Trail Dog Running

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I was searching for some trail races to add to my calendar and happened upon Trail Dog Running. Two things caught my eye 1) they are in the planning stages of a trail running camp here in Wisconsin (I think one of the first here). 2) Their races are on new to me trails not too far from family (babysitters). I am really excited about this new venture out of Eastern Wisconsin so I wanted to share it all with you. I spoke with

Hillary Danaher, Co-founder

Why did you start running? How long have you been at it?

I started running in 2009, primarily because I had been told that I couldn’t do it. That’s the short version. Longer version: I grew up with kind of severe asthma and all the Nervous Nellies around  had me believing that I couldn’t handle things like long distance running. In case any of them are reading this…I just signed up for a 50 miler.  And, btw, running actually helps to alleviate asthma, the better shape you are in (at least that’s my personal experience).

 Why did you start Trail Dog Running?

My husband and I believe that we should leave the world a better place than we found it. There is nothing more positive, more healthy, more life-changing than trail running, in our opinion. I vividly remember finishing my first marathon and choking back tears (okay, I cried my eyes out) at the intensity of it all. The world is a beautiful, amazing place, and life is very short. Our goal is to bring those experiences to as many people as possible.

Can you tell us more about Trail Dog Running as a company?

Trail Dogs, by created definition, are those runners who seek out the trails on all corners of the earth, regardless of the weather, the warnings, the altitude, or the lack of a good trail map. The company is named for those runners who just simply love the trail. One of our runners described Trail Dog quite succinctly…two words: “unpretentious fun.” We have a longer version, however; I am stealing this straight from our website. It encapsulates our philosophy: For those of us at Trail Dog , the word “Unleash” is actually a philosophy. It’s a way of life. We recognize that “Unleash” means something different to everyone. To those of us who have dogs, and those of us who run with our dogs, being Unleashed is about freedom.  Watching a dog run without boundaries, without worry, without The Leash, is to watch pure joy. We all run for different reasons. Running is a release, a sanctuary, or a time to clear your head.  Some run for challenge, or the endorphin rush, some run simply for health. Others compete, some push, and there are many who run just for fun.

The Trail Dog  is all of these, with the occasional excursion off trail to chase a squirrel, sniff, or just sit down and enjoy the view. Regardless of the run, regardless of whether or not you even own a dog, it’s always about being Unleashed. Running Unleashed   is to run with passion and without burden. It’s about letting the expectations of life melt away for a while. And at the end of the run, at the end of the day, at the top of a ridge, or at the end of the trail, the Trail Dog finds his favorite spot to just sit and enjoy the benefit of time spent Unleashed. Maybe it’s easier for a dog than us humans, don’t know. We do know that it’s worth taking time out of each and every day to Unleash.

 Can you tell us more about your next few races?

I could talk for hours about our next few races, I am so excited! The Seamus Scramble 5K is all trail, up in Glacial Blue Hills Recreation Area. March 15…we have a fantastic partnership with West Bend Tap and Tavern (truly amazing food and fantastic people). If you bring in your bib after the race, the bartender will give you a free beer or Bloody Mary. AND The person who sets the first official record time for the 5K will receive a free registration to any 2014 Trail Dog race.

Rocky’s Rollercoaster 5K and 7 miler is really one of my favorite trails to run. The Ice Age Trail is an absolutely amazing creation. We have strong ties with the Ice Age Trail Alliance; together with University of Wisconsin – Washington County, we have a beautiful course marked to run.

Luna-Tics Race Series – These races are set up kind of like a festival of races…We are having the Junkyard Dog 50K, the Mad Dog Marathon, the Hound Dog Half, and the Lucky Dog 13K.

All of the races run the Ice Age Trail north out of Kewaskum, and they are breathtaking, challenging, and just a blast to run. We are thrilled to have just secured Hammer Nutrition as a sponsor for our 2014 summer race series as well.

The two fall races are being planned right now in conjunction with the Ice Age Trail, the City of West Bend, and Washington County…we are working on a 5K to be run WITH your dogs, and a 10K trail run to wrap up the season.

What can people expect when running a Trail Dog race?

