Monday, November 23, 2015


Warning: this post is so cliche, and full of thanks and greatfulness it might make you cringe. So if hearing about all the tragic and negative things going on in the world is more fun, the news is always there. But it is Thanksgiving week;  and YES……I'm feeling thankful for so much….Even  though after the most amazing fall, I'm digging myself out from the first snow of the season that didn't bring just flurries and a dusting to break us into winter gently,but a dump of 8 inches of heavy wet snow with a nice slap on the a#$ welcome to winter.  
shoveling round 2

Jack finished 7th grade football, made A team wrestling and A/B honor roll with all A's a B+, and B. He is driven, works hard, has a funny sense of humor, and blows me away when I come home and hear the drier going because he's done his own laundry without me asking.
amazing 7th grader

I'm thankful that through most of November I ran in shorts, without gloves or hat, and biked in a single layer with arm warmers only. This was top shelf fall weather. I made it a mission to seek as much outside time as possible.  Random Monday night fire pits with perfect  fall weather and my people made some fall  Mondays more fun.
Fire pit on gorgeous random Mondays
I'm thankful for my incredible and amazing friends that I have in all my different worlds. My friends have been there in good times and bad; to talk, to celebrate, to run/race, to vent, to support, and to have fun with, motivate me, and tell me it's ok.

Of course I'm thankful for my incredible family. They don't live close, and  I don't get to see them often, but miss them every day but still feel they are close to me. My nephew who is a sophomore played varsity football and just helped his team win 5a state championships in Boise.

I'm thankful for my house thats too big for me. Its challenged me this year, but I've learned about air conditioners, furnaces and doors. Its stressful and at times I've wanted to call a realtor, but at same time feels awesome to keep this place sailing on my own.  I think I'll try to one up myself and make my front porch better than last year.
when you can't have a fire pit outside
 1 year ago

I'm thankful for my job. Its also stressful, exhausting and I've been doing it for a long time. But I have amazing co-workers and after after all this time I still love seeing the total knee patient walk out without a limp and the injured runner back at the races. This fall  an incredible Geneva High School runner I've had the privilege of working with some in her off season, had an amazing performance at state cross country

I'm thankful for incredible trips to Colorado to play in the mountains with Steve. Sun, mountains, and this guy make me smile
hanging in Fort Collins
trail run in the sun

I am thankful to have been chosen to be part of TeamBetty2o16. I love being a part of such a positive supportive team of amazing women with such incredible backgrounds from around the world  I can't wait to see what 2016 brings.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Portland Marathon…& Loving Oregon

