Week 10

AHHHHHAAA I’m getting so nervous about running 15 miles tomorrow morning!!

Untitled

I’m going the distance with the Alzheimer’s Association ALZ Stars®, a program to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Association. 

Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

I need your support to do my part! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer’s Association advance research to discover methods of prevention, treatment and ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

This year, I am running in honor of my grandpa, Merle Willson, who is currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. He no longer remembers who I am, but I would like to recognize all of the hard work he has invested in our family throughout the years beginning well before I was born. His hard work on the farm cleared the path for my mom to go to college, which turned into the opportunity for my brother and me to become college graduates as well. His generosity and work ethic through the decades are his legacy, and they will echo into the future long after his time. He may not remember, but we always will. Thank you Grandpa! 

I would also like to recognize Grandma Willson who has become Grandpa’s primary caretaker. Thanks for taking care of Grandpa! You rock! 

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Thank you in advance for your generosity – together, we can outrace Alzheimer’s disease.

 

To make a donation, please click the green “Support Me” link on the right side of the page or visit http://act.alz.org/goto/canderun. Follow training on twitter @willsonstrong.

Buy your own Alzheimer’s Association gear at:

http://shop.alz.org/Wear-It

20140721-171122-61882001.jpg

______________________________________________________________________

Thank you to my supporters! I cannot do it without you!

Brent Eames

Susan Willson Aamodt

Shari Willson Anderson

Benjamin Tatham

Anonymous

Merle and Anna Willson

Susan Phelan

Mike and Barb Tatham

 

Week 8: Out of Order

This week’s mileage:

week 8

 

 

It finally happened. On early Thursday morning, while I was trying to get out my 12 mile run, I was attacked by a dog. Actually, there were two of them. About 3.5 miles in, I saw the two white devils standing on the back patio of a townhouse, and I had a feeling in my gut that there was going to be trouble. I was running on the side of the road when two little fluffy shih tzus came running out at me. It was like my little compression shorts had awakened a prey instinct deep within their little black souls. It looked very much like this:

Floating_Shih_Tzu_by_ConverseRoses

One tried to bite my leg while the other just barked at me. The owner was nowhere to be found. At first, I just stuck out my leg, and the aggressive one just tried to bite my shoe. When I realized that an owner wasn’t going to come and relieve me, I got out my teacher voice, and sternly stated, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”

dont-make-me-use-my-teacher-voice-tg-ver

At first, the little brat looked confused and started in again, so I said it again, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.” After that, they both just stood staring at me in the street. The meeker of the two looked at the bratty one like, “What do we do now?” I firmly with my big bulging teacher eyes, “GO HOME.” Well, they didn’t go home, but they did get back on the grass by the street. The owner was still not around. It looked like the owner might just let the dogs out the back door to go potty without a restraint and without watching them.

I wondered if anyone had heard me whip out my teacher voice in the middle of the street at 6am, but then I realized it doesn’t matter. Here’s to the teacher voice and knowing when to use it!

hey-girl__________________________________

I’m recovering from my leg procedure. I had laser ablation on my saphenous vein. The other leg was done two years ago. Here is what it looks like today:

 

IMG_3806

 

I’ll be back in spin class on Monday and back on the treadmill on Tuesday or Wednesday!

 

______________________________________________________________________

I’m going the distance with the Alzheimer’s Association ALZ Stars®, a program to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Association. 

Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

I need your support to do my part! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer’s Association advance research to discover methods of prevention, treatment and ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

This year, I am running in honor of my grandpa, Merle Willson, who is currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. He no longer remembers who I am, but I would like to recognize all of the hard work he has invested in our family throughout the years beginning well before I was born. His hard work on the farm cleared the path for my mom to go to college, which turned into the opportunity for my brother and me to become college graduates as well. His generosity and work ethic through the decades are his legacy, and they will echo into the future long after his time. He may not remember, but we always will. Thank you Grandpa! 

