Tag Archives: Charlevoix

 HAWAII, KITTENS, AND AGE GROUP AWARDS, OH MY! (or, what I’ve been up to since my 50 mile race)

Widget Medal

Our newest medal model, Widget

After my 50 mile race on April 29th, May arrived and flew by in a flash. Though I only logged about 80 miles of running that month (my lowest monthly mileage since 2012), I guess I had a few good excuses.

First was my trip to Hawaii. OH MY GOODNESS WHERE ARE ALL THE PICTURES?!?!?! Well, though I was in paradise, it was nonetheless a business trip in paradise. I took some pictures but the business at hand left little time for exploring outside of the Honolulu city limits. That’s not to say I didn’t have a blast. Waikiki is full of great shopping, bars, restaurants, and beautiful ocean views. Though the weather was perfect for outdoor running, the amount of tourists and some scary, sun-fried locals made me cautious about running outside by myself. Alas, all the miles I logged while in Hawaii were on the hotel treadmill. Shout-out to Maui Brewing Company for having some delicious beers, and to the person who invented the Mai Tai.

The morning after I landed in Michigan, after sleeping in until 11am because I had just flown through a billion different time zones, Shawn whisked me away to a belated birthday brunch (oh yeah, I had a birthday while in Hawaii). Suspiciously, he grabbed our cat carrier before we departed. We had been casually looking at kittens available for adoption but suddenly I realized Shawn’s longing for a kitten was serious. He had something up his sleeve. After having lunch at the New Hudson Inn (they stopped serving breakfast at 11am, jerks), Shawn drove us to a local Pet Supplies Plus that was having an adoption event. Long story short- Laura spots black kitten, Laura holds black kitten, Shawn and Laura walk out with black kitten. Black kitten is now Widget.

During the joy that comes with raising a kitten, the first week Widget was in our home, I unfortunately missed some issues going on with our existing kitty, Beans. Shawn mentioned he didn’t eat much while I was in Hawaii but I selfishly attributed it to him being anxious that I was away. After Widget’s arrival Beans began to eat less, rarely use the litter box, and hid away from us. After the first couple days I blamed it on stress from the new kitten. But by mid-week I was concerned. He began vomiting regularly and showing absolutely no interest in food. He stopped purring, meowing, and acting like his normal cheerful self. By Thursday night I decided he needed immediate help and took him to the emergency vet in town. After examining him until 1:30am, it was found Beans had Pancreatitis, a UTI, and a possible mass showed up on an X-ray. My poor baby kitty had to spend all of Memorial Day weekend in the hospital recovering while Shawn, Widget, and I went up North to my parent’s home in Charlevoix for the first time in a year. It’s been over a week since Beans has been home, and I wish I could say he’s made a 100% recovery. However, he has a follow-up appointment tomorrow to find out for sure about that possible mass. In short, I’ve been an absolute mess. I blame myself for him getting sick and I just want my normal chatty, affectionate, goofy, kitty back.

In the midst of Beans’ illness, I ran my first race since my 50 miler, the Miles For Mankind Half Marathon in Westland, MI this past Saturday. I finished in a time of about 2:13ish, which while slow, was still my fastest half marathon time in over three years. To quote our current president: Sad! But it also gave me hope that faster times are ahead. Since this was a small race, my completely non-impressive time was somehow enough for me to win 3rd in my age group. I got a lovely green ribbon that you can see modeled by my Widget.

Before I knew it, May was completely over and June was upon me, leaving 13 weeks until my next 50 miler. I’m happy to report that in addition to the 13.1 miles I ran in Westland, I was able to log 48 total miles this past week. My butt is officially in gear. I have a lot more “life” being thrown at me lately- a sick kitty, a busy job, a house, a husband who sometimes appreciates having me around, but I’m determined to rock North Country in August.

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MY HIGHLY ANTICIPATED NEW POST, BRACE YOURSELVES!!!!!!!

Oh, hey there! My it’s been a long time since I’ve updated this thing. I’ve been BOMBARDED with requests to update my thousands upon thousands of readers with an update of my activities, and I’ve never been one to disappoint. So get yourself a snack and a beer and get settled while you read back on some of the exciting things I accomplished this past summer/fall:

1) I got hit by a car! Okay, this isn’t necessarily an accomplishment, but anytime you collide with heavy machinery it definitely makes the memory bank. One August morning I was out for a training run and crossed an intersection at the “walk” signal. Glancing over my left shoulder, I didn’t see any drivers turning right into the intersection. Unfortunately, a black SUV was turning from the far right turn lane and hit me with their front passenger mirror and front end. They also drove off, bastard! Anyway, I was lucky to walk away relatively unharmed. I sustained a bruised calf muscle and tendonitis in my left foot that took me out of the running game for nearly a month.

