Running analysis (a.k.a. I have weak WHAT??)

After a couple weeks of recovery post-marathon, I was ready to revamp my running technique. I know my gait needed a few modifications, so I scheduled a running analysis (gait analysis) at Point Forward Motion Analysis.

It was very interesting. I learned more about my body than I ever thought I’d want to know. :)

John is the guy in charge, and he outfitted me with little electrodes.

  
  Once they were attached, I went for a little run on the treadmill.

 There were several video cameras, recording me from different angles. They ran the footage through their fancy computer, and it gave me lots of data. I was especially interested in the angles of my joints mid stride.  That data helped John identify my weak muscles.   

 He used that information to give me a series of exercises to help me strengthen those weak areas, and he placed electrodes on the muscles. I then performed those exercises while watching a big tv screen that indicated when those muscles were activated.  

 No cheating! One of my weakest areas are my glutes. Even though I regularly do squats, I’d somehow trained my body to use my quads instead of my butt. Gosh, darn it! It sounds like that’s a common problem with runners, so I didn’t feel too bad about it, though I was really interested in learning how to teach my body to squat correctly. I’m glad I had those electrodes to give me some feedback when I was using the right muscles! For the record, my calves are also weak. When John suggested that, I thought he was crazy. I’d just run my ninth marathon- how could I possibly have weak calves?!

Well, he asked me to do some one-legged heel raises… turns out, I could only do a few. I guess I do have week calves!

It was a pretty awesome experience, and I left with a whole new idea of what I want my running to become this year. I love finding new muscles to strengthen and new ways to be faster and stronger. This isn’t going to be easy, but improvements are worth working for. :) Thanks, John!

Miles this year: 278.1

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Wausau MS walk 2015 + Kentucky Derby + Kosmalski extended family

After that eventful Friday, waking up Saturday morning early was not easy!

I didn’t mind it, though- my best friend, Nikki, is on the planning board for Wausau’s MS walk, and they needed photographers. We happily volunteered, and headed up to Wausau on a beautiful Saturday morning,

Volunteers were busy registering walkers and teams were gathering for pep talks and team photos.

  
I sang the national anthem… 

 …and they were off! 

  

  

The course was beautiful, winding along the Wisconsin River, under little bridges, and through the woods. 

  

  

  

  

  

  

 The course was full of volunteers and people ready to help. 

Once walkers made it back, they we greeted with prizes, face painting, and lots of snacks!

   
   Great job, Nikki and the committee- your event was fantastic! 

We left Wausau and came back home to attend a Kentucky Derby party with some of my ballroom dancing friends. Our resident liquor expert and mixologist… 

 

I was all fancy…

 We watched the race, of course. 
Then we spent the night drinking fancy drinks, dancing on the porch, and telling stories! Thanks for all the fun, dancing friends! 

 I love being busy, and things never seem to slow down. We slept soundly after that busy Saturday, woke up early, charged our batteries, changed out memory cards, went to Tapestry, then had an extended family photo shoot. Jonah’s family came to see us for family photos a couple years ago, and this time, she brought her siblings, their families, and her parents. Look at these cuties!   

  

  I love working with families, because it is so cool to see the family resemblance through the generations. I can see it in their faces, or their smiles, or the way they laugh. I can even see it when there is no biological connection- children imitate their parents, so kindness is passed through families, too! 

Families are awesome. 

   
       

Thanks for bringing your whole family to work with us, Jonah! :)

I love my job. I love capturing moments and I love being able to give back to my community. I’m a lucky girl!

Miles this year: 274.1

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Hannah’s Haircut + Kris and Shane, engaged!

My TU friend, Hannah, is a rockstar. She’s a badass farmer and triathlete who lives in the northern Wisconsin country. She also has been growing out her waist-length hair for years, and she volunteered to shave her head and donate all of her hair. What a champ!   
 The stylist is my beautiful friend, Stef, at Kasha Salon, and she volunteered her time and services. Thanks, girl!
 Hannah, your hair is going to make a child very happy! Thanks for being awesome. Enjoy your newfound scalp freedom!

