Thursday, June 5, 2014

Eau Claire Marathon Relay 2014

Sorry that it's been so long since my last post!  Apparently coming back to the midwest after our trip to Mexico was nothing worth writing about ;)

So what better way to revisit the blog with than with a race recap!?

Last month, I participated in the Eau Claire Marathon Relay with my fellow CrossFit friends Brittany, Kayla, and Molly.  It was the first Sunday of May and between the four of us, we completed the full marathon, each running between six and seven miles. I volunteered to run the second leg of the race which happens to be the longest at seven miles and pretty dang hilly.

I decided to do the second leg of the race because my brother was running the second leg as well on a relay team with his buddies. We were able to do a few training runs together and it was fun to spend some extra time with him! Bobby and I both wanted to run around the 9:00/mile pace so it was nice to train with someone who had the same goals.

The start of my run had an unfortunate start since we did not hear our number be announced (warning us that our team member was coming so we could be ready for a quick transition/hand off).  All of a sudden, Brittany ran past before I had my sweatpants off, shoes tied, or music ready!  I yanked my pants off and started running after Brittany to tell her she was done and I was off!  I ran the first two miles in 8:30 min/miles because of the adrenaline rush of the start and I knew I couldn't maintain that pace for over seven miles, so I convinced myself to slow down a bit.

Luckily, Bobby and I were able to run the exact route two times before the race so I knew exactly what to expect.  However, we practiced the runs in the rain and cold, not beautiful weather!  It got very warm and I regretted wearing a long sleeved shirt under my t-shirt, but luckily it wasn't unbearable.  The hills were rough but like I said, I knew when to expect them and was able to mentally prepare for them.

The volunteers and cheering spectators were AWESOME and gave me an extra oomph throughout the run.  I finished the route in better time than our practice runs at 1:07.  I ran at a 9:13 pace, which is my best pace for a longer run!  Great news - Bobby finished in nine minute miles, as well!  So we both hit our goal!

Kayla ran right after me then we waited for Molly to come up Carson Park hill so we could cross the finish line as a team.

All the ladies did amazing and we finished in the top half of female and overall teams!

I couldn't have asked for a better team!

Or a better community to represent!

FitELITE had two other teams running and it was fun to stick together and cheer each other on all morning!

The weather couldn't have been more perfect that day.  Cooler in the morning, warm and sunny for the finish.  After the long winter, it was fun to see everyone hanging out in the sun after the race!  The EC Marathon had an awesome beer and food tent set up with free beer and brats for all runners.

I've never had a beer post race before and apparently I've been missing out!  It was extremely refreshing and delicious.

This race was SO much fun.  The EC Marathon was organized by new owners this year and so many much needed changes were made... I couldn't have been more happy with how the race went!  All of the volunteers, spectators, and runners were amazing and I can't wait to be a part of the EC Marathon again next year!

DO IT WITH ME!  The EC Marathon has so many options… 5K, Half-Marathon, Marathon, and Marathon Relay.  Awesome medals, awesome apparel, awesome time.  See you in 2015!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Our Honeymoon - Cozumel, Mexico

It's about darn time I get on here and write about our amazing trip to Mexico!  It's hard to believe that we have been back for almost two weeks and I have yet to get back on track as far as sleep, eats, and workouts.  It didn't help that I came back to a week full of 12 hour overnight shifts… Oh well.

Even though we got married in October, we decided to wait off on our honeymoon.  We knew we wanted to go somewhere warm and with a beach.  Winters get so long and dreadful in Wisconsin, so we were aiming for January, but it got pushed back to February.  But, that's okay!  We flew out on Terry's birthday when the "feel like" temperature was -34 degrees.  Brrr.  Mexico welcomed us with a beautiful 85 degrees.

This was the view from our room.  Simply gorgeous!  We were on the sixth floor, so perfect enough to always leave our balcony doors open to enjoy the breeze and view.  We fell asleep each night and woke up each morning to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach.  Heaven!

Our main goal for the entire trip was to just RELAX.  We're not big into sight-seeing and being adventurous every single day of vacation.  When I get home from a week long vacation, I don't want to feel as though I need another week off from work to recuperate.  We arrived at our resort around 3:00PM (Cozumel happens to be in the same time zone as Wisconsin, so we didn't have to deal with any time adjustments) and changed right away.  We grabbed lunch and a margarita.

All of the drinks were delicious!  We fell in love with the margaritas, daiquiris, mimosas and melon drinks!

Our first day consisted of beach lounging, sipping on drinks, and swimming in the ocean!

We were pretty exhausted from the early flight and the excitement of finally being in Mexico, that we fell asleep right after the sun went down around 6:30PM.  Yes, I know, we're losers.  But we woke up the next morning ready to explore!

We took a taxi to the pier and rode a ferry over to the mainland to visit Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen.

Fifth Avenue is a mile plus long strip of stores, restaurants, bars, and markets.

We walked around, shopped, and made pit stops for drinks!

