Archive for 5k
In January of this year, I got two new clients — Megan and Julie — from an existing client. Little did I know that these two women would quickly become Daniel and my close friends. Mid-summer, Julie asked if I had done a race in South Dakota yet for my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge, and invited me to run the Mount Marty College 5k on August 18 during Riverboat Days in Yankton, her hometown. Julie had completed a few races before, but she was now down more than 35 pounds. She really wanted to compete well in her hometown 5k, so we decided to run the race together. I love 5ks … so why not?!? Needless to say I was intrigued by the whole “Riverboat Days” thing.
Megan had surgery in May on her left ankle and was recovering nicely, so she and Daniel decided they would come support us and participate in the 5k walk. It was a nice change of pace to travel with our friends, plus they helped pay for gas, which is always good! Thank you to Kristi Tacke and Mount Marty College for all your hard work to make this event special and for your generosity in putting us up at a great hotel.
We figured since it was August in South Dakota we’d be having nice weather, but oh boy were we wrong! The morning of the race was raining, thundering and lightening and cold! Lightning … this is a new one. Do you run in lightning? We had no clue. So, we got ready for the race (without jackets) and headed to the start. We checked in and were told that no, you do not race when it’s lightning and the race would delayed for a half hour to see if it would clear. The walkers got pushed back a little, too. The lightning let up, but the wind and the rain did not. The beginning of the race was quite interesting but by the middle the weather calmed down and we were able to finish the race without being completely drenched. I was nursing a strained Achilles that I injured the week before doing hill sprints. Julie got lucky and I allowed her to take a couple of walk breaks because my poor left ankle was in no mood to push too hard. We still finished under 40 minutes. I’m SO PROUD of not only Julie’s weight loss, but the changes she’s made in her life in the last seven months. Julie is proof that if you just step out in faith to get the weight off, you discover so much more that you want in life is possible.
So, what is Riverboat Days you ask? It’s like a state fair, an art festival, and a flea market had a baby on the side of a river! Great fun, music, people-watching, food, the works! It was a lot of fun and I definitely recommend going.
Stay tuned next to find out how I liv’ed Giant. Intrigued? The new blog will be out soon.
As you may have figured out by now, I like to pick races for my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge that will help me knock off states. This, however, is not the main goal when I choose a state and find a race … it’s actually secondary. Usually, after a night of training clients, I find myself sitting on the couch Googling races. I start with a state search and then I try to find one that sounds challenging or different! In this case, I am writing about Nevada. I start thinking “Do I want Carson City … Reno … nah, let’s just go for it and see if there are any Vegas races!” And sure enough, it is not just any race, but the Las Vegas 5k Presented by Pinkberry (true joy … explanations to follow, I promise)!
May 12, 2012. I know what you’re thinking: May in Las Vegas … isn’t it hot there? The answer is “yes,” but hey it’s only a 5k right!?! My handy dandy publicist/manager sleuthed a little, contacted the race organizers at Ryno Running, and signed me up (more on Ryno later)!
I booked my flight, but if you are from Des Moines, Iowa, then you know flying out of our “international airport” is a bit touchy, so I decided to save a couple hundred bucks and drove Ruby to Omaha. Thankfully our fellow BL family/friends Amy and Marty Wolff live there, which meant I could rest a couple hours before boarding!
My layover just so happened to be in Salt Lake City. While looking for the bathroom, my jaw dropped. There, to my surprise and extreme delight, was a Pinkberry® Frozen Yogurt! It was 8 a.m., but who cares? Healthy frozen deliciousness was going to replace my pre-packed breakfast!!! A good omen forecasting the beginning of a great trip!
Thanks to the generosity of Ryno Running, I stayed off the strip at the Silverton Casino Hotel. If I can, I like to stay where the other racers stay just to be in the middle of all the action (plus having the expo an elevator ride away was too convenient). The hotel gym was great and the pool was even better. I really enjoyed my mini-downtime before the race to just relax and take it all in!
On race morning I had my checklist of running gear set out and was off! I headed down to get my car to drive to the race start, and, of course, I was running a little behind. Thank heavens I had met one of the valet drivers the day before and he got me on a shuttle to the race! The driver had to almost hop a curb to get me there, because they had already closed several of the roads to get there. Thankfully I arrived safely and in enough time to stretch properly before the race!
For those of you who live in humid climates and are not aware of the difference when running in the desert let me explain. The desert, like you’ve seen in the movies, just sucks all the water out of you when you run!! I was, however, prepared for this because I first learned how to run in Calabasas, Calif., in the summer of ‘09 on “The Biggest Loser!” Even so, there still is nothing like the first few minutes of the just-rising sun to zap your body’s H2O supply! Luckily there were frequent water stops (thanks Ryno)!