I'm still walking a bit stiff, and my bags from Oregon aren't completely unpacked from my incredible trip home to Oregon to run the Portland Marathon.  I was on a 6:30 plane the next morning back here to make it in time for some 7th grade football and the world hasn't slowed down since.
Focused and Determined
With a completely jammed work schedule more football and a list a mile long I feel like I'm still running that marathon.  I'm tired and sore, and slowly recovering, but feeling excited and happy get moving again. Portland was the first big race I've committed to in nearly 2 years after my life went through some "reorganization". I have been racing and training and feeling fit and fast but haven't felt to need to live my life around a training schedule.  I still love to train race and push myself.  A new goal and something completely different  was motivating enough for me to commit and focus.  A marathon without swimming or biking a bunch first would be a fun challenge.
St. Johns bridge coolest part of the course
I felt so ready for this race. Jenny's workouts were perfect and I was nailing the long runs and feeling so fast going into the race.  I didn't want to put a lot of pressure on myself with a big time goal but that happened anyway. I just wanted to go have a good race and enjoy that I got to the start line free of injury, motivated and not burned out on running. 
My Dad still teaching me to dream big
As a competitive athlete its hard not to have something in mind to shoot for.  The course is hilly beautiful and I love being in Oregon. The weather was perfect for me for some marathoners maybe it got a bit warm into the 70s. I felt great and was hitting my paces and splits all along the way. My parents, brother and Steve made their way around the course to so many spots.
My brother in the far right, and Steve catching the pic
would appear from no where all over the course
I was surprised to see them all over the place.  I had the best support crew ever cheering me on.  After mile 20, I fell way off pace thanks to cramps/ charley horses in my calves causing me to have to do a fair amount  walk/running.  That will surely drop your average pace down.  I pushed through and finished still with a Boston Qualifying time, which wasn't my goal but feel accomplished that I was able to still get it even with falling apart at the end. It was such a fun race and I loved every moment of the training and most of the race. It definitely hurts at the end!  I'm already excited and looking forward to another one!
Finished, literally
As I mentioned I did have a time goal in mind and didn't get there even though I felt completely ready and prepared for it. I did feel sad for a little bit after the race because I don't like not achieving the goals I set out to. I think this is what most athletes who compete go through and is what keeps us going back for more. I didn't pout for long. I reminded myself that I am 40- something years old, manage a big house by myself, work 40+ hours a week, take care of an amazing 7th grader who loves to be in sports. ( who by the way is killing it so far in 7th grade with 89% as his lowest grade at midterm). These are my priorities now and to be able to still go out and race and compete on top of this is an added bonus. Plus who can pout when you are playing and having fun in Oregon.  
He makes me smile a lot!
Its almost been a week and the soreness goes away a little more each day. The only run I've done post marathon is a Virtual UPR with my very fun BettyDesigns team. This group of girls has been so inspiring motivating supportive and fun all year. We ran virtual 1 mile UPR in our team suits in honor of our teammates running and racing over in Kona. Sometimes being a grown up is not fun, being can be boring, thats why I refuse to grow up completely. Why not run a mile in my swimsuit one dark early morning with my other teammates across the country. 

Be Brave, Be Bold, Be Fearless, Smile, Live Life, Don't Ever give up!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Race Face

As the season starts to wind down there seems to be plenty of big racing going on especially locally.  Fox Valley Marathon is this weekend. Cross Vegas just happened, Chicago marathon around the corner. I just spent the weekend in Madison spectating and having fun cheering for friends and athletes. I haven't watched or payed much attention to any triathlons for nearly 2 years.  I forgot the faces of pain, fun, or completely clueless, or even fear even at just mile 48 of the bike in an Ironman.   And no, being away from it for a period of time and watching doesn't make me want to sign up for another one again. I did plenty of long distance triathlons to last a lifetime. 
Spreading some BettyStyle in Madison
Having fun on the hill
My big race for the season is an open marathon,  just about 2 weeks away. I didn't do many big races this season, but even the small local 5ks, local half marathons fired me up enough to tighten my pony tail and put on my race face. A race is a race. You might be going for a certain time, place, to not get chicked, or to beat your friend.  To be honest some of the small races Ive done this year have provided the best return in terms of fun and prizes.  I have won cool pottery, beer glasses,  cold hard cash, and gift certificates to running stores this year doing local 5ks and 1/2 marathons. 
can't get more local than Elburn days 5k
I recently  ran our local Batavia half marathon and shocked myself by running close to a minute off my PR for any half marathon at my 40 something year old self for second in the age group because the first old lady was a top 3 overall. 
Race Face

Even some of my workouts have worthy of a race face. Jenny has written workouts I didn't think were possible, but a few times during this marathon training I've treated these workouts like a race.  Sometimes it calls for fishtail braids, Badass Betty pink sport top and a race face. The Betty sport bra is so perfect to run in. No chaffing perfect fit and no jiggling to get in way of moving fast.  And with all the right ingredients I've been able to do what I didn't think I could. Its been challenging but so fun and with the long stuff behind me I'm not burned out and dreading putting on my running shoes. I just hope race day goes the same way. 
Braids and Betty to go fast
Some days I even put on a race face with a side braid to go to work. The schedule and often  the people can be so demanding and requires so much energy.  Some days I need to try to speak Spanish, keep up with a high volume of patients all with a smile, and play politics. Usually I'm tired after getting up early, and now in the dark, to workout. But I win, when I get to see the athlete run again, return to the field, or the total knee replacement guy go back to golf. I even got flowers last week from a patient.  

