Running from the Law: 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Week # 5

Things are starting to get tough here on the "Road to Marathon." My weekday runs went pretty well. Had a do a few of them on the treadmill, due to being too tired and cold to get out of bed in the early morning hours. My longer weekday runs were outside morning runs, freezing cold and raining for both. Friday afternoon I started feeling a little "under the weather" and went home from work early to take a nap (and some vitamins). It didn’t seem to help and I felt sick and tired the rest of the night.

And then came the SNOW!! And I’m not talking a little dusting of the stuff, but inches and inches and inches. I woke up early Saturday morning to get dressed and ready for my race in Forest Park. I bundled up as best I could and headed out, excited and nervous. By the time I got to the highway, I knew there was no way I could run in this weather. The snow was still falling in huge wet drops and there was at least an inch of wet icy slush covering the roads. I didn't know if they would cancel the race, but with an already weakened immune system, I didn’t want to take my chances running 8 miles with cold wet feet. I hear pneumonia is not fun. This is a picture of Forest Park taken around midnight on Friday - it was MUCH worse in the morning.

Regrettably, this threw me off course for the rest of the day and I wasn’t able to run at all. A little nap turned into a longer nap; a couple errands turned into a long expedition; and an early evening wedding came much earlier than expected. So, I did not get my long run in for the week. I know – it’s very very very bad of me! Skipping the weekly long run is the cardinal sin of marathon training. Fortunately, we’re not too high in mileage that I can’t make it up one day this week (hopefully today or tomorrow).

In the world of fundraising, this was a great week!! I’m now up to $1,671 – that’s 66% of my goal!! I’m continuously pleasantly surprised to see where the donations come from – some of people that I least expected have really gone above and beyond to help out. As I get closer and closer to the finish line and I have to say that I feel great about doing this. Despite my complaining and protestations about early mornings and cold weather, it doesn’t compare at all to dealing with cancer or chemotherapy. Every time I complain I have to "remember the cause" and feel good that I’m doing something to help others in their time of need. I’m so glad that I decided to do this.

In non-running news, this was an exciting weekend. Two of our best friends finally got hitched! John and Brooke had a beautiful winter white wedding. Despite the snow it was a complete success, with great food, an amazing band, best friends and much excitement! I couldn't get over how beautiful and romantic the snow made everything look! Ryan and I had a great time. Congrats to you both and thank you for letting us be a part of it!

Weekly recap:
Monday: 4.25 miles
Tuesday: 4.4
Wednesday: 6.15
Friday: 5.6

Total: 20.4 miles

Monday, December 10, 2007

Week # 4

Another good week. My goal was to run 22 miles this week, which is exactly what I ran…despite skipping one easy run due to achy legs. I used to have bad shin splints and ITBS until I was "prescribed" custom orthotics for my running shoes. They work wonders, but I don’t want to push too hard if there’s pain (doctor’s orders). A little rest did the trick and I was feeling great for my Saturday morning group run.

It’s starting to get bitter cold and icy here, which has frightened me a little. I ran a few times early in the morning this week and froze the first few miles. Windburn and frostbite are NOT good. I’ve been starting my runs around 6:15 a.m., but it doesn’t get light outside until around 7:00 a.m. It was fine last week, but with all the rain and ice we received over the weekend, I may need a little more light to make sure I don’t slip or injure myself this week. Luckily we didn’t get the winter storm that was predicted to hit us last night. My dad said he could ice skate on his gravel driveway all the way down to the mailbox. Yuck! Really makes me wish we had "snow days" at work!

My weekly group run was rather uneventful this weekend. Back at Grant’s Trail and I didn’t have anyone my speed to run with. So it was a little lonely…guess I need to run faster! Although I did luck out because the 1.5 hours it took for me to do my 8 miles run was the only time all weekend it didn’t rain. As soon as I got back in my car, the rain started again.

This upcoming Saturday is my first race in the St. Louis Track Club Frostbite Series – 12k (7.45 miles). I’ll make sure to post a race report afterwards on how it goes. There will be six races total in the Frostbite Series, ranging in distances from 12k to 13.1 miles (half marathon). I think this will be a great way to stay motivated, work on race tempo, and help me set realistic time goals for the April marathon.

