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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Crazylegs Classic

Yesterday, Mike and I and 15,000 of our closest friends ran the Crazylegs Classic 8K in Madison. This was an exciting milestone for me - it was the race that piqued my interest in running and the race I have looked forward to all the past year. I saw coverage on the news last year that was when I decided that running was for me and I wanted to race.
We picked up our race packet at the Kohl center on Friday afternoon so we wouldn't have to battle a race day crowd. Nothing was real special about the packet, just a tshirt and a bunch of flyers in a bag - no good swag.
Saturday, we were up bright and early and on our way to Madison. I had printed out the race info and maps, so we knew we had to get there early in order to get parking and get a ride to the square on the shuttle, so we left the house at about 7am. We arrived in plenty of time and had a couple hours to walk around the square where the Farmers market was going on too. There were lots of yummy treats and gorgeous plants. We ate a gimongous homemade cookie and strawberry rhubarb turnover from one of the Amish bakery stands (can you say heavenly???? YUM!) as we ll as sampling some cheese and cheese curds and beef sticks. Not my usual fare, but on race days, I let myself have a little treat. Someone on the square had brought a tiny monkey that we watched for a while. At one point the monkey climbed off his shoulder and started drinking from a lady's straw in her smoothie - it was funny - what are you going to do when a monkey grabs your drink but let him drink it?
The race was a wave start, beginning at 10am. We were in Wave Z (last in the alphabet, first in your hearts :-) ) There were waves through HH I think, but they were probably walk ons........ Anyhow, there were people everywhere in the streets around the square, and we were finally able to start moving our wave forward about 10:30. It was very well organized and there were lots of Badger athletes and coaches in street high fiving everyone that went by and wishing them luck. We saw Brent Bielema, Barry Alvarez, and lots of other big names. I am sure we saw athletes I should be naming but unfortunately I am not sharp enough to recognize them to report, sorry.
Mile 1 was a breeze, and as we turned the corner to start mile 2, we saw that it was the stretch of road on Observatory Drive. That meant that most of the was up, up, uphill along the same route we ran for the Homecoming Run that nearly killed us! Truly it was not that bad since we had been discussing the probability that there we were going to encounter the hill from hell again and we were ready for it. Once we reached the University Observatory at the top, we knew it was downhill after that for a while.
We hit mile marker three as we started along a road alongside Lake Mendota that went out and back and around a parking lot. We were surprised to run past a man getting CPR on the side of the road (then later getting shocked by paramedics on our way back past) that had obviously been a racer not long beforehand. I don't know why that was so shocking to me. As a nurse, I have been a part of and witnessed too many codes to count and I know they are never pretty to watch. They are always very rough looking and brutal - there is nothing quite as icky as feeling and hearing a rib cage crush under your compressions. It was just so unexpected I guess to see it on the roadside and keep going (by the way, I would have offered my help, but there was more than enough there with the cops, paramedics, and other bystanders). I spent the next mile thinking about how important it is to wear ID on a run so that someone can reach family quickly. I think EVERY ONE needs to find a way to identify themselves for an unexpected emergency - pleas, please, please get yourself a RoadID or some other product to wear and USE IT! I wear one every time and I always will after seeing this roadside rescue.
We felt great the last 2 miles and I really tried to pour on the gas where I could. We high fived a guy on stilts dressed as Uncle Sam and gave the Rocky gesture to some frat guys as they blasted the Rocky theme at the crowd from their lawn.
We turned the corner and saw the stadium and I knew I had a lot left to give. We took off up the hill as fast as I could, which was about 9:30 pace up the hill towards Camp Randall stadium. We turned into the stadium and ran out onto the field to the stands filled with people and lots of music and activity. We watched ourselves cross the finish on the scoreboards big screen. It was awesome. I finished with an official time of 54.32 and my Garmin gives me a total distance of 5.19. We were 7677/9033 (Mike was 7671 but would hav finished faster if he had run his own race instead fo mine).
We saw a lot of cool stuff on the run. There was a guy who ran it backwards. There was also a group of guys who ran it in full 3 piece suits and ties and tennies. There are lots of folks on front lawns shotgunning beer in our honor. As one of the later waves taking off, it was really cool to look ahead, especially from the top of Observatory Drive onto the runners ahead who were wall to wall up the street as far as we could see. I will definitely make this an annual event.
The weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm. We said we wished we had thought about buying a couple throwaway sweatshirts from Goodwill to wear in the morning. Mike just braved the cold until we got going and warmed up and I wore a Nike zippered sweatshirt that I ran with around my waist. Next time we are going to follow Pat's advice and bring a throwaway instead, that would have been easier.
See Mike's blog for pictures of the TShirt. He also took a picture of his autograph from Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch from his childhood, which is kind of cool.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My First Half Century Ride

