Tag Archives: long run

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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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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WITU State Council Banquet + a fabulous loaf of bread

My very first volunteer opportunity for Trout Unlimited was helping to sell tickets for the raffles at our state council banquet. That was five years ago, and now I’m in charge of the raffle ticket sales. Times have changed! 

This year, while we started the day in a meeting, our council hosted the first WITU-sponsored women’s fly fishing seminar ever here in Wisconsin. We had some incredible women instructors come and teach our attendees about the sport that we love, protecting the resource, and connecting with the outdoors in a truly meaningful way. 



Here’s a couple of my favorite photos from this year- the awesome members who keep me coming back, our strong leaders who fight for the resource, the award winners, and all sorts of stuff. 🙂



This event was held in Oshkosh, and my best friends Amy and Nikki came out to help me sell tickets. We spent the night relaxing in the hot tub and drinking wine. It is a strange “girls’ night” but we love it. ❤

I returned home and prepared for our chapter’s fly tying night out at Clancey’s. We had great turnout, and a lot of fun! I invented a new pattern for the “Oberstadt sparkle dry fly” and I will let you know how it works ASAP. 🙂



We were in the middle of a cold spell, so I had to do the majority of my running indoors. When I had a 12 miler on the schedule, the high temperature didn’t get above zero. That meant I got used to this view:



I actually don’t mind running inside as much as you’d think- I can keep a water bottle and fuel (Starbursts, FTW) right nearby, and a sweat towel, of course. 🙂

Lucky me, I was busy carb loading with the subject of this week’s photo shoot- a loaf of Le Fruit, another Main Grain creation.

My view?



The finished product?



I lead a charmed life.

Up next? Our awesome Valentine’s weekend., including Jason Isbell in Chicago and my mom’s wedding!

Miles this year: 106

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Chicago Marathon 2014: a race recap

Are you ready to share in my crazy adventure?
We made it to my aunt Maureen’s beautiful Chicago home at 3:00 in the morning, and tried to go to sleep. I did end up getting about three hours of sleep, then I had to get up and get ready to run.
I set out my bib ahead of time, and at Robert’s suggestion, put my name on it.

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That was awesome. It resulted in hundreds of strangers cheering for me by name.
I was proud that I’d kept everything organized, so race morning was a breeze. It took me about fifteen minutes to get dressed, and we headed out, with a quick stop at Starbucks for a hot cup of coffee. I drank that, and fueled with one of my favorite treats- Rice Krispie treats made with chex instead. Extra bonus if there is sprinkles… And since I made these, they were covered in rainbow sprinkle magic.

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We’d anticipated some traffic, but tried to make a plan for a good spot for Brian to drop me off. I was chilly, so I wanted to stay in the warm car as long as possible. As we neared the place to drop me off, the map looked a little disheartening.

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After waiting in the car as long as I felt comfortable (I didn’t want to miss the start!), I got out and started walking. It was a little confusing, as runners were literally walking every direction. Normally, I can just follow everyone else. I relied on my GPS, and eventually I found these angels!

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They directed me through to security, where I was scanned with the magic wand.

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I started out near this guy, who was the pacer for the 4:30 group, and he was running his 100th marathon! How cool. 🙂 Way to go, Jerry!

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Brian wins the award for most awesome support team at every race, but he came to my rescue this morning by picking up an emergency blanket for me to use to keep warm while waiting for the race to start, and surprising me with it when I got out of the car!

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While I waited for the race to start, with a few thousand of my closest friends, this was the view in front…

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…and behind me.

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I met this super cute girl who was running her first marathon. How cool! I did my best to encourage her, and I offered to share my emergency stash of Skittles, if she needed them.

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After about a half hour, I finally crossed the start line!

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I tried to take pictures as often as I could, but to be totally honest, I was just enjoying the course! I loved running along the Magnificent Mile. When I was growing up, I watched Oprah religiously, and that’s the only reason I knew what the Magnificent Mile was. 🙂 As I ran, I cried a lot… almost every time someone called my name! Putting my name on my bib was a great idea. I high fived a ton of spectators, and thanked every volunteer and policeman.
Wrigleyville was awesome- I’ve run through that neighborhood frequently- almost every time I visit my Chicago family.
Before I knew it, I found myself in Boystown.

