Thursday, May 26, 2011

Runner Survey

Since I have not been doing a lot of blogging about running lately, and I saw this going around on Living the Dream and My Dirt Road Anthem, I figured I would I go ahead and use this to bring this back to running. Join in and add your own question at the end too!

What is your favorite type of cross training?
This is tough. I would have to say mountain biking is the most fun, but I don't get to do it very often. Swimming has probably afforded me the most benefit to my running. It has helped me to increase my endurance, and as long as I am in a middle lane of a pool, I find it very relaxing, despite being terrible at it.

What is your favorite song to run to?
This should be no shocker...Lose Yourself by Eminem.

What brand of shoes do you wear?
I have been wearing Mizuno Wave Creations XX for the past 10 years, with the exception of the test Reeboks. I love them, but thankfully the Reebok testing opened up my eyes that other shoes do in fact work just fine. However, I am in LOVE with the Mizuno Prophecy, just appalled by the price tag :(

Do you wear a hat when you run?
When I am running in the blizzards that I ran in this past winter, you can bet I did! A nice knit hat that is big enough to wear a high ponytail and still cover my whole head. I cannot run without my OR windstopper headband when it is below 50 or so. I am a total wimp, and need my ears covered and shielded from the wind. My husband thinks the concept of a windstopper headband is the dumbest thing ever, but I think it is genius since a lot of times I just need my ears to be covered and not my whole head. In the summer, I am tri geek wearing a visor at all times. I like my team Compex visor. It is identical to my Team Marathon visor, but I wore it to get more brand exposure last year. I am bummed they did not provide a Team Aquaphor visor this year, so I will be wearing my Triathletes in Action visor. It isn't as sporty as the headsweats Compex one, but I like that it is white and I can still represent TIA.

What temperature is your favorite for running?
I don't like being cold, so I would have to say 70 degrees or more. It is a bit warm at this temp, so I like my races a bit cooler, but I like to train in the 70s. I also love running on a hot summer day and then hitting the beach as soon as I am done running. That is an awesome way to cool off. I need to find a route where that works in Louisville. I miss Island Lake and Kensington for that reason.

Do you have any big races coming up?
Big is an understatement for my next race, Racing for Recovery Half Iron distance. June 5th! I am not going to blog about it much other than the training. I don't want to stress myself out any more than I need to. About a week and a half later, I have a sprint tri, the anniversary of my start of tris. I am also hoping to do Muncie in July, as well as another sprint tri and a mountain bike race. After that, I may be done racing until a fall marathon or half. I am doing something in Detroit for the medal alone, and there is a new half here in KY in Nov that may work out nicely. I have Boston next spring, so I don't want to do too much.

What is your favorite distance?
13.1 is my fav. I think it is because I can easily train for one and do tris and biking at the same time. It doesn't take a lot of thought for me to train for one. I have never really followed a set plan and have been really happy with my results. It does not take the time commitment as a full, but it is still a huge accomplishment. I also feel relatively good afterwards and it doesn't ruin the whole day.

Are you a morning, noon, or evening runner?
I run at whatever time of day works for the day. If it is a split or brick day, I run in the evening, as my second workout. If I am just running and conditioning, I run in the morning. If I am doing a long run on Saturday, I am usually running in the afternoon, after my husband has finished his group ride. If I know my husband is mountain biking at a park, I will save my run for the then and run while he is there with the stroller. It is a complex schedule that depends on the day, but has so far worked out well. I guess we will see next weekend how it really works.

Do you run solo or with a buddy?
This sort of goes with the above question. It depends. Brick runs are almost always done with friends, as well as long runs. I love a long run with Cristina or Valerie, and anyone else I can get to come along. It is nice to either be pushed or push someone else while running long. My indoor treadmill sessions for track workouts and midweek long runs are usually on my own, and my other mid distance run is usually with the kids in the stroller. I mix it up a lot. I used to do group runs, but have found those more difficult to mesh with my schedule from both a time standpoint and speed/distance requirements. Bricks are usually group, though.

What is your favorite post run snack?
I need to find a new one. I used to do chocolate milk, but have been limiting my dairy. I usually have a banana now or a protein shake.

What is your favorite race?
This is really hard. I only have a few races that I do over and over. The Live Like Andi event is a really great one, and they have been adding events each year. Also the Martian Marathon will be a favorite since I qualified for Boston there. I have also run the half and the 10K, so I have done all the distances offered.

Do you wear a Garmin? If not, how do you track your distance?
I wear a Garmin as much as I can. I am really bad about making sure it is charged. My old one would tell me hours of battery life remaining each time you turned it on, and my new one does not, but has a bar indicator. I never look at that. Most of my routes I have done so many times I know them, or here in KY, and loops that I know. I need to use my Garmin to find some new routes though!

What is my least favorite race?
This was super hard, and I feel like a horrible person for selecting this one, but Race for the Cure is my least favorite. I only say this because it is so huge and such a hassle to go to. I will gladly donate to others running this race so I don't have to do it! It is expensive to run in Detroit because it isn't very close, you have to pay an insane amount of parking that does not go to charity as far as I know. I have been able to use Ryan's Ford badge to get preferential parking and party privileges at Hockeytown, but you have to be there several hours before the race to get a spot. Not my thing for just a 5K. It is so crowded and traffic is bad, usually because there is another game going on that day too. It is probably the source of most of my embarrassing race moments or problems.