I would also like to recognize Grandma Willson who has become Grandpa’s primary caretaker. Thanks for taking care of Grandpa! You rock! 

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Thank you in advance for your generosity – together, we can outrace Alzheimer’s disease.

 

To make a donation, please click the green “Support Me” link on the right side of the page or visit http://act.alz.org/goto/canderun. Follow training on twitter @willsonstrong.

Buy your own Alzheimer’s Association gear at:

http://shop.alz.org/Wear-It

20140721-171122-61882001.jpg

______________________________________________________________________

Thank you to my supporters! I cannot do it without you!

Brent Eames

Susan Willson Aamodt

Shari Willson Anderson

Benjamin Tatham

Anonymous

Merle and Anna Willson

Susan Phelan

Mike and Barb Tatham

 

Week 7: Generosity

Note: Please excuse the hodgepodge this week. I’ve had a lot of thoughts rolling through my head.

This week’s mileage:
Week 7

 

Last week, I did a variety of exercise wearing a heart rate monitor just to see what my real caloric output was. I wasn’t surprised to find that the estimations given by myfitnesspal and mapmyrun were very generous. For example, with my heart rate monitor on, I went to spin class twice last week. Both times I worked really hard. For the first ride, I came ten minutes  before class to warm up, so my total ride time was actually 1:11:46. My total calorie burn according to my heart rate monitor was 464 calories. The second time it was 424 calories. Don’t get me wrong, I worked hard:

20140721-170443-61483214.jpg

However, when I go to log it into mapmyrun or myfitnesspal, the calorie estimates based on my weight and the time spent exercising are very generous:

generous calorie estimate

Mapmyrun was giving me 604 calories while myfitnesspal gave me 550 calories. I have never used the estimates from these sites to keep track of my calories for exercise, but it would be easy to overeat based on the estimates that they give. Just look at the calorie burn estimate for yoga from mapmyrun:

yoga

 

In the type of yoga class I go to, I’d be lucky to burn 200 calories. Be careful with calorie burn estimators because they are generous, and generosity isn’t a good thing when weight loss is important.

___________________________________________________________

Training

Next week will be an interesting week for getting my mileage in. I have to have a procedure on my leg on Thursday, which means the 12 mile run will either need to get done on Wednesday or early Thursday morning. . .ALONE. I have run 12 miles alone before. It’s not easy. I’ve run 12 miles on a treadmill and outside. It’s also not easy either way. I know I can do it, but it is definitely not EASY.  I am trying to stay positive about recovering in a few day and getting back out there to pound the pavement.

___________________________________________________________

Grandpa Willson

I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about how my grandma, my mother, and my aunts and uncle have come together to take care of my grandpa. They are so strong, and I am very proud of all of their hard work. I was trying to remember the last time I saw my grandpa, and he remembered who I was. I think it was probably about two years ago. I remember talking about fuel economy in his truck and and which pump at his favorite gas station lets out a little more gas. Sometimes I think about what I might have said to him if I had realized that it was the last time he was going to see me and remember who I was. He never did say very much, but I could always tell by the way he looked at me and the way he hugged me that he was deeply proud of me. He knows me now from the picture that hangs on the bulletin board in the kitchen that my grandma has artfully put together to help him remember relatives, but he no longer associates the girl on the bulletin board with a past memory.

My mom used to tell me about working on the farm with grandpa. She would recount going out in the cold to chop firewood with him and about milking the cows. She had a strategy for overcoming her size as a child when pouring the milk in the cooler. She used a stool and got on her tiptoes to empty her pail of milk. She couldn’t even see what she was doing yet, but it didn’t stop her from trying. There was something valuable transmitted to my mother through those early working experiences, and strong bonds were formed through shared work on project.