The next day, I went to help out at a Friends of the Little Plover River event- the fourth graders from the Stevens Point district all come out on an afternoon field trip and learn about their local stream. I was at the fly casting station with Stu, a member of my TU chapter.  I left the FOTR event early to head down to Madison for a very special photo shoot- a lifestyle shoot with Kris and Shane… turned surprise proposal! Kris had been planning this day for months, and I was in on the surprise. It’s hard to plan a photo shoot for “no reason” with someone less-than-thrilled to ham it up for the camera without giving it away, but Kris’ masterfully laid plans worked perfectly. He convinced Shane to play along, and we ended up having a lot of fun!

We started taking photos at Kris’ mentor’s piano, then headed downtown at the Capitol (to drink wine on the lawn, of course!), around the square, then over to the Monona Terrace.Right after this picture was taken, a woman walking by asked if we were taking engagement pictures.

Kris and I looked at each other with a look of panic, and we all mumbled, “Oh, no… these are just for fun,” or something equally awkward. Shane turned away and I looked at Kris with a face of shock as I mouthed, “OH MY GOD.”

I thought the jig was up! Luckily, Shane didn’t suspect a thing… so we moved on.

The tulips on the capital lawn were in full bloom and proving to be bright and beautiful. I hoped my giant smile wasn’t giving me away, and blamed my positive mood on the beautiful weather and these pretty flowers. :)We set up so I was facing the capital…and then, on my cue, when the lighting was right, Kris got down on one knee, said something (I’d imagine to be) very sweet, and Shane said, “YES!”

It is difficult to be a part of a moment without intruding, but I did my best…Congratulations, guys! I’m so happy for you. Thank you for letting me be a part of this big moment! I still get goosebumps when I look through this gallery. <3

As were walking back to the parking ramp, I heard someone call my name. I looked up, and saw all my Madison friends from WLCV! They convinced me to stay for a drink (I love edible orchids!) and to catch up. Twist my arm…  I made it home late and tired, but charged my camera batteries and swapped out memory cards, getting set up for the weekend’s photo shoots. More on those later!

Thanks for reading, friends. :)

Miles this year: 269.1

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Life has sure been busy.

I’m starting to learn that being busy is just a state that we all know as adulthood.  I keep thinking things will slow down, but they don’t! :) I did take a very brief break after the race, but it didn’t last!

While I’ve been out on adventures, here is what you missed:

-An Earth Day presentation. Matt, my TU chapter president, and I, made a PowerPoint to share what TU does in our community. The Jensen Center was packed with friends of water in our area. :)   

   -I ran up to Wausau and did a few headshots and event photos from an oral health presentation sponsored by Fehrman Orthodontics.  

   -I cooked a killer batch of fajitas. They were pretty, too…  -I religiously went to yoga at Community Soul.   

 -And last, but not least, Brian and I celebrated my one-week-post-marathon anniversary by running a little five mile race in New London. It’s called the Sturgeon Shuffle, and the course runs along the Wolf River while the sturgeon are typically spawning.  It was a great race, though my legs were feeling pretty tired near the end. Marathon recovery is no joke! I do love running along the water, and this course is an out-and-back, with a two mile option. It starts and ends at the school, runs through a little park, then the rest of the course follows the river. I loved that part of it. Brian was a trooper and stuck with me through the whole thing, even though I felt like I was running excruciatingly slow. Post-marathon muscle fatigue is such a weird and very real thing. It was a relatively small race, with chilly and windy weather, and it was well organized. They had bananas and delicious cookies at the finish, so I was obviously pretty excited for that! We finished and warmed up inside the school until it was time for awards.

Brian placed 2nd in his age group. I got 3rd in mine, and we both came home with these fabulous mugs as awards.   

 I’ve been traveling all over the place, shooting places, people, and projects… and I can’t wait to sit still long enough to share them all with you! 

I’ll be back soon. :)

Miles this year: 266

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Early season fly fishing in the Driftless, a.k.a. my love affair with pink polka dots

I love fly fishing early trout season. Yeah, it’s cold. And sometimes snowy, sometimes rainy. On last year’s trip, we fished all day in the ice-cold pouring rain. Bundling up is a necessity… but after a long winter inside, it feels good to breathe some fresh air and splash around.