Where is your favorite medal from?
I am so bummed I don't have a medal from my Olympic tri. Not even a finisher's medal. If I did, that would probably be my favorite. I think the Martian Marathon, Brooksie Way Half Marathon, and Columbus Marathon Medals are probably my favorites for what they represent. Martian for the BQ, Brooksie Way for being the redemption race I needed coming back from an injury and STILL PRing(it also have cool fall leaves on it, reminding me of how awesome MI falls are- mmmm donuts), and the Columbus for being my first marathon. The Derby Mini is pretty cool, HUGE, and a great way to commemorate my move to KY.

Who is your running idol?
Probably Paul Radcliffe, for how quickly she was able to come back from running after her pregnancy. I have local idols such as Mary Beth Reader, who came into running later in life and is a very successful runner, as well as mother. Cristina is my good friend and I look up to her a ton. She has helped me improve a ton.

How long have you been a runner?
I have dabbled with running as a child, doing kids races, and then ran in college to stay fit. I didn't really get serious about running until 2000 or so. I did not do my first marathon until 2004, and my first tri in 2009.

Do you run with your wedding/engagement ring on?
Yes. All the time, unless it is at the end of a tri. It does not get worn in the water, but that is about it. I also wear makeup for races. Even tris.

What is your favorite workout? tempo? long run? fartlek? repeats?
I really like long runs, especially with a friend. I do enjoy a track workout because it has changes of pace in it.

What is your favorite place to run?
Kensington Metropark. It has hills and a long path around the lake so there is not a lot of repetition to get in the miles. It is a big loop too, so you can't really shorten your route if you aren't feeling it. You have to push through to the end.

Do you use Gu?
I am a total GU addict, and by GU, I mean GU brand. I have tried others, but I just love the taste, consistency, and performance of GU. I really like Roctance, but wish it wasn't so expensive. I think it really helps. I use one 15 minutes before and then every 5 miles or 45 minutes, whatever comes first. I had 6 GUs the day I qualified for Boston. Excessive? Maybe, but I got the job done.

What do you drink to keep hydrated?
Water. Just water. All that GU doesn't mix so well with other sports drinks.

What do you take with you on a run? Does it vary by distance?
I am old school. I don't listen to music unless I am outside, so most of the time, it is me, my Garmin, and my road ID. I hate carrying water, but will use a waist camelback if the distance requires it. If I am doing a long run with my stroller, I have tons of water, milk and almost every type of cracker snack for my kids with me, and maybe even a movie on the iPod for backup (although have never used it). Also, for long runs over 8 miles, I usually have GU. Anything less I don't worry about it for the expense. I also try to run where I know there will be water fountains or bathrooms to get water.

Leave me a comment if you opt to do this too or enjoyed reading! Also, I want to apologize for some of my lack of comments. I have been keeping up on reading, but for some odd reason, I have not been able to leave comments on everyone else's sites. It depends on the way the comment window looks whether I get caught in a "sign in" loop with blogger. Its boggling. I did get the link issue resolved...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wait, is this really a cycling blog?

I wasn't going to post about this, but it ended up being quite the event last night. Check out all 8 of us ladies huddled in the bathroom at Cherokee Park, seeking shelter from last night's thunderstorms.

Here we are before the ride started.

Note the blue skies in the background. Unfortunately, we were not riding that direction. We thought we had time to get in a quick 13 mile ride + 3 mile run before the storms came, but that was not the case. I saw a few flickers of lightning as Bridgette and I were climbing the first of the two climbs on the route, and headed into a shelter to wait for the group to catch up. We had just all arrived, and the full storm came. We huddled around the picnic table in the middle and were still getting wet. Ryan called, and wanted to know where I was. He was glad we were relatively safe and not out on the road. Ginger had the radar on her phone, and it was not looking good. We just kept an eye on the sky to try to catch a break. We knew of 2 more shelters we could potentially use if our breaks were not long enough. We rode to the next one with no issues. We were just about to pass the area when the storms started to come again. Forgetting I was on a road bike and not a mountain bike, I was trying to figure out how to best get back to the shelter on some sort of path, but at that point, just rode up to the bathroom that was past the shelter on the road. We all tried to squeeze underneath the overhang, but then just figured why not go inside. It was so funny, we found a couple of guys to take the above picture. They were pretty embarrassed to be in the ladies room, and thought we were pretty silly. Don't you always where your helmet to the bathroom? You can see that I was one of the few that didn't. That was because I was the dork testing out my aero helmet since this was a rather short ride. If I didn't like it, at least I didn't have to put up with it long. I couldn't stand up against the wall without bonking it, but aside from that, I really liked it. We finally caught another lull in the storms, and had a slow descent down from where we were. There was tons of water over the road, including an overflowing sewer drain- ewww! So much so that we felt like this was more of a swim/bike brick than the bike/run. We finally made it back to the store. We debated on the possibility of still trying to run, and then it started pouring and storming again. There was our answer.

They don't call this ride the Monday Night Mayhem for nothing! Hopefully next week I can get in good ride. At least I had some good company, and our breaks gave us the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit. It will be the last Monday night ride I do before the race. Boy did I feel better being back on the treadmill again today. It was raining this morning still.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Century Week

I rode 100.4 miles on my bike last week (total), and guess what- the world did not end! In fact, I rode more miles on my bike than Ryan on his, and the world still did not end. I was amazed that I was able to cram this much cycling into my week. I already updated everyone everyone on my group ride as well as my debacle ride, and my running last week.