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Brian popped up to cheer me on, and caught me mid-stride! I was SO excited to see him. ❤

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I can’t remember where these Taiko drummers were…

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I loved all the music in the different neighborhoods.
I made it to the halfway point, still wearing my signature smile!

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In most of the half and full marathons that I’ve run, there is one guy who runs the whole thing carrying a full size American flag. This race was no exception!

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I stuck with that guy for a while, as the crowds were all chanting, “USA! USA!”
Somewhere around mile 20, we went through Pilsen, a big Latino community. The crowds were huge, and there was a lot of fun music playing. I danced my way through that neighborhood!

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About this time, I noticed my right arm was stinging pretty terribly. I thought I’d managed to cover my entire body in Body Glide to prevent chafing, but I’d forgotten the inside of my right arm, by my tricep. After, oh… 40,000 steps, and 40,000 times that I’d rubbed my arm in the seam of my shirt, my arm was screaming for help. Luckily, just in time for the festivities of Chinatown (and keeping with the red is lucky theme)…

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DOCTORS! I ran up to them, and said, “I need help.” They were so awesome. I was still smiling, so they knew I wasn’t seriously hurt, but I couldn’t see the bottom of my arm and they were the ones with the magical Vasoline, so they helped me and rubbed it on my arm. Good as new! Thanks, guys. 🙂 They were a lifesaver!
There were a few corners with cameras and big screens, so we could see ourselves coming around the corner.

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Once I got closer to the finish and entered the Prairie District, I started crying all over again.

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I started my princess wave to the crowd about a mile from the finish, and Brian had snuck his way into the spectator crowd around mile 26!

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If you look closely, you can see me, in my orange skirt, just to the left of that sign, waving! 🙂

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The security was really ramped up after the bombings in Boston, so general spectators weren’t allowed at the start and finish lines. We had spectators until about 26.1, though, which is where I stopped for my final race selfie… 🙂

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…before running the through the finish chute.

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I cried. A lot. Of course!
A few yards past the finish, our first stop was these kind people who gave me my medal.

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They were so sweet, and they offered to take my picture!

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Next stop? Bananarama.

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Mountains of bananas, with a castle of banana boxes built behind the tables. I can’t even imagine how many bananas they brought in!
Third (and most important) stop: beer.

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I had been crying for quite some time, so she gave me two beers. I told her that I wasn’t hurt, I was happy… but she insisted I take two, anyway. 🙂
I hobbled over to the finish area, and I had planned to make my way directly to the massage tent. Big races often have a massage tent with massage students, and it is like a little slice of very painful heaven. I was sort of surprised at how far we had to talk after the finish line to see our families, and the icing on top of the cake was the SET OF STAIRS that we had to walk down. It was only about 8 steps, but we all stared at each other as if this was some kind of cruel mirage. I didn’t take a picture, I was too busy holding my beer, banana, and trying not to topple over while waddling down. I went straight to the massage tent, and waited in line for a few minutes, when Brian found me! He surprised me with roses, and I was so excited. 🙂 I gave him my beer while I spent fifteen minutes being stretched and massaged. I walked out of that tent a new woman!

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We walked a few blocks to the L…

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…those stairs. Ouch.

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Brian, in his infinite wisdom, parked right by an L stop in Wrigleyville, and next to a Starbucks. 🙂 Cold runner + hot coffee = VERY HAPPY HEIDI!

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When we got back to Maureen’s house, I took the most amazing hot shower, changed into cozy clothes, and enjoyed some serious Chicago pizza with my cousins. Oh… and champagne. Lots of champagne.

