40. My birthday plan.


Okay, so here’s how this went – I wrote up this entry *before* I went and did all the things. And then, today, I added photos from doing those things. So it’s a little whack with chronology or whatever, but I think you’ll get the idea!

It’s just a number. I honestly don’t have much opinion about birthdays. Half the time I have to ask my husband how old I am when asked. But this year I turn 40 and I’m using it as an excuse to do all kinds of things. The biggest being running a 100-mile race in October. Because I’m turning 40 this year and… why not run 100 miles to celebrate that? Well, that’s in October. That’s like… 3 months away. Today is July 11. I will most likely be driving/working on my actual birthday, which is July 16. Yesterday I found out I had an extra day off for my “weekend,” which is now (Thursday and Friday). So that means I have 2 full days off! Like a normal person’s weekend! But so last-minute. So naturally, I kicked into gear and came up with a Toots-style birthday plan. And I’m going to try to hit all the things on my list. Here it is:

  • Run 40 miles (because duh, I’m turning 40, so what else would I run?)
  • Swim in a lake afterwards (because it’s the best feeling ever to swim in a lake after a long, hot, sweaty, buggy, summer run.)
  • Eat a greasy, delicious, drippy cheeseburger from the Hamburger Haus, which is one of those little local burger joints that’s only open in the summertime.
  • Get a waffle ice cream cone from Kelley Country Cremery on my way home.
  • Drink an ice-cold beer in the shower.
  • Eat birthday cake. Which is going to be extra-special this year. You’ll see why!

So that’s a lot of things, but if I do them all in that order, I should be able to check them all off the list with pure enjoyment.

Running 40 miles.

As I mentioned, I chose 40 miles because I’m turning 40, and that makes sense. I mean, right? That’s what most people would do… It’s also a training run, because my 100-miler is less than 100 days away (99, actually). So to make the most of my time home doing these fun things while also getting in as much time with Adam as I can (finding this balance is always a challenge), I decided to start my run between midnight and 1am. This is like triple-duty, meaning I’m A) getting in fatigue training (I’ll be running this on little sleep); B) getting some more night-running experience; and C) getting time on my feet (and for more reason than just a training run, which adds to the fun). I thought I’d give myself 12 hours to do the 40 miles, which comes out to an 18 minute/mile average, which is more time than I think I’ll need, but it’s self-supported, and I want to take some breaks, take pictures of flowers and my feet, yell at bugs and have fun and not worry too terribly about time, yet it’s quick enough that I can’t just hike the whole thing and take breaks and yell at bugs and take pictures of flowers and my feet. I think it’ll be a good balance. So that’s got to be a part of my birthday plan.


Of course my perfect birthday day includes a run on the Ice Age Trail!!


I ended up dropping my 40-mile goal down to 40k instead because I got a late start and wanted the extra time over the extra miles (and as it turns out, I was super-tired). I was totally cool with this decision, and actually wish I’d have thought of the 40k goal from the start. It’s still 25 miles and it was a great training day.

I’ve done a lot of training runs, fun runs, hikes and backpacking trips in the Northern Unit of Kettle Moraine. It’s a great place to train because the terrain is challenging, it’s single-track trail, it’s the Ice Age Trail, and there’s more reasons, but whatever, it’s just a good place not too crazy-far from home that I can get into the woods for hours and hours on some amazing trail.


The swim: One time I went for a long run and it was so freakin’ hot that I was completely drenched in sweat and the bugs had eaten me alive so I was covered in welts, blood splatters and I had dead deer flies caught in my salty hair. I stopped at Mauthe Lake Campground and jumped in the lake in my running clothes while all the beach-goers in their cute bathing suits watched me like I was a crazy person. It felt so amazing that I had to keep my mouth shut so I didn’t make orgasmic noises after resurfacing from my first dive into the water. It was just so exhilarating. So that’s got to be a part of my birthday plan.


Such a refreshing way to wrap up a long run in the woods!!

The burger: Then one other time I stood in line behind 15 other people in the hot summer sun at this cute little outdoor burger shack in Dundee, WI while motorcycles grumbled past at an almost constant rate and little kids with dirty faces from last-night’s s’mores chased each other around the picnic tables. It was a perfect, small-town Wisconsin campground-area summer day. I made my order, sat at a picnic table and ate a burger with a crusty bun while I ignored the stream of ketchup-mayo-grease concoction running down my forearm until I was done. Then I licked it off and looked around to see if anyone saw me do it. But I didn’t care if they did. It was a really, really, really good burger. So that’s got to be a part of my birthday plan.


The Hamburger Haus. Such a great little spot!


Seriously, though. This burger!

The ice cream: I love ice cream. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, I would choose ice cream. There’s this place that is on my way home called Kelley Country Creamery that has this super-delicious ice cream, and again, one time after a run I decided to hobble inside for a waffle cone. I don’t remember what flavor I got that day, because I know I wanted a scoop of every single one, but I sat outside trying to watch the cows graze in the field while I ate it. I say “trying to watch the cows graze” because my eyes kept rolling back into my head in pure, innocent, ice-cream-induced bliss. I might have a problem. So that’s definitely got to be a part of my birthday plan.


