Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lisa's Final Blog - Chicago Marathon

First of all, I want to thank everyone who donated to Team Higgie to help us exceed our goal of $5,000 for PPMD! I can't tell you how much we appreciate your kindness. I also want to thank everyone for your support, encouragement, kinds words and prayers as we trained for 18 long weeks and then had the privilege of running the Chicago Marathon October 13, 2013. It was an experience of a lifetime!

I also want to thank Alison, JB, Mitzi and Stormie for your friendship. I love you girls! I also want to give a shout out to our families for putting up with our crazy training schedule. I know my husband has said on a couple of different occasions he was ready for it to be over. It was a very time consuming schedule and it wears you out. Many weekends were spent at home in bed early because of those longs runs. Thanks for putting up with us.

This was my first trip to Chicago and boy was I excited. I have heard things about the city and let me tell you I was not let down. As we boarded the plane in Wichita I was thinking about how I would feel on my trip back home. I would be stepping off that plane having completed the Chicago Marathon! That is huge. Our flight was a short hour and forty five minutes, smooth sailing, although Stormie will tell you different. We got our bags and found a van to take us to the hotel right at 5:00. Jeez! The traffic was crazy, they had already started closing down streets for the marathon so it took us longer to get to our hotel than our flight. I get car sick so the girls always put me up front with the driver. Well, this guy was a doozy! Had to hear all about his love life for about 2 hours.

This was such a different feeling than I had the first marathon I was in. Remember, Mitzi and I only had about 3 weeks of training before we ran that race. Whereas this time, it was 18 weeks. I felt a little bit better about this run versus the first one. I still had self doubt creep in because in our training we only ran 16 miles three times for our long runs. On Saturday, we went to the expo to pick up our bibs and check out all of the exhibitors and the girls stopped at the pace runners table and signed us up. *Editors note: We did not sign up for anything :)* That is when I had a melt down. Freaked me out! I did NOT want to feel like I had to keep up with those pace runners, it really messed with my mind. I felt like I would let myself down as well as my running mates. And that's what happened! UGH. I missed it by 14 minutes.

Race morning is always crazy in our rooms. Do we have enough clothes on? Do we have too many clothes on? Do we have enough chomps or GU for the whole 26.2 miles? Did we forget to charge our iPod? Did we forget to charge our Garmin? How will this bagel and peanut butter sit in our belly? Is our bib straight? And the big concern of the morning is...can we poop? Yes, that is a huge topic on race day. NO ONE wants to have to stop and take care of business during a race!

We had about a half mile walk before we got to the start of that race. The closer we got to the start the more people fell in line with us. I think by the time it was all said and done there was over 50,000 people running the marathon. I can't even explain the sight of that many people in one place. Amazing! I felt pretty good, ready to get running, I was so excited to see the sights of Chicago and experience everything the race had to offer. And let me tell you, there was a lot to see! The first 13 miles seemed to fly by. There were bands, cheerleaders, drag queens, Elvis and 1.5 million spectators cheering you on to the finish line. I have never felt so important than I did while running this race! It felt like they knew me, knew what to say if they thought I was struggling, gave me the strength and courage to keep on running. I got high fives, prayers and signs of encouragement the entire way. How cool is that? JB's daughter and 3 of her sorority sisters were at mile 14 and 16 to cheer us on! And about mile 2, Chad Renn was in the crowd. Always great to see a hometown face in the sea of so many. His son lives in Chicago and was running his first marathon.

As I was getting closer to the finish line or so I thought, I was looking for a hill that they said was at the end. I kept waiting for it, but no hill. I was laughing to myself thinking I had stressed out over this dumb hill and it must have been so small I ran it and didn't even notice. Well, heck no! I had to turn a corner and there it was, the 9th street hill! I wanted to cry. I made it about half way up and this guy was yelling, you got it! You are almost to the top. UGH! My quads were on fire. I decided to walk, well that was even worse than running so I started to run again. Finally, I made it to the top thinking the finish line was close, but not we had to turn another corner. But thank goodness the rest of the way was downhill. I figured if my legs gave out then I could at least roll to the finish line.

Although I improved my time by close to an hour from my first marathon, I was disappointed that I had failed to get it done by 4:30. Trying to get past that, knowing that even to finish running 26.2 miles in the elite Chicago Marathon is a huge accomplishment in its self. I will always wonder if I had just ran a little faster, ran through the side aches, maybe skipped a drink station or two, would I have made my goal? Guess I will never know because I am done! My dear friend Alison is talking about another marathon. You go girl! I will be there to run a few short training runs with you and cheer you on as you run your marathon, but I am getting to old for this! LOL!