Jack plays 7th grade football now and get to see his game face at least 1x a week. He has grown to love competing and I have watched him as captain fire up his team, and fight to the end with wins and losses. He won't let me slack on pre game meals. Truth. I have to step up my game and make lemmon chicken for his best pre game meal. Maybe he's watched me get ready to race a few times.

Post game face
Cross season is here. There is nothing like a cross race to bring out the best race faces. I love cross, have always wanted to do Cross Vegas and got so fired up seeing some of the pictures. My first cross race most likely will be Trek with shaky post marathon legs. Race Face required. 
TREK 2014 
Zoey even has race face when she gets to run the trails with me. Focused, driven, fast Zoey always wins. 
Zoey ready to race

Good luck to everyone racing soon, I hope  your training prep and recovery has gone well, but don't forget to pack  your race face. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Been Running…..But Cross is Coming!

I am in middle of marathon training, so I've been running some!  My experience at marathon training has been during Ironman training. I am loving the focus of a single sport. But one single goal always leads to another.  I've not ever really trained for an open marathon. Right now I'm loving it.  I've been doing runs of all kinds.  Runs I've not done before, ever during triathlon training. Long runs before work, fun speedy efforts during long runs, hills,  trails, double runs and more.
Fun on Trails!

 So far I'm surviving and have had only a couple runs that made me feel like I …..

1.  got off the couch after 9 months of doing nothing  all winter
2.  just had a baby 4 weeks ago and am just returning to running (thank you no,  did that once)
 3. have never run in my life.

My coach Jenny has mixed it up so well, I'm not bored and plodding along,  and every week is a little different. While I"m tired sometimes,  I'm stressing myself in different ways each run.  A little trip to Colorado helped mix it up too. I did some running at altitude,  on trails,  and in the hills that was challenging for a flatlander.  The runs there were  hard, not very fast but good for strength and lots of fun.   I ran around a lake in the hot sun,   up and down steep rocky trails that made me suck air,  and a long run across"the dams". 

My last and long run of the trip ended up being an incredible adventure.  After some recovering and fueling up, Steve and I  packed up gear to hike/camp in the mountains. He was an incredible sherpa showing me all around the mountains.

Recovery, and fueling up

We hiked straight uphill with big packs and camped overnight.  I was treated to an amazing dinner on the campfire with the sun going down. 
Having just a little fun
Sexy Sherpa

 It must have worked because on tired legs we hiked back down and I started my long run  along "the dams" around Horsetooth Resevoir. I started from the campground and ran up and down the big hills all along the the beautiful lake. 
Big blue sky, Big hills, big running

For a girl who lives in the midwest but loves the mountains the whole weekend such an amazing adventure.  I came home tired and sore and facing an insane week at work and getting a 7th grader ready for the start of football, and school. It may sound easy, but it can be just as tiring as running the dams!  School physicals, open house, football parent meetings, shopping at Target during l lunch for school supplies, hair cuts, and more all in my spare time around work.  I'm tired……but I LOVE it.
ready for 7th grade

Even with all this running, …..Cross is coming!  Its just a little darker and cooler in the mornings, a few of my plants have thrown in the towel on summer and are looking crispy,  and there are a couple leaves on the ground. Cross is coming!  I've been turning to my cross bike more to ride between all the running.  I love riding it on trails  and dirt. My early season cross races may be interesting until the marathon is done.  Cross season is so long, I'd actually like to make it to Nationals this year.

Cross is Coming!  (MDula photography)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mile High of Fun

Summer is going so fast.  Its already past the 4th of July even though it seems like summer is just getting started. I spent the 4th of July weekend in Colorado a mile high and having so much fun. Before I know it,  I'll be having to wake up a 7th grader to catch the bus, turning lights on earlier and watching football games. I have been trying to soak up as much of summer as I can. Its been challenging thanks to the never-ending rain. I worked hard on making my patio but haven't sat out there as much as I want to because it keeps getting soaked.   The flowers grass and weeds seem happy though.
proof I've been out having fun; weeds are happy

I've been having fun using 5ks to get faster running and have been challenging myself to make each one faster. No, I didn't travel to Colorado just to do a 5k, but did happen to race a Firecracker 5k on the 4th.  With jet lag, altitude and a night of fun from the Greeley Stampede the night before I managed to win my AG and score some very cool prizes. Local pottery and $$, and I was even faster than my last 5k, by a smidge.  
Fort Collins, can throw a good 5k

This weekend I managed to drop my time some more and get 3rd OA in a local race.  It's becoming a fun mission to see where it will go. As the long marathon miles start to really go up I am not sure how many more I will be getting in.  I'm starting back up being coached by Jen Harrison and know she will point me in the right direction and keeping me on track. Too many random acts of training for me to stay focused for a marathon without some guidance.

