Strides for Crohn’s

Do you walk? Do you run? Do you like to drink beer and eat food for a great cause? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Strides for Crohn’s is the event for you.

For just $25, you get to go for a fun run with some cool people, PLUS a t-shirt and a beer.

WHAT: 2(ish) fun run/walk, raffles, food, beer, etc
WHEN: Sunday, November 13. Packet pickup begins at 11 a.m., fun run to start around noon.
WHERE: Horny Goat Hideaway (2011 South 1st Street, Milwaukee, WI 53207)
HOW MUCH: $25 before 11:59 p.m. November 6th, $30 thereafter.

If you don’t feel like running or walking, you can still help the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Just head on down to the Horny Goat Hideaway from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. November 13th for some food, drinks and fun! A percentage of all drink and food sales will be donated to the CCFA.

Space is very limited for the run, so don’t delay! Register today!

Visit www.stridesforcrohns.com to register.

Warrior Dash

Today I did the Warrior Dash with my friend Ashley S. This race totally crept up on me over the past couple of weeks (I just started a new job Tuesday). The race was AWESOME. I got there in time to see my brother and his friends finish the race, which I was super excited about. Of course, I did not give him a congratulatory hug because I wasn’t ready to be cold and muddy.

My brother (third from the right) and his friends

Ash and I agreed that we would stick together no matter what (ok, it was more her agreeing not to leave me in her dust as I am SLOW)… We didn’t care about time – just wanted to have fun and of course, #dontdie.

Me & Ash, pre-race

The race started with a pretty long stretch without obstacles. That’s right, break us in easy.

First obstacle was a wooden structure shaped sort of like a rounded triangle ladder. We had to climb up and over it. Wasn’t too difficult, but got slippery since it was day 2 of the dash and it was raining… so lots of mud.

Second obstacle was called rubber ricochet and basically you just ran through tires. I totally was pushing them out of the way, so sorry, dude behind me. I’m pretty sure you got wailed in the face.

Next up was the giant cliffhanger. It was an angled wall we climbed up with the assistance of a rope. Easy peasy. I think this one had a ladder climb down.

Then we were on to the chaotic crossover – basically a horizontal rope cargo net. BAM.

Then came the great warrior wall. This was hard. It was a straight wall you had to climb, with a rope. There were some small ledges and I just couldn’t get up and over. After about 4 or 5 failed attempts I said “fuck it” and ran around and on to the next obstacle. My upper body strength just isn’t there.

Next up was roaring waters. We had to jump into a muddy water pit, then climb up a ladder-type thing while water was being dumped on us. At the top you had a good 8 foot drop. I prayed for the best and went for it.

Of course, we had to crawl under barbed wire and netting…

And then came one of my favorite obstacles of the day – it was sort of like a rock climbing wall. At the top, you saw the only way down was on a fireman’s pole (#notaeuphemism). The thing was, it was a good 2-3 feet from the ledge. So, you either had to balance on a small support beam or just jump for it. It was teh awesome. I totally fell on my ass at the bottom.

The next obstacle was the cargo net. Up and over, not too difficult. Just had to be careful not to get caught up in it.

Then we came to the deadman’s drop. Again, it was sort of a ladder thing you had to climb, and then another 8 foot drop.

Then we were almost there – we leapt through fire (bad.ass) and then jumped into the mud pit and crawled/swam under barbed wire through the mud – then ran to the finish.

This is right after a fireman shot me in the face with his hose. #notaeuphemism

*note: I probably have the order of these obstacles all mixed up. SHUT UP.

Overall, I’m very happy with how things went. Of course, I’m sad that I didn’t get to complete the one obstacle, but it would have taken me forever and probably would have ended in tears, so oh well. I’m very happy with my time. Considering my 5k PR is 47:05 and there were 10 obstacles (many of which we had to wait to do), I think I kicked some ass. Thanks, Ashley S. for being brave enough to join me for this crazy race!!! I couldn’t have done it without you!

Oh, and PS – Farewell Asics 3020s. You done me proud. Now you’re in the recycled shoe pile. God bless.

 

Race Report: Dances With Dirt – Devil’s Lake

” I realize that my participation in this event entails the risk of injury or even death.”

