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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It’s time to get real.

There is a lot of freedom in being authentic. Translucent. I’ve never been good at hiding things anyway! My smile usually gives me away. I laugh and cry with total reckless abandon (just ask my brides and grooms!), and I feel and live passionately.

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People have told me that my presence on social media makes it look like I have a fabulous, perfect life. I’m sure it does! :) It probably looks like I sleep late, drink coffee in my pajamas, run, kayak, fly fish, hang out with my incredibly handsome mustachioed husband… then take a few pictures and watch the cash roll in. And sure, some of that is right, mostly about the pajamas and the running. I don’t usually post or blog about the tough stuff though… no one wants to read that!

Examples of things that I always wanted to get off my chest but didn’t want to burden my friends with:

-What it’s like to work nights and weekends year-round, and to miss weddings of my friends and family to shoot weddings of others that we’ve booked far in advance.

-How confusing it can be to pay taxes as a small business- and what self-employment tax actually looks like!

-How it feels to have the owner of a big company email me angrily and tell me I’m not worth what I charge, all over an invoice totaling $100 and a misunderstanding over the contract on their end. I can’t work for free, even though I donate much of my work to non-profit organizations and great causes. Regardless of the fact that this problem was completely not my fault, I lost sleep over it, I couldn’t eat, and I was so upset that I sat in my office, shaking. It added a whole new component of fear to working with big companies and powerful people, and it took me a while to get over it!

-How my heart hurts when I hear people say that I must make SO MUCH MONEY because they look at a wedding package and split that pricing up hourly for the one day that they see us working… then say that we’re not worth it. The flip side of that is people asking for “reasonably priced” photographers. What exactly is reasonable?

-How my camera takes the good photos, and I’m just a person to press the button. Anyone could do my job if they had my gear!

It’s hard to be a small business owner, and even harder to be in the arts. I learned this in music long ago, and I continue to learn it every day through photography. When your product is a big part of who you are, and a personal expression, it’s hard not to take rejection personally. That’s how you know that artists truly love what they do. We put up with all the tough stuff just so we can make something beautiful.

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I really love what I do, and I always feel incredibly lucky that I get to take photos for a living. I worked hard to get here, studied under several incredible artists, and I hope I get to keep learning and growing for many years to come!

So, it’s with baited breath that I tell you about what we’re working on now.

Right now, we’re in the middle of splitting up our business into two separate brands. That’s intimidating on its own, but trying to split myself in half seems equally difficult. I’ve taken marketing classes and worked with branding experts and it’s still tricky to take something so personal and make it into two separate entities. So that’s where our new brand, heo, comes into play.

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We still run Photographic Memories, and it’s our baby. That’s where we categorize all our weddings, and families, and seniors, and all the love that we witness between people.

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Then we have heo, which is our new creation, and that is all my commercial work. The food, drinks, products, headshots, events, gorgeous places, and adventures that I find myself on.

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Fun fact: heo stands for Heidi Elizabeth Oberstadt. This was a logical name choice- since I am such a big part of what I do. I’m showcasing my work at http://www.heidioberstadt.com.

To be totally honest, sometimes I feel like I’m hiding something. Trying to run two totally different businesses can be complicated!

I often think of examples like this one: when I see a business like “Jason’s Towing, Deli, and Nail Salon,” I don’t go there for any of those services because I can’t imagine them being good at all of them… and I can’t really imagine them being good at ANY of them! If they were great at one of those businesses, wouldn’t they stick with that one? We’ve all seen places like that, especially in small towns.

I’m afraid that people will look at our businesses, and say, “How can ‘The Oberstadts’ be great wedding photographers while Heidi is simultaneously a great food photographer?” In the meantime, I’m working my buns off to continue to produce gorgeous images on both ends of the spectrum.

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It’s liberating to share my fears, and I hope that you all will share our excitement as we move forward on this new adventure!

Miles this year: 225.45

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Easter + a week on the road

I love Easter! We celebrated Easter this year with friends from our church, and I brought deviled eggs. 