I think the ups and downs that all five of us went through the last 18 weeks are a true testament of our friendship. No matter what happens we have each other! Stormie, it is such a blessing to me to be able to do this for Ethan. I am so thankful that I have that guy in my life. He is a trooper! So, I want to challenge you all to get out there and run, walk, jog for those who can't. The rewards are amazing!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mitzi's Final Blog - Chicago is proud of it's marathon

Chicago Is Proud of Its Marathon

…and should be!  What an experience!  After attending the Expo on Saturday, we stopped at the Nike Town Store.  What a happening place…lots of energetic employees in the four story building and awesome customer service!  Everywhere we went, everyone was very friendly and happy to have us in town.

Sunday morning brought a 5:30 a.m. rise to get ready for our run.  We were out the door at 6:30 for the ¾ mile walk to the start line.  JB received a call from Chad Renn, who was in Chicago to watch his son, Zach, run in the marathon.  We were amazed to learn we were only 15 feet from where he was standing.  It was nice getting to see familiar faces.

As we made our way to our starting coral, we were completely surrounded by a mass of marathon runners.  Once the race started, it took us approximately eight minutes to cross the starting line.  We assumed we would be walking for awhile once we crossed the start line, but we actually started jogging shortly before we go to it.

The spectators were totally amazing!  Seriously, imagine 26.2 miles lined with people cheering you on.  They were all so excited to have 50,000 plus runners participating in their marathon.  Imagine a parade of runners!  The drink stations were staffed with caring individuals who tried to keep us hydrated for our run.  As for the runners, they were everywhere!  Throughout the entire route we were weaving and dodging runners.  There were hundreds of runners per block.  And for the record, we ran at least 26.6 miles due to weaving, and believe me, JB and I studied the course to cut every corner as short as possible.

As for our run, we all had personal records and were happy with our results.  I don’t think you would be normal if you didn’t catch yourself wondering where you could have shaved off some time.  I felt great at mile 16, which was the furthest we trained.  I believe it was mile 20 when it started wearing on me.  I thought to myself, one more hour of running and we’ll be done.  From mile 22 on, it was tough. 

We all stayed together until mile 15 when Lisa insisted we go on without her.  She had been battling a side ache for several miles and I felt her pain.  I used to get them all the time and they can stop you in your tracks.  At mile 16, Alison needed to stop for a restroom break so JB and I stayed back with her as Stormie ran on.  Once Alison hit the streets again, she stayed slightly behind JB and I until mile 18 when she said she needed to walk a little.  She too, insisted we go on.  JB and I caught up to Stormie and slowly edged past her.  Stormie said she hit her wall around mile 21.  I believe it was mile 22 when I told JB to go on without me.  I was getting light-headed and I knew if I stayed with her I would pass out and never finish.  And, if she stayed with me, she wouldn’t beat our 4:30 goal.  The strong willed and recovering from an injury, JB, took off for the finish line.  As I moved on, I found myself thankful for the Gatorade along the way.  I felt like my legs could get me there, but I was drained.  I’m not sure which mile I was at when the 4:30 pace group passed me, but I knew there was no way I could keep up with them at this point.

I knew there was a straight stretch from mile 24 through 26 and I kept looking for the turn at the end of 26.  The spectators throughout this stretch were incredible.  There was a constant roar from the crowd.  We had read there was a slight hill to finish the race and after running 26 miles on a relatively flat course, that slight hill was far from slight.  It truly compared to our 9th Street hill, but not on this day.  I made it 1/3 of the way and decided I had to walk it.  No, it was worse to walk so I jogged again.  No, jogging was worse.  I was thrilled to make it to the top and jogged in for my oh so happy crossing of the finish line.  I literally said out loud, “Thank you God!!” 