We strive to create runs that are as close to 100% trail as possible. Every once in a while we have to add in a few feet on a connector road, but that’s it. You can expect the fantastic atmosphere that surrounds the running community. Healthy, kind, positive people who love pure, genuine fun. We have a commitment to quality running experiences, from the packet pick up to the trail itself, to the aid stations to the post-race experience. We intend to make those experiences memorable from  beginning to end, rather than just from start to finish!

What will make your races different than others in the area?

Every race is unique and every experience is personal. It is our goal to create personal experiences for runners that are transforming; life-changing. Or at the very least, extraordinarily thought-provoking. Trail Dog has partnered with local businesses to help promote West Bend and the fantastic State of Wisconsin, which will play a huge part in each aspect of every race. Each race has a designated recipient that will receive a portion of the registration fees…the Seamus Scramble is donating to the West Bend Dog Park. Rocky’s Rollercoaster Run will donate to the Humane Society. Other recipients will include the Ice Age Trail Alliance and the Full Shelf Food Pantry.

What advice do you have for women wishing to start trail running?

Remember this: Everyone has their own race to run. Running is so tremendously individual, and it allows for you to focus on your own inner strength, personal goals, and internal motivation and discipline. Trail running adds to that by including the wild sense of adventure that you love to tap into.

A part of the reason that this advice is so fantastic (it was given to me by my favorite coach, who is perhaps the greatest inspiration in my life) is that it removes all judgment. When you are running, there is no room to compare yourself to others, or to compare others to you. This is you vs. you. Inner drive, hard work, maintaining your own being as opposed to making external comparisons. Applying that advice to running helped me transform how I compete. Applying that advice to all my life encompasses has helped me grow into the person I am today.

What advice do you have for women who want make one of your races their first trail race?

Just love it. When you are dripping wet after a water crossing, caked with mud from the days of rain that created pits on the trail for three days prior to the race, trip on a branch and use all of your stamina to remain on your feet…remember to look out over the vistas as you run, to breathe in the sounds of the streams and waterfalls you are going past, and to love every minute of it.

At mile nine of my first 25K trail run, I was exhausted. I won’t go into detail, but the trail was tougher than I was at that moment. I made a decision (after drinking part of a Coke and having a bite of a Snickers – I love the way trail runners eat) that I have never wavered from since that time. I decided to love every moment of every run, no matter what. With one mile left, I remember being sad that the race was about to finish. I had a terrible time and a rough finish, but the race itself was so breathtaking, I had come to a point that I didn’t want it to end.

How can people connect with Trail Dog Running?

Trail Dog Running, LLC on Facebook


(Rocky is one of our boxers who is a great runner, despite the puppy injury he endured before we acquired him as a rescue dog)

Anything else you would like to add?

Keep your eye on our website…we have many plans in the works. Details on the remainder of the 2014 will be posted, a trail camp is being planned, look for the Trail Dog Running Club, training plans, recipes for trail run recovery food (and training food) all kinds of stuff!

Thanks for all the information Hillary!

I look forward to racing with Trail Dog at the Rocky’s Rollercoaster!! Will you join me???

Tighten Those Laces! LETS RUN!!!!


2013 Lakefront Marathon Race Recap

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As the 2013 Lakefront Marathon approached I was half sure it would be my first DNS. The pain I had been dealing with in late summer seemed to be returning and I had been coughing for the last week. Even with all these doubts I brought my son to the Kern Center on Saturday, picked up my packet, talked to a couple We Run This ladies and patted myself on the back for leaving without buying anything. PRO TIP: Bring a 4 year old to the expo you won’t have time to buy anything!!

 Pick up<

Race Morning:

I had stayed at my in-laws in Belgium, WI (20 min North of Grafton/Start line) Saturday night because my Mother In Law was kind enough to agree to bring my kids BY HERSELF to catch me as much as possible during the race. The second I put on my shoe in their kitchen Sunday something felt “off” when I toed off. A few strides in the driveway and it still felt weird. My only other shoe option was the 2 year old 500 miles on them shoes I keep in my trunk…. Just, NO! So I headed to Grafton High School to do this thing.  I saw Sun from Keep Running MKE and HAD to say hi awkwardly since she was awesome enough to feature me AND is an all-around kick ass female MKE runner! I looked for a couple of other people I knew were running but didn’t find anyone. I DID find a guy I have known for about 13 years who I haven’t seen in at least 7 and had no idea he was running with his husband! LFM1