My mom, her big sister, and grandpa working in the background

My mom, her big sister, and grandpa working in the background

I know that it is through these early experiences that my mom learned to work hard, and I know that when I wonder what it is within me that allows me to run for over five hours without stopping that it comes from my grandpa.  He never said a lot because his way of saying “I love you” was to be a provider. The calluses on his palms, the dirt under his fingernails, and the grime in his white t-shirt insist, “I love you very much.”

Anyway, here are some pictures that I stole from my aunt’s facebook page:

10437497_10202514382089808_6678083553125276455_n

My aunt Shari took grandpa on a balloon ride a couple weeks ago, and they flew in a plane last weekend:

936045_10202577259781711_113035204002893676_n

All seemed to enjoy themselves, and I’m sure they will be cherished moments.

______________________________________________________________________

I’m going the distance with the Alzheimer’s Association ALZ Stars®, a program to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Association. 

Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

I need your support to do my part! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer’s Association advance research to discover methods of prevention, treatment and ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

This year, I am running in honor of my grandpa, Merle Willson, who is currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. He no longer remembers who I am, but I would like to recognize all of the hard work he has invested in our family throughout the years beginning well before I was born. His hard work on the farm cleared the path for my mom to go to college, which turned into the opportunity for my brother and me to become college graduates as well. His generosity and work ethic through the decades are his legacy, and they will echo into the future long after his time. He may not remember, but we always will. Thank you Grandpa! 

I would also like to recognize Grandma Willson who has become Grandpa’s primary caretaker. Thanks for taking care of Grandpa! You rock! 

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Thank you in advance for your generosity – together, we can outrace Alzheimer’s disease.

 

To make a donation, please click the green “Support Me” link on the right side of the page or visit http://act.alz.org/goto/canderun. Follow training on twitter @willsonstrong.

Buy your own Alzheimer’s Association gear at:

http://shop.alz.org/Wear-It

20140721-171122-61882001.jpg

______________________________________________________________________

Thank you to my supporters! I cannot do it without you!

Brent Eames

Susan Willson Aamodt

Shari Willson Anderson

Benjamin Tatham

Anonymous

Merle and Anna Willson

Mike and Barb Tatham

 

Raining on my Parade

This week, I very narrowly missed some severe storms on my long run. Although it was a very hot and humid with dinosaur-sized mosquitos waiting to suck my blood at every stop, I felt fortunate when it only started pouring as I was walking to my car. I was negative about going to the run the night before because I envisioned being stuck out on the trail in the middle of a hail storm, but everything turned out ok. I had a couple storm clouds of negativity hover around me this week that I’d like to share.

10520818_10202372247843046_1680471263719443109_n  10494552_10202373090264106_3075023831865807169_n

My first brush with the power of negativity came in the form of group exercise, and I am fully responsible for it. I’ve been trying some different classes at my gym to find some cross training. This week I went to spin, step aerobics, and yoga in addition to training runs (sigh, summer free time). Anyhow, last Thursday was my first attempt at step aerobics. I enjoyed step aerobics a lot in high school. We would walk over to the park district building with my gym class entitled “Wellness.” It was basically the only class where it was guaranteed that no one was going to be timed running a mile, and there would be Lifetime movies once a week. During step aerobics, Mrs. Lofthouse would pull out her boom box with her mix tape. Her mix tape for step aerobics included girl-power themed gems such as “It’s Raining Men” and “Queen of the Night.” My memory of step was that it wasn’t too difficult, and it was really fun.

Well, my friends, there is a whole never level of step aerobics out there that my Wellness class background didn’t prepare me for, and I’m really deplorable at step aerobics. I am not the coordinated type, and coordination seems to be key. There were both hand motions and foot motions that needed to occur at the same time and be memorized and repeated in a sequence. It was troubling to figure out how to lead with the correct foot. There is something awfully confusing about right and left in my brain. There came a point where I gave up on the hands and just tried the feet.

