Archive for the 'Runner Story' Category

Tundra Trailblazers: Step back a little and enjoy the run


IMG_3612aWell, life has gotten SUPER busy now!  TRAINING IS IN FULL SWING!  I have been able to maintain my training runs, my run streak (day 862 as of today), Swim training, CX Worx, Help train my 3 kids for the 5k the day before the Cellcom Green Bay full and half, running with friends, helping them train for their goals also, instruct cycling and boot camps at Watertown Area YMCA, take on some Trail Running, I have now added Bike run bricks into my workouts for the Inaugural Milkman Half Ironman coming June 19th (My Father’s day present, and approximately one month after The Awesome Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon!  So a long story short, I have not watched much TV, I get home at night, pretty much eat and go to sleep, get up about 4am, run, go to class, then go to work, get done with work, run, class, eat sleep repeat again!

The thing that I need to remember and am working very hard at it is balance, between life, work and play.  It is by no means easy at all, I call all this multitask training, when training for more than one type of event, but it’s what helps challenge myself and drive me to be who I need to be, both for myself and my family and friends, they don’t always see it that way, and sometimes send me a reminder, sometimes I remember on my own, it’s easy to get engulfed in the training, but that’s where family and friends help you out to remember what’s important!

For instance this last weekend there happened to be a local Daddy-Daughter dance, I know my two girls are not going to stay 7 and 13 forever, so I made it a priority to take them, no questions asked, we had a blast and made some great memories that night, something that I know they need!  I have a weekly date night that I make a priority with my wife on Thursdays after Spin class, we go to a nice little Mexican place down the road, and catch up, my 11 yr. old son has started taking spin class with me on Thursdays, and we’ve been running a mile afterJ, this really makes me happy that he enjoys this, and I realize he is watching me and is taking a liking to an activity to help keep him healthy.

That’s pretty much it for now, so keep moving forward and keep rolling along, but don’t forget to step back a little and enjoy the run!

Brad Ratzow
Tundra Trailblazer 2016



Tundra Trailblazers: A bad run

Hello runners!  WARNING:  Negativity ahead.

I have a headband that says “I love running. I hate running. I love running. I hate running.” Today… I hate running. What am I doing?  My hips hurt. My knees hurt. My feet hurt. I’ve got calluses on my calluses. I’m sick of talking to myself. I don’t want to listen to any music. There’s nothing good on Netflix. I’m tired. I’m hungry… always hungry. I don’t wanna. How do people this? Why do people do this? To say they did it? Is that really enough? The runner’s high is not enough today. There is not enough wine and whiskey and Epsom salt baths and ibuprofen in the world to make me like running right now.  GRRRRRR!!!!!!!

I’ve been told a lot of inspirational things to get me through times like this. It’s about progress, not perfection. The little voice telling you to quit may win some days, and that’s okay, but it can’t win tomorrow. If you are hurting, focus on what doesn’t hurt. Most days, it gets me through.  I don’t let the voice win. I tolerate the pains. I enjoy the process. I’m a happy little newbie runner. Today, though… I just can’t make myself push through. I have nothing left to give this treadmill. I quit.

Ok… I wrote that over a week ago after a bad run. It was a BAD run, a bad day. I was not well recovered from my Saturday run and let my fatigue win that day.  And it was ok. It did NOT win during my next run. It didn’t even show up. I was rested and determined to get back on track. There was some fear that I was doing something wrong in my training or that my body wasn’t cut out to run this far. I focused on my run preparation, hydration and recovery for the next long run, and guess what??? I didn’t hate my Monday run!!!

I am fully aware that I am not the first one to have that moment. Everyone has experienced this whether it is while training for a race, going back to school, work, parenting, or any other life experience. Take a deep breath, a moment or a day off and refocus. Why are you doing this? What is the ultimate goal? Why did you start and what will make this all worthwhile in the end? Find someone to vent to and get it out of your system. Once you have exercised the “demons,” you can move on and start over.

I am refreshed and ready to keep knocking out those miles.  Happy training!!!

Tundra Trailblazers: I am a runner

Reason for Running: The time to just think. Some consider working out as “me” time, but I don’t consider it that because each workout is mentally and physically challenging. However, the time I do spend running allows me to think about/process my day, problem solve, prepare for tomorrow, envision accomplishing my goals, let my mind wander, etc. My mind is constantly bouncing between what I am feeling physically and anything/everything else. I haven’t solved the world’s problems just yet, but maybe something will come to me soon!

Current Celebration/Accomplishment: Over the last couple of weeks, I have finally started to consider myself an athlete. I am a runner. I am surprising myself each week at what I truly can do. I am not sure what has “broke” – but I have been able to push myself more than ever and love being able to the improvements in time/distance/pace.

