will be content with the great places I do get to visit this year.

{#4-Complete a Century ride}
After injuring my ankle and rediscovering biking after a ten year absence, I realized how much I enjoy cross training on the bike. This summer I plan to ride the entire La Crosse State bike trail to the Sparta-Elroy trail to the 400 trails end in Reedsburg…exactly 100 miles in a day!

{#5-HIIT workouts after short runs and yoga once a week}
I was very inconsistent with HIIT workouts last year. This year I’m scheduling them after my short run days. I started doing yoga this year and want to make sure I do it at least once a week. More would be great, but I need to be realistic, too.

{#6-Train and Pace my husband to finishing his first marathon}

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I put this one last because I don’t think he needs that much help, but I did make his training plan, buy him running clothes and fruity GU for Christmas, and will be running with him so it counts for something.

Those of you who have ran a marathon before probably remember all the questions and uncertainty you had while training for your first. I’m going to document what it’s like to train with your husband along with all those first marathon experiences in a new post each week. If you’ve never ran a marathon yet or are training for one, join us! Stay tuned!!

When the champagne has worn off start thinking about YOU! What are your 2014 fitness goals? You only get one body…how will you take care of yours?

Happy 2014!