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The Fellowship of the Relay May 12, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in Fargo, older son, running.
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Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know that I enjoy running.  Or I used to.

I lost my motivation.

Part of that is because the older son got a job with very odd hours.  Because he does not yet have a driver’s license, Mike and I have been taking turns getting up at obnoxiously early hours to take him.  Then I went on a trip to a conference.  Then we all got sick.

The list goes on and on.  The result is that I found it nearly impossible to run except right before bed…and running right before bed has this tendency to keep me awake all. night. long.

However, back in December or January, when I was motivated, a friend and I began talking about doing a relay for the Fargo Marathon.  Then we found out there was a costume contest with the relay.  Well, obviously we had to do it!  If you’d like the full details, you can visit Kari’s blog and check out her post: How to be the biggest geek at the marathon.

We chose Lord of the Rings as our theme, and I got to be a Hobbit.  Except I was a hobbit with calf sleeves.  (Don’t you wonder if Frodo and company would’ve gone faster if they’d had compression sleeves and a great pair of running shoes?  And headphones?  Definitely headphones would’ve helped.)



The beginning, of course, was packed.


This is what it looked like until the 10k turned off from the route, at which point, it became very sparse.  I suspect that’s because I was running in the opposite direction of most of the marathoners, almost all of whom are much faster than I am.  I have to admit that I would like to do the relay again just because I won’t have to dodge around so many people.

Unlike most of my team, I apparently was more confusing than anything in my costume.  No one yelled, “Go Frodo!” or, “Destroy the Ring!”  Perhaps I needed a wig?  Anyway, most people apparently are unfamiliar with hobbits, and the fuzzy feet only added to their confusion.  I did ask someone if they knew where Mt. Doom was, but they just said, “Huh?” and shook their head.

The one person who did recognize me was (Danny) Elvis.  I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of him because I was too busy high-fiving him.  After I ran past, he announced, “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have the One Ring right here at the 2014 Fargo Marathon.”  I’m really happy that Elvis is a geek, too.


Once we were together in a group, I became recognizable.  This is a pic of our team at the hand-off between Legolas and Gimli, who was kind enough to take a break from his gig with ZZ Top. (Anyone else have “Cheap Sunglasses” running through their head?  I thought so.)

After Legolas, Gimli, and myself finished our respective relay legs, we went downtown for some free munchies.  Apparently all the marathoners beat us there, too.


Even the street fair isn’t that packed.

While waiting for Gandalf (have you noticed he always shows up at the last minute?), we decided to get out of the heat and took a stop at the Prancing Pony Atomic Coffee.  I’m sure the usual patrons were thinking that the place had gone downhill since they were starting to let dwarves and other unsavory folk in.


Finally, Gandalf came in and we raced to the finish line together to receive our medals…half an hour before they closed the course down.  One thing I learned is that quests can take a long time, and Peter Jackson really glossed over that particular aspect.

Either way, we all had a lot of fun and are already planning for next year’s race.  Better yet, I think I’ve found my motivation again.


Fargo Marathon – 10k redux May 19, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in Fargo, running.
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As several of you know, I had been training to attempt my first half-marathon this spring. Unfortunately, sometime in February, I ended up with some nasty shin splints that took forever to heal. At first, I didn’t think I’d be able to run at all, but things improved enough so that I had enough time to get ready for the 10k. However, I wasn’t expecting much. My legs still hurt off and on after running. I also started a new training program where I use timed walking and running intervals. Supposedly the walking periods help your body rest to improve your endurance. However, my training rates indicated I probably wasn’t going to be much faster than the previous year when I’d run the whole thing. Running the whole thing had improved my time 20 minutes from the previous year when I walked the entire distance.

Saturday morning was the big day, and it was actually a nice morning. It was overcast, cool, and although it was raining when I arrived, it stopped (mostly) shortly after the race began. I have a Garmin Forerunner 110, so I was able to track my progress during the race. I noticed a couple times that my running pace seemed faster than I expected.

When I finished, I was rather shocked. I managed to shave 14 minutes and 13 seconds from last year’s time. My average speed was 4.3 mph, but my peak speed was 6.5 mph. My pace this year was 2 min/mi faster than last year’s pace. So despite my misgivings going in, it’s quite apparent that I’ve improved quite a bit in the past year.

Of course, the adrenaline helps, too.

My big quandry now is to decide whether to try to run the 10k again next year and attempt to further improve my time or to try again at the half marathon. I have a whole year to decide, though. I just I hope I’ll see Elvis again next year.


Running Update: 1 year! October 17, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in personal.
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I haven’t been giving my monthly running updates because, since June, I haven’t been able to run.  At least, not until earlier this month.

It turns out that I had tendonitis in my ankle.  It took quite a while to heal up (nearly 3 months), and I got outfitted about three weeks ago with some custom supports to prevent this from happening again.