Perhaps, just perhaps, I should have paid closer attention to the Dances with Dirt waiver.

“I realize that the course for the (DWD) presents a number of potential dangers to me and I hereby assume the risk arising from all of them. I realize that I will be running on a variety of surfaces, some of them far less than perfect, including but not limited to roads, unimproved trails, mud, swamps, cliffs, lumpy fields covered with waist high grass and river crossings. The roads are open to motor vehicle traffic that has the right of way. I know that broken bones, reactions to poison ivy, insect bites and bruising are common occurrences in this extreme event and that I will be far into the wilderness away from medical support. I realize that the danger of injury and even death exists as well and I hereby assume all the risks that may be present on the (DWD) course.”

Let’s move on to the race info that was emailed out to participants the week before the race:

  • DWD is an adventurous trail run with difficult and stupid sections. Crying is acceptable.
  • IF YOU’VE RUN FOR 3 MINUTES WITHOUT SEEING A RIBBON OR FLAG, YOUR DECISION TO CONTINUE FORWARD IS MORONIC.
  • 10K Virgin voyage 2011 (first year)

What in the HELL did I get myself into? Read on.

It all started Friday night when Rochelle, Annie, Tracey, Matt, Marty and I drove up to meet Krista and Evan at Devil’s Head Resort in Merrimac. Rochelle, Annie and Tracey headed to the resort to check in and the rest of us set up camp.

Me and Krista, representing Dailymile while beering and camping

We headed into Baraboo for some good ol’ fashioned spaghetti and meatballs. The Mama Mia’s staff were so sweet and stayed open late just for us!

Then it was back to camp for more beer and this awesome campfire:

Why yes, that IS two citronella candles chillin’ on a smokey joe. Don’t judge. You’re just jealous you didn’t think of it first.

I woke up early enough to see my friends off to their races. Annie, Rochelle, Tracey, Krista and Marty all did the marathon. Evan and Matt did the half marathon… then there was me. The lone 10k-er.

I wasn’t really worried or all that nervous before the race. This was just a fun run on the trails while my friends ran a marathon. I’d finish and head back to camp for beer.

I headed to the start line just before 8 a.m. Then I heard the announcer say, “Oh hey 10k-ers. By the way, you’re going to wish you signed up for the half marathon. This is the most difficult 10k I’ve ever seen.”

Um. No.

What?

Then the race started. So I ran. Then we got to the ski hill. You know, the one we had to RUN UP.

I know. Who in the hell runs up a ski hill?

The race bottle-necked at the base of the hill, which was fine with me. “I’m good with this pace. Carry on,” I proclaimed to much laughter.

After the initial incline, the pack began to thin out. I couldn’t help but wonder what I had gotten myself into. It was HOT.

It doesn’t look steep, but trust me, it’s not fun.

When I reached the top of the hill, I was pretty excited. I was only a little slower than I had planned and it was uphill. Winning! Just do a 5k up here then I get to head back down! Wheeee!

I picked up speed and ran through the woods. I passed two or three people. Hells yeah. I’m doing this. I’m rocking this.

Oh fuck.

Yep. I fell. Hard. Forward.

I cut up my legs, arms and even got a hole in my summer running tights. Oh, and I landed right on my left thumb. But more on that later.

I shook it off and kept going.

Then, I came to what can only be described as a steep steep hill (yes, double steep) with shoulder-high grass where race organizers  probably sent someone the day before to stomp a path down the hill. So there was this tiny itty bitty path on this double steep hill and the only path was slippery grass mixed with fresh mud. You see where this is going, right?

I basically fell down this hill. For more than half a mile. Every few steps I would slip and slide down further on my ass. It got pretty comical. Step step step step BOOM slide. Repeat. I counted seven falls down the hill. I grabbed anything and everything to maintain my balance, including thorny bushes. I even got my hair stuck in a small tree while the rest of my body tried to fall down the hill. I took baby steps, sideways down the hill to maintain balance. I went so slow. Then I reached the bottom. Yay! Water stop! Yay! Catching up with the other slow people.

Confession: I don’t know these ladies or their names. But we commiserated at 3.5 miles into the 10k. Notice the smiles? Those were gone in about 60 seconds.

