Sunday, October 30, 2011

Annie and Tibbers

The hubby and I planned, made, and rocked elaborate Halloween costumes this year.  Last night was our adventure in downtown Grand Rapids!

We went as Annie the Dark Child and her demonic teddy bear, Tibbers - characters from the video game League of Legends.

Annie and Tibbers

The costumes took months to put together.  My co-worker and I made my dress from scratch, and I cut and styled a long wig to match Annie's look.  But my costume was easy compared to the hubby's. 

Cutting and Styling the Wig

I built the head and paws of the bear myself over hours and hours of evenings and weekends, and the hubby designed and made the body of the bear.  We were drowning in craftiness...and loose fuzz from the many yards of fur fabric!  The Tibbers costume ended up weighing a ton and was about 120 degrees inside even out in 30 degree weather.

Putting Fur on the Head

Wire and Fur Ears

Aftermath of the Build

Why am I posting about this on a primarily athletic related blog?  Aside from the geeky coolness of these costumes that I just had to show off, the hubby said that I could call this cross training.  With the work he did to walk around town in that costume, he's right!

Everyone loves to hug a teddy bear...even an evil one!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Hey, everyone!  I think I can safely say that I am recovered from the marathon.  The muscle soreness only lasted a couple days.  Blisters and chafing took a little longer to heal.  And my worn out knees took a little longer than that to feel back to normal.

I tried going for a run a couple days after the race, and it felt awful.  My body had nothing in the tank even if my desire to run was there.  So I cut it short and headed home to rest some more.

A few days after that, I rode my bike home after dropping my car off at the shop.  Then, this Sunday afternoon, it was so beautiful out that I had to spend some time outdoors doing something.  So I went for an 18 mile ride on the bike paths going wherever I felt like and however fast or slow.  It was wonderful, and I feel like a normal, functioning person again.  Not like my knees were 75 years old.  That's a good thing!

I'm glad I didn't sign up for another distance race within a week or two of the marathon.  I wouldn't have been ready for it.  But I'm ready to get out there again now.  I just need a new pair of running shoes...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chicago Marathon 2011

Yesterday, I successfully completed my first 26.2 - the Chicago Marathon!

Finish Time: 5:00:35
Half: 2:30:19

Full breakdown of splits:

Overall Place: 23728
Women's Place: 8833
Age Group Place: 1653

The start of the race was pretty crazy.  40,000 people crammed into a few blocks of the road at Grant Park first by seeded corals then by mile pace.  If you didn't get into the corral in time, they closed it off until the masses moved through!  My friend, Cat, and I got in just in time somewhere around the 12:00 mile mark and moved up to around 11:00 where we couldn't get any farther ahead.  When the race officially started, we slowly moved forward for almost 25 minutes before reaching the start line.

Then we were off!  We passed a lot of people in the first few miles.  I tried to keep a slow, steady pace, but it seems like we did a little surge every few seconds to make our way past a group or through a hole.  It was tiring!  And the crowd of runners never really thinned out.  I was starting to hurt by mile 9 or 10 - way before I expected to!  I thought that I would be feeling good until about 16 miles and then struggle, but the mental fight began much earlier than that.  Somehow, still, I kept on running. 

Our friend, Melissa, met us at multiple points along the route and gave us amazing support and encouragement!  It was always something to look forward to knowing she was going to be popping out of the crowd somewhere in the next couple miles!  Thanks, Melissa!  You rock!

The energy of the race was also amazing.  It was an almost full time distraction to read the funny signs that people made, to listen to music, or get pumped by all the cow bells and horns.  And the runners were just as amusing.  We ran near super woman, Wolverines, Spartans, and cavemen who grunted in character during the entire race.

At around mile 12 or so, we caught up to the 5 hour pace group and decided to try to stick near them as long as possible.  But just before the halfway point, Cat had to stop to use the porta-potties, so we lost a few minutes there, and the group went past us by maybe half a mile.  My legs were starting to get tired, so I was afraid we wouldn't catch up to them again.  But the break waiting for Cat gave me a second wind.

We never did see the 5:00 pace group again, but when we saw Melissa at mile 20, she said that we had picked up our pace.  I was surprised, because a couple miles before, we had adopted the rule to run between aid stations and then walk through them.  I needed the walk breaks, and they must have really helped because despite slowing to walk, we were running faster.  As you can see from the half and finishing times, our pace was remarkably consistent for the first and second halves!  This also gave us the time to really stay hydrated and consume some needed calories.

Cat was a beast.  She hadn't really trained for the race, but she was an inspiring bundle of endless energy for almost the entire run.  When I started to struggle, she jumped right in with advice, encouragement, and concrete plans.  She really got me through the middle of the race when my legs wanted to just stop. 

In the last few miles, Cat finally hit the wall, and then it was my turn to help her along.  I got energy from knowing that we might be able to beat 5 hours, and together we kept moving from one aid station to the next.  One at a time.

With all the energy around us, the miles seemed to go by quickly.  Soon we were in the final mile, the crowds cheering and pushing everyone forward.  We turned a corner with about 600m to go and had to climb the only long hill on the course.  Then we turned another corner and could see the finish line about a 1/4 mile ahead.  All we had to do was keep running.  Just finish this last stretch.  And we did it!  We crossed the line hand-in-hand.  I looked at my watch and we had done it - 5 hours flat!

I had run my first marathon!

The finish corral was long but had everything we could desire - water, Gatorade, snacks, icy beer, foil blankets, cold wet towels, and finally after exiting the far end, shady grass to sit down on.

I'm very satisfied with my first 26.2, and I think that I will do it again some day.  Not today, but some day.  ;)  It was a beautiful, warm, sunny Chicago Marathon, and I had a great time.  I am proud to say I've done it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Three days till marathon!

Only three days till the 2011 Chicago Marathon!  I run a marathon in three days.  OMG


Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Josh!

Happy Birthday to my awesome, sexy, fun, supportive, amazing hubby!

I love you, baby.

Dirty Dog Dash Pics 2

And we have liftoff! 

Like a gazelle! lol