Tundra Trailblazer Nicole: Update

Boston Marathon, here I come!

Hello, Everyone, once again! Sorry for a slight delay in my postings! My laptop decided to not work earlier this week! I would think most of you have encountered some technology failures. So, here am I typing this awesomely epic update on my little phone. Hooray! (Not)

On March 25th, I logged in my longest run in my training cycle for Boston, 22 freaking miles. It was a huge milestone for me because it was the longest training run I have ever ran. (I may note that the furthest I ever ran was, yes, a marathon.)

One of the hardest things training for Boston was building up mileage. Since I could not run for three months, it was hard once I picked up miles that were once easy. Each long run on Saturday, I learned to be patient, I learned when to take it easy, and take it in one run at a time.

On March 19, I ran a local race in Two Rivers. As a competitive runner, it was not easy taking in the finish time. Even when I ran my last race this past Saturday, a 10K, I was not satisfied with it. Both times were my third fastest times, I had to remember exactly what I have been training for the whole time, the Boston Marathon.

From day one of when I wrote down for a school assignment to run Boston by the age of twenty-five, time started ticking. The miles were not easy going into my first half marathon one year after I wrote down my goal. I was not happy with my first half, which lead me to wait yet another year to throw two more with a month in between.

A few months after considering how to take on my next goal of running a marathon, I needed community support. No, it did not take a literal city to convince me to run one, but I turned to my Facebook friends. Over the course of four years in high school, I friended a lot of runners from all over the place, and following high school, a few more. Right before the Cellcom Marathon first price increase, I made my decision to run the marathon.

I needed more than just people off the sidelines, but needed someone alongside me the whole race. To feel the same pain I was experiencing at the same exact moment. If it wasn’t for Nick, I do not even think I would be even toeing the line in less than two weeks. It not only was Nick, but the rest of the Awesome Rogue Trotters, Alex, Erika, and Ryan. Following the first marathon, their marathon times were slightly faster, and since I have beaten them in some races, I had the confidence to beat their times. Did I mention some of their times were close to 3:35? Erika went to Boston last year, so when I toed the line of my second marathon. I had purpose and I earned my 3:23 and my BQ.

Despite what happened last July, I overcame a lot just to train for one race, but it is more than just a race, it is my motivation to start speed training, increase my strength and flexibility and make my running more efficient. Maybe my fractured foot is an opportunity, time will tell. Again, facing a few starting lines in the next few weeks and months will need confidence, patience, and trust.

As I go into the final week before Boston, I will be joining in for the half marathon route at the Prevea Training Runs on Saturday, April 8th at 7 AM. Hope to see you all there! (And let’s hope my laptop will be okay! Fingers crossed!)

Tundra Trailblazer Jill: ISO: A Running Sitter…and a Therapist….

Woohoo! It’s April!

Also happening in April…

Relaxing April rains, warmer weather, and the promise of summer coming soon. I know, this is WI, so there’s always the chance of one more great snow storm. I do recall being snowed on camping once at the end of May, but…

I’m being hopeful, so don’t bust my bubble on this, people.

This month’s running events include the longest runs of marathon training. Saturday’s run was the first of these, at 16 miles, and this week follows with 18, then 20, with a “break” at the end of the month to participate in the Oshkosh Half Marathon on April 30th.

In other words, I like to call this month: Hell Month.

Or in a positive light, the most crucial month of prep work for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. It’s the point of no return, and I’m feeling like I’m going to make it. Or maybe I’ve just had a lot of coffee right now, and I’m feeling the running high still from my recent productive training runs.

Either way, today I feel like I CAN run a marathon. 
And that’s a great feeling.

Saturday’s 16-mile run went relatively well, with my pace a bit below my goal marathon pace. However, I’m finding a comfortable stride around the 8:12-8:21 min/mile range. I ended up with a 8:33 min/mile pace due to running out of water, starting to feel ill, and also running into Grumpy Cat in the last 2 miles and HAVING to stop and take a picture. We’ll see how the 20-milers go coming up, but I’m hopeful to attain my sub-9 min/mile goal.

Injury-wise, I left Saturday’s run pain-free (WOOOOHOOO!!!!!!) outside of the fact that I shortly after realized I was getting the stomach flu that my kids have/had/gave to their cousins…. I spent the next day and some change hydrating and NOT eating anything, which I should add is my FAVORITE thing to do after that long of a run; eating whatever the heck I want which is usually pizza, or chocolate….or pizza with chocolate. Mmmm…chocolate pizza…..

