Tuesday, December 31, 2013

peace out 2013...

i'd say 2013 has been a pretty productive running year.  i missed my december goal of 100 miles by a smidge but all in all i'm happy with my progress.  the last time i missed by the same smidge was in march.
these were my running goal miles for all of 2013 and as is evident in the picture to the right…  i made some, came close to others, and fully missed yet others altogether.  injury took ahold of me in the end of september and i only logged 7.23 miles in october but i came back strong to round the year out at a nice respectable 1,060.58 miles.  my goal for 2014 is to log more mileage than that but i don't have an actual number in mind.  

2013 has been a really rough year personally with some really overwhelming challenges.  i did live through it and come out alive so there's that.  i don't suspect 2014 will be any easier on my personal life but i have high hopes for the coming year.  i have HUGE goals and expect a lot of personal triumph!  i hope to stay injury free and emotionally sound.  i endeavor to conquer the marathon as well as the 50K!
i plan to grow in all ways that i can grow and nurture all the relationships that are important to me (new and seasoned) while letting go of the ones that do not serve me.  i will live mindfully and with intention.

which brings me to you… dear readers and friends.  what are your thoughts on 2013 and what are you looking forward to in 2014?  i don't really like resolutions so i'd rather we have goals as goals are something to strive for and keep us motivated to be always moving forward and upwards.  i suppose we can resolve to attain the goals we are setting forth but for me… it seems like when a person makes a resolution it is an absolute and then we always fail with absolutes.  there has to be wiggle room… there has to be room to fail.  without failure there is no growth.  amiright?

so… talk to me people!  what are your plans/goals/resolutions for the impending new year?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

hoarfrost

today i was supposed to meet up with some of the LPTR folks to run a 15mi point to point (which, incidentally, i received my LPTR sticker last wednesday! officially part of the group!) on the ice age trail in heartland.  we were supposed to meet at the end point parking lot at 8am to carpool to the start point parking lot.  

turns out that jeff and i had it backwards and were at the start point lot at 8am and there was no one there.  we were worried that no one was coming so we decided we would go run "the usual" back in wales.  we drove back to where my car was parked in wales on the glacial drumlin trail and hopped on that and ran for about 1.5 miles until the turn off onto ice age which runs through lapham peak.  the out and back in lapham is about 7 miles making the run 10 total.  

it was tough running on the sheet of ice that has become the paved portion of the gd.  thank goodness that last night i outfitted my running shoes with screws!  what an amazingly cheap and inventive way of combating the ice/snow!  worked perfectly!  i used 3/8" hex screws which i got from home depot for a little over a buck a bag.  i think there were 8 in a bag so i bought two bags.  i placed the screws near the outside of the shoe so that i wasn't actually landing on them and that is where it seemed the shoes were the thickest.  i know there's a few "how to"s out there where they use way more screws but i found that this was enough for me.  i recommend trying this before going out and spending $$ on yaktraks or some other device that might not work as well and certainly won't be as cheap.  also… i didn't lose any screws on the run!  i believe that it is common place to lose some at some point so i'm really happy that i didn't lose any.




once in lapham it was breathtakingly beautiful!  hoarfrost covered the branches on all the trees and (since we're expecting a dumping of snow) the sky was bright white with heavy clouds.  it was magical! it is really a challenge to stay unhappy, stressed, or negative in any way when faced with such magnificent life.  it is humbling and has the ability to make a person really realize what's important in life.  at least for me.







Sunday, December 15, 2013

scoop of terrifying? sure, i'll have 2 please!

so… at noon today registration opened for the ice age 50.  i went running with friends at 9am on the indoor track at the pettit center which, incidentally, was WAY more awesome than running on the dreadmill but not quite as awesome as running outside in the world.  22 laps is around 6ish miles… i ran 20 because i have these awesome blisters on the ARCHES of both of my feet.  why do i have blisters in such a interesting place you may be asking…

well, i'll tell ya.

on friday i went shopping for winter (read gore tex) trail shoes so that my toes wouldn't freeze off from frost bite the next time i ran in the snow/cold weather.  this is because on wednesday i ran at lapham on the ice age trail in below zero temperatures in the dark at 6pm.  my toes were so cold it took around 2 miles for them to warm up enough that i could feel them.  then they hurt like it hurts when you run your cold skin under hot water after being outside in winter too long.  so i got all paranoid that i would get frost bite and decided i should invest in some winterized running shoes.  my mistake…

i went to 3 different stores and settled on a pair of salomon xr mission cs trail shoes.  
i was reluctant to purchase them but the dude selling them at rei assured me i could bring them back whenever.  i ran 10 miles saturday morning and about 1/2 way through my right arch felt like it was rubbing.  about 7 or 8 miles in and my left started to feel like it was rubbing.  it was uncomfortable but not terribly so and i finished the run cuz what else was i going to do on an out and back?  prolong the pain by walking back?  no thanks… so i got home and got those suckers off and lo and behold… a HUGE blister on the arch of my right foot and a smaller one on the arch of my left foot.  total bummer.  i showered and drained the blisters and decided that those shoes needed to go back pronto.  just a little word to the wise… rei does indeed take anything back within the first year if you are a member.  i returned those stupid things wet after having run in them for 10 miles.  so… thanks rei for being awesome and taking back a pair of $130 shoes that i hated.  later in the day my arches were hurting so bad that i found some blister band-aids and put those babies on.  felt much better!  

so this morning i went to the pettit to run on their track with some lady friends.  i was about 18 laps in when my right arch started to bother me so i was glad when kellie needed to go home so that i could stop at 20 laps.  got home and in the shower the band-aids were coming off… i pulled the right one off and was quite successful at leaving the skin intact.  i wasn't so careful with the left (because the blister was tiny) and that proved to be the wrong strategy because I PULLED THE BLISTER CLEAN OFF!  that freaking hurts!

but i digress…  the ice age 50K.

so after my shower it was almost time to sign up for the race.  registration opened at noon and i was reloading the page from about 11:57 on… it was true… didn't open until noon.  at noon i registered for the race and even tho' i got in there right away i still ended up being the 17th person registered!  the race then proceeded to fill up more than 1/2 way during the first hour (somewhere around 180) and was full within 2.  crazy!  now for the terrifying part.  I'M REGISTERED FOR A 50K!  i haven't even run a marathon yet!