I often head down to the driftless, here in Southwestern Wisconsin. It’s hilly, and there are tons of little creeks full of beautiful trout.

Viroqua is usually my first stop.

 Matt and Geri, a couple friends that I met through Trout Unlimited, own the fly shop down there- The Driftless Angler. It’s right on the main drag. Look for the fish sign!   

 They have a beautiful shop and even better guides! and I have had lots of fabulous days of adventure that started  here.

 Meet Pete and Teak. He’s a friend of mine, a super busy guide, and she is the best fishing dog I’ve ever met.

 Let the games begin!

He took me out to several unnamed locations. It was snowing, and windy, and definitely a challenge! The high temp was in the low 40s. I love hiring guides, even though I’m an independent angler, because they always teach me something new- either a new type of fly, or a casting technique, or they take me to new places and show me how to read different water.

Plus, when my fingers are frozen, they tie on for me. :)  Pete can demonstrate any kind of cast that I want to see. I love fishing with and learning from talented fly anglers- they make everything look effortless and they are just plain fun to watch. There are a couple distinguishing features of the driftless region– it’s only a couple hours from my house, in the Central Sands, but I never see geography like this…  The driftless area is called such because it escaped glaciation. The sediment in glaciers is called drift, thus… drift-less. Of course, when I think of sediment, I think of silt and and sand, though drift can contain boulders, and large rocks. The driftless region has carved river valleys for miles- there are hundreds of trout streams!

Before I knew it, I was laying into gently hooking some beauties. Pictures of me fishing, courtesy of Pete. He’s a photographer, too!

  I’m in love. My first fish on a fly rod was a brook trout, and I’ve been head-over-heels for those pink polka dots ever since.

Seriously.

I. Love. Brook. Trout.

I handle them with care and always put them back. :)         I took a break to warm up in the shelter of Pete’s van (curly hair, don’t care)…

…then headed out for more. Trout are my favorite, but they weren’t the only fish out there…


 As always, it was a fabulous trip. I hung out with Pete and Teak at their fabulous wooden fishing cabin, warmed up, dried off, studied the tools of the trade… …drank a good Wisconsin beer, and eventually made my way back home.

 I use this barn to mark my “halfway point” between Viroqua and my warm cozy bed.
 Thanks for the stream adventures, Pete! I’ll be back soon.

I lead a charmed life. Until next time… ❤️

Miles this year: 264

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Oshkosh Marathon 2015 Race Recap

My ninth marathon. Oh boy!

Brian and I went to Oshkosh on Saturday night to pick up my bib, and we spent the night with my mother-in-love, Jean, in New London. We were lucky enough to get to hang out with my sweet nephews, and we brought pizza, so they seemed extra happy to see us :)

I had my fly box in the car, so I got to show the boys a little piece of my passion… apparently, the boys like bugs! They thought it was awesome. I relaxed and painted my toenails, a pre-marathon ritual, and caught up with Jean.

We went to bed pretty early, and amazingly, I slept soundly through the night. My 5:00 alarm went off awfully early, and I peeled myself out of bed, took my thyroid meds, and started getting ready. I got dressed, braided my hair, and made oatmeal. Brian brewed coffee and helped me get everything together, and we headed out to Oshkosh. We met Lydia and Matthew at a coffee shop near the start line, and we huddled in the warmth of the store before we made our way to the start.  The race starts at the same place that we have our annual Wisconsin TU banquet every year, so I’m very familiar with the area.  Our men came and acted as pro spectators for us- I think Brian shared some of his secrets with Matthew. :) Lydia and I made our way to the crowd and settled into our pace group.

The view in front of us:  …and behind us… …and us!   They sang the national anthem, the gun went off, and we started shuffling along. We talked and talked for the first few miles. Before I knew it, we saw the boys!

Shortly after this point, the half marathon course split from the marathon course, so I had to say goodbye to Lydia. Our first few miles had gone by so quickly that I wasn’t ready to say good bye! It snuck up on me. Luckily, I had a huge bridge to climb to distract me, and then I was looking down on Hwy 41.  Miles 3.5 to 17 were out-and-back on the Wiouwash trail. It was beautiful! Sometimes we were sheltered, but it was mostly open. 
  