I don’t like donuts, but pizza…well, I mean…

With my foot issues, I solicited/took (thank you Run Away Shoes..again…) some advice from a few local runners, did some research, and eased up on 1 run a week that last two weeks, taking things down to running 4 days/week and XT 1-2 other days. That seems to have done quite a bit for my foot injury, along with a lot of stretching, rolling, and a LITTLE extra help in the Ibuprofen realm as well.

Who would have thought? Stretching and rolling, right!?!?

But as I mentioned in my last blog post, which you can find here, I was skimping on those all too important warmup and cool-down aspects of my runs to avoid sinking further and further into that fun thing called….

Just trying to protect everyone,
that’s all
“Mom Guilt” 

Mom Guilt 
/mam/ or /MAAAAMMM!!!!!/ /gilt/ – noun – A remorseful feeling a female caretaker gets when spending 473 hours/day caring for her offspring is not enough and she chooses to partake in a completely self-serving act focused on increasing her physical, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being which in turn requires her child to be in the care of another individual and/or temporarily self-reliant. These acts include any and all forms of exercise, showering, entering a level of REM sleep, eating a meal without getting up 17 times, watching a show they DVR’ed 4 weeks ago, and so on.

See also: Marathon Training Mom Guilt, Hangry Mom Guilt, I Just Don’t Care Anymore, But Feel Bad 20 Seconds Later That I Said That Mom Guilt, & Go Ask Your Father.

2 of my 3 Human Beings

Now, before you think I am saying this is only something that a sexually-defined female caretaker of another human being can feel, I’m not. However, I happen to be said sexually-defined female who is the main caretaker of 2 (okay, let’s be real, my husband is also included here…) 3 human beings who also happens to believe in speaking from my own perspective and not generalizing to all sexes, types of parents, or those who choose to not have kids but have other very demanding obligations, and so on and so on.

In other words, I’m going to go with term Mom Guilt, and you can adjust accordingly to relate…or not, if you don’t. In that case, I need to be stronger like you are, because I SUCK at not allowing my children to drain my emotional tank on a daily basis.

First, can I just say, why do I do this to myself!?? 

Where does this feeling that I need to constantly be showering my children with attention come from? And why am I constantly buying in to it? I can think of 2 main reasons: The Internet & Society (this is starting to sound strangely like a paper I might have made one of my students write..oh well, on we go…)

1. The Internet
Well, ironically as I’m writing this online blog about the topic, that is actually part of the problem: EVERYTHING IS ON THE INTERNET! 

Nap Time Target Runs Be Like….

Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest, and reading running blogs, and seeing pics of my friends kids whenever I want. What’s for dinner? Let’s see what Pinterest has to offer. What local races are coming up? Check the Facebook running pages. I don’t even enter stores without consulting my coupon apps and price matching the items on Amazon. And if I can help it, sometimes I don’t even enter a store at all; especially, around nap time.

In the running sense, the online world can be a great place to go to get tips and ideas on how to overcome injury, up your pace game, and even put healthy meals on the table.

However, it can also be TOO full of ideas or as I like to call them “Awesome Things I Won’t Ever Do That Make Me Feel Like I’m Totally Doing This Running Thing Wrong” or “Things I Shouldn’t Read In Lieu Of Seeing The Doctor Because Now I’m Afraid I’m Going to Die”.

Good Example: Runner’s World articles. On one hand, there are a lot of some great tips and ideas that come out of the plethora of posts that fill their Facebook page daily. However, there are 2 things I notice that bother me:

1. They use the word “mortal” to describe a normal runner and “elite” to be anyone who evidently is “really good” at it. Seeing as how mortal is being used in contrast here to something obviously quite “superior”, and the word itself has a secondary meaning of “leading to death”, I mean I’m not literary genius, but there’s probably something better out there that could be used. Maybe something like “bad ass runner who doesn’t get paid for it” rather than mortal?
I don’t know, just throwing ideas out there. 

2. They like to post articles about scary rare health problems in runners that can come up that you have no control over. If you read them at 10pm (along with binge watching Unsolved Mysteries while your husband is at work), good luck sleeping…ever.

Anyway, my point here is that the internet can make you feel like out of control and inferior in many of your life roles;
a mom ABSOLUTELY being one of these.  

There are a plethora of ideas online of what you “should” being doing for your kids (throwing elaborate birthday parties, planning out organic, nutritious, color-coded, themed lunches each day of the week, having in-depth discussions about the US current political system, etc.), that if you buy into all of this,
you might as well kiss any time to yourself and your own personal wellness goodbye. 