The whole marathon was just an incredible experience.  I can’t imagine running that distance again unless it would be in a setting like Chicago’s.  There was so much to see, I understand why runners continue to go back year after year.  My highlights of the run were:

  • Being a member of Team Higgie and Running For Our Sons…Going the distance to end Duchenne. 
  •  Having Madi and her KU friends there cheering us on.  Thank you all so much!!
  • Knowing our amazing Team Higgie support group from home was thinking about us and cheering us on.  You truly helped me through the last couple of miles.
  • Running through the area where the charity groups were gathered.  There were so many people and you could feel their support.
  • As you know, in Chicago there aren’t many flat buildings as they all go upward.  Early in the run, we ran through a block which housed maybe a nursing home or assisted living and we looked up and the windows were full of elderly people waving at us.  Imagine a mass of runners all waving at these wonderful people who probably wished they were able to run or just be outside.
  • Later in the run, we would pass a gentleman in a wheelchair who was cheering as loud as he could, “You can do it, use those legs!”  He brought tears to my eyes and I found myself wondering how long he had been sitting there cheering people on.  Very touching!
  • Crossing the finish line was awesome!  The five of us finished within 15 minutes of one another and I’m so very proud of everyone.  We trained hard and it paid off.  We didn’t want to separate from one another, but at the end we were glad everyone was able to give it their all.

We spent a lot of time running together.  Six days a week might have been a bit much for me.  Will I miss getting up at 3:00 a.m. to go run?  Not at all!

We trained for:
- 4 ½ months
- 18 weeks
- Ran 101 days out of those 18 weeks
- Averaged 6.58 miles during those 101 days (longest run was 16 miles, three times)
- Ran 6,642 minutes
- 111 hours   
4.6 days

Any way you look at it, we ran a lot.  We had laughs, stumbles, struggles, and injuries, but most of all, we have wonderful memories and I am so thankful we are able to Run For Those Who Can’t!  We get to go run, think about those that don’t have that choice.

To our supporters of Team Higgie, thank you so much!  Not only did you help us reach our monetary goal, you also played a part in getting us to the finish line.  Dr. Anders, thank you for keeping our team together.  We do appreciate you!


“There will be days when I don’t know if I can run a marathon.  There will be a lifetime knowing that I have.”

Alison's Final Blog - We have Delivered!

I have said this before, and I will say it again, I think running a marathon is much like having a baby.  The training is like the 9 months of being pregnant, the actual race is your labor, and crossing that finish line is the delivery! 

We started our training like every woman starts their pregnancy....excited but also nervous.  Since we had done this before, we knew it wasn't going to be easy, we were going to have good runs and bad runs, but we were determined to do this for our "family".  Since we all have already blogged about most of our "pregnancy", I will move forward to the "labor".

When we arrived at the hospital "Chicago", we were all very impressed!  The people, I think, we're just as excited that we were there as we were to be there.  We had well-wisher’s and people that had ran this marathon before that would give us tips on the race.  On the way to the expo, which was AWESOME, I asked Mitzi if she was okay with this being our last marathon.  She didn't hesitate before saying "yes", but thought we would have trouble talking Stormie in to saying yes to that.  So I turned to Stormie and asked for her pinking.  She gave it to me reluctantly, and asked why.  When I told her we were pinking swearing to no more marathons she yanked it away from me.  Mitzi was right!!  UGH!!!!  The thing about this family is that when one person decides to do something, although there may be hesitation and even some resistance from the others, it doesn't take long for us all to get on board and support the other by doing things as a team!  So I knew that if just one person wasn't quite ready to be finished with these silly races, there was a good chance I wasn't finished either.

Race day was finally here, the day we had spent 18 weeks training for.  I, personally, was soooo ready for this to just be over with.  Training, like pregnancy, is not my cup of tea.  It is just the necessary evil that you must go through to get to your goal.  I was ready for the sound of that horn so we could get this thing started.  Interestingly enough, I wasn't really nervous, just ready.  FINALLY, we are off!!  It was so exciting!  I can't even begin to describe the amount of people that were running along with us.  Everywhere you looked there were thousands of people.  At some points along the race, we would be a little higher than the runners ahead of us, and for as far as you could see it was just a river of people.  It really kind of freaked me out, so I spent the rest of the race by mostly looking down at the street directly ahead of me.