Fundraising has been a little slow this week…only a couple donations. I’m up to $855 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Every little bit counts! I know it’s hard with the holidays coming up – it’s a very expensive time of year (my bank account proves it). Maybe I’ll send out reminder emails after Christmas, which will give everyone a little more time to make their 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation before the end of the year. :) My recommitment deadline is January 28, so I’ve got just over a month to raise the rest of the money. I need to start thinking of a fundraising activity for January. Any ideas?

Otherwise, things are going well. Ryan and I put up our Christmas tree yesterday. We went to Kirkwood Farmer's Market and found the most perfect Douglass fir. This is my first real tree - and no expense was spared on this thing. I bought ornaments, garland, lights, bows, etc. from 7 different places! Yep, obsessed is the word you're looking for. I have to admit, I think it turned out beautifully. Very elegant. Mally hasn't seemed to even notice that it's there, but Jigs is completely fascinated by it. She laid on the carpet and stared at it for hours last night. Every now and then she'd walk over and bat at some ornament and then run away. It was very cute. I just hope all the ornaments stay on the tree for the next few weeks.


























Weekly recap:
Sunday: 3.3 miles
Wednesday: 5.3
Thursday: 5.3
Saturday: 8.1

Total: 22.1 miles

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Week # 3

This was a great week! I ran a total of 28.4 miles this week and got five runs in - two of them were even early morning before work runs! Pretty impressive, I know. I thought both morning runs were pretty cold (mid-30s), until my Saturday morning group run...which was 20 degrees with a little freezing rain and high winds to boot. But it turned out to be a really nice run. I ran the loop around Forest Park and met a few people on the training team there and really enjoyed running and chatting with others. I'm usually a solo runner with my headphones and iPod, so this was a nice change, it really took my mind off the miles. And it's also pretty nice going to the Visitors Center afterwards and getting a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

My early Christmas present to myself also showed up this week, just in time for my group run. The Garmin Forerunner 305. It's my way to make sure I stay motivated training for this race and give myself a little incentive (toys). I haven't quite figured out all the bells and whistles (it's so fancy!), but I love it already. Its a GPS receiver with a heart rate monitor that tracks each run and lets me analyze the data with interactive graphs that chart pace, time, distance and heart rate. The software allows me to overlay each run on a Google map so I can pinpoint specific areas of each run and see how elevation, weather and other factors affect my performance. It even lets me compete with a virtual runner that represents my timw/pace goals. How cool!

Ok, enough free advertisement for Garmin. Non-running-wise, the rest of the week was pretty busy. I had a wonderful dinner with the girls (and Auntie Alison in from Florida) on Monday night, got my teeth cleaned on Thursday (ouch!), had a nice breakfast at Edgewood on Friday to bring gifts for Stock the Store, spent the week doing securities research at work, and watched the Tigers blow the BCS championship Saturday night at home with Seth and Claire. So, other than the bleeding gums and the loss to OU, it was a good week!

Weekly recap:
Sunday: 6.25 miles
Wednesday: 5.3
Thursday: 5.5
Friday: 5.3
Saturday: 6.0

Total: 28.4

And I finished out November with a total of 63.9 miles (that's over 12 hours of running).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Week # 2

Week #2 just flew by!! With the holiday on Thursday, preparation for holiday Tuesday and Wednesday, being sick on Friday and traveling Saturday and Sunday, I'm not surprised that my training wasn't as consistent as I hoped it would be. My mileage was a little low, at 15 miles for the week, and that only consisted of three runs - all on the treadmill. Must do better next week!!


Fundraising is going well...I think. So far the website has received $370 in donations. That puts me around 18% of the way to meeting my goal. Hopefully the letters made it out and we'll get closer to the $2,500 fundraising commitment. It doesn't seem like a lot of money, but it makes it more difficult when you have to badger family, friends and co-workers for the donations!! You all are the best!! Also, I've been trying to come up with other fundraising ideas for the holidays, but I'm worried there won't be enough time, I may have to shoot for after the new year. Maybe a cookie party or a recipe exchange? Or I could just throw myself a huge birthday party and ask for donations instead of gifts...did I really just say that?! Of course, gifts are always accepted!! Anyway, if you haven't already done so, PLEASE DONATE!! It's for a GREAT cause!! And you'll be very happy you did come April when you're doing your taxes!!

Hope everyone is doing well. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you're up to - I'd love to hear from you all. And GO TIGERS!!! Mizzou-rah!!

