6 days til the big race

Can you believe the big race is just 6 days away? It all seems like a dream. Someone pinch me. I honestly never thought I would be doing this – training for a half marathon, raising $3800 for Crohn’s and Colitis research and flying to wine country for a race?


There’s nothing else I can think of – except insanity.

I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your love, support and financial donations. Without you, this would have NEVER happened. Your e-mails, phone calls, blog comments, tweets, Facebook comments, letters and encouragement have made this possible.

Together, we have raised $3800 for Crohn’s and Colitis research and programs – like sending a child with IBD to a special summer camp with staff trained to deal with these diseases. Together, we are helping CCFA fund cutting-edge research studies at major medical institutions. Together, we are helping find a cure for the diseases that have plagued my family for too long.

Since January, I have lost 25 pounds and 36 inches. I have pushed myself harder than I thought possible. The human body is amazing. And it’s not to say that my training was problem-free. I was plagued by knee problems and then a sprained foot (which I just so happened to roll my ankle yesterday afternoon while walking the dog). I’m down but I’m not out. I’m praying that a lot of rest, ice and ibuprofen will allow me to finish what I started more than 4 months ago.

I will have my cell phone with me during the race. You can watch my progress by logging on to http://www.twitter.com/amykant as I’ll be giving updates via Twitter throughout the race. The race starts at 6:30 a.m. PT. So for those of you in the Midwest, start praying around 8:30 ok? 🙂 Based on my pace, injuries and previous long run/walks, I have a goal of finishing in less than 4 hours. Perhaps there will be a miracle and I’ll finish sooner than that… but I doubt that will happen. My super-not-so-secret goal is to finish by 10:10-10:15 a.m., but honestly, I will be thrilled to cross the finish line on my own two feet (or crawling – just so long as I don’t get carried across the finish line, I’ll be ok). Expect lots of “oh crap this hurts” tweets from me on race day. Maybe I’ll include a photo or two. You can feel free to text/tweet me during the race, but I do not plan on responding to these messages until much later. I might be able to read your messages during the race, and your encouragement is most welcome!

Post race, I plan to visit the medical tent (or the hospital, whatever) or find a tub of ice to sit in. I will also start consuming copious amounts of wine at the post-race party. I will have to numb the pain somehow, right?

I will be writing the following names on my forearms as a reminder of who I’m running for:

  1. Grandma Irene
  2. Beta Epsilon Alumnae Chapter, Alpha Gamma Delta
  3. Alex (from Rachel)
  4. Katie F.
  5. Phillip V.
  6. Robin C.
  7. Uncle Will
  8. Andy K.
  9. Carol R.
  10. ViNeta Bombria (from Carrie)
  11. Scott H.
  12. Angie & Joe Sorge
  13. Aunt Janice
    The last .1 mile is for me. 😉

One more thing – would you be willing to respond to this with a word of encouragement/inspirational quote/funny anecdote? I want to read through these li’l notes on race day as I am bussed to the race (it’s a 30-45 min drive). I will need some encouragement and who better to help me out than my family/friends?

Thanks again for everything.

PS:  A special HI for reader Melinda whom I met this weekend when I volunteered at a water stop for Badgerland Striders. I don’t even know you but you’re awesome.

Race Day Playlist

I know many of you have some favorite running tunes, and I’m hoping you’ll share some of those with me. I am currently working on my race day playlist for my iPod. I need about 4 hours of music (just incase something happens and it takes me longer than my 3:30-3:45 goal). Yes, I know many of you more advanced runners can do a half marathon in 1:50-2:30, but I am being realistic. I haven’t been able to run as much as I want to and with this screwed up foot (I sprained it from overuse and apparently did all my long training run/walks on a sprained foot, so yes, I am badass)… I know that anything below a 3:00 is unrealistic, especially with how much I’ll likely be walking.

So, I need some music suggestions. I’m looking for a variety of musical genres (but please, please no country. It’s not my thing). Something with a good beat or theme… basically something that is going to keep me going when someone knocks some sense into me at mile 11 or 12… you know, that this whole doing-a-half-marathon-when-you-weigh-249-pounds-was-a-bad-idea kind of sense…

Here’s my list so far* (and yes, I think I’ll be spending a small fortune at the iTunes store in the next 13 days. Feel free to send me iTunes gift cards):