Now the debate was do I stop for the infamous photo in front of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign or do I try for a great finishing time? I opted for the photo, which is one reason why I have a Garmin. (Recurring 50 in 50 by 30 themes: late and/or lost!) After all, I will know my time and can go for my personal record at another race. At the race finish we were met with smartwater® (replenishing those electrolytes is important), plus all sorts of other post-race goodies. The best for me was the Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt. They were giving away free samples — teeny-tiny ones — but samples nonetheless!
Also, kudos and a shout-out to all the professionals at Ryno Running who did such a wonderful job organizing the spectacular post-race expo. I found myself staying for quite awhile! And, I’m thrilled to say that Ryno Running will be my official running apparel sponsor in 2013. I’m super excited to help spread the word about their products and races.
Now, a story about the best moments I have wherever I travel.… While I waited for the post-race shuttle to arrive, I met a couple — John and Jane — from Nova Scotia. They both ran the 5k and were in town on vacation. After chit-chatting for a while, I found out John had suffered a heart attack not six months earlier and it was a blessing that he was even there that day. He now is active with Jane and their kids, because he — like me — got a second chance at life and was going to live it up!! Oh, yeah, I find ‘em everywhere. Connecting with people like John and Jane is why I race. Their stories inspire me and also help me to motivate others. They keep me going and hopefully someone out there may read this and find the FIGHT, DRIVE or MOTIVATION to be present in their life. When you do, give me a call and I’ll run with ya!
Stay tuned for my next blog about Oklahoma. It’s a tear jerker … especially to those of FAITH!
Catching up … close to present day …
It’s always a little bit of a chore trying to figure out which states to run in next. I decided it was time for a change of scenery and a road trip to the East Coast. The Gristmill Grinder made me stop when I was looking for a race in West Virginia. It sounded interesting, so I looked up the race location: Babcock State Park. The photos were enticing (so lush and beautiful) and I thought … FUN! Thanks to race organizer Donnie Hudspeth, and everyone else involved who were excited to have Daniel and I participate, they made this “off-road” 5k an event to remember. Our host even set us up in the most amazing cabin I’ve ever stayed in! Wait … let’s rewind a little.
Daniel and I packed up Ruby (my MINI Cooper for those of you who are new, or don’t remember) and headed out EARLY Friday morning, April 13 (yep, Friday the 13th). That’s right, we drove my MINI Cooper from Iowa to West Virginia (very comfy ride)! We packed my lil’ car full of balanced snacks, prepared meals, a cooler full of water and, of course, a little caffeine (it’s 14½ hours)!
At the first stop on our adventure, besides the usual pit stop (I have a small bladder), we tried to warm up our food at Starbucks with no luck, but we did get a great cup of coffee! That’s when we remembered most gas stations have microwaves to warm up those bad-for-you 700+ calorie burritos, but they can also warm up our 400-calorie, home-cooked meals. SCORE! None of the gas stations on our trip had a problem with it, especially since we were buying gas. Awesome!
Hairpin turn, after hairpin turn, we finally reached our cabin at Opossum Creek Retreat. We highly recommend this to anyone who wants a different vacation experience. The cabin was stocked with everything we needed to have dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. There was even a hot tub! I have to say, even though it was only for one night, Daniel and I felt very relaxed and almost at home. Even better, a retreat!
The next morning we packed up and found Babcock State Park. Daniel, who loves to look up our various destinations, found that Babcock is home to The Gristmill. It’s the most photographed spot in West Virginia, a fully functioning mill made from pieces of different mills from all around the state.
We arrived ready to race and — yet again — I had misread the info for the race. It was a 5k fun walk, not a run. There was a half marathon trail run I really would like to have done, but alas, not today, since I was less than a day away from running more than 8 miles the very next day in Maryland (have to make use of those road trip miles). Cooler heads prevailed and I decided to stick with the fun walk, which meant Daniel and I could walk it together! Enticed by the 13.1 mile trail run, we are seriously considering returning to the beautiful hills of West Virginia for that event in the near future, since we are discovering we really love trail runs.
The walk turned out to be a great experience. We got to meet and talk to several great people. It’s awesome to learn there are people who are just trying to get active and are using events to get out there and get moving. For those of you reading this who haven’t experienced races, be sure to look up trail runs and fun walks. There is so much your state has to offer and what better way to start getting healthy than in your community with your friends and neighbors.
West Virginia really is wild and wonderful and I hope to be back sooner rather than later. Next … onto the Atlantic Ocean coast of Maryland!
I decided to take January off from my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge and the next thing I know it’s February! Time’s a wastin’! Utah it is. Why? In December, while Daniel and I were at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge (we are Ambassadors; there are three: Utah, California and New York) I read about the Run Like a Girl 5k in nearby St. George, Utah. But first the backstory …
I told you in a previous blog that I met some serious new “family” while I was at the resort. No lie. We connected especially with two people: Brynn Lunkins and Kim Hawkings.