for those of you who don't know (and/or don't want to look it up) that's 31.0686 freaking miles ON TRAILS! *gulp*  



i don't even know what sort of training i should do to prepare for this… i think i'm just going to run a lot and for a long time. ha!  training plan schmaining plan.  actually i already started a marathon training plan for the trail breaker marathon that i'm thinking of doing in april.  of course… i might not do that one because it's looking like i've got a lot on my plate already so far and it's not even 2014 yet!  i'm not really worried about covering the distance as much as i'm worried about my hydration and fuel.  i mean… i know they have tables of stuff throughout the course so i guess i don't need to worry but i've had so many issues with my gut in 2013 that it concerns me none the less.  i've finally gotten a good pre-race food thing going on and i don't want to compromise that by eating unworthy items on the trail during the race.  of course, i also don't want to carry a bunch of crap with me either so i think i'm going to rely on the latter to get me through this.  i've been experimenting with drinks too.  it seems to me that i do best on plain 'ol water.  first i was mixing gatorade and water and i think that was upsetting my stomach.  then i moved onto nuun but i'm not sure that does anything at all for me.  at least, i've not noticed any difference when i drink it or just plain water… so there's that.  i am just totally against carrying too much stuff with me.  i don't want to have to leave any clothing or things behind on the trail because i like my stuff which is why i have my stuff.  so i have to figure out a plan for my fuel/hydration.  the mileage i think i will be able to handle without a problem.  i'm going to ramp up training as soon as the snow is gone and work up to 2-3 laps on the black loop at least once a week in preparation. 

right now i'm at about 20 miles per week and i'm going to start upping that by 10% a week until i'm back at my fighting mileage.  so there are some plans in the works. 

but man oh man…

to think that just a few months ago i was telling jeff there was no way i'd even consider doing a 50K.  stick a little bug in my ear about something and i sure as hell will figure out a way that i can be up for the challenge.  maybe i'm too competitive for my own good?  i mean with myself mostly and others secondly.  i just want to prove that i can do it, do it well, and maybe try to do it better than others in the process.  doesn't make it any less terrifying tho' does it?

what does your race schedule look like?  are you stepping out of your comfort zone with any races in 2014?  doing anything that just a short time ago you wouldn't dream of trying?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

let's talk about the ice age 50K

is it naive, cocky, and/or overly confident to believe that i can complete a 50K trail race in under 5 hours? 

i mean... i can complete the black loop at lapham in (best time) 1:03 which is 6.5ish miles... with that said i think that finishing 31 trail miles in under 5 hours is doable.  i mean... the top 10 finisher (female) in 2013 finished between 4:04 and 5:29 so i think i should be able to do it.  this could just be my ignorance talking tho' but i don't see why it wouldn't work out like that?  i guess i don't really know how hilly the course is in comparison to lapham.  although, i have been reading every.single.race.report that exists on this race and it seems like i shouldn't have any problems running it in that time.  maybe in spring i'll start running 2 loops in lapham for preparation.  i've never gone into a race with a goal time that i didn't manage to squeak out on par or really close.   

so my question for you, dear readers, is this:  has there ever been a time where you had a goal finish in mind and it turned out that you were really really off in the estimation?  if so, why didn't you make the goal?  injury? too cocky? or just gross miscalculation?

talk to me people!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Santa Hustle 5K

Santa Hustle 5K - December 8, 2013

time = 23:47:67
pace = 7:40 average
placed 3rd in my age group (40-44) out of 94
placed 10th in women out of 988
placed 43rd overall out of 1353

after the drumstick dash last weekend i've been dreading this run for the simple fact that i have decided that racing in cold weather is not for me.  i love to run all year long but this racing… not a fan.

so i woke up around 4am (as is customary for me these days) and realized that i could sleep for another 2 hours so i went back to sleep.  i woke up bolt upright because i thought i was late and i was having some lame dream about something that i don't remember except that it has left me with an icky feeling so i know it wasn't a good dream.  when i woke up it was 6:15am and i was relieved because i wasn't late.  i got out of bed, took care of the dogs, used the bathroom, and had some juice, vitamins, and a banana which is also customary for me on a race day.
i layered up in enough stuff that i thought i'd be warm enough but not too warm when i was running and took this picture.  you can't really tell i guess but i'm wearing the following:
sports bra
tank top
long sleeve thermal
nike dri-fit 1/2 zip
north face summit series wind/water proof jacket
the santa hustle shirt

pair that with some smart wool knee high socks and running tights and i was good to go.  i'll just say right now that my butt was FREEZING as per usual in my running tights.  i wish lululemon made some super warm tights but no such luck for me…

moving on… i was meeting megan for the race.  today was her 34th birthday and she is IN LOVE with christmas so what better way to celebrate than with a santa run?  i arrived early because the race location was 1/2 hour from my house and i was worried about parking.  thankfully i got excellent parking and when megan arrived there was still some parking in the lot i was in so BONUS! we were close to each other AND no one had to pay for parking.  it was about 8am now and we decided to head to the porto-pottys.  i have never sat on a colder seat in all my life!  we wandered over to a huge blow up santa, took a picture
and decided it was far to cold to be standing around outside when we could go sit in the heated car so we went back to the car.  it was 20 degrees, overcast, and waiting for the snow to begin.  we sat in the car for another 10 minutes and then headed to the start.  we began walking towards the front and hit a green rope where they asked us if we would be running the whole time.  i (incredulously) said OF COURSE! so they let us through.  apparently, behind the rope is for walkers.  megan was sick so she was hacking up lungs but took some dayquil and thought she'd be fine.  there was no fan fair really for the start… just a sort of "GO" and off we went.  i took off too fast as usual and when i realized i was running sub-7 i slowed down.  i didn't want to poop out at the end like with the drumstick dash.  so i tempered my pace and tried to keep it faster than an 8min mile.  i really was most interested in getting an open space to run in so once i got there i slowed my roll.  i was just trying to run a comfortable pace and when checking my garmin realized that i was maintaining a sub-8 which is great!  i really didn't have a desired finish time in mind for this race which is probably a good thing.  it was really cold out and when that is the case my lower half doesn't warm up as fast as i'd like.  this is the main reason i'm not interested in doing any more winter runs… i feel i'm prone to injury if i'm not sufficiently warmed up.  (more about that later)  so i'm just running along and enjoying all the santas… they had cookie stops, the customary water/gatorade stops, and then candy stops!  i skipped all of them because for a 5K in temperate or cold weather i figure i can wait to get my water at the end.  this was an out and back course so i was trying to count the ladies who were ahead of me.  turns out i was 4 off from where i thought i was… i thought i was in 6th place but in the end i was in 10th place.  not bad… at the turn around i was grouped with a 30-something guy and a little girl who i guessed was 10… turns out the guy was 33 and the girl was 11.  either way i was pacing them and when the girl pulled ahead a bit i turned to the guy and said "i'm gonna stick with you." to which he replied "i'm trying to do the same thing with her!"…
so we just kept pace with the girl (who finished 4 seconds ahead of me… might as well have been a lifetime).  she was so cute!  she was running effortlessly and told both me and the guy "good job" more than once!  i love runners!  at the end when she saw the finish she exclaimed "oh! there's the end!" and took off like speedy gonzales!  it was adorable… if it wouldn't have put me behind her anyway.  the guy took off at the same time and i was alone to come into the finish.  i was just behind both of them tho' and i tried to gun it with little success i think.  at the finish, everything was frozen.  bananas, water, and the gatorade had a little layer of ice on top.  i took a water and drank a shot of gatorade and walked to the end with the guy… i'm going to call him by his name now since i read it on the results.  jeff and i walked to the end and caught our breath and exchanged pleasantries.  he said that doing things like this let us know we're alive when i said how awful that was.  he's right.