 START – Concordia (Mile 7-8)

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it was in the back of my mind that I COULD DNF at any time if I wanted. This WAS “only” a training run. I had a score to settle with this course after my pretty rough run last year but it wasn’t worth sacrificing my main goal race, my first 50K. I wore a headband to warm my ears for the first ½ mile but warmed up quickly so it worked well to wrap around my watch to make sure I’d run by feel. Though every so often I’d see the time at a mile marker (EVERY MILE because Lakefront ROCKS) and think “too fast”. Lakefront is a great course, a course I would run on my own. Some people feel the “lack” of spectator support is hard but as someone who generally runs alone with no music I am use to having to motivate myself. This year it seemed like there WERE a good number of people out, including the famous accordion player around mile 3.5. Concordia University is where the bulk of spectating happens in the first ½ and mile 7-8 would be my fastest at 10:15. It was great to see @msindigo who had written my name on a sign!

Mile 8 – 13.1

Right after Concordia I saw my family for the first time. I stopped to hug my kids and my son cried and declared he wanted to come with me. It was cute and sad. Someday I hope he is with me at mile 9 of a marathon! I was really anxious to get to the 13.1 mark. I don’t know why but mentally it just needed to get here. Thankfully the miles seemed to be flying and I kept thinking I was a mile behind so there were many nice surprises of being further than expected. I crossed the mat in about 2:20 and had accidentally caught up with the 4:40 pace group by now. They would walk through water stops and drop back but I would hear them creep up after. I carried my Nathan hydro pack to practice wearing it that long for the goal race so I didn’t stop much. I, personally, get kind of annoyed by pace groups. I like to run my own race and it messes with my mental game to see them/get eaten alive by them. That being said I know they are a life saver for some so it is not that I am against them. I am excited though that the spring 26.2 I am considering does not use them.

13.1 – 17

I was still feeling really good past the 13.1 mark but had to use the bathroom pretty badly. (GUYS MAY WANT TO SKIP TO MILE 17-20) Not only to pee but I had some feminine issues that were starting to feel like chaffing was starting, oh HECK NO! So I finally found a port-o-potty around mile 17 with no line and took care of all my business not really caring I discarded my tampon because I had on black shorts.

Mile 17 – 21

I started to slow for the first time in the race here. I don’t know if it was the stop and go, that my longest road run had been 18 miles (followed by a 10 mile trail run the next day) or what but I know it wasn’t my fueling. I had a plan, stuck to it and never got hungry (it is trouble when I get hungry). The BIG lesson I learned in this spot of the race was how to handle a low point. Even with the slowing pace I recognized I was fading, dealt with it and did NOT let it discourage me. I just kept moving forward. Around mile 21 I tried to eat my last gel and it was not happening. I got down about half of it and for the first time ever could not finish it.

Mile 21 – 24

I knew the BIG downhill was coming. I knew I was a better downhill runner this year. Still moving about a minute slower than my first half I had begun to calculate that I had REALLY only trained for 8 weeks at this point so I was proud/happy to be where I was when I was and started to think of all the people who did not get the chance to even toe the starting line. Aches and pains and a slower last 10k didn’t matter. I was here, running, smiling, talking to who I could and trying to take in every moment for those who could not. I really hope this positivity can translate to 50K day.

Mile 24-26.2

This is when you actually feel that downhill as the course flattens out. I did all I could to keep running but I did take a few walk breaks. I LOVE running by Northpoint Snack Shop because I volunteered there in 2011 and that is when I decided to try this crazy thing! Each mile got faster than the last as the crowd came into view. I was right around the 4:50 pacer but she seemed to be all alone so I had no idea if she was on pace or not. By mile 25 I gave in and uncovered my Garmin for good. As I made my way into Veteran’s Park all I could do was smile I saw my family one last time and gave high fives down the finish chute! I had made it there from Grafton 23 TWENTY-THREE MINUTES faster than in 2012! Without marathon specific training, by running by feel and wen a week earlier I wasn’t sure I was going to start!!


