Dear Emily

Well, the time has come, and I’m one sentence into this and already sobbing. You bitch.

I guess I just don’t know how to say goodbye to my best friend. I know, I know, there’s that bullshit line “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.” But it is a goodbye. It’s a goodbye to a woman I’ve known she she was a fetus. It’s goodbye to the baby I fed a bottle to while watching Sesame Street. It’s goodbye to the person who knows me better than anyone else in this world. It’s goodbye to the one person who can simultaneously piss me off one second and make me hug her the next. It’s goodbye to my sister, my roommate, my best friend. Things will never be the same again. We’re growing up. Well, at least you are. I’m not quite ready for that just yet.

We’ve been through so many ups and downs over the years. We played dolls, Barbies and made crafty messes around the house. You might not remember this, but one time I threw a book you wanted to look at across our bedroom. It hit you in the face and you had a nose bleed. Oops.

You used to be that bratty little sister who always copied me or just didn’t understand my life because you were so young. You were the little sister who wrote funny stories like “My brother sits on me and it hurts,” or, “I’ve got the goosebumbs.” You will ALWAYS be 8-years-old in my mind. ALWAYS. And I will never let you live down the time you tried to school me and Andy with your geographical prowess, “It’s Nova Scot-tia, DUH!”

It wasn’t until you were an upperclassman in high school that we got close again. We could talk about boys, the stupid things I was doing in college and the stupid things you were doing in high school. Then there was that dark and dreary time in your late teens/early twenties. You know what I’m talking about. We lost touch, and it was one of the hardest times of my life. I thought I had lost you forever. And then, then you came back to us. You came back to me.

We started a new chapter as roommates in quite possibly the coolest flat on the east side. We spent the first night in our new home drinking margaritas in my bed while watching FRIENDS on my computer. You finally got to experience those crazy college years most of us get out of our systems when we’re 20.

We had rotisserie chicken. Remember? You don’t? Let me remind you.

We made that house our home. We’d cuddle up on the couch under blankets because we were too cheap to turn the heat above 58. We’d hold hands and giggle while watching GLEE. We’d strategize about how we’d kick ass at “The Amazing Race” (Which, BTW, we WILL win someday. We just have to audition first).

We would yell at each other, going from one sentence of “Fuck you” to the next “I love you.” It’s the kind of relationship only sisters could have.

We’ve had so many amazing times over the last two years. Here are some pictures to remind you of some of my favorites.

And now, you’re leaving. You’re moving on to the next big chapter in your life. A new city, a new home, a new state. I couldn’t be happier for you whilst simultaneously wanting to do everything in my power to get you to stay.

Who am I going to have spontaneous dance parties in the living room with? Who’s going to be there at home to give me a high five when I come back from a run? Who’s going to make tacos and burp unabashedly? Who else could I run a 5k with, only to get lost and make our own?

What’s Beep going to do when she can’t hide out on your comfy bed, or snuggle with Auntie Em on the couch?

I don’t know how to say goodbye, or how to tell you just what you mean to me. If you could see me now, you’d probably make fun of me for the ugly cry I got going on. I know I would if the roles were reversed.

Don’t be a stranger. I will answer your phone calls. I promise. And you know how much I hate to talk on the phone. But I will answer your call anytime, any day.

I fucking love you, you stupid bitch. I’m gonna miss your face. But then, I’ll look at that ugly ass picture of you and your hamster from when you were 8. And I’ll laugh. Actually, I’ll probably snort-laugh. Cuz that’s how I roll.

Love,
Amy

PS. This. Oh and this.

PPS. There’s still frosting on the passenger’s side door and seat from when you dropped your goodbye cake last weekend. Feel free to clean it up before you go.

 

Race Recap: Wisconsin Half Marathon

NOTE: I started writing this two days after the race but finally was able to finish writing it this week. Sue me.

Saturday morning, I completed my second half marathon with an official chip time of 3:33:45, an improvement of 15:54 overall or 1:18 per mile. Basically, I improved my time/pace by 14.4%! That’s pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. Now, granted, with a previous half marathon time of 3:49:39, there is much room for improvement, but I look forward to many more PR’s in my future!