I felt extremely good for the first 16 miles, but then Mother Nature called.  I knew I couldn't wait until I was finished, so I let the girls know I had to stop and that I would catch up to them.  Lisa was struggling with a side ache so she had already slipped behind the rest of us.  After my bathroom stop I think I caught the others in about a half mile, but at mile 18 I crashed.  JB and Mitzi told me to "sprinkle" some faster paces in, and although my mind was telling my body to go faster it wasn't listening!  I knew at that point I would do nothing but hold them back so I told them to go on without me.  This was the first sign of hard labor!  It was time to focus and remember why I was doing this.  I ran the next few miles by myself....I'm not sure what mile I was on, but I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I thought it must be Lisa catching up to me, because I knew I must have been running turtle slow.  I was so surprised to see it was Stormie!  She had hit her wall and was also struggling.  Although we couldn't speak a lot, it was good to have one of my partners alongside me.  When I wanted to walk, she pushed me, and when she wanted to, I pushed her.  I think it was either mile 23 or 24, I saw Stormie's hand reach over to me with her pinky sticking up.  I reached over and grabbed it, and we both new without a word what we had just promised!  We told each other that we loved them, and treaded on.  At that point all I could think about was all of the people back home cheering us on, and I couldn't let them down.  This would be my last Marathon, and I was going to give it my all.  Stormie and I would stay together the rest of the race and cross the finish line hand in hand!  We did it!  My legs hurt like they have never hurt before, but it didn't matter because we had just finished our second Marathon.  It was like just going through excruciating labor that miraculously disappeared because you were staring down at that beautiful baby you just delivered.  Every single bit of pain you went through to get to this point, suddenly became worth it. 

Although we all made that promise that we would never again subject ourselves to this thing called a Marathon again, I must tell you that about 10 seconds after crossing the finish line I thought to myself......" I will do this again"!  Now to talk the rest of the family in to it!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Stormie's Final Blog - Chicago Marathon!

My Top Ten things I learned at the Chicago Marathon
  1. The Nike Town Store in Chicago is the best store I’ve ever been to. Ever. Seriously ever. You cannot walk in without smiling and you definitely can’t walk out without smiling. They have dancing employees –Dancing and Shopping. What a great marketing idea…  We even danced the Wobble in the middle of the store! It is awesome!
  2.  Never trust Siri when asking for bar locations. You’ll have to ask one of us ladies for this story. J
  3. GU…UGH. My go to fuel for training and racing is always the GU gels. You can eat them fast, they have enough calories and plenty of good stuff in them to keep you fueled during 26 miles. My favorite is the Vanilla Bean. I think they taste like a tootsie roll. But after eating 6 of them (one every 4 miles) I could care less to see another for a REALLY long time! And having almost barfed them up 2 times during the race, I’m really pumped that I don’t have to look at or taste one for a while! 
  4. Don’t forget to keep your eyes open and be in the moment. From the signs, to the buildings to the eyes of the spectators, it was amazing to take it all in. There were such great signs! “Kenyans are lazy because they only run 2 hours”, “Toenails are for sissy’s”, “You run better than the government” and so many other great ones. A sign I remember in particular was a young lady holding a big sign on the right side of the road that said “I don’t know you but I’m so proud of you!” I loved that one. The buildings and the scenery that we ran through was just breath taking. Chinatown and many of the other neighborhoods were beautiful! The coolest thing was that there were even spectators on the second or third floor of the buildings. If you looked up, you could see those people. We ran by a second floor home for older people and they were waving and cheering and other apartments that if you looked up, you could see people watching from their windows. It was so awesome. I’m very glad that I was aware of my surroundings this marathon as last time, I wasn’t really in body. If I would’ve been like that this time, I would’ve missed it all. Right Alison? J
  5. No matter how hard you train, how fit you believe you are, there comes a time when you hit that point of pain and self-doubt. It is in your mind how you adjust and overcome that point. The key to running a marathon, running faster, or running further is to prepare for that exact moment when you have to be mentally tough.  For myself, I was stronger this marathon than last, but still not as strong as I want or know I can to be.
  6. True friends are those that are genuinely happy for you when you succeed. In life, those people that applaud you and stand behind you and watch with true admiration when you succeed in anything, are truly friends. I always compare running to life.  In running, there always comes a time when you and your group feel differently. When I struggle in running, the last thing I want is for the girls to wait on me if I’m sucking it up. I actually faintly remember saying during one training run that I would kick someone’s @$$ if they waited on me J A true runner friend will tell you to go when they may be falling behind. Or yell at you, or point at you or whatever. I am so happy for JB to finally run like we all know she can. 
  7.  Never underestimate the power of support. I almost felt like I could feel everyone’s eyes on me. The support that we had in Wellington was felt by all of us during our run. It sounds weird, but it’s true. We could feel it. The Run for Our Sons team also had a support area on race day. We met a great little 14 year old young man with Duchenne who was there in his scooter and he was jumping up and down in his seat and clapping for us. It reminded me of Ethan and the reason we were here. It was so inspiring. And the crowds in Chicago were amazing!! At one point during the race, I was by myself around mile 23 and I just needed a boost. So, I ran over to a long line of people and literally said out loud “I need some love” and held out my hand and there were so many people who grabbed or slapped my hand. One lady in particular, squeezed my hand and I felt it. Another man running beside me at that time ran by me and gave me a high five. It was totally what I needed at that moment. I also made sure and touched every sign I saw that said “Touch here for power” – it works! Just in case you were wondering. 
  8. Always nice to have a hand. I am sorry to Mitzi and Lisa for squeezing their hands so much during our flights. I’m a nervous flyer and I swear a few times, they probably almost lost fingers. 
  9. Marathon finishers walk the same. It was hilarious watching all the marathoners walking around on Monday after the race. You could totally tell who ran because these were the people who walked around like they just got off a horse, or took one step at a time on ANY elevated surface i.e. curbs, stairs, or to get in a cab, or the face of pain when having to sit down for any reason or God forbid if you have to go to the bathroom. Thankfully no one can see you in there. 
  10. Pinkie swears never really count, right? J

