signing off

After many years, ups and downs, starts and stops…it’s time for me to close the doors on this little blog.

Last week, the whole Dawn family went back up to Michigan for a wedding.  It was a long sweet walk down memory lane.  When we moved up there life looked completely different than it does now.  We were newly weds celebrating our first 6 months of married life.  Mr. Dawn was starting his intense post-graduate studies and I was reentering the world of teaching.


The beginning of our new life in Michigan was a little shaky.  I felt professionally lost and personally lonely.  Mr. Dawn had the opportunity to meet so many people that he easily connected with because they were in classes together.  I, on the other hand, struggled. I was working in a Math department that had some truly lovely people but it wasn’t really fulfilling me on a personal level.  I had a hard time finding people to socialize with.

At San Diego RnR marathon

Then I rediscovered my love for running and uncovered a whole new world of running blogs.  I instantly felt at home, more connected, and more fulfilled.  And the running community transformed me.  I went from being a 4:28+ marathoner to being a 3:40 Boston Qualifier.  I made connections and friendships from one end of the country to the other.  I finally had an outlet to talk with people who understand (and encourage) all the quirks that we runners have.  It was magical.


3:40:21.  Official Time.

Since I moved away from Michigan three years ago my life has evolved dramatically.  I have a new home state, a new career, a new baby, and a whole new life.  This life is so different and I’m learning that not everything fits the way it once did.  And that’s ok.

Being back in Michigan, I got to run on all my old routes.  I actually shed a few tears because it was so good to be back there.  I felt at home.  And yet….strangely…not quite.

I realized that you can go back to a PLACE but you can’t go back to a TIME.  I am so thankful and so grateful for the person that I became while running those beautiful country roads.  I am so thankful for the many lessons and friendships that I gain through this community.  But the TIME for runningthedawn has passed.  No matter how many times I hop back on the wagon, I keep finding myself slipping off.  It’s time for me to say farewell and thank you so much for being a part of my life in such an important way.

time stands still

I got a phone call yesterday that shook me.  A good friend of our’s was in an electrical accident while working. Mr. Dawn called me to tell me that he was heading to the hospital to see what he could do to help.

In a moment, priorities shift.

Since then, I feel like I’m in a bit of a haze.  My life doesn’t really allow for me to pause, I have a toddler to keep up with, work that marches on, and deadlines to meet.  Earlier this week I talked about compartmentalizing people, but the past 24 hours has been about compartmentalizing emotions.

I know that our friends’ lives have fundamentally changed forever.  And whenever I give in and allow myself to think about it I get extremely overwhelmed with grief and helplessness.  But I can’t lay in bed and cry all day, and I can’t go an fix anything.

Instead, I hug my baby and clean the house.  That will keep both my hands and my heart busy.

a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Sunday night, Mr. Dawn and I went to dinner with a couple that lives on our street.

Have you ever done that?  I hadn’t.  I’m much more used to keeping my life compartmentalized.  The people that I run with, I run with.  The people I see at church, I see at church.  And the people in the neighborhood, well we chat while we’re out on walks or doing yard work, or when a new house goes up for sale.  I’ve never taken the steps of developing the social-friendship with people that I live near.

It has been downright delightful.  Actually, full-disclosure, this was our second double-date.  They are expecting their first child and it’s so fun to be talking nursery furniture and parenting classes with another couple.

I have to give credit where credit is due…Mr. Dawn is our social coordinator.  I’m a bit shy and reserved when it comes to people I don’t know.  I’m not the one that is going to strike up a conversation with someone at the gas pump or restaurant.  But him?  He’s never met someone that he couldn’t talk to.  Everyone is his new best friend, and I love it.  It keeps my life full of new and exciting people and prevents me from sitting at home every night watching The Office on Netflix.  Instead I have a new soon-to-be-mom that lives near AND a new playmate for Little G.

Thanks Mr. Dawn!

Have you ever made a friend in one context and they crossed-over to be a social friend?

When was the last time you struck up a conversation with a total stranger?

true confessions

So, it’s time to get a few things off my chest.

  1. I have only run three miles in the past two weeks.  I have every intention of changing that.  Especially since obviously in violation of my base building goals…. I’ve been feeling really guilty every time I go to Jazzercise or yoga or walk on my treadmill when I know very well I should be running.
  2. I didn’t do a very good job of scheduling myself this week and I had to call a friend to come and watch Little G today.  Usually, I can make it work between me, Mr. Dawn, and my dad.  Not today.  Mr. Dawn had work, I had a meeting I couldn’t get out of and my dad wasn’t available.  I know that it all worked out.  My friend is amazing with him, and it’s always good to expose him to different caregivers…I just hate it when I can arrange all the puzzle pieces to make it work.
  3. I basically ruined our bathroom floor.  While I was cleaning the house (in preparation for the babysitter to come over) Little G was entertaining himself by breaking open my darkest red nail polish and painting the floor. Luckily nail polish remover has done a decent job…but I’m pretty sure I’m completely scared for life.

