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 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Journey

Before you read this blog, let’s start with a little funny. If you haven’t seen this marathon video before, you have to watch it! It’s hilarious. Enjoy :)


Monday – Running 7 miles after running a half marathon race yesterday was difficult today. Jodie, Mitzi and I ran slow as our legs were feeling the heaviness of racing. Lisa was sick and ran 5 with us on the streets then ran back to bed. Proud of her for getting out and doing some as she honestly looked like she could have vomited or passed out at any moment.

Tuesday – Speed work. We are on the downward slope of our speed sessions. This week we did 4 – 2 mile loops with 800 m recovery. I truly believe these speed sessions are helping us not just with our speed but with our endurance. It also helps break up the monotony of just running down the street. In the future, I believe we should continue these more intense running days because it does help for our all-around fitness. Oh and it’s good for weight loss – Extra Bonus!

Thursday – 10 miles at marathon pace. Running at 4 am is so much easier than running at 8 am. I compared this run to my half marathon race and oh what a difference the cooler temperatures make. And I guess running a little smarter makes a difference too. One thing I've always struggled with is the beginning of a race. I like to go out fast, solely on adrenaline and excitement, and that’s not good for me! So, if I make sure and force myself to run slow in the beginning, man I sure do feel so much better. My goal is to be consistent, not run fast and then be forced to run slow. “Consistent” That’s my new mantra. Along with “Strong”, “My own race”, “Be tough”. I like to choose phrases and words that help me when running gets tough. This is a good strategy for those of you that need something to help. It really does work, as long as it means something to you. In the past, I've tried to use words like “Ethan” or “Michael” but I can’t go to that place because then I cry. And crying and running sure doesn't work well together. Try crying while running, and see how well you can breathe. J

Friday and Saturday – 6 miles. Our pace for these two days is 11:00 mile. Nothing too exciting about these two runs. The cooler temperatures were a welcome gift for us!

Sunday – 16 miles. Again, we had great weather for this run. Our goal was to maintain our marathon pace for the 16 miles. We started out slow, running about a 10:00 mile pace. Our legs could definitely feel the 36 miles we had run earlier this week. But we kept going like we always do and ran well. Our overall pace was 9:37 for Lisa, 9:42 for Mitzi and I and Jodie and Jana ran theirs in under 10:00 minutes as well. Alison ran 19.51 miles today! She rocked it. These are great paces for us to shoot for on the marathon. Our goal is to be conservative in the beginning, but smart and run “consistent”. If we maintain this pace and run smart, we will definitely achieve our goal of under 4:30 or closer to 4:15. This was a great feel good run and I sure felt strong and empowered. That is great for the mind and the soul as we head into the last part of our training.

This week our total mileage was 52.5 miles. This is our highest mileage week and we all can feel the toll it is taking on our bodies. The hardest part of running a marathon is the training. We will train for 18 weeks all for a 26 mile run. But we've made it. We've almost survived. We've had injuries and we've laughed and cried and pushed each other when we didn't feel as if we could go any further. It’s been a great journey. The journey isn't over yet, but it’s been a good ride so far. I think this go around we've learned a lot about each other. I've learned that no matter what JB won’t quit. I truly love that about her. As hard headed as she is, there is no way JB will ever quit. On anything. I've learned how strong and determined Mitzi is. Of all of us, Mitzi has never missed a training run! Not one time. She is the only one of us that can say that. She is simply amazing. I've learned that Lisa is a fighter. She has improved the most out of all of us. She's awesome and she is fast. Don’t let her tell you otherwise. I've learned that when Alison puts her mind to something, she can go further than she believes. She has been tested this go around, but she is still hanging on. I believe in her. And as many times as she’s questioned herself, she’s never actually quit. Even though she said she did J  and our newbies who have stuck with this crazy marathon plan of ours: Jodie, Tracy and Jana. They have put a new fire into our running. The newness of running and the milestones they've reached have been a pleasure to watch. They light up when they make a new running memory. I’ll never forget the day Jana ran her first 16. The joy on her face and the friendship and support from Jodie to help her get through that day. Or Jodie and Tracy’s first half marathon. Those are cool memories I’m proud to be a part of.  It is so great to have a supportive group, but let’s not forget the important key to have the internal desire to accomplish something you set your mind to. As wonderful as it is to have supportive people around you, you have to have the will and the fight to do it on your own. You have to run your own race. For myself, I've learned to let it go. I've felt more relaxed this time. I've trained better and I've trained smarter. I've been invested and committed unlike any other time. It’s just running right? But running teaches us so much about ourselves. And that’s the beauty of it.
- Stormie