Now that we have some of the technical stuff out of the way, let’s get to the report.

Friday night, I met up with some of my running besties, Annie, Rochelle, Krista and Tracey. We went down to Kenosha, stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Express, ate lots of cookies and candy and had a good ol’ fashioned sleepover. Never mind we’re between the ages of 28-33. We can still be kids whenever we want.

We got all our gear ready for the race, pinning ribbons with names of friends/loved ones to our gear.

LEFT: Orange ribbons for my Aunt Janice, Uncle Will and Grandma Kant. RIGHT: Pink ribbon for my friend and coworker, Anne, who is battling breast cancer.

Because I was unable to do the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon with the rest of my Team Challenge friends, this race was my “replacement” in honor of my loved ones who’ve battled (and are battling) Crohn’s and Colitis. So of course, I ran in honor of them on Saturday, hence the orange ribbons on my water bottle. I also ran in honor of my coworker, Anne, who is one kickass woman. She is fighting breast cancer, raising 3 precious kids and still coming in to work as she is able between treatments. Her humor and determination to kick this disease in the balls are nothing short of inspiring. The station I work for sponsored the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k Walk along the lakefront Saturday morning, and since I was not able to join my colleagues, I ran three of my 13.1 miles in honor of Anne and all the women fighting breast cancer.

Some of my Real Milwaukee coworkers, including Anne (right). If she isn't a BAMF, I don't know what is.

Ok, now that we’ve gotten all sappy, let’s get back to talking about me.

Even though I’ve been through this before, I was physically ill about this race. I put so much pressure on myself and was nauseous all morning (and actually, for the week leading up to the race).

Here’s my view before the race started. There were only signs up to a 12 minute pace group, so I lined up behind them. And laughed because there was no way in hell I was going to run a 12 minute pace.

Jodi, Rachel & Me

The night before the race I was dead-set on running the race alone, but it was nice to see some familiar faces (Jodi and Rachel) while waiting for the race to start. Just in case they wanted me to run with them, I warned before the gun went off that I was going to walk the first mile or so and then start my run/walking and that there was nothing against them, I just had a plan and I was sticking with it. We saw Karla shortly after starting the race and all walked together for the first 10-15 min. Then I told the girls I was gonna start my intervals and Jodi joined me.

Lake Michigan - about mile 2 or so

Jodi is faster than me so I remember repeatedly telling her she didn’t have to slow down – that she could take off whenever she wanted to and I wouldn’t be upset. But she said she didn’t mind because she didn’t really train the way she wanted to and said it would be better for her to stay with someone who had a plan (run 5min, walk 3). She said it would also keep her from going too fast at the start.

It only took a couple of miles for the field to really start to thin out. This is most evident to slow runners like myself. You don’t really have to fight for a spot on the road when you’re at the back of the pack.

Me, smiling at mile 3-ish.

Jodi and I began giving other runners nicknames. Don’t judge. I know you ALL do it too. There’s the weird breather, tutu girl, crazy hat lady, guy in jeans, etc. Well we had Shuffleupagus (the guy who was constantly shuffling his feet – for 7+ miles. The sound became worse than nails on a chalkboard. I wanted to punch him). There was cane lady, who we were dead set on passing early on (C’mon. Who wants to get beaten by a lady with a cane?). There was also das boot – the lady running with a stress fracture boot. INSANITY.

It was great to see familiar faces out on the course – Marty, Kelly, Laura, John, Marge, Becky, Courtney, Lisa and of course my parents! It was also pretty cool to see friends running back to the finish (much of the course was an out-and-back so you saw runners headed the other direction). I high-fived Matt, Tracey, Krista, Annie and Rochelle.  I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention someone, so please forgive me if I forgot to post your name).

Looking back, the middle of the race is a bit of a blur. I remember it getting overcast and a bit cooler. I remember drinking some gatorade that had obviously not been mixed properly (hello syrupy electrolytes) and playing leap frog with the same groups of people the entire race, thinking “My God, when are we going to hit a turnaround point?”