I was walked by my friendly local medical student to get my space blanket and food bag, I assured him I was fine and he pretty much told me to “keep walking”. The free noodles sounded SO good when I heard about it but the smell made me feel a little sick in the moment. I knew I wanted beer so I made a B-line for the free Milwaukee Brewing Company brews and text my mother in law. As I waited to hear from her I set my stuff down on a picnic table to take off my shoes and couldn’t help but cry at what had just happened. All the sudden it was really real. It was part pride and part “oh crap” because what if I just derailed my 50K training (I don’t think I did because I pulled a solid 18 mile trail run/10 mile road the next weekend). Once I found my family it didn’t matter! The finish party was awesome this year. A great atmosphere and a nice day. I pulled on my compression socks and sandals (fashion!) and we stuck around for a while.



I love this race and will do it again and probably again. I have no 2014 race plans yet except, of course, Ragnar Chicago another race I love and am excited to run as an ambassador this year! Depending how Saturday’s 50K and subsequent recovery goes I would love to see what I can do in a marathon I train for again and have talked to a few community women about targeting the Wisconsin Marathon as a group! I will keep you updated. For now…

Tighten those laces, let’s RUN!!!!!


Pool Running or attempting to…

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As I’ve both alluded too as well as flat-out said there is no way around it I am INJURED! I have been having a sharp, centralized pain in my lower leg for just about 2 weeks. I have pretty awesome high cost small non-profit insurance so I really can not afford to go to the doctor and get a bunch of tests done. Though I am getting a FREE injury eval tomorrow. I talked to a lot of people about my situation who deal with lower leg injuries and done my fair share of internet searches (I recommend NEITHER as a REAL solution but it’s what I have) and have been told/convinced to boot the thing, rest, ice, compress, blah blah blah. I have also been convinced pool running would be a great way to stay in shape for some races I have coming up…. Like the MARATHON I’m suppose to run in, ohhh 2 MONTHS! and the 50K 20 days after!

So pool running, strength training, yoga and biking it is!

After some research and youtube video tutorials I was all set to get in the pool and possibly make a fool of myself. The Y by my house has “aqua jogging” belts anyone can use so after work yesterday I braved the waters and did 2o minutes of pool running (I had 2 miles on my plan). As I strapped on my belt (feeling like I should be going to water aerobics) I desperately searched for a lane that wasn’t marked “class” by a cone or too busy. I spotted one with just one person slowly moving in it so I picked that lane and the women proceeded to leave as I entered (SCORE! LANE TO MYSELF). The orignal plan was to stay in place but that quickly went out the window as I worked on my form. Stay upright they say, high knees they say, go through the FULL running motion (not just marching) they say. Turns out doing ALL that at once is actually really HARD! I spent most of the 20 minutes saying out loud “right, left, right, left” because I noticed if I didn’t I was favoring my right side. I probably gave the teenage lifeguards a good show! I will be back tomorrow for 40 minutes if anyone needs a good laugh! Finished up with 10 mins of laps and realized the pool is NASTY DIRTY! Would bother me more if possible open water swims are in my future.

I’ll let you know what the deal is after the sports injury assessment. Injury aside the FREE Trail Fun Run is ON for NEXT SUNDAY morning sign up now:

Tighten those laces, lets YOU run!


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the dreaded ice bath

Do you remember the first race you ran when you crossed the finish line sore already, giving the run ALL YOU HAD. You couldn’t sit on the toilet that night and took the elevator to your second floor office. It hurt, bad. You wondered if you would EVER be able to will your muscle fibers to fire quicker than a hobble ever again. The pride you felt pulled you back to training and back to the starting line of a race the same distance. This time again giving it all you had. It hurt the same but not for as long and so you pushed yourself to new distances, new PRs all the while training your body not just to run but to recover!

Runners are always talking about recovery from compression garments to ice baths. Nasty tasting protein drinks to swearing by a post run beer instead (my personal practice). What we seem to forget is how fast we recover from various distances is also a testament of our fitness level and preparation. Remember to not all positive training gains can be seen on your Garmin. Just something to think about…

Tighten those laces, LETS RUN! 


What NOT to do to prepare for a long run!