things like this… running in races, running in cold, running with strangers… i love all of it even when i hate it.  even when it's hard.  even when i think i don't love it… I.LOVE.IT!

i waited to cheer megan on as she crossed the finish and she did not look so good.  running and being sick simply wasn't agreeing with her and man… i felt bad but she was a trooper and finished in a respectable time especially for being sick!  she has nowhere to go but up even tho' her time was still pretty great.  looking at my splits it looks like i held pretty steady the whole time and turns out… i DID kick it in to gear at the very end for a moment.  my time on my garmin is a bit different than the time my chip clocked me at but i'm pretty happy either way.  3rd in my age group is pretty good.  not awesome but pretty good for the weather… after we were both done we went to warm up in the car for a bit because we were going to stay for the awards.  when we went back there was an announcement stating that they would mail the awards because the weather was beginning to get bad.  it was really starting to snow now and got windy.  i was glad because it was really cold.  on the way home the snow was really making a mess of it on the highway… as i approached my town tho' it was less and less snow.  the further away from the lake i got the less snow there was.  once i was home there was a lot of talk on the news of accidents and telling people to stay home and off the roads.  it's a good thing they decided to not do the awards.  the one thing i wasn't happy about is that they said there would be heated tents and there weren't.  that was a bummer.  when its so cold out they really should have a place for people to stay warm.  i loved that the course was flat and fast… it makes a huge difference in the cold i think.  once i was sitting in my car i realized that my ankle feels really wonky.  both of my ankles have been wonky since my last race and i'm not really sure why.  the right tho'… has been getting worse and worse pain wise as today has gone on.  we'll see how it is tomorrow.  it's so disappointing to be injured.  i just want to feel good so that i can train and run.  i'd like to do a marathon in april but if my ankles don't start to cooperate i might have to put that off.

so the end of the story… if you don't mind racing in cold then this is a great run!  apparently its a new course from last year and people seem to like it better.  i thought it was pretty great.  ran along the lakefront the whole time which is quite pretty.  if it weren't so cold out i'd definitely do it again.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

dances with dirt - devil's lake, wi and always lapham

i've been checking the website religiously (read: several times a day) all of november because they had it listed that registration would open in november.  finally, when i checked on december 1st and it STILL wasn't open... i gave up.  last night after my amazing run (read on) registration was OPEN so i'm now signed up for the 1/2 marathon!  fun will be had by all!

yesterday i had a magnificent rainy, muddy, foggy, pitch black try not to fall down run with my friend jeff in lapham peak.  our weather has been pretty weird all week so it was great to take advantage of the warm temperatures (45 degrees) while we still have them.  by the by... it's in the low 20's today. ha!

we decided to run the black route because the snow was gone from all the rain and jeff called earlier in the day to make sure the trails were open to runners.  usually, once there's snow, lapham makes snow for the ski trails and once they're groomed for skiing runners aren't allowed to run on those trails.  when we can't run those trails we take ice age for an out and back which amounts to 7 miles with a lot less hills but technical and fun.  so the black route it is! 

we started out and it was greasy and slick from the get go.  it gets dark so early and with all the fog it was really really dark!  there's something to be said for night runs with friends.  it is really really a good time.  we slipped and slid our way through most of the route and once we were about a mile from the finish i asked jeff if he thought we should skip the last bit because there's a huge rolling downhill that could be dangerous in the conditions we were running.  we decided to go for it!

this is where we both fell down.  ha!

jeff fell first with a flying hands/knees slide which covered his hands and shins in a good deal of mud which is evident from this picture.
this was near the top of the hill too!  so we laughed and laughed and i yelled "ONE!" and off we went...  we slipped and slid the rest of the way down the hill and i had 2 really near misses where i yelled out as i was running.  sometimes the almost falling is worse than the actual falling.  certainly gets the heart racing!  once we made it down the majority of the hill we found HUGE snow mounds!  several of them because this is where they've been making the snow during the previous week.  so, of course, we ran up and down them all!  it was a lot of fun and we like our fun! 

as i was coming off the final snow mound i didn't realize that there was a ginormous patch of ice and i landed smack on my butt and my gloves got soaked!  more laughing and i don't think i've ever popped up off my butt onto my feet in a squatting postion so fast in all my life.  didn't matter tho' because my poor butt was already soaked through and now freezing!

there was a bit more slipping and sliding as we rounded the final meadow stretch and of course all the laughs!  it was such a fun run and i feel so fortunate that i get the opportunities to run in the places i run with the people i run with. 
it is really theraputic and centering always.  this is what my shoes looked like after the run... not so bad if i do say so myself... except they were soaked through!   the lapham peak trail runners were in full effect in the evergreen grove building... fire raging, food consuming, drinks flowing, and laughter all around.  introductions were made and in 2 more wednesdays i will be a member!  yay me! 

enjoy the journey everyone... it's a good one!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

FINALLY! NOT a dns! yay! (otherwise known as the Drumstick Dash 5K)

THAT WAS SO FUN!