I love deviled eggs, though I always feel a little weird bringing something with the word “devil” right in the name to a celebration about Jesus. ;)

We tried to go easy on the Easter candy at home, but there is a seemingly unlimited supply of seasonal candy at the PT clinic. Oh, gummy candy… I burned off all that gummy candy with a super windy and hilly nine miles with Lydia on the Wau-king trail.  We refueled with beer at Chain Bar, and I headed home to pack for a crazy week.I had such a busy day- when Brian got home, we headed up to Wausau for a ballroom dance lesson with our first dance teachers, Missy and Jeff! We hadn’t seen them since they taught us to dance before our wedding. Eight years was too long! Of course, I was too excited to see them and I forgot to take a picture, but after our lesson, we headed over to the election headquarters for our alderman Mike Wiza, and we were present when they called the vote, making Mike our new Stevens Point mayor! Congratulations, Mike. :)Brian and I spent the week in the Valley, while he was at a training for work. It was pretty cool for me- since most of my work is portable, I can work from anywhere. I was able to catch up on some photo work, make all the games for Amy’s upcoming bridal shower, and shoot a gorgeous pastry (with the cutest edible orchid!) from SAP Brunch in Appleton.On our last morning at the hotel, we went out for breakfast at this fabulous cafe- Molly’s. They had sweet potato hash browns! Made. My. Day. I loved the treadmill at the hotel, so I headed back to our room, changed, and logged a few miles in the hotel gym. After a quick shower, we packed up and headed down to Chicago to celebrate my great aunt Eileen’s 75th anniversary of being an active member of the ancient order of Hibernians. It was a beautiful party where I got to see a lot of my family, including my brother and his family. Happy National Sibling Day! We caught up with everyone and danced until we dropped! It’s fun to visit my Hoffman side, because I’m the short one among those cousins, and I’m 5’8″! :)

We spent the night at my aunt Maureen’s house and took care of Percy. I think she was upset that she wasn’t invited to the party. She wouldn’t smile for me! :) We left very early on Saturday morning to head up to Wausau for Amy’s bridal shower! My car celebrated a little palindrome milestone of her own somewhere in northern Illinois…We stopped at home for a whirlwind half hour- showered, changed, styled my hair, brewed some iced tea, boxed up the shortbreads, made simple syrup, then packed it all up in a cooler and took it to the Hirn home for Amy’s bridal shower. Becky, Brooke, and I planned this adorable tea-themed shower, and it turned out beautifully!    

                    

  Congratulations, best friend! I’m so happy for you and thrilled to be your matron of honor. ❤️ 

Miles this year: 221.45

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How did I get into conservation and fly fishing, anyway?

It’s a pretty simple story, and a perfect example of the butterfly effect. A couple years after I graduated from college, our photography business was growing and we were making a name for ourselves in our small college town. I was very close with my professors in our department as a student, and our department chair’s husband is an active Trout Unlimited (TU) volunteer. He knew of our photography, so he contacted me and asked if we could meet for coffee- he had a request for me.

To be honest, I kind of put it off. I didn’t know what TU was, and I was busy! Thankfully, he was persistent, and we eventually met at my favorite local coffee shop. He talked to me a little bit about what Trout Unlimited does in conservation, and asked me if I’d be willing to donate my time and take before, during, and after photos of their local stream restoration projects. 

Of course, I thought this was really interesting. I didn’t fish, and I didn’t spend much time in small streams. As a sea kayaker, I’ve spent lots of time on the water in a very non-intrusive way, but this was something totally new. I immediately agreed to help them out, and before I knew it, I was out on their streams with my camera. 

 

  

  

I brought the photos to their board, and asked them what their plans were for these images. I thought they were very powerful, and wanted to see how big their reach is. As it turns out, they had an outdated and not-maintained website, so I offered to build them a new one and run it. Shortly after, they created a position for me on their board, and I started learning more about what Trout Unlimited does in our community.

On those stream outings, the guys were always picking up rocks to look for bugs. They talked to me about the bugs that trout eat, and what different bugs indicate about the ecosystem below the water surface. In fly fishing, the “bait” is called flies. Some of the guys tie their own flies, out of special feathers, thread, and various materials. Some of the guys had flies with them, so they showed me which bugs the flies are supposed to imitate. I used to make a lot of jewelry, and I’m a crafty person, so I was quickly interested in fly tying, and went to several TU-hosted workshops.