I cannot begin to express the gratitude that I and my family have towards these 4 girls and the entire community of Wellington. You all have stood behind us and this cause and for Ethan without hesitation. I truly am grateful and humbled by the support that you all have shown. I believe everything happens for a reason and we are here in this moment in time for a purpose. And that purpose is to do whatever I can in my power to save Ethan. I will run a million marathons if it means that I can raise more money for the cause and help find a cure. Much love to you all! 
Stormie - TEAM HIGGIE!

JB's Final Blog: 26.2 miles – the final run

We had our last training run on Friday morning before heading off to Chicago that afternoon.  Stormie, Mitzi, Lisa and I met Jodie, Tracy, Jana and Ryan at the donut shop for our last 5 mile run.  When we finished Jana, Jodie and Tracy showered us with gifts and we even enjoyed a donut and coffee courtesy of Wendell.  He knows how much we love donuts!!  We all were getting very excited to start and end this journey we’d been on for 18 weeks.  We arrived in Chicago without any problems and boarded the shuttle to take us to our hotel.  Little did we know that the shuttle ride would take longer than the airplane ride – traffic was horrible!  I think it was starting to sink in with everyone how BIG this race was going to be. 

Saturday morning we were greeted early by my daughter, Madi, and her 3 friends who were there to cheer us on.  They rode the bus from Kansas City to Chicago – they have youth on their side and can sit in a bus that long – we can’t!  The girls hit the sack for a quick nap and the 5 of us took off for the Expo.  WOW!  What an expo it was – we picked up our race packets and took in all the exhibits.  We were all OK until we stopped at the pace group exhibit.  We had all talked about possibly running with a pace group and decided to stop and ask some questions.  When I say “we”, I mean me, Alison, Mitzi and Stormie.  Lisa was beside herself with nerves when we left that exhibit – she truly wasn't the same that day after that.  She let her nerves get to her and we tried to explain to her that she was running that pace during training runs and we might not even follow the pace group, but she didn't care.  The nerves had set in.  While leaving the expo, we ran into Kitchel, Traci and Ann.  It was so good seeing them – we couldn't believe we saw them out of all the people there.  That evening we went to the Run for Our Sons charity pasta dinner – it was time to continue carb loading for the big run.  It was nice to get to meet the other runners who were on our Run for Our Sons team – all there fighting for the same cause.  We called it a night after dinner and decided it was time to get some sleep before the big day.  Mitzi and I reviewed the map of the course one final time before trying to get some sleep. 

Sunday morning was here and it was time to do what we’d been training for – just run 26.2 miles.  We can do this – we've done this before, we've trained hard, we've trained for 18 weeks, we've got over 600 miles under our belts…WE CAN DO THIS!!  It really is somewhat of a blur getting ready that morning.  I had my stuff set out and just had to get dressed and go.  We had all picked up pace tattoos (yes, tattoos) at the expo and felt like little kids again when we were putting them on – just get them wet, press and magically you have a tattoo.  We left the hotel and started the ½ mile walk to the start line.  We met up with Chad and Zach Renn in front of the entrance.  We all commented that we couldn't believe Zach didn't have any GU, chomps or cliff bars, etc. with him, but decided he was young and would be just fine.  After the race, Chad called to tell me Zach finished in 4:09 – yes, he was just fine!  What a great time for a first marathon – we are all impressed!  We lined up in our corral and waited.  I gave a quick pep talk to mine and Alison’s legs, and then Mitzi led us in prayer.  The horn went off and it was time to begin this journey.  To put it into perspective of the number of runners, it took us 7 minutes to reach the start line.  We walked for a while and then finally started running just before the start line.  We were off!!  WOO HOO!!  I can’t even begin to tell you how I felt during this race.  You might be expecting tired, worn out, etc. but I’m telling you it was awesome, amazing, fun, etc.  Yes, fun.  The spectators were out in droves and they were there for 26.2 miles, literally.  We never ran a part of the course without someone cheering for us.  I remember telling the girls that I never did sports in high school and never had anyone really cheer for me and they were cheering for me that day LOL!  We saw Madi and her friends at mile 14 and that gives you such a boost.  She had made signs for us and the girls were just as excited to see us I think by the sound of them – lots of loud cheering coming from them.  We saw them again at mile 16 and they were just as excited then.  Loved having someone there personally cheering for our team! 