Drumstick Dash (5K) - November 28, 2013
time = 24:35
pace = 7:44 average
placed 2nd in my age group (40-44) out of 146
placed 36th in women out of 1515
placed 166th overall out of 2478

 i woke up around 4am super bummed to be awake.  my alarm was set for 5:30am and i was really hoping for that extra 1.5 hours.  i fell back to sleep but it was fitful and filled with too many puppies.  too many puppies that (according to my dream) belonged to me and were truly overwhelming to care for and pay attention to.  i wonder what that means?

when the alarm went off at 5:30am i was out of bed and taking care of the dogs in a flash.  its nice being the only one up sometimes.  i decided to make banana bread (which, incidentally, was nearly gone when i got home from my race), eat a banana, and then get dressed for my race.  it was 23 degrees this morning so warm enough to not have to have a ton of layers but too cold to not wear my winter coat.  when it was time for me to leave to pick up kellie the banana bread still had 7 minutes to go so i woke up brian and asked him to watch it and take it out… then i said my goodbyes and off i went!

it is amazing how few cars are on the road at 7am on a holiday morning.  i flew down the highway and made it to our meeting place (the petit center) at 7:25am.  we decided not to leave kellie's car at the petit because there were weird towing signs all around.  we went down a parkway, left her car there, and proceeded to miller park.  parking was a breeze even tho' we had to PAY for it… $5.00 in addition to the cost of the race… that was a bit of a bummer but no matter… i paid in advance when i picked up our packets yesterday.

we sat in the car for a little while and then decided to go inside and take a trip to the bathrooms.  it was very crowded inside and NO HEAT!  not only was there no heat they also had a bunch of the doors propped open letting all of the winter air in!  that was awful.  after the bathroom we decided to go back to the heat of the car to wait.

we stayed in the car until about 8:10am and then decided to head to the bathrooms one last time.  the line was redonkulous!  moved fast tho' and then we headed to the start.  it was a challenge to find the actual start through all the people.  we dodged and weaved our way from the very back to pretty close to the front.  national anthem… some announcer talking… and we were off!

i was too far back and had to cut around the far left edge to get around a bunch of people but once i got out of the group things were moving smoothly.  there were a few inclines that were awful because they were gradual and long… i much prefer a real hill and then it's done.  these are worse i think.

many people passed me because i started in the front and i'm not sure if i passed anyone… i try to run my own race and not worry about what the people around me are doing until the final stretch.
i ran positive splits which is my downfall… it seems i have the most challenging time NOT doing that.  i always mean to run negative splits so that i have the energy to really punch it at the end.  it never seems to work out that way.  maybe i'm just not controlled enough?  maybe i never will be.  there was a kid (probably around 10 years old) who was running all willy nilly all around me the whole time.  sometimes behind, sometimes next to, and sometimes in front of me.  its pretty great to watch children run… they're like rag dolls with no limb control.  when we got just past mile 2 he was running next to what i assume was his father.  all of a sudden he bolted and passed about 6 people in front of us before i stopped watching him.  i turned to the man (father?) and said that i wished i had his energy!  he told me that the kid wasn't feeling well and usually is much much faster.
i feel pretty fortunate that i was running at all today so even tho' this last mile or so was feeling really really challenging i was very happy that i was there and able to do it.  i feel very fortunate to have friends like kellie do these crazy things with me and that my body will still work the way i want it to.  life is really great guys!  i hope you realize that!  really really great!  all in all this was a fun race because i was there with a friend i enjoy spending time with and i love to run.  it is really too bad that i have to run in 23 degree weather but that's what happens when you live in wisconsin.  i'm doing another race december 8th with a different friend and after today i'm not looking forward to freezing my buns off… i will probably layer more for that one.

i liked the fact that this race had a wide range of runners… all ages.  i liked that they had bananas (my favorite) and cookies and water right in the finishers shoot.  i didn't like that they had no heated area for staging or at the end or the fact that they didn't have age group medals.  i mean… c'mon!  i will never come in the top 3 overall so i look forward to my age group medal!  i can almost always count on that!  lol!

happy thanksgiving everyone!  enjoy your day and be kind to yourself and others.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

fortunate

i am so fortunate to have the opportunity to run, spend time with, and share the ups and downs of these ventures with the people i get to do this with.

tonight i ran in lapham with my friends megan and jeff.  it was SO.MUCH.FUN!  running in lapham is one of my favorite things of all time and running there in the dark with great company just makes it all the more so.  it was slow (11mi mile average pace) but considering we couldn't see much, it was muddy, and it would be dangerous to run faster in the pitch black… i'll take it!

jeff took a few pictures… i think this is the only one that turned out.  i really appreciate that someone takes pictures of this stuff so that i have the memories.  i've just become so apathetic about taking pictures myself so yay jeff!  thanks!

in other news i've joined a ragnar relay team (the puddler striders) for june 2014.  very excited about that.  we will be running from madison, wi to chicago, il.  2014 is shaping up nicely.  i'm pretty excited for my 2014 goals.  this will be my first relay and it seems like it will be a very good time.
in case you're new to this sort of thing… here's something interesting to give you a little idea of what it is.   sounds like a great deal of fun huh?  it does to me.  i'm really excited about sharing the experience with a group of people… all of which are strangers except for megan.  it will be an exceptional experience for sure!

my body seems to be 100% with the exception of my endurance… that sucks but it will come with time.

in yet still other news…
my friend kellie and i are running a 5K on thanksgiving day.  at first we were going to run it together but our paces are so different that i decided i'd like to run it separate.  it is hard to explain, but it is just as hard for a faster person to run slower as it is for the slower person to try and match the pace of the faster person.  it hurts my hips to run a lot slower because i think it throws my gait off and then puts strain on my hips.  looks like 2013 is going to go out with a bang!  i will get to run one last race and hopefully do well.  it is so needed after those 3 DNS races.  such a bummer…

life is good people!  count your blessings and run!


Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm BACK!!

yesterday i psyched myself up all day to go run in lapham after work.  i had my husband change the batteries in my son's headlamp so that i'd be able to use it and i planned to run the black route because i know it well and figured that i didn't really need to be able to see all that well. 

i got to lapham around 4:45pm and it was cloudy so it was already getting dark.  i start at the bottom in evergreen grove and take the trail from there. i turned the headlamp on from the get go and started running.  i learned pretty quickly that no matter how well one knows the terrain it is totally different in the dark.

i was considerably slower (likely a combination of loss of speed and the pitch black trail) and needed to really watch my step a lot closer.  within the headlamp beam it feels totally enclosed.  i felt so alone but in a glorious and beautiful way.  i saw one small black body of movement once (i think it was a raccoon) but other than that absolutely no wildlife.  usually i see quite a few deer.  at one point i was running ahead of 2 other runners who had turned onto the route i was on but when i took a hill they veered off to the left to run the flat and ended up in front of me for a little while.  this was just before reaching homestead hollow.  i followed the path i always take and headed towards the hill back into the woods.

since i'm coming off of injury i'm trying to really be mindful of how my body is feeling at all times during runs.  i turned off where the fork for the black route goes right and continued running.  i was only a minute down that route when i thought better of it and decided to double back to go on the easier and flatter meadow route because my foot was starting to ache for some reason.

once i got on that trail i had no idea where i was or where i would end up because i rarely run it.  i figured i'd just keep plugging along because it would have to spit me out somewhere and hopefully it would be somewhere familiar.  it is amazing how isolating the dark + a headlamp makes the world seem.  i reiterate... not in a bad way.  just as if i was the only person in the world.  it was quite beautiful actually. i spent this "lost" time thinking about how i really hoped it wasn't adding a lot of mileage to my distance because i really just wanted to be done.

as it turns out it spit me out back into the meadow and right next to the trail.  running in the meadow is beautiful in its own right because of how wide it is the light of the moon was really helpful.  i even turned my lamp off for a bit and could see better without it.  i could see the world!

i got back on the trail and was heading backwards which threw me off in the dark and i just kept hoping i was going the direction i thought i was going.  turns out i was!

i got back to homestead hollow and decided to play it safe by running down the paved road back to evergreen grove (and the car) but first... bathroom break!

running down the road had me FLYING!  it was really beautiful and turns out that my headlamp seemingly works much better on road than on trail... maybe i need a different one?  who knows... i could see well enough that i'm not really going to worry about it right now.

all in all the run was great!  i missed running the trails and while it was beautiful... i think i prefer running them in daylight.  this doesn't mean i won't be running them regularly at night... it gets dark so early now. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

the human foot

broken bones (also called fractures) in the foot are very common. in fact, about 1 out of every 10 broken bones occurs in the foot. here's why.
  • the human foot has 26 bones.
  • divide the foot into 3 parts: the hindfoot, the midfoot, and the forefoot.
    • there are 2 bones in the hindfoot. these are the talus, which is where the foot attaches to the leg, and the calcaneus, which forms the heel.
    • five smaller bones called the navicular, cuboid, and 3 cuneiforms make up the midfoot.
    • the long part of the foot is called the forefoot and contains 19 bones. there is a metatarsal for each of the 5 toes, the big toe is made up of 2 phalanges, and the other toes each have 3 phalanges.
    • in addition, the foot sometimes has some small pebble-like bones called sesamoid bones. These bones do not perform any necessary function and are often called accessory bones.
  • none of these has anything to do with my injury.
went to see the orthopedic specialist after work today.  the nurse who took me back and chittered to me about the injury kept referencing my heel and ankle.  i explained that neither my heel nor my ankle hurt… more than once.

when the doctor came in she did THE SAME THING!  asked me about my heel pain.  i re-explained that there was nothing wrong with my heel.  then she asked me about my ankle pain.  i re-explained that there was nothing wrong with my ankle.  i explained to her that the pain was in the topside of my foot on the left side.  she looked surprised.

she then asked me about my running and i explained to her when i injured my foot, how i injured my foot, as well as how i continued to use the offending appendage after hurting it.

she asked me again about my ankle.  *sigh*

we went around and around in a rendition of "who's on first"  (click the link so you understand… especially if you're under 30).  


once we got everything squared away she determined that it was not the fracture in my heel (yes you read that correctly. i have a fracture in my heel that doesn't hurt and i didn't know was there) causing me pain but overuse of the tendons. the peroneus brevis or the peroneus  longus.  otherwise it could also be the extensor hallucis brevis tendon because where that red box is… well, that's where the dummy dum dum pain is.  clearly no one really knows so i'm just going to forgo running for 4-6 weeks and hope that everything will be healed by the time december 8th and the santa hustle rolls around. what a pain in my ass.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

being broken really blows but homemade pizza is the bomb!

i got the call from my doctor on the way home from work today.  i was actually walking into walmart to purchase dinner supplies but i'll get to that later.  so he tells me that i have fractured my foot.  haha!  well not actually all that funny but funny because i've been using said foot pretty close to normally since it happened over a month ago!  almost 2 months ago now… bummer.

so let's just get this straight… i ran 89.96 miles between the 10th (when the actual injury occurred - i was wrong about it being the 12th) and the 28th of september when i ran the brewers half.  after the 1/2 my ankle was feeling sore so i decided to not run the whole week between the 1/2 and the colorama.  it was still feeling pretty awful on the 5th (which is when the colorama was) but i taped it and decided to run anyway.  if you recall THAT went well.

so last week thursday everything was feeling really good.  no pain anywhere so i decided to do a short 6 miles just to feel things out and see how everything was.  i decided to do this because of the race i have coming up on saturday and i really didn't think that i should not have any training runs between the two… again, bad idea.

which brings us to my phone call from my doctor today.  he said the x-ray showed a fracture near my heel as well as some "muddling" in the heel area.  he is sending me to the ortho tomorrow and was saying that because the injury is so old a boot might not be worth doing anymore.  he didn't say i couldn't run on saturday but he strongly indicated that i would be extending my healing time (possibly considerably) by running on a fractured foot.  today it still hurts from the run last week.  not a lot but enough to cause me pause about running in the race on saturday.

i'm really awful at inactivity.  i've been sleeping so poorly and i'm going nuts just sitting around eating bon bons all day!  jokes… i don't eat bon bons all day… i do eat a lot more candy when i'm not running and i do eat that all day.  bummer for me.

i've put on 5 lbs since i had to stop running.  this really doesn't matter in any way at this point except in that if i keep that up it absolutely will matter!  i NEED to run!

in other news i made the BEST pizza today!  there's a restaurant in downtown milwaukee that i love love love called transfer pizzeria/cafe this is notable because this afternoon i decided i wanted to know what was in the white garlic pizza sauce.  i googled it and an article appeared which showed me EXACTLY how to make it.  in said recipe the author talks about transfer pizza!  it was meant to be!

so i printed out the recipe and decided to make the pizza.  it turned out amazing!  i will definitely be making it again.  the only thing that wasn't homemade was the crust because i simply didn't have THAT much energy!  i think the next time i make it i will make the dough too…



tomorrow i find out whatever there is to know about my foot.  thank goodness i have yoga!  i think i would go absolutely nuts just doing NOTHING!  


