Tag Archives: races

As 2019 comes to a close…

…I’m overwhelmed with self reflection.

At first, I thought to myself, “Oh my God, I barely survived this year. I just scraped by.”

I saw a meme on Facebook that said something along the lines of, “now is the time of year when everyone recaps their amazing year. If all you did was survive, that’s worth celebrating, too.” I totally agree, and I felt that someone had written that post just for me: the broken, uncomfortable, sad, and anxious woman that I have become over the past couple years.

That thought was interrupted by a video montage of posts from 2019, reminding me that we did a lot of traveling, too- Colorado, then Florida, then Colorado again, then California, then Colorado AGAIN, twice!

Traveling with Teddy is fun but crazy, especially when I’m traveling by myself.

Maybe I did more than just survive?

We made it through Teddy’s FPIES diagnosis, found him some specialists, and carefully discovered what food he could eat.

I resigned from my city council position and haven’t regretted it.

I sang the National Anthem at the D3 NCAA Hockey Championship and our family cheered the Pointers on to victory.

At this time last year, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been, and my grief felt awfully heavy, too. I lost 40 pounds this year, and through therapy and EMDR, I have more good days than bad. I’m so thankful that I’ve been making a return to running. I ran several 5K and 5 mile races, and even a half marathon- my first real postpartum distance race!

I was able to relaunch my business, heidi oberstadt media, and took on new clients and some fun new projects.

We took roses to the tenants in NaNa’s (Norma’s) building to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

I threw a beautiful first birthday party for Teddy and spent the day celebrating him. I’m so thankful that he’s here and that he’s mine.

Teddy started daycare, which was a big change for all of us, and I went back to work at the University of Wisconsin: Stevens Point, where my students called me “Professor Oberstadt” for the first time. It’s still kind of weird.

We moved into our new home, our Bukolt Estate, which is the first two story home I’ve lived in, and is just perfect for Teddy and Abbie to run around.

The interior is almost finished and I often can’t believe that this beautiful home is mine. Brian has done an incredible job.

In general, I feel like I’m just now starting to pick up the pieces. After my mom died, and worsening after Teddy’s arrival, I felt so overwhelmed by even the simplest tasks. Emails and text messages went unanswered for weeks. I forgot EVERYTHING, and I stayed in this limbo, struggling to get out, for a long time. In many ways, I am just now cleaning up the mental, physical, and emotional disaster that I was living in. It feels really good to start getting caught up on everything, and I’m so thankful that my friends/family/clients are so incredibly understanding and supportive of me on this journey.

I still have really bad days, but they are coming less and less frequently. I still cry Teddy to sleep sometimes as I rock him in my mom’s rocking chair.

I have so many hopes for 2020- if I can just keep going, and keep improving, then I’ll be in a really good place at the end of the year once again.

There is so much to be proud of and so much to be thankful for. I’m looking forward to sharing more of it with you. โค๏ธ

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Coming home: Wisconsin Summer

I love coming home from a trip- I am so thankful for my husband, and my home, and my own bed… and of course, my little pup.

With that said, I apologize for the next few posts, as they’re a little behind schedule. ๐Ÿ™‚

My first morning home, I had lots of work to catch up on, including errands. I hooked Abbie up, laced up my running shoes, and ran to the post office and the bank. I even ran through the “drive through” at the bank, since I can’t take Abbie inside, and when the tube came back through the little vacuum thing, there was a biscuit inside!

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She sure earned it, as she did a great job as District 4 Alderdog and welcomed everyone we saw on the run. Thanks, Chase!

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This is random, but we picked up some sweet corn, and I just LOVED this middle cob. Why have straight lines, when you can be crazy? ๐Ÿ™‚

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I was able to squeeze in an engagement photo shoot with Brigitta and Stryder. They’re such a neat couple, and we were so excited to work with them!

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We had gorgeous weather, and we went for a little walk on the Green Circle. Lovely!