We started to split away from each other after mile 18.  Alison hit her wall then, Stormie a few miles later and Mitzi around mile 22.  I’m not really sure when we couldn't see Lisa anymore – she had to fight a side ache for most of the race.  I felt as sorry for her as she looked like she was in pain.  We took the water stops pretty fast so she really never got a chance to recover from the side ache.  I told the girls I wouldn't leave anyone if they started to struggle and that’s exactly what I did.  I’ll never forgive myself for that either, even though all of them gave me the stern look and said “GO”.  I left Mitzi at mile 22 and started to hit my wall at mile 23.  I had to do a lot of talking to myself those last 3 miles.  I ran by one of the water stops and one of the volunteers was shouting out “You can do it, you are strong” and it felt like she was looking right at me.  I needed her to be talking directly to me!  I didn't have the energy to say thank you so I just nodded my head and pointed to her.  I told myself that I just had a 5k left, then told myself that it was still 3 miles…YIKES!!  The last 3 miles seemed to last an eternity but the thing that kept me going were the spectators.  There were so many of them crammed together to watch the last 2 miles – it was awesome!  There was even one that was naked – well, we’re not sure but at around mile 24 there was a naked guy (hot, cute, abs of steel guy) holding a sign in front of his groin area that said “Run faster or I drop this sign”.  I gave out a WOO HOO but sure didn't have the energy to turn my head when I went past to see if he really was naked…darn it!!  I just envisioned it and finished the last couple of miles.  When I crossed the finish line, you would think I would be elated but this time I wasn't.  I was tired, my legs hurt and I wasn't with my girls.  I hated not finishing together but I also know I would have always questioned myself on what I truly could've done if I had waited.  So I was selfish and finished alone.  This was after all MY LAST ONE!  Remember girls we did the pinkie swear J 

If I can say one thing about this race, it is JUST DO IT!  If you think you want to do a full, I would suggest doing this one.  It was a one of a kind race and so much fun (minus the wall I hit).  We would visit during the run and talk about our awesome supporters.  We knew several people were following us during the race but I really had no idea how many actually were.  My kids and Shawn were the first ones to send me a text telling me great job, nice pace and they were proud of me – makes my heart smile!  My sister and mom were quick to follow.  My sister said her whole family was watching the computer and saw me finish.  I asked her if I was smiling and she said it looked like I was taking a deep breath which really meant I was gasping for air LOL!  I made my way down the finish area towards the after party tent and waited for the girls.  I enjoyed the free beer we got at the finish and downed another 2 after that J  YUMMY!!  We found an area where we could relax and let Mitzi recover a bit.  I tell you what, running 26.2 miles just zaps her!!  Lisa and I went off to find beverages and food and ran into the other Wellington girls again.  They just happen to be in line for what we were searching for – SCORE!  They ordered for us and we took the nourishment back to the girls.  Stormie, Lisa and I enjoyed our beer and we tried to get some food in our stomachs but no one was enjoying the hamburgers.  We decided it was time to make the mile walk back to our hotel – OUCH!  We met up with Madi and her friends at the hotel and while they napped (its hard work watching someone run for over 4 hours J) we showered and decided to head downtown to get our finisher shirts at the Nike store.  What a great store – music was loud, so many people there, heck, we even did the Wobble with the employees J

We spent Monday shopping, eating and drinking on Michigan Avenue aka the Magnificent Mile.  Walking for most of the day did wonders for our sore muscles and of course, the shopping wasn't bad either!  We appreciate all the support our town of Wellington gave to us during this exciting time!  We’re glad we were able to do another race together and also glad it’s over.  Now on to the Turkey Trot 10 mile run!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


