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Get To Know Team We Run This – Ragnar 2014 – Rachel

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WRT Front 1

Hey look it’s finally MY turn to do one of these! Please check out the rest of team We Run This:

Jennifer M, Barb, Jennifer H, and Taylor

Rachel G, 30, Milwaukee, WI    Founder – We Run This


Rachel after her first 50K
Rachel after her first 50K










1) How long have you been running? What got you started?

I have been running 5 ½ years and started on a bet. More on that here
2) Why Ragnar Ultra?

After crossing the finish line on a regular team in 2012 I KNEW I wanted to captain/run an ultra team because managing 11 people was rough for me and I LOVE pushing myself in running. Ultra is a different animal. There is less “down” time but my favorite part of Ragnar is spending 30+ hours engulfed in the running community!

Ragnar 2013
Ragnar Chicago 2013

3) Where do you typically run?
I run outside as much as possible. This winter in WI REALLY pushed my limits and I relied on the Pettit and my Y membership more than I EVER have. I prefer trails but admit to be a bit of a wuss when it comes to being in the woods alone for too long. That and having small kids it is usually most convenient to road run.
4) Do you cross train? How?
I TRY to get to the gym once a week for strength training/ incline training. I use THIS ab workout and do free weights. For Incline training I spend time on the stair machine and run/walk on the treadmills that go to 25% incline. In conjunction with Ragnar training I’m training for Dances With Dirt – Devil’s Lake – a 50K with A LOT of hills. I also bike to work when weather/schedule permits. I’m a nervous road biker though and haven’t food a GREAT way to work yet so I chicken out and run instead sometimes.


5) Must have running gear?
For longer distances a hydration system that works/fits. For an average day run something to keep my hair out of my face, usually a hat.
6) While running Music/ No music?
No music. I use to not be able to stand running sans music now it makes my head hurt. I will use it sometimes inside but even then it makes me tune out my body and changes my running experience.

Ragnar Chicago 2012
Ragnar Chicago 2012



7) What are you most excited about for Ragnar this year?
My KICK ASS TEAM!! We have a great group of athletes who are just different enough to keep things interesting. It can be nerve wracking as a captain to stick 5 people plus yourself together because you never know what you will get, personality wise. This year I don’t have that fear!
Also pushing myself by having just over a ½ marathon my last leg!



8) What are you most scared of about Ragnar this year?
Logistics. ALWAYS logistics. Will we be to the exchange on time? What if someone gets hurt? Who can go unsupported so we can sleep? Is anyone mad? Did ______ eat? As a captain Ragnar is a different experience, you have to run but also make sure you get those other 5 people to the finish and on team We Run This we aim to do that while having THE MOST FUN possible. I trust my team so that helps!

9) If one thing could be waiting for you in Chicago at the Ragnar finish line what would it be?
I think the FREE ice cold Sierra Nevada (Ragnar Sponsor) will do!!!

10) Anything else you would like to share?
Thanks to everyone who has followed the series of Get To Know Team We Run This! Follow us leading up to the race and during on Twitter at @WeRunThisDotOrg or #teamWRT or on Facebook or #teamWRT

Let us know if YOU on running Ragnar Chicago 2014!

Tighten Those Laces! LETS RUN!


Get To Know Team We Run This – Ragnar 2014 – Taylor

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I have known Taylor for longer then I have been running. My cousin by marriage he has always been active and positive. Taylor was on our 2012 Ragnar Chicago team and easily the fastest person on that team. I’m excited to get to share a van with him this year and nervous about getting to his exchanges on time!

Taylor S, 22, Madison,WI 4th-Year Student at UW-Madison studying Chemical Engineering

Taylor (right) during “off” time Ragnar 2012

1)How long have you been running? What got you started?

I competed in pole vault in High School but never got much into running any distance. I began training for running in order to do better in triathlons. Other than that, I had only done a few short races before doing the Ragnar back in 2012.

2)Why Ragnar Ultra?

I’m doing the ultra because Rachel asked me. I enjoy training and challenging myself so this race is perfect.

3)Where do you typically run?

I usually run outside on roads because I can’t stand running on a treadmill for more than 20-30 minutes. It gets too boring and I like being out in the fresh air

4)Do you cross train? How?

I cross train with swimming, biking, and rock climbing. I plan on playing in the UW-Marching Band for a 5th year next year and I’m trying to do anything to avoid injuries from doing anything too repetitive

5)Must have running gear?

When running, I tend to go with whatever is lightest and keeps me coolest. Light shoes and shorts are what I go with when I can.

6)While running Music/ No music?

I used to not like running with music, but I’ve become more used to it over the last year or two. Any album or podcast by The White Panda works well for me because it is so upbeat

7)What are you most excited about for Ragnar this year?