Why? The colored flags denoting the race path started sneaking…. up. Yes, UP. UP ANOTHER DAMN SKI HILL. This one was so much worse than the first.

The heat and humidity were starting to hit me and my asthma… hard. Every 5-10 steps I had to stop to catch my breath and pray I didn’t die. I sent the ladies pictured above along with a nice man named Mark on ahead. I was overly dramatic and told them to “Save yourselves. Leave me be. I’m gonna puke. It’s not going to be pretty. I’ll catch up later.”

And now we come to the part of the day where I completely lost about 30 minutes of my life. Seriously. Somehow it took me 30  minutes to go half a mile up a hill. And I don’t really remember any of it. I was dizzy. I was hallucinating. I’m pretty sure it was heat exhaustion. I drank some of my water. Took a couple sport beans. I dreamed of laying down and passing out. I know that I never let myself sit down or lay down, but I really don’t know what happened. But then I got to (what I thought was) the top of the ski hill! WINNING! Here’s what the look down was like.

I entered a wooded area. Yay! Shade! Less than a quarter mile later, this is what I saw:

I was only half way up the damn ski hill. I started sobbing. I couldn’t believe what a tease the course was. I thought I was at the top of the hill. I wasn’t even close. Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as steep, but it was still UP.

I struggled to the top and then started to feel a bit better. I did some jogging as I headed back in and out of the wooded areas and down the “easy” ski hill. I didn’t push my speed because I really didn’t want to pass out. I knew I was going to be the last person to finish the 10k so there really wasn’t any type of time goal. Just finish. And, #dontdie.

Eventually, I heard some music. I heard cheering. I knew I was getting close to the finish line. I stumbled through the finish line and was given my medal. No one cheered. I don’t think anyone even knew I was running the race because I looked like a stumbling drunk.

How badass is this? EXTREME 10k indeed!

One of the volunteers gave me an ice cold bottle of water. That water was heaven. She asked how I was doing. I think she could tell something was off. I told her I didn’t know if I was ok. She offered to walk me to the med tent but I said I could do it. I didn’t know if I needed it though. So I kind of wandered like a crazy person at the finish, drinking gatorade, water, whatever I could get my hands on.

I saw Matt. He said he and Evan were worried about me because they thought I was going to finish an hour earlier. Yeah, me too. He offered to get me things. I just sort of mumbled and started throwing down my ipod, garmin, spibelt and kicked off my shoes. I walked straight to the make-shift shower near the finish line and stood under the cool stream of water for 5-10 minutes. That was the most amazing ghetto shower I’ve ever taken. It cooled me off enough I didn’t need to go to the med tent. I washed off all my cuts and scrapes and scrubbed off the mud. Then I stumbled to the food table and sloppily ate half a chocolate muffin. omg. chocolate. muffin.

I changed, grabbed my chair and the beer and chilled at the finish line with Evan and Matt to await our friends’ arrival. Mmmm beer.

No amount of training could have adequately prepared me for this race. Based on previous trail runs, I expected to finish in about 2:05 with an ultimate goal of 1:50. My official time: 2:41:26.

Injuries: countless bruises, cuts, scrapes, thorns, sunburn, a bunch of busted blood vessels and a sprained thumb.

SPLITS: 21:55, 22:03, 19:33, 48:31, 32:10, 17:15*

*NOTE: these are incorrect, as when I practically crawled up the ski hill (2nd) my garmin kept jacking up with the satellites, so it said I did 5.85 mi when it was really 6.2. I’m sure the trees didn’t help, either.

My Secret 5k

My trainer has been wanting me to RUN a 5k without stopping to walk. This is the first step in the run-a-half-marathon-without-walking training plan.

So, while I was in Minnesota this weekend visiting my sister, I decided I would do a 5k. I didn’t know anyone there, which was weird. I always know at least someone at a race. Clearly, I wasn’t in Wisconsin anymore.

So about a week and a half ago, I registered for the Independence Races 5k in Minneapolis. The course was around Lake Harriet (and would have been beautiful if I was able to see the lake during the race… but more on this later).

This race was the epitome of how NOT to organize a race. Seriously. I was so angry I couldn’t even be happy about PRing by 3:15 or running this 5k without stopping to walk.