About 35 minutes through the class, I looked around and realized how entirely out of place I was and seriously considered walking out. I looked around the room at all the other women in the class and noticed their strong physiques and stout, strong cores, and how they easily moved along with the instructor’s commands. I looked in the mirror, and looked at my lanky arms and legs. I was always a step behind everyone else and looked like the top of my body wasn’t sure what the bottom part was doing (as evidenced by my tripping over the step several times). I started to feel defeated, and I thought, “I don’t belong here.” I stopped moving for a minute and just stood there and watched everyone else move with confidence in complete synchronization. I bent down to pick up my step and put it away.

Richard Simmons would not want me to give up!

Richard Simmons would not want me to give up!

But, then I thought, “Damn it. You can do hard things. You can make it another 25 minutes. You’re not coordinated, but that isn’t a requirement for burning some calories and getting some side-to-side movements in your training.” I continued to look like complete nimrod for the remaining 25 minutes, but I finished. It was really hard not to leave. My own attitude about my coordination and body type is my worst enemy.

The second brush, came from someone else. I encountered someone with a bossy, stink-faced attitude while training, and I was feeling pretty good until this person arrived. I am hoping it was just a bad day, but everything anyone said had to be spun negative. Anyone that could be picked at was picked at. Hell! Even people who were not there were getting picked at.  It got old.

nonegativity-300x300

Running is something I like to do to try to do to release my stress and negativity, and I like to find a quiet place to think through my thoughts. I run because it’s good for me and because I get to meet people I might not have met otherwise. I don’t need to have another place to produce stress and negativity; I need running to be a place where I clean all of the junk out of my mental closet instead of adding to it.

The bad thing about negativity is that it is contagious, and it can pollute the mind. It’s difficult to know where the line is between a little venting and overkill. Where do you draw the line between a bad day and chronic negativity? When does the point come when you need to physically distance yourself from someone who is always anxious, negative, and judgmental?

I decided to end the week with yoga. <<reset complete>>

25474128

___________________________________________________________________________________

Week 6:

Week 6

_______________________________________________________________________________________

I’m going the distance with the Alzheimer’s Association ALZ Stars®, a program to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Association. 

Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

I need your support to do my part! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer’s Association advance research to discover methods of prevention, treatment and ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

This year, I am running in honor of my grandpa, Merle Willson, who is currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. He no longer remembers who I am, but I would like to recognize all of the hard work he has invested in our family throughout the years beginning well before I was born. His hard work on the farm cleared the path for my mom to go to college, which turned into the opportunity for my brother and me to become college graduates as well. His generosity and work ethic through the decades are his legacy, and they will echo into the future long after his time. He may not remember, but we always will. Thank you Grandpa! 

I would also like to recognize Grandma Willson who has become Grandpa’s primary caretaker. Thanks for taking care of Grandpa! You rock! 

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Thank you in advance for your generosity – together, we can outrace Alzheimer’s disease.

 

To make a donation, please click the green “Support Me” link on the right side of the page or visit http://act.alz.org/goto/canderun. Follow training on twitter @willsonstrong.

______________________________________________________________________

Thank you to my supporters! I cannot do it without you!

Brent Eames

Susan Willson Aamodt

Shari Willson Anderson

Benjamin Tatham

Anonymous

Merle and Anna Willson

Mike and Barb Tatham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready?

It’s been a busy summer so far! I’ve just completed 15.0 credit hours of graduate coursework for a certificate of graduate study in traffic safety. I took the classes from April to June, and usually, students complete 15.0 hours of coursework at the graduate level over the course of a year. It was a lot more time consuming than I imagined it would be at the beginning, but I am glad that it is over! You wouldn’t believe the comments you receive when people find out you’re getting a driver education endorsement! I’m still going to teach English Literacy to ELLs so don’t get too excited. And if you are asking yourself right now, “Is she crazy?” then just go ahead and nod your head because the answer is “Yes, she’s definitely crazy.” My last day of class was June 28th, which was the same day  a year ago that I lost my cousin, James Nickel, in a traffic collision with a 17 year old motorist. Also, I used my settlement from November 2012 when I was hit by a 17 year old motorist to pay for my tuition, so I consider it to be a “coming full circle” of sorts.