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All week you know it is coming. You’ve looked at your calendar/training plan a million times. You have confirmed childcare (if you need it), talked a buddy or two to come along, or planned a solo route that will be interesting/safe. You think about it ALL week, your weekend long run.

Whether a “long run” is 6 miles or 26 for you there is no question it takes planning as well as execution of that plan to be successful. How well you do this COULD determine how your long run goes, good, bad or ugly.

This weekend I had a 20 mile training run scheduled for Sunday. For those of you who haven’t been following I am training to run Ragnar Chicago with 5 other women as Team We Run This in June which most conventinal wisdom blogs I have read state it’s best to be in “marathon shape” to run like this. So that is what I am going to do. I haven’t run 20 miles since my first marathon in October 2012. I was more than happy my running buddy replied to my plea on Facebook for company with all or some of this run that she would be there the first 14 miles.

I knew going into this weekend I had a window of 12:30pm – 4:30pm on Sunday to get this run done so that was the plan. I worked Saturday morning until 12pm then the kids and I were off to Madison,WI to see my parents and my little sister who was home from college and most importantly so my mom, sister and I could go see Dessa at the High Noon Saloon!!! She is my favorite artist in the last 3-4 years and it was my 6th or 7th time seeing her but I was still SUPER excited because she always inspires and NEVER disappoints! What I didn’t count on was not getting back to my parent’s house until 1am then getting involved in a serious discussion with my sister until 3am. Since I was solo with the kids it meant a quick 7am wake up step on as they crawled out of bed. 4 hours of sleep! Not to mention pretty bad for you food all day, beer, and whiskey. I ate 1/2 a waffle and some crackers between the 2 hour drive from my parents to my in laws to drop the kids for the day and the 45 min drive from my in laws to my running buddy’s place.

By our 12:30 start I was TIRED, depleted and probably under hydrated. After some last-minute bottle fills we were off. We both agreed to not let our pace get too crazy (as it can because we get to talking and such) and mostly run by feel. I was the only one with a Garmin so I was charged with making sure we didn’t go much under 10mm in the first part no matter how “good” we felt.  We stayed at a conversational pace most of the first part of the run but I felt like I was dragging! Around mile 6.5 I got a weird second wind and shortly after we saw one of those “your speed” trackers and ran to see what we could get it to reach if flashed 11 once and 9 twice that was fun.  Not too long after I started to get in a really bad head space thinking “oh man I am only half way done!” It was nice to have my running buddy there to talk me off the ledge but hard to know I was dropping her in just 3 miles.

My last 6 miles solo I wanted to quit. I hurt and I was getting hungry and it had gotten colder. I made the mistake of not sticking with my plan to change my top into something dry. I think that would have helped my mood. I had a bad foot cramp at mile 18 and wanted to quit. I was back to my car and wanted nothing to do with 2 more miles. I really think this last 6 is where my bad pre-planning bit me. It was only starved off this long thanks to good fueling and good company in the first 14.

Despite poor planning and a rough last haul. Thanks to most of my first 14 going so well I ended with a 20 mile PR at 3:38:xx, which could also be how the wheels fell off… who knows.

I try to not let training take over my life or my life take over training. This time I think my life over took training a bit and I am LUCKY to have done as well as I did. I would like to say I will live and learn or I won’t let this happen again but to be honest I knew exactly what I was doing and I was not sabotaging myself or making excuses. I am attempting to live my life to the fullest and sometimes that means not going according to plan!

Be sure to check out the awesome things We Run This has in store for this summer here!

Tighten those laces – LETS RUN!