Quote of the Day: Here are some great quotes from our local Wellington Runners

"Running to me is a stepping stone. That first step always leads to more. I can remember my first step, and the very few after that! I sucked, I still suck! I'm slow, I moan, groan, and complain, but you know what? I get out there and put one foot in front of the other. I may not run on a regular basis, I may just enter 5K's, but all those are stepping stones for more. Stepping stones I want to show Patrick and Little B "Look at what I can do!" Stepping stones that I can turn around and look at and be PROUD of."
- Lindsey Daugherty

"Running to me is... Thinking of my kids as they were little...the things I should have done...or could have done. Day dream of Dustin and Brayden on their wedding day, or as if they were still here. Listen to music that makes me happy or reminds me of my family and friends. I can cry if I want or laugh if I want and no one asks me what's wrong. Running is a time I can think of anything I want...just time for me. I feel so relaxed after a run. And it's a lot cheaper than therapy. LOL"
- Laura Popplewell

"Running to me is therapy, plus it gives me a feeling of accomplishment."
- Alison Rusk

"Running to me is me time, something I can do without having to worry about anything during that time. I can clear my mind."
- Andy McEntire

"A feeling of empowerment. It relieves my stress and helps keep me sane in a sometimes crazy world."
- Jennifer Templeton

Thursday, September 19, 2013

474 Miles down, 190.2 miles to Go!

Awe, we are seeing 5’s again.  Week 14 started with a nice, relaxing five mile run on Monday.  That was until Stormie totally freaked out when a cat sitting on a street corner scared her.  We were all sure we were going to be attacked by something.  We did have a good laugh after we all realized it was just a cat.

Yahoo!!!!   It’s Tuesday and our longest speed workout is over!!!  We start working back down from here.  Hard to believe 8 weeks ago we were stressing about running 12 - ¼ mile speed runs with ¼ mile jog intervals and today we ran 2 – 3 mile speed runs with an 800 jog interval.  We are always glad when we finish our speed workout as tomorrow is rest day.  Not much happening on the streets of Wellington at 4:00 a.m., with the exception of dodging a skunk on Main Street.

Thursday’s run was nine miles at race pace and it was hot and humid!  The only positive thing I can find to say about this run is thank you Lord for giving us the ability to run.

Friday was a totally awesome day!  Our injured team member of Team Higgie, JB, is back today!  We are all so excited to have her back with us.  Our schedule called for another five mile run (YAY!!!) which is suppose to be a slow pace today (10 to 12 minute pace).  Well, I think JB forgot that as she did five miles at a 9:18 pace and then ran five more after we left her.  We are thrilled she’s back and praying she doesn’t over do it!

Saturday was another five mile run for us and with a cooler temperature, it was a nice comfortable run.

Sunday brought the Johnston’s Half Marathon and 5K in Wichita.  We thought with the Marathon being four weeks away this would be a good time to see how we are doing pace wise.  By the time the race was over, it was pretty warm and we were all glad to be done.  We had several with personal records and Jodie Heath did awesome on her first half marathon.  Great job, Jodie!! 

I think many of you think running comes easy to us.  Well, speaking for myself, it doesn’t.  We are not running this marathon just because we want to.  If it weren’t for our Little Ethan and our fight for a cure, we would not be doing this run.  We greatly appreciated everyone’s support, whether it’s been “good job” or through your very generous donations to our Team Higgie fundraising.  Thank you, we are very grateful!!