We are two weeks away from running our marathon and it’s time to taper.  Well, for some of us.  I can’t taper just yet since I missed a little over 3 weeks of training due to my Achilles issue.  I've put a lot of stock into what Dr. Anders tells me and I’m sure he’s tired of me asking “so what should I run this week”, “what should my long run be this week” – he just smiles and gives me advice on what to do.  Ultimately it’s my body that tells me – and boy was it talking to me on Sunday.  I did my long run on Sunday that consisted of 18 miles.  Alison and I started our run an hour before the group so we could get 6 miles done before meeting up with them.  I was glad I did that and didn't have to do 6 after the group was done.  At my mile 14, I looked at Mitzi and said “this is hard”!!  At mile 16 when my watch beeped, she turned to me and said “good job” and of course I couldn't hear her because I had both earplugs in my ears with my music BLARING!  I took out one earplug and talked with the group for a minute telling them all the bad words that were going through my mind at that time.  Trish asked if I wanted them to slow down and I swear I looked at her for what seemed like 5 minutes before saying no.  I REALLY wanted to say yes but it still hurts no matter how fast or slow you are going and I wanted to get done.  I finished up and let me tell you, my legs were tired but I was glad to get that under my belt.

Monday was a nice easy 7 mile run.  Due to scheduling conflicts, Alison, Mitzi and Lisa ran in the morning and I ran with the evening group which was Stormie, Jodie, Tracy, Maria, Jenn and Ashlen.  It was so good to see Ashlen out running again.  She has been working through an injury too but looked great running the 7.  It was a nice easy pace and great run.

Tuesday was our last day of speed/strength work.  We did 6 sets of 1 mile (9:30 pace) with 400 m recovery and of course ½ mile warm up and cool down.  None of us really look forward to these nights except Stormie and she enjoys them J  But I do have to say that I believe they help and it does break up the monotony of normal training runs.  We had no problem hitting the 9:30 mile pace and in fact were faster than that every set.  We had to reign Stormie in on one set – she was clipping along at a fast pace and had both ear buds in so she couldn't hear us telling her to slow down.  I kept shouting out our pace…9:11, 9:10, 9:08, 9:06, 9:03 and then finally she looked over at us and finally heard us saying “we are sprinting”!!  She laughed and said we weren't – we were just going at an 8:45 pace.  Thank goodness we only had one block left before the recovery lap LOL!  WHEW!

Thursday was our last 10 mile run before the race.  I’m not sure if it was because we knew it was our last 10 miler, the early time we ran, the humidity, the lack of sleep or all of the above, but we all struggled a bit on this run.  At one point I even said “and we have to run 26 miles” and Stormie said “no, we GET to run 26 miles”.  Yes, we do!  The good thing about running so early in the morning (4:00) is that you can run 10 miles, shower, get ready for work and still have time for a 15-20 minute nap J

Friday was a nice, easy 6 mile run.  Or per Jodie, a cute and nice run – we tried a different route for this day and I have to say it WAS nice and cute LOL!  It was my week to come up with the routes and I get so tired of doing the same route over and over so I made up a new one.  I’m glad someone enjoyed it so much J 
Saturday was the Fall Fest 5k/1 mile run that the 5 of us put on.  This was the 4th year we've done the race and we still enjoy it like it was the 1st.  We had 106 runners for the 5k and 57 for the 1 mile.  Our youngest runner was 5 and our oldest was 78.  The first male to cross the finish line for the 5k was John Anders with a time of 19:46 and the first female was Jenny Roe with a time of 23:03.  For the 1 mile race, it was John Bergman at 6:00 and Maria Cornejo at 7:23.  I am just amazed at how many kids we had running the 5k – the youngest being the Norris triplets, Jagger, Axl and Grady at 6 years old.  WOW!  And watching Britt Zeka cross the finish line with determination in her eyes; pushing herself so hard at 7 years old.  It’s so fun to watch all the runners come across the finish line.  I’m so glad the 5 of us decided to start running 4 years ago – just look at the amount of runners Wellington has now.  I’m not saying it’s because of us, but I think other people see the 5 of us running the streets of Wellington and maybe they think “hey, they are normal people, maybe I can do that” and they start running.  Because believe me, we ARE normal people – normal people who love to run.