For example:

  • The only waterstop was at 2.67mi. In July. In the humid heat of Minnesota. WTF.
  • They ran out of water/gatorade at the finish line (and there were more than 100 10k-ers still on the course when I finished).
  • There wasn’t any food at the finish line. Well except for those stupid Flavor-Ice thingys.
  • I registered online last week. They specifically asked for sex-specific shirt size. I registered for a women’s XL. All they had were Men’s S. Clearly, this shirt isn’t going to fit me.
  • There was chip timing, but my “official” time was the gun time, and not the chip time. What’s the point of having chips if you’re not going to use them.
  • When you tell me I’m going to be running around a lake, I expect I will be able to see the lake during the run. This race was around the lake, but it was on the parkway around the lake – not the running trail around the lake. I saw short glimpses of the lake, but it was less than scenic. Hi trees. Hi houses. Hi cops keeping people from driving onto the parkway.

While I’m happy about PRing, I feel I could have done better, but the cards were just stacked against me Saturday. My calves were tight and this course was not as flat as I was told. And while I did run the whole race, there was about 20 sec where I think I might have walked up a steep hill. My lungs were on fire in the heat/humidity.

Splits: 15:14, 15:31, 14:40, 1:40 (12:08 pace for .14 mi)

Overall pace: 14:59
Distance: 3.15
Time: 47:05

 

Ragnar Chicago Relay: Recapping Leg #25

This shall forever be known as the leg where Amy almost died.

I ran this leg on about 20 minutes of sleep. Yeah you read that right. 20.minutes.of.sleep. I was able to rest but only got about 20 minutes of actual sleep.

For the record, I do not recommend running 4 miles on 20 minutes of sleep when you have already ran 9 miles in the past 18 hours.

I did absolutely everything wrong prior to this run. I didn’t hydrate properly. I didn’t eat much. By 2am, we were exhausted and the thought of eating anything made me want to throw up. I knew I’d be relying on muscle memory and mental strength to pull this run off.

I got the slap bracelet from Marty and headed off in the misty fog for my final 4 miles through the City of Racine. The roads were quiet (it was 5 a.m. on a Saturday, after all) and I only encountered a handful of other Ragnar runners during this leg of the race. Most of the runners who did pass me looked about as good as I felt, which isn’t saying much. I saw (and did) much more walking on this leg of the race than any other. We were all running on empty. My legs felt like cement blocks. I had to will my legs to move. I walked more during this leg than the previous two legs combined, but I was still able to beat my pace goal for the race (and my recent half mary PR pace).

The course took us past the zoo and along the lakefront. I can’t tell you want a relief it was to see Lake Michigan! Yay! I’m almost done! I’m going to die! Wooot!

I couldn’t even tell you half the things I thought about during this run. I don’t remember. It was an out of body experience.

When I finished and passed off the bracelet to Matt J. I stopped dead in my tracks and bent over to catch my breath and stretch my hamstrings. Jordan H. put out his hand to give me a high five and I think I said something like, “I’m sorry, I can’t touch you right now.”

I couldn’t move. I needed to build up the mental strength to walk to the van. Tracey G. and Rochelle told me I looked so pale that they were afraid I was going to pass out or throw up.

I walked down the hill towards the van and made my dad take a picture of me. I have yet to see this photo, but I can assure you that it won’t be pretty. But it will probably be a favorite of all my race photos.

I got to the van and fell face first into the first row of seats (we had a 15-passenger van for the 6 of us plus driver). I passed out in that seat for at least an hour. I don’t really remember much. I know I told Tracey G. that I wasn’t able to move to send her off on her next leg and I also missed her passing things off to Anthony M Van H. for his last leg. At some point, the team stopped at McDonalds for some breakfast and I was able to talk long enough to ask my dad for a Sausage McMuffin with egg. He gave it to me and I ate it from my face in the seat position. I’m completely serious. I only turned my face far enough to eat the sandwich and only used my right had to open the package and feed myself. I was that exhausted.

The food helped revive me from my runner’s coma and I came to enough to wrap a blanket around me and cheer on Anthony M Van H. when he finished his final leg and passed things off to Jordan H. I was back to (almost) normal to see Rochelle off and meet up with the rest of our team at the final major exchange in Zion, Illinois.