As we start week 15 of our training, which is the most miles we run in one week (52.5), we would love for you to join us as we “Run For Those Who Can’t”.

- Mitzi

Quote for the day: "Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body." 
 - Lynn Jennings

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lucky Week #13

Well, we finished week #13! Woo hoo! 5 weeks until the big day! I hate to wish away my life so to speak, but hurry up October 13th! I don't know about the other girls, but I am tired! Running is such a mental thing. My body feels like I have been run over by a Mac truck and just when I think I can't go a step further, my brain kicks in and tells it "You got this! Just 1 more mile!" And you know what? I keep on going. Sometimes after a run, I think about the miles I just put in and it blows my mind. 3 1/2 years ago, I couldn't even run to my mailbox and get the mail without breathing so hard I thought I would pass out. And now look... my 2nd marathon! That is just crazy! It's not easy, but let me tell you, it's doable. So any of you that are reading this and think there is no way I could ever run a marathon, think again because if I can do it ANYONE can! You just have to put your mind to it. Baby steps!

This week in training we ran Monday at 9:45 am 7 miles. JB joined us on the bike and cheered us on the whole way. Tuesday was strength training and we did that at 8:00 pm. We had to run 3 two mile loops at a 9:35 pace or faster. I think we all ran it faster. Yeah! Of course, Wednesday is our rest day. Right now, that is my favorite training day of the week. LOL Thursday was a 9 mile temp run. Friday was ONLY a 6 mile run. I say only because on Saturday we had a long 16 miler. We had Jana Brown join us on Saturday and I am so excited for her. This was her longest run to date! She ran the whole 16 mile route with us. Way to go Jana! Proud of you girl! Then Sunday we ran a slow 6 mile run to work out the aches and pains of our long run. Total mileage for the week was 52.5 wonder I'm tired!

We sure are missing JB on our runs. She is always there to encourage us, yell at us if we need it and of course love us. I know she is frustrated because she is still healing, but none of us want her to try and push to hard and really end up hurting herself. So, JB I'm yelling at you out of love...TAKE IT EASY! Since we are running so many miles injuries are more liking to occur. On Saturdays run, Alison tripped and re-injured her hamstring. I also had a few trips during the week. Wellington needs to work on potholes and get better lighting on our streets. You think we can all show up to a city council meeting and complain? We do run with flashlights and those lights you strap on your head. We look kind of funny but it helps. When we are doing our early morning runs, and by early I mean 4:15 am, it is amazing how many other runners are out too. Wellington, you should be proud of all the folks that are either walking, jogging or running to stay healthy! It's awesome!

As I end my blog, I want to put a plug in for our 4th annual Fall Fest 5K and 1 mile fun run that will be held on October 5th. You can pick up a registration form at Impact Bank, State Farm or the Wellington Chamber! (Or you can print it from this blog as it's included at the bottom) Early registration is due by September 20th. The proceeds will go towards benefiting muscular dystrophy. Children and adults with muscular dystrophy would love a chance to walk or run so please come and run your race for them. So, join us and help with our mission to "Run for those who can't"

- Lisa

Quote for the day: "Running isn't about being better than someone else. It's about being better than you used to be"
- Unknown

Monday, September 9, 2013


No pain, no gain???  Well I have the pain without the gain.  I pulled my Achilles tendon on the 16th while running and boy does that hurt!  I could feel something was pulling but like usual, I thought it would work its way out and kept running.  I did our 8 mile run the next day and it hurt every step of the way.  Big mistake!  I saw Dr. Hawks, Dr. Scheufler and Dr. Gill all in Dillon’s that night so of course I stopped all of them and asked for their advice – love small town living J  I was advised to rest and not to run until I could run pain free.  Really?  Does anyone ever run pain free?  After a few failed attempts to run, I decided it was time to quit running for a while and hopefully get this healed up.  I’ve been seeing Dr. Anders for stretching (a.k.a. torture) sessions and I do believe it is helping, but it’s kind of hard going to see him knowing how much pain he will put me through LOL!    