I am really excited to challenge myself with the distance. I have never raced this far before and I’m looking forward to the mental challenge.

8)What are you most scared of about Ragnar this year?

I’m most scared that my body won’t be able to hold up over the distances. I’ve had knee problems in the past that have been improving, but I just hope that they don’t return during the race.

9)If one thing could be waiting for you in Chicago at the Ragnar finish line what would it be?

If there could be anything waiting for me at the finish line this year, it would be a pool. If this year is going to be anything like 2012, it’s going to be HOT, HOT, HOT and a dip at the end would feel great!

10)Anything else you would like to share?

At UW-Madison, I’ve marched 4 years in the UW Marching Band and plan to do another. It is a big time commitment, but I really enjoy the athletic challenge and the ability to play and perform music all year round. Outside of classes, this is what I spend the majority of my time with.

Taylor Marching with UW Madison

Thanks for sharing Taylor!! You can get to know the rest of the team – Heather, Jennifer H, Barb, and Jennifer M

The race is ALMOST here so be on the lookout for our last installment of Get To Know Team We Run This – Ragnar 2014 as well as an all new Captain’s Blog on race day preparedness!

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!!!!!


Ragnar Relay Chicago Packing – UPDATE/PICTURES

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>Last week I wrote a pretty extensive post about what I planned to pack for Ragnar Relay Chicago and I have to say I have pretty much stuck to that list. I ran last year as a 12 person team but decided to push myself and go ULTRA or a 6 person team in 2013. So packing this year was easy from the stand point of experience but harder because the ultra thing is un-know and requires a little more planning since we will be running more = more food/water/electrolytes/recovery. I also found myself planning for more issues like blisters and chafing.

The forecast is looking GREAT as of today *knock on wood* Friday – 67 in Lake Mills, WI. I was really only concerned about Friday’s high because I run at NOON. I did get a chance over the weekend to run part of that route and there is a lot of tree cover. Otherwise I run at 9:30pm and 8:30am. With that I began to pack my clothes in GALLON size ziptop bags:


As of right now I am planning to wear:
Leg 1 (12:00pm): Nike Shorts, new balance tank
Leg 2 (9:30pm): Adidas Capris, 2012 WRT Ragnar shirt, possibly arm sleeves
Leg 3 (8:30am): Nike Shorts, Sleeveless champion shirt

Then there is the nutrition! Here is a shot of my $30.00 worth.


I plan on taking either 2 gels and 3 shot blocks or 3 gels per run (about 11 miles each) I may take in a bit more on my night run depending how my nutrition is throughout the day. I will also carry 8oz water and 8oz Nuun.

I had delusions I could pack in a backpack but once I started I realized I’d have to use my duffel again this year. Especially with the possibility of a “chilly” night.


Besides running clothes I have 1 zip up sweatshirt, 1 towel, 1 swim suit, 1 pair of jeans, 2 cotton t-shirts, 2 non running pairs of socks, and 1 non running bra.

I also took care of van wide needs like the first aid kit:
first aid

As well as some extra stuff:

2 things on these pictures: tampons (we ARE in all women’s team) and 1 pair extra laces! Things you may not think about but could really save your team in a pinch!!!

The extra stuff gets packed in last year’s AWESOME bag and a BIG change from last year is the BIG water jug! Which we will just keep adding ice to.

So there you have it! My Ragnar Packing in pictures! What am I missing? What did I list you had not thought about? If you are running please comment with your team name and start time so we can look for you!! Follow our adventure on Facebook and Twitter (#RagnarChi) (#teamWRT) We start at 6am! See you out there!

Tighten those laces! Let’s RUN!


#wrtdouble 2 1/2s in 2 days!

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A while back I had signed up for the Trailbreaker 1/2 marathon because it was cheap ($35), close to home, and on a day I was slotted to run 13 miles anyways. So I was going to go, attempt to PR since my last PR was at an indoor 1/2 making me feel like somehow it didn’t “count” and call it a day. Before I knew it there was tons of chatter on Twitter about the Badgerland Striders South Shore 1/2 marathon. This race was only $14, close to home and my kids were already set up to be at Grandmas so I pulled the trigger and signed up. Instant nerves! Am I really going to run 2 1/2s in ONE weekend?!?! While attending a wedding in-between?!?! It WOULD qualify me for Half Fanatics membership so I settled on a goal of sub 2:30ing both and calling it a weekend.

Friday night I settled in for some “carbo-loading”. Since I have been preparing for my long runs so diligently not at all. I figured “why start now”. I DID stick with my two craft beers night before a race rule, however. and also ate this:

Pulled Pork Nachos
Pulled Pork Nachos

Saturday April 6th 2013: Trailbreaker 1/2 Marathon, Waukesha, WI.

