borgess 10k recap – back in the racing saddle!

I’m so pleased to be writing this race recap!  It has been positively AGES since I last wrote one – November, in fact, and it does my heart good to be typing this.

yay! a finish line! that I crossed!
yay! a finish line! that I crossed!

The Borgess 10k is part of marathon weekend here in Kalamazoo.  Once upon a time, only the 1/2 and a 5k were offered.  The Borgess 1/2 was around for a long time and it was my first ever 1/2 marathon.  I trained like a boss for it.  Look at all of the happiness.

I do love a good running skirt
I do love a good running skirt

This was/is my 1/2 PR – 2:04 and some change.

I’ve signed up for the 1/2 twice since my inaugural running of this event and both times I didn’t run it.  I wasn’t trained enough or whatnot.  We now have the Kalamazoo Marathon and last year they introduced the 10k.  I picked the 10k and I went into race day knowing my legs weren’t ready but I was determined.

mapThe week prior to the event is the end of the semester so it’s always chaotic.  I woke up Sunday morning feeling like I was getting a cold but figured it was just some allergies.  Momentarily, I wondered if I should not run… really, I was just scared.  I got up at 6 am and was out the door at 6:35 am – only 5 minutes later than what I wanted.  Major score for me!

Now, the race didn’t start until 8:15 am but I was paranoid about finding parking.  It’s safe to say, parking worries me as much as actually running races worries me.  I hunkered down in the car once I arrived (prime parking space btw), adjusted my play list, talked to myself and just generally got mentally prepared.

The 1/2 and 5k are very established.  The marathon and 10k are continuing to grow so there was a fun crowd gathering.  All of the events started EXACTLY on time.  Well done, Kalamazoo!  The marathon and 1/2 marathon started at the same time and took a right out of the starting gate.  The 10k started 15 mins later and we went left, with the 5k starting 20 (or so) mins after this.  The 10k and 5k only partially shared the course but we were mostly ahead of them so we weren’t stampeded by speedy 5k-ers.  There was also a walking/family event which was part of the staggered start and were split from the runners during shared course time.  I explain all of this because it was very well-organized.  I was never mowed down by a 5k-er, nor did I slow up a 1/2 marathon person.  You should definitely consider this race someday.

runners as far as the eye can see
runners as far as the eye can see

I started out and quickly realized a couple of things A) I haven’t run 6 miles since October.  B) This is/was a damn hilly course.  C) I wanted to walk – pretty early on!  But I kept telling myself I could wait to get to the water stop.  And I knew there was a steep hill at the end so if I needed to walk at all during this I had to save it for that biggie hill.  I pepped-talked myself a lot and remembered things friends said to me, one of my favorites being, “the faster you run the faster you’re done”.

a billboard facing the last stretch of the course
a billboard facing the last stretch of the course

I did have to walk a bit on that last hill – it was at the end of the course, which is just stinkin’ mean!  I FINISHED!  Yay!  It was my slowest 10k to date but I’m crazy proud of myself.  There has been a lot of sickness and injury for almost a year now and I didn’t give up even though I really wanted to.  I celebrated with a brewski which is specially brewed for this weekend, “The Big Finish”.  At 9:45 am.

of course I kept the cup
of course I kept the cup

It got fairly warm while I was out there (nothing unmanageable since I knew I would be finished soon) but the water stop seemed very far away.  I should’ve brought my own beverage.  Also, when we walked through the finish line there were some after-race fuel tables but it was confusing.  There were minimal options (especially for a gluten-free-er) and I thought there would be more outside of the finish area.  There wasn’t, unless you wanted to pay for lunch.  I grabbed a mini-orange slice, a bottle of water and then a chocolate milk.  These are my only two gripes about this race.  By the time I lingered a bit, got coffee, showered and dressed I was so beyond starving.  I need to work on my after-run fueling strategy.

Now I need to sign up for a million more races!

there’s a marathon afoot

There is a marathon happening outside my front door this morning.

I am wildly jealous of the runners!