There’s also the other end of this spectrum – those that shame other moms for going above and beyond at times for their kids. I’m not going into that here, but to those that judge openly please heed this advice:

99.9% of moms posting about their personal triumphs in motherhood (eg- putting pants on their kids before 10am, getting more than 7 consecutive hours of sleep, peeing in private, etc.) are NOT doing it to make you look bad. They are NOT thinking about you as they do things; they are feeling good about accomplishing something and/or are excited for what they are doing for their kids. End of story. 

So calm down and go eat a Snickers. 

In my case of Mom Guilt, I feel guilt a lot of the time; no time more than when I’m marathon training. Having to ask someone to watch my kids so I can go out running feels selfish. I also have the added fact that this time around, as a Tundra Trailblazer for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, I am chronicling via social media every aspect of my training. That’s new for me, and at times, I wonder if other’s are thinking about how much time I can truly be spending with my children if I’m always out running.

The internet world says I should be spending every waking moment making my children handmade clothing and singing about our favorite things, so how could I possibly plan, prepare, and then execute up to 5 runs a week?

Conclusion: I must be a bad mom. 

And I don’t mean in the hot Mila Kunis “Bad Mom” sense. I mean in the sense that I’m doing something that is just for my personal well-being and only my well-being. Although I sometimes consider where she’s going with the day drinking thing….. 

2. Society 
I’m new to this SAHM/WFHM (stay at home mom, work from home mom) thing. Until recently, I was working full-time in my career field on top of teaching Sociology coursework at a local college all while running a successful music business as a performer. In other words, I was doing what American society told me I should: Get an education, and then work, work, and work some more.

We have an obsession in this country with being the best, and with that doing the best. And the best often times correlates to financial success, which in turn means you have to have a paying job. So, in the a nutshell without getting too into this, I have found in my switch from the career world to being a SAHM, SAHMs are the hardest working, least appreciated professionals I know. Hands down. I’m not arguing this. Here’s my FAVORITE completely biased, non-researched based video to back my personal opinion. (Around 3:15 is my favorite part: Moms are the best!! guy…)

A more statistically sound example, I logged 1,243 steps DURING dinner yesterday. DURING. I also wrote this blog over the course of 6 days. Mostly child-caused delays, some due to lack of personal motivation….

So here’s a fun psychological experiment to play. True or not, do this:

Tell someone you are a SAHM or SAHD. 
I mean, don’t randomly walk up to people and do this. Next time they ask what you do, tell them you stay home. 

When I started telling people this, I saw a major switch in people asking me about my personally derived success (when I was a professional in my career) to almost feelings of sadness for me or jealousy for my new found “freedom”.  No longer was I being asked about my degree, what I liked about my job, etc. I got a lot of the following comments/questions (and had a lot of the following thoughts as well….)

“Well, what do you do all day then?”
(Not sit at my desk and think, “It’s really quiet here today. Where is everyone?”)

“But you got your Masters degree and now you’re just sitting home. Doesn’t that make you feel bad?”
(I do more counseling now than I ever did. Ever had to talk a 3-year old down from eating an entire party sized bag of M&Ms and then explain why this is wrong? Yeah, let’s just say, we had the police on backup…)

“I wish I could/I would get so much done if I stayed home all day.”
(Oh yeah, I mean, now that we are always home instead of the kids being at daycare, obviously there aren’t more meals to make, dishes to do, things to pickup. My kids never need me, and I don’t ever have to stop what I’m doing to assist them in going to the bathroom from the 47th time that hour. It’s a cakewalk really….)

“You’re so lucky, your husband must have a really good job.”
(My HUSBAND is so lucky that I am willing to give up my career to allow him to continue his very demanding schedule to benefit our family. He is also lucky his is a male in a traditional male profession and thus, as is still so very common, makes more in overtime than I did in a weekly paycheck. I am lucky because I get to spend so much time with my kids every day. That’s what makes me lucky.)

“You’re so lucky that you don’t need to work.”
(That’s right. I don’t work at all nor do I miss it. I just sit around all day while the kids rub my feet and we listen to classical Chopin nocturnes whilst discussing our latest Dickens read..)

“Well you have the time to do things, you don’t work.”
(“Things” – Chauffeuring, babysitting, volunteering, childcaring, cooking, cleaning…)

My LEAST favorite one is: “I wish I could run/go to the gym/stay active. But I have to work.” 

I hate this one because I really CAN’T argue it to some level. I always went to the gym and ran either before work or during my lunch hour, but I truly don’t think I would marathon train if I were in the same boat I was last year, working 3 jobs and raising kids.