Start Time: 5:10 am
Goal pace: 16min/mile
Splits: 15:17, 16:35, 15:47, 12:46 (.85mi 15:05 pace)
Average pace: 15:42
Total time: 1:00:23
Finish time: 6:10 am

Total distance: 12.82mi
Total time: 3:13:06
Average pace: 15:03
Goal pace: 16:00

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.

Note #2: This post will be updated with photos as soon as I can steal them from my dad!

Ragnar Chicago Relay: Recapping Leg #13

This was one of those ZOMG THIS IS AMAZING I LOVE RUNNING kind of runs. Seriously. This leg of the race MADE the weekend for me. Reaffirmed my LOVE of running. Not only did I KILL my projected pace, I enjoyed every minute of it, even if it was scary as all hell.

We were at exchange 12, where Marty would pass things off to me. It was misting, very foggy and very dark. Had all my reflective gear on – vest, headlamp, tail light and of course some red glowstick bracelets and necklace.

I headed out from Wales Community Park toward the Glacial Drumlin Trail. The first quarter to half mile or so was through the neighborhood near the park, so there were some streetlights. This did not at all prepare me for 4 miles of complete darkness on the trail.

Leg 13 was billed as a “non-support” leg, meaning the course made it too difficult for team vans to “leap frog” runners. So it was just me, my iPod, water and a pitch dark misty night.

I have to admit, I felt so badass on this leg of the run. I mean, really, who does that? Who SIGNS UP to run in the middle of nowhere on an unlit creepy trail in the middle of the night? WHO DOES THAT? This girl.

The only time I could see farther than 5 feet in front of me was when a fellow Ragnar runner came up behind me and passed me. The other runners were very cool on this leg. Many said, “Good job” or “This is freaking nuts” or “ohmigod this is scary” or the like. I noticed runners would sort of wave their hand in front of their headlights as they approached me, which was a nice heads up that someone was approaching (a tip I told my fellow runners when I got to the van).

I ran with a woman for a li’l bit and we were laughing at how ridiculous and scary this leg was. When I say I ran in complete darkness, I’m not kidding. The foggy mist didn’t help things. It was like a scene out of a horror flick.  “What if someone attacks me? I’m in the middle of nowhere. There are no lights out here and it isn’t like there are groups of people running. No one would ever know. GAH!”

On this leg, I stopped to walk only TWICE and each was for approximately 30-60 seconds. I felt so good on this run.

When I got to the next exchange point, I once again failed to properly hand off the reflective slap bracelet to Matt J. (seriously, I was horrible at the exchange).

As soon as I finished, Rochelle Tracey G. Jordan H. Anthony M Van H. and our driver (my dad) asked how the run was. The first thing I said was, “That was the most freaking ridiculous thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.”

And it was.

Start Time: 9:16 p.m.
Goal pace: 16min/mile
Splits: 14:27, 14:43, 15:06, 14:22, 3:09 (.22mi 14:08 pace)
Average pace: 14:38
Total time: 1:01:49
Finish time: 10:17 p.m.

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.

Ragnar Chicago Relay: Recapping Leg #1

I got to kick things off for Team 12 Sweaty Nuts for the Ragnar Relay Friday morning. We started at 10 a.m. and cut it VERY close for me to get to the start line in time. I got there with just minutes to spare before the countdown.

I threw my sweatshirt and all non-essential running gear at Rochelle and got ready to ROCK it.

I ran with the 10 a.m. start group for a few minutes, but they were all much faster than me and so I dropped back and ran the rest of the leg on my own.

After a half mile or so, I completely regretted not trying to get to a bathroom before the start of the race. Luckily, around 1.5 miles in I found a port-a-potty near some construction work. WINNING.

Got into a groove and had a blast running around Lake Monona (aka Krista‘s home turf). There was a detour during this leg, due to road construction, which added about a quarter mile to the leg, no big deal.

I only stopped to walk a couple times for a minute or two, and then near the end of the leg I stopped maybe 3 times to walk a block, to catch my breath.

I was amazed at how great I felt, despite a few moments of side stitches.