Whew.  That feels better.

Look how cute my two dudes were at swim lessons on Friday!

Anything that you’ve been feeling guilty about?

What is the longest break you’ve taken from running?

what you were born to do

This morning I had such an amazing experience, I just have to share.

We got to the pool right at our normal swim lesson time, but we noticed a few extra people there.  Usually there are just one or two other families either in the middle of a lesson or getting changed to leave, but today there was an extra guy there talking with some of the kids.  It seemed like he was getting ready to get into the water, so I wasn’t really sure what was going on.

Then our instructor explained that it was Dr. Barnett, the founder of ISR!  I guess that he lives near by and sometimes stops by the community center where we go for lessons. Our instructor suggested that he take Little G for a bit to work on his breath control.  You see, Little G LOVES to keep his mouth open when he goes under water.  Silly dude.  I’ve been trying to get him to stop, but I guess there’s not really any sense reasoning with a 16-month-old…

The 10 minute lesson that followed was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed.  Dr. Barnett had never met us or Little G before and in just a matter of minutes had him kicking under water and floating on his back.  It was amazing to witness the instinctive way that he handled Little G.  He frequently came back over to the edge of the pool to explain what he was doing, and to give the other instructor tips about how we was accomplishing everything.

It was basically the difference between having the real thing and a carbon copy.  I have no problem with our other instructor.  Technically, she has been using all the same tools and training techniques….but she just simply wasn’t the creator of them.  He knows this stuff because he invented it, not because he was taught it.  It runs in his blood.  It is simply who he is, not something he does.

We were watching a master at work, doing what he was born to do.

I was filled with awe and wonder.  I wanted to just stay all day and watch him work.  All too quickly, our lesson was over and his next appointment had arrived, a 6 or 7 month old and he transitioned to an entirely different manner without missing a beat.  With our big guy he had been fast-paced and upbeat, with the infant he was gentle and calm, soft-spoken and reassuring.  It is so incredible to watch someone operating in their sweet spot.

It made me wonder what I was born to do.  Am I ever going find the thing that oozes out of my pores?  Will I always be an imitator of someone else’s masterpiece, or will the day come when I am the initiator?

Ever witnessed an expert at work? 

Do you know what you were born to do?


starting fresh

I feel like I’m starting from scratch.  The sickness that I dealt with in the weeks leading up to my half marathon resurfaced this week.  And Mr. Dawn got hit pretty hard.  In fact we spent Father’s Day celebrating in style.

Poor guy spent the day in bed.  And my sore throat kept threatening to steal my voice.

So, instead of running last week, I spent my time planning out my next few months.  I think I found a training plan to use for my half in October!  It is geared specifically for breaking 1:45 in the half marathon.  The plan is 10 weeks long, peaks at 44 miles, and varies between 5-6 days of running.  The prescribed paces are challenging, but exciting.

I calculated back 10 weeks from October 26 and it means that I’ll need to start my training on August 17.  I officially have 9 weeks until then.  I want to use the next two months to get myself on track to nail my training.  I have a lot of work to do…to get myself better and lay a good fitness foundation.

So, what am I going to do?  Here are my goals for the next 9 weeks….

  1. 30 days sugar free.  I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.  My biggest downfall is sweets.  I usually compensate by just running a little bit more, however I feel like my health has been suffering and those fudge covered oreos don’t help at all.  I need to step away from the cookies, candy, and other forms of processed sugar.  I need a reset, and out of all my dietary habits, I think sugar will have the biggest impact.
  2. Get my steps in. I’ve had my fitbit for almost six months.  I used to be really diligent about getting my goal of 15,000 steps a day, but once I started training I was more focused on my running than on my steps.  I actually keep forgetting to wear it!  I think there’s been more days where it has sat on my dresser than I’ve actually remembered to clip it on.  This must change!
  3. Double digits.  I want to have at least one double digit run a week.  I don’t want to completely fall off the long run bandwagon and have to rebuild my endurance from scratch.
  4. 30 miles per week.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to do any speed work or not…the weather is getting unbearably hot, and I’m not sure if there will be much quality work during these summer months.  I do want to get and keep my mileage up so that I’m not intimidated when it starts to push 40+ miles.
  5. Yoga. I’m not sure how I’ll fit it all in, but I’d really like to do one day of yoga a week.  I’ll probably stick to my Hatha Alignment class to keep loose and strong.