Colorado for the 4th was another amazing adventure. 
Just a little excited to go for a hike

We took a post 5k hike in the evening to the top of Horsetooth Rock and caught a beautiful sunset before watching the fireworks down below in towns all along the front range. 

Top of the Rock
Beautiful Sunset, no filter

We hiked down in the dark with headlamps and I couldn't quit laughing at how fun it was. To recover from the 4th we spent the day on SUP boards on Horsetooth Resevoir paddling and floating on the water. I didn't manage a headstand on the board, but did maintain balance with a few yoga poses.  Um, yea I pretty much didn't stop smiling all weekend.

I've started writing articles for the Fox Valley Marathon Newsletter as Advocate where I work is a primary sponsor of the race.   The newsletter comes in a PDF form, but here is a small portion of some of the first one I wrote.  Since I preach this every day at work, I am going to try my best to follow my own advice during my marathon journey. 

I still love my bike and am going to keep riding to break the running, cross train, and keep some biking miles going into CX season. 

Countdown to the 2015 Fox Valley Marathon

As the countdown begins to this year’s Fox Valley Marathon and 1/2 Marathon it is time to begin thinking about taking all the necessary steps to make it to race day healthy and ready to race. Whether it’s your first marathon or your 20th, make this marathon experience positive by incorporating all the right components into your training.  There are all types of runners at the starting line. New runners, experienced runners, runners who run mega miles,  runners who have all the right gear and look really good but forget to do the work, social runners, lonely runners, super fast runners and runners who have done all it takes to have a successful race.  Be a complete runner and fit all pieces of the marathon puzzle into your training to make it to the starting line healthy, injury free and ready for a great race experience.    

There is a lot that goes into a complete marathon training program, more than just logging in huge miles or buying the right gear.  Marathon training can be exhausting and draining especially to newcomers. It is challenging to push your body to make the necessary physical adaptation to run 26.2 miles, while continuing to live life, go to work care for kids , maintain a home and job.  Make your marathon experience the best it can be by incorporating all the correct pieces into your training plan.

A complete marathon program should include:

-A plan with structure:  rather than haphazardly training or doing what your friends do, have a plan with structure to follow. A plan that  builds the volume necessary appropriately yet allows time for rest and adaptation so the body can absorb the work you've taxed it with.  Repeated stress without subsequent rest can lead to injury illness, fatigue or burnout.

-Proper strength and flexibility: the body is a puzzle in which all pieces must fit together to move efficiently.  Its easy for some muscle groups to become too tight from being overused, while others become weak leading to muscle imbalances, overuse syndromes,  and even stress fractures and beyond. Keep all the moving parts flexible and strong to prevent injury.

- Proper form and mechanics: If you’re interested in running with less pain,  improving your time, or even seeking a Boston qualification, or just getting to the finish as efficiently as you can,  have your run form, strength and flexibility analyzed. An assessment and gait analysis can address the changes necessary to make the correct improvements. Check out the SEP ( sports enhancement program) at Advocate/Dreyer for a complete assessment to help you get to the finish line as efficiently as you can.

-Plans for recovery and injury prevention:  take appropriate measures in injury prevention, by listening to your body, taking rest when needed,  seeking professional advice when pain might appear. If you have pain that doesn't diminish with 48 hours of taking some rest, and interferes with normal daily activities, seek help from medical professionals who can help get you back on the training plan sooner rather than later.