The course was pretty, mostly near the lake or through residential neighborhoods. Rolling hills, but nothing too bad.

I started getting passed by the 10:30 a.m. starters as I neared the last half mile of my leg. I got lots of “Hang in there” or “Nice job, you can do it!” comments, which were great, if not half condescending. Warning to “fast” runners: Just because I’m running extremely slow doesn’t mean I’m struggling. I’m just slow. No need to patronize me. Trust me, you’ll know when I’m dying (see write up for my third leg, coming soon to a blog near you).

I ran into the 1st exchange point and majorly failed slapping Matt J. with the slap bracelet. 😉

Felt great, good to get the nerves out right away!

Start Time: 10am
Goal pace: 16min/mile
Splits: 14:26, 16:03 (bathroom break), 15:30, 15:40, 10:00 (.72mi – 13:49 pace)
Average pace: 15:10
Total time: 1:11:37
Finish time: 11:11 am

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.

12 Sweaty Nuts

I’m joining 11 of my bestest running friends for the Ragnar Chicago Relay. That’s 200 miles, split 12 ways, in about 30ish hours.

The race starts Friday morning and our team will hit the road at 10 a.m.

Here’s our team logo/shirt:

I know, you’re jealous, right?

As you can see, we are sponsored by the one and only, AJ Bombers. Thanks, Joe and Angie for your support! We love you guys!

Wanna know what I’ll be running? Here are maps of my three legs:

Leg #1 - 10am Friday
Leg #13 - approximately 10pm Friday
Leg 25 - approximately 6:30am Saturday

 

If you want to follow along with the insanity, check out my twitter feed, @amykant, or the following hashtags: #ajbnutrun (my team) or #ragnarchi (the race).

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.

Race Report: Laura’s Smile 5k – Girls on the Run

Girls On the Run plus their buddies - Bay View team

What a beautiful, hot and muggy day. LOL. Today was the big 5k run for the GOTR kids.

Pre-race cheer!
Me and Juliana pre-race

They looked a bit nervous before the race but we took off running at the start. Then the heat REALLY hit us. Juliana (Tracey G.‘s daughter) was hilarious, per always.

“Are we almost done?”

“No, Juli, we’ve only gone half a mile.”

“Ughhhhh. This isn’t fair. It’s so hot. I wish it was pouring or there was a big gust of wind.”

We did a lot of run/walking (emphasis on the walking) because of the heat and the fact there was only one water stop on the course. In this heat, with that many youngins, geeze, one more stop would have been nice.

We kept leap-frogging with Angela and her buddy, Nadia.

Nadia, Juli and Angela, Mile 1
Nadia, Me and Juliana - Mile 1

I’d give Juli little goals, like, “When we get to that big tree, we’re gonna run til the turn…” Basically, fartleks, which is my favorite word, evar.

When she saw the water stop, Juli took off running. Like, we’re talking a 10:15 pace. Which is hilarious, because we had been going at anywhere from a 15-17 pace. I could barely catch up with her. She dumped a cup of water on her head and we kept on trucking. Saw her parents Tracey G.Jason G. shortly after the water stop and kept on going.

Nadia and Juliana - Mile 2 "We're dying"
"Are we done?"

We made little goals and I started forcing her to run, reminding her that there was cake at the finish line (she’s a girl after my own heart).

By about mile 2 I realized my fingers had swelled up to the size of sausages. It was gross. I could hardly bend my fingers.

fat fingers

Mile 3!

As we walked during the last mile, I told Juli about a trick I like to use at races. When you see the finish line close, start running as fast as you can past everyone cheering, so they think you’ve been running that fast the whole time.

Sprinting to the finish!

We blasted through the last tenth of a mile at a 9:30 pace. Then Juliana got her medal (so cute!) and we found water, cake and fruit.

Yay! We did it!

GOTR is such a great program. Had a blast with Jane S. Chelsey F. Rochelle and all the girls.

3.1 miles in 52:08 – 16:55 pace

BTW, this time includes the water stop and stops to take photos at each mile marker. If we wouldn’t have done that, I think we could have shaved about 3 minutes off the time, giving us a 16 pace, which is exactly what we’ve been having at practices.