Monday, October 31, 2011

Two Tortoises and No Hares

Kiah shared in the last post about her desire to run the Whistlestop Marathon. She continues sharing about the journey.

After all the summer fun and vacations were over I hit the pavement hard in mid August with the only friend that that could be roped into doing it with me - Kathy of the skunk, skydiving, and garbage can fame.    

With nine weeks until the marathon, we depended heavily on weekend “long-runs.”  A long run is several miles longer than you’re used to running, and it’s ran at a slightly slower pace.  

August 20 - 8 miles 
The first long run rolled around bright and early. Kathy and I ran separately. Super tired at 7.5 miles I thought, “How in the world can I run 18 more of these!?”  To my surprise I wasn’t sore at all the next morning.

August 27 - 10.5 miles   

Kathy and I set out from the coffee shop in Washburn to Pikes Bay Marina in Bayfield. It took us 1:39 minutes.  Beautiful weather, great company, and a satisfying finish.  Conquering a distance I had never run before gave me new found courage to continue to aspire to run a distance I wasn’t quite yet sure I could run. Again, I was hardly sore the next day.

September 3 - 12 miles
Guest runner?!  I jokingly asked our friend Nathan if he wanted to run 12 miles with Kathy and I.  Being athletic, and game for just about anything he agreed without any hesitation.  We rode the bus to Washburn and ran back to Ashland.  At the beginning I felt really good, but by the end I felt dizzy and chilled.  Being chilled when it’s really hot and humid is never a good sign, so again I wondered if I was physically able to run 26 miles.  Still I was hardly sore the next day.
 Nathan, our adopted Canadian college student is 
smiling in this BEFORE picture. He wasn't so happy 
afterwards and limped for a few days.

I couldn't have asked for a better marathon buddy! 

September 3rd bus ride to Washburn

September 9 - 14 miles 
Kathy and I ran separately again.  I took a super pretty route that looped around in the country northwest of Washburn.  In order to avoid heat exhaustion again I had purchased a hydration belt.  Drinking during the run made all of the difference in the world and I finished feeling on top of the world.  The half marathon was no longer an option because I knew I could run that far.  I still wasn’t 100% that I could run a full marathon.  I was a little more creaky the next day, but by the second day was back to normal.

September 17 - 15 miles
I meant to run 16 miles.  I extended my loop from the previous week a few more miles because I had liked that route so well.  My good time made me suspicious that the route might not have been as long as I thought it was.  I hopped in my car and to my dismay found that I’d only ran 15!  I was mortified because I’d been extremely tired, and didn’t think I could’ve made it 16 miles...let alone tack on 10 more miles for a nice even 26!  

September 23. 18 miles
After the discouragement of coming up a mile short on the last run, I was determined to make 18 miles if it killed me.  I mapped out an exact there-and-back route.  After almost 3 hours of running I ran back into Washburn, high off the fact that I had just ran 18 miles!!  I had felt really great on the run, and had logged a really great time.  After this run I knew I could do the marathon. Now it was just a matter of how well I could do the marathon.

October 1 - 22 miles
30 degrees. Brrr!!! With the sun just starting to come up Kathy and I began our final training long run of 22 miles. We ran from Ashland to Bayfield and averaged a 9:45 minute/mile pace. With over 3 1/2 hours of running BEFORE noon we felt pretty accomplished and TIRED afterwards!

Carb loading the night before our 22 mile long-run.

Kathy resurrected a childhood backpack to carry Gatorade

Oct. 1 - Stretching at 6:45 am for our 22 mile run.

Again smiling BEFORE the run!

Preventative measures

A hydration belt takes all the credit for 
keeping me alive during these grueling long-runs

Starting off

Two weeks until the real deal of the Whistlestop marathon!! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Red Rover, Red Rover, Let Kiah Come Over

Kiah, at age four, would stop, get a determined look on her face, ball her hands into fists, take a runner’s stance, and say, “I'm gonna do Rover.  Mark, Set, Go!” Then she’d zip off.

Rover? We were mystified. Who or what was Rover? Her explanations didn't make sense. She did this for years and we didn't know why.