Current Challenge/Fear: I can’t run outside during the winter due to Raynaud’s disease, so I have been completing all my workouts on the treadmill. I have loved being able to include intervals so easily and see the progress from cycle to cycle. However, I worry about transitioning to the outdoors and having to battle with Mother Nature and the terrain.

Strategy for Success: This is one I think about often as I fear knee problems during most runs and have had some pain lately – found this tip online in the Rock N Roll Marathon Blog “Ensure the correct running form. You’ll want to land as lightly as possible, keep your feet directly under you when they strike the ground, and push off the moment your feet touch down. Try to feel as light as possible.”

Focus/Goal for next week: Feel the fresh air by completing some of my Zone 1 runs outside as Mother Nature permits.


Runnin’ for Recovery,



Tundra Trailblazers: Keep the focus

I can’t believe that race day is just about 2 months away. Time is flying. Training is going pretty great for me. Weather has been favorable and so far, injury free…and lets hope it stays that way. I really look forward to the Prevea runs to gather with all my running buddies.

During our last Saturday run, I got to meet “THE PACER” I have been trying to hunt down. No not really, I just wanted to put a face to the name. My girlfriend, Lindsay and I were in the middle of a conversation about pace, Boston, GU…and all of a sudden we ran into Adam. He gave us some great tips for training to get to Boston and tons more motivation to work harder for our goal. Thanks Adam!

As the miles get longer, my appetite grows bigger 🙂 Anyone else have that problem! We run for food, right?!?! Or wine/beer!!!! 🙂 I still make sure I keep my diet in check, but consume a few more calories during the longer run weeks.

I am still a strong believer in cross training during my marathon training, so I still continue teaching fitness classes, cycle classes, CrossFit, swimming, yoga, TRX—you name it! I like to stay fit! Or maybe get a break from my kids. Just kidding 🙂 We do need time for ourselves though. It’s ok to be a bit selfish when it comes to your health.

I am looking forward to this weekend’s run in the warmer temps. Keep the focus in check and run along my friends!




Ashley King


Tundra Trailblazers: What an adventure

So far the training for the Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon has been an adventure for me! I have a run plan, I am a run streaker, I have lots of friends that are training for either a half, a full, or a 50k. So what does this actually mean? Honestly, it’s almost confusing! I go to set up for running on the weekend, and there are like 3-4 different run groups that I have to choose to run with. The problem is that I want to run with ALL of them.  They are my friends. They are going thru the same running issues that I am. They are experiencing the same set packs or plateau breaks that I am. They get it. So my runs have been all over the place, with lots of different people, and actually different places. Which makes this training an adventure, I like IT!!

Two weeks ago now I was able to go on a “RUNNING FIELD TRIP” to attend the Prevea Training Run that started from the Green Bay Distillery. The half distance that was on the schedule was 6mi, so I ran with the group, met some more people, had a fun time. Afterwards I ventured over to The Western Racquet and Fitness Club and attended the TRX 101 class, then had it set up to go into the arctic way subzero temps in the Cryo Chamber, followed be an hour in the NormaTech boots for recovery. My mileage was sky high in February, I had 210 for the month, so these boots and cryo treatment came at the perfect time, and I walked out of there feeling like a million bucks, definitely worth the time!

I’m currently at Run Streak Day 833, Last Friday I ventured out at 3am for an 8 miler, it was a nice 8deg, so I actually had my first ice beard in a couple yrs. (We’re remodeling our bathroom, and currently don’t have a bathroom sink, so I haven’t been able to shave).  That was a fun experience, it was peaceful, no one around, just me God and the road!

I also received my CX WORX Certification as an Instructor, I’ve been working on this for a while, and was a huge load off my shoulders, I started leading two boot camp classes, and still have two spin classes that I lead as well, it’s been a very busy spring, strength, conditioning, and running is almost at its peak right now, and now with the 55-60 degree days coming up, my bike will be out soon!  Besides this half, I am also training for a half Ironman in June. The goals are set, the training is in action, and gains are being made.

Bradly Ratzow

Tundra Trailblazers: I like to move it, move it

Hello Runners! Well, I think I am finding my groove. I am getting my runs in, learning when to sleep, cross train, eat and rest. Gu isn’t terrible. The chocolate is like frosting (who doesn’t like frosting???). I have a nice 3 mile loop that I can take past my house so I don’t have to carry water with me. A quick stop, and off I go. I do not enjoy my interval runs. They are easier to do on the treadmill for consistency and control, but I like my nice easy pace. I’m not fast. I will never be fast. And I am officially, totally okay with that. That being said, I have taken about 6 minutes off my 10k time from when I did the Bellin last year. Recovery is getting ritualistic: cool down, stretch, foam roller, stretch a little more and eat. (Yes, I am still hyper-focused on food if you have been paying attention.)  After a run, I could live in half pigeon pose. I’m afraid people think I fell asleep some days.