Weekly recap:
Sunday: 5.9 miles
Monday: 3.3
Thursday: 5.66

Total: 14.9 miles

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

The point of Thanksgiving is to remember the things we have to be grateful for. It's our special time to give thanks... not just for the obvious things, like food, but for the thousands of fortunate moments, the multitude of blessings that we receive each year.

I always thought the concept of going around the Thanksgiving table and listing the things you're thankful for was a little corny. But, with the week I've been having, I think it may help put things in perspective for me and remind me what a great life I have.

So here are some things I'm giving thanks for this Thanksgiving.

  1. My Family & Friends. Despite our disfunctionality, I have a pretty great family. And although we've had a pretty rough time with illness over the last few years, I'm thankful everyone is on the road to recovery and doing well. I'm glad to see my brothers happy and staying out of trouble. I'm thankful my mom has Anna to fuss over and has stopped giving me such a hard time about when I'm going to have babies! I'm thankful for Ryan, Mally and Jigs, who are "home" to me. And I truly believe that I have the greatest friends in the whole world. Yep, they're that fabulous - you know who you are.
  2. My Job. It's challenging, rewarding, interesting, and best of all, it pays the bills. I'm thankful that my job lets me work with some pretty amazing and super-smart people. I have flexibility and freedom. I have lots of opportunity and options. But I'm really just thankful that they haven't fired me yet. ;)
  3. Cupcakes. Seriously, I love them. The frosting, the sprinkles, the frosting. And pretty much all things sweet, including: cheesecake, pumpkin pie, gelato, tiramisu, caramel lattes, Kit Kats, cinnamon rolls, donuts, oatmeal butterscotch cookies, blueberry muffins and Sticky Toffee Pudding Hagen Daas ice cream. I am SO thankful.
  4. TiVo. This is the greatest invention in the world. No longer do I have to watch the shows at the programmed time chosen by the networks. No longer do I have to suffer though commercials, previews and reruns. No longer do I have to search for something to watch when I turn the TV on. Now I have hours and hours of my favorites recorded and waiting for me!! I must watch as much TV as soon as humanly possible before the memory fills up and heaven forbid, not be able to record MORE TV that I didn't need in the first place. I love it.
  5. Mizzou Football. I'm so thankful that Mizzou is kicking some serious butt right now. After years of struggling, my alma mater is finally showing the nation what a great team we have and what a great school MU is. I've been trying to tell you all this! Kansas is in for a major ass beating this weekend. Go Tigers!

Wasn't that nice?! I feel a little better. Now, just to be clear on this point...I'm not grateful for everything. Here are a few things that I am NOT thankful for:

  1. The idiot who mistakenly put my phone number on his Craig's List add to sell his Kubota tractor. I'm getting up to 10 calls a day!
  2. Highway 40 construction. Even though I very rarely have to take Highway 40, just the thought of it angers me. And it makes all the other highways and streets a nightmare to drive on.
  3. Calories. Hate them.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Running For Ryan

As previously mentioned, I'm running the St. Louis Marathon with Team in Training to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This is an amazing organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. These days it seems like every single person I know has been affected by cancer in some way. Cancer doesn't discriminate when it comes to race, sex or age — anyone can get cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that half the men and one-third of the women in the U.S. will develop cancer in their lifetimes. It is estimated that about 1.4 million new cases of cancer are expected in 2007, and about 560,000 people will die of the disease.

Losing a loved one to cancer is devastating. Keeping their memory alive is incredibly important. As life goes on, we must never forget the fallen heroes that have bravely battled this disease and honor the life they lived and how they touched our lives in so many ways.

Therefore, I would like to dedicate my marathon to the memory of Ryan Brown, the son of my high school friends Phillip and Andrea.

On March 17, 2004, Ryan was diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem tumor at the age of 3. Ryan went through 30 treatments of radiation by May, 2004. In November he began chemotherapy, but after 9 rounds the tumor quit responding. An MRI in February showed slight growth, so Ryan began taking an experimental oral chemotherapy drug. He responded well until June when Ryan took a turn for the worse. On July 10, 2005, a few weeks after his 5th birthday, Ryan lost his brave battle against cancer and became an angel in heaven.

Ryan was an incredible little boy. He loved his 4-wheeler, soccer, Chuck E. Cheese, his space blaster toy gun, swimming and most of all, his parents. Ryan’s dad Phillip is in the U.S. Army, stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky and currently serving a 15 month deployment away from his family. Mom, Andrea, is a military wife and dedicated stay at home mother of Elizabeth (age 3) and Lucas (age 1).