I was really not sure what I wanted to do for a long ride last week. Ryan and I were really debating what to do. I was in Michigan, and Ryan was coming up for buy off for his work in Windsor. My mom had her 60th birthday party in Ohio on Saturday evening. The intial plan was that we would go to Ohio, and Ryan and I would ride 50+ miles together somewhere in Ohio. Meredith ( was busy working a photo booth by day and wedding by night, so I wasn't going to be able to meet up with her for a ride. I didn't ask Big Daddy Diesel( what he was doing yet since we had no clue what we were doing anyway, and he had a big ride on Sunday. Ryan's buy-off was getting postponed, and was going to take all day on Friday. This meant that driving to Ohio on Friday night would be hard. Ryan and I had to figure out what we wanted to do. I had initially planned on taking Friday as a light swim/rest day, but when I called Cristina and learned that she had to do her long bike on FRIDAY, I knew what I had to do. I started calling/emailing/facebooking around to find a sitter for the kids for 5HOURS to ride with her in Brighton, and then Ryan would ride with his club on Saturday, and we would drive down to the party then.

It was really tough getting up on Friday after already riding my longest ride ever on Wed and following it up with a mental toughness 10 miler on the treadmill. I was beat. I actually had a diet dr pepper with my breakfast in the morning. Ugh. I got Keira to school and then went home and got to packing for the trip and the day. I had a small issue trying to get my rear tire off my trek. Initially, I didn't think I would need to since I wouldn't need to have the car seats in the car with me, but due to my arrangements for them, I had to pack up my bike first thing in the morning and have it with me all day. I miss my Escape with roof rack that we left in KY! I couldn't get the webpage to load that showed how to open the rear brake on the Trek site. Argh! Since I am an engineer and spent years determining how to put cars together, I applied the same thing to the bike and just started taking things apart. I was surprised how much stuff I had to take off to be able to open it up! I needed 2 different allen keys to do it. I finally got everything all loaded up, the kids picked up and dropped off again, and then out to Island Lake to meet Cristina. It was much harder to put it back together than take apart! Boy, I wish I would have read my facebook comments about stressing over flatting before doing all this! Kent said that if the tire was flat, it would just go in and out easily. Duh! We finally got everything back in order and started our ride.

This is everything that I removed from my bike to open the rear brake:

We started on our first lap and met up with local triathlete superstar Amy Gluck. She is a Kona Qualifier and very fast lady. It was absolutely no surprise to me that I could not keep up at all, but it was still frustrating. I tried to keep it in perspective that she is amazing and I was trying to go slow to pace myself for my longest ride EVER, 60 miles. I did not want to burn myself out by pushing too hard for pride reasons and then bonk later. I actually got so far behind that I couldn't find either her or Cristina. Thankfully, they opted to stay in the park (as did I), and we found each other again at the turn around point. We also ran into another triathlon rockstar, Ironman Mark Savedes. He was having a "slow" day on an old bike. He and Amy continued on ahead of us. Even on a slow day, I still could not and did not have any business trying to keep up with him. Cristina and I finished up our second lap in the park and then went over to Kensington. We rode through Kensington, up the infamous Tower Hill, and then over to the GM Proving grounds. We opted to not ride around them, but take a slower route through a park to get back to Kensington. We were both out of water at this point and being slow in a park on a little path was pretty much what I needed. I was getting super tired. I just felt dead. At one point, I verred slightly to the right and found myself in the grass. Dang it! What a dork move! I had to stop to get back on the path. Thankfully I didn't wreck. Where the path ended, we had to ride through a bit of grass, but I handled that part just fine. We were almost to the end and I was just so tired. I knew where we were and I got off the road again and into the grass and couldn't get back on without stopping. Seriously, what is my problem? Oh, yeah, maybe I was exhausted from all the biking. The trek is just so much more squirrelly than my dolce. The bad thing was that on account of this "off roading", I bumped my rear brake into my tire. The last couple miles were miserable, and thankfully, when I got off I learned that I had this massive rub on my brakes. Argh. I don't think it had been for much more than the last few miles, because those were really REALLY hard.

We finished the 58.6 miles in 3:34:34. A minute or so more than my marathon time. I actually felt pretty decent once I got off the bike. I was STARVING, and ate some gu chomps in the car and thankfully had a water bottle of ice water in a cooler in the car waiting for me. It sort of blew my mind that I was able to double my cycling max in one week and live, and actually feel fairly decent. I would not be able to do this after running. I mean, when I ran my marathon I felt like I was going to DIE afterwards. I was sick and didn't want to do anything, eat included. After this ride, I went and picked up the kids and took them to dinner, and then took care of them myself until I put them to bed. I am really thankful to Linda who watched the kids and for Cristina who put up with my slowness and got me through it. She is great at that.

I realized that I had completed more mileage on my bike than Ryan planned. He was planning to ride with the "A" group on Saturday morning, and had a shorter ride planned, 55 miles. It was on Saturday night that I said, well, maybe the world will end tomorrow since I rode more than you. It did not end, but I think some sort of cycling equalibrium was distrupted. I got a call from Ryan on Saturday morning....