While I’m totally healed by now, my speed and endurance have not returned. At all. In fact, I’m practically back to the speeds I was hitting my first year running. It’s been humbling for sure, and a bit disconcerting. Running feels extra difficult lately. I’ve scheduled a doctor’s appointment to rule out any vitamin deficiencies, or cancer or AIDS or whatever.

2) I ran my fifth marathon in my fourth state! MEDALS AND RUNNING ALL THE STATES!!! I knocked Indiana off my list by running the Indianapolis Monumental on November 1st. I had no great expectations for this run. My lack of long runs due to my accident and slowing speeds made me adopt a “fuck it!” attitude. I knew I could finish, and that’s all I expected.

What I didn’t expect was how much fun I’d have. Indianapolis is a fun town- clean, safe, and full of bars and good eats. The architecture was also stunning. I made this trip with my friend and running-buddy extraordinaire, Mary Beth. After our respective races we ate and drank away the soreness.
Oh, and for the record, I finished in 5:02:06. Blaaaah. Whatever, I got my medal bitches!

3) I finished a triathlon without freaking out in the water! By far my proudest accomplishment this summer. On September 14th I completed the Holly Recreation Area sprint triathlon, held by Tri To Finish. It was one of the first chilly mornings of the fall and temps were in the low 40s. The scenery was pretty and serene and helped calm my out of control swimming nerves. I finished the swim, slowly but surely, and proceeded to one of the hilliest bike courses I’ve ever experienced. In fact, I saw many an athlete walk their expensive tri bikes up the relentless hills.

I, however, stayed on my 1,000-ton road bike and never walked. I ran the 5K with no feeling in my quads and crossed that finish line with immense pride. I did it! Finally a successful sprint triathlon in 2014! I fell in love with Tri To Finish events so much after this race that I entered their contest to be a sponsored team member in 2015. What does that mean? I have no idea! But they claim they pick “heart over speed”, so thank God for that. I submitted my pitch yesterday. Fingers and toes crossed!

4) I paced more races! Along with my Your Pace or Mine buddies, I’ve been fortunate to pace two half marathons this fall- The Brooksie Way and the Clarkston Backroads. What’s better than running a fall half marathon? Running for free and inspiring other runners, of course! I absolutely love pacing and can’t wait for more opportunities. There’s even been talks of YPOM being asked to pace the Charlevoix Half Marathon, which all my millions of readers will recognize as my favorite half marathon EVER.

So what’s next? I’m currently training for the Rock N’ Roll New Orleans Marathon on January 25th. My super-awesome-boyfriend Shawn will be running with me, although much faster and further ahead of me I’m sure. Jerk. Mary Beth and some wild YPOMers will be joining the fun as well. I would love a PR, no matter how small. In the meantime I’m cleaning up my diet (haha not really), doing more speedwork, and waiting to hear what the doctor tells me in regards to my recent sluggishness. I’ve also been hitting up the pool more often in hopes of an epic and wildly stupid goal I have for next summer…you’ll have to stay tuned.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your tips for getting over a running slump below!*

*Besides rest, because that would just be silly.

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Making New Goals and Fighting Old Demons

A peculiar and unexpected thing happened to me as I ran the Fifth Third Riverbank 25K in Grand Rapids on May 10th. No, I didn’t shit my pants again. That’s almost expected these days. What happened was I cried for the first time during a race. These weren’t tears of pain, but rather boredom. I was literally bored to tears. After mile 8 something broke down inside of me and I began to hate every minute of that run. Physically, I was fine! I was averaging sub-nine minute miles up to that point. My mind, however, was done. It was my third long-distance event in three weeks and I was finally experiencing what all the wise people around me told me I would: Burnout.

Obviously I had some plans to adjust. Now that my house was sold and I could finally close the chapter in my life titled “Divorce Drama”,  I no longer had the need to run away. The first decision I made was to drop down to the Half Marathon in Charlevoix. I felt like a loser, but my running soul needed a break from training plans and long runs. I needed to ENJOY running again. I also decided to stick to my planned 50K in September. Trail running will be fairly new to me and I’m looking forward to the challenge (and not having to worry about speed). I can’t wait for long, leisurely, runs with friends out on the trails all summer long, with my nifty new pink Camelback that some really awesome guy bought me for my birthday.