This place has some tasty ice cream!


I splurged and got a double-scoop. Lee’s mint and some sort of brownie explosion.

Shower beer.

Summer means shower beers. Well actually, so does winter. And spring. Fall, too. Shower beers, if you haven’t experienced one, are great. You should really try it if you haven’t. There are even really cool beer-holders that you can install in your shower to hold your can while you suds-up your hair and whatnots. I have the Sudski, which I placed on the back wall (opposite the shower head) and up high so the water doesn’t get into the can (or glass if you’re having a shower daiquiri, which is also very nice in the summertime). Those that know me or follow my Instagram have seen photos of my shower beers. Next time you go for a hot summer run, bikeride, or just got done doing some grueling yard work, and you’re all sweaty, dirty and hot, grab an ice-cold beer and jump in the shower with it. The warm water and cold beer combo are something to be experienced. If you don’t drink alcohol, that’s okay, too. I’ve used cold seltzer water, and that really hit the spot. Soda would work if you’re a soda person – the point is… get something cold and bubbly and take it in the shower with you. It’s one of my favorite things to do… so… that’s got to be part of my birthday plan.


Sick of the shower beer thing yet? Oh well, I’m not stopping. ;)

Birthday cake.

This isn’t going to be just your normal birthday cake situation. I had Adam order me an 8-inch double-layer german chocolate cake from Manderfield’s, which is an amazing freakin’ local bakery, and I’ll pick it up on my way home after my run tomorrow. The thing is with cake… is it’s really good. Have you ever heard the comedian Jim Gaffigan say the line, “do I sit in it? Or do I eat it?” Well, that’s kind of how I always feel when I eat cake. I usually carefully slice off dainty little pieces with my fork, then slowly slide it off into my mouth and eat it slowly, trying to really savor the moment, because we’re all always trying to not eat a whole cake because we’re adults and know that it’s not healthy and cake is “bad for you” and you should only have the 1/4 of a sliver of a piece because of all the reasons. Well, for my 40th birthday I’m saying f*** that. I’m taking this delicious, professionally-made, yes-I’m-going-to-say-it moist cake, and I’m going to absolutely destroy it. You’ve all seen the one- or two-year old in the high chair eating their cupcake, right? They dig their hands right into it. They shove it into their face. They get it on their forehead, some lands on the floor for the dog, and most of it, maybe, gets eaten. That’s how I’m going to enjoy my 40th birthday cake. I’m just going to shove it into my cake-hole (because cake > pie) and not give a single crap about anything but enjoying everything about it. This, I think, is going to be the highlight of my birthday. I’ve been thinking about this one for months and months. So, that’s got to be part of my birthday plan, too.


That’s how you do it, my friends. At the end of the video from my birthday day, you can see me destroying this thing. It was so much fun and I will definitely be doing it again! Maybe whenever I eat cake from now on! Haha!

Let’s do this 40th birthday thing! I’m um… pretty excited. Cake.


Cake beard.

Tonight I love birthdays.

A video I put together with clips from all these things throughout the day. Cake destruction is toward the end.

A race report for a 5k?

Wednesday night, July 3

What will happen when a long-distance runner decides to run a fast 5k on a whim? Well? Let’s see.

I decided to do a race report for it – to be funny at first. I mean, what would I have to write about?

I woke up and paid $30 to run 3.1 miles with a bunch of people I don’t know and it was super-fun.

But the more I thought about things, the more complicated I made it, so maybe it’ll end up being kind of interesting. Or maybe it won’t. We’ll know tomorrow after the race!

Race details

The Fox Firecracker 5k

Thursday, July 4th at 7:30 am

Kaukauna, WI

Swag: t-shirt, medal, an American flag and apple pie (yum!)

So to start, I haven’t run a 5k race in… forever. I honestly don’t know what the last one was. Or when. So when I realized that if I hammered down from my trip out to Pennsylvania and New Jersey this week, I could possibly be back home in time to run our local 4th of July 5k. So I stepped on it. And I did it – I made it back late tonight (Wednesday). Adam even head over to packet pick-up earlier today and registered for me to make it official.

I’ve got a bib number, so… here we go!

When I first thought of this idea, I was just going to run to the start line (it’s 2.2 miles from our apartment), register that morning and toe the start line and have fun. But I was driving my truck… all day long… and so I was thinking… and thinking is dangerous sometimes… and so then I thought to myself, “I wonder how fast I could run it?”

Well, shit. Guess what? Now I’m planning on givin’ er. I decided I’d see what I’ve got in me. I’m not trained for this – to run fast. I’m trained to run long and slow. So yeah. This is going to hurt. It’s going to be hard. I will most likely have regrets. It’s possibly really stupid. Will I injure myself somehow? Can I even injure myself in just three miles? Probably. There are so many unknowns, and for some reason I’m really excited about that. Tomorrow morning at around 8 am I’ll be cursing myself, and maybe wanting to die, but for now it sounds like a good old, painful, torturous, fun challenge. Once again, what in the hell am I even doing?