So I’m back to feeling like a guilty mom. I am lucky that I get to be with my children so much, that is true. But at what point am I allowed to make time for me without feeling judged?

You are your own worst enemy

Can I fit into this equation still? And should I? 

The short answer: Hell yes you should.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Bad is a subjective term. YOU define bad for yourself. Yes, things like the internet and societal mores can definitely enhance or influence your feelings of being “bad” or a “bad mom” tins this case. But, your perspective in the end creates the bad.

So how am I getting over this mom guilt while marathon training?? 

1. I’m consciously choosing to no longer buy into it
2. I’m focusing on all the benefits my marathon training has for my children

This past week, I bought my daughter new shoes. She might just call these sneakers, or tennis shoes, but she on her own calls them her “running shoes.” My son asked to go running to the stop sign with me (about .3 miles) and was so excited to talk to me about how he thought he was getting faster, and do what mom does. (Tear….)

Proud Running Mom moments right there. Also, a constant reminder that they are watching me, they are looking up to me, and they are learning from my example.

In some ways, this is OK…

I know my daughter didn’t think up the name “running shoes” on her own. She watches me put mine on and both her and her brother talk to me about my running, always asking, “How was your run, Momma?” They know that this, marathon training, is something that is truly important to me. They are seeing the dedication and hard work that I am putting in to it, and they seem proud of me. (Tear again….)

So why would I feel bad about that!?!?!

I will only be able to continue being a good role model if I continue to take care of myself and do things the right way.

So that’s my input on my struggles with Mom Guilt and marathon training. In conclusion, be nice to yourself, be nice to others, and remember that not everyone actually throws their kids birthday parties with handmade personalized party favors for each kid to take home sprinkled with real bits of gold.

Damn you, Jeni…. 🙂

Unless you’re my sister Jeni, then yes, yes you do. 

Wow, It’s amazing what comes from marathon training!

Not only am I learning a lot about how to overcome physical limitations, I really do feel that by dedicating myself to such a strenuous task I gaining a little bit of me back, and feeling emotionally stronger along the way.

Maybe I don’t need a therapist after all. I just need to keep blogging…. 🙂

Make today the best day yet!


Tundra Trailblazer Jeff: April is the toughest month


April is the Toughest Month

At the Masters Golf Tournament, Saturday is called moving day. When I was a young HS miler, Coach Arnold always said that the 3rd quarter was the toughest one. When training for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, April is my toughest month. Near the end of March is the world’s largest truck show in Louisville, KY. It throws me off my schedule. I climb in and out of my truck 60 times per day to show people the interior. I have trouble imagining that after a 16 mile run.

This year the show coincided with the 12-14 mile runs after the first 16 miler. I am looking at it as a bit of a breather before April. I still got my miles in but they weren’t “work miles”. I did a relaxing 5 miles per day without looking at the clock. It gave me a psychological rest before what I consider the most important month.

At the beginning of April, we are feeling some general fatigue from marathon training. At the least we are tiring of the routine and commitment of marathon training. We still have 7 weeks to go. Once May hits we can see the end. We have survived our first 20+ mile training rum. This year, I am focusing in on April. It will not beat me this year. This is the month that I was thinking about, when I lifted that first weight back in November. For the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, April is when the tough get going.

May 21st is race day. By the time May roles around we are in about as good a shape as we are going to get. By the end of April we will have already run 20 miles. By the second weekend in May, we are starting to taper. Our bodies are recuperating and energizing for the race. We have rounded the corner and can see the end. In April we are extending our runs past the 20 mile marker and we still can’t see the end. We’re tired. Our bodies are sore. It is not easy to push through April, but it is necessary for an enjoyable race day.

The Prevea Training Runs make April easier. Maybe it is the shared suffering. The encouragement given between the other runners definitely helps. The water stations make life more convenient. More than anything else it still comes down to individual commitment. On those April training runs no one is lining the streets cheering you on. No one is handing you a finisher’s medal as you finish your run. April is about commitment.

May is coming. It is a lie if anyone tells you that race day is going to be easy. It won’t be. What I am saying is that doing ALL of the April training is tougher. Hopefully we have all laid the foundation to prepare us for April’s heavy miles. If you have done that and buckle down in April. Race day will be more fun.

Tundra Trailblazer Jill: When did I get old…ish?

Hey, Everyone!
“Wheee! Potatoes!!”