At some point, I told Jodi I was turning up my music to drown out shuffleupagus and to focus on my intervals. Seriously, this man made my blood boil. We took advantage of downhills to burst ahead.

We got to the turnaround point at Carthage College a few minutes before they started taking down the course and moving the runners/walkers to the sidewalks. I knew this was going to happen, but it was a little startling nonetheless. (Race directors said participants would be moved to sidewalks if they were slower than a 15 min pace).

Shortly after the turnaround point, I saw my parents in the distance. I’ll be honest. I kind of started crying when I saw them. I stopped and gave them each a huge hug.

 

Oh hi mom and dad – I seeeee you! If you look carefully, you can see shuffleupagus in the back. He’s wearing a blue shirt and black sweatpants.

Hiiiii mom! Hiiii dad! oh, and hiiiiii gullet!

The pictures above were taken around mile 8 or 9 I think. It was the right time in the race to get a little pick me up from my parents (also, the course didn’t have any spectators at this point).

I remember my dad trying to run ahead to get more pictures. I know I yelled at him, “Hey dad! I’m running a half marathon and you’re making me look bad! Stop it.” He replied, “I need to get a picture!”

Giggles. I love my dad.

Jodi and I trudged on. I started to fade (read: slow down) and we parted ways around mile 10.5. I never lost sight of Jodi but just couldn’t move my legs any faster than they were going.

As I ran into downtown Kenosha I saw my parents again!

Note the other participants and I maneuvering around pedestrians.

Me: Dad, stop. I look like shit. It's mile 11.

Just as I passed the mile 11 marker, I saw someone taking down the mile markers, cones, etc. By this point we were running/walking on the sidewalks of downtown Kenosha – me trying to get around people “Hello! I’m running a race here people!” Again, I expected us to get moved to the sidewalk. I didn’t expect the mile markers/guides to be taken away. Luckily, this didn’t affect me and to be honest with you, I was so focused on finishing I didn’t think about it.

The last 1.5-2 miles of this race are such a tease. You see the finish line but have to head south almost a mile before you can turn around and head to the finish… So you have to run past all the people who are almost done – who have those looks like “yes! almost there!” when you’re hitting the wall. It’s pretty NOT awesome.

I got to the final little turnaround and it started to hit me – I was almost done with my second half marathon. I could crawl the last mile and I’d still beat my previous time. I had this in the bag. Of course, that didn’t keep me from ignoring the pain, it just helped me to keep my mind off it.

With less than a quarter mile to go, I remember a marathoner whizzing past me as a spectator yelled at me, “Looking good! You got this!” I was clearly struggling and the marathon douchebag replied, “Oh please, this is easy.” I’m pretty sure that if someone was videotaping me at this point they would have seen my jaw hit the pavement. For one, she wasn’t talking to you. She was looking at me, the fat girl, clearly struggling through the last quarter mile of the race. Secondly, you’re an a-hole. Shut up. Even the woman was shocked by his douchebaggery.

As I approached the finish line and the final tenth of a mile, emotions overcame me. I saw my mom at the corner, cheering and waving. I started blowing kisses and I heard a group of people erupt ahead. It was my besties! One of the benefits of being a slow runner is that every single one of your friends has crossed the finish line waaaay before you. So they’re obligated to stand there and wait for you to finish. It’s a rule.

kisses!

high-fiving my besties! Note: Shuffleupagus beat me to the finish. Bastard with shuffling feet.
Throw your hands up!
Oh.Mah.Gawd. I’m done.
Oh wait! Garmin! Stop! Garmin!
Cue the tears
Yay! Cheese medal! And a banana! Note: I loathe bananas.

So there you have it. My race recap. Like a million years late. 😉

Splits: 16:16, 15:19, 16:10, 16:10, 15:16, 15:46, 15:51, 16:37, 16:26, 16:28, 16:46, 17:51, 16:51, 13:17 (pace for .15)

Supporting the Purple Team

Way back when I watched The Biggest Loser. Then I stopped. Mostly because it made me feel bad about myself. Why couldn’t I lose 10 pounds in a week? Why was it so hard for me to lose weight but it was just flying off them?