It was so much fun!  We also had the opportunity to take a tour of another all-inclusive resort that we almost booked for our trip.  It was really cool to see the resort, but I'm so glad we chose the Melia in Cozumel over everything else.

We got back to our resort around dinner time and relaxed after all of the walking!

The next two days were devoted to taking it easy.  We stayed at the resort both days and alternated between the beach, the pool, and our balcony.

On Sunday night, we walked on the beach to the pier during the sunset.

In case you were wondering; yes, the sunsets were this beautiful every.single.night.  I couldn't believe it!

On Monday, we decided to spend the day being a little more adventurous.  We rented a Jeep for the day!

We had the entire day to cruise around town and do whatever we wanted!

First stop, the Mayan Ruins!

We decided to do a self-tour instead of going on one and it was nice to walk around at our own pace and check everything out.

However, we did learn that Cozumel is known as the "Island of Fertility".  Apparently people used to get married on the mainland and then take a boat over to Cozumel and come back a year later with a baby.  Hmmm… Interesting thing to learn while you're on your honeymoon.

We also found out that it is mating season for the iguanas, so they were EVERYWHERE at the Ruins. Literally, everywhere.  Terry heard me legitimately scream for the first time when I accidentally got too close to one (I didn't even see it) and it scurried away.  Terrifying for me, but Terry was having a blast.

After the Mayan Ruins, we traveled to the far North end of the island and made pit stops at a bunch of popular bars/restaurants and enjoyed something to eat and drink at each stop!

Our first stop was at Coconuts Bar & Grill

The decor and music was super fun!  They had tons of t-shirts, license plates, and bumper stickers hanging up that would have taken hours to read everything.

A waiter even made me a grasshopper!

We split a margarita and some chips and guacamole.  The guacamole was AH-MAZING.

Our next stop was at Bob Marley's Bar where we had strawberry margaritas and split a quesadilla!

We made a stop at another Mayan Ruin site before going downtown.

We went downtown to a restaurant called "La Perlita" which a couple of friends referred us to.  Since we had been eating most of the day, we stuck to the appetizer menu and split another margarita.

Terry got shark empanadas and I got shrimp tacos… They were so good!  We also had chips and guacamole but both agreed that the guacamole at Coconuts was much better.

We walked around downtown for a bit since traffic was really congested and found out why it was so backed up: The Color Run!

So neat!  We did a little bit more shopping then called it a night and headed back to the resort.  Renting the Jeep was so much fun!  It was definitely the favorite day of the trip for the both of us.

The next day was our last full day on vacation so we scheduled a 90 minute couples massage and made reservations at the fancy restaurant in our resort for dinner.  The massage was so great that the 90 minutes felt like ten and we both couldn't believe how fast time went.  We then got dressed up for dinner and enjoyed a five-course candle lit dinner on the beach!

Terry had a t-bone steak and I had salmon.  I took a bunch of pictures but because of the dim lighting, they didn't turn out that great.  Take my word for it that dinner was delicious!

We had a few drinks at the lobby bar where there was live music playing and then called it a night.  We wanted to wake up early the next day to soak up all the sun we could before heading to the airport at 1:00PM.

Our last Caribbean sunset
We lounged by the pool, enjoyed a few more cocktails, packed up, and said goodbye to our beautiful room.

We took a taxi to the airport and said good-bye to Mexico.

It makes me so sad to see these pictures and not be there still.  I joked several times throughout the trip that we could make a living down there and be able to experience those sunsets every night (a part of me still isn't joking).

To say the least, this is not our last time going to Cozumel or staying at the Melia resort.  We spoke with many other couples at the resort who have stayed elsewhere, yet time and time again they return to Melia.  I can't wait for future trips with my husband!  :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Running for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

I posted on the Life After Morning Coffee Facebook Page last week that I registered for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Lottery.

The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon was my third half marathon and it is where I have ran my best half marathon time in 2:24.

The race is held in Duluth, MN and it has to be the most beautiful race course in the midwest!  It runs along the shores of Lake Superior and finishes in Canal Park.  I knew right away that I would be back for years to come!  You can read about my first experience at Grandma's HERE!

I was able to get into the lottery last year, but this year I wasn't so lucky.  However, I'm not giving up!  I have decided to team up with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and run for charity!  If I can raise over $1,500, I will receive a race bib to run in the 2014 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon!

The mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (from their website) "is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.  Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or a family's ability to pay."

Did you know that it costs $1.8 million a day to operate St. Jude?

Did you know that 70% of the funds come from the public?

Did you know that because of donations, no family ever pays St. Jude for anything?  That includes lodging, food, and travel.

Wow.  I couldn't think of a better reason to run.

Want to see me run another half marathon?  Want to see my get another personal record?  Want to be a part of it?  Visit my fundraising page and help me reach my $1,500 donation goal.  Every penny counts.  Thank you in advance!

Any businesses want to donate?  I'll gladly sport your logo during all of my training runs here in Eau Claire and during my race up in Duluth!  Contact me for more information.