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

september 10th you are, decidedly, not my friend

welp... left work an hour early yesterday to go see my amazing doctor. the visit went as i expected... he probed the areas along the tendon on the outside of my foot to determine where exactly the pain was localized.  i explained what i've done (as opposed to not done) from the 10th of september until yesterday and he set me up to go have an x-ray just to make sure nothing was fractured or broken.  seeing dr. thomas really took a very short time and we talk A LOT!  then i drove over to CDI in waukesha.  it's really just a hop, skip, and a jump from the doc's office and on my way home so i thought i'd be done pretty quickly... WRONG!

i was in the waiting room for the x-ray for 45 minutes and then there was some confusion about what exactly my doctor wanted an x-ray of.  so it took a bit of time.  once the tech did the x-ray tho'... then i was out of there in a flash.  now i'm just waiting to find out what the results are.

i have the bergkonig mountain king run in lapham peak on saturday (just the 5K) and i intend to run it.  my doc and i discussed possibly taping the offending area of the foot which i will likely do but i don't know how much help it will be.  since i ran that 4 miles last week in around an 8:25min mile i think i'm good for a 5K.  i'm just hoping to cut myself some slack on my time.  i don't expect that i can run uphill in lapham at a 9min pace but that is my goal.  last year the winner in my age group did it in 27:22 so my goal is to meet or beat that time.  lofty i know... such is the bane of my over-achieving and competitive existence.  *sigh*

the overall fastest finishing time was 21:28 which there's no way i can even come close to that.  i fear that all my laurels resting for october has greatly hindered my endurance even if it was essential for the health of my ankle.  thankfully my ankle no longer hurts its just this damn foot! 

i have one more race this season after the one on saturday... another 5K on december 8th with one of my favorite people in the world... AND its on her birthday no less!  fantastic!

so... wish me luck on saturday.  i'll let you know how it shakes out.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

not just yet

while that run the other day was amazing and glorious and inspiring… it also hurt.  

i'm not sure what the problem is with my foot.  it is truly disheartening that i cannot run whenever i feel like running (and i feel like running often).  i am not a patient woman.  

i am incredibly impatient.  

i need to see a doctor, chiropractor, and or a physical therapist.  i don't want to be sidelined for long.  i feel like i've been slacking so much by not running for the past several weeks.  logically i know that i need to rest my foot… but i am completely uninterested in being static.  the only time stillness isn't death is in yoga.  thank god for yoga.



Friday, October 25, 2013

finally! i run!

on wednesday i went for a hike in lapham peak with my family.  at the start (while i waited for my garmin to locate the satelite) my family took off ahead without me.  i ran to catch up (more of an acutal jog i suppose) but there was absolutely NO PAIN in my ankle!  i cannot even tell you how exuberating it felt to run!  even if it was only for less than a minute.

i decided right then and there that i would go on a short run the following day.

that brings me to yesterday.  i decided to just do a short run in my neighborhood since there's rarely traffic and lots of hills.  for the first mile or so my body felt perfect.  no pain anywhere... but then.

then my foot began hurting.  this is a lingering issue from when i hurt it running in lapham back on september 10th.  it hurts in a weird way tho'... sort of like a bone in my foot is out of place and if i could only "crack" it chiropractor style... it would feel perfectly fine.  the other weird part is that it doesn't hurt when i push on it with my hand.  it doesn't hurt ANYWHERE!  but when i place my body weight on it... that's when the pain exists.


i'm not sure if i should go to a physical therapist, a chiropractor, or my doctor.  i'm not sure who to call first because it is painful enough that i want to limp but i refuse to do so.

at this rate i won't be running consistently for some time.  such a bummer.

i had a smile on my face for the whole 4+ miles i ran yesterday!  it is my church afterall... the time where i can be alone and reflect on my life and set my worries free.  i need this time to be sane.

good thing i have yoga tomorrow morning. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

inspiration

today i want to talk about michael arnstein.

i happened upon a youtube lecture from 2011 and i was smitten.  his view on running... on ultra running... really just makes perfect sense.  i am incredibly interested in finding out as much as i can about what he has to say regarding running and food consumption.  what i find most inspiring about him is his passion.  the passion he has for what he is saying is infectious.  i'm not sure i can get on board with the fruitarianism but... i can absolutely appreciate the passion he has for it.

speaking of this passion... the way he speaks about running touches me deeply.  i find that running for me is absolutely spiritual.  it is calming in a way i've never experienced while doing anything else in my life.  i totally get his take on this.

it is truly motivating and inspiring to read and watch anything i can on other people's experiences with running.  i feel a kinship with runners that i've never felt with any other group of people.  if you get a chance... watch the videos below.  i hope you are inspired too!





Wednesday, October 16, 2013

what's that they say? no pain no gain?

i am not limping anymore today... yesterday i tried diligently to stop all that nonsense.  today... it is much better.  what's funny is that as soon as i got up yesterday morning and realized that i wasn't limping like someone with a club foot i told myself that i could probably run the 10K race i've got coming up on saturday.

um... no.

a little later yesterday i realized that there is truly no way i will be able to run that race... another DNS for me!  weeeee!

so i'm going to yoga instead.  i've falling off the yoga bandwagon and really... i love yoga so there's no reason i shouldn't be going except that i love running more and i'd just rather spend my time running than anything else.  but alas... THAT'S not happening anytime this week so yoga it is! 

i am well aware that cross training is essential to making the body stronger i simply didn't care... i love running and i'd rather run than do anything else.  this fall/winter i'm going to incorporate yoga back into my weekly routine.  it will be good for my brain as well as my body and that is worth it indeed!

so tomorrow i go back to yoga... i'm looking forward to it because i've become quite tight over the summer since i stopped going.  i've also let my package expire effectively losing somewhere around $50 bucks!  i'm a dummy.

sadly... saturday will be a DNS... my SECOND one this year!  i'm pretty bummed about that but considering i really only started running just over a year ago this is probably not such a big deal... just a big deal to me.