Meanwhile, I am working.  Not my first choice.  Today is the Kalamazoo full, Borgess 1/2 and this year there are both  10k and 5k options as well.  It’s fantastic!  I really wanted to at least do the 10k or 1/2 but work commitments trumped.

Did I mention I was at work?

Alright, I need to breathe out the bitterness… Also happening this weekend is the Flying Pig Marathon.  I can’t even tell you how desperate I am to run this.  I collected pigs as a kid and these medals have flying pigs right on them!  I love the fun atmosphere and following them on facebook makes me want to run it even more (seriously, check out their website).  There is also a new run they created, the Queen Bee 1/2, which is in the fall.  Again, adorable and fun.

Now that I’ve lamented about the races I’m not running, I should probably make sure I’m ready for the ones I AM running.  Yesterday I set out for some miles and accomplished 5.  It’s funny because I kept wanting to stop.  “I’m tired.”  “My legs can’t go any further.”  “Why did I sign up for this again?!”

During this detrimental inner monologue I told myself that my brain was tired, not my legs.  Guess what?  This was true.  I could and did keep running.  I also asked myself, “do you want this race?”  I decided I did indeed want to run and finish my upcoming 25k; that I did indeed, want to keep running.  While I didn’t suddenly get a surge of power, I pep talked my brain and legs into running further.  Also, I came up with my mantra for the race:  “I’ll cross this *%$#$ finish line”.  Sorry for the profanity but I am going to need the aggression to boot scoot my booty along next weekend.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my mental game sucks.  So, I reinstated my visualizing yesterday.  I can’t begin to express how helpful this technique is and sometimes I completely forget about it.  I imagine what it’s like to cross the finish line and the euphoria that always follows.  I also picture what the middle of the race will be like – when I want to curl up on the roadside and rock in the fetal position until someone takes pity on me quit.  While prepping myself to feel awful may not be a typical motivational practice, I need to arm myself with the weapons to defeat the negativity.  The only way I know how to do this presently is to figure out ways to encourage my feets to keep doing their thing, no matter what the rest of me is screaming.

I kind of want to make this a shirt…

I’ve got 10 miles on the docket today.  I bandaged up my feet yesterday in hopes that it would stop my Hokas from blistering my feet.  No such luck.  I was kind of surprised actually – I done bandaged them good.  What this does mean though is that I am going to need to wear my NEW shoes for the 25k.  Yet another reason my blog is called “Recipe for Disaster”… I’m going to take the newbies out tonight and the rest of the week to make sure my feet don’t catch on fire but I certainly have my concerns.  I was going to type, “it is what it is” but this doesn’t sufficiently convey my apprehension!

this does a better job…

It’s a BEAUTIFUL Sunday here.  I hope you all are having a wonderful day.  Good luck to everyone running and racing today!

I lost my banana…

Today is a list kind of day…

1.  The other day I put a banana in my purse and walked to work.  I have no idea where it went between my apt and my office.  I went to grab it around 11 am and it was nowhere to be found.  I will admit that I *might* have eaten it and I just don’t remember.  Monday this happened with another banana and I asked my office mate.  He confirmed consumption of said banana.  So… not sure…

I love everything about this

2.  My summer project kicked off with a bang last Friday.  Whew!  The project involves all of my administrative weaknesses.  To say it’s been a challenge is an understatement.  I woke up at 4 am Thursday morning with a major panic attack.  I had made a mistake on Wednesday and at that point I was sure everything else was wrong, too.  I was breathing through it and it started to go away and then a whole new wave of panic hit.  I put on some soft music and continued to breathe.  I saw this last night and will repeat it:

will this matterI will say, this is a GOOD challenge for me.  Even despite how much my ADD brain struggles with/hates it.

3.  I went back to my running beginnings and purchased some Asics.  I got the Nimbus to be exact and I’m fairly certain I mentioned this already.  I’ve done a few runs in them on the treadmill and I do like them.  They kind of feel a little clunky compared to the Brooks Glycerins but the cushion is nice.  And they are a pretty mermaid green (not the actual name, mistake on their part) – always helps!

ooo - shiney
ooo – shiny

The toe box is wide enough for my flipper-like feet and I’ll probably take them out and about this weekend.  I still really like the Hokas though.  Or maybe I like the idea of the Hokas?  I’m thinking I should just give shoe experimenting a rest.  I just bought some Altras (they were on sale) and I ran in them for about 5 mins on the treadmill last night.  I am not convinced these are for me.  I do LOVE the wide toe box though so I might give them another shot.  Maybe.