I am incredibly proud and honored to run in Ryan’s memory and on behalf of his wonderful family.

The slideshow below provided by Andrea Brown.

Ryan Douglas Brown
June 29, 2000 - July 10, 2005

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Week # 1 - Only 20 More Weeks To Go!

Well, I've made it through my first "official" week of training for my upcoming marathon. With more than 16 miles under my belt for the week, I feel pretty good about the schedule and the distances...so far. My first group training run was this morning at Grant's Trail. It was really early, but it's nice to have my long run of the week done first thing Saturday morning and have the rest of the day/weekend free. We have a really nice group of runners and I can' t wait to spend some time getting to know everyone.

Despite the mild weather, I only managed to do two runs outside this week. I have a feeling the treadmill is going to have to be my new best friend for the upcoming months...especially since it's dark when I go to work and dark when I get off of work. Jigs (our cat) has finally stopped being terrified of the treadmill and is starting to get pretty curious. She was even curled up sleeping on it the other day. Once I turn it on, she no longer runs away in terror, but she does tend to keep her distance...unlike Mally (our dog). Mally wants to be next to me at all times. Including the times I'm on the treadmill. She's jumped up on there with me a few times, completely taking me out once. She's about to be banned from the basement during runs.

As for the fundraising part of TNT, I think I'm doing pretty well so far. The website has received a couple hundred dollars of donations! That's so exciting. Surprisingly, many of them are from people I've never even met! How fantastic is that!? It's a really great reminder to believe in the kindness of strangers. I sent out about 50 letters this morning to friends and family members, informing them of my race and my commitment to raising money for cancer research. I'm hoping the letters will work and get people interested.

Weekly recap:
Sunday: 3.1 miles
Wednesday: 4.75
Thursday: 4.3
Saturday: 4.0

Total: 16.15 miles

Monday, November 12, 2007

November 11, 2007 - St. Louis Track Club & Special Olympics Half Marathon, 5K and 1/2 Mile Youth Run

A few months ago I signed up to run the SLTC Half Marathon, thinking it would be a good way to keep myself motivated and running after doing the L&C Half in September. I also noticed that there would be a 1/2 Mile Youth Run that morning sponsored by Special Olympics. I immediately called my mom and asked her if Anna would be interested in "running" a race that morning too. She said yes and we signed up.

Let me back up a minute. Anna is my cousin's daughter. She is 3 years old (will be 4 in January) and has spina bifida. She was born with a gap in her spine and is paralyzed from the chest down. Anna is incredibly smart, creative, funny and talkative - but very very shy. We thought a race would be great for her. Here's a picture of Anna - talk about adorable.























Being my mom's only daughter, she talks about me to Anna all the time. My running is one of their favorite topics. She tells her about my races and shows her all my race photos. So Anna was excited that she was going to run her first race. She would practice "going fast" where ever she could - especially through the aisles at the grocery store and down wheelchair ramps. My mom took her to the local high school track so they could do a lap and "train" for the upcoming race. The night before, she even had a pasta dinner to get her necessary carbs.

Race morning came and they were up at 4 am to get ready and drive to St. Louis. Anna told my mom that she didn't realize she'd be running in the dark! Start time for the Half was 8:00 and start time for the Youth Run was 8:45. I was much more concerned with Anna having a good race than me, and I didn't want to miss it, so I traded in my Half bib for a 5K bib and knew I could make it back in time to see her run if I finished in 30 minutes (I'm slow, but that seemed doable). Here's us at the starting line.



Yes, she wore bunny slippers to make her fast (b/c rabbits are really fast).

There was only one word to describe my 5K...HILLY. Man, it sucked. But I managed to finish right at 30 minutes and ran straight to Anna's start line.



At the whistle, she was OFF. My mom ran behind her and helped her go up the hills and over the speedbumps, but she did most of it herself. When they got around the building at the top of the hill, it was a straight shot downhill to the finish line. She was FLYING!!



Seriously, she almost took out that little girl next to her. When she went around the corner, I swear she went up on one wheel! And was smiling the whole time! She crossed the finish line and got her medal. I've never seen anyone so proud of anything. She showed it to every single person we passed. Mom said she even slept with it last night.