It’s me again. Just thought I’d clarify as one of these times I’m sure I’ll find my husband has signed in and written a blog for me. Here’s a hint, you’ll know it’s him as he’s a bit more sarcastic, a tad more blunt, and uses the words, “WHEEEEEEEE!!!” and “POTATOES!!” a lot.

Sooooo….how’s it going?

I realize you come here to read about how it’s going for me (and hopefully get some sort of happiness or a good laugh from things). But seeing as how things have been a bit less exciting on this end recently, just thought I’d check in before I go on. And by a tad bit less exciting I mean something like the following….

Because sharing is caring…and also stops the screaming for awhile…

Again, I’ll follow this up with something like, “Yes, I know I’m lucky that I am a work-from-home parent. Yes, I do treasure the time with my kids. Yes, I know they will grow up just soooo fast I’ll miss these days. Yes, I am kidding for the most part about the difficulties of being home with my children all the time. I mean, why would I miss any moment of going and sitting at an office desk, writing case notes and answering emails whilst listening to Pandora to fill the void that is the absolute quiet where no one is asking me to get them snacks, read them “Moby Dick” in its entirety, or explain the meaning of life?
Psshhhhttt….Miss it!?! That’s crazy!?!

(Hmmm…maybe I meant my husband is a bit LESS sarcastic…..)

Anyway….on with the blog…. 🙂 

Running Life – I’m still on track to run the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon 2017 in May. But, I have had a few setbacks recently. My long mileage runs have sat a little stagnant at the 12-14 mile range, with a pass on the 16-mile training run a few week’s back due to a recurrent foot issue.

Sure, I could blame genetics in some respect. But, I mean, my mom and dad are pretty awesome so no one would believe me.

My parents & me
When I got all smarts and gradumicated and stuff

Although there was that time they forgot me at Kindergarten and didn’t realize it until they looked in the rearview mirror and saw me chasing the van out of the parking lot. To be fair, they did have 5 kids, and seeing as I have two and can’t remember their names at some points, how many kids can you REALLY remember at one time?? Add in the fact that I was the middle child and we all know why I was left behind….


Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yes, injuries. 

It’s been a few years since I’ve trained for a full marathon, and with that it’s been while since I’ve been in the 30+ mileage mark consistently each week with a good chunk of that mileage happening in just 1 run. I kind of forgot how strenuous true, dedicated marathon training is.

I also kind of forgot about a few bad decisions I had made in the past…

I forgot all about that I one time in college when I walked off a cement block landing on hard concrete…and my hip. Or the time 1 week after I walked off the cement block I slipped on ice and fell down a flight of 30 stairs. (Side Note: I was talking on my phone, AND my purse flew open as this happened, exposing an array of “time of month” products at the feet of the kind, good-looking boy that helped me up all while I could hear, “Jill!?! Jill!?!” coming from my cell phone. Ahhh…good times…)

Or two weeks after “stupid cement” and “dumb stairs” I decided I STILL knew better than the doctor and kept running. I also forgot about the whole new foot injury I created overcompensating for my sore hip.

Moral of the story: Jill is clumsy. Jill made bad running decisions. Don’t be like Jill. 

But as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I still have continued running for the last 17+ years of my life. So why is this so bothersome to me now? I have been working my way up to long runs with properly-paced training runs. I have been stretching and cross-training and building some sweet biceps along the way too.

So what’s the problem!?!? Why is this time around so much harder? 

I can recall a conversation I had once while training for my last full marathon with a regular at the gym I worked at. He asked me how training was going, and we talked about the same issues I am having now and how I was addressing them at that time. My response?

“I don’t know. I’m just kind of stretching, hydrating, and running through it.” 
Just keep going. I mean, what could happen!?!
Running through it?!?! Really?!? 

It’s times like this that I wish I had a telephone booth time machine (and a friend name Ted, because clearly I’d be the Bill of that relationship..’cause he’s short and adorable…and slightly odd…and our names are essentially the same…) could warp back a few years, and get out and shake some sense into, “I’m young! Woohoo! Let’s run anyway!” Jill. (I’d also take the time machine back a few more years and stop college Jill from walking off that cement block to begin with and while I was at it make sure never dated anyone named Kyle…)

Much better.

This last week, I went with my husband to get a couple of cortisone shots in his feet. He too has issues from running and playing professional rugby for a stint of this life. (Find out he actually sprained both and broke one ankle at some point and has a piece of bone just hanging out in there. And he was complaining about his feet hurting….what a wimp….)

While we were talking about how his feet were feeling a few days later, we also discovered (since at some point you just kind of stop counting) he was turning 36 this year.