3b.  I emailed the Hoka customer service to see if they come in a wider width and a) they got back to me within 2 hours – nice! and b) they suggested I try the Conquest or the Bondi 3.  They suggested an exchange but I didn’t buy my shoes through them and I’ve been wearing them.  Sooo, I will need to wait on this purchase.  But the hills are once again alive with my hopes!

4.  This race is coming up so quickly!  May 10th!  EEK!

5/3 riverbank run
5/3 riverbank 25k run

5.  I’ve actually gone to bed early a few nights this week.  As in, I turned the tv off at 10 pm and maybe checked out some pinterest for a bit then SLEEP.  Strange.  Part of this has been me failing asleep on the couch.  While not ideal, it does mean I am getting a few more zzz’s so I’ll take this as a first step.

6.  Saturday is the first day off I’ve had in two weeks.  I’m elated.  Sunday I need to come back to the office so I’m especially looking forward to the island in the stream.  Nothing fancy planned – laundry, a run – the basics.  But the day will be ALL MINE.


7.  Everyone has been put out by the rain this week.  Me?  Nope – reminds of WA during early spring!  I have wimped out and ran inside on my treadmill though.  For a couple of hours I decided the treadmill is making me a wuss since I run inside when the weather is kind of crummy.  Then I realized I would likely not run at all and once again came to the conclusion my treadmill purchase was a good one.

Just some random musings, I guess.  I feel like there was something of real substance I was going to include on this list but maybe that was just my banana story and shoe update.  Oh and the panic attack – when I share about these it helps me for some reason.  Not terribly exciting but you know life isn’t always giant bundles of hula hoops and glitter.  I’m good with that.

this is what you get when you search “hula hoops and glitter”


I should be running a turkey trot right now

I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself.  At this moment I am supposed to be running the annual Turkey Trot here on campus but instead I’m laying on my couch hacking up a lung.  I was certain I would be able to kick this sickness by resting this past week however this hasn’t been the case.

people have acted this way around me this week on some varying levels

Oh, I’m sure it’s helped.  I was out of work for two days.  Yesterday I went back and noticed I was out of breath walking around.  So, no running this morning… Being smart is dumb.  There is another Turkey Trot in town on Thanksgiving so this is a definite possibility.  I’m also thinking a trip to the doc on Monday might be in order.

Alright, whining finished… I think…

I did make a very good pot of chili this week!  I love Wendy’s chili and found this copy cat recipe on pinterest (of course) and it turned out really well.  Actually, I’ve seen this recipe floating around the internet for years and I finally made it.  It is incredibly easy and came together quickly.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Here is the recipe I used – it makes a big pot and I intend to freeze it.  It’s nice to have a ready made lunch/dinner option considering this upcoming week of hectic-ness.  ***I just noticed I forgot the 2 cups of water!  Ha!  I’ve only had a bowl right after I cooked it and it seemed like the right consistency.  Oh well!  Also, I used a can of diced green chili peppers and drained them a little.


How to make it

  • Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Drain off the fat.
  • In a large pot, combine the beef plus all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer over low heat.
  • Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Serve with shredded cheddar and a spoon of sour cream

I’m curious (and changing the subject) when you’ve taken time off from running, do you find it difficult to jump back in with your training plan?  I do think momentum plays a decent size role in my motivation and I feel like this has been trampled into submission this week.  I’m also basing this on my recent past with my depression level at the time so maybe this won’t be as big of an issue.

This hiccup in training is only a bit concerning.  While I know the first couple of runs back are going to be uncomfortable and I may not be jumping into my running tights with a fervor, I know I haven’t lost all of my running fitness and this setback can be remedied.  I believe it.