Race Recap: The Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon 2012

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When you train for something for ten months you expect not the sleep the night before. Planning for this I attempted to sleep as well as any mother of toddlers can the whole week and was relatively successful. The night of the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon I slept surprisingly well, woke up on my own at 4:30a and somewhat calmly got ready as if it were “just another long run”. I met my friend and Ragnar teammate Heather at a park n ride and we were off to Grafton. I had heard that parking gets backed up so I arranged for us to park my car at a relative’s house about 4 blocks from the start, figuring walking would ease some nerves. Half way to the High School I realized I left my phone in the car and we had to walk back, we had plenty of time so it was no big deal. In reality we could have parked at the High School since it didn’t seem too bad.
The High School was buzzing with runners trying to stay warm and use indoor toilets before the big 26.2 mile journey we were all about it take! About 20 minutes to race time my parents and sister found me (they drove up from Madison) we took some pictures and it was time to head outside. I nervously explained the lineup system to my parents and sent them to the start arch to get some pictures. I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying but soon we were off.
It was 34 degrees at the start so many people had on gloves and other “throw aways”. The first three miles seemed easy enough except my Heart Rate Monitor was acting up so the strategy of using that to gauge effort (which I had done all training) went out the window really quick. I tried not to let it throw me off and kept an even pace, chatting with other runners, listening to this group of older guys joke and seeing many guys dart off to pee.

Lets do this!

Mile 1 -7
From the first miles I LOVED the course. It was a route I would have mapped for myself. The one thing I wasn’t prepared for were the “little” steepish hills in the beginning, they killed my legs for some reason. They didn’t seem too bad but took a lot out of me. At around mile 3.5 I saw/heard the famed accordion player which made me laugh and was a nice distraction. By mile 7 we were already to Concordia University and I thought my family would be waiting but apparently the spectator map was wrong and they did not show up until after I had left (the map said Concordia was mile 10).
Mile 8 – 16
I kept wondering where my family would be and was bummer I had missed them. Right outside of the Concordia campus there was wind off the lake forcing me to put back on my “throw away” ¼ zip which I’m glad I held on to. I was hurting and it was hard. It was too soon for it to be this hard. Just get to the halfway point I kept telling myself. 13.1 came and went then I saw some Twitter peeps at mile 14, that was rejuvenating. Mile 14 was also the 1000th mile I have run in 2012! I had to pee but didn’t want to stop. Finally at mile 16 it was too much and I gave in and stopped to use a porta poty, of course there was a line. It cost me just under 5 minutes. It was nice to stop and stretch at the “Marti Gras” house.Mile 17 -19
This sucks, this really sucks. I know I’m off pace to finish in my “secret” time goal. I try to refocus and chat with some other runners. I am going to finish a marathon today, I have to! Just before mile 19 I heard “RACHEL!” in finally a familiar voice. Everyone calls out your name when it is on your bib! It is my sister Hannah and she is there with my whole family. My kids are wearing custom shirts and my dad has drawn a nice sign about my 1000th mile and I have 8 people on my team telling me I “look good” and keep it up even as I round the corner. I can’t stop now! “See you at the finish”.

Signs my sister made
“This is the hardest run of my life”

Mile 20 – 24
I start chatting with an older man from Chicago about his food businesses and son. We stay together for a few miles and he even stops to walk with me for a bit, it was nice. Eventually we parted ways and I chatted with a few other people along the way. I tried to be encouraging when I passed people and others were as they passed. This IS really a runners race and even though spectators are sparse at times we all had each other out there. At about mile 23 I walked through the Aid Station at the top of Lincoln Memorial Drive. A man wearing a Lakefront Official shirt kind of stopped me and asked if I was OK. I was taken aback. I was walking to drink and felt tired and sore but not like I was going to pass out of die. I asked him if I looked ok and he said “yes” but it really got in my head. I tried to brush it off and cruised down the biggest hill of the course. It felt better than expected to finally be running down that big hill. The winds got a little rough by the time I was nearing Bradford Beach and the UWM Claws v. Paws Aid Station. I cheered strong for UWM and they cheered back. I could see the red North Point Custard sign in the distance, where I volunteered last year, and told myself not to walk until I got there and I made it.
Mile 25 – 26.2
I started not to be able to feel my lower half and checked that I did not lose my Amphipod belt more than once. It became surreal and dream like. This is happening. I saw a lot of runners walking away from the finish and I demanded one show me the medal, it was HUGE and I was about to get one. I saw my friend Belle around like 25.2 and was even more energized to finish strong. I had been running “with” these two women for most of the last half of the race and was determined to get MY OWN finish picture so I darted ahead of them. 25.5. All the sudden I see my son with my father –in-law and my daughter with my mother-in-law/coach. My son is screaming “MIMMA RUNNING” and my daughter sobs as I run “away” from her. I see the clock, it’s not the time I wanted but I made it. I cross the finish line and get my shout- out from the announcer (he even said my last night right).