I’ve told several people that the reason we do this blog is to share our emotions and sometimes it really helps to release the frustrations of having a bad run.  I had a different blog all typed up and ready to go and decided not to share it.  I didn’t want everyone to read all the “woe is me” attitude that I was sharing.  I can’t run.  But that just means that I can’t run for now.  Those that know me understand what this is doing to me physically let alone emotionally but it really started to put into perspective of why I wanted to run this race to begin with.  Ethan.  Ethan and all the other children with MD.  They just want the chance to walk, let alone run and here I had an entire blog typed feeling sorry for myself.  Shame on me.  I will run again, they won’t.  So it’s time to get healed so I can start running again for those who can’t.

The summer heat is back unfortunately.  My running buddies have done an awesome job of keeping to the schedule.  I try to join them a few times a week and ride my bike while they run.  Monday consisted of a 5 mile run and Tuesday was strength work which totaled 9 miles.  I rode my bike with the evening group while they made that run their b**** as Stormie likes to say.  I was astonished at how effortless they made it look.  They continue to get stronger and stronger.  We had a couple new runners join in on the strength workout fun and hopefully they’ll be back this week. 

Thursday’s 9 mile run consisted of me aqua jogging for 90 minutes in Alison’s pool.  Mitzi and Alison bought me a floatation belt that helps keep me afloat while I “run” in the pool.  Ann Shinliver has been talking to Mitzi about this and has been telling her how much I need to do this.  It is supposed to keep me somewhat in marathon training shape and it definitely is much easier on my Achilles.  But seriously??  An hour and a half??  Yep – that’s what I did.  Shawn went with me and swam laps while I ran.  Of course, when he was finished swimming laps, he enjoyed a few ice cold beers while watching me finish my time.  It sounds so weird to say I “ran” in the pool but that is what I did – literally.  I try to keep my legs going as fast as I would if I was on pavement LOL!        
Friday was a 5 mile run and I rode my bike for a few miles before meeting up with the girls.  I try to get a few miles in before joining them.  Sometimes I think it would be hard for them to have me join in – I’m on the bike which is so much easier than running and I’m not breathing hard or struggling which sometimes you do on a training run.  But I try to be upbeat and encourage them along the way.  But no whistling or woo-hooing on the bike LOL!  Right Stormie? 

Saturday’s 8 mile run started at 6:00 a.m. which means if I’m going to get in a few miles on the bike before meeting up with them, I have to get started earlier.  I did my bike ride then met the group along the route.  I also went to Alison’s pool and did my aqua jogging.  I did my hour in the pool and called it a day.  I don’t really feel like I’m getting a workout in the pool but I’m glad I have it to use.  It allows me to keep my legs moving and hopefully if (when) I get back to running, it won’t take me long to get caught back up.
I elected not to join the group on Sunday for their 10 mile run.  I’m trying to do the bike every other day and trying to do some aqua jogging daily.  I spent the day in Wichita shopping with Madi and was thrilled when we got home that my Achilles wasn’t swollen and didn’t hurt – you have to celebrate the small stuff J  I went to Alison’s pool and did an hour again.  It’s BORING!!  But Casha, Robert and Clay were there so at least I had someone to talk to and help keep my mind off of watching the clock.