-Nutrition and hydration plan: marathon training can be taxing and drain the body. Having appropriate fuel pre workout, during and post workout make make a huge impact in the outcome of the training the workout or the race. Recovering properly so the next workouts can be obtained can make a huge difference in the overall training experience

-Knowledge of the course; being educated on the course, where the hills and turns are located, where the aid stations are, can be extremely beneficial and increase your confidence on race day. Take time to familiarize  yourself with the layout of the course, the sponsored nutrition/hydration that will be supported on race day, as well as take advantage of the pre course preview runs offered to help prepare yourself to be race ready.

and much more!

Monday, June 22, 2015


People are inspired and motivated by different sources. What inspires one person, might not light a fire, or spark a flame in the their best friend or neighbor.  I guess thats what keeps the world interesting.
I've been inspired in a lot of different ways lately which keeps me:

- moving when I want to fall asleep in my shoes
- sane when I feel like losing it
- keeps me smiling when it might be ok to cry
- motivated when Im feeling lazy
- strong when I feel scared and wimpy

I recently filled in last minute as the cyclist on a relay for the Naperville Women's Sprint Triathlon for my good friend Debbie's team. After so many years of racing big races or even the elite wave at this very race, I confess I wasn't too inspired and felt almost funny doing this as a relay.  It poured at the race all morning, we stood around getting soaked with a rain delay and I wondered what was I doing. I've raced so much over the years why was I here doing this,  dragging my boyfriend Steve out early on a Sunday to this sprint race that I was just doing the bike in.  He, by the way was incredible….standing in the rain holding the umbrella for us, or letting us have it to stay dry, fixing my bike up fancy and race ready, pumping up tires and running around in the rain taking pictures. But once it was finally time to clip in, put my head down and go, it all came back. The love to compete, and go as fast as I could in the rain on that day with whatever random training I had done to that point. I wanted to catch as many girls as I could and try to not let anyone catch me.  I confess, I still like to compete and race. 

It ended up being fun, and inspiring enough to at least look for another triathlon to fit in amongst a bunch of run training. It was fun catching up with Debbie and there were 4 of my fast mom friends at the race from the book I helped co-author. Congrats to Jenny G and Elizabeth W who were 1st and 2nd overall.
Catching up during a rain delay..maybe a book sequel "the after years"
I even wore the aero helmet :(

I am signed up for the Portland Marathon. I've never really trained for an open marathon outside of my Ironmans. It didn't happen last year because I just wasn't ready mentally to take it on.  So Im inspired to stay strong healthy flexible and do the run stuff right I teach to others every day.  My little Geneva  H.S. runner is back in the SEP program at work getting strong, perfecting her form,  and doing all she can to get fast for her senior year. It has been so cool to see her develop over these past 3 years.
See you in Oct.
Watching the Blackhawks has been more than inspiring. I grew up with football. I love it football.  But, I confess I jumped on the bandwagon of being a Hawks fan in 2010 when they won the Stanley Cup. Now I love watching the games. I still don't completely understand it, but think it is so fun to watch.  Even my clinic was inspired by their wins and let us wear Hawks gear to work with jeans!!! I love jeans day at work.

Jeans Day and they were Stanley Cup Champs


Seeing big black clouds in the distance rolling in fast is inspiring to ride faster home. My power isn't working on my bike, the battery needs replaced in the quarq and I am lucky to remember where Jack needs to go each day so replacing batteries on a bike hasn't been priority.  A little thunderstorm is good to get you moving!

Time to ride fast!

We had fun night with friends touring the Lagunitas Brewery in Chicago.  Brewmasters must really be inspired in unique ways to come up with names for their different selections, their designs and menus. The craft beer industry must be so competitive amongst itself, a little like racing.
He kind of make me smile a lot

Brew Tour
Its fun seeing Jack get inspired. He continues to amaze me in how he is figuring out that hard work and practice pays off. He is doing water polo, wrestling and golf this summer.  He asks me to take him to the driving range so he can practice. 

Zoey is inspired to act like a princess and climb on patio furniture.

loving summer
Being a of TeamBetty2015 athlete this year has been inspiring. Its been fun being on a team with so many amazing women training and racing all over the world and accomplishing so many different goals in the midst of their busy and crazy life.