Last tidbit, I started falling asleep last night at 8:15 pm.  I slept off and on and never made it to my bed – my couch is crazy comfy!  While I don’t recommend sleeping during episodes of Law and Order, Criminal Intent (DISTURBING dreams, yo), I think I should go to bed at 8 pm more often.  I woke up this morning at 5:50 am; I never thought this was possible!

is that all?!

races can change lives, you know

At mile 11ish, I started thinking about how I never wanted to do anything longer than the 1/2 marathon distance again.  Granted, I have already signed up for Dopey but in that moment, that was it.

Naturally, 24 hours later, I was looking up fun marathons to do in the spring.  Isn’t this always the case?!  In the heat of the pain, exhaustion, wanting to stop and sit down for a bit, I was thinking, “WHYYYY???”.  When I finished I was thinking, “WHEN AGAIN??”.

While I have already talked about my pride in pace and finish time, I want to talk a bit more about how I felt during the race.  Aside from the “please carry me now” minutes, the rest of the race was amazing.  I felt strong and capable.  I felt ready to tackle the miles.  I felt confident.

You know those training runs where you start to doubt you should have ever started the run journey in the first place?  Each mile seems to weigh heavier and heavier on your spirit and your legs?  This was not the case.  I’m not bragging, rather I want to reiterate how thrilled I am with this turn of events.

super amyYou see, I haven’t felt this good in a race or simply running in general for a year now.  I felt fairly great in my first marathon last year, although I knew I could have trained better.  But still, I felt confident and had those moments of sheer awe that I was running a marathon in San Fran!  But then this dwindled.  Between sickness, physical and emotional, complete lack of motivation and determination my running spirit and muscles atrophied.  It was sad for me to see/feel this happening but I felt powerless to stop it.

Now I am taking the power back!  This in itself feels both empowering and incredible.  I am rediscovering my running spirit and along with it putting back the slightly broken pieces of myself.  It may sound dramatic but running has become part of my soul and it was difficult when I didn’t enjoy it or find any momentum to get my legs moving.  It was completely indicative of how I felt about myself and where I was in life and I knew it.

So, the Grand Rapids 1/2 marathon was an incredible experience for me.  I know not every race will hold such weighty enlightenment and this is a-okay with me.  What’s next?  Small festive races for this fall.  A local turkey trot and some kind of Christmas race just for fun.  Then off to Disney World to test my endurance, my determination and my training.  Oh and to just have a sh*t ton of fun!  Ultimately, I’m recognizing (again) this is what it’s all about.

felt this was an appropriate “joyful” pic considering my impending future

a bit of re-evaluating

In 10 days I have a 25k… this is far – as in the furtherest I’ll have ever run to date.  My last two runs have been sub-par.  Of course, I know on race day everything will be different.  I’ll have race day adrenaline, I’ll be there with close friends and for some reason, it will feel like anything is possible.  I love race days for this very reason.  Oh yeah, and one or two packets of Espresso Love GU – man, that stuff gets me through some tough runs!

the chocolate one is pretty tasty too!

While I have faith I will run better than I am currently anticipating, I know it’s going to be a tough haul.  It also won’t be my absolute bestest effort ever considering my training has been a little lackluster.  So, I am re-evaluating my goals.  This is not something I do lightly – in typical Amy-fashion, I like to go all out and just see what happens.  Part of me will still do this but I am going to go easy on myself mentally when I don’t “magically” pull out a PR that is NOT possible based on my current running/fitness level.

When I first thought about what I wanted to do for the giveaway, I immediately knew I wanted to find out what motivated other people.  I have gotten some  really cool responses!  When I read them there was a part of me that wondered where some of my passion has gone.  Why am I not as motivated?  I am a Sweat Pink Ambassador!  I have helped get friends into running!  My friends and family tell me how proud they are of me all the time!  Yes, I kind of feel like a fraud sometimes.  Where is THIS girl/runner?!

this is Danielle – we are running the Nike Women’s Marathon together too! we are very happy here!