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It was an incredible race. I’ve never smiled so much during a marathon! 🙂
One of the things that made this race experience unique for me was the spectators. At most races, there are normal spectators, who half-heartedly clap while very busily looking for their friend/spouse/child who is running. Here, in Chicago, the spectators were people who live here. People who came out to cheer just because they can. 🙂 The neighborhoods all seemed to have their own identifying flair and they welcomed us all with open arms! Of course, individual runners had their own little cheering squads, and since there were so many countries represented along the athletes, the spectators were speaking and holding signs in different languages!
I ended up placing 27,563rd, coming in at 4:54:49. It was definitely not my fastest, but my happiest race, and running without headphones was a great challenge.
Thank you all so much for supporting me and cheering for me from afar!

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Miles this year: 507.1

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Happy birthday to me!

I celebrated my 29th birthday with a 20 miler. It was tough but I made it through 🙂

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Long runs build character, as well as strengthen my body. I took four five mile loops, and fueled at home in between. The fall colors were starting to show, and I took some beautiful loops on the Green Circle. I was even stuck behind a train at mile 18!

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I finished along the Wisconsin River by my house, and relaxed in compression socks for a while 🙂

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My mom and Bill invited us up for pizza at Sam’s, the place where I had my first waitressing job. 🙂
I celebrated my birthday and long run with some thin crust deliciousness and a frosty mug of beer. Pretty awesome. Afterwards, we went to the campground where they’ll be having their wedding reception.

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We returned home, and I tried to take a selfie with my curly-haired Grammie, but she was being camera shy. Too cute.

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I had Friday to recover from my fun birthday, and we headed over to Waupaca on Saturday to capture the wedding of Mary and Scott. These two are so cute together, and they had lots of personalized details- especially featuring their shared love for Scott’s Cadillac. They had their reception at the historic Gerold Opera House, and it was a beautiful and unique setting! All the lush red velvet and well-danced wooden floors…
Take a peek!

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Congratulations, friends!
I took Abbie out for lots of miles the next week to burn off that delicious wedding cake, and I wore her out… She loves her new bed!

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Brian was gone the following week at an AFL-CIO conference, so I filled my time with friends.
I ran with Sarah…

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Met Stacey for coffee…

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And hooked up with my cutie patootie BFF Nikki for dinner.

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Too much fun in one week, if you ask me. 🙂
Next up? Engagements with my friend Staush and his beautiful fiancée, Colleen, dinner with the Phares’, and a whirlwind weekend with a trip to the apple orchard. Thanks for reading, friends!

Miles this year: 464.5

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Labor Day weekend pt 2…

As soon as we wrapped up Casi and Eric’s wedding, I headed to bed so I could get up early for the Just Run 1/2 marathon and the Riverfront Jazz Festival.
I ran over to the start line, and found Jenilee and George!

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This is a great hometown race, with a half marathon and a 5K. It was a very hot and humid day- it was between 97-98% humidity. The race started nice and easily, on the bridge right above the dam. I found Ray, manning the 3 mile water station with the Boy Scouts.

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It is a beautiful course, and this year, they switched it up with a little stretch through the Sculpture Park on the Green Circle.

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One of my favorite things about running is meeting new people. The running community is so welcoming and friendly!

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I crossed the finish line one sweaty woman, received my medal, and ran home, with 15 miles for the day.

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I took a shower, packed a lunch, and we headed over to the Riverfront Jazz Festival. I spent a lot of time at the Jazz Festival, both on Saturday and Sunday. Once again, I was shooting for those guys, but I also got to hang out with my college friends and people that I love from the community!

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My college friend, Matt, brought his sextet up from Illinois to play. In fact, his group, Old Style Sextet, just won second place at a competition in China, and are bringing home $20,000! Congratulations, Matt 🙂

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Brian and I spent some time dancing, and after a couple swing songs, we headed back to our spot to sit down. A lady I didn’t know chased after me and said that there were friends of mine in the water that wanted to say, “Hi!” Lo and behold…

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My Wausau kayaking crew! 🙂 in a fun twist, I have danced with or learned to dance from many of these people. Missy and Jeff were my first ballroom dance instructors! Seeing them was a great surprise.

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We crashed pretty hard on Sunday night, after chowing down some Bucky Badger jello jigglers! Way awesome.

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Up next? Meeting Baby Lily Nowinski. ❤

Miles this year: 458.7

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