 I was happy to make it out to the turnaround and head back.  Unfortunately for me, it was super windy, and the “back” part of the course was hard-fought with a headwind. I still managed a smile for my halfway selfie. ;)  In the meantime, Brian and Matthew went out to meet Lydia. I’m not sure how far this was on the half marathon course, but Lydia looks awesome!  

   I think almost every race I’ve run has had someone who runs the whole race with a full-size American flag. I loved cheering on this guy when I passed him!

We ran past a lot of water on the course. I was thinking about fishing and Trout Unlimited and high capacity well pumping and invasive species and all sorts of other water stuff for a good chunk of the race. Surprisingly, I didn’t think there was enough water stations on the course, but that may be just because I am a sweaty, thirsty runner.

We ran though a little bit of campus, and along this little trail along the water, too. For a majority of this race, I ran with a guy named Mike. When I say ran “with,” I really mean that in a totally unusual way. I drafted off him from miles 4-6. Then for miles 6-17, we’d run together for a mile or so until we hit a water station. He didn’t stop for water, but I always stop and walk through, so I can drink my water or Gatorade. It would take me about a quarter mile to catch up to him, then we’d run together until the next water station. It was kind of fun. Eventually, around mile 17 or so, I couldn’t catch up to him. Luckily for me, he reappeared around mile 22, and we gave each other pep talks along the way. For example, I confessed to him that I was running without my glasses, so I couldn’t see that well. About a mile later, I said, “I’m going to walk for a bit at the next block.” He replied, “Oh, come on- you can make it to the next turn.” Of course, about a quarter mile later, I realized there was no turn!

That’s the kind of marathon buddy I needed. It was perfect! Eventually, I out ran him, and made it into the final mile by myself. I was starting to feel my muscles on the verge of cramping, both hamstrings and calves. I started giving myself an audible talking to… “Come on, girl. You can do it!”

It helped to have my sole sisters cheering me on virtually. I love these women! I had been texting them mile updates and photos, and they helped me through the rough times. 

The end of the course is up and over a bridge, with a kind of sharp angle at the bottom. It took all of my remaining bodily control to make the corner and not take out the spectators standing at the end there. :) The final .1 is along the river, and it would have been fabulous, if anyone was paying attention to the race. Kids were playing, and anglers were fishing, and there was no one there to give me a little push for the last stretch. I was feeling pretty miserable, and making a sound kind of like Darth Vader, if he knew how to whimper. :)

Luckily, I hung in there for the last minute, and found myself running through the chute!

  

My official time was 4:40:54. So close to a PR! Darn wind. :)

Lydia convinced me to stretch, even though I didn’t want to! Plow hurt so good.  As we relaxed on the grassy knoll, I drank the chocolate shake that Brian brought for me (thanks, baby!), and then they called my name to the podium… 2nd place Athena!   
 I caught up with Mike for a quick photo, then we headed out. 

Of course, the only thing to do after a race is have pizza and beer. Of course. Glass Nickel, FTW! 

I stretched and danced and ate and drank until I was full and happy, then I napped in the car on the way home. Brian went straight to Belts for an ice cream dinner, per my request, and I crashed hard and early at 7:30 pm!
It was a great race.

Some people don’t believe in weight-based classes like Athena, and I don’t always race as an Athena, but I do feel like there’s something special in taking ownership of my size and reaching for goals anyway. Until I competed Athena, I never felt that powerful feeling of competing against someone else- I was always competing with myself. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact, I usually prefer it… but it was kind of fun to race hard (for me!) against other runners and know that I had a chance to win something.

Despite the wind, the weather was beautiful, and I was so happy to have company of friends for the course. Thanks for the support, Lydia, Carmel, and Stranger Mike!

I’m already looking for my next race… I wonder where I’ll go! I have my heart set on Missula for next year, but I might pick something for the fall. :)

Thanks for reading, friends! :)

Miles this year: 259

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My last Taper Week + Conservation Lobby Day

I love spring. Sure, my allergies “reappear” after a winter of hibernation, but it’s worth it. There is nothing like opening my windows to let in some fresh air!