Then I grew the hell up and realized: 1) it’s a tv show 2) all these people do is work out. That’s not to discount the amazing things they are able to accomplish while on the show, but when you’re in real life, it’s just not gonna happen.

Of course, it also takes a lot of determination.

I started watching again Season 9. There were a couple of contestants I really liked (Um, hello Sam). Season 10 was ok. But then there was Season 11. I felt a connection to two contestants in particular. They’re sisters and I see so much of myself and my journey in their stories.

 

Look familiar? Yeah, that’s me. Both of them. Olivia (left) started the season at 261 lbs. Hannah (right) started at 248 lbs. My current weight? About 253 lbs. My starting weight? 274. Yes, I’m down about 20 pounds but I was once down 30 lbs. I’ve been pretty stable around my current weight for about 6 months. I need a kick in the pants. And I have these gals to thank for it.

Photo: Olivia and Hannah's FB pages

And now… look at them! They’ve lost even more weight now and are the first pair of sisters to make it to the finale together!

I know that the rapid weight loss they’ve experienced isn’t realistic for my life (there’s no way I could lose that much weight in 5mo while working full time and fulfilling all my other commitments) but I know I can get to where I want to be just like them if I kick my butt in gear.

I had a bit of an epiphany this week which I will examine in a future post, but it boils down to this: I am my own worst enemy when it comes to weight loss. The working out regularly is no longer a problem for me (hello, just did a half marathon). It’s the food. It’s an addiction and I just need to learn what will work for me.

Olivia and Hannah, thanks for inspiring me to kick fat in the butt. Now kick some butt and win tonight!

Favorite Race Photo

I actually purchased a race photo! This is at the end of my half marathon a couple of weeks ago (yes, race recap still in draft mode)… I’m at the last tenth of a mile or so and I see my mom. I’m blowing kisses to her and to my besties who are just beyond her. I’m gonna frame this picture, I <3 it so.

How do you decide?

I would sign up for every single race I want to do if I could. Unfortunately, I’m not made of money (but how COOL would that be?), so I have to be picky about the races I register for.

I’m hesitant to throw down the money for a few reasons:

  • What if I get hurt? I had to drop out of three or four races last year because of injury.
  • What if I decide I’m not ready?
  • What if I just wasted all that money for a shitty shirt and samples of Gu, Biofreeze and the $500 Redstar suspiciously-scammy gift card?

So you see my dilemma. I’m trying not to sign up for races because my friends are doing them, but of course, having friends doing the same race certainly helps the decision along.

What I have done, is start a list of races I’m not doing:

  • Dirty Girl – I want to do this race soooo bad, but I have a wedding that day and there’s no way I can clean up from a mud run in time to look fabulous for my friend’s wedding. Sorry, Dirty Girl.
  • Tough Mudder – There was a time this year I wanted to do this race. Then they released descriptions of some of the race obstacles. And then I shit my pants. The end.
  • Great Milwaukee Race – this was easy to decline – I’m helping PLAN it!
  • South Shore Rock N Ride Duathlon – Day after Ragnar. I plan to sleep. All day.
  • Summerfest Rock ‘n’ Sole Half Marathon – As badly as I want to run over the Hoan Bridge, this race, in my opinion, is not well organized. It seems like a complete clusterfsk. First the start time was at 10 a.m. In July. In Wisconsin. Then they moved it to 8 a.m. (still not early enough, IMO). They didn’t know for a good couple of months if there’d be medals (I emailed). I could go on and on about my concerns, but I don’t need to take up more space on this. I think the race is a fabulous idea, I’m just worried about the execution.
  • Warrior Dash – Would like to do this, but it’s the same day as Krista’s 50miler. And I’m on her crew. Like.A.Boss.