I mean, I’m not turning 36 this year. Ross is waaayyy older than me (like 11 months, 11ish days older), however it did make me think…

“Ugh. When did I (we) get old…ish?!!?” 
I realized then that this is the exact reason I am having more problems now than I did in the past with overcoming the foot issues. I am in fact old….ish….and can no longer just, “Run through it” like I did before kids and time took their toll on my body.
So what can I do? 
And no the answer is not,  “Stop Running.” You might as well tell me to stop breathing, crawl in a hole, and live a life as a sad, sad troll.
Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but you get the point.
Running is my happy place. 

Outside of seeking professional medical advice (of course you should if you feel you are at this point) I do have a few tips and tricks which are helping me get back to pain-free running while adding mileage.

Yeah, what Jerry said…

Disclaimer – I’m NOT a doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, personal trainer. etc.

I’m just a girl, writing a blog, asking people to love her…or really learn from her bad decisions in this case.

My first stop was to consider where I was at mileage-wise in my shoes. I knew I was a bit overdue for a new pair of training shoes as you should be changing out your shoes every 300-500 miles dependent on the surface you train on and the wear you are seeing. (But also remember, the insole of the shoe/cushioning deteriorates too. Don’t just judge your shoes off the rubber bottoms).

Also, I had my absolute favorite pair and realized I wasn’t rotating them out like I should between runs. If you’re going out every day, make sure you are giving each pair a day to reset. Have at least 2 good pairs for shoes at all times.

So here, I changed out shoes and also changed the style, selecting a shoe with a bit more stability.
I HIGHLY recommend going to a running shoe store like Runaway Shoes and at least having them assess the type of shoe you should wear. Seriously, it’s worth your time and $$ to go in and try things on rather than just ordering online and praying.

Consider Your Running Surface
For me, I found that the gradation of the rural roads where I live have been having a major impact on which foot is doing much of the work. For safety reasons, I run against traffic, (AS SHOULD YOU AND ALSO WEAR REFLECTIVE GEAR!!! – my pet peeve as a runner…having to explain to people that we aren’t all douche noodles running 3 wide down the middle of the road in the dark in all black with no lights or reflection….you know who you are….but moving on….) and one foot is always taking the brunt of the problem.

I switch things up now, doing a few runs on the treadmill, and my long runs I take to the city trails. (East River Trail is still my favorite, even if the Fox River Trail has an ice cream shop on it. Mmmm….ice cream…..maybe I can be persuaded….)

Off Days & Changeups
At one point in my life, I would run 6 or more miles every day. EVERY. DAY. Maybe you do this, and if so, I’m happy you can. But for me, I have found as I get older, I really REALLY need my day off of all activities (rest day), and I need my cross-training days to work those specific muscle groups that I’m not directly hitting when running.

I have always lifted and cross-trained as I do enjoy kickboxing and in turn showing off my lack of coordination. But I felt I could really benefit by challenging myself.

Enter TRX. 

At first, I was pretty sure the X is for “X-tremely painful”, or “X-tremely incapable of walking the next day”. But now in week 4, I see how much of a difference in my core and lower body strength this class is making. My running posture is stronger which helps to ensure I am running/landing properly and thus avoiding further injury.

Warmups & Cool Downs
Truth. I am TERRIBLE at this part of my workout. Why?
In one word: Kids. In two words: Mom Guilt

Not something I feel Mom Guilt about
Sorry, not sorry.

I have a time limit to all my workouts. Sometimes out of necessity (how long can I really run for before my child attempts to bail from the stroller at a high speed).

But at all times, it’s out of guilt. 

If I get a long run in, or I get a day where I’m doing a mid-run and strength/cork work, I feel so bad about how long I’ve made my child(ren) sit at the sitter or at the gym childcare, I rush the rest. I rush the most important part of my entire workout because in my mind,  I see stretching and warmup as “wasting” my preset workout time.

I know some of you feel me on this. And if not from kids, it’s because we keep ourselves so busy all the time, rushing place to place that we’re always on a time crunch. (Don’t even get me started on our work ethics in this country; specifically maternity leave laws…)

I don’t have a magic answer around this area of my training yet. BUT I have been making sure to get a warmup in (even just a 1/4 mile walk/stretch before running) and then stretching at home with my little one post-workout. I also am trying to take one cross-training day each week and make it a yoga day or stretching day in general.

