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 miles...no 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