At age 16, she saw me showing an Amazing Bible video to my Sunday School class. Her face brightened, and she said with nostalgia, “Rover.”
At long last, a clue. She said the mouse in the movie was named Rover and ran everywhere.

Ah ha! The mouse named Revver liked to run and she liked to run. Her four-year-old brain had heard Rover, hence the years of confusion.

Mystery solved. Case closed.

She still runs, mostly alone since the rest of us don't want to, and often at night, which worries her parents, but she’s 22 so what can we do?

Last year she set her sights on running the local fall Whistlestop Marathon. I tried talking sense to her.
“Honey, that’s so far.” (Duh!)
“You’ve never done one before.” (Double Duh!) 
“Why don’t you start out with something shorter? Like a 5k or a 10k?”

Not to be dissuaded, she found a running partner, and forged ahead.

I’ll let her finish the post. 

Rover signing in here.

I was 12 the first time I realized that I could run.  Being homeschooled we didn’t have a fancy gym at our disposal for PE class, so Mom frequently took us outdoors for afternoon walks.  Our rural roads were straight and graveled.  Most of Iowa’s roads are on a mile grid system so each country block has a four mile circumference. 

Rather than go around the four mile block, we usually walked south on a there-and-back route.  Landmarks along the way marked certain distances.  When we got to the creek, I knew we had walked a half mile.  One day I wanted to see if I could run home from the creek. 

To my great surprise I actually did it!?  The excitement and astonishment left me breathing hard at the end of our driveway, waiting for the rest of the family to catch up, and it also started me on a decade of running that I don’t think anyone expected. 

I ran year round all through junior high and high school.  Freshman year of track was a lot of fun, and by the end of the season I had reached my goal time for the 800 meter. 

400 Meter Hurdles (I'm in the black and red)
My sophomore year I decided to log 300 miles before track season started because I was determined to better my 800 time.  I made my 300 mile quota, and in my first track meet, I bested my fastest 800 time from the previous year by ten seconds!  I will never forget how good it felt to be told after my race how much I’d improved.  Again, I did it.  I actually did it!  The hard work of running in subzero January and February weather had actually paid off.  This realization of cause and effect helped set the stage for bigger and better things to come.

I took a “break” from running after high school.  I played volleyball at a community college, but after the season didn’t make an effort to stay in shape.  A year went by without running and I felt...fat, sluggish, and unhealthy so I decided to start running again. 

To my dismay I was winded by a quarter mile, and ready to stop by a half a mile. I determined to stick with it, but two weeks later my right knee started to hurt when I ran.  I hoped a break from running would help but it didn’t.  For a year I tried different knee braces and strengthening exercises to let me get back into running. 

In July of 2010 I worked at a church camp for six weeks in Southwestern, Minnesota.  I determined to lose weight and start running again, and I did.  Unlike the first time when I had tried to pick up running after being dormant for a while, I started out slow. It was frustrating to be so slow at something I used to be good at, but I figured it was better than the alternative of being a “blob.”

I moved back home with the family in Wisconsin in August 2010.  I attended the local community college, and got a part-time job as a barista at a coffee shop.  Being new to the area I didn’t have many friends, the transition of moving back home wasn’t going so hot, school and work weren’t enough of a time spender, so the most logical thing to do with my extra time was run!  To my delight, slow and steady had worked and I was now able to run 4 miles before feeling tired. 

I was working at the coffee shop on a Saturday morning in mid-October.  My boss popped in for a few minutes and in passing said, “It might be a little busier this afternoon because of the WhistleStop going on over in Ashland.” 

To this I replied, “What’s the WhistleStop?” 

“It’s just the marathon that’s run from Iron River to Ashland every year”  she said absentmindedly, looking for something on a high shelf.  The seed was planted and I determined in my heart right then and there that, Lord willing, come next year I would run the WhistleStop Marathon.

To be continued...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Mugs - Things to Do in October

Are you in need of a mindless Monday Blog post? Are you struggling to deal with the weekend being over and can't muster the strength to type a single word? Well, Monday Mugs is for YOU!

Mondays are hard! Blogging on Mondays shouldn't be!