(Side note: Look to future weeks for a blog all about this topic of mom guilt…)

Ask Your Runner Friends (aka “The Experts”) For Help 
This last week, I was talking to my running buddy Uncle Jan during one of our usual Sunday morning after church “What mileage are you at? How is training going?” chats. I told him about my foot issues, and he showed me a lacing technique to add stability to my shoe.

And guess what?!?! It worked! 

Combined with all my other efforts, this new lacing method gave me the little extra stability I needed for my right ankle. I ran a 12 and 8.5 miler relatively pain free in the last week which was AMAZING!

Running IS a TEAM sport

Outside of learning new things, talking running with those who’ve “Been There, Ran that” not only reminds me why I love this sport, but also reminds me that all runners regardless of experience and skill set face some hurdles. It’s common, and being injured doesn’t mean you are a “bad” runner. Knowing that others literally feel your pain and have overcome it can help you mentally overcome your running challenges as well.

So that’s it. Just a few things that I have been trying recently to regain my confidence and overcome injury. I know that I’ll get there and I’m excited to see the improvements continue as I take the time to treat my body right.
I know that as I become more and more physically ready for this race, my mind will meet me there too. 

Make today the best day yet!



Tundra Trailbazer Jeff: The HILL Loop


I live in the Town of Pierce. It is a thriving suburb of the big city of Kewaunee. OK – I live rural. Everyone has their local runs. The Ahnapee Trail is close to my house and I enjoy my walks, runs, and bike rides on the trail. It is nice and flat. At this point I do not need to wear my GPS watch to know where the mile markers are. It is safe, away from traffic and it allows me to get into that calm running trance that only a protected trail can provide.

One does not fall out of my house onto a nice flat city sidewalk. That’s cool with me. Over the years, I have developed 4,6,7 and 10 mile loops near the house. The hill that our home is built into makes for great repeat hills – you know speed work. 10 reps of about 10 seconds each can do some real good. At my age, I don’t hit a sprint. The goal is just to get up on the balls of my feet and run for about 10 seconds. Walk down the hill. Repeat. They can be added on to the end of any run – or for that matter a kayak trip.

Without a doubt, the 7 mile loop is my favorite. It starts less than a quarter mile uphill walk from the house. The loop starts out west on County FF and almost immediately heads down the “bowl” hill. The problem with a bowl hill is that as soon as you hit the bottom – it starts heading uphill. The hill starts out pretty steep the slope decreases after about a quarter mile. The slight uphill grade continues almost to the 1 mile point of the run. The nice thing is that after the steep upgrade the view improves. To the east you get a view of the Kewaunee River valley.

After you make the turn onto County E – or what us locals call River Road – you get a nice long down hill stretch back to the river. Of course immediately after crossing the river – you  have it – another uphill grade. This one is steep, but it is short. After that uphill you get a nice easy downhill towards the city. The next mile or so is the only relatively flat mile on the loop. You skirt past the harbor and over the river for a second time.

That is when you see THE hill. The one that everyone knows on Highway 42 heading out of Kewaunee north towards Algoma and  Door County. The good new is if you turn around at the top of the hill you get the view of everything – the river, harbor and the lake. Thankfully, it is also the last hill on the route.

This loop is easily accessible from the Ahnapee Trail Head in downtown Kewaunee. If you would rather have the less challenging trail – feel free. If you are looking for a challenging 7 miler you have that too. What I like most is the ability to vary my runs. It is my opinion that the more you vary your running the better runner that you will become. Even better is the chance that you will stay a runner, not for one season, but for a lifetime.

Tundra Trailablazer Nicole: A Cinerella Story: If the Shoe Fits

I am a little late on this, but I got a new pair of running shoes. Actually, two to be exact.

Overall, hands down, Run Away Shoes in Green Bay is literally like runner’s heaven to me. (They also have two more stores in Oshkosh and Appleton). A lot of times I will go in there with intentions of buying a pair of shoes or whatever, and will come out with five other items. I guess in runner’s heaven, that is pretty normal.

After a really bad 16 mile run last Saturday, I told myself I needed new shoes. Now, the pair of shoes that I was running in I had since mid-December and already had over 400 miles, including the half marathon I ran at the end of January and the 15K I ran last month in them. I knew it was time to get some new shoes.

I have been going to Run Away Shoes since summer of 2014, when the local sports store down by me was having less and less running shoes in stock. I was pretty frightened when I purchased my first pair from Run Away because they cost MORE than the shoes I have previously owned, but every pair I have bought since that summer of 2014 have been wonderful and have lasted a whole lot longer.