Friday, October 11, 2013

the "can't" conversation

today will be my 6th consecutive day without running.  i cannot tell you how truly challenging and awful that is.  letting my body heal is essential to future growth but that doesn't make the time off any easier to bear.  yesterday i tried bending my ankle (you know, in the natural way that one walks) and there was simply too much pain to actually go through with the movement.  *sigh*

i'm pretty sure i'm looking at AT THE VERY LEAST another week of minimal use.  i suppose its a good thing i have a desk job because then i'm forced to be off of my foot most of the day.  i did 15 min on and 45 min off icing all last saturday and sunday while being off my feet the majority of the day and i think that helped a lot. 

i have full range of motion with just a bit of discomfort while not  putting any weight on my foot but as soon as i try to bend it while standing or attempting walking... that's a whole different story altogether.

running is essential to my mood stabilization.  i have always struggled with my mental health and when i began running that CHANGED EVERYTHING!  it has made me a generally happier, nicer, kinder, more thoughtful, and more appreciative person.  i look at the world differently because of running.  i feel included in the world and i feel fortunate to live in and be a full and present participant in the life that has been afforded to me. 

don't get me wrong... i have "problems" but running has changed my perspective on those "problems" to where i don't really say i have "problems" but CHALLENGES.  i mean, problems can be solved but saying that word - problems - indicates something very negative but calling one's problems CHALLENGES implies strength, control, and something that can be overcome with great victory!  i also try not to say that i "can't" do something because that implies a lack of control as well.  i want to be in charge of my life.  i want to own my life.  i want the challenges in my life to be something i work towards changing and not something that overcomes me.  when a person says that they "can't" change something about their life... "can't" get faster, "can't" run hills, "can't" win a race... all of those are misnomers. 

anyone CAN do anything... a person just chooses not to take the steps to attain that goal. 

now that doesn't mean that you have complete control over all aspects of your life or the situation at hand.  your CHOICE comes in with how you CHOOSE to deal with the things which you have no control over.

a very good friend of mine had that "can't" conversation with me a few years back and (at the time) i simply couldn't wrap my head around it.  how is it possible to change one's "can't" to something that one CAN control?  there are a lot of things that are out of our control so i was unable to work out how it would be at all possible for me to STOP saying "can't".  it's not 100% possible but it is possible enough that now i can control most of the way i look at my life.

ok... off the "can't" soapbox now... have a great weekend and i'll do the same (while trying not to be bummed on my BUM ankle).

now, discuss...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Lapham Peak Colorama 5K

welp... that was a bad idea.

Lapham Peak Colorama (5K) - October 5, 2013
time = 26:51:4 (26:49 official results)
pace = 9:21 (8:38 official results)
placed 3rd in my age group (40-44) out of 17
placed 13th in women out of 121
placed 51st overall out of 229

i got up this morning feeling really great.  my ankle was sore and stiff but it has been every morning since i hurt it so i didn't really give it too much thought.  i did a few stretches to loosen it up and started to prepare for the race.  i have to say that i think the reason i'm not nervous about races is because i generally plan for beating my last time at whatever distance the current race is and focus on that but not on the "racing" part.  in relation to other people.  i am really competitive and of course, who doesn't want to win... but really i just want to be faster than my last time.  so i felt pretty good.

once everyone was fed and ready we drove over to lapham peak.  man i love that place!  the fog was so thick today that the road was only visible for a couple of yards in front of the car.  lapham was no different.  it was super thick, overcast, yet the temperature was pretty even... maybe high 50's or low 60's.  seemingly perfect!  it's supposed to rain today and in fact is thundering as i type this so a storm is certainly on the way!

the race started at 10am and we arrived and parked by 9:30am.  i got my bib & timing chip with no fan fair and who did i see?  an old derby teammate!  marisa!  that was cool because it's been maybe just over a year since i saw her last.  we said our hellos and then it was time for the bathroom.  thankfully there was plenty of time because the only bathrooms available were the regular ones (2 stalls for women) and then they provided 2 port-o-pottys as well.  finished that up and saw my friend jeff!  (this isn't jeff in the pictures below)


max and i BEFORE the race.


got hugs and photos with jeff and then it was almost time to begin.  there was some talking on the mic and then the 1-2-HORN! moving we were!

from the very first step i knew i was in trouble.  it was painful but not so bad... YET.

this race would have been a piece of cake for me if it weren't for my injury and i'm pretty disappointed in my performance.  as soon as i hit the first hill i realized i'd be lucky if i finished.  my ankle was throbbing already!  i made it up the hill and figured i could make up my time on the flat between that and the next one... and i was for a bit. i managed to fly for awhile but then came the next set of hills... they aren't bad but today they were excruciating!  i have been running most of this route 3-4 times a week for weeks... i simply can't believe how painful my ankle was.  i began to walk again.  jeff and i were just inches from each other for about the first 1/2 of the race but then when i needed to walk he went on ahead.  i'm really proud of his performance!  he did a great job.

i ended up walking up a lot of the hills... it was sort of embarrassing.  

by the time i made it to the 3rd mile and was almost home free i was walking quite a bit and crying.  i decided to just put it into gear and finish as strong as i could.  i'm pretty sure i was limping something fierce at that point and there were a lot of grandparents and children passing me at this point... i thought i had done awful for sure.  i was hoping to finish this run in 21:00 or around there... no dice.

i'm pretty sure there was something wrong with my garmin today too because it tracked the race at 2.87 miles and this was definitely a 5K.

when i came into the finish i was just so happy to see the big "FINISH" that i no longer cared that i was in so much pain.  as soon as i crossed the finish line the wonderful volunteers are there to take the timing chip.  i couldn't even stand on my foot it was so painful so the woman there took my timing chip off for me and someone else came to help me out of the way of the other runners.  i gimped my way over to the table with beverages and got a water.  another woman came and helped me over to my friend jeff who was running over to me.  then my husband and son showed up and everyone was clamoring to help me to a chair.  i really love the running community!  someone else found me an ice pack and as i sat there mentally kicking myself in the ass my son brought me some treats and a few other runners asked if i was ok.

later... i found out that i came in 3rd in my age group in spite of my awful performance.  i'm not sure if that says something about the other runners being slow or if it says that i'm a complete and utter bad ass!  i'm going to go with the latter because it makes me feel better to think we were all fast and i just did an awesome job on a bum ankle.  lol!

my time this time compared to last year was slower... 26:49 to 25:35.  not much slower but disappointing none the less.  i will run this again next year because its a really fun race and mostly because i want to smash both of my previous times.  

being injured is one of the most difficult things for me.  i have a hard time sitting still and i just don't want to lose all the work i've done this summer.  i want to continue to improve and get faster and more efficient.  i mean... how am i going to run a marathon and/or a 50K next year if i'm broken?
  