Monday’s 7 mile run was supposed to be at 8:00 p.m., but due to busy schedules it was changed last minute to 9:45 a.m.  I got up that morning and rode my bike to bootcamp at 5:30 a.m.  I did class then rode my bike home.  I was able to get 5 miles in on the bike and was planning to ride it with the girls that evening.  Just as I was dozing off for a nap (yes, at 8:30 a.m.) the texts started coming in about switching the time to 9:45 a.m. so I decided to get more miles in on the bike and join the group.  I went to Alison’s pool that afternoon and got 45 minutes of aqua jogging in.  I told her that I’m beginning to think differently about her pool.  It’s no longer a place to go relax, lay out, have a cold one – it’s now my workout spot.  Now don’t get me wrong, after I did my aqua jog I did lay out and have a cold one or two J 

One of things that has been the hardest for me these last few weeks while not being able to run is my attitude.  I’ve tried really hard to remain upbeat, but not being out there running and seeing the girls get stronger and stronger while I’m getting weaker and weaker is tough.  I want to run!!  I truly do!  I want to do this marathon!!  Did I just say that?  WOW – it’s true though.  As I’m typing this, I’ve missed 13 training runs.  OMG!!  I can’t help but think I’m falling further and further behind and at this point I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to run the race.  But you can bet that if I can’t run it, I will most certainly be there cheering for Team Higgie!!  The girls have worked so hard and have given up a lot to commit to this – they are such an inspiration!!  So I will continue to ride my bike and aqua jog until I can get back out there pounding the pavement, running for those who can’t.

I’d like to thank my running buddies who continue to check on me and tell me I’ll be fine and it won’t hurt me to miss a few training runs.  Your words of encouragement have been awesome! And the carrot cake cupcake sure helped too…YUMMY!!

- JB

Quote for the day: “Don’t try to rush progress. Remember – a step forward, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Keep believing.”
-          Kara Goucher

Monday, September 2, 2013

Just who we are

Well we are halfway through our training schedule and it sure is getting hard. Our mileage is growing both during the week and on the weekends. I don't get to run with the girls much, but when I do I can tell they are getting much stronger! 

We ran our first 16 miler on Saturday, (I only ran 14). I was laying out by the pool later that day reflecting back on teh run, and started chuckling to myself. Just over half way through the run, Lisa stumbled. She didn't fall clear down, but jarred herself enough that she had to stop and walk for awhile. Do you know that not one of us runners stopped to make sure she was okay! We kept looking back, but didn't stop running. Once she started running again we all did a u-turn and picked her up and continued on. Now before you start thinking we are a cold-hearted bunch, if she would have fallen clear down and gotten hurt, we would have dialed 911 and let them know where she was so they could find her! :) 

That reminds me of another time on a longer run when Stormie was struggling. Us runners at the front kept turning around to make sure she was doing okay. At one point JB turned around to go run with her to encourage her, and Stormie said "If you come back here I'm going to kick your ass!" So JB turned back around and just kept running.

I tell you these stories because I struggled myself this week. In fact, I decided to stop training and give up on the marathon all together. It was just getting too hard. I have been dealing with some minor health issues and my hamstring is still bothering me quite a bith. We were in the middle of doing one of our speed workouts and I just decided I couldn't go on. So I quit! I texted the girls to let them know my decision and of course they were disappointed, but very understanding. I felt lik the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders, as I had been struggling with this for quite some time. I went to bed that night feeling good about my decision, but then had a dream. I dreamt that I went to Chicago with the girls to cheer them on, and when they finished the race, I broke down because I didn't get to run it with them. So then when I woke up I was very conflicted, until I started thinking...

It is hard for my daughter Carlee, who was very athletically active to be diagnosed with arthritis at a very young age. She can no longer do some of the things she used to, it is just too painful for her. But she doesn't let that get her down, she just finds other activities that she can do and continues on. That's just who she is. 

I have a friend in Medicine Lodge that develped brain cancer shortly after we graduated. After several months of treatment, she beat it!! It was extremely hard for her when she found out, not long ago, that her cancer was back in both breasts. Although she spends most of her time in and out of the hospital, and no longer has hair on her head, she never stops smiling. She keeps fighting that horrible disease with a grateful attitude that she is still alive. That is just who she is. 

And then of course, there is our little Ethan. It is so hard for him to sit in his wheelchair and watch his friends run and play around him. He would love so badly to be able to do that with them again. But he doesn't let that destroy him, he stays in his wheelchair and finds ways to play right alongside of them. That is just who he is. 