I’m excited to be running again because as soon as registration opened up for the Fargo Marathon, I decided to go nuts and signed up to do the half next spring.  I’m using a very basic-level plan that takes 35 weeks to prepare.  So yes, I’ve already started training.

It’s a run-walk program (one of the Jeff Galloway plans), and part of this is establishing the proportion of the time spent running versus walking.  I did my first time trial last week and discovered something strange: I’m faster than I was last spring, even after three months of no running.  I also discovered that doing the walk-run combination, I’m nearly as fast as just running…and a lot less worn out when I’m done.

I’m guessing the increase in speed is due to my change in diet.  I have been getting a lot of comments about how I look like I’ve lost weight (despite the fact that I haven’t) in the past couple weeks.  I think it’s simply a result of the inflammation going down now that I’m not eating gluten-filled foods any more.  I guess this is another way to tell things are healing up.

I’m also signed up to do the Jingle Bell Run at the beginning of December.  It’s a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, so if you care to sponsor me and/or my team, click here.  (Also, I appreciate efforts to sponsor me because my teammate is the lead fundraiser so far, and she’s making us all look bad.)  ;)

Seven-month running update: The Fargo Marathon! May 19, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in Fargo, older son, personal.
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Seven months ago, I decided I was going to see if I could run the full 10k at the Fargo Marathon. I’ll jump to the important part first: I ran the whole 10k and never fell back to walking.  In fact, I must’ve had some major runner’s high because when we got to the ramp going down into the Fargodome, I took off at the fastest sprint I could manage.  In retrospect, that was not the brightest idea (especially since I’d had to use my asthma inhaler during the run), but I was incredibly excited and couldn’t help myself.  Aside from that, I could squeak past 3-4 more people.

The older boy and I met my friend Kari and her husband at the starting line.  They were gone pretty quickly (except that Kari’s pedometer attempted to bail on her, so she had to come back briefly and retrieve it).  There were a lot of fun things along the course, including an Elvis impersonator and this guy, who cleverly located himself at about the 5 mile marker:

Earlier in the week, they were saying it was going to be unseasonably hot.  This morning, it was rather cool but there were thunderstorms.  Fortunately, they finished up just as we were leaving for the race, so it was cool and a bit damp outside.  The only major issue was the last half mile or so where we were out of the protection of trees and dealing with some gusty wind.

I managed to improve my time from last year by 22 minutes.  I also went from one of the last 10 finishers to having about 200 people behind me.  (I also started in the middle of the pack and so had nearly half of the participants in the race pass me.)  So, I definitely improved.  I’m already excited about doing it again next year.  First, however, I have a triathlon in mid-August…so I need to start swimming and riding bike.

OMG, my feet hurt. May 21, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in older son, personal.
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The older boy and I had been training to walk a 10K…and then the dog showed up, and our schedule got completely messed up.  But we decided to go ahead and walk it anyway.

About 6 years ago, Fargo started hosting its own marathon, and it had become quite the deal around here.  In the past, I was a race volunteer.  This year, I decided I was going to enter one of the races.  I was nervous as we were supposed to have thunderstorms, but that didn’t happen.  I was overcast and in the 60s…perfect weather.

We started off on a good foot by actually making it to the starting line BEFORE the race started.  I was sore/achy the first mile, but loosened up after that.  We ran into someone who came from Canada and was disappointed they’d changed the race route (due to flooding) so that she wasn’t able to walk in Minnesota.  Near the end of the race, there was a guy in a grim-reaper outfit holding a sign saying, “The end is near.”  And there was cowbell – lots of it.  I thought it was a joke when the website said the race now had more cowbell.  Apparently they’d distributed cowbells to volunteers along the race, so there were lots of people with cowbells.

The highlight of the race, for me, was when we passed the 4 mi. mark, and I told the older boy, “We’re gonna make it!”  He gave me a horrified look and said, “What?!”  I repeated myself, and he looked relieved.

“What did you think I said?”

“Run naked.”

At the end of the race, we got medals and cookie dough.    (Sorry, the cookie dough was gone before I had a chance to take a pic.)

Despite the fact that the older boy claimed the only reason he was doing this was for the free food at the end, he said he had a lot of fun and wanted to do it next year.  Or maybe he just really likes cookie dough.

I’m trying to figure out if we can enter the dog as a participant, too.

A day of big accomplishments May 19, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in family, homeschooling, older son, younger son.
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The boys both did some pretty impressive things today.  The older one took his first CLEP exam and passed with flying colors.  He easily exceeded the B-level score for the exam.  He has to take three more by the end of June.  While I hope he will pass them all, I still think it’s awesome he’s doing college-level work as a freshman.

The younger boy participated in the Fargo Marathon youth run tonight.  He ran half a mile.  His brother accompanied him because the younger boy thought I would slow him up too much.  Turns out his older brother did, too.  He got a t-shirt and earned a medal for his run, though, so he seemed happy.

And my accomplishment was just getting through this week sans husband.  So glad Friday is on the horizon.


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