I am still taking 6.0 credit hours at two community colleges to finish the endorsement requirements for driver education, and those classes won’t finish until the beginning of August. It’s been a battle to get my training in during June with the tug-of-war between college and other responsibilities. It sort of resembled this:

sm

Last Saturday, I was able to return to CARA for my long runs. We ran 9 miles, and I wasn’t sore afterward which is a good sign. However, I forgot how really very super hungry running that far makes me. There had better damn well be some food in the kitchen after I come home from a long run! Hence grocery shopping on Friday night. Being hungry after running, for me, is similar to always feeling at least a little bit hungry even after a large meal. It is like there are only varying degrees of being hungry but never really a full feeling. I am really uncomfortable with never feeling full :-/. I will get used to it.

8c4cd27caa3e11e3958f12eb3ce597d4_8

Here’s what the training looks like for week 5:

week 6

 

Today, I will run while watching Germany destroy Brazil (Note: Ben is cheering for Brazil).

images

_____________________________________________________________________

banner_chapter_alzstars

I’m going the distance with the Alzheimer’s Association ALZ Stars®, a program to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Association. 

Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

I need your support to do my part! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer’s Association advance research to discover methods of prevention, treatment and ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

This year, I am running in honor of my grandpa, Merle Willson, who is currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. He no longer remembers who I am, but I would like to recognize all of the hard work he has invested in our family throughout the years beginning well before I was born. His hard work on the farm cleared the path for my mom to go to college, which turned into the opportunity for my brother and me to become college graduates as well. His generosity and work ethic through the decades are his legacy, and they will echo into the future long after his time. He may not remember, but we always will. Thank you Grandpa! 

I would also like to recognize Grandma Willson who has become Grandpa’s primary caretaker. Thanks for taking care of Grandpa! You rock! 

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Thank you in advance for your generosity – together, we can outrace Alzheimer’s disease.

 

To make a donation, please click the green “Support Me” link on the right side of the page or visit http://act.alz.org/goto/canderun. Follow training on twitter @willsonstrong.

______________________________________________________________________

Thank you to my supporters! I cannot do it without you!

Brent Eames

Susan Willson Aamodt

Shari Willson Anderson

Benjamin Tatham

Anonymous

Merle and Anna Willson

Mike and Barb Tatham

26.2 for Alzheimer’s: Chicago Marathon 2014

I’m going the distance with the Alzheimer’s Association ALZ Stars®, a program to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Association. 

Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

I need your support to do my part! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer’s Association advance research to discover methods of prevention, treatment and ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

This year, I am running in honor of my grandpa, Merle Willson, who is currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. He no longer remembers who I am, but I would like to recognize all of the hard work he has invested in our family throughout the years beginning well before I was born. His hard work on the farm cleared the path for my mom to go to college, which turned into the opportunity for my brother and me to become college graduates as well. His generosity and work ethic through the decades are his legacy, and they will echo into the future long after his time. He may not remember, but we always will. Thank you Grandpa! 

I would also like to recognize Grandma Willson who has become Grandpa’s primary caretaker. Thanks for taking care of Grandpa! You rock! 

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Grandma and Grandpa Willson (2006)

Thank you in advance for your generosity – together, we can outrace Alzheimer’s disease.

 

To make a donation, please click the green “Support Me” link on the right side of the page or visit http://act.alz.org/goto/canderun. Follow training on twitter @willsonstrong.

______________________________________________________________________

Thank you to my supporters! I cannot do it without you!

Brent Eames

Susan Willson Aamodt

Shari Willson Anderson

Benjamin Tatham

Anonymous

Merle and Anna Willson

Mike and Barb Tatham