It is so hard going on vacation during the middle of wedding season, and I have so much to try and catch up on. This year was even crazier, as I am also staying very active as a new alderwoman, and trying to learn as much as I can from everyone around me. This brings me to Bob. Meet Bob!

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Bob runs Poky Pedaling, a totally free group of organized bicycle rides around our community. He’s an active advocate for pedestrian and bicycle safety, so I had my meeting with him on our bikes, and we rode around the city. Thanks for sharing your thoughts during our “mobile meeting,” Bob!

I made it home in time to help stack some wood near our shed, and I amazed at this piece that I found…

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Bark beetles do some beautiful work. Art by bugs. They must have been incredibly busy before the bark fell off, revealing this masterpiece. ๐Ÿ™‚

We worked up quite an appetite working in the yard, and we were more than happy to have dinner with Brian’s family, at Dale and Sheri’s house.

Fish fry, jalepeno poppers, french fries… yes, we’re spoiled.

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It was really awesome. I sure love these people!

We got home late Friday night, and I was exhausted, but I climbed out of the covers just early enough to run the Violet Thompson 5K, a fundraiser for a very special little girl in town. I had no idea if I’d know anyone there, but sure enough, I found George and Marc around mile 1.5. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Great run, boys. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll leave you all with a few photos from paddling out on the chain. I just can’t get enough of my SUP and Marl Lake.

I made us SUP hatch-friendly blackberry mojitos. I muddled the rum and mint and berries before we left, and the rest is a delicious memory. We know how to spend a day on the water. ๐Ÿ™‚

So many more shoots to share with you- it will be an engagement and wedding explosion here for a while!

As always, thanks for reading, friends!

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My Favorite Holiday Weekend

I love kicking off my favorite holiday weekend with the Heart and Sole Race, in Pittsville, WI. It’s always on July 3rd, so sometimes it’s crazy hot! It’s an evening race, which sometimes helps, but it’s a fabulous five mile race that raises money for their little local fire department. What a great cause!

There are a couple things that I can count on in this race, and this Blues Brothers guy is one of them!

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This course is an out-and-back with four water stations, and they’re all needed since it’s usually so warm. I stop every time! I run this race with my friend, George, and we chat almost the whole time. We both see runners that we know from other races, so it’s nice to wave at our friends when we run by! That’s one of my favorite parts about out-and-back courses… I get a chance to see everyone who hit the turnaround before I did on their way back, and then I get to cheer on everyone behind me once I turn around! ๐Ÿ™‚

The finish line for this race is just adorable. So festive!

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I obviously took that photo before the race- when we came through the chute, there were lots of other people with us! I really love small town races. ๐Ÿ™‚

I enjoyed some incredible watermelon post race…

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…and granola. Oh, gosh, the granola.

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It’s homemade, and I have dreams about it the rest of the year. It’s sooo delicious, and I love munching on that once I finish the race! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Many thanks to this lady, who obviously is responsible for cooking pans and pans and pans of the good stuff!

George and I came in at a strong 47:24, and refueled with cold beer. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I came home, soaked in a tub, and hung out with Brian on our newly finished back deck. We live close enough to Riverfront Rendezvous that we could hear Here Come The Mummies as they played, and I relaxed with a glass of lemonade and enjoyed them from the comfort of my own home. ๐Ÿ™‚

On Saturday morning, we prepped for a cookout later, and I got ready for our Stevens Point Fourth of July parade. I love parades, and the Fourth of July, and everything patriotic. This is my favorite day!

The common council and the mayor all got together and walked in the parade. It was a lot of fun!

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This is me with “the Marys…” Alderperson Mary Kneebone and Alderperson Mary McComb. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Our other friend Mary was driving the truck with the City Band float. Way to go, girl!

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After the parade, I dropped off cookies for our police department and fire department (THANK YOU for working holidays and keeping us safe!), then met Chris and Amy at our house for some lake time!

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We had some perfect weather- hot and sunny with a cold, clear lake to jump in. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to our house for our annual cookout. Of course, I completely forgot to take photos of our friends and all the delicious food, but we had a gaggle over for burgers, brats, sweet corn, and all sorts of traditional grilling foods!