Today I reached another milestone - completing my first half century (50 mile) bike ride. You can see it here. Janet sent out an email to Velo Club members for an endurance ride Sunday to either Whitewater or Beckman Mill. So, I got up this morning and tried to figure out what to wear. First, I had on shorts and a sleeveless bike jersey. I stood outside a few minutes - too cold. So then I tried a short sleeved jersey with shorts and jacket - still too cold. I pulled some running tights over the shorts and decided that was enough. I threw my phone, a Pria 110 bar, a can of dog spray, and a chapstick in my jersey and off i went.

It was a race weekend for the club, so the only rider besides Janet and I was Randy the Window washer guy. We decided to head to Whitewater Lake to hopefully take advantage of the wind direction. It was a fairly flat ride with just a few rolling hills but the wind was WICKED! We got to the Lake in pretty good time, took a quick breather (read "potty break") and enjoyed the scenery and a snack, then headed back towards home.

There was a nice tailwind for part of the ride, but then we turned onto M which became MM, about an 8 mile stretch of road that was completely into the wind. I was pedaling into the wind, giving 30 mph effort onyl to look down and see the Garmin telling me I was going 12 mph. It was not a good time in the ride for me to be working so hard for such meager results and I found myself choking back a couple of tears of frustration and exhaution. I managed to suck it up and keep going since I didn't really want to look like a baby in front of my friends.

Overall, even with a short stretch of mental breakdown aside, it was a good ride and I think Mike would really enjoy doing it next time with me. We will need to pick a less windy day though! The garmin says I burned 2682 calories on the ride, so now I think I should eat something in celebration - I am thinking about a Weight Watchers Chocolate Cookie Dough Sundae, anyone care to join me?

Yesterday, we went to Jeff and Micheles to bring some new baby clothes. I bought her a jean skirt with pink ruffles, some softer headbands, and a swimsuit with mtching terry coverup. We played dress up and stuffed her round baby body into the ruffly butt swimsuit - it was too cute!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Tattoo Dilemma

So Mike and I are contemplating getting a pair of matching tattoos. I saw one on Runners World Online that I really liked, but I hate to be a copy cat so we've been looking for others that would be tasteful yet meaningful. Here are some pictures - I posted a poll from just in case you feel like putting in your two cents on the matter. Some are actual tats and others are pictures of symbols I found online after some research.

Buddhist Endless Love Symbol : This is the one I saw on RWOL. Love the tattoo, but feels kind of unoriginal on my part.

Celtic Shield Knot: I like this one because it looks like 4 connected hearts, which to me represents not just Mike and I, but the boys too.

Celtic Marriage Blessing: Not sure why, but I like this one
Welsh Wedding Knot: Saw this on a website, I like it but I would probably choose to do it with shading and not the color.
Celtic Wedding Knot: I like this one too. Simple yet symbolic.

Vote for which one you think suits me better by clicking here or clicking the poll in the right hand column.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A Run, lots of Rain, and a Bosnian Dinner

Well, the weekend brought us lots and lots of rain, wind, and cold. WE really only got a break in the weather long enough to unload our new hot tub yesterday and long enough for me to get in a 5.2 mile run this morning. The rest of the last several days have been nothing but rain, rain, rain, and more rain.
We filled our time with our favorite past time, shopping. We went to the big sale at the bike shop not once but twice, as well as Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Best Buy, and anywhere else we thought we might like to look at stuff.
Tonight we went to the Eagle Inn for an authentic Bosnian dinner, a fundraiser for the Southern Wisconsin United Nations Association, which was seeking to raise money for the Adopt-A-landmine project in Bosnia Herzegovina. It is apparently part of a worldwide project called Night of a thousand dinners (N1KD). One of the CNAs I supervise is a Bosnian immigrant and she asked me to please come to the fundraiser - I just couldn't tell her no, so we went. The food was SO good. It was all authentic and homemade by Marija and her group. There was a soup with navy beans and lamb (pebranaz), then the main dish was handmade sausage with hot pepper sauce (cevopi with ajvar), and a Pita dish that was made with spinach, feta cheese, and egg made from phyllo dough (Pita di spinaku). Dessert was a baked apple with walnuts (tufahi) and a small piece of chocolate cake (cupavac). Everything was absolutely delicious and it went for a good cause, so it was win-win.

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