  • Run Joey Run – Glee Cast
  • Permanent – David Cook
  • Paparazzi – Lady Gaga
  • Single Ladies – Beyonce
  • Declaration – David Cook
  • Gives you hell – Glee cast
  • Telephone – Lade Gaga, Beyonce
  • Haven’t met you yet – Michael Buble
  • Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas
  • Burning Up – Glee cast
  • Superassive Black Hole – Muse
  • London Bridge – Fergie
  • You make my dreams come true – hall and oates
  • Bruises – Chairlift
  • You give love a bad name – bon jovi
  • Don’t stop believin – Glee cast
  • Talk dirty to me – Poison
  • Viva la Vida – Coldplay
  • Anyway you want it – journey
  • Take a bow – Muse
  • I got a feeling – Black Eyed Peas
  • F**k You – Lily Allen
  • 4 minutes – Glee cast
  • I kissed a girl – Katy Perry
  • X gonna give it to ya – dmx
  • Glass of Water – Coldplay
  • Don’t rain on my parade – Glee Cast
  • Starlight – Muse
  • My life would suck without you – Kelly Clarkson
  • Don’t stop the music – rihanna
  • Figured you out -Nickelback
  • Highway to hell – AC/DC
  • Smile – Lily Allen
  • Jessie’s Girl – Glee Cast
  • Pour some sugar on – Def lepard
  • Keep yourself alive – queen
  • Poker Face – Lady Gaga
  • Rock n Roll all nite – poison
  • Jump – Glee cast
  • American Idiot – green day
  • Still rock n roll to me – billy joel
  • Hot n Cold – Katy Perry
  • So what – p!nk
  • Come back to me – David Cook
  • We are the champions – queen
  • Dynamite – Taio Cruz
  • California Girls – Katy Perry
  • Ridin’ Solo – Jason Derulo
  • Pussy Control – Prince
  • Don’t cha – Pussy Cat Dolls
  • OMG – Usher
  • Centerfold – – J. Geils Band
  • Gold digger – Glee cast
  • I like it – Enrique Iglesias
  • Sweet Caroline – Glee Cast
  • What do you want from me – Adam Lambert
  • at least one entire Jock Jams CD

Please note: some of these songs might not make any sense to you, but they have a funny memory for me attached to them and I’m sure if they pop up on my iPod during the race it will put a smile on my face.

*subject to change 😉

Someday, that will be me

I went with some of my DailyMile/FitMilwaukee/Twitter friends down to Kenosha early Saturday morning to cheer on the bazillion people I knew who were running either the half or full marathon.

I can’t adequately put into words what Saturday was for me. I saw friends complete their longest runs ever. I saw my friends triumph. I saw children looking at their parents with such awe, you’d swear they thought mommy or daddy was a superhero. I cried watching people I didn’t even know cross the finish line. I cried when my friends turned the corner for the last 30 yards to the finish. I cheered for people who struggled to finish the race. I cheered for people successfully completing their races. But most importantly, I saw what hard work and determination can produce. I could see on all my friends’ faces the pure euphoria they enjoyed when they finished the race. I’m no where near the end of my own personal race. But, step by step, race by race, pound by pound, inch by inch, I’ll get there. I’ll cross that finish line. And I’ll be thinking of how lucky I am to have people in my life who pushed me to finish this journey to a new me.

And now, a few shout-outs:

  • Krista, the way you run looks effortless. It looked like just a quick jaunt in the park for you. You are going to be absolutely fabulous at your upcoming races. You inspire me.
  • Tracey, you are a rockstar. You came floating down to the finish line with such a beautiful smile on your face. The fact that you didn’t even look tired is baffling to me. I can’t wait to cheer you on in Rockford! You inspire me.
  • Rochelle, I am so proud of you for rocking this half marathon. You’ve bounced back from your knee injury and showed that setbacks won’t keep you down. You inspire me.
  • Anne, I know I’ve told you this a million times, but you are such an inspiration. Your journey, your story, pushes me. I know that if you can run half marathons for fun after having been overweight, that one day that WILL be me. You make me want to push harder, go faster and be a rockstar. Because that’s what you are. You didn’t let your knee injury take you out. You showed it who’s boss. #lovefest You inspire me.
  • Sarah, I am so freaking proud of you. You bolted down to the finish line like a fiend. Your focus, your determination and your drive make me feel fortunate to call you a friend. You inspire me.
  • Cheryl, you were so determined to finish strong and I’m so proud of you for that! You are setting such a great example for your kids. They’re lucky to have a mom who’s so dedicated to staying fit! You inspire me.
  • Tony, you finished so strong! I know you’ll do many more of these in the coming years. You and Rochelle are so lucky to share something like this! It was great hanging out with you today. You inspire me.
  • Lindsey, I could see the pain in your face as you turned the corner. I admire your determination and the fact that YOU DIDN’T GIVE UP. You finished what you started, and even though you didn’t get the time you wanted, you finished with a great time. Didn’t you JUST start running like 3 days ago? 😉 Take care of your knee and rock it at your next half. You inspire me.
  • Marty, I am so lucky to call you a friend. Your determination, your speed and your smile at the end of the race were so inspiring. I’m so proud of you for crossing that finish line and showing it who’s boss. You inspire me.
  • Mike, your smile at the end of the marathon was infectious. You looked so happy and so proud of yourself for what you were about to complete. I’m so proud of you for rocking this race. Your hard work paid off and now you’re a marathoner! Your journey encourages me to push myself to one day run 26.2 miles. You inspire me.