It is funny for me when someone asks, “How many miles today?”  I reply, “Only 3 to 4.”  Only 3 miles. I’m just going to run “an easy” 5k today. No problem. Who am I?

I am to the point in my training when I get to start saying, “I’ve never run this far before.”  It is such a cool feeling! I was told to really enjoy this part because I will never hit these miles for the FIRST time ever again. In trainings to come, it will just be another 7 miles or 8 miles, but right now, it’s my FIRST 7 miles and my FIRST 8 miles. For the FIRST time in this process, I feel like I can actually do this!!! I can run 13.1 miles. I know that I am not the first one to do this, and millions of people have gone before me (2,046,600 in 2014 to be exact… Thanks Larry!)  But this is MY FIRST, and I get to be proud of what I am doing. That’s not selfish or bragging. That’s goal setting and accomplishment. Yes, I post a lot of pictures about it, but it’s either fitness pictures or cat/dog pictures. J  I am determined to enjoy the entire process along the way as this has been an amazing ride so far. #theyearofbeppa

Music has been my major motivator/distraction. Science says that the sense of smell triggers strong memories. For me, music does this. I’ve been collecting music for my long run play list. It ranges from Pitbull, Beyonce and Lady Gaga to Foofighters , Primus and Fat Boy Slim. Throw some Queen in there to round things out. I don’t want to get sick of my music too soon so I listen to a lot of Pandora for now. I get variety and ideas for other songs to get. Certain songs make me think of certain people or events (Dan’s favorite jam is Usher Yeah, Peggy’s Zumba songs, college house parties with Krissy, Meghan and Sara, sending videos to friends EVERY time Shut Up and Dance came on the radio). Other songs just find that deep, visceral beat and the feet pounding just flows. I get a new burst of energy. My back is straighter. My arms are lighter. Then, I get the notification that another mile has been conquered. Boom!

Find what moves YOU! (Enter “I like to move it move it” song here.)  Happy training!!!


2016 Tundra Trailblazer

Tundra Trailblazers: It’s a (really great) journey

Hello Runners!!!  Well, I did it.  I ran outside!  Oh the SUN! And FRESH AIR! It felt incredible to breathe real air, not air that’s been cycled through my furnace a thousand times. However, I do find it amazing how you can be so cold and so warm all at the same time. Some body parts you don’t realize are cold until you get back inside and start to warm up. I still have my limits on ice. This past week, I only made it to my neighbor’s house before I slipped a little on an icy patch, didn’t hit the ground, but it was enough for me to call it off.  I may be a wuss but I’m in one piece. The only thing I like better about the treadmill is that I can control my pace so much easier. Outside, I let my mind wander, lose focus, and have to remind myself to pick it up. I get my music going and zone out. A friend told me recently that it’s not about running fast.  It’s about being fearless. (Thanks Dan!)  This whole thing scares me, to be honest, but it’s a really great journey.

Recovery has been another focus lately. I’m still figuring out what works for me and getting a routine down. I have a strong love/hate relationship with my foam roller, but I found that I have to do it right away while my muscles are still warm. Also, I’ve been trying the full body cryotherapy at Western Racquet. Imagine the coldest you’ve ever been and then increase that to about -200⁰F and remove most of your clothes and stand there for 3 minutes. I’m not gonna lie… it is REALLY cold, but Emily talks to me and distracts me while I dance in a circle to ignore the cold. I know I just talked about being cold while running outside but this is a whole different level. You freeze and then when you get out you feel all the blood rushing back to your extremities. I am a nurse. I like my scientific research. I will be the first to say that there aren’t a lot of studies to show more than anecdotal positive results from cryotherapy, but so far it is working for me (more anecdotal evidence) to reduce soreness, inflammation and pain.  I will try anything at least once, and I now know that I can do anything for 3 minutes.

My poor husband has to deal with my insatiable hunger. I want to eat all the time. I’m working on getting more protein but how much can one person eat in a day???  He’s even made chicken jerky for me. My coworkers just know that I’m aways hungry. Always. As I started to write this, I had a snack. I’m already wondering what I’m going to eat next. I’m told it only gets worse as my miles increase. I’m going have to start getting creative so I don’t just buy McDonalds and Papa Murphy’s (I don’t mean meals… I mean the whole building and its contents). Or move into Festival’s deli department. Luckily, I get a lot of suggestions from friends, but I’m going to need a second job to support my grocery bill.

Happy training and eating!!!

2016 Tundra Trailblazer


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