I’m gonna bonk. We all know that, right? But when? 1 mile in? 2? 3? Will I pass out? Will I poop my pants? Will it all be amazing? I don’t know.

Goals. Because why not?

My normal time running around the 5k mark is usually about 32 – 33 minutes during training as of late, but I’m also not really caring about my 5k time. That’s a pretty slow and easy pace… for me, anyway. I know I’ve got it in me to do it under 30 minutes, and I’ll be disappointed in myself if I don’t hit that. But I’m sure I will.

Next goal would be to finish in under 27 minutes, or less than a 9-minute mile average. But… if I’m being honest, in my dumb head I’m hoping for faster. But I have no idea, at this point, how much faster. I can usually pace myself pretty well, but for this race I’m just going to go out fast, probably bonk my ass off, hyperventilate and maybe embarrass myself across the finish line somehow. I’m ready for all that.

Also, a fun side note – I turn 40 years old on July 16, so this will be my last race ever in the 30-39 age bracket. So what the hell. Let’s do something dumb for fun and go for it. Now I’m going to go to bed (I need to be up in 5 hours for this thing) and I’ll check back in tomorrow after the race and tell ya’ all about it. Good night!

RACE DAY Thursday morning, July 4

Before-the-race thoughts:

Nutrition plan: Why am I laughing at myself right now? Am I making a nutrition plan for this 5k now? Funny. Anyway, I’m going to eat OATMEAL for breakfast! Whoa! Considering I’m a low carb/high fat kinda girl, this is pretty weird. Usually low carb/high fat works pretty good for the long, slow stuff, and usually I fast for the start of all my runs. (Okay, now I’m having second thoughts about breakfast. Crap.) But see, my theory is this – for the fast stuff you burn up all the glycogen, so I dunno. Eat carbs for the short, fast bursts? Oh my gosh, you guys. Am I gonna end up on the toilet all day? Why do I never seem to know what I’m doing or what I’m talking about!?

Water and things.

Gear (because LOL): I’m going to wear my BAM-POW shorts (at Adam’s request) and a blue, swirly, kind of unmatching tank top (both by InkNBurn), along with my cheapo sports bra and my… Bedrocks or Luna’s?… sandals. I don’t know which to wear. I’ll go Bedrock. Orange ones. And I’ll wear my blue Brooks running hat in case it rains. My Garmin Fenix3 watch, Road ID bracelet (so they have Adam’s phone number when I pass out across the finish line), and a headband around my wrist to wipe sweat away. And a pony tail band. And an unconfident, awkward… smile? Okay, I thinks that’s all?

Adam asked me last night, “So why *can’t* you just run his this thing for fun?” I didn’t know the answer. I could? I guess? I thought about it too much? Because I’m crazy and a little dumb? Probably just to push my limits again. I don’t know.

Okay, gotta go get ready.

After-the-race thoughts:

Well, that wasn’t a big deal. I should’ve run it faster. Dangit. I feel like I should’ve pushed until I puked or something! (I’m laughing to myself as I write that because I’m just kidding. Kind of.)

Of course, halfway in, I’d have slapped someone if they told me to run it faster because my stomach was getting queezy, it was humid, and I was breathing pretty heavy. But overall, it didn’t suck as bad as I thought it would. Which makes me wish I’d have pushed harder. But it was still SO fun! Glad I got to do it!


Chip time: 25:40

Pace: 8:15 min/mile

According to Strava I PR’d. Neato.

I came in 174th place, and I overheard there were 1500 racers, so I don’t know what that means, and it doesn’t matter much, but it’s another stat. Stat, stat, stat. I didn’t shat. That’s what matters. Haha! (I’m still hopped up on adrenaline.)

I guess my age got missed somehow. But I think I was #14 in the 35-39 age bracket. (I would’ve been 5th in the age 40-44 age bracket.)

I don’t have much else to say! I ran it as fast as I felt I could without throwing up or passing out. I was very out of breath at the end, had a little tummy ache, and felt just a tiny bit dizzy. So I think I did okay there.

Before the race I ran out of time to eat oatmeal so I was gonna just eat an apple instead. But I didn’t end up eating that, either. I ran it on 20 oz. of water, a 12 oz.-can of cold-brew coffee, and 10 oz. of Tailwind. And my tummy was a little sloshy at the start.

Um… What else? Gotta make it long, because this is a race report by Toots.

Just a photo of toilets.

How about more pictures?

Why, yes. That *is* me sitting on a porta-toilet.

Happy 4th of July! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

My biggest fan. I love this guy. πŸ’“

Endless apple pie! It goes on forever! And ever!

Very cool medal! Very fun, well-organized event! Yay for races!

Tonight I love apple pie and America.