I get teary eyed as I am presented my medal. A medical professional walks with me for a bit and explains to keep walking unless I feel dizzy. Space blanket, food bag, beer, find my family.
I had made cards for everyone there supporting me and was determined no matter how much “marathon brain” I had I would remember to give them out and I did. They LOVED IT! It was such a small thing but I really wanted them to know their support meant the world to me!!! Thank you also to all the people who have followed this journey on Facebook and Twitter. Even now, a few days later it still hits me that I AM A MARATHONER!!!

Next BIG focus: Ragnar Relay Madison – Chicago Ultra and getting faster!

Tighten those laces, lets run!!!


Sexy to the Vo2Max

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On 2/4/12 I traveled with my Mother In Law to Sports Core in Kohler, WI to endure some of the hardest running I have likely ever endured. I was nervous because I had no idea what to expect but excited to learn more about my fitness level and get some ideas on improving it. After answering some questions, getting a quick explanation, and strapping on a heart rate monitor and Darth Vader mask it was time to get started. Goal: Don’t embarrass myself!

A quick way to explain Vo2Max is The point at which oxygen consumption plateaus defines the VO2 max or an individual’s maximal aerobic capacity. It is generally considered the best indicator of cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness. However, it is more useful as an indicator of a person’s aerobic potential or upper limit than as a predictor of success in endurance events. Someone asked on our Facebook Page is Vo2Max was hereditary and here is what I found: Genetics plays a major role in a persons VO2 max and heredity can account for up to 25-50% of the variance seen between individuals. This is not to say you can not still work to increase your fitness level.
More on Vo2Max can be found HERE

This test is HARD and will WORK you. My tester, Jake, started me off at 3mph/0 incline and explained every minute we would increase 1mph until we hit 5mph then we would increase incline by 1 every minute after reaching 5mph. He explained he would ask me how I was feeling and I should give him a number. 5 – just fine 6 – first sign of sweat 7 – sweating a lot 8 – I don’t have much left 9 – I could hole this for maybe 20 seconds 10 – I’m done!
It was hard to breath with the Darth Vader mask on and it made my mouth really dry. Once Jake started adding incline I gave him a 6, incline at 5 gave him a 7, incline at 10 gave him an 8, incline 10 speed 5.1 was a 9 and incline 10 at 5.2 was my breaking point. I literally almost passed out and miss stepped on the treadmill just as my Mother in Law was walking in. Remember that goal from above… NOT ACHIEVED!

My Results:
Initial Hear Rate: 79 BPM
Heart Rate @ beginning of exercise (level ‘5’ of 1-10 RPE scale): 109 BPM
Peak Heart Rate: 177 BPM
VO2 Max: 40.3 (ml/kg/min) ‘Good’ category [40-43] for women in your age group
Predicated MAX HR: 192 BPM
Reached your Ventiallry Threshold @ 68% of your MAX HR (151 BPM) – “The higher percentage, the better”
2 min Recovery: 111 BPM – “Incredible! Nice Job Training, it shows!”
Overall Fitness Score: “Good”

All in all it was a great experience and Jake was a very helpful and nice tester. I learned that my training is working but I need to run my long runs slower so I don’t go over 156bpm and therefor continue to increase my endurance. In the coming weeks Jake will send me a plan to help me do this through out 2012. I hope to go back between Ragnar Chicago and the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon to see where I’m at again. I would encourage anyone who is serious about increasing their fitness, has access and can afford this test to DO IT!
managed a 6 mile “long run” at about an 11:00 pace on a nice recreation trail in Kohler after the test. My hamstrings definitely felt the rolling hills though. I was glad I wasn’t completely spent.

After I got back to my in-laws my Father In Law stole me to go to a brew pub. Somewhere in that time I agreed to run with him today. Forgetting agreeing to this I had eggs for breakfast before he reminded me, have not better that close to puking on a run in a long time. 3 miles with him and another 1 on my own. It was nice, our first run together, it only took 7 years!
Tomorrow: REST

Tighten Those Laces…LETS RUN!!!!