The health issues and injuries that us 5 girls are dealing with are nothing compared to the struggles so many others are facing. So, when you see us out on the street running with wrapped ankles, taped hamstrings and maybe even limping while we run, and wonder why...we run for those who can't! We may stumble or struggle, or even fall, but we will get right back up and continue running...that's just who we are! 

- Alison

Quote for the day: "The pain of training is nothing compared to the pain of not reaching your potential."
- Josh Cox 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Peace, Love and Running

This week we continued to run 6 days a week with Wednesday being our rest day. The good news about this training schedule is that even though we are running 6 days, only 2 of those days are purposeful, fast running. On Tuesdays we are running a speed workout, so we run fast and hard for a specific pace. On Thursdays, we are required to run our miles at marathon pace. Switching from 5 miles at marathon pace to 8 miles at marathon pace has been a challenge. For myself, I have to continue to tell myself to run hard because these are the only 2 days that we have to really run. The other days are called “running recovery days”. Basically we are taking it easy as far as effort, but still running miles on our legs. This week’s runs were nice in the mornings with low 60s as the temperature. That makes waking up at 4 am much more enjoyable. JB is working her way back from an injury. It’s amazing that this is her first real injury since we began running 4 years ago!! We keep telling her to take it easy, but like you all know, she is not one to take days off. We keep telling her to take the days off now because we need her for that big race!

I have to say I’m so impressed by three people that have begun running with us this go round. Tracy and Jodie Heath have embarked on this journey with us without hesitation. Of course, there have been some injuries, but for the most part as much as they can, they have been there with us nearly all of the runs. It is not easy to do the schedule we are following and neither one of them have ever run a full or even a half marathon, so for them to put in the work that we are, is beyond amazing. They are going to kick that Prairie Fire race’s butt! J  And of course I have to give a shout out to my dad, Bill Day. Many of you know him and you can attest to his inspirational story. My dad has come such a long way in just one year. When he started running and becoming active, he started by training for the 2012 Fall Fest 5K. He could barely run from one light pole to the next out at Worden Park. But he has been dedicated and determined. He was a smoker for 20+ years and has diabetes and he’s overcome so much! Now he’s running 4 to 7 miles at a time… If that isn’t inspirational, I don’t know what is! I love him very much and get so excited when I know he’s going to join us on a run. I’m very proud of him. And especially proud I get to call him my dad J
Last but not least, I’m including a picture that I took last weekend on our Saturday morning run. This picture is absolutely my favorite running photo. Mostly because it’s our Wellington runners J but also because it’s a moment in time. A snapshot into our world. The sun is rising over the trees and all you see is a line of runners working the street to get to the end. There is no rush, there is no chaos in this photo and it is very peaceful. I feel as if I speak for the rest of the group when I say that for the most part, running is our inner peace. Running is one of those things anyone can do and still enjoy that same feeling. Whether you run a 6 minute mile or a 12 minute mile, at some point you come across that peacefulness. Is running peaceful all the time? Absolutely not! As we say running is comparable to life. Life isn't peaceful or wonderful all the time, however it takes those crazy, hard, chaotic times for us to appreciate the peace. So, we run when we don’t want to and we go faster when our legs are tired, but yet in some odd way, there is that peace there that we sometimes forget about until it hits us again. I enjoy that feeling very much and I hope you have found it too.


Quote for the Day:  “Running is about finding your inner peace, and so is a life well lived.”

-         -  Dean Karnazes

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Here Comes the Rain (du dn du du) and C-R-A-N-K it Up!!

Week nine started with a very humid five mile run, but no rain.  Yay!!  We actually had stars out, which we haven’t seen much of lately.  We can sure tell when we’re on our 5th straight day of running. 

Due to schedules, we had to do our speed work at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday.  Between running faster than we like to, the heat and humidity, and being attacked by mosquitoes, there’s only one good thing that comes to mind about this run and that’s the high fives afterwards for Team Higgie.  After that speed workout, we all look forward to Wednesday’s “Rest Day”.