So far I’m two weeks in to my “Don’t Follow a Plan!” plan, and I’m happy to report my love of running has returned. I’ve been doing a lot of morning runs before work and I love how a good pre-dawn jaunt sets the rest of your day up for success. Well, for the most part anyway. Another peculiar thing has been occurring as of late that has me concerned. Maybe it’s the less miles run per week paired with my ravenous appetite, but my once dormant bulimia has tried nudging its way back in to my life. The voices telling me that I’m fat and worthless and need to fill the void with food to be immediately expelled are back inside my head. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve had a relapse in the past week.

Eating disorders, like alcoholism, are never “cured”, you just learn to better control them. You may be wondering why I’m sharing this information  (hey, I am the girl who’ll talk to any willing party about poop after all). The main reason is to hold myself accountable. I need to regain that control I had over bulimia for years after letting it take my life and happiness hostage for so long. I don’t want to go through that again, or put my loved ones through that again. I may also need to seek professional help to correct my disordered eating patterns lately. I think a visit to a dietician would be beneficial, perhaps I can find one with experience working with eating disorders.

All is not lost, oh dear strangers of the Internet. Despite my recent troubles I am experiencing levels of happiness in my life I never thought possible. In fact, I think it speaks to my newly developed confidence and strength that I’m able to recognize an emerging problem and fix it right away instead of letting myself drown like I would in years past. I have a lot to be excited about in the coming months (TRAILS! SUNSHINE! MEDALS! KITTIES! MY MANLY MAN-MAN*!) and I can’t let that bitch bulimia ruin the fun.

*The word “boyfriend” sounded silly when describing a 30-year-old man, so this is the best descriptor I could produce

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Racing and Pacing and Beer Chasing

RACING

Hey, didn’t I run a marathon recently?

Officially it’s been a little over two weeks since I ran the Salt Lake City Marathon, though it feels like ages ago. You can probably tell by my reluctance to write a recap that the race didn’t go quite as well as planned (the other reason being my master procrastination skills). My official finish time was 4:29:02, which is officially a 30-second PR, but I was hardly in a celebratory mood after finishing this marathon. My run was plagued by stomach issues so severe that I had to stop FIVE TIMES to use the port-a-johns. Every stop I saw my goal time slipping further and further away, and I even thought about quitting. However, in the midst of my despair, I thought about how I was getting that medal whether I finished in four hours or six hours, and to stop acting like such a sore loser. I had trained in below freezing wind chills and through personal turmoil, so I wasn’t going to let a “crappy run” (see what I did there!) ruin a good time. And in the end, I did have a great time running Salt Lake City. The course was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I had some of my best friends there to cheer me on. Life was truly good that day.

My next marathon will be a return to Charlevoix on June 21st. I’ve been cutting back on sugar, which I believe to be the culprit of my crappy experience (I did it again!). Nothing but plain bagels before long runs from now on, and absolutely NO CAFFEINATED GU! I’ll be experimenting a lot with pre-long run nutrition in the next month, which will hopefully get me closer to my goal of breaking four hours.

PACING

A few months back a message was posted to the Your Pace or Mine forum asking for volunteer pacers for the Let’s Move Half Marathon in Mt. Clemens. Though it was a week after my marathon, I knew I would have no issue pacing the 2:20 group and happily volunteered my novice services. I figured it would be a fun new running experience, plus I get to run a half marathon AND get a medal for FREE! I had a blast with my pacing partner, telling horrible jokes and feeling kind of like a badass when people marveled at my ability to run a half a week after a full marathon. I can’t wait for more pacing opportunities in the future, as my race addiction is quite expensive. Below is a picture that captures the sheer joy a free race will bring:

I am ever so white.

I am ever so white.

BEER CHASING

This past Friday I ran ANOTHER FREE RACE thanks to the kind people in the Southeast Michigan Runners Facebook group. The race was the Hightail to Ale 5K held at the Atwater Brewery in Detroit. Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Atwater Beer. I had tried their IPA in the past and it was pretty gross. However, my favorite kind of beer is always FREE, so I was excited to run a 5K that gave you not only a free beer, but also a pint glass, shirt, and bottle-opener medal! Add in a nice jaunt along Detroit’s Riverfront, and this race was pretty much perfect. Despite hosting over 4,000 runners I was able to PR according to my watch, though my name is mysteriously absent from the official results. Hmm. Oh well, it was a fun Friday night race and I got to see a lot of familiar faces. Metro Detroit truly has a tight running community.  And as for my free beer, I tried the Dirty Blonde. It was…okay.