"I am fine, but Kent is not. His head is ok" was how it started.

That is a very scary call to receive. Kent had touched his front wheel to Ryan's rear wheel in a paceline while going about 28 mph. They had a huge group of riders, and everyone was slowing. Ryan moved slightly to the left and his wheel was overlapped with Kent's. Had Ryan braked, Kent likely would have run into the back of him. Ryan stayed up, but Kent went down really hard. A bone in his pinky finger dislocated and broke through the skin. He posted a picture of it on f/b. He also broke 3 ribs and has a collapsed lung, and will be in the hospital for the next couple of days for that. Please keep him in your prayers. We felt horrible that we had to leave town so quickly and could not help out more. They are great friends and have helped us out a ton, especially this week so I could ride.

We made it back to Kentucky yesterday. I had to leave my Trek behind. It came up inside the mariner since there were no carseats that trip, and the plan was that it would ride outside on my rear bike rack. No such luck. My miniature bike was too small to fit on it, so we brought the road bike instead. I guess that it fine. It is there in MI waiting for me and I will be doing some group rides this week and next so that will be better anyway. I am also really glad it is finally taper time. Any advice for how much biking I should be doing the weekend prior to my half Ironman? Is doing a 50 mile ride a good or bad idea the Saturday one week prior? I am so used to the marathon taper that is like a vacation, I am not sure what to do for the next two weeks.

See, my dolce barely fits on there too!!!

And the Winner is.....

Meredith, from This Runner's World
(can you tell I am back on the laptop again in KY since I can't make link buttons anymore?)

Hopefully there isn't much controversy here. I know that some comments were lost, and I did my best to recover them and get people added, so I did the drawing names out of the bowl technique, since there were entries added for the lost comments. These were based on posts I saw on I Want That Hat's Facebook page (see, I checked to see if everyone posted there too to get their entries).

Meredith- I will be getting you in contact with Noi shortly so that you can let her know your size and color choices. If anyone else would like to contact me you can do so at:
m (dot) christensen (at) live (dot) com

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Adventure as a Roadie

Sorry for the long, pictureless post:

Last night I went on a Wolverine Sports Club ride. I admit it, I was a bit afraid. I was worried about a lot of things, like would I get dropped, would I look like a dork, would I crash, bonk, ect? I was feeling pretty excited about this ride since I rode on Monday with Kristel at Island Lake and it was a debacle, to say the least. This is what went wrong on Monday, so these were things that I had already planned to NOT go wrong on Wed:
1. Have a cage for my water bottle- I have my road bike here in MI since we had a space issue to bring the Trek up until late last night. As a result, I had removed the cage from "Burly #11" as we will call it and installed it on "Bones". I actually remembered to bring a FULL water bottle with me knowing that the sinks are not on yet (mistake from BBB that Kristel fixed with a gallon of water she got en route for me). I just had no where to put it. ARG. At least it was cold and dreary, and I wouldn't lose much water through sweat.
2. Have my bike computer set to the right bike. I had no cadence readout which drove me nuts because I forgot that my computer was smarter than me and knew which bike I was riding.
3. Have ALL things needed to repair a flat, not just a tube and pump. My levers are in my new fancy "smancy draft box" Kristel flatted, and I had to ride back to get her car for her.
3. Have my bike in good working condition. My road bike is a triple, and I totally forgot that the middle ring wasn't working so hot. I remembered this on the ride back to the car. It was into the wind and I could no longer hang out in my big ring without dying. I switched to the middle and it gave me major problems. Suck. I was either spinning like mad or grinding hard. Either way was no fun. Especially given the wind. I was never more happy to run on Monday than I was after this ride because it totally blew. Valerie and Cristina were smart to bail on this one.

All of those things were addressed before yesterday's ride. I took my bike into the shop bright and early on Tuesday and they got it all fixed up. They even let me leave it there so I didn't have to take it apart to fit it in the hatch of my car. I could ride to the start of the WSC ride from there easily. I remembered my tire tools and my old water bottle cage (it was not a favorite, but it looks really pretty so I figured I might as well use it). I switched my garmin to bike profile 1. I arrived in the parking lot for the start with Valerie. There was no one else because it started to rain. It was gloomy all day, and it just now decided to rain. Ugh. Finally, right at 6 two others appeared and it was going to be the 4 of us to ride together. This was my first experience in a pace line and WOW, did it make a huge difference. Danny pulled us for the first 16 miles and it felt super easy. We averaged almost 20mph for the first 10 miles. We rode on Hines Drive, which was the road where I got my BQ at Martian, so I knew it pretty well. It was also closed to cars at some points, and that was also nice. There was not hardly any reason to stop because it was straight road with very few intersections. At close to 15 miles, I did start to feel tired. I now know that 14-15 miles is when I need to gu/gel. We regrouped after 16 miles gued, and turned around. I am proud to say that I pulled for 13 miles straight on the way back (and should have gued)! Go me! We finished with an average pace of 18.6 miles, for 32.2 miles. While I still feel like I have a lot of work to do on the bike, this was the confidence booster that I needed. Not only did I ride in the wet grimy yuck, but I did well in it. I didn't wreck or get lost (you can't on Hines Dr until Northville anyway). I didn't get dropped. I accidentally dropped Valerie (for a really short time and she caught back up on her own, I fell off on the way out as well, and had we not stopped at the turn around, might have never caught back up), which as front person is bad, but as a triathlete, I can just say "sorry", as I am not used to being responsible for others. I didn't even know we lost her there! Oops, my bad! It was crazy how much easier it was to draft. Now I know how Ryan does his rides so insanely fast all the time (that and he is a stud). I also was on some crazy adrenaline rush from this ride because I felt like I could run at least a 10K afterwards. Valerie didn't have her shoes, and it was getting late, so we just headed home. We were so yucky grimy from all the road grit that we had a lot of work to do on our bikes to get them clean and then clean ourselves. It was pretty late when I finally was able to eat dinner and then relax finally. I still need to get my bike from Valerie's. Kent was nice enough to help us get them cleaned, dried, and lubed, as well as was the babysitter for the evening for all the kids. Whoo Hoo! I was so hungry and tired once I got home. I can't imagine how tired I would have felt had I actually ran.