Brynn was originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and Kim is from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Our friendship with Brynn became very special very quickly at Fitness Ridge. So much so that Brynn decided to move temporarily from Cleveland to Des Moines for a few months to train with us (Daniel and I are certified personal trainers) to continue his weight-loss journey after he left Fitness Ridge.
You probably guessed by now that Daniel accompanies me on many of my travels. When it happened that Daniel couldn’t get to Utah for Run Like a Girl, Brynn decided to return to Utah and support me during my race! We both decided it was the perfect opportunity for a mini-reunion with our friend Kim. Did I mention that Kim dropped some serious weight at Fitness Ridge in the month or so she was there? I thought Run Like a Girl would be a great one for Kim to spread her wings and RUN a 5k with ME!!
What fun. Of course, Kimmy, Brynny and I took advantage of Utah’s proximity to Las Vegas (only an hour away) and hung out a little bit in Vegas, just to relax and catch up, then Kim and I did the 5k.
Come Saturday morning I was decked out in my usual pink (DUH!!!), but it was especially fitting because it was, afterall, Run Like a Girl. Thanks to race organizer Amy Vellinga for all the hospitality and generosity. Amy let me jazz up the runners before the race, so I shared my story, then Kimmy and I took off. Kim wanted to stop several times — because she thought she needed it — but I said NOPE. I told her we must keep it going, we could slow down a bit, but stopping was NOT an option!! We ended up finishing the 5k in 40 minutes or so! That day Kim became a RUNNER! She realized her inner athlete and has not stopped since!
It was at that point I also realized that with every race in my 50 in 50 by 30 Challenge it is not only about MY life-changing journey, it’s about getting out there and helping change other people’s lives.
To finish these races in the next two years is truly a humbling experience! I cannot wait to tell you about more of the amazing people I’ve met thus far! Thanks for sticking with me. Soon it’ll be back to real time blogs … no more catching up for me! Next stop, Texas!
FYI: driving 75 per hour miles kills your gas milage in an ‘08 Toyota Scion (Daniel’s car)! It was fun driving through Kansas on the toll road, because that’s the speed limit … BANANAS!! We got there in good time, checked into our hotel, and went off to meet our contact Meg who was picked up our race packets for us.
At the Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon pasta dinner the audience was a group of very seasoned runners, many of whom were on their 46+ marathon. I was intimidated, but after my presentation, several made a point to introduce themselves and tell me they really got something from “Finding Your Run.” Also in the room were my former “kids” I used to nanny — Ben, JoJo, and their lovely mom Wendy — who drove down to see me speak, run and later … BONUS … we got to swim in the pool at their hotel!
Side note (and a new experience) … as we were driving to Kansas to run, I realized I hadn’t packed a swimsuit!! JoJo just looked at me like any other 6-year-old would and said, “just go buy one from Target!” This thought scared me at first, because I have NEVER been able to just go buy a swimsuit at a “regular” store let alone a two piece. But that is is exactly what I did!
Race day! Daniel and I pinned on our race numbers and headed to the start line! My boys and Wendy were there to see us take off! Our bibs were red so we were supposed to follow red signs for 5k!! What Daniel, I, and a little over half of the 5k’ers had failed to notice is that the 5k was starting at 8:15 a.m. not 8! Ooops … I noticed this important fact when I was about to hit mile 4! There was no finish in sight. After mile 3 I put my head down and was running super fast to get my PR (personal record) for a 5k! I started to slow up and then stand off to the side to wait for Daniel to catch up with me, but by this time he had already had that getting lost feeling and had started back toward the finish line. UGH — what was I going to do? Some of the other runners around me encouraged me to just run the half … REALLY??? I have to do that next weekend and have NO fuel for that kinda run!
This is when I bumped into a group of truly amazing people! They showed me where I was supposed to be on their handy-dandy race map. Mandy (the nice woman who showed me the map) offered her husband as a sort of chauffer to get me back to Daniel! He runs with his iPhone4 so I used her phone to call him. During the car ride I found out Mandy is a huge BL fan. She had lost 100 pounds, but was now struggling with an injury. I definitely know what that’s like. Moments like this give me goose bumps … serendipity, karma, call it what you like. The reason I ran almost two extra miles was to meet these people so I could hopefully help Mandy get back on track! For this race there was no real “finish,” but it definitely had a purpose!!
Overall, Wichita was a FANTASTIC experience. I learned a few things about myself, and the people were some of the nicest I have met. A special thank you and shout out to Bob Hanson, the president, CEO and race director of the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. If you’re looking for a run in the Midwest, I highly recommend this race. Just make sure you read the course map directions thoroughly.
Next week, the IMT Half Marathon in my hometown of Des Moines, Iowa! My first half marathon since my surgery. Stay tuned!