My next race will be the Fifth Third Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids, my first time doing this famous 25K! Speaking of beer, a stop to Founders will be absolutely necessary. After that, I’m giving racing a rest until Charlevoix. I think my body and wallet will be grateful.

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Pre-Marathon Ramblings: Salt Lake City Edition

Full marathon number four is less than two weeks away, and like most everything else in my life, I’m in complete denial about it. My training has been adequate at best. I’ve had lots of high-mileage weeks; however, in the month of March I blew off many long runs. When all of your training partners get injured, and the weather is out to kill you, and not to mention all the fun of getting a divorce and starting life all over again, running a third 20 miler doesn’t sound so appealing.

My heart will also be heavy knowing that while I’m off running with friends half-way across the country, my entire family will be gathered celebrating Easter and my grandmother’s 95th birthday. I already missed everyone at Christmas, and I could use a good dose of Gudme dry-humor to lift my spirits. Also weighing on my soul is the incredibly difficult decision to re-home two of the cats Randy and I shared. Since I’m unable to take all three (and he’s taking none), it was my only choice. I feel better knowing that I have found some good places for them and they will be taken care of, but still, they were my family. It’s not something I’m going to get over any time soon. In fact, I’m crying as I type this.

I’ve been told two things recently by some very practical men in my life: 1) Focus on the positive, and 2) Happiness is a choice. In the midst of all the sadness there are many positive aspects of my life I’ve been ignoring: I’m able to run. I get to see one of my best friends in Utah that I rarely get to see. I get to keep one kitty, my first kitty, the one who reformed my “dogs only!” attitude. I have wonderfully supportive parents and friends. And last but certainly not least, I have someone in my life who I love and loves me back, inspires me to be the best version of myself, and most importantly puts up with my stress-induced mood swings. If you’re reading this baby: I love you and have no idea how you do it. You deserve a medal more than I do.

And as for happiness being a choice, this past year has taught me how true this really is. I doubt most of us wake up in the morning feeling amazing and stress-free and excited to go into work. If you do, go fuck yourself. Seriously though, we all make a conscious decision to put on our game faces and do the best we can. If we’re lucky something may make us laugh, or we’ll see a good friend, or there will be birthday cake in the office kitchen. Otherwise, all we have to depend on for our happiness is ourselves. I’m sure that if I keep trying to focus on the positives in my life, happiness will come more naturally.

Well, this really had nothing to do with my upcoming marathon, but sometimes you’ve just got to let it all out, you know? And whatever I left unsaid in this post will be demolished on the pavement of Salt Lake City. And if not, there’s always the Charlevoix Marathon. Or my first 50K in September. Or the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Good God, what have I done?!

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Obligatory Post About 2014 Goals

Hello Dear Readers (Wow I have Readers!):

I’m about four weeks into 2014 and already I can tell it’s going to be challenging, Polar Vortex aside. Between life, work, and run-ventures I’m going to have a full year. I have a lot to look forward to and much to stress over as well, which makes every day an odd mix of excitement and anxiety. Below I’ll try to make sense of the days that lie ahead in 2014 by outlining my two major goals for the year:

1) Live on my own and enjoy it: In a month or so I’ll be moving in to my own place, all by myself, for the first time, EVER. I’ll only have myself to depend on financially and all the bills I’ll be paying out of my less-than-stellar income sure have been a wake-up call. I’m not afraid to work two jobs if need be but I’d also like to be able to enjoy time out with my friends and my hobbies. Finances aside, the freedom involved in living alone will be fun. I can run when I want, watch what I want, cook what I want, or just walk around in my underwear with the radio on full blast like I usually do when I have to house to myself.

Speaking of my less-than-stellar income, part of this goal is to make myself more marketable, whether by new certifications or by working towards a new degree. First I need to figure out what I’m good at and what I’d enjoy doing for the next 30+ years. I’m getting by, but I’d love to get ahead, and I doubt “Really good at music trivia” is a plus on a resume.