Today's theme for Monday Mugs is:
Oh the Things We Do in October

Earlier this month we had two weeks of gorgeous fall weather. Anna's roommate did a photo shoot with Anna and her friend Bailey. Hannah edited these pictures with Picnik and I love how they turned out. I like the contrast of Bailey's blonde hair and Anna's dark hair. 

Visit Heather at Oswald Cuties for more Monday Mugs. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
~Diane Loomans ~

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Mugs - Fabulous Fall

I said in an earlier post that this would be a good place to visit come fall.

We recently had a week of extra glorious fall weather. The tree color was peaking. I knew it was now or never.

"Amy and Lani, get your hiking shoes on. We're going to St. Peter's Dome."

Big adolescent groan. "Do we have to?"

"Of course you have to. The trees will be glorious."

"But we just went in July and it's so far."

"No, it's not. It'll be worth it. I promise." (Seriously, I don't know what she's complaining about. She's young with boundless energy and good working knees. I'm the old person with creaky joints who's always the last one to the top.)

"But we'll get behind with our schoolwork."

"Don't worry about it. This is more important."  (What's wrong with this picture?)

It's so fun to be right. Beautiful sky, incredible trees, warm weather, amazing view. 

There's something soul satisfying about sitting on a warm rock on the side of a hill, high above a colorful valley on a Monday afternoon while everybody else is either at school or work. 

I'm linking up today with Heather at Oswald Cuties.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hugging the Hairdresser

After not seeing her big brother for four months, 
one of the first things Lani did was "fix" Andrew's hair.

Just another way we Viks have cheap fun.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kids These Days

Give them free reign with their birthday party 
and they make rainbow cupcake/cakes.


 Take a good look folks,
 as this is an original you won't see anywhere else. 

While waiting for a few guests to arrive Amy, Lani, and two friends dug through the dress-up clothes and went out in broad daylight dressed as a Mother (Amy), a Daughter (Lani), a Grandma in her nightgown,

and a high school graduate.


I don't know how to break it to them but Grandmas don't ride bikes in their nightgowns. Pajama pants maybe, but not nightgowns. 

They rollerbladed, 

Yes, I know this is blurry.
 Danced with the dog, 

Took silly pictures

And cool pictures. 

A good time was had by all 
and I'm thankful to be done with birthdays for awhile. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Most Popular Birthdate in America

Excerpts from a Yahoo online article today:

In the United States, the most popular birth date is Oct. 5, say online reports by a host of websites such as the,, Wikipedia and even this report by a Washington NBC television affiliate. All are based on a single source,, which claims to have searched a database of more than 135 million birth records.

In fact, says, each year, an average of more than 12,500 babies are born on Oct. 5. As of 2001, they say, nearly a million Americans shared Oct. 5 as their birthday.

You might be thinking by now, "Ho Hum! So what?"
Well, it just so happens, that our very own Amy was born on the most popular birthdate in America. Amy's been having birthdays for 14 years now and I just learned this amazing bit of information. 

She entered our life on a peaceful autumn morning fifteen years ago. You can read about her Birth story here if you're interested. 

Amy over the years

3 years
5 years
6 years
7 years
9 years
Age 10 - She broke her wrist rollerblading
Age 13 at Andrew's wedding
14 years - At Horse Camp this past spring
Today, Oct 5 - A big 15 years old

She chose Fruit Loops (yuck!!!) for her birthday cereal and Keith took her out to lunch at an Italian restaurant. Christina baked her a Lemon Poppyseed Cake to take to Youth Group tonight. She's been chomping at the bit to get a Facebook account for the last two years which we let her do today. She's been on FB for eight hours and already has 50 friends.

Happy Birthday Amy
Hope you have a good 15th year.

P.S. The yahoo article said that nine out of 10 websites claimed Oct. 5 was the most popular birthdate. 

It also said this: "The study credited to Armitabh Chandra of Harvard, shows that not only is the most popular birth date in September, but the ten most popular birth dates are all in the month of September, with Sept. 16 being the actual most popular birthday in the U.S. based on a review of all births in the country between 1973 and 1999. According to the NYT report of Chandra's research, Oct. 5 ranks a paltry 79th in terms of most popular birthdays."

Choose what you want to believe. I'm voting for the 5th.