And here’s a list of races I’m considering:

  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Tune Up 5k – first of all, you probably know by now that I’m all about the bling. I will NOT do a half marathon unless there’s a medal. Yes, I’m that girl. This 5k gives you a medal! And it’s pretty cool, too. Only problem is, my friend I always stay with in Chicago is out of town that weekend. Getting a hotel for the night to do a 5k seems like overkill.
  • Dances with Dirt – My friends Annie, Rochelle, Tracey, Krista and Marty are all doing the marathon. I’m not that insane. I’m thinking about the 10k, as I’ve never done a trail race and I don’t want to die. Also, it will take me the same amount of time to do the 10k as it will probably take them to do the marathon. LOL.
  • Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon – I wanted to do this race last year. But I decided just to go and cheer for my friends Patrick, Lindsey, Steve, Kelly and Emily. This turned out to be a good decision, as I was in no place to do a half marathon (see injuries above). So, I REALLY want to do this race… Patrick and Lindsey are coming in from DC for the race and I think Steve’s doing it again too. Emily is on the fence. Oh, and did I mention Bret Michaels is the post-race party entertainment? Yeah. That. But, race registration is a hefty$110. Oi vey.
  • Kettleman Duathlon – I’ve been wanting to try a duathlon for awhile.  A September race would give me time to build up my bike mileage and do some run-bike-run training.
  • Dousman Duathlon – Also in September, I’m trying to decide between this and the Kettleman race. I’m leaning toward Kettleman because (as mentioned before) my friend Krista is running a 50miler on the 17th and I’m on her race day crew. It will be a long day and wouldn’t provide the rest I need the day before a race.

This list of possibilities takes me through September. Depending on how training is going, I may try an October or November race, but we shall see. Of course, I have Vegas in December. 😉

How do you choose your races? Wait and see if your friends are doing it? Blindly pull the trigger on every race you can do? Wait until the day before the price increases?

It’s official – Rock n Roll Las Vegas BABY

It’s official! I’m going to be a mentor for Team Challenge Wisconsin and raise money to kick Crohn’s and Colitis to the curb – again!

I’m sure you’ll get annoyed by my tweets, Facebook posts, emails and blog posts, but you can get me to shut up by donating today!

And, if you’ve ever considered running a half marathon, please let me know! We’re looking for you to run with Team Challenge! Watch this video below and try to tell me you DON’T want to run this race. You know it’s not possible, right?

Bondi Band for Charity!

Slow, it's the new fast! Pink ink on yellow, black, white, green, purple, grey OR white ink on navy, blue, yellow, maroon, orange, black, green

I’m now selling Bondi Bands to raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Yes, that’s right, I’ve joined Team Challenge – again!

If you would like to support a great cause AND get a killer addition to your workout wardrobe, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m selling the Bondi Bands for $8 each or two for $15. Shipping in the U.S. is $3 for regular, $4.95 for flat rate shipping (your choice). I have a few payment options available – Paypal, personal check or cash.

Head on over to my Bondi Band page for more info!

 

Read It: Published on the dailymile blog!

While you’re waiting for my race recap from this weekend (I started writing it yesterday, hope to finish it soon!), you should check out this blog post I wrote for dailymile. I’ve been a member of dailymile since January 2010, and as you might recall, I blogged that dailymile as one of the social media platforms that saved my life.

The blog post, Running alone while in a group, describes my struggles with being slow, running solo and how dailymile makes me feel like I’m not running alone anymore.

I’m just excited I was able to also include photos of all my running besties and FitMKE peeps in the article!

What are you waiting for? Head over to the dailymile blog and read my post – now!

 

PR! ZOMG!

Wow.

First of all, I need to say this: I beat my previous half marathon time by 15:58! That’s 1:18 PER MILE! Fuck. Hells to the yeah.

Secondly, here are my splits:

Splits: 16:16, 15:19, 16:10, 16:10, 15:16, 15:46, 15:51, 16:37, 16:26, 16:28, 16:46, 17:51, 16:51, 13:17 (.15)

Thirdly, the full race report will come soon. I’m kind of tired. And I want pizza. And beer. And no, John (trainer), you can’t tell me I didn’t earn a slice of pizza and some beer today.