The coolest thing is that Run Away Shoes is a sponsor of the Cellcom Marathon. If I am correct, they have done the race shirts in the past and have been really good with the Prevea Training Runs by offering a piece of apparel or “run bundles” in the last couple of years. Looking for a new pair of shoes very soon? Each person who works there will analyze your gait and will give you a few choices to try on and choose from.

On that Saturday, I went into Run Away Shoes with two goals. A new pair of trainers and a new pair of flexible racing shoes. (By flexible, I mean, I can run with them in a 5K and all the way up to a marathon, if I really want to, but mainly up to a half marathon). Last summer, before I fractured my foot, I had made plans to go into their store and pick up new trainers and new racing flats the week after, but obviously, I had to put that on hold. Basically, I was on round two of attempting to fulfill my new racing shoes promise to myself.

I had my heart set on getting the new Saucony Freedom that came out in December. I had tried them on when I got my last pair of shoes, but I was not ready yet to buy them because of the timing in the running season. I knew I had a few months before I really needed them, so I promised myself to get them when my regular running shoes were close to the end of their training cycle.

Then there were the trainers. Usually, in the past, right around 350 miles, I usually go out and buy a new pair, and then use that “old” pair for speedwork, certain workouts, and long runs, until my new shoes hit that 100-mile mark or so, then the old shoes are used as walking shoes. This time around when I picked out my new shoes I wanted to take a break away from Brooks and try out some different options. I am always impressed with how friendly the staff is at Run Away Shoes and can give you some instant feedback and information about the shoes you are looking at. After an easy decision, I picked out the Nike Zoom Air Pegasus 33. Not only were they very comfortably, but the colors screamed, “I want to run Boston!”

Now it has been a week since I got my pairs of shoes. Earlier in the week, I worked with my racing shoes, the Saucony Freedom, and decided to break them in a little bit before my next race on March 19th. Later in the week, I ran with the Nike pair, and today, I ran sixteen miles with them and they felt amazing!!

The title of my post is not accidental, but rather a true statement. Every time you go out and buy a new pair of running shoes, you want them to fit and feel perfectly. You want them to look fun. You want to do big things with them. Just like my training for Boston and the Cellcom Half, and your training, shoes are the things that make or break your run. Now, remember that statement with walking out of Run Away Shoes with more than you came in for? I walked out with nine new pairs of socks. BECAUSE. SALES. SALES ARE NICE FOR RUNNERS! 😊

Happy Running!!


Tundra Trailblazer Jeff: Vacation Running



Vacation Running

At some point your training might have to be altered to go on a vacation. I know that I travel for a living, but it is far from vacation. The hardest part for me is balancing work and training. I am sure that all of us struggle with that. Most of us need to work, that includes raising kids. Balance is always a struggle. Even or in some cases especially when we go on vacation or get out of our routine.

Later on this month I will be spending 10 straight days away from home. I will fly out early Friday morning to Charlotte NC. There I will pick up my new truck. On Saturday, we will pull out for Louisville, KY where I will be for 8 days. That includes missing 2 of the Prevea Training Runs. I do not plan on replacing the 12 and 14 mile LSD runs. I find it difficult to do long urban runs by myself.

What I have discovered is that I like to do is explore. Louisville is fairly familiar to me. It is the annual home of the biggest truck show in the country. We will be staying at a fancy downtown motel with plenty of treadmills. I hope to not touch them. We are too close to things that I don’t get to see very often. Louisville has an awesome trail on the Ohio Riverfront. There are bridges that runners can use to cross into Indiana. These bridges are man made hills as steep as any around here.

We are also only about a mile or two from the University of Louisville Campus. College campuses are almost always great places to run. They are pedestrian friendly. There is something special about the tradition of a campus. I don’t like to have a planned route when I am on the campus. Just run to the campus and cruise around until I get tired and run back to my hotel.

Last month I was in Peoria, IL. Do you know that Peoria lays claim to the world’s largest running store? It is huge. They also have a nice riverfront trail. Minneapolis and Saint Paul Minnesota may have the best trail system anywhere, although Austin Texas can put up a great argument.

This past summer, I got the opportunity to spend time in Portland, Oregon. I had my regular bridge circle there. It was about 4 miles from my hotel to the river across the river and circle around to the next bridge and back. Portland has a running culture. Everyday I would see many of the same people who were probably wondering who that slow guy was.

Take advantage of the pool. Swimming or even running in the water is a nice change. So, my plan when I go on vacation (even a working one) is don’t stop being a tourist. Don’t stop being a runner. Run like a tourist. You’re probably going to need to burn off a lot of tourist food anyway.



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