As a result of all my fun yesterday, today's planned 10 miler was almost shortened to 8 when I woke up tired. I thought, 8 will be good for today, right? I had a battle with some ants this morning at the condo, and that was no fun. By the time I got to the gym, I was hungry, and thinking maybe 7 will be ok. I got on the treadmill, and by 1 mile, I was turning the speed down. Mile 2, slowing down more. I was getting defeated. At mile 4 or so, I had my Roctane Gu. That would fix everything. Amazingly, it did. I don't know if those things are my mental "wubby" or what, but I was able to bang out 10 miles on the treadmill. I would do a mile, and then tell myself, one more mile. After all, I didn't want to waste that Roctane on some short run. Those things are stinking expensive, and I have finally used up all my free samples from expos. I have to buy them now. It wasn't as fast as normal, but that was OK. I even did the last couple miles at the original pace that I started at, thanks to some Beasties Sabotage on the iPod getting me going a bit.

I am really hoping to get in 50+ miles on Sat. Hopefully that is not too much given what I have done already this week, and that the weather cooperates as well as everything goes as scheduled.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Live Like Andi 10 mile Race Recap and Being a Responsible Adult/Mother

I am going to do this post in reverse chronological order...Hopefully that won't be too bothersome to read. I wanted to start with my race recap before going into some other items from last week. With the blogger outage, I had to do a catch up post that I tagged on to the end here. I am in MI, so notice the links look better and I was able to use spell check! I hope to get all my followers added to the blog roll and make an Aquaphor one shortly as well.

On Saturday, I did the Live Like Andi 10 mile run. It is for a great cause. Please check out the link on the sidebar for more info. I was excited for this run because I knew it would be for fun again. With Cristina running, there was no way I was going to win, and with the training week I had put it, I really had no clue what I would do anyway. Also, we had our church talent show the night before, and I had probably a few more baked good than I should have, as well as spent a lot of time chasing the kids. I thought it would be great if I could run at the same pace today as I did for the Derby race, but also felt it was unlikely for a couple reasons. First, it was raining. Oh, how I love this reason to take it easy. Second, I ran a lot this week already. In fact, this is the first week in a LONG time that I have run on 5 days (including the race). I had no taper whatsoever, and I could not with R4R looming just 3 weeks from today (eek!). I am still building, and with all this rain lately, I have just been trying to run as much as I can since that is something I can do in the rain.

Boy, is it nice to do a race where I don't need to look at a map to get there! My last couple I have, either due to being new in the area or weird road construction. I got there with plenty of time and met up with Cristina.

We hung out a bit and tried our best to stay dry before the start. We also found Kari and Kari, as well as a few others. We chatted with Greg from Sadler Shots, and were super excited to see our poster from last year as a flyer that was being distributed! I am on the left and Cristina is on the right. We don't know the guy on the bike.

The run was fairly uneventful for me. It did stop raining. I started off sort of fast, and by about the halfway point, I felt tired. I did not feel rested coming into this race, and I could feel it now. I felt a bit better when I took my gu at mile 5, but my pace just didn't come back down. I was glad to feel better about it, though. With the race being smaller, I was alone for quite a bit. As I finished up, there was a turn with just a police officer, not a course marshal. I knew from the past that this was the turn, as well as from the person ahead of me. As it turns out, Cristina missed this turn and went into the front entrance of the school. We didn't figure it out until we walked back on the course to find Kari and Kari. Cristina wondered why they were coming from that direction, since she didn't. She also wondered why she was running in traffic! After a quick comparison of our Garmins, we learned that she had added on an extra .25 of a mile. Thankfully, she didn't lose any places due to this mistake, but narrowly held onto her 2nd female spot. I was the 6th female, 34th overall, and 2nd in my age group with an official time of 1:17:24.

Here is the after picture. It took me forever to decide between the pink and the white socks. Andi was all about being fashionable- this race has a fashion walk, and I couldn't decide if wearing the pink would be honoring her with its cuteness or dishonoring her since it didn't match. In the end, I was glad I did since it was wet and the pink is a happier color and easier to clean on a day like today. Also, Cristina and I might have looked too much alike, especially had I chosen the tank too!

We also found Keira's preschool teacher, Miss Jan. It was great to see her, and she ran the 10K, finishing 1st in her age and 13th female. She has run Boston a few times too. I hope to still be running that fast when I am her age!