THIS runner was excited to run!  She fell in love with it and loved how strong she felt after a good run.  What I most remember about being this runner was how I ran because I loved it – no expectations, no positive/negative splits, no comparing myself to my friends who were runners – I was proud of what I had accomplished and I just RAN.

yeah, kind of like this guy

Lately, when I have been hitting the pavement, I think about how others are doing so much better or how my speed isn’t great or how my endurance isn’t what it should be.  Oh yeah, the negative nancy in my head has been shouting!

What does all of this self-reflection mean?  First and foremost, I am going to get back to being this runner.  I craved running at this point in my life and it brought me happiness, peace of mind and some killer leg muscles!  Second, in my mind admitting I will most likely be running around a 11:00 min mile pace for the 25k screamed NOT GOOD!*  I am erasing this message from my brain!  I am going to run 15 miles!  I am going to celebrate this feat rather than concentrating on my time.  Third, I am going to allow myself time to improve and train well.  I’ve got a crazy fun Ragnar Relay coming up in June, a Mud Run right before that and then the 1/2 marathon in July.  (Oh yeah, and the NIKE FULL!)  I want to do well in all of these but most of all I.WANT.TO.HAVE.FUN.

soooo happy – major runner’s high, surrounded by my “fans” and absolutely LOVING running!

See, while I have been lamenting all of my “used to” things (being faster, having more endurance, being more fit) I think what I am really missing is how I felt about running and how running made me feel. In my mind, I have decided getting back to that level will bring all that back but instead I need to let it all go to regain it.  Weird.  But I’m pretty good at this over-analyzing self-reflecting thing so I feel sure about this.

I think it’s great to identify the source but now I need an action plan.  I’ve listed the three things above but I am also excited to add the Running and Reading Long program to the mix.  Not only do I need to work on training my body but my head needs some work as well.  I feel really good about these realizations and ready to put them into action!

*This is slower for me – 9 to 9:30 min miles are more my happy pace.  I am always proud of everyone else, no matter their speed.  I just don’t always grace myself with this pride on performance.  Working on it friends… working on it.

future trip home!

Have you heard the best time to buy a plane ticket is on Tuesdays at 3 pm?  I didn’t quite make the the 3 pm deadline but I did get my ticket today to go back and visit my family in Port Angeles, WA!  I didn’t even have to sell a kidney in order to afford it!

here is an awesome pic of Port Angeles (nope, didn't take it - click on it for credit!)

Port Angeles is on the Strait of Juan de Fuca (yes, I have always LOVED to say this!) and it’s about 3 hours northwest of Seattle, WA.  One of the slogans is, “Where the Mountains meet the Sea” since the town is nestled in the Olympic Mountains.  I’m not going to lie, this is one of the prettiest places in the U.S.  If you ever get a chance, come out and visit!

yes, this is a real tree - we grow 'em big out there!

Not only will I be spending some much needed time with my family, I will be running a half marathon.  My family has never seen me run a race and I am really excited to do with this race with them in attendance.  All of this fun business will be taking place in July.  This is where I am hoping for a 1/2 PR – sub 2 hours!!

chocolate? champagne? running? AWESOME!

Today I also realized I am going to have one heck of a busy summer!  I mentioned the waves of panic that swept over me the other night and I figured out today the only way to avoid this is to GET ORGANIZED.  Now, classic organization isn’t one of my strengths – I definitely have my own style.  This style needs to be tightened up a bit or else I am going to flounder!  So I started, “The MONSTER To-Do List” today.  It has the fun things I want to do and the mundane things I have to do.  Luckily, I also have mega-organized friends who have offered to help – thanks friends, you da bomb!  Once I have more of the fun stuff on there, I’ll put the list on here.  I am determined to have a FUN summer!

Oh yeah, and can I just say how MAD I am at Dairy Queen for introducing this?!

noooo!! why would you do this DQ?! some of us have training plans to stick to you!

My hips, thighs and bum hate you Dairy Queen… and kind of love you at the same time.  If you can’t tell from the pic, its funfetti cake and blizzard.  YUM!

Don’t forget!  You have until tomorrow at 5 pm to enter my give-away!