2) Finish four marathons and a 50K: Holy shit what have I done?! Marathon #1 for the year is on Sunday, the Ohio Northern University Polar Bear Indoor Marathon. You read that correctly, 211 laps around an indoor track (I can’t wait to write a race recap!). Marathon #2 will be the Salt Lake City Marathon on April 19th. I’ve pegged this one as my PR Race, and I really hope to finish in 4:15 or less if the elevation doesn’t kill me. Marathon #3 will be the Charlevoix Marathon, which is tradition. If anything I’ll look at it as a training run for my 50K. Speaking of that, I’ll be running the Woodstock 50K on September 6th. Why? I figured if I’m going to run 31+ miles, I might as well do it the year I turn 31. And last but not least, I’ll be running marathon #4 in November, the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. If I don’t meet my time goal in the mountains of SLC, there’s always flat Indiana.

Thanks goodness I’ll have my favorite training partner Mary Beth to join in on the pain in Salt Lake City and Indianpolis. Why have I signed myself up for such madness? Well, I like the discipline of training for one. Secondly, it gets my mind off of my implosion of a personal life. Thirdly, I love running adventures with friends. The memories and laughs they create are priceless.

I’m thinking these two main goals will be enough to keep me occupied through the rest of the year. There are other smaller goals I’d like to accomplish if I have the time, such as volunteering at some races, swimming and biking more, maybe even completing another sprint triathlon. I’d also like to read more and am toying with the idea of not having a television in my new place (I doubt I’ll be able to afford cable anyway). Despite my whining about money, I am truely rich in love and support from my family and friends. No goal would be possible without them.

What are your 2014 goals? Anyone out there as crazy (or crazier) with their race schedule than I am?

 

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Charlevoix Marathon: A Weekend of Running, Family, and Road Bananas

Beans offers a congratulatory handshake.

Beans offers a congratulatory handshake.

You all know I hate writing race recaps/reviews/whatever you call them, simply because I’m not good at it. Someone who is good at it is Jeff over at Detroit Runner. You can read his recap of running Charlevoix here. Now, on to my nonsense-

Long story short: I did it! I finished marathon #2, the Run Charlevoix Marathon, in 4:42:42. Now, the official results page shows a different number about a minute slower. But the number I’m posting is the one the race announcer quoted as I crossed the finish line. Race Announcer Man would never lie! The “gun time” can suck it.

Short story long: I will now break down my marathon experience highlighting the most important aspects, like…

The Weather! Around 55-60, extremely humid, with a light mist. The mist felt great and helped cool me off. It also lead to some epic chafing.

The Swag! Wow, Charlevoix really outdid themselves this year! Instead of a long-sleeved tech shirt, we got a really high-quality cotton T-Shirt (gender specific!), a performance hat, and running socks with “CVX 26.2” printed on them. Nice!

The Medal! Oh, only the most beautiful medal in all marathons, in my limited opinion. You can kind of sort of see it modeled by my cat above. It’s a heavy one, with a cool stained glass effect. It really captures the beauty of Downtown Charlevoix.

Aid Stations! They were plentiful and stocked with water, Gatorade, GU, and Twizzlers (??). The volunteers were friendly. Lots of port-a-potties as well, and yes I had to use one at mile 3.

Crowd Support! Almost non-existent. This is a small race, if you thrive on cheering strangers and bands at every mile, this race is NOT for you. I, for one, zone out so much while running that the apocalypse could be occurring around me and I wouldn’t notice, so it didn’t bother me.

Scenery! The full marathon course had several beautiful views of Lake Michigan. The overcast weather added to the mystique of the water. I’m not a very religious person, but there were points where I couldn’t help but thank God for the ability to run and for the gorgeous land around me.

Best Marathon Moment! Seeing my mom, dad, and Randy (and my parent’s dog Barley) cheering me on at mile 24. I wasn’t expecting them to be on the course at all! Their support helped me push through those final miles with a smile on my face.

Worst Marathon Moment! Stepping out of the port-a-potty at mile 3, I stepped directly into a massive puddle in the grass. My entire right foot was soaked for the remainder of the race, though with the 100% humidity I hardly noticed.

Funniest Marathon Moment! Seeing my brother Jeff wandering along the side of the road at mile 25. Apparently he grew impatient waiting for me to finish so he started walking until he saw me. “What are you doing here?” I asked. “I found you a banana if you want it. It was on the side of the road,” he replied. No, I did not eat the road banana.

All in all, it was another amazing weekend spent in Charlevoix with my family and running a PR. I would’ve liked my time to be more around the 4:30 range, but shaving 37 minutes off of my first marathon time is nothing to sneeze at. Plus I can honestly say I never hit the dreaded wall. I was sore, of course, but my energy was consistent throughout. Now, I have my sights set on the Wineglass Marathon in New York in October. Marathons are beasts, but for the first time I feel like a worthy foe.

 

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