Leah and Eric, Fox Cities Half race recap, and our birthday party!

We had one heck of a weekend over here šŸ™‚
I started my Friday morning by using up the last of the coffee I bought at Seattle’s Pike Place Market Starbucks. Delicious! I guess I better start planning my trip back!

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I did some photo work and prepped for the busy weekend, then headed out for a quick 4 miler before Brian came home. I ran along the river, which was chilly but beautiful. Check out that algae!

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My cousin, Ryan, from Chicago, called me on Friday afternoon to let me know he was on his way up to Wausau for a wedding. It was an awesome surprise! We drove up there to pick him up and take him to dinner.

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After I asked him a million questions about the wedding, I realized that he was attending the wedding that we were shooting the next day- the lovely Leah Tucker and Eric Taylor.

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We did those engagement portraits up at Rib Mountain State Park last fall, and we captured their wedding at St. Florian’s in Hatley, WI. Here’s a photo recap of their beautiful wedding day.

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…and quite possibly my favorite, which was inspired by the way I saw the sunlight making the corn glow…

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We were finished after those photos, so we headed home to pack up and prepare for Sunday’s Fox Cities Half Marathon. We took our pups and my gear out to New London to stay at my mother-in-law’s home. We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Appleton, and since it was our birthdays, they had us put on these huge hats, stand on a chair, and dance while the waitstaff sang- then they gave us some dessert and had us close our eyes while they put whipped cream on our chins. It was quite the spectacle, and a big surprise. šŸ™‚ I didn’t know to have the camera ready for that, but I did get this photo, with our server. šŸ™‚

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We took our full bellies back to my MIL’s, and we crashed hard. Sunday’s race morning alarm went off early at 4:45, and it was a balmy 34 degrees. This is appropriate race gear…

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Just kidding. That my top layer for pre-race. šŸ™‚ My DO sister, Ashley, ran this half marathon, too- and her boyfriend, Eric, our other sister, Mary, and of course, my best race supporter, Brian, were all there.

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Sisters. šŸ™‚ I feel like a giant.
The race was chilly, but I got used to the temperature and found a nice little groove. Running for Rachael has been interesting this year- from heat advisories to freeze warnings!

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I was running the first couple miles and talking to Ashley, until I suggested she go right ahead without me since she’s faster! šŸ™‚ For the first time, I didn’t have a plan for the race. I usually have everything planned, from my socks to my pre-race breakfast to my pace. This time, I wore my winter gear for the first time this season, forgot breakfast and ate a pumpkin scone from Starbucks, and began to think I should have prepared to run a PR in this race, instead of taking things so casually. Since my marathons this spring were slow (and painful!), I began to wonder if my days of running faster were over. Of course, I’m processing this during miles 3 and 4… And I am well aware that my upcoming Clam Chowdah Challenge race times are not going to be PRs. I thought, well… I might as well make this race a PR, then. Mile five was a perfect time to run across (pun intended!) Mary, running as a angel for Team Triumph. How inspiring! Way to go, sole sister.

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I started trying to do some math in my head. In order to beat my last PR (2:03:30), how fast did I need to go for the remaining miles? Could I walk through those water stations? I needed the Gatorade- I didn’t pack any fuel. Hmmm… I kept cruising along. Our friends were waiting at mile 7, with smiles and encouragement.

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I felt really good during this race. Miles 7-12 were great, I prayed a little for Rachael and TK, and I made a grocery list in my head. Casual, no? šŸ™‚ Kimmy was out there somewhere- she text me encouragement, then I passed her around mile 12. I was starting to feel out of energy. I should have grabbed one of those bananas… Thanks for that last cheer, Kim- I needed it! Ashley finished a few minutes ahead of me with a PR of 1:50 something. Insert Paul Ryan marathon time joke here.

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I spent the last mile reminiscing of finishing my first full marathon on that course, and pulled it in with a PR of 2:01:44.

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Special thanks to my massage guy- he fixed me up good so I could continue on with my busy day.

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Congratulations, Ashley! We rocked it out.

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Oh, happy day. I held this little card (and my blankie!) tight as I slept on the way home.

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As soon as I got home, showered, and got dressed, we turned to full-on party mode. I got the cider and mulling spices simmering on the stove, the chicken pot pie filling warming in the crock pot, and started getting snacks plated. Sunday was Brian’s actual birthday, so we had some friends over to celebrate.

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I made us a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting from scratch, and it was delicious!

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Brace yourself for this hilarious preview of what Brian and I will look like with kids…

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Thanks for celebrating with us, friends! You’re all wonderful and we’re blessed to have you in our lives! The fifth annual Oberstadt birthday party was a success. I had to leave our own party at 5 to go teach ballroom lessons- more tango and waltz. The real challenge is trying to simultaneously wear compression socks and ballroom shoes. Classy.
I’m back to work, returning emails and editing photos before meeting a bride in Wausau tonight and shooting some fall engagements up in Tomahawk tonight. It will be a busy week! šŸ™‚

Miles this year: 513.35

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