Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Lights are Still On

Indoor 3K at UW-Platteville

One of my favorite race experiences

Someone once said that we forget pain which is why we continue to give birth. Or in my case, race. It is painful.  I currently cannot have kids for several reasons. One of which is because I am on a medication that prevents it.

It's the last day of 2015 and the blog has been dark. That whole journey I took to Madison (and many of you read through it) seems like a distant memory some days. Other days it seems like it's still going on. You learned via blog that I broke up with my boyfriend. Or that we were back together. I am not sure, since I haven't gone back and looked myself. But for the record, we did break up.

I'll catch my 17 followers up on the year.

My wonderful Support!

First I want to start with one thing. Since this blog is no longer really about how great Madison is - I want you all to know how very happy I am that I moved here in 2008. I love it here.

2015 started out just great! On January 1st,  I picked up some laundry in our bedroom and started to walk downstairs to go for a run and I slipped and fell down the stairs instead.

On a better note, as you may know, I chose to get some speed under me. You can run or you can race. You can run a half marathon in two hours or you can race it in under 90 minutes. And I wanted speed in 2014 and started working with my coach, Pat in July of that year. In February of 2015, he and I decided instead of one workout a week, I would do two. (For those of you who don't know running terminology, a "workout" is more than a run - it is a run with speed/hills/track or some sort of hard, sometimes painful and usually quite uncomfortable effort). Two of those a week before work began last winter and I have not looked back (or have I???)

I did this through the winter, telling Pat I wanted to go under 35 for an 8K (4.98 miles). My main goal when starting with Pat was to be able to be "comfortable" running under seven minute pace. For months, he told me he didn't know if I could. At this time, I was running regularly with my now teammates from the Movin' Shoes Race Team - all of whom ran collegiality. They insisted I should be able to do that. As I continued the workouts and we reviewed my times and splits from the work I had done, I remember the e-mail he sent me. "Janie - you are now ready to go under 35 minutes."
Joe (winner) and me post-race

My teammates and I rode to Chicago to have our elite status at the Shamrock Shuffle in March. I had not raced since December because I was so busy getting fit with my workouts and now I needed to see how well I could do. What the hell I was doing with my teaammates who ran for UW-Madison, UW-Lacrosse, Carleton College and Wash U, I don't know but it was a hell of a fun time. And nobody else could go from our team, so here I was, in an elite tent with Alexi Pappas. Running through down town Chicago was fun and my splits were on. As I hit each mile, I was running sub 7 minutes so I knew I was going to be happy with my time unless something went terribly wrong. I ran a 34:19? (It was way under 35, so I was happy) race that day and knew my work was paying off. Sadly, I will admit that time would be awful now as I work to run sub 6:30 pace and I know to many of you, you will never be able to run one mile in that time, but I am working with women who all do it.

The season continued on with more racing. The team expanded. More kits were handed out.

My dear friends, Lisa & Karlye

In April, I got married. In an impromptu speech to the entire wedding during the dinner, I grabbed the mic from my husband and gave a note of thanks to a million people in the room - whomever I could look at - my running coach, Pat, Joe Sepe who helped us to put an awesome race team together and helped create a wonderful group of friends, Tim's cousin, my in-laws, my friends Heather & Megan who have done track workouts with me - just anything and anyone who I looked at. The next day, in my drunken and hungover state, I realized that I said absolutely nothing about my husband. The man I had just married after almost fainting.

Almost the whole crew

I told Tim a few days later, "Do you know I went around the room shouting out to people and I forgot to even say a word about you?" Any guy I had ever dated would have been pissed off at me. And this is why I love Tim. He said "I know. It's OK!"

So I got married in April and I never thought I would get married. He asked me nearly two years ago. I am glad I said "yes." Besides the fact that he never gets pissed at me for obsessing over whether people are mad at me, blowing him off on a Friday night to have dinner with girlfriends, and sharing chores with me, he is such a great guy. He is so laid back and easy going. He is a hard worker and a reliable friend. He is thoughtful and warm and emotionally intelligent. He loves animals and bikes and running and hanging out with friends. And he loves watching the Packers (blah), eating Tex-Mex, going to happy hours (I love!), sleeping with the cat and the dog in the bed, and one of the most important qualities he has which I know I have blogged about before is that he loves hanging out with his folks. Always a great sign! So Tim - I love you and I am sorry I forgot to mention anything about you at our wedding.

A friend of mine who I met through Tim who ran at UW-Eau Claire wrote me last month and said in reference to me helping to organize our team to go to the USA Track & Field Club Cross National Championships in San Francisco, "You are great, and I so appreciate your efforts in getting us all together and for singlehandedly getting me back to my first love [running]." I was so flattered. I just had no idea.

Which leads me to what got me to where I am. My husband! He introduced a world of running that I did not know about. And I love. He lit my fire.

My season went on with trips to Milwaukee (elite status!)  Racine (terrible race) , Hilbert, Wisconsin (free entry for past performances/2nd place girl/awesome race!), Cleveland, Ohio (8th female overall/large, competitive field), indoor track, cross country and roads! Of course, I only place really well if my teammates don't come with, (and they would tell me to "shut up" but I am having a lot of fun.)

The first time I "raced" was shortly after Tim and I started dating and I ran a terribly 24 minute 5K. I am now down to a 19:56 5K.

After that first 5K I "raced" after dating Tim, I told him I didn't like it and I didn't think I would race again. Here are all my races since.....

Race bibs since I met Tim 

Since meeting Tim, I have gone from a 38 and some change 8K to 32:49 minutes. That's a huge difference.

I've got some goals I am working on for 2016, but I will share those with you, well, probably one year from now.

I also want to take a moment to thank all of the men and women who ran workouts with me this past year. If I forgot anyone, e-mail me and I will edit this. Karlye, Lori, Haley, Katelynn, Lisa, Taryn, Hildy, Jenny, Karen, Marie, Spring, Heather and Megan.  Of course my dear husband, Tim - who analyzes my workouts and helps make predictions along with Joe. And of course, how can I leave out Shalane Flanagan? Who I did mention during our wedding and who I do really try to think of when I am doing a really hard workout.

Karlye pacing me to break my most recent PR

A little Cross Country race in town.