For dessert, we featured my tenth annual flag cake!

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I can’t believe I’ve been making this cake for ten years! I used to choose white cake, but now I make angel food cake with fresh whipped cream for frosting. Delicious!

Once it got a little darker, we played with some sparklers. My friends are the cutest!

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We finished our night with s’mores by the fire, and Amy and Chris stayed for a sleepover!

We woke them up with coffee, egg sandwiches, and quite impressive Bloody Marys.

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Breakfast on the front porch with friends is really the best way to start my day, especially since our post-brunching activity was a walk to the new winery. Brian and I were lucky enough to attend their soft opening the week prior, so we were excited to show off this new facility!

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We strolled through the parks on the way home, stopping to look at the emergency vehicle display.

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Abbie was thrilled with all our visitors and all the time playing outside, but she was really happy to cool off inside for the afternoon. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Stevens Point hosts fireworks on Sunday, so Brian and I headed over to the park with our kayaks and watched both our friends in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades play at the park AND the fireworks from our little place on the water.

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Don’t worry, friends: we are experienced kayakers and had both bow and stern lights, as well as headlamps. I get concerned about the other kayakers out on the water- there is a lot of boat traffic out for the fireworks and I’ve seen less experienced kayakers struggle in the wake. Lights are very important, too!

We packed up the boats, drove the three blocks home, and collapsed in bed.

Fourth of July weekend? Complete, and a total success. ๐Ÿ™‚

As always, thanks for reading!!

Miles this year: 308.55

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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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚   

   -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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Miles this year: 266

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย ย 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.ย ย Our men came and acted as pro spectators for us- I think Brian shared some of his secrets with Matthew. ๐Ÿ™‚ย Lydia and I made our way to the crowd and settled into our pace group.

The view in front of us:ย ย …and behind us…ย …and us!ย ย ย 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.ย ย 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.ย 
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ย I was happy to make it out to the turnaround and head back.ย ย 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย ย 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!ย ย 

ย ย ย 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.ย 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.ย 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.ย 

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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My official time was 4:40:54. So close to a PR! Darn wind. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lydia convinced me to stretch, even though I didn’t want to! Plow hurt so good.ย ย 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!ย ย ย 
ย I caught up with Mike for a quick photo, then we headed out.ย 

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

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading, friends! ๐Ÿ™‚

Miles this year: 259

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Singing + playing in the snow

I was offered the opportunity to sing with the Central Wisconsin Master Chorale.

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We sang Bach’s Magnificat and a few other beautiful Christmas pieces in a three-concert series.

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I had a busy concert weekend, including a shoot with these cuties.

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Katrina and Jed brought their new puppy, Stitch, out to play with us in the snow for their Christmas photo session.

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Brian makes the best model for me to test my settings on. โค

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This was also the weekend of the Frostbite- a 5- and 10- mile race here in town. Winter weather is always unpredictable here in Wisconsin, but this year was beautiful. Brian ran with me, so we did the five mile race, and we had a great time!

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It’s a partial out-and-back course that basically loops around our neighborhood. I’ve run parts of the course hundreds of times. We finished this year in 45:41, then came home for lunch and hot coffee. ๐Ÿ™‚
Sunday morning, I had brunch at the Wooden Chair with my cousins…

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Love these girls.
Right after brunch, I sang in our last chorale concert, then skipped over to shoot the CWSO concert- specifically, the blue guitar.

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Luthier John Currier, of Currier Guitars, designed and built this beauty. The DC jazz sextet Chaise Lounge came to Wisconsin to debut a commissioned Christmas concert. It was a treat for my ears and my lens. Wonderful work, John, and thanks for the tunes, Chaise Lounge!