I started spring cleaning in my office, too. As our business has grown, my office space gets more and more cramped. It’s fun to reorganize my photography gear, though… I always find props I’ve forgotten I own and, inevitably, a few spare memory cards. :)

 Abbie has loved the warmer weather, too- we’ve been out running a bunch!

  
   I’ve taken her along a lot lately, because I won’t be running as much after the marathon. :)

I spent my last taper week busy with both work and play, and a little of “doing my civic duty.”

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters hosts an annual Conservation Lobby Day, where they gather conservation-minded citizens together, teach us how to lobby our legislators, and let us loose on the capital. Actually, “let us loose” doesn’t exactly describe it- they made appointments for all of us with our respective senators and representatives, and gave us our personalized schedule when we checked in. Thanks for being awesome, WLCV!

My friend, Jen, spent some time behind the podium…

 …and Matt joined her to show us how to demonstrate effective lobbying.

There were a lot of people who came to the event, which was held at Monona Terrace. I love that facility, though I think I’ve only been there for music conventions and weddings, so this was a nice change of pace!  Trout Unlimited had a good showing, too!  The WLCV staff gave presentations on the main topics that we were going to share our passion about with our legislators. It always helps to have some facts in your back pocket when going into a meeting. The topic that resonated the most with me was from Helen.

 I’ve see Helen at many different water events, and I love her approach. This issue also really matters to me… as most of you know, my degrees are in music and education. I don’t have a background in science or natural resources- no hydrology, geology, soils, fisheries, or anything related to conservation. I heavily rely on our DNR scientists to tell me what is needed and necessary regarding having a sustainable and healthy ecosystem here in Wisconsin. Sure, I know how to catch a trout, and I have a few ideas regarding how to make things better environmentally, but I don’t know enough to make big decisions on my own. I’m continually surprised when some politicians think that they can make big decisions in other fields while knowing minimally the subject at hand. In that case, maybe I should be the head of the fisheries department? I’ve seen a few deer on the side of the road, does that make me qualified to make decisions about deer hunting licenses? I love that Wisconsin has lots of opportunities for people to make their opinions heard, and gives experienced anglers and hunters a chance to weigh in on issues (like though the Conservation Congress), but we still need professionals to help us make educated decisions and set guidelines. I don’t think there is weakness in asking for help from experts- I think that is a sign of an intelligent leader, and it is definitely a better fiscal idea to have your own staff than to contract out to other scientists.

Anyway, we reviewed the main issues, ate lunch, then I ran rampant all over Madison. ;) Our Capitol is a beautiful place!   

  

     My first stop was at Rep. Katrina Shankland’s office.

 

The assembly was in session…

 …but Katrina’s staff met with us. I was excited to meet Annika, since I’d emailed back and forth with her many times! Annika took us down to see if Katrina could pop out to check in with us, and she did!

Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to see us, Katrina (and thanks for taking our picture, Annika)! 

 I had a short break before my next meeting, which was filled with an interview for a new organization called Love Wisconsin. I’ll share more about that collaboration when I have it! It was fun to be on the other side of the lens.  I was taking pictures inside of the Capitol building and had a couple TU photobombers…

…and before I knew it, it was time for my meeting with Sen. Julie Lassa.
 We crammed a whole lot of water-lovers into her office, and she was very kind and receptive to our concerns. Thank you, Julie! Thank you for organizing such a great event, WLCV! I hung out with my conservation friends for the night, then stopped at my accountant (my Aunt Tina!), and made a quick stop at Bloom Bakery on the way home. Bloom is in Middleton, and they specialize in gluten-free and vegan pastries. Gorgeous and delicious.  

 On Friday afternoon, I took my boat out for the first paddle of the year, and it was every bit as fabulous as I remembered.  I spent Friday night shooting the awards banquet for the School of Business and Economics here at the University.   

  

  

       I love shooting this event. Those SBE people sure know how to put on a beautiful banquet and an efficient awards ceremony. Congratulations to all the award winners!

Saturday morning was a haircut and blowout…  …and final prep for Sunday’s race.

Up next? My ninth marathon recap. Thanks for reading, friends!

Miles this year: 232.65

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