My goal was to just relax during this run and run by feel. It was nice to have a warm building to wait around in since it was windy and about 30* out. I met up with my Ragnar teammate Heather and we wandered out to the start line about 20 minutes before gun time.

"Hey Heather you're on the blog!"
“Hey Heather you’re on the blog!”
Very modest beginings
Very modest beginnings

This race went GREAT! I stayed relaxed and didn’t obsess over my time. There aren’t a lot of spectators on this course but all of the volunteers were awesome. I pulled into mile 6 and had to look at my watch. I had made it in just an hour. I knew a PR was possible but had to pull back and remember this wasn’t about a PR, you have to do this AGAIN tomorrow! Around mile 9 I ran into a guy who I have done some group runs with and use to come into the running store I worked at, Charles. We got to chatting and he pulled me WAY out of my comfort zone but I still felt good enough to talk so I went with it. He bonked at mile 11 and told me to “go for it.” so I did. I bonked a bit at mile 12 but pushed through to a shiny NEW PR of 2:10:08!

Recovery started right away!
Recovery started right away!

I got my post race beer and a few snacks and saw Charles again, thanking him with a cheers. I had to get going pretty quick because I had a wedding to attend at 3pm!! I pulled on my compression socks and got on the road. Once I got home I foam rolled with a little help:

Recovery Buddies
Recovery Buddies

Showered, and got ready for the quickest wedding ever. It was seriously 15 minutes! Congrats again to Ashley and Drew! After the ceremony a bunch of us headed to the Delafield Brewhaus for dinner where I had to continue to carbo load but all I could eat there was a salad (allergy issues) so I settled for this:

Check-in to ALL the beers!
Check-in to ALL the beers!

After a wild night of dancing, a few more beers, doughnuts and nachos at the reception (one of the best receptions I’ve EVER been to!) It was time to head home. Bed by 1am, slept like crap, up by 7am to get ready and run 13.1 MORE miles.

Sunday, April 7th 2013: South Shore 1/2 Marathon, Milwaukee,WI

I awoke to another grey, windy, cold morning. There was some relief in knowing my running buddy/Ragnar teammate was sticking this one out with me and again having a warm place to hang pre-race!

Pre-Race. trying to get psyched!
Pre-Race. trying to get psyched!
Lots of people about to run this race.
Lots of people about to run this race.

I was sore, but not unbearably so at the start but excited to run parts of the Oak Leaf Trail I hadn’t previously. I had heard the course was “hilly but nothing to be afraid of” and honestly I was happy not knowing what lay ahead. I ended up LOVING the course even the hills, mud and close quarters. Around mile 4 we got on pace with 2 guys running ahead of us and ran behind them until mile 11. It was fun to listen to their conversation and have some blocking to the wind.

Clouds started to break around the end of the race.
Clouds started to break around the end of the race.

Milwaukee Skyline. This pic. doesn't do it justice.

Milwaukee Skyline. This pic. doesn’t do it justice.

After cursing like a sailor up the last couple of hills we made it clocking a 2:17:xx (official results aren’t up at this posting) finish. I am SUPER happy with that after PRing the day before, hills and wind.

"Beer and your kids, that's like your life" - Running Buddy's g/f
“Beer and your kids, that’s like your life” – Running Buddy’s g/f

I was bummed they were out of Riverwest Stien but I got my post race beer, Coors Light – YUCK! I knew I had better post race beer at home so after another compression sock pull on I headed there. For this:

2 Beers for 2 races!
2 Beers for 2 races!

First I made it into a “Black and Tan” as suggested then drank the second half of each separately. Pretty great way to end a great weekend of running. I promptly applied to be a Half Fanatic and was accepted!! #3937 Level: Jupiter!

Part of the reason the South Shore is so cheap is because you don’t get a medal at the end just kind of crappy, too big for my hands, gloves. The whole race we were joking about making the gloves into a medal so after the above beers is sounded like an EVEN better idea! So here is my undated medal wall:

Conversation starters
Conversation starters

It was a crazy weekend and I am glad I did it! I feel SO prepared for Ragnar Chicago Ultra that I can only imagine what 2 more months will bring!!

Milwaukee Women Runners: Remember our first group run in THIS Saturday it is free and you will have a chance to win an entry in the Summerfest Rock ‘n Sole Run! For more info and to register please click HERE!

Tighten those laces – LETS RUN!


Race Recap: Icebreaker Indoor 1/2 Marathon 1/19/13

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Have you ever signed up for a race that seems so far away so you keep putting off any “real” training week after week? That is kind of how the Icebreaker Indoor 1/2 Marathon was for me. I had signed up a month or so after completing the Lakefront Marathon once I got word that my running buddy Jenny was going to use it as her first 1/2! After spending 10 of the 12 months of 2012 in training mode and struggling with an injury after Lakefront I have spent the last two months running when/how much  I wanted and focusing on strength/cross training as well. I did do some double digit runs but none of them were super planned out and really only happened around other things in life.