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I left at intermission and sped home to finish packing- my flight to the Pacific Northwest left at 5 am Monday. That adventure is next- a storm, a couple monster steelhead, and a couple reunions. ๐Ÿ™‚

Miles this year: 35

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Noodleini race recap

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I felt okay. It was my fourth day of antibiotics for my ear infection, and the pain was gone, so I decided to run.
The Noodleini is one of my favorite races. It’s always the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and it’s a good reminder to not eat the whole pie.
Brian was my spectator today, and we headed out to De Pere right from his mom’s house, with a quick stop in Appleton for oatmeal and coffee. ๐Ÿ™‚
We made it just in time, found a place to park, and walked in to the warm high school.

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This race is notorious for having terribly cold, icy weather. The roads were a little slippery, but the temperature was hovering right around 30, so it felt like a heat wave. We all usually stay inside the school until right before the race starts, then we walk out together and start. Since it was warmer this year, people were slowly making their way outside. Brian and I walked out to the group near the start line, and I got my music ready. Classic Christmas music, in case you’re asking. Not exactly “pump me up” music, but very festive! I double checked my shoelaces. I heard a gun go off, so we all compressed toward the line, but I noticed that no one was running. I (mistakenly) assumed that they shot the gun to get everyone to come up to the start. I looked around, and thought, “Hmmm, I think I’m faster than these people, so I should move up closer to the front.” So I did. Then I noticed there were an awful lot of kids around, for a 15k. I know the race is a combined 15k and 5k, so I hoped they were running the 5k. I asked the stranger next to me if the races were combined, and she said, to my dismay, “Oh, no- the 15k runners left a few minutes ago.” Minutes? Oh, boy. I thanked her and took off running.
In last place.
Very last place.
There were a few turns in the first mile, so I literally couldn’t see a soul running ahead of me. That was a terrible feeling, and something out of my nightmares before my first race.
I thought, maybe I should just turn around and go home…
I do have an ear infection…
No one would blame me…
I’m not trying for a PR anyway…
I’ll have to race back to celebrate Thanksgiving lunch with my inlaws, maybe I should just go.

Of course, being the runner that I am (and yet to find a DNF next to my name), I pressed on.
I passed a few volunteers at crossroads who cheered me on. I shouted, “I’m late!” They replied, “You’ll get ’em!” I ran a little faster.

I passed the second to last person. And the third to last person. And then a dozen people. And a dozen more.
I stopped to take a picture that proves just how much Wisconsin loves the Packers.

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I sent Brian a selfie halfway, to which he told me to slow down and take it easy.

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He even cheered me on with a “That’s what she said” that made me LOL on the course.

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I talked to everyone on the course, and thanked them for volunteering, and was thankful for a body that allows me to run.

I came around the corner at the finish smiling, as usual. ๐Ÿ™‚ Brian was there, waiting and cheering.

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I felt like a million bucks. It was the only race I’ve ever run where I wasn’t passed by a soul on the course, not even at the end.
We walked into the warm building, grabbed my chicken soup, and I started sneezing and coughing immediately.
A while ago, I posted about running races in weight-based classes. This is the only race that I run in Athena category, and I don’t really know why I chose this race to be the one. The only trophy that I have on my running shelf came from my second place Athena finish at this race a couple years ago.
Those of you who run with me know that I usually don’t wear my glasses. I walked over to the result tables, wondering where I’d placed. I definitely didn’t run a PR at this race, but I wondered what my official time was and where I’d placed. Of course, with no glasses, I couldn’t read the tiny writing. I asked Brian to come look, because I was in a hurry to head out so I’d have time to shower before lunch with everyone. He looked, and smiled at me, and told me we’d better stick around for the awards.

Seriously? No. Way. He must be kidding.

Turns out…

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No kidding here. First place Athena. Amazing. The field was smaller than my age group- there were thirteen of us competing in this class, but I still took that trophy and smiled until my face hurt. I still can’t believe it. I never thought I’d win anything in a race.
I wish those haters could see me now.
All the kids who made fat jokes when I was at Riverside Elementary.
And the ones who laughed at me when I danced.
And my old self, the one who let herself get defeated when people teased her. If only I would have known that I’d turn things around. โค

Then I went home, took a really fast shower, ate lunch with my inlaws, then ran back home for choir dress rehearsal.