In other news, I think I am missing a few comments from the great blogger outage of 2011 on my I Want That Hat giveaway post. Please make sure you have the correct number of comments for the entries you think you should have. Also, if you have not yet entered, please do!

I also did my first ever official group ride! It was a ladies only ride out of the VO2 Multisport store in KY. It was fun and more of a social ride. We still averaged 16mph for 20 miles, and I when ahead and ran 2 miles after (hence my extra day of running this week).

Finally, this probably should be a separate post, but it is time to be a responsible adult/parent:

That is no fun sometimes :( I have had a bit of a [MAJOR]scheduling crisis for my August tris. School in KY starts August 10th (or August 15th where our apt is located). The first crisis is that we can't send Keira to public school using our apt address. They are just not good, so we are going to need to scramble to get moved now. The second crisis is that Steelhead is now completely OUT. T-Rex is also completely OUT. I am not really sure what will happen with the Maybury Time Trial. I think I will let Ryan decide if he is going to do it. If he wants to, then I am in, if not, then it is also out. Keira may miss a half day to do it, so not a big deal. Ryan won this race last year, and has been his "A" race for many years. This sort of solves my problem of how I was going to live through that week of 3 races, but it was also completely disappointing to have my "A" race completely not an option. I can't hardly have my daughter miss her first day of Kindergarten EVER (which in Jefferson Co is the day after Steelhead) or miss the whole second week of school (if we are in Oldham Co, which is what we want). What kind of responsible adult would I be? Seriously. So, I totally should have listened to BBD and Shelby when I did my "freak out" post and decided then to do Muncie. I am deciding now, which means I have a little less time to prepare, but honestly, the weather has been such a problem and with Ryan's training being all messed up too, I don't know that it would have changed much in my training plan (or lack thereof). I do have a HUGE week of cycling lined up and have become the MASTER at acquiring babysitters to ride, thanks to some AWESOME friends hooking me up (oh, and I am in MI still for this week, hence the babysitters). This week is going to be great! Now all I have to do is get some hotel rooms for Muncie and hope it doesn't sell out before R4R is over. I don't think I can be signed up for 2 70.3s without having done any EVER before.

Now that would be irresponsible.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Want That Hat Giveaway

I am really excited to announce my 2nd giveaway from I Want That Hat. One lucky reader/follower will win an owl hat of their size and color choice from I Want That Hat. I hope you don't think I am crazy for doing a hat giveaway as soon as the weather started to turn around here, but as a savy shopper, the spring is the best time to get your deals on next winter's children's clothing. I already have hats, coats, and snowpants for my kids for at least the next year, if not two, bought on clearance. I saw these hats on my friend Angie's children, and she referred me to Noi, so I could get my own. Here are Keira and Soren in their hats.
I ordered mine a little big so they would be good for next winter. Keira has a 5T + and Soren has a 2T-4T size on, and both of my children are very small on the growth charts for their ages. You can also measure your child's head circumference and consult the size chart for more accurate sizing. Noi and Pat also make a lot of other cute animal hats as well as florals. This giveaway will go until Sunday, May 22nd, with the winner announced on Monday, May 23. Your hat will be made custom for you, so it will take a couple weeks to arrive, depending on your location and how fast you can decide your colors. It took me forever to decide because they were all so cute!

To enter: Mandatory (leave a separate comment here for each)
1. Be a follower of this blog
2. Go to "I Want That Hat" on facebook,
like them and leave a comment there telling them that I sent you.
Optional (please leave a separate comment here for each)
3. Share this contest on your blog, facebook, or other social networking site.
4. Tell me which hat is your favorite, or a hat you would like to see.

Also, in other news, I am happy to report that I DID in fact get to go on a group ride yesterday with the ladies from VO2 Multisport. My first ever group ride with people that I did not know at all, and I must say, I had a great time. I did not get lost or dropped and I made some new friends. I am expected to be out of town in MI (yeah!) for next Monday's ride, so I likely won't be able to ride with these ladies again for another 2 weeks. Hopefully I can get a sitter back home and get in a ride with my MI ladies instead. I am feeling a little bit better about R4R since I swam in the morning before the ride, did 20 miles at a relaxing 16.3mph, and then ran 2 miles afterwards for a mini brick. The course was pretty twisty and turny, so I didn't spend as much time in aero as I hope to in my race. Also, being a group ride, I needed to stay up for stability. It was pretty crowded and conjested in the beginning with lots of cars, runnes, and other riders, but I hear that as the newness of the nice weather wears off, the crowds will thin. I felt good afterwards too. Mostly, I felt insanely hungry afterwards, and could have done more had it been required of me and I had taken in more food during the ride. I was happy that I was able to successful get my smaller bottle in and out of the cage while riding without wrecking or stopping. I didn't try to use it to refill my aero drink while riding. I will have to save that for another day.

Monday, May 9, 2011

And the winner is:

Erin! at E-Run ( - yes, still more issues over here with pasting links. ARGH! picked you with #3.