I think we'll be doing this again soon!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Team in Training - St. Louis Marathon


Well, I did it!!! I signed up for the Go! St. Louis Marathon!!


As I said below, before I turn the "Big 3-0" next year, I want to take my training to the next level. With a marathon goal in mind, I decided to join area runners in a great cause to raise funds for blood-related cancers. Therefore, I am happy to announce that I'm officially training to run the full 26.2 mile St. Louis Marathon on April 6, 2008 as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training!

Team In Training ("TNT") is the No. 1 endurance training program in the world, which raises funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. I'm completing this event in honor of all individuals who are battling blood cancers, but especially my "Honored Teammate" Jared, a 15 year old Burkitt's Lymphoma survivor from Union, MO.

TNT is rewarding because it not only helps people reach personal fitness goals, but it allows teammates to help others in their battle against blood cancers by raising funds and awareness. My fund-raising goal for the St. Louis Marathon is $2,000. Our local "Gateway Chapter" is proud to have more than 80% of funds raised go directly to the Society for use in funding research and patient services. You can help me reach my goal, by donating at http://www.active.com/donate/tntgmo/saraholtsman

I hope you'll visit this website often and check back frequently to see my progress. I hope to use this training and fund-raising blog to track the miles, goals, obstacles, achievements and every day occurrences. And make sure to leave me feedback!! Thanks so much for your support!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lewis & Clark Half Marathon - September 16, 2007

Well, despite my lack of training for this race, I did surprisingly well. I set a new PR (personal record) and beat last year's time by 4 minutes! Of course, I'm not very fast, but I felt like I kicked butt! My official chip time: 2:14:56. Average pace of 10:18/mile. I finished 800th of 4,150 people running the Half and in the top half of my age group (25-29).

The weather was pretty chilly, although not as bad as it was the day before. I wore my long sleeved shirt throughout the whole race. No sunshine, unfortunately, but it wasn't too bad. The course was so much better this year than last year. We even got to run across the Highway 370 bridge over the Missouri (I think) River. Pretty exciting. I ran the entire distance, no walking! I started feeling a little tired around mile 7, but ate my orange jelly beans (which were damn good) and had a burst of energy that got me through the next few miles. Last year I had the Gu, which just about made me toss my breakfast. I'll be sticking with those beans from now on.

Ryan and Bonnie found me around mile 10 and I was still feeling great...amazingly. This was about the time I crashed last year. I've never seen Ryan's smile so big! It made me feel great. He rode his bike along with me for a few minutes taking pictures and encouraging me, which cheered me up considerably. Especially since the girl beside me told me how awesome that was and what a great boyfriend I had. :) Yes, I do.

A volunteer at the last water station told me that we were at mile 12 and to barrel it out until the end...which I attempted to do. I kicked it up a notch for about a half mile and then saw the 12 mile marker, which meant I still had over a mile to go. At that point I think I slowed down a little, allowing those I had just passed to catch back up with me. Damn. The last .5 mile was a little painful, but great! I even grabbed a dixie cup of beer right before mile 13! All the shouting and cheering really helped push me right to the finish line, where I picked up my medal and went home!

Today, I'm only a little bit sore. Not nearly as bad as I thought I'd be or was last year. I'm planning on doing a short run tonight to get some of the lactic acid out of my legs and lots of stretches. I'm also ready to start training for my next race, another half in Clayton/Forest Park in November. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Running from the law...

Hello! And welcome to my blog. I'm not exactly sure what to do with a blog, but I'm going to try to keep track of my running, racing and ravings. This seemed like a great way to keep friends and family informed and offer me a place to document my progress, goals and general thoughts on running.

As some of you may know, I started running a few years ago and now I'm completely addicted!! For me, running was as a cheap and easy way to stay in shape and clear my head after a long day at work. It quickly became something I looked forward to every night and then something I craved if I didn't get a few miles in every day. Last September I ran my first race, the Lewis & Clark Half Marathon (13.1 miles) and I haven't looked back.

I have two races scheduled for this year, the Lewis & Clark Half Marathon (tomorrow) and the Gateway/SLTC Half (in November). I haven't been as diligent training this year, time off early this year recovering from a knee injury and a busy summer at work haven't helped much. So I'm just praying that I finish them without injury and have a good time. No time goals yet...but maybe someday I'll get "serious" about this. ;) I'm hoping this blog will give me a little motivation to keep up with my training and keep me focused on the finish line.

Ready, set, go!