On Thursday, we were scheduled for a 4:30 a.m. run before everyone went to work and guess what…Here Comes the Rain (du nd du du), wind, and lightning.  We've gotten used to running in the rain, but we do draw the line when it’s lightning.  With rain in the forecast for early evening, we decided to go at 4:15 p.m.  It was horribly hot and humid.  We hope we don’t have this type of weather on marathon day, as we would struggle to keep our goal tempo rate.

On Friday it was up early again for a 4:30 a.m. run so we could get it in before Alison left for a weekend trip, but once again it decides to storm.  Some did their treadmills while the rest of us waited for it to clear off and wow…what a difference a day makes!  Our six mile run was almost enjoyable comparing to yesterdays.  We finally had a nice, almost cool breeze.

Only five miles on Saturday, Yay!, an easy day…NOT!!!   Five miles, 10 hills, and one mountain!  Scratch that route!!  Stormie rolled her ankle and we hope she’ll be up to the 15 mile run tomorrow.

Last Sunday was a 10 mile run.  Well, C-R-A-N-K it up five more for a big 15 this Sunday!  Once again, with our busy schedules we had a 4:30 a.m. start.  Everyone did a great job!  For some this was the furthest they had ever run.  I was glad we started so early and I was thrilled when we were done!
As we completed week nine with 43.50 miles, we are halfway through our training schedule.  We've held true to our schedule, running six days a week even with all the rain storms we've had.  I must say “Great job!” to everyone for not using the rain as an excuse not to run.

We’d like to thank everyone who leaves drinks out for our water stops.  We GREATLY appreciate it!

Go Team Higgie!!  Running for Those Who Can’t


Quote for the day: "The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over. The pain in your legs within days, but the glory of your finish will last forever." 
- Unknown 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Love Hate Relationship

I Love Running!
I Hate Running! 
I Love Running! 
I Hate Running!

I am so thankful for all the rain we have had lately, I know all of the farmers are doing the happy dance for sure! But... this past week I think out of the 6 days that we ran, all but 2 were done in the rain! My toes are like prunes, I can't see out of my glasses and my clothes just stick to me like glue. But the rain did keep us somewhat cool. Here is a tip for you new to running, stuff your running shoes with newspaper. It helps dry them out faster. 

Week #8 went as follows: Monday 6 miles, Tuesday speed training at the track at 8:00 pm. This is where I Hate Running! Not my idea of a good time. I ate a PB&J too close to the time to run and it talked to me the whole time. YUCK! I think a few of us girls can tell you how worked up we get before these speed workouts. They are hard and hot and let me tell you the mosquitoes were out in full force. But, per Coach Stormie, very important in our training! (Editors Note: Yes, she is correct and Lisa hates every second.)

Wednesday was our rest day, but I didn't rest well. I worried all day about the tempo run we had to do on Thursday. Silly I know. But you have to remember...I Hate Running! The tempo run was, I think, the most humid day we have had thus far. The air was thick, thick, thick! Your body is working extra hard to keep itself cool, so staying hydrated is very important. We all survived that 5 miler. Whew! Friday was a 5 mile easy run, Saturday was 6 miles and Sunday was a good long 10 mile run. It was rained delayed 3 times. We finally got started at 2:30 in the afternoon with just a few sprinkles. 

Here is where I Love Running! Sometimes we have bad running days and self doubt creeps in, but when you have the best friends a girl could ever ask for there to keep your spirits up and your head in the game, it is so worth it! I think I can speak for all of us Marathon Mamas, none of us could go through this journey alone. We need each other to keep going on tough runs, speed runs and those dreaded tempo runs. We are cheerleaders, therapists and sometimes the "mean" coach (JB, LOL) All this is done with love! Couldn't ask for a better group of people to train with. Love you girls and please don't tell anyone, I Love Running too! 

- Lisa 

Quote for the day: "There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship"
- St. Thomas Aquinas