Friday, October 4, 2013

inspiration, injuries (still), and such...

i haven't run AT ALL all week.  not even a few feet.  my left ankle is really painful to the point that i've been taking ibuprofen every day for it.  i've done some icing (admittedly ONCE) but other than that i've just been trying to let the thing heal by giving it time.  my right ankle hurts a little but not enough to keep me from running.  i figured after a week of rest (which was a considerable challenge all by itself) my ankles would feel better.  it seems to me that they sometimes feel WORSE!  what's up with that?!?

today... 4 rest days AFTER my 1/2 marathon... my left ankle is really starting to worry me.  i'm pretty sure that it's only tendenitis but the hypocondriac in me thinks its something worse. 

tomorrow i'm running a tiny 5K in lapham peak... the lapham peak colorama run/walk & smokey bear fun run.  i'm worried.  i ran this last year and really just want to beat my time but i'm worried that after having taken an entire week off of running my time will be shit.  i suppose that i'll find out tomorrow.

today i read this guy's blog.  he's got 3 new entries up and man... reading other peoples' race reports and thoughts on races really inspires me.  i am really excited for my 5K tomorrow even if i bomb it.  i love love love running in lapham peak.  it is incredibly challenging and beautiful.  i find it very inspiring to run there. 

so... stay tuned for tomorrow's race report and i'll let you know if i totally land on my face or if i PR... let's hope for the PR. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

tendons & ankles & running... oh my!

thankfully yesterday was a "rest day" because man... my left ankle is KILLING me

after hobbling around after the run on saturday as well as most of yesterday it occured to me (yes i'm a bit dense sometimes) that i probably am just experiencing tendinitis.  DUH!  it makes perfect sense since in the month of september i bumped up my weekly mileage by almost double in order to better train for saturday's half because i was disappointed in my time from the striders half.  too much too soon it seems.

now i'm probably going to not be running all week in preparation for this coming saturday's 5K... not expecting a very fast time considering i won't be running all week.  bummer.  over use is over use tho' so it is best for me to rest my ankles instead of working them again and becoming more seriously injured.  i am alternately incredibly annoyed and relieved by this.  annoyed because i'm starting october off with low/no mileage this week and relieved because for once i can come home from work and just BE.

 i'll be the first to tell you that i'm AWFUL at taking time off.  i get antsy, and quite frankly, my brain needs the calming outlet.  i mentally need the physical exertion... if that makes sense.  i find it calming to push my body to extremes.  i mean... i don't really consider the running i do to be extreme but i guess it might be considered that by some people. 

pain is a bummer... it's always a bummer.  hopefully the time off will allow my tendons to heal and i'll still be good to go on saturday for the lapham peak colorama run i'm doing. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Brewers Mini Marathon (13.1mi)

Brewers Mini Marathon (13.1) - September 28, 2013
time = 1:48:42 (1:48:40 official results)
pace = 8:14 (8:18 official results)
placed  15th in my age group (40-44) out of 288
placed 171th in women out of 2440
placed 532 overall out of 4043


why do they call it a "mini marathon" when it's really a HALF marathon?  i've been wondering this for awhile now.  still... no one can tell me the answer so if you know please let ME know.  k? thanks...

the sunrise was set for 6:48am today so needless to say (but i'm gonna say it anyway) it was dark out when we left the house at 5:30am.



i'm not really nervous when i have races.  i was for my first few 5Ks and then for my first half but not really anymore.  i'm more worried about not pooping myself as well as pacing myself.  there were so many people and the energy was great!



lots of fun already.  as the sun came up i ran into my friend jeni and shortly after that megan arrived.  we decided to do one last bathroom break before we began and apparently EVERYONE AND THEIR MOM had the same idea.  we were in the bathroom line when the national anthem played.  we got to our corral just in time and then they announced that they were going to start 10 minutes late.  we were crammed like sardines!  i really intended to PR at today's race and i'm sad to report that i did no such thing.  as you can clearly see from my splits:
 
we were running really strong for the first few miles but it was long incline after long incline and i lost megan on the 27th street bridge at about mile 5.3 because she needed to sit down.  after that it was all downhill from there (and i don't mean logistically).  *sigh*

we started to lose the 1:45 pacers near mile 5 because of the long incline on clybourn st. (all the inclines were long... did i mention that?  let me say it a couple more times... REALLY LONG.  only 1 REAL hill but LOTS of gradual inclines).  so by the time we got to 27th both of us were losing momentum.  right after we parted ways tho'... i really just slowed down more each mile.  lame...

national ave. and 35th street were pretty flat so i spent that time trying to move my ass to no avail.  thankfully state street is a beautiful and welcome downhill right past miller brewery.  i stretched out my legs with longer strides, and tried to gain some lost speed/time there.  i managed to maintain the momentum for awhile after it leveled out, but still i knew that i wasn't going to finish in the time i was hoping for.  my legs were really tired although my foot felt pretty good with very little pain.  it was more just an annoying ache than actual pain.

next came hawley road which was the only incline that i'd consider an actual hill.  i actually walked a few steps here.  once i got up to the top tho' i started running again and felt pretty good.  another downhill came just before we got back to the stadium area.  it was wonderful to get a chance to stretch my legs again.  

when there's only one mile left we all got to run on the outer edge of the baseball diamond in miller park.  that was pretty cool because they put everyone's image on the jumbotron and there were so many people cheering us on from in there.

this was a really great race.  the sun was shining the whole time and the temperature was perfect!  there was a bit of a headwind but i'm thinking i wouldn't have even noticed it if i had been running a training run instead of a race.  

as i sit here with really fatigued legs i am really happy with this race.  i'd probably do it again next year. it was well planned and wonderfully organized.  the food at the end was awesome and it just seemed to go on and on... table after table of goodies.  the police were awesome blocking off all the streets and the volunteers were supportive and positive.  i had a really great time today.










all photos by therd