Please send me an email with your address and I will get that right over to you!
m (dot) christensen (at) live (dot) com

Also, I am getting stressed about having only 27 days from now until Racing for Recovery. Yikes! I spent last weekend having a great little vacation in Chattanooga for my husband's century ride called the 3 State 3 Mountain Challenge. This area had recently been hit by tornados, so the ride was shortened a bit and it was only 2 mountains instead of 3. My husband and his group are like me and will ride in circles in the parking lots to make sure their Garmin's read "100" or whatever round number they need to get to, so they opted to ride from our hotel to the start and back to get their full century. Even with the hills, they averaged 19.4mph. WOW. Maybe I can just have Ryan bike for me in R4R. No one would notice that, right? Ryan is in the middle. We were pretty excited because we had Austin (far left) who got the #1 bib, because he was alphabetically first. It made us all feel cool.

Hopefully I can get in a group ride today if Ryan can get out of his meeting on time and the weather holds out. It has been beautiful all day so far, but with the luck I have been having getting time in on the bike, I can't say for sure that it is a go yet. I didn't get any riding in this past weekend due to the trip. With the kids, staying home would not have gotten me any more riding either, so I just enjoyed it, seeing sights and eating. I did get in a short 3 mile run in downtown Chattanooga with the stroller. It was hard to find a route not knowing much of the area. The path I planned on taking when consulting the map was not stroller friendly, so I ended up doing a lot of walking, but I am sure I got a good workout chasing 2 kids around all day in a new city. I will be hoping to post pictures on my personal blog in the next day or two if you want to check it out. We took over 200 on two different cameras, so it is going to take me some time to sort through them and get them uploaded. Here are a couple favorites to hold you over:

Check back tomorrow for another giveaway! Yeah!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yankz Review

Things have been going surprisingly well, despite rain keeping me indoors and having a sad toddler who (at least per day) breaks down and cries, "I want to go home". I am really glad I am currently running a giveaway because I have won TWO giveaways recently. The first product was a pair of Yankz laces that I won from Chad, Ironman and new manager of the Novi Running Fit, one of my favorite stores in MI. His blog is part of Running Fit's multisport blog,

I received my Yankz a couple days before the Derby race, and it was killing me to try them out. I was good, and resisted the temptation to try something new during a race, (although I did use a new fuel belt, messing with my feet is a little different). It was fun to get mail here at the new address too! The installation directions looked a bit complicated just because they were long, but then I read them through and they were not difficult at all and included step by step instructions with photos. Here are my shoes all ready to go:

I got them all set up and they feel comfortably tight, although I can still slip my feet in and out of them. I ran 5 miles in them yesterday and they felt great. I really am wondering how I ever lived without these, especially as a triathlete. I had been using lace locks (also purchased from Running Fit) for my previous tris, but those were annoying whenever I wasn't racing because my laces were too long when just secured with them (I dealt with it for racing). I couldn't cut the laces because I needed the length to be able to slip my feet in. If I didn't keep them installed, I lost them. I am pretty sure I have a single lace lock in my change purse right now with no mate. I love that these are just on and there all the time. I think I may need to get a second pair to put in my bum around town old running shoes so I don't have tie or untie them either. I probably won't, since it is SUPPOSED to be flip flop season - I shouldn't have to worry about wearing shoes for anything other than running or biking soon anyway.

I wish I had a pair to give away, but I just won the single pair and they are MINE. You can check out Yankz on their website ( or go to Running Fit to get some. I love that you can get them customized with your own logo too for a large order. The pair I have has the Running Fit multisport logo on it, and that is so appropriate for me since most of my tris are theirs.

Also, I wanted to thank Kim at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls ( for randomly picking me to win the Chocolate #9 giveaway. I am so excited about this because I am both a gel AND chocolate addict, so this is perfect for me. Hopefully I will get them before Live Like Andi 10 mile so that I can try them first in training and then race with one to give a full review of those as well. Otherwise, my next race is *GASP* Racing for Recovery, and since this whole distance is new, I am going to be using as much old standby stuff as possible for that one (vanilla/plain gu with maybe a cherry lime roctane for variety), although the Chocolate #9 will be used for training I am sure, or the Triceratops tri the next week.

Finally, as you can see from the links appearing in the text, I am still having trouble pasting links. I am sorry to my new Aquaphor team mates who have added me to their blogs as well as the other new followers sites that I am following now too and I have been unable to return the favor since adding links is not agreeable to the new laptop. Worst case, I will be on the desktop for LLA and will get my blog roll fixed then. Spell check isn't working either, so I am sorry about that too. Hopefully I am able to find all my own errors. Also, even though I was provided with these Yankz, free of charge, this is still my own opinion.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kentucky Derby Festival mini Marathon Race Recap

This was a great race that really fell together perfectly for me. It was super fun, and it was totally NO pressure for me. It is really crazy how well everything did go, and I feel really blessed to have everything work out. Here is the timetable and race recap:

Sunday night, arrive in Louisville and unload the cars, put kids to bed.
Monday Morning, go to VO2 Multisport (first stop of course) and ask around about the Derby Race, get a maybe on a bib.
Monday evening/Tuesday- completely stalk person at VO2 to ensure I have a race bib. Get confirmation Tuesday. Bad weather prevented me from riding my bike. Now that I have a bib, I guess I can do a mini taper for this half marathon and justify my lack of riding or swimming this week. The heater in the gym pool is broken, and the water is not normally as warm as Powerhouse in the first place. Another reason to wait until it is fixed.
Wednesday, ensure my mom can come to watch kids for the race since Ryan needs to get in a long ride on Sat with group. Also hand over an envelop of cash to a different person at VO2 store and stress about it getting into the right hands. Continue to stalk 1st person to ensure he received my money.
Thursday, get word that my packet was in fact ready for pick up. They required IDs, so I couldn't just get it myself.
Friday- go to expo and get my packet from the VO2 store booth. I was really glad I chose this option. First, it got me into the race vibe since I have always gone to the expos for races of this size. It was a nice good sized expo with cool stuff. I bought a fuel belt to hold my gus since I had forgotten my giant safety pins in MI and only had small ones. I also will want to use a fuel belt at Racing for Recovery to hold my gus and number so this would let me try it out. Second, it alerted me to the fact that the exit Google told me to take was closed due to flooding. This was key in determining my directions for Saturday morning.