Sunday was an 8 miler and we decided to start a little later in the morning since it was supposed to be pretty chilly at 6:00 a.m.  Dr. Anders suggested I try to get between 13-15 miles in for my last long run so I decided on 14.  Mitzi, Jodie, Tracy, DeAun, Jodie and Bill met me at 8:00 to get 6 done before meeting up with the rest of the group at 9:00.  It was a good 6 mile run – nothing too fast thank goodness.  We met the group after we did our 6 and we were off again.  Jodie and Tracy left us at mile 7.5 to finish their 8 miles and Mitzi left us at mile 9 – she was an overachiever and did 1 more than she was supposed to; that might not sound like much, but after you've put the mileage in that she has, 1 more mile is a lot!  I do appreciate them starting early with me.  It was just another normal training run until we were coming through the park about to hit our last water stop.  Lisa spotted a truck stop right by where our water was.  We watched the guy get out of the pickup and walk to our water.  Lisa and Alison started yelling and whistling at him but the wind was blowing so hard and in the wrong direction that he didn't hear us.  I can tell you this – Alison wasn't going to let him get away especially with our water jug.  She sprinted to the truck and gave him a piece of her mind.  I didn't hear any of this because I stopped to get my phone out and take pictures – I couldn't let this go by without getting a snapshot.  I was glad I did – even got a picture of the license plate.  Now you might be thinking what’s the big deal about a water jug, right?  I’m not sure of the exact number but I think we've had 4-5 different water jugs stolen.  Why would you take a water jug?  Some of them even had our names on them.  Alison asked the lady driving the truck if they were the ones who had stolen our other jugs and of course the answer was no.  After giving them a piece of her mind, off they went.  We got our drink of water and then hid the water jug LOL!  Guess we’ll need to find a new place for our water stop in the park now.  Geez – just can’t believe people!  At least it made for good conversation and laughs the last couple of miles.

The girls have said several times they can’t believe it’s our last week of training and how thankful they are that it’s almost over.  I have mixed emotions about it.  I’m glad it’s almost over too, but I’m also wishing I had a couple more weeks to prepare.  Since I missed so many training runs, I don’t feel quite as ready this time.  I’ve tried to get as many miles in as I could without overdoing it, but I’m such a schedule person.  If it’s on the schedule, then you do it.  Dr. Anders told me several times to quit thinking about what the schedule said and how many the girls were running.  I tried to do this and even quit adding up the miles that I had missed, but it’s still in the back of your mind.  Running is such a mental sport!  But you know what, I’m running again.  When I pulled my Achilles, I was devastated.  There were several times I thought I wouldn't be able to do the race.  But here I am a week before the race, logging my taper miles, mentally preparing for the race and thinking about the fun times I’m going to have with my 4 running girls – the best friends I could ask for.   
- JB

Quote for the day: "Like the marathon, life can sometimes be difficult, challenging and present obstacles, however if you believe in your dreams and never ever give up, things will turn out for the best."
- Meb Keflezighi

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 16……

Although we are about done, and can see the finish line, it still feels like forever away for me.  I really don’t know what to write about, as by this point you run out of things to talk about.  We have noticed that when we run, we really don’t have much to say either….we just get the mileage in that the day calls for. 

I guess I want to thank my fellow runners (aka my best friends) for putting up with me!  The training this time has not been easy for me.  My head hasn’t been in it from day one, so in turn I haven’t been the easiest to get along with.  My attitude has been somewhat negative, and for that I am sorry.  I think when you run as much as we have been running our true emotions come to surface, and mine haven’t been pleasant. 

We 5 don’t really argue much, but this time around there has been some tension.  Thinking about it made me sad but then I realized something.  We have been together 6 days a week for 16 weeks straight!  We are tired and worn down.  Most of us have some type of injury we are dealing with, it’s no wonder there is tension.  Instead of being sad about that, I need to take a step back and look at the bond we have.  It doesn’t matter if I make one of the girls mad with a comment I make, or if I get my feelings hurt because of something they’ve done, we move on and continue to be supportive of each other.  We all have each other’s best interest at heart.  If we were not true friends we wouldn’t have made it this far in our training schedule.  For that I feel blessed.  Although I have felt alone at times, I know that I have 4 of my very best friends cheering me on, and they will never leave my side!  Thank you girls, I love you all very much!!  Let’s go make this race our B$*!!!!

I want to also shout out to the other Wellington runners that have done some training with us.  There are too many to mention, but we 5 girls talk about how proud we are to be a part of such a great running group.  The courage and determination that each of you have is just amazing!!  You all continue to inspire us every day!!
 - Alison 

Quote for the day: "Friendship born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust"
- Jesse Owens