The people listed above (plus the ones I know I’ve forgotten – Joe, Erica, Matt, etc) showed me what is possible if you work hard. For some, it was their first long race. They made the race their bitch. I’m lucky to call these people my friends. Seriously, I thank God I have them in my life – to inspire, to push, to encourage.

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My first 5k!

Today I completed my very first 5k race! It was not without some hiccups along the way, but I feel such a sense of accomplishment! Here’s how it all went down.

Last night, I went to the Brewers game and tailgated heavily prior to the game. Got to bed super late, woke up with gutrot. Tried to eat some oatmeal but I was all sorts of nervous so it didn’t go over well. Got to the race in Brown Deer and received my race bib, timing chip and tshirt. Look!!! My first race bib!

I met up with some DailyMile and FitMilwaukee peeps before the race, but to be honest with you I don’t know what we talked about. I was so freaking nervous. My stomach was all over the place. I was praying I wouldn’t fall down, pass out or throw up. And you know what? I didn’t!

My goal was to finish in less than 55 min, with the super goal being to do it in 50 minutes or less (based on my current pace). And I DID IT!!! Of course, my knees hate me and my lungs were burning by the end, but I’m so happy with how this turned out. I was lucky enough to have the help of Rachel M as my “running” buddy. We’re both in a similar place weight and fitness-wise so we hoped our paces would mesh, which they did. It was nice to have the extra push. We ran the first 4 or 5 blocks then walked, ran a bit in the middle, and the ran the last 3 blocks or so. If you were only at the start/finish line, you would have thought we ran the whole thing, which was part of my secret plan. 😉 I was also happy to see more people behind us (even if they were doing the 10k)… because being the last person to finish would have been a bit difficult for me.

As it were, I was the second-to-last woman to finish the race. And you know what? I don’t care. I finished. I didn’t give up when it was tough. I didn’t say “oh this is too tough, I’m gonna sneak into this person’s house and hide til the race is over.” I finished with a consistent pace and couldn’t be more proud.

Here’s my official stats from the race results site:

I am so blessed to have you twitter/dailymile/facebook peeps. Anne and Rochelle came out along with Mike (who I just met today) to cheer us on. I held back tears as I was hitting the finish line because there were people CHEERING for ME! It’s so amazing to experience that. Thank you guys. Seriously, that meant the WORLD to me. #lovefest The only thing missing was my family and I know they’ll be there to cheer me on at many races to come. And, well, I may or may not have forgotten to ask them to come. LOL.

Stats according to my Garmin: 15:40, 16:54, 15:46 and the last .14 miles – 14:11.

Here are a few photos, courtesy Michael, Anne and Meghan:

PS – if you have a chance, congratulate my friend Tracey. She finished 2nd female overall and won her age bracket with a time of 22:52 finish. That means Tracey did the 5k in 27:08 minutes faster than me! Of course, to be fair, she’s been running for awhile and she’s the cutest li’l thing.

Race Report: Blarney 5k Run/Walk, a PR

(The FitMilwaukee gang-notice the beers we’re not-so-slyly hiding. Photo by Anne Munkwitz)

Saturday was my first official “race” – the 19th Annual Blarney 5k run/walk in Wauwatosa. I was a little disappointed that the walkers didn’t get race bibs. I was really looking forward to getting my first race number! Oh well, next time I hope!

The walk portion of this race was 2 miles… but I logged a total of 4.5 miles yesterday because of how far I parked from the start/finish line. I mapped it out and it was about .6 mi away. I had the pleasure of walking that route twice (once to take my race packet/shirt back to the car).

While most of the FitMilwaukee.com people were running this one, Kay and Anne joined me for the walk portion. Anne, Kay and I kept a pretty good pace (I’m guessing approx. 16-16:30 min miles) but “officially” my race time was close to 55 minutes. Why? Well we kept stopping to take pictures of our running friends, we stopped to talk with Mike and Marty who just ran about 18 miles each, and then when we neared the finish line, Kay grabbed a twelve-pack of beer from the car.

We met up with the other FitMilwaukee peeps and stood around drinking beer, taking pictures, etc. As we were walking back to the clubhouse someone said, “Hey, did you guys ever cross the finish line officially?” We hadn’t. So my official time today was 2 miles in 55 min, including lots of stops, photos and a can of beer. There’s nothing quite like crossing the finish line with a beer in hand. 🙂

I rock.

I know you’re all jealous of my PR.

This, my friends is how you race:

(Me, Lindsey, Sarah, Cheryl & Kay. Photo by Anne Munkwitz)

Someday, I’m gonna be hot enough to wear running tights like Sarah.

Action shot. We’re taking this seriously, can you tell? Photo by Anne Munkwitz