Race day approached quickly as I ran 10 miles home from work last Friday and then declared a taper! Friday night I stretched my usual 2 micro-brews or one bomber micro-brew to 3 micro-brews and some gin. I was more nervous for this race then I can remember being for any other 1/2. I felt under trained and knew I was walking into a brand new experience, running 47.7 laps in a DRY climate controlled area with tons of other runners. Waking up with a sore throat and nasal decongestion did not help!


Before I knew it my parents had arrived to babysit and I was out the door the drive the whole 6 miles to the Pettit National Ice Center. Even though she lives much further, Jenny had beat me there. Once I arrived we went up to the Hall of Fame room and wait and get ready. This is the first race I’ve worn an ankle chip for and I was a little grossed out picking it up, I know they probably disinfect them SOMEHOW but YUCK! We made small talk with other runners took this AWESOME before picture where you can see I look a little out of it.


Once we got down by the track we were informed we would be starting late at 9:35a because someone was still finishing from the 7am heat (which was advertised as having a 2hr cut off time). A heard of runners started walking toward the start line so we followed. As we all gathered on the concrete next to the “track” (aka thin piece of rubber over concrete) all the sudden the start gun went off. A lot of confused runners hustled onto the track and we were off. I felt really BLAH from the start and had told myself to keep around a 10:40 pace for at least the first half. I’m proud to say I did a really good job at that… except there was one problem. It seems my Garmin + Foot pod which I have found to be pretty accurate was not being so accurate. Every lap your name appears on a big screen and tells you how many laps you went, have and your lap time. Since I am bad at math I was just going off my Garmin, not knowing I was actually running closer to 10:00/10:15. This MAYBE could have been aiding in my feeling like JUNK!

Another hard part about this race was for the first 10 miles or so you are constantly passing and getting passed by people which causes for some careful maneuvering. As much as that made it hard at times to keep a steady pace it also kept my mind fresh while running in circles. People were really polite and followed the run on the outside, pass on the inside rule. Not too many side by siders and all in all serious but fun people to run with.

Miles ticked by and it was really helpful that Anthony and Shanna from the American Cancer Society who I had the pleasure of working with through Determination last year were there cheering as well as the NICEST STRANGER EVER. She was there to support her friends from Chicago and they had been sharing a table with us when we were getting ready. She cheered for me like no one’s business and counted down my laps! If by some chance you are reading this I can never thank you enough!

With 2 laps to go I was really confused because my Garmin said I still had almost a mile. I felt like crap by this time and my legs were shot. Using the same muscles do to lack of varying terrain does a number after a while. Turns out my legs are also not use to running that fast for that long.

I ended the day with a HUGE 13 minute PR of 2:11:09. Like a bad ass Jenny finished in 2:00:59 and I look forward to seeing her grow as a runner. Here is our mandatory post race picture:


Though it was a controlled environment it had it’s own challenges. I can’t wait to see what I am capable of this year when I am healthy and trained! Training for Ragnar Chicago 2013 starts this week (pending getting over this cold) and I know there are some pretty great runs in my future.

Tighten Those Laces – LETS RUN!



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If we are connected on Facebook or Twitter you have heard my ranting about this leg (possible hamstring) issue I’ve been having ever since I ran the Lakefront Marathon in October. If we are not connected now you know. I have yet to go to the doctor do to 1) a high deductible and 2) a high level of denial. I have an appointment on Wednesday for my yearly physical and will likely bring it up but we will see.  Where my previous plan of “just continue running and ignore the pain because it doesn’t hurt WHEN you run” failed my new “run slowly, every other day, strength train,ice, foam roll and stretch” seems to be working (so far). I had 3 full days PAIN FREE last week! That is the longest I’ve went in 2 months but I also went 5 days without running. I ran slow for 4 miles on Thursday with some tightness around 3.5 but no pain at night (when I have been hurting the most).

This injury wouldn’t be such a big deal except I’m suppose to be running the Icebreaker Indoor 1/2 Marathon in 7 weeks and want to be in good enough shape to beat the 2:30 cut off. With a Half PR of 2:24:46 I have little wiggle room.

I am out of town this weekend in Fond Du Lac, WI and kid-less so I decided to see if I could push 8 miles. The run itself went surprisingly well. No pain, felt strong, got to see some interesting things and found a bathroom at just the right moment. I had a bit of pain last night but think that wouldn’t have been the case had I iced and rolled instead of sitting in bed drinking a beer and writing my sister a training plan. I will leave you with some photos from my run. This is an interesting little town!