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Best day ever. The end. โค

Miles this year: 4.5

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. โค

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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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… ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚
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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚
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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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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My crazy busy Chicago Marathon weekend!

A few weeks before the race, I started finalizing my plans for the marathon. Where was I staying? What was I eating? What was I wearing before, during, and after the race? Part of that planning process is planning when to go to the expo to pick up my bib. Chicago Marathon is the biggest race I’ve run, with 45,000 marathoners.
To make a long story short, this race has been on my bucket list, but October has been really trendy for weddings the last few years. When we hadn’t booked a wedding for the weekend of the race, I decided to keep the weekend open, and I entered the lottery. I was one of the lucky folks who made it in on my first try. ๐Ÿ™‚ Shortly after I found out I made it into the race, our friends Lindsey and Derek came to us and asked us to capture their big day… scheduled for the day before the marathon. I couldn’t say no. Sure, this flies in the face of all race advice… the kind of stuff that says 1) rest, 2) put your feet up, literally, 3) hydrate, 4) up your carbohydrate intake, etc….
It didn’t matter. I couldn’t wait to work with these guys!!
I knew I wasn’t going to be easy on my body by shooting a full coverage wedding the day before the race, then getting in the car, driving riding four and a half hours to Chicago, arriving at 3 am, snagging a few hours sleep, then running a full… and just when you would think that was the worst part, I realized I couldn’t go to the expo on Saturday to pick up my bib. In the past, when I couldn’t make the expo (ex: it was in Massachussets, and I was still flying in, or I was shooting a wedding, so I couldn’t pop in), the race directors would either 1) mail me my bib, 2) allow me to send someone in my place to pick it up, with a photocopy of my license, or 3) allow me to pick up the bib on race morning. I called the Chicago Marathon folks to see what my options were, and they said that none of those would work. I asked if I could donate my bib to another runner who didn’t make the lottery, and they said no. I asked if I could sell it to someone, and they said no. Unfortunately for me, I was SOL. Of course, I could drive the four hours from home down to Chicago to pick it up on Friday, then drive back home to shoot on Saturday… So that is what I did.
On Thursday night, my friend Henry and his family (including two super cute little girls!) opened their home to me, so I drove 3/4 of the way on Thursday. They pumped me full of pasta and giggles, and I am thankful!

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The expo was grand, and majestic, and superbly awesome. Being an emotional runner, I cried just walking into the place.

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Here you go- a photo recap of some of my favorite things!

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I didn’t spend too much time walking around, because I had to hurry home to get to a photo shoot with Kameron. The Friday afternoon traffic through both Chicago and Milwaukee was pretty bad, but I made it home in just over five hours, and headed over to this shoot. Kameron is a musician and composer, and he was featured in Hoopla this month.

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After my shoot, I went home, ate some sweet potatoes, and packed up my bags: camera gear for the wedding, comfy clothes for the late-night drive to Chicago, race gear, post-race clothes, all my shower and recovery stuff… Our living room was a disaster.
We woke up early and headed up to Wausau to capture Lindsey and Derek’s big day. It was such a fun day, and the time just flew by. Take a peek at why I couldn’t turn them down- a gorgeous, kind, loving, authentic couple. Their love jumps out of all these images, and you can just tell how much they care about their friends and family. โค

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Derek carved this secret message in the trellis for the ceremony…

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Lindsey even gave me a couple pieces of wedding cake to carb load in the car, and they told a bunch of their guests about the race, so a ton of strangers wished me luck at the end of the night! What a cool couple, and we’re so happy we got to work with them. Congratulations, friends!!
Heidi’s status? Apprehensive but happy.

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We left around 10, headed home, unloaded wedding gear, loaded up race gear, cuddled with Abbie for luck, then hit the open road. Brian drove, and I tried to sleep, but it was a little tricky. Stay tuned for the results of this crazy extravaganza. ๐Ÿ™‚

Miles this year: 480.5

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. โค

Miles this year: 458.7

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