Race day- Ryan and I actually got up pretty close in time to each other so that he could eat prior to his ride too. I got up at 5 to eat 2.5 hours before the start and had a marathon protein bar. I emerged from the bathroom as Ryan was getting up with full eye makeup on and Ryan called me out on it. Seriously, though, this was going to be a fun half marathon and what else was I going to do while digesting? I left a little before 6am to head down to the race. I found parking very quickly in a small parking lot that filled up before I even left the truck. It was very close to the start and finish, as well as porta potties. I had the girls who parked next to me take my picture before the race.

Since I was not running for myself, I was in the wrong corral. I spent a little time trying to fix it, but then realized it really didn't matter. I have a history of missing the start anyway, so whatever. I would just run through people since nothing was on the line. I chatted with some people who gave me some advice on the school systems, and snuck into corral C with them. I saw the 5:15 sign and new I had to move up somewhat. I found some guy who was doing the same thing and followed him through the crowd to corral B. I was still a ways back, but it was too close to the start to do anything about it. It took me 5 minutes to get to the start line. I spent the majority of the race passing people, and started a lot slower than I typically like to start. Again, I just wanted to focus on running as fast as I could for as long as I could to just see what I could do. If I blew up and had to slow down, then I did. I was on the fence about trying to qualify for NYC. I would need a 1:37 to do it, and that was dang fast. Also, I didn't want to qualify someone else for NYC and then stress about doing it a second time. I didn't even calculate the splits I would need to do it or have a goal plan like I did to get to Boston. I just went with the Pam Halpert plan of "run fast at the start, run fast at the middle, and finish fast". I didn't stress if I got in the low 7s, but if I got below 7, I tried to reign it it. I tried to also stay below 7:49, my average for my previous PR. I was amazed by the community support, and tried to high five all the little kids holding their hands out and cheering for us.

The coolest part of the race was running through Churchill Downs. It was AWESOME to be inside. It had a bit of an incline because we had to run under the track to get to the road on the infield. We ran on the road there, and then back under the track. The other reason why this was cool was because I came up on a dad with his 10 year old daughter. He was running with a camera and cheering her on, taking pictures as she ran. I couldn't keep up with her. She was super fast. I did come across her dad in the food line at the end and learn that I did have a faster time than her, but she finished with a 1:40. Totally amazing!

Shortly after leaving Churchills downs, I realized that I was pretty sure I was going to have a PR. I probably wouldn't get NYC, but that was fine. A PR and a fun race was what I wanted. It didn't really get "hard" until the last 2 miles, and at that point, it was still way easier than Martian. I finished with a time of 1:38:39 and felt great.

I also was able to find Jessica E who ran for Team Marathon last year. She had told me about this race and we knew to look for each other. Thankfully, we finished close to each other so it wasn't impossible to find her in the 11,00+ runners. This race was huge, and this was just one more thing that went my way. This really was a perfect race day for me!

There were so many great things about this race:
1. Weather was perfect. It was sunny and not too cold at the start or too hot at the finish. I was a bit chilly before we started, but fine once I got moving.
2. They passed out bottled water at a lot of the stops. At first, I was horrified. I can't stand bottled water due to the waste. However, I was able to drink a lot of water during the race. It was super easy to drink out of the bottles while running. Not all the stops were like this, but since I had trained mostly in artic conditions where I didn't hardly sweat at all, running this race in normal temps made me wonder if relying on water stops alone would be enough for me.
3. The new fuel belt worked out. I didn't lose any gels and I packed an extra just in case. I did pin my number because I wanted it higher up so the whole thing would be above my hips and not flapping.
4. It was huge. I had forgotten how fun big races are. It also had a big fat medal at the end. I actually asked the man who gave it to me if I got the right one. It seemed to big to be a half marathon medal.
5. It was a great way to see my new city.
6. The handed out chocolate milk after the race. My favorite! And, I had not had the chance to get any recovery shakes since we moved down here.

As far as results go, I ended up being 18th in my correct age group, out of about 1000 runners. There were over 6000 females, and I was the 71st female.

The bad thing about this race was that it was a fabulous Saturday that I should have spent on my bike instead. I just couldn't bring myself to get on my bike with my mom in town after she watched the kids all morning. I am really starting to stress about R4R. It is raining again today and I won't be able to do a group ride tonight. It will be time to hit the trainer.

Overall, this was a fantastic race. It really was my day! While I am not sure that I will do it next year with Boston being just a couple weeks prior, I will definitely be back. Members from my church here were passing out water at mile 23, so maybe I will do that if they do it again next year.

Please don't forget about my Aquaphor Giveaway below!