I know that I do best when I set specific goals and then tell everyone about it so that I will actually follow through :).

What are you doing this summer to keep your motivation high?

What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t on an official training plan?

let’s talk 13.1

So, back in April when I was getting ready to rock a new 5k PR, I wrote a post about my history with the 5k.  I really enjoyed looking at a cross-section of my history with that race distance. I actually wish that I had done it last week before my race this weekend.  I think it would have helped with my mental preparation.

I also wrote a version of this back in 2010, right after I earned my still-standing half marathon PR.

So, here’s the Big List of Half Marathons…

  1. 2003 – Lincoln Half Marathon 2:28.12
  2. 2004 – Lincoln Half Marathon 2:11.35
  3. 2007 – Lincoln Half Marathon 1:57.55
  4. 2008 – Lincoln Half Marathon 2:05.12
  5. 2010 – Holy Half Marathon 1:46.25 *PR*
  6. 2011 – Borgess Half Marathon 1:49.55
  7. 2012 – Disney Princess Half Marathon 1:53.54
  8. 2012 – Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 3:05.05 (pregnant)
  9. 2012 – Lady Speed Stick Half 3:10.53 (pregnant)
  10. 2014 – Echo Half Marathon 1:56.31

I didn’t actually remember that this was my tenth half marathon, until I looked up my info on Athlinks. Have you ever looked up your name?  It’s so fun to see all your race stats in one place!

The first four races, all the Lincoln Half, were all pre-blog.  It was a time when I considered myself a runner, but I didn’t know anything about training plans or intervals or tempo runs.  I would just run two or three times a week and one long run on the weekends.  I rarely wrote anything down.  I didn’t own a garmin.  It feels like a different lifetime ago.

Looking through my past race reports, it has lit a fire in my belly.  I want to get fast again.  I want to have a race where I push my limits and perform better than I expected.  I’ve been shopping around for training plans.  I’m hoping that this fall I’ll be able to break 1:45 in the half.

Anyone have a magical training plan that will earn me a new PR in the half?

What is your favorite race distance?

shin sweat

I think I’m 98% recovered from my race on Sunday.

First off…I don’t remember being this sore after a half marathon ever!  No seriously.  I have no idea what is going on with my legs.  I ran 5 long runs that were 13 miles or more, so it’s not like the distance was a shock to my system, or at least it shouldn’t have been… I guess my take away is that my fitness level isn’t where I imagined it was.  I just thought that I would do better.  I wanted to believe that I hadn’t lost so much of my mojo in the past two years.  But this race brought me back to earth.  I’m still really happy with the outcome, it just makes me realize that I have a lot more work to get myself back into PR shape. (I just went back and read the recap from my half marathon PR back in 2010.  I can’t wait to have that feeling again!)

I haven’t gone running all week, and I probably won’t run until this weekend at the earliest.  My hip is feeling much better, but it really had me worried during the run.  I’ve gone to a few classes, including my first hot yoga class.

Ok.  So, hot yoga.  Let’s talk about it.  I knew that it was going to be hot, and actually when I walked in the room, it didn’t really seem like it was that hot.  Then we started into the practice and I couldn’t believe how quickly the sweat started dripping off my nose.  I actually became fascinated by how much sweat was accumulating on my shins.  Have you ever paid attention to your shin sweat?  It’s pretty crazy.

I think I like hot yoga…but I’m pretty sure I didn’t like that instructor.  I may try another class with a different teacher.  Or I may just go back to my Hatha class with the instructor that I love.

Oh!  We started ISR swim training with Little G!  It’s where the babies are taught to float on their backs if they fall in the pool.  We go to the community center every morning for a 10 minute lesson.  Currently he’s learning to hold his breath under water and to reach for the wall.  He’s doing so great!  He cries the entire time he’s in the water, but he’s learning :)

And he’s still waking up with a huge smile on his face, so I guess we aren’t scaring him too much!

Oh and…his grandpa is spoiling him with new toys from the thrift store…

Echo Half Marathon 2014

While this race wasn’t my best, it also wasn’t my worst.

The short version (for the story-averse) 1:56.31, 8:54 per mile, 12th in my age group, 108th overall.  The main protagonist was the weather…75 degrees at the start with 100% humidity.

Ok, now…from the start.

My friend Crystal and I headed out on Friday to pick up our packets.  It was ridiculously easy.  No lines just a quick in and out.

You may hear me say this more than once.  I love these race shirts.  Mainly because of the color, but they are also a nice tech fabric and they fit nicely.  They did women specific shirts and I love them.

Saturday I got birthday spoiled: breakfast-in-bed, dinner and cupcakes at my parent’s house and then early to bed.  The 4:30 wake up call was going to come wayyyyy too early for my liking.  So I got all my stuff ready to go…

Sunday morning, I started my oh-my-goodness-what-time-is-it panic around 2:30 and got restless sleep until my alarm sounded.  I suited up and fueled up.  I knew it was going to be a warm one so I made an almost chewable batch of Gatorade hoping to soak up the extra electrolytes.  I made a bagel with some jam and hit the road.

We got to the start with about 45 minutes to kill.  It was really strange…we headed strait to the port-a-johns and there were no lines.  No lines?  Huh?  I mean people were standing around chatting and whatnot, but we literally walked right up to an open door and went in.  That’s never happened to me before.

Before the start, I started to notice something different about this race.  It just felt like it was a “runners” race.  There were so many running clubs there and there was such a unique spirit surrounding the whole event.  I really enjoyed everything!  I can’t believe it was the first year for this race.  From my perspective everything went off without a hitch.  Well…except for the fact that it was June in Central Florida…

Miles 1-3 (avg pace 8:33)
Going into this race I had zero idea what my plan was.  It’s been so long since my last race I had no real gauge about my fitness level.  And then after my recent illness and the fact that I haven’t run for two weeks…well, I just figured that I’d figure it out eventually. I felt really good for the first few miles.  It mysteriously felt cooler than I thought it would and I foolishly thought that the day was going to go much better than it did.  I was consistently running 8:30′s and thought that I might be able to keep that up.

Miles 3-9 (avg pace 8:47)
Right around mile 3 something started feeling off in my left hip.  It was tight and I couldn’t get it to loosen up.  I did my best to keep my gait from changing.  The pain would come and go, so I figured it couldn’t be that serious and kept pushing on.  I found a few people around me that were running really consistent paces and just tried to hang on.  My pace goal shifted to “anything under 9.”  And “Oh, stay ahead of the girl in the pink shirt.”

Miles 9-11.5 (avg pace 9:08)
Right at mile 9 we turned a corner and ran directly into the sun.  Up to that point we were mostly shaded and there had been a nice layer of haze that kept the sun from being too intense.  From 9 on there was definitely more sun than shade.  And my pace paid dearly.  I could not hold on to a sub-9 pace anymore.  I got passed a lot during these miles.  My hip started to throb.

Miles 11.5-13.1 (avg pace 9:11)
At this point I was fairly confident that I’d be able to finish without having to walk.  Although I desperately wanted to walk…  The race turned back onto a bike path and we got some welcome shade for the last mile or so.  I crossed the finished line and almost immediately was joined by Mr. Dawn and Little G!  It is so fun to have my two favorite dudes to welcome me to the finish.




My first priority was to find some shade, I was SO OVER being in the sun and completely tired of sweating.  As soon as we found some shade I crouched down.  I’m not sure why I do this, but it always feels so good to stretch out my legs like this.


IMG_20140608_084353124 (2)


I tried to stand up several times, but each time I did I would feel light headed and got a little scared that I might pass out.  Three or four times I stood up so that we could go get some food or something, but I couldn’t get my head to stop spinning.  I tried drinking a little bit of water but I couldn’t get much down.  I kept telling Mr. Dawn that this has never happened….

After a few minutes I was able to pull it together and we headed over to enjoy the after party food.  I got him a BBQ chicken sandwich and Little G and I munched on strawberries.  Little G was getting close to nap time, so we loaded up into our car to head home.

My hip hurt for the rest of the day.  My mom and I went shopping with Little G and the whole time I felt like I was limping.  This is not good.  I really wanted to take an ice bath, but the water out of the tap was room temperature (if not higher) and we didn’t have any ice in the house.  I’m a little worried about how its going to feel this week.  Hopefully getting in a yoga class or two and foam rolling will do the trick.

So, I’d say I’m satisfied with this race, not happy necessarily, but satisfied for sure.  Mainly because I now have a “starting point.”  After having a baby and having back surgery last year, I feel like I’m a runner starting over and before today I wasn’t sure exactly where I would be starting from.  Now I’m excited to have my first measuring stick laid out in front of me.  I’m even more excited to start formulating my training strategy for this fall’s half marathon.  I’m really hoping that I can PR in the 13.1 distance!

National Doughnut Day and such….

After an early morning wake up…

Dude and I went to get in the doughnut line…

We inspected the scenery….

Drooled over the options…

Made our selections (I may have chosen for him)…

Loaded back into the car…

Drove by the will-be-open-in-three-weeks TRADER JOES!!!

And then fell asleep in the car (just Little G, not me!)…

trust me, he’s sleeping :)

How did you celebrate National Doughnut day?