  

In the winter, my chapter gets together to build lunker structures that we install when the weather is warmer. They even let me help! I kind of think of building lunker structures as Habitat for Humanity for trout. The structures go into a stream bank (or we create a new one) and give the fish a place to hide and safe places to hang out.  I have met some awesome people through my work with TU. Our university has an incredibly intelligent and approachable hydrologist, who worked diligently with me to help me understand groundwater in a more accurate way. It’s a pretty complicated system! The university even sent me out with them when they tested water flow on some of our local streams, and explained to me the different variables that make a difference in the health of a stream. That led to me being invited along with the DNR on some of their fish shocking outings. Fish shocking is the casual way to refer to their fish survey techniques. They basically put an electrified probe in the water, and the current causes a little muscle spasm on the side of the fish that is the closest to the probe. It causes them to swim toward the probe, and the fisheries guys net them up, measure them, then let them go.  

  

  

  

 They’re so efficient- the fish are hardly out of the water, and they seem to be totally unharmed. It’s not like a tazer kind of shock! Being such a soft-hearted girl, I was worried about hurting the fish, but they reassured me that the fish continue on their merry way. These surveys help the DNR learn the diversity of fish in a stream, the age of the fish, and the health of the stream… if there aren’t any young fish present, it probably means that the fish can’t naturally reproduce in that section of stream. It’s so interesting, and I got to see some of the prettiest (and tiniest!) fish in some of my home water. 

I learned more about the threats to water in my area, and in the Central Sands area of Wisconsin, where I live, high-capacity well pumping is the problem. Well, specifically, over-pumping. A lack of DNR’s ability to effectively judge cumulative impact in the past has caused major problems. I became active with the Central Sands Water Action Coalition and met many folks from river and lake associations who are watching their streams and lakes dry up, quite literally. 

 I’ve found it a good challenge to raise awareness of groundwater problems since we can’t see the problem until it’s too late, and it manifests itself on our surface water, or in dried up streams like in the photo above.

After a couple years of volunteering, my local TU chapter gave me a fly rod and reel at their banquet, as a gift for helping to bring them more up to date with media. Here’s a very cute picture of me holding the rod awkwardly after the presentation, because I’d never held one before!  

They also gave me a scholarship to their Fly Fishing School, so I could learn how to use it. I waited anxiously for a few months until the school, then I learned about casting, the gear for fly fishing, the knots we use, some of the bugs, and how to read a stream. 

  

  

Those TU guys in my chapter really know their stuff! Most of them have been playing in the water since before I was born, and they were surprisingly eager to share their knowledge and passion for fly fishing with me. We went fishing after the school, and I caught my first trout, a beautiful little brookie.

 

The hot pink spots just blew my mind. I didn’t touch her, I was afraid I was going to hurt her! That’s when I knew that I wanted to spend my time helping to protect these gorgeous creatures and the bigger environment that they represent. Our beautiful “canary in the coal mine,” if you will… 

TU isn’t necessarily a fishing organization, but there is a strong connection between trout and stream health. Trout are a very delicate fish, and they can’t survive in warm water. When the water becomes warmer for a variety of reasons (erosion, less cold water coming in, warming air temperatures, etc…) trout cannot thrive. Our only native local fish, the brook trout, is the most sensitive of all trout. A perfect example of this is on the Tomorrow River in Amherst. It’s about a 15 minute drive East of my house, in a tiny little town. In Amherst, there is a dam on the river, and a big mill pond above the dam. On the river upstream of the dam and the pond, brook trout are living happily and healthily in nice, clean, cold water. When the river widens for the pond, it is stagnant, and wide, and shallow, and the water warms up several degrees. There is also poisonous blue-green algae thriving in the pond. Don’t kayak in there! Below the dam, there are no brook trout. The water is too warm for them to survive! The pond has totally changed the ecosystem of that stream, and fish are no longer able to swim up and down that river naturally. It’s a manmade problem. :( Fly anglers, due to the nature of the sport, often spend time in their waders (waterproof pants), standing in the water. They go back to the same places again and again, and can see changes over time. That’s why there are so many fly anglers concerned about the health of our streams! 

So, I learned what TU does, and I learned to fly fish, and I learned more about the environment and cold water conservation, then I learned the key players in water in our area. The Wisconsin State Council of TU asked me if I would be willing to help them get more women involved in TU and get more of our current female members engaged at the state level. I jumped at that chance, and I became the first women’s initiative chair on the state council. I started learning more about the challenges to water in our state, rather than just my region, and I started connecting with lots more like-minded women. One of the big challenges to healthy water in our state was the Penokee Hills and the impending Gogebic Taconite mine. Our Wisconsin NLC rep (leadership within national TU), Bill Heart, took me up on a tour of the proposed mine site, took me through the Native American camp on the land, and showed me first-hand the beauty of that area.  After a couple years of being the Wisconsin Women’s Initiative chair, I found myself working as a contractor for national TU, continuing to further the women’s initiative- getting women involved, engaged, and helping to encourage and lift women up into leadership. Those of you who have known me for a while know that I’m a big advocate for empowering women and diversifying leadership in our country. I grew up with an incredibly awesome and strong single mother, and I’m a girl from the “Girl Power” generation. 

I’ve even gotten a couple photography gigs from the folks that I’ve met through TU. A couple guide companies and a few articles, and I’ve gotten to travel and hang out with some very cool people.

   

             I have gotten more and more involved with politics, as well. I didn’t realize, until spending time volunteering for TU, that there are a lot of politics in conservation! I wanted my opinions known, so I’ve taken advocacy trainings from the River Alliance and befriended folks at the Wisconsin League of Conservation voters, and I’m working to make sure that my legislators know that I’m here, and I’m speaking for the fish. It’s not just the fish, though… healthy, cold water for the fish means healthy, cold water for us. For our kids. For our drinking water. The water is all the same, and someone needs to look out for it. :D

So… that’s my story. How a girly-girl turned into a serious conservationist, fly angler, and educated advocate for water. My involvement with Trout Unlimited has changed my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! :)

Thanks for reading and following me on my adventures!

Miles this year: 217.45

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20 miles + sole sisters + adventures in canvassing

I can’t get enough of my little mountain. Rib Mountain is still a challenge! We park at the bottom, then run up, around some trails, and back down. Thanks for the miles, Carmel!  

 It was the first run with bare shoulders of the year. Liberation!

When I got home, I took a peek at the bottoms of my shoes, and even though I’m not at my typical 500 mile retirement, it is time. Shoes don’t wear themselves down. My sidepiece tattoo reads, “Turn dreams into reality,” and that’s what I’m doing. It’s intentional, not accidental. I had two new pairs of shoes waiting for me, just itching for the right moment to make their debut.Someone else in our home got some new duds… Abbie is a lucky girl- she got all new bling and a new collar. She lost all the tags she had when the ring stretched out, so I ran by the vet to get a new rabies tag, and the courthouse to get a new license tag, and I ordered her a new ID tag. For the record, we ordered from Boomerang Tags, and they’re awesome! Lots of choices, great prices, and fast, free shipping. I tried out my new shoes with these three runners…  

  We had a great hilly trail run together!For my twenty miler, these girls teamed up to run with me. Lydia took the first ten miles, and Carmel took the second ten. Lydia and I ran through town, and through the reserve, and looped over toward Sentry. We ran up their big ramp… …until their security guard came out and asked us to walk instead, for our safety. I’d never run up there, so it was funny that we got in trouble right away!

We stopped home after seven miles for fuel, water, to warm up, and to put on some gloves. It was SO cold and windy that our hands kind of froze into claw hands. We struggled to unwrap the Starburst at home! Ridiculous. The gloves helped, and we finished off the first half. Carmel was waiting for us, and they had a ceremonial changing of the guard. :) I looked pretty curly good for halfway!  Carmel and I looped through a different part of the reserve……and it was every bit as cold as it looks! I love these boardwalks, though :)It was a great run, even though it was cold. It kind of felt like I never really warmed up and found my groove, but my girls kept me going by talking nonstop through the run. It is so much easier to run with the support of my sole sisters! 

As soon as I got home, I chugged a glass of water, grabbed my keys, and went to Starbucks for coffee. Next stop? Belts. Of course. Gosh, I so love sprinkles.

I ate my ice cream in a mustard bath, then grabbed my laptop and materials out of my office. The only thing that could make my day better than working from the couch with a cozy blanket was a visit from my best friend, Amy. I ordered her wedding invitations, and they’d come in. She drove down to pick them up, and surprised me with a cupcake! Doesn’t this just make your day?It sure made mine. Love you, girl!

So, that long run and visit was my Friday, and I spent Saturday canvassing for my friend, Mary. She ran for alderman in district 7, and I’m proud to announce that she won! It was the first time I’d ever knocked on doors for someone in an election. I was totally surprised at how many people don’t vote, don’t want to vote, don’t care about politics on any level, and, perhaps most surprising, how many people have no shame in telling me such. Luckily, most of the people we spoke with were interested in what is going on and were very receptive to Mary’s ideas. Well, I suppose that’s obvious since she’s the new alderman! :)  

Way to go, Mary!! 

Up next? Easter, and a week on the road. Thanks for sticking with me on my adventures!

Miles this year: 208.45

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18 miles + meetings in Minneapolis

As the weather warms up, each run feels a little different. I’m finally shedding my extra layers and running without feeling weighed down. Carmel and I have been having a grand old time running the mountain.  I also hosted an essential oil class with my mother-in-love. I swear by essential oils for multiple things, including helping me sleep. :) After my class, I was feeling pretty tired, and I had my eighteen miler the next day, but The Lowest Pair was playing downtown at Guu’s. I first heard them when they opened for Trampled By Turtles in Green Bay last year, and I think they’re fabulous! I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to hear them in my backyard, so I went over there.

I’m having a little bit of a crisis of work intention, but I’ll go into that more in my next post or two, so going to a concert alone was certainly an interesting experience.

The next morning, I woke up with a stomachache and generally feeling crabby. I didn’t want to run, so I put it off, and put it off some more. I did some work, and cleaned the house, and finally, I convinced myself to bite the bullet. Since it was in the 20s, I headed into the gym for my run. Luckily, my crabby mood lifted about mile 9. I ate some Starbursts and drank my Nuun, and watched some The Boss on Netflix.

Now, for a bit of honesty. :) 

You would think that having dozens of double digit mile runs under my belt, that I would remember the basics. One of the most important rules to follow is that you shouldn’t try out new clothes because they can chafe you, or ride up, or restrict your breathing… ain’t nobody got time for that. Since I was in such a funk when I was getting ready, I must not have been thinking straight, but I picked out a super cute tank top that I’d never run in before. I’d worn it for yoga and strength training, but not running. In any event, about ten miles into a sweaty treadmill run, my arms were chafing so badly that I ended up running and swinging my arms away from my body for the final eight miles. That shirt also just soaked up all my sweat. Gross AND annoying. Alas, I have no idea what the f I was thinking lesson learned. 

As soon as I left the gym, I went straight to our local soft serve place, Belts, and ate my recovery lunch while sitting in a mustard bath.  I recovered with laundry and packing for my weekend- the Trout Unlimited Upper Midwest Regional meeting. I was so excited to see my Wisconsin TU guys, my Illinois TU friends (hi, Myra!), and, of course, the staff. Dont worry, I made sure to grab some Spotted Cow to share with the guys.

Brian had Friday off, so he helped me finish packing and loaded my car for me. Before I knew it, I was on the road. A couple hours into my drive, I looked in the backseat and realized I didn’t see my garment bag hanging there. I called Brian, who informed me that we’d forgotten to put it in the car, and it was still hanging on our bedroom door frame. I ended up making up for it by buying new meeting clothes (thanks for no sales tax on clothes, Minnesota!), and my WITU friends and I headed over to our friends’ house for a cookout.

 Thanks for hosting this rowdy bunch, Criqui family!

I enjoyed the meeting, especially learning about the plans that TU has for helping us protect and restore our beloved Great Lakes. I represented Wisconsin well by attending the “Women In TU” presentation… 

  And we got to catch up over dinner. Go Badgers! Linn and Mike, from WITU, worked with my friend, Kyle (remember Kyle, from Oregon?), to put on a presentation…

  

   …our CEO gave a talk of his own…

   

   

…and Matt (from TU AND the River Alliance) and Linn gave a presentation about advocacy.

   

 

 I took Kyle to the Mall of America to walk around for a bit, and I dropped him off at the airport on the way to visit the Weisses.  I got to meet baby Lexi!!  The Weisses are fabulous parents, and I just love watching my friends grow into their new role. Thanks for letting me spend the night and cuddle with your babe! I was on the road early on Monday, and headed home. I love seeing that “Welcome to Wisconsin